As an e-commerce entrepreneur, you know how fierce and expensive it can get competing for customers' attention online. But what if you could gain new customers without breaking the bank on paid ads? Wouldn't that be great? That is where SEO comes in. Optimizing your e-commerce site for search engines can increase your organic traffic and gain visibility in the SERPs – all for free!
In fact, extensive research reveals that 32% of shoppers instinctively turn to Google when they are ready to make a purchase. Moreover, the top three organic search results account for more than half of all clicks. So having a rock-solid SEO strategy in place is not just important but imperative for the success of your e-commerce business.
1. Use the Right Keywords
Having a strong online presence is a must to stay ahead in the fierce competition. Given the colossal volume of Google searches – over 3.5 billion daily – it is essential to use the right keywords to enhance your visibility. Here are some key pointers to remember when selecting and implementing keywords to maximize your impact.
Brainstorm Potential Keywords
To identify the right keywords for SEO, brainstorm a list of possible keywords and phrases, including single words and longer phrases. Consider what your ideal customers would search for and use tools like Google Suggest or Ubersuggest to get more ideas. This ensures your list is comprehensive, helping you capture your target audience’s attention.
Determine Keyword Intent
When searching for keywords, it is important to look at search volume and other metrics. But you shouldn't focus solely on the keyword itself. You also need to understand the reason behind the search. What is the searcher looking for, and what problems are they trying to solve? This will help you create content that directly addresses their needs. For instance, if a user searches for "best sneakers," they could be looking for product reviews, buying guides, or price comparisons.
You must identify the searcher's intent to ensure your content targets the right audience. Try entering the keyword into a search engine to see the types of content and results that come up and tailor your content accordingly.
Use a Keyword Research Tool
Once you have your list of potential keywords, a keyword research tool may come in handy to help you identify relevant metrics associated with each keyword. Some popular tools include Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz Keyword Explorer. These tools provide valuable data points such as search volume, competition, and cost-per-click (CPC), enabling you to decide which keywords to target. These can help you increase the chances of driving more traffic to your website.
Use Long Tail Keywords
Long-tail keywords are phrases containing three or more words and are more specific than shorter ones. While they may have lower search volumes, they tend to be more targeted and can help you rank higher in search engine results. These are particularly effective for competitive niches, increasing conversion rates and ranking new sites more easily. For example, instead of targeting the keyword "shoes," you might target "best running shoes for women." This keyword is more specific and will attract people specifically looking for running shoes for women.
Analyze the Results
After compiling a comprehensive list of keywords and their accompanying metrics, the next step is to carefully scrutinize the data in order to select the most pertinent and profitable terms. Look for keywords with high search volumes and low competition — these little dynamos are your key to increased traffic and greater visibility. But don't be swayed by raw numbers alone. As mentioned earlier, it is also critical to consider the intent behind each keyword. Ask yourself if it aligns with your website's content.
2. Research Your Competitors
Your competitors, particularly those with a larger organization, have likely already put in the work to optimize their websites. You can learn many of their strategies by analyzing their websites. Start by studying the keywords on their home pages as well as their top product pages. This will give you an idea of the keywords they are targeting and the language they are using to describe their products.
You can use tools like the Moz browser extension to see the SEO title and description your competitors use in their title tags to determine if a website is optimizing for a particular keyword. You can also use tools like SEMrush to see what keywords they are ranking for on both organic and paid searches.
But don't stop at keywords. Check out your competitors' landing pages too. This will give you a better idea of how they are using the specified keywords to optimize those pages. To truly understand your competitors' content strategy and how they leverage keywords to increase traffic and drive sales, it is crucial to delve deeper into their online presence.
While analyzing their website is a good starting point, it isn't enough to paint the full picture. You must also closely monitor their social media and email marketing campaigns to gain valuable insights into the type of content and promotions they use. This way, you'll be able to identify gaps in your own strategy and potentially discover new opportunities for growth. So don't hesitate to expand your research beyond just their website, as there is much to be learned from examining their digital footprint across various channels.
3. Simplify Your Site Architecture
Simplifying your e-commerce site architecture can make a huge difference in your SEO and user experience (UX). An effective website structure means having a clear and distinct hierarchy of navigation that is easy to follow. This starts with your homepage, followed by product categories and subcategories, as well as the products listed within them.
Keep your internal linking structure simple and easy to follow, as this will help search engines discover your pages and products on your website. Internal links also show how pages are related to one another. This encourages visitors to further explore your site, increasing their time on your website.
It is important to keep your site architecture shallow so visitors can reach any product within three clicks from the homepage. Deep linking to related products or information-rich blog articles can also help improve e-commerce SEO and make your site more attractive for deep dives.
Furthermore, make sure to use breadcrumbs. This is an essential navigational tool for both users and search engines. They allow users to easily navigate back to previous pages, and search engines use them to understand the hierarchy of