SEO is an important way of reaching your target audience and it’s essential for every brand to use it to grow themselves. It’s essentially a set of techniques that you must adopt to improve your rankings on Google’s search engine ranking pages (SERPs). This is necessary because websites that rank on the number one position get nearly 36.5% click-through rate (CTR).
However, things change when you’re running an e-commerce website. The stakes are higher and you need people to not just visit your website but even purchase from you. This is why the eCommerce SEO is slightly different from the SEO for regular websites.
In this blog, we will elaborate on how you can do e-commerce SEO. However, before we do that, let’s delve deeper into the concept of e-commerce SEO.
What is E-commerce SEO?
If you are familiar with the world of search engines and digital marketing, you likely already know about search engine optimization (SEO). It is a set of strategies focused on driving organic traffic from search engines to your website. It gives increased visibility to your website in relevant search engine results.
What makes e-commerce SEO different is that it is not restricted to just boosting organic traffic. There is no point in getting a huge number of website visitors if they don’t convert into paying customers. Therefore, e-commerce SEO has to go one step higher than conventional SEO. It needs to drive qualified website visitors who will likely make a purchase.
This requires you to focus beyond creating high-quality and keyword-rich content. You have to ensure that every aspect of a web page, from product description to the call-to-action (CTA), is optimized. Let us now take a look at a few techniques to do e-commerce SEO.
How To Do E-commerce SEO?
E-commerce SEO includes all the steps of conventional SEO such as keyword research, competitor analysis, etc. However, it requires a few additional measures to ensure that you attract only those website visitors who intend to buy your products. You also have to create a fluid site architecture that lets visitors and search engine spiders navigate easily through your website.
Additionally, you should optimize every web page, so that website visitors can easily locate relevant information. It requires you to craft lucid product descriptions and add high-quality images and reviews. This helps your potential customers learn more about the product and, in turn, influences their purchase decision.
It is now time for us to take a closer look at the steps required for e-commerce SEO.
The foundation stone of every effective marketing strategy is thorough research. E-commerce SEO isn’t an exception. Even before you start with it, you must have a clear idea of the keywords you wish to target. You should also have a deep understanding of your target audience and competitors.
1.1 Know Your Audience
Developing a marketing strategy without a clear idea of the target audience is exactly like aiming in the dark. You must have a thorough knowledge of every aspect of your potential customers. From their age and profession to their purchasing habits and online activity – you should know it all. Additionally, you should delve deeper and learn more about their likes, dislikes, preferences, and pain points.
There are various ways of defining your target audience. Take a closer look at your social media analytics or conduct online surveys to learn more about your potential customers. This is an extremely crucial step that can make or break your e-commerce SEO strategy. It will influence the type of keywords you select and the content you create.
1.2. Keyword Research
Keywords are the terms and phrases that your target audience will likely use in their search queries. Targeting relevant and popular keywords is crucial for the success of your e-commerce SEO strategy. The first step is to have a thorough knowledge of your potential customers. You should select keywords that either answer their questions or address their pain points.
You should use tools such as Google Keyword Planner and KWFinder to find relevant keywords for your e-commerce store. Ideally, you should look for high volume, low competition keywords where you can rank easily. Another simple technique is to enter your primary keyword on Amazon and take a look at the keyword suggestions.
While selecting the target keywords, you should also take into account the buying intent associated with them. For instance, someone searching for “personalized iPhone X cases” is more likely to make a purchase than someone who searches for “colorful phone cases”. This again requires you to delve deeper into the psyche of your potential customers.
Once you select the keywords, you should validate them to determine if it is worth ranking for them. Run a quick Google search with one of the keywords and take a look at the first few results. If these include any big brands, they will likely outrank you just because of their domain authority. Such keywords are more useful for paid search ads than e-commerce SEO.
The keywords that you finally select should then be incorporated into the content on your website. Use them to write keyword-rich product descriptions. It will tell Google what a particular page is all about. However, do keep in mind that you shouldn’t overstuff your content with these keywords as Google will penalize you if you do so.
Based on the keywords, you can even come up with topics for your blog posts.
1.3. Competitor Analysis
Another crucial step of e-commerce SEO is to take a closer look at what your competitors are doing. You can use tools like Ahrefs and SpyFu to find out the keywords that your competitors are using. Don’t try to imitate them blindly by targeting the exact keywords. Analyze whether they will be relevant to your audience and what kind of buying intent is associated with them.
Additionally, you should pay close attention to the content and layout of their web pages. Are they using big and bright CTAs to lure potential customers? Is their website easily navigable? Analyze each factor to determine what is working in their favor.
Once you have identified the keywords you wish to rank for, it is time to optimize every aspect of your e-commerce store.
2. Technical SEO
Technical SEO is all about helping search engine spiders crawl through your website and index individual web pages. In the absence of proper indexing, your website will never make it to SERPs, despite the best keywords and content. It requires you to create a fluid site architecture so that spiders can easily navigate your website.
2.1. Website Navigation
Navigation also plays a big role in deciding how user-friendly is your website. The website navigation decides how easily your users will be able to find the information that they are looking for. If you design the navigation poorly, it’ll be difficult for them to find information and they may bounce away. Additionally, the search engine spiders may not be able to discover all your pages with ease too.
