You’ve heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for websites, and you’re wondering, “How does this pivotal function relate to my eCommerce store?” and “How can I ensure my online store is getting the right exposure?”
When it comes to developing an SEO strategy for your eCommerce site, it’s important to remember that the fundamental SEO principles remain the same for every website. On the other hand, eCommerce sites present unique challenges that other websites don’t have. This means that the amount of time spent, areas of focus, and overall priorities may differ when it comes to implementing SEO.
With that being said, let’s take a look at some of the best SEO practices for eCom sites and how you can incorporate them into your SEO strategy.
What is eCom SEO?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the various steps you can take to help your website achieve high rankings in search engine results.
eCommerce SEO is all about taking the fundamental SEO principles and putting them into place to help ensure your website and product pages appear on the first page of Google results.
Why Does It Matter?
SEO is extremely important, because search engines are the primary way people discover new brands. When someone is looking for a new backpack, they don’t turn to the yellow pages or put out an ad in the paper – they run a search on Google.
If your web-based backpack store isn’t listed within the first 10 results that come up when they search “where to buy a backpack,” chances are, they will never see your website or discover your brand. That’s why SEO is so important.
Still need convincing? Consider these stats:
- 93% of all online experiences begin with a search engine search
- 75% of users never look past the first page of search results
- 70-80% of users don’t click on the paid search results and only look at organic results
What are the Benefits of eCom SEO?
The benefits of SEO are endless. Here are just a few ways your eCom stands to gain from a solid SEO strategy:
- Exposure to search engines
- Higher rankings
- Increased conversions and sales
- Gain new, long-term customers
- Have a more user-friendly site
Tips To Build An SEO/eCom Strategy
Now, let’s get into what you actually came here for. Here are a few tips for building a fool-proof SEO strategy for your eCommerce website that will get you real results.
Look at which pages are receiving the most traffic and prioritize them when it comes to your SEO efforts.
Create a Workflow
An SEO workflow is a set of tasks that will help you complete a certain objective. Think of it as a roadmap for where you want to go. Create a list of tasks that will help you reach a certain goal along with who should be responsible for each task.
Conduct Competitor Research
Look at who your competitors are. If they are outranking you, they must be doing something right.
Look at what keywords they are using and see if they are relevant to your brand as well. However, keep in mind that just because a competitor is outranking you, doesn’t mean they are actually using the best keywords. Other factors could be at play, such as a higher domain authority.
Consider Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is taking certain steps to help maximize the number of people that carry out a certain action with the goal of increasing conversions. This can include:
- Signing up for your newsletter
- Making a purchase
- Downloading a content asset
Here are a few ways to optimize your conversion rate:
- Combine A/B testing with SEO
- Improve page load time
- Create videos
- Add strong CTAs
- Add a pop-up on your site with a discount code
- Incorporate a live chat bot
- Remove unnecessary forms
- Offer an incentive or guarantee
- Gather testimonials and incorporate them into your site
Do Keyword Research & Use The Right Keywords
Do your research and try to identify the types of keywords your target customers are using when searching on Google. This can be done a number of ways.
Ecommerce keywords will look a bit different from other sites, because users will be looking for specific products rather than information. This means eCom keywords will demonstrate an intent to buy.
But how do you determine which keywords are relevant to your business? Here are a few tips to help you carry out your keyword research:
- Use Google suggest
- Use a keyword research tool like SEMRush
- Look for high search volume, but also take into consideration the amount of competition
- Consider page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA)
- How relevant is your product page or category page to the search term
- Target keywords that show a commercial intent
- Look for search terms that are relevant to your product pages
Do a Content GAP Analysis
Think of a content GAP analysis as an audit of all of your website content. It involves taking a deep dive into your existing content and looking for areas that could use improvement.
A content GAP analysis will help you identify any missed opportunities in your SEO strategy so you can figure out how to make improvements.
Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Pages with thin content that could benefit from some content assets
- Keyword opportunities you haven’t explored
- Short, poorly written blog articles that could use updating
- Infrequent posting
How to Continue Building on SEO
Once you’ve laid the foundation for a successful SEO strategy, your work isn’t complete. SEO requires ongoing effort in order to see long-term results. Here are some ways you can fine-tune your SEO efforts as time goes by.
