Many eCommerce websites don’t take SEO seriously and focus mostly on PPC and social
media ads to promote their sites. eCommerce SEO is not easy, and it may take a lot of time and efforts to set up. But if set up properly, it will bring you quality traffic that converts.
SEO is that powerful activity that can boost your rankings and bring your website traffic. And convert that traffic into sales and revenue. It also helps in to build authority. But don’t start your SEO efforts with link building. On-page SEO is the most crucial part of your strategy, and you have to focus on it first. Here I give you a few tips on what to start out.
Perform Site Audit
A site audit is to help you identify the most common and crucial issues your website has. Those are usually:
- Technical issues that make your website difficult to crawl;
- A lot of duplicate content;
- Little to no content at all;
- Keyword cannibalization, etc.
To make sure your website is free of these issues, you have to check it out with one of the Site Audit tools. It is a software that crawls your website and shows all the issues it has. Here’s the video on how to perform Site Audit and don’t miss anything important.
Note that using HTTPS protocol for an eCommerce website is a must now. It not only helps improve your rankings slightly (Google has confirmed that shifting from HTTP to HTTPS may give you the boost in rankings). It also strengthens the users’ trust. GlobalSign has recently surveyed that 84% of customers will abandon a shopping cart if the data is sent over the insecure connection.
Keyword research is a starting point for any search engine optimization strategy, and
eCommerce area is not an exception. eCommerce websites have two major kinds of pages to optimize: category and product ones.
If you’ve already launched your store, you should create a list of all your pages via Sitemap. Otherwise, you can research your closest competitor’s website and ‘steal’ the best keywords from it.
Tip: if you have a working website, optimize your top pages. Those are the pages with the highest traffic.
You don’t have to focus on a single keyword for each page. Find a so-called ‘head’ keyword and add some long-tail ones to the list. Long-tail keywords are usually low in search volume, but they allow you to rank for a considerable number of other keywords.
What keyword characteristics to pay attention to:
1. Searcher’s intent. It’s the central aspect you should consider when choosing keywords. High traffic or search volumes don’t necessarily mean conversions. Moreover, they are difficult to rank for since the competition is incredibly intense.
You should understand what keywords potential customers use when searching for solutions to their issues.
Those keywords may include the following combinations:
- Interest keywords: how to, tutorial, guide, category title, brand title;
- Awareness keywords: why, what, list of, definition of;
- Evaluation keywords: alternative to, comparison, best/better than, cheaper than, top,review, features, price;
- Purchase keywords: buy, deal, free, coupon, discount, shipping.
2. Relevance. You should only choose those keywords that are relevant to your pages. No matter how high the amount of traffic or its search volume, if you don’t have a product or category page for it – don’t use it.
Always check out the first page of SERP for the keyword you consider relevant to your product. If those results are similar to your pages – those are the right keywords to use.
E.g., most pages for the keyword ‘running shoes for women’ are the category ones. It means that there’s a good search intent behind this keyword and the pages are extremely relevant. So the keyword is worth trying.
3. Search volume and traffic. A keyword that no one searches for has no benefits. You wish your pages to attract relevant traffic and a good amount of traffic, right? So you need keywords that have a decent search volume and bring traffic.
It’s the moment when you need keyword tools to check out for the keyword characteristics. Google Keywords Planner is free and still one of the most popular among website owners. However, it groups volumes and doesn’t show you the whole picture. It’s better to use a few different tools. None of the existing tools is 100% correct, so spent some time to try out a few tools and choose the keywords that perform the best.
4. Competitiveness. High competitive keywords require too much effort to rank for. You should better choose keywords with lower competitiveness.
When checking the keywords, pay attention to the SERP overview: what websites already rank for them. You can hardly compete with Amazon or eBay for some high-volume keywords. You can also check out the keyword difficulty that shows you how much effort you need to rank for a given keyword.
Learning from your competitors should be a part of your marketing strategy. Сheck out what keywords help your competitors to rank and ‘steal’ some ideas for your pages. If you create pages with the better content than those of your competitors’, you may rank higher for the same keywords.
Optimize on-site SEO
Now, when you have the list of your keywords, it’s time to optimize pages for them. As a rule, you will be optimizing your category and product pages and blog articles (if you have a blog what is highly recommended).
Title tags and H1s
Those are the things users see the firsthand when searching for the product. It also tells the search engines that your page is relevant to a particular search. So, it should not only include your target keyword but also incentivize people to click your link.
Title tags for the category should describe all products that fall under it. While for product pages you should be more specific with your titles. E.g., your category title may be “Best running shoes for women,” while a product page may sound like “Nike Zoom Fly Ld” and include a specific model title.
There is no evidence that Google considers Meta-descriptions a ranking factor. But it’s a great option to add some additional keywords to your page and attract user’s attention, too.
You’ll be surprised how many businesses use rubbish cookie-cutter descriptions for their pages. It’s your chance to stand out from the crowd and attract attention with creative descriptions that put user’s needs first:
- Focus on the benefits of the product, not its features;
- Make a bullet-point list of product specifications;
- Add “How-to-use” manual that users can read/download before they buy a product
- Add MANY relevant photos of the product that may persuade the users to buy from you
- Create comprehensive videos on how to use the product.
Thus, you kill two birds with one stone: attract a relevant audience that gets the complete info about how your product may help them solve their issues (and thus they don’t need to look anywhere else). And send a signal to Google that your product is relevant for the users’ search.
Gain some links
Google hasn’t yet disclosed whether backlinks are the ranking factor or not. But many studies show that backlinks help websites climb to the Top10 in SERPs. So, link building should definitely be a part of your eCommerce SEO strategy.
What differs link building for eCommerce websites from other approaches, is that you should build links to way more pages on your website including category pages and product ones.
Gaining links naturally is a hard and lengthy process. But you can use the most popular link-building techniques: outreach and guest posting to build links a bit faster. You can use NinjaOutreach or BuzzzSumo to find prospects for link building.
Taking a closer look at your competitors and finding out where they get their backlinks also a great tactic. You can also build links from that same sources as your competitors. It saves you time for searching for opportunities and may also help to outrun your competitors.
The Bottom Line
When doing eCommerce SEO, don’t forget that your main goal is to attract the right audience and turn it into your loyal customers. Thus, you don’t have to focus your needs, and your product features, but you have to pay all your attention to how your product can solve the users’ issues.
So, optimize for the keywords your users search for, create descriptions that will tell them how THEY can benefit from your product and make your website comfortable to browse and to buy from.