The eCommerce industry is no longer limited to market giants like Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Walmart and others. With multiple easy to build eCommerce platforms like Woocommerce, Shopify, and Magento, the scene looks promising for online store owners who are just beginning their eCommerce journey.
However, gaining new online customers is not easy. Plus, it’s even harder if you’re not listed on the first page by popular search engines.
With the majority of users making their purchases with the top listers on SERP (Search Engine Results Page), it is a no brainer that you need to get started on your SEO as soon as possible.
Check out what the stats say:
- A study by smartinsights reports that “about 81% of people search online to buy a product”.
- According to Search Engine Journal, “93% of online shopping experiences start with a search engine.”
- About 57% marketers believe that “SEO generates more leads than other marketing strategies.”
- A hubspot study reveals that “about 75% of people never scroll past the first page of the SERP.”
- “Organic traffic can capture more than 40% of your business revenue.”
- “More than 1 billion people use Google search every month.”
- “ Over 28% of local searches result in purchase.”
- As reported by Backlinko Google CTR Stats, “the first rank holder on a search result page is likely to receive 10 times more clicks as compared to the tenth rank holder.”
The figures speak for themselves!
With that said, most online stores do not really leverage SEO tactics or give the needful consideration to search engines when building their websites.
So whether you’re the marketing guy for a large eCommerce brand or a business owner of a small online store, this post is totally for you.
What is ecommerce SEO and why is it important?
SEO is the technique of optimising the content on your website for it to be easily picked up by search engines like Google and get a higher SERP rank.
Google’s new algorithms rank search results that fulfill a searcher’s intent.
Growth marketers understand that this is possible by improving the overall user experience.
A faster site uploading speed, mobile compatibility, an intuitive interface, good number of natural backlinks, and content that answers all possible questions around a subject – manage these and you’ve already taken steps to increase your organic traffic.
So what does this specifically mean for eCommerce sites?
It includes creating thorough and up to date product descriptions, using high-quality images, creating visible CTA buttons, adding plenty of reviews, and so on to help customers make their purchase decisions.
SEO is, therefore, a science-based art to integrate multiple aspects of a business (social media, content and copywriting, web design, marketing, networking) to ensure that a site claims the top position.
If you’ve managed your optimization work well and efficiently, the journey to the top positions on the SERP is not hard.
Isn’t that great? Is that not what all eCommerce store owners want?
Let us create a better understanding of this through examples in the following sections.
Does SEO really matter?
Yes. See this example to understand how SEO matters and why you should care.
Let’s say your online store sells hand creams and beauty products. You would, therefore, want to rank high for the keyword “hand cream”
The search engine results shows a few product ads at the top followed by organic listings.
Research shows that a bigger chunk of the clicks goes to organic searches and these alone drives more than 50% of the entire website traffic.
Again, we know that most people end their search with the results shown on the first page. This clearly means that getting to the top of the first page is the only way to get noticed and take up a fairly good share of web traffic.
Now, let’s check out this keyword on a popular SEO tool: Ahref’s
Results indicate that there are about 23k global searches for this keyword.
Considering that the client’s market is limited to Thailand, this means that there are about 1.4k searches to consider.
Now, various studies have indicated that about 30-35% of the clicks actually go to the first result on Google’s page. This means that being a top rank holder, you will get about 420 clicks.
Further, assuming that 10% of these clicks materialise into actual conversions, you are likely to get 42 new sales per month.
Needless to say, a steadily growing number of monthly sales is what every eCommerce store owner wants!
eCommerce SEO tools
Over the last few decades, eCommerce businesses have been slowly (but surely) learning to stay on top of their SEO strategies. Whether it is technical SEO, on-page optimizations, link building or even fixing the meta, the trend is clearly shifting from traditional marketing approaches.
Growth marketers are clearly focusing on targeting customers by giving them exactly what they are searching for. Knowing the best tools that can be used to implement your eCommerce SEO strategy is a vital step. If you’re new to eCommerce, partnering with a reputed small business SEO company is a good first step!
The following are some of the best-known SEO tools:
Free SEO tools
eCommerce Keyword Research
About 44% of people begin their online shopping journey using search engines like Google. The figures alone say it all when it comes to the importance of using well-researched keywords on your website and product pages.
The idea is to target keywords that your potential customers use to search for products.
There is a difference between finding the keywords and using the right set of keywords.
Successful keyword research is one of the most important SEO formulas to bring you high converting traffic.
But how does it really work and why is it so important?