Optimize Your Homepage
Your homepage is usually what a new customer first sees when they land on your website, so it’s important that it makes a good first impression.
Here’s how to do that:
- Create a strong H1 and H2
- Add video to your homepage
- Simplify your navigation
- Create strong CTAs
Also carry out optimization on the back-end by optimizing:
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Alt text
Optimize Category Pages
Category pages are designed to target certain keywords that are frequently used by consumers. Optimizing these pages correctly can help you improve your rankings when it comes to many highly competitive keywords.
Here are a few simple ways to go about this:
- Optimize metadata
- Create strong, relevant headings
- Create strong body content
- Improve your CTAs
- Simplify navigation
- Include header and footer links
Optimize Product Pages
If you’ve managed to get people onto your website but they are failing to convert, the issue could be with your product pages. Here are a few ways you can optimize your product pages:
- Use high quality images and videos
- Include relevant keywords
- Share testimonials and reviews
- Optimize meta title and description
- Consistent and clear branding
- Create strong product descriptions
- Add clear CTAs
Optimize Shopping Cart and Check-Out Page
Just because someone has made their way to your checkout page, doesn’t guarantee a purchase. If you make it complicated for a user to checkout, they’ll often click out without finalizing the transaction. Consider this: the average rate for shopping cart abandonment is 70%.
For this reason, it’s important to optimize your shopping cart and checkout pages to improve user experience and increase conversions by:
- Removing distractions and create a minimalistic design
- Adding testimonials and badges to build trust
- Allowing guest checkouts
- Accepting multiple payment options
- Making the checkout process as short as possible
Simplify Your Site Architecture
Having too many pages with redundant information means users will have trouble navigating your site and consuming your content, making them less likely to convert.
Instead, make your site architecture as simple as possible. You can do this by:
- Removing unnecessary pages
- Merging pages with similar content
- Limiting your main menu to seven pages
- Avoiding drop down menus
Think of UI/UX
User experience is a critical component of SEO and should be taken into consideration when developing any SEO strategy. Here are some UI/UX practices to incorporate with your SEO strategy:
- Use descriptive CTAs
- Simplify your navigation
- Improve page load speed
- Make your site mobile friendly
- Create an SEO friendly design
- Create high quality content that’s easy to digest
- Use strong headers
- Use high quality images and videos
- Reduce the number of clicks to purchase
- Make your site easy to browse
While not as exciting as creating videos and producing killer content, it’s critical that you don’t neglect technical SEO. The following are key components of technical SEO to add to your checklist:
- Improve page load speed
- Fix crawl errors in Google Search Console
- Optimize your XML sitemap
- Perform weekly technical SEO audits and fix errors
- Optimize internal links
- Add keywords to image alt text
- Find and fix broken links
Create Fresh Blog Content
Maybe you already have a blog, but only use it to post announcements and the occasional article. Simply put, this isn’t enough. Quality content is a core component of any good SEO strategy. A great way to get new content up on your site on a regular basis is through your blog.
Make sure you are producing high quality blog articles relevant to your audience at least once a month, but ideally more frequently.
Backlinking refers to the process of obtaining links from another website to yours. Search engines consider backlinks as a vote for your site, which means obtaining several high quality backlinks can help improve your rankings.
Here are a few ways you can gain backlinks:
- Guest blog for larger sites
- Offer your content as a resource
- Get listed on directories
Also make sure that your backlinks:
- Include your keywords in the link’s anchor text
- Are topically related to your brand
- Have “Dofollow” tags
- Are from domains that have not linked to you before
Produce Video Content
SEO isn’t commonly associated with video content. However, it’s important to remember that a successful SEO strategy isn’t all about planting keywords throughout your website; it’s about producing amazing content in any format.
Google not only looks for written content on your site, but also scans for every other type of media to get a clear picture of what you have to offer.
Above all, Google values the quality of your content, and its relevance to a user’s search terms. If that happens to be a professional, high quality, informative video combined with high quality articles and other written content, you’ll get a figurative pat on the back from Google.
As you can see, SEO can be pretty universal, however, when it comes to eCommerce websites, you’ll need to make some tweaks and fine tune your strategy to see strong results over time.