If you were thinking of a strong rationale to believe that e-commerce SEO is all, this is the most substantial reason to consider.
It means your ideal customers are using a search engine to locate you and find out more about the business. Would you not want to win this opportunity of positioning the business right in front of your target audience?
True, products and quality matter! However, what matters most is the way to attract qualified leads and traffic. Only when your website ranks consistently in Google, can you assure consistent and long-term sale!
E-commerce & SEO – Why is SEO so Critical? 💰📈
Though online shops know that SEO is the highest ROI grocer for any campaign, little is considered. We rely heavily on paid and social media ads, barring the stream of revenue. Contrarily, SEO requires minimum effort to give you the rank and ensure autopilot sales. Moreover, there is no recurring expenditure.
Do you see the potential of SEO?
Recurring free traffic with the highest conversion rate.
Moreover, Google search means SEO. The thought that SEO does not apply to online shops and e-commerce is baseless. Google shall not pick up stores arbitrarily and place them before the target audience.
Your competitors are optimizing their website to break through the target market and hold on to the #1 spot. If you were not, your business would be nowhere.
By optimizing your e-commerce portal, you are ultimately creating better business opportunities. Google ranks search engine results based on the question of the searcher; in the question lies the answer.
To be prepared with a sure shot answer, you should:
- Give concise answers, to-the-point, to all questions about a specific subject
- Use relevant images and videos
- Ensure brilliant user experience, faster navigation, seamless mobile experience, intuitive interface, and much more
- Offer reasons to convince people to talk about and with you
SEO is, thus, the most powerful tool and strategy, a holistic approach, which can scale up your business. It is a way to push qualified traffic to your e-commerce store, convert, and make big bucks.
Let’s start doing SEO for E-commerce right with this step-by-step guide:
Step 1: E-commerce SEO Audit 📌🌍
Table of Contents
The first and foremost step is to run an e-commerce SEO audit. It is crucial to analyze the business position rather than building a strategy. An audit is a blueprint of the business. Also it addresses certain issues that could be deterrent for your business. For example, is the content of your website up-to-date? Is there any duplicate content? Is Google crawling seamless? Are there any structural issues with the site?
It’s common to come across duplicate content in e-commerce sites. It may attract SEO penalty, such as Panda. Moreover, it is the worst of all negative signals for e-commerce SEO.
You can choose any of the SEO audit tools for testing. Using software like ScreamingFrog, Ahrefs, or SEMRush, you can detect potential issues with duplicate content and make necessary amends. In addition, software points out major mistakes like missing meta descriptions and alt tags, duplicate meta descriptions, ambiguous title tags, 404 error pages etc.
Step 2: In-depth Keyword Research 🔑
Keywords are the fundamental elements of SEO. While there are plenty of ranking factors within Google’s algorithm, nothing beats keywords research.
You have to find relevant keywords to bring qualified traffic to the website. The best tool is Google AdWords. AdWords Keyword Planner tool shows you relevant words relating to your industry, products, and services.
E-commerce SEO keyword research is a different game. Unlike regular keywords, you have too few additional factors. For instance, you can target keywords based on the usual factors like relevance, best intent, and least competition. However, such efforts do not yield a result.
The volume of search is most important for keyword research.
How to determine the volume of a particular keyword?
Technically, a high-traffic keyword has over 10,000 searches every month in specific niches, but only a countable few searches in another niche. Hence, you have to choose similar high-traffic niche-specific keywords to be on the safer side.
That’s not all! Even the smallest mistake could lead to a major challenge in this business. For instance, SEO beginners target keywords with the highest traffic volume, forgetting their competitors. As a result, they have a tough time in ranking high and getting sales.
There is a subtle change in the goal of e-commerce SEO – instead of targeting organic traffic, we are now looking for qualified traffic. Qualified traffic includes those people who have already reached the end of the sales funnel. They are now ready to purchase. Your intent should be right when you are targeting keywords.
There’s more to keywords. It’s about answering the why’s and how’s, giving information to people. You e-commerce SEO keywords should address a problem by including keywords like why, what, how, reasons, explain, list of etc.
Then, there are people who want a solution to an issue. They would type keywords like ways to, what to, how to, category, guide etc.
Fundamentally, keywords should be relevant to attract the right audience with the correct intent. As a result, it would boost the conversion rate.
Another brilliant way to find keywords is through competitor research. If your competitors rank higher than you do, peep into their keyword ideas. You can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMRush to get the vibes of your competitors.
Ahrefs is a brilliant tool for all-round SEO. You can use it for competitive research, keyword research, and for building backlinks too. To use it, simply create an account, type the URL into the search bar “Site Explorer,” click the tab “Organic Search” and you can see the full report.