When a searcher inputs a word on Google, it’s algorithms work to find out the best and most relevant pages to provide information on the query. If you’ve done your keyword research homework right, your eCommerce website will be the one to pop up first for the customer.
It is therefore all about understanding the needs of your customers and offering them relevant and meaningful information.
Keyword research is a careful process that needs to be followed step by step:
- Use search engines
- Use Amazon for keyword research
- Conduct competition research
- Use popular keyword research tools
- Analyse monthly search volumes and ranking difficulty
- Thoughtful use of keywords matching your website and products
- Using keywords that match the searchers intent
Click to learn more about keyword research for eCommerce websites.
How to structure an ecommerce site?
If you’ve read on and reached here on this blog post, you already know the importance of keyword research.
Once you’ve managed to pin down your target keywords, it’s time to create a site architecture that uses the information optimally.
eCommerce site structures refers to the way you design your site, it’s navigational routes, service pages, product pages, CTA placements, images, content and so on.
Simply to get the most relevant keywords and content visible to the customers in a user-friendly manner.
Let us understand site architecture through an example. The following diagram depicts your chosen structure:
Notice that it will possibly take a visitor 5 clicks to reach your category page and 6 clicks to reach the product page.
Understand that the more time it takes a user to navigate to the most important and resourceful pages of your website, the higher the chances of customers leaving without carrying out a transaction. Additionally, it will negatively impact your search rankings.
While it is true that your homepage holds the highest authority, the category and product pages are the spots that create conversions. When customers navigate to see your products, some of the authority gets passed to these pages.
Now, when your category pages are burrowed too deep within the site, the less will be the “link juice” that flows down to the important pages.
Instead, this is what a good website structure should look like:
Notice that with the above diagram that it will only take a user 2 clicks to go straight to the product they are looking for.
Remember, it is important to pass maximum authority from your home page to your most important pages.
To achieve this, consider the following rules when building your website structure:
- The home page should be linked to the category and product pages.
- Create proper navigational channels. Keep the design SIMPLE and SCALABLE.
- Your important pages (category and product pages) should never be more than three clicks away.
- Keyword research should be used to create relevant URLs that match the search intent.
On-page SEO for eCommerce sites
With an eCommerce site in place, your next target is to increase its chances of pulling organic traffic and eventually increasing sales. On-page SEO does just that.
It increases the chances of your product pages to rank better in the search results.
How to optimise ecommerce product pages for SEO?
The goal is to place your researched keywords effectively all over your website. With eCommerce websites, optimizing product pages is one of the biggest challenges that you may face.
On-page SEO includes optimizing individual category and product pages to rank high up on organic search results. As a growth marketer or a brand owner, it is important that you realize its importance in deciding your online sales.
And yes, it is very much doable.
So what goes on when creating SEO optimized product/category pages and how do we go about it?
Some of the important steps to conduct on-page SEO include:
- Optimizing URLs
- Including keywords in title tags
- Using header tags (H1, H2, H3 and so on)
- Optimizing meta title and description
- Including keywords within the content
- Creating informative and relevant product descriptions
- Optimizing Image Alt texts
- Optimizing image file names
- Adding meaningful external and internal links
Read our article on “How To Do On-page SEO For eCommerce Sites?” for a detailed step by step guide.
Ecommerce SEO Audits
An SEO audit ensures that your site is perfectly optimized to achieve a good ranking on search engines at any given point of time.
To be frank, it is a tedious process to identify and work on the roadblocks that can possibly cause issues for your site’s position on the SERP.
While marketers often work on developing a comprehensive SEO strategy, they tend to ignore SEO audits as a part of the campaign. Regular audits ensure that your eCommerce website receives a continual flow of organic traffic and conversions.
The process includes an assessment of important factors like:
- Site speed
- Mobile compatibility
- On-page SEO
- Site crawl
The following are the key steps to perform an audit:
- Check your visibility on Google.
- Run site crawlers and analyze the reports.
- Make sure that your site is browsable through one version only (Keeping an HTTPS version will improve the ranking)
- Check your site for speed and navigation.
- Ensure that your homepage SEO optimised.
- Check for keyword cannibalisation.
- Analyse your search traffic volumes.
- Ensure that your backlinks are natural and organic.
- Conduct social media analysis.
For details regarding each of the aforementioned audit steps, check out our article on eCommerce SEO audits.
How to drive local site traffic to small business eCommerce retailers?
Studies indicate that “72% customers who perform a local search end up visiting a store within 5 miles of their location”.
Having talked about general SEO tactics for eCommerce retailers, let us now understand what store owners can do to get more local traffic to their site.