On the other hand, if the navigation is smooth, the users will be able to find their desired products in just a few clicks. It’ll also make it easy for the search engine spiders to find your new pages and index them instantly.
2.2. Internal Linking
Internal links are crucial for e-commerce SEO. They are basically links from one page of your website to another and help in improving your website navigation. Using internal links makes it easier for your users to find their required information on your website.
This helps you keep them on your website and stops them from navigating away. This, in turn, helps in improving your bounce rate and time on site. Both of these factors can improve your e-commerce SEO.
In addition, internal links make it easier for the search engine spiders to discover new pages on your website. When they discover new pages easily, the process of indexing will become quicker for your website too.
3. On-page SEO
On-page SEO deals with optimizing individual web pages of your e-commerce website. The first step is to create unique, high-quality, and insightful content. From your blog to individual product pages – top-notch content is a must. You should also incorporate relevant keywords in the content.
Make sure the content is properly structured with relevant headings and subheadings. Use high-quality product images with meaningful alt tags. This also helps search engine spiders understand what a web page is all about.
Additionally, you should take care of the following factors:
Nearly 50% of all web traffic comes from mobiles. This has made it necessary for all e-commerce stores to adapt to these smartphones. It’s also become an important ranking factor in Google. You must ensure that your website is designed to be mobile-friendly and is responsive in nature. This makes it easy for mobile users to navigate your website and find products.
A non-responsive website wouldn’t be easy to navigate and it may cause the users to bounce away from it. As an eCommerce store owner, you must put effort into making sure that your website is mobile-friendly so that your rankings can improve on Google.
To check if your website is mobile-friendly, you can use the Mobile-Friendly Test by Google.
3.2. Page Loading Speed
Let’s be honest. Nobody likes to wait too long for a page to load. There’s research to support this fact too. For every 100-milliseconds that your page takes to load, your conversion rates can reduce by nearly 7%. This can be very harmful to your eCommerce store and you may lose out on valuable traffic and customers if you don’t pay attention to your page loading speed.
You need to be extremely careful about your page loading speed, especially because e-commerce stores require loads of images and videos. These can increase the page loading time. That’s why you must compress and optimize your images to ensure that they don’t increase your page loading time.
To check your current page loading speed, you can use Google PageSpeed Insights. This tool by Google allows you to see the time that your page takes to load on both desktops and mobiles. Based on that, it assigns you a score out of 100 and also gives you suggestions on how to increase the page loading speed.
4. Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO is everything you do outside your website to improve its search engine ranking. While on-page SEO helps search engines understand what a web page is all about, off-page SEO focuses on how others perceive the web page. This, in turn, emphasizes the need to build a powerful inbound link profile.
6.1. Link Building
Link building is necessary for all websites and helps immensely with your SEO. It involves the creation of backlinks. These links are essentially links from other websites pointing to your website. Each backlink counts as a vote of authenticity for your website and this can help in improving your rankings in the search results.
However, you should be careful while approaching websites for link building. Remember, only links from high authority websites can bring some noticeable change to your SEO. If you get loads of links from poor websites, it may affect you negatively.
For this reason, you must check the website’s traffic and backlink profile. In addition, you should take a look at its domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) scores to understand their reputation.
There are several ways to go about link building. One of the best ways of doing so is by writing guest posts on other websites. You need to approach webmasters and pitch topics to them. Write a solid content copy and include a relevant link to your website in the guest post and submit it to the website.
6.2. Broken Link Opportunities
Similarly, you can check for broken links on other websites. Whenever you encounter a broken link, you can reach out to the webmasters and notify them of the issue. At the same time, you can suggest a relevant link from your website to them for replacing this broken link. Most webmasters will be happy to do so.
6.3. Influencer Marketing
Another way of attracting high-quality backlinks is to collaborate with a relevant influencer. Influencers likely already have a website or blog with a high DA score. When they include a link to your online store in their blog posts, it further boosts your website’s inbound link profile.
Moreover, influencers also have a number of loyal and engaged followers. If these followers also share the link to your website, you get many more authentic backlinks. This ultimately tells search engines that your website is perceived as a trusted source of valuable information.
5. Product Reviews
If you are setting up an online store, including product reviews is a must. They help your target audience determine what your existing customers think about a particular product. This, in turn, helps them make up their mind and boosts your conversion rates.
Moreover, when you attract positive reviews from genuine users, it enhances the credibility of your online store. This, in turn, tells search engines that others perceive you as trustworthy. Consequently, search engines reward your website with a higher position in relevant SERPs.
Encourage your existing customers to submit reviews on your website. Additionally, you should also tell them to share their experience on their social media profiles. This gives increased visibility to your brand and ultimately, helps improve search engine ranking.
Ecommerce SEO is similar to regular SEO but you need to be more careful as the stakes are higher in this one. You must pay attention to link building and also develop user-friendly websites. It’s also necessary to do keyword research and write high-quality page copies. You must also design a mobile-friendly website that makes it easy for your users to navigate through it.
What are the other things you need to keep in mind for eCommerce SEO? Let us know in the comments.
He is the founder of LoudGrowth Munjal is the official member of Forbes Business Council and a recognized name in Digital Marketing. He has been featured on various news-media publications including Forbes, Search Engine Watch, Business 2 Community, and others.