The report contains all the relevant keywords for your website ranks. You can also use the filter to get exact results.
Another gold mine of relevant keywords is Amazon. When people search for a product on Amazon, they intend to buy. You can find almost any keyword product on Amazon along with suggestions. As Amazon is a powerhouse of over thousands of products, you can use the innovative Amazon Keyword Tool. You can enjoy free daily searches with no fillers.
Finally, you must know which keywords would work for you and which won’t. You have to figure out the CPC and the approximate search volume. Google Keyword Planner is the best tool for this purpose. Although it does not assure you keyword difficulty, it’s nevertheless, the best choice.
You have to aim for higher CPC, which indicates increased buyer intent.
Long Tail Keywords
Another game changer is the long tail keyword. These are highly specific and relevant keywords containing not one but multiple words. If your content is long, you can naturally blend in a long tail keyword for higher ranking.
People typing longer keywords are looking for a specific thing. It is highly likely that such people would eventually convert into your loyal customers.
For instance, ‘SEO services in Chicago City’ is a long tail and more specific keyword. When a person types this keyword, it is certain that he would land up to your website. There’s a good chance they would stay.
Google’s Autosuggest is an excellent feature to determine long tail keywords. Although it takes a lot of time and effort to determine such opportunities, the effort is worth it. Long tail keywords have greater potential than you can imagine. The chances are that your competitors have not even thought about it, which makes it a virgin space to explore.
When you adopt a comprehensive e-commerce SEO strategy, you would cover various topics. It is important to cover maximum topics to expand your reach. To get a brief of all the topics, you can use Google’s Ad Groups feature.
Step 3: Site Architecture & Design 📐
Your keywords are a powerhouse of information. After determining keywords, it’s time to work on the site architecture and put all research into action.
The structural parameters of a site are navigation, product pages, and category pages. The idea is to deliver relevant content to users and reduce the time they need to find the right page.
For a brilliant site structure, you have to make it:
- Simple yet highly scalable
- Ensure page URLs, subdirectories, and the entire site uses relevant keywords
- Pages should be easy to find
The structure of a good e-commerce site should have the following:
- Homepage linking to all the other category pages, pages containing best products
- Internal linking to make sure those pages get utmost authority directly from the homepage
- Seamless navigation for higher ranking in search results
People should have the authority to do what they want – that’s exactly what they look for in an e-commerce website.
A poorly structured e-commerce site, however, lacks all these qualities. It breaks all the rules and takes more time to reach the category pages. Poor navigation and lack of internal linking are enough to drive away your potential users.
Step 4: Onsite & On-page SEO for Products 🏆
This is also the place for action.
Onpage SEO for an e-commerce site is typically important because it ensures strategic keywords placement – at the right place. It is also a way to let Google know what the e-commerce page is all about. When you do it right, you appear in SERPs, which is crucial for success.
To optimize onsite SEO, you have to concentrate on the following:
- Title Tags
- Meta Description
- Headings & subheadings
- Schema Data
- Product Description
In the next three years, the global e-commerce revenue shall double, according to research. It’s time to gear up to showcase a great performance.
They affect what your viewers see when they look up. They represent what people want to buy. They increase the chances of your prospects by clicking on the search listing and buying. Title tags should be enticing, rich, and offering value.
For onsite SEO, the first relevant score comes from the Title Tags. Adding targeted keywords to the title tag increases page ranking. However, your choice of keywords depends on the page you want to optimize. Also, it makes the site more relevant in search results. Thus, your CTR improves within search listings, which, in turn, improves overall rankings in no time.
A title tag on your category page could be – “Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids 2018”
Whereas, the same title tag on a product page should read something like this – Santa Cushions – The Best Christmas Gifts for Kids 2018.
URL – Reads What it Does
Adding the primary keywords in your e-commerce site URL is a way of making it user-friendly. Most e-commerce sites tried this trick, and it works. It also improves search engine rankings. Online stores facing fierce competition should try this out to gain an edge over their competitors and drive traffic.
Dynamic Meta Descriptions
The short piece of text appearing under the link to your website on the search engine result is the meta description.
Meta description allows your audience to determine if your website offers the value they seek. A brief description, an overview, or a preview of the content available on your webpage shows up here.
Search engines and Google is not interested in your meta description, but customers are. Besides title tags, the meta description is the only piece of information about your site, which is also a decision-making parameter.
E-commerce sites with over a few thousand listed products find it challenging to come up with fresh and engaging descriptions. At this point, you can use Schema, or Scheme Markups to display snippets along with search results in the listing.
More about it later.
The main heading of every single page should be self-explanatory. In addition, you have to ensure subheadings are breaking down the page structure so that users can select what they want to.