- Show up on local search results
Using platforms like Google My Business helps you add business details like working hours, website link, products available, images, sale offers and the store address.
- Building local citations
Getting natural backlinks from other local online platforms like local outlets, local e-newspapers, charities, local blogs and such is important for local SEO. It helps Google understand that your site is important within a certain region.
Local links also help in getting you a good domain authority which is a great way to generate local traffic.
There is no better way for your online store to get noticed, rank for keywords and generate traffic than to post relevant and meaningful content.
We’ve talked about the importance of driving SEO juice to the category and product pages earlier in this blog. However, even in their best-optimized formats, these pages can only rank for a limited set of keywords.
Once you’ve got it nailed down, there will still be a big list of keywords that you can cover to get more visitors interested in your domain.
Adding blogs to your website that cover a wider range of long-tail keywords and subjects (related to your business) can move the needle very quickly when it comes to search engine rankings.
Blog posts like “Top 10/11….” or “Best of…” receive high search volumes and are fairly quick to be noticed by Google.
Once you start ranking for articles like these, you can easily link them to your relevant product pages and pass on the SEO equity where needed.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that most leading marketers consider blogs to be an important part of their campaigns.
SEO Copywriting for eCommerce products
SEO copywriting. Yes, this is the space where well-researched keywords are used, headlines are A/B tested, and conversions happen.
So, how do you optimize your eCommerce copies to ensure that you command more attention from your consumers?
The following are some important tips to consider in order to create a highly optimized copy for your website:
1. Use long-form content for your product pages
Long-form content is not just relevant to blogs, it is equally important for your category and product pages too. Adding relevant and meaningful content (1000 plus words) for your product pages will give Google a chance to place your website higher in ranks in comparison to your competitors.
Do you know that some of the leading eCommerce giants like Ebay have lost a good share of their organic traffic due to limited content?
If content can change the scales for these big names, it is certainly something you need to consider very carefully for your business.
2. Write unique content for each product page
In all honesty, it is not always easy to fill in unique content for each product page.
So how do you go about it?
Here are some tips that can be used:
- Start by writing unique product descriptions
- Talk about the technical specifications- brand, color, size, etc
- Add specific features and benefits offered by the product
- Add customer reviews
Finally, ensure that your product pages provide meaningful information to the customers.
Remember that the content needs to give the customers what they are looking for. Stuffing it with keywords will not just make you lose some valuable customers but might also attract a penalty from Google.
3. Use relevant keywords in each product description
Once again, this is important to ensure that Google knows what your page is offering and indexes you according to the keywords you use.
4. Internal linking
As mentioned earlier, adding internal links from high authority pages like the home page or a high ranking blog post will boost the SEO rankings of your product page.
Eye catching images are known to give a quick boost to your product sales. Using SEO strategies like adding keyword rich titles and image alt texts will earn you more points with search engines.
Link building for ecommerce sites
Securing natural and organic backlinks from high authority domains can significantly boost your SEO performance.
With that said, a lot has changed since Google rolled out its new link policy on March 1, 2020.
In short, Google has been rewarding transparency, naturally earned backlinks and has been taking a very strict approach towards paid and unethical means of acquiring links.
Various techniques like resource page link building, guest blogging, partnering with influencers and broken link building are now used by content marketers to generate natural backlinks and boost rankings.
Read more about these strategies and tips in our blog on “Link Building For eCommerce Sites”
How to measure the success of ecommerce SEO?
So how do you verify that your SEO efforts are going in the right direction? As we all know, SEO is a long term process. You can not really see it reflected on your ROI(Return on Investment) within a few days of implementing your optimization strategies.
Various tools can, however, be used to track your SEO rankings. These include:
- Ahrefs (rank tracker)
- Google analytics
The tool can be used to measure rankings, their improvements over a selected time frame and so on.
Finally, having found your current ranking, you can set a schedule to track it.
Remember, even the smallest growth in terms of ranking indicates that you’re on the right track. SEO is a slow and continual process, but doing it right s definitely a game changer in the long run.
Conclusion- The way forward
As an eCommerce business owner, you are definitely eyeing that top slot on Google for your website. However, it is an impossible dream without a strong SEO strategy in place.
For eCommerce store owners, more visitors (and repeat visitors), higher clicks and conversions, and increased sales are the primary reasons to consider SEO.
However, SEO is an art, and the dynamics are ever-changing. Search engines like Google regularly update their algorithms. SEO strategies and tricks, therefore, need to be constantly adjusted.
For eCommerce businesses, it simply means that you need to be the “best amongst the best” for searchers to reward your website as compared to others.