Headings should include the main keyword and an LSI keyword. Instead of “Massage Cream”, use “Hand & Foot Massage Cream.”
An e-commerce product page, on the other hand, should begin with the product name. The first subheading (H1) should be the product name. That makes it more useful and relevant.
For example, Xmas Gifts – Top 10 Gift Ideas.
However, avoid using the same keyword across the site to avoid cannibalization. It is a weak and poor strategy.
For the second and third heading – H2 & H3, explain the relevant features of the product, sizing, shipping time, return & refund terms, etc.
Let’s admit; the online world is competitive. Optimization is the key to face and conquers the market. Through it is becoming increasingly difficult to be different on Google search results, typically with niche specific competition, there’s always a way out.
Schema Data is the solution to all your problems. Using the HTML5 language, you can add information in the form of snippets to the product description page. You can now add availability, reviews, pricing, delivery timing, shipping timing and other nitty-gritty here.
Integrating schema data in the form of rich snippets gives your e-commerce site an upper edge against others in the same niche. You can draw better-qualified traffic and boost CTR. Nevertheless, before all that, you have to find out the structured data for your page – use the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Purposeful Product Description
Besides meta description, you have to ensure products listed on your website are described too.
The uniqueness of product descriptions is the topmost priority of Google’s Panda algorithm. It emphasizes promoting only relevant and high-quality content to users. You certainly would not want to attract a penalty for duplicate and scrapped content.
Word count also matters for product descriptions. Keep it 500 to 1000 words in length. Of course, that does not mean you over-stuff the page with repetitive content. In doing so, you would damage your rankings.
What can you do?
- Boost your efforts by identifying duplicate product descriptions.
- Scrap pages having the same description as your competitors.
- Rewrite duplicate content from the scratch to make it unique.
- Prioritize your content
- Develop a content strategy to replace old and duplicate product descriptions in multiple phases
- Use manufacturer’s description for products available across other leading e-commerce stores like eBay and Amazon.
- Add an overview, key features, product details, product specifications, manual, support & FAQs
Impeccable Images & Infographics
Images and infographics are visually appealing and have a definitive appeal. People relate to these very easily, read it in details, follow the image positions, and decide to buy. Instead of presenting just one picture of a product, have multi-dimensional images for better understanding.
Optimizing product images for search engines shows promising results. It generates interest in customers. As web spiders cannot view images as we do, optimization is the key. If you don’t optimize images, it’s useless putting them up.
You have to understand that as images occupy more bytes compared to text, they have a significant effect on your performance. As a result, they also affect conversions and customer retention. In fact, images comprise up to 50% of all web content.
The first step to image optimization is to become familiar with all types of image files – PNG, GIFs, and JPEG.
You have to understand which type of image file suits a particular page without affecting the load time and size constraints.
JPEG files are the first choice as they allow an amalgamation of colors, are the adjustable size and quality wise but might increase bounce rate due to slow load time.
PNG is a relatively new file format, typically larger than JPEGS. Their quality is mesmerizing. You can use these images when image quality is what you need.
GIFs are the next big thing online. These are more than mere fun videos popping up every now and then. GIFs are the ultimate choice for animations, small icons and thumbnails, and logos.
Apart from this, name the file correctly for better SEO returns. Instead of giving an arbitrary name, choose a more relevant name.
When you use images, adding Alt Tags is mandatory.
They offer image descriptions within the website code. These are important for SEO crawlers too.
To ensure Google notices the images, use sitemaps. Consumers love all kinds of images and infographics, only when you have a sitemap.
No wonder, video shall dominate the e-commerce market. In turn, online businesses can benefit by adding video content to the product page.
Demo videos, for instance, increases engagement and dwell time on product pages. Likewise, how-to videos also bring customers to your page, engage them, and make them stay for a little longer than usual. Moreover, video marketers acquire 66% more qualified leads in a year.
However, you have to ensure that Google understands your video posts. Video content can drive as much as 157% organic traffic together with valuable text. When you post a video, add written transcripts to it. Google cannot see videos but can follow the transcript containing keywords to rank your page.
If you want to post videos frequently, upload on YouTube and place it on the website with a transcript below. Google should know the context of the video and the audience should understand what it offers.
If your e-commerce SEO approach is right, it can change your business dynamics.
Make sure you begin with an audit and follow the rest of the steps. In addition, there are scopes for link building, content marketing, blogging, Google My Business Profile, influencers, mobile SEO, voice search optimization, local SEO, customer reviews and much more.
One person cannot do everything in this huge e-commerce SEO business. It is a complicated job with too many dynamics. From the product page to the content page and beyond, everything should be right. It is teamwork.
With this guide, you can set up your e-commerce SEO goals and achieve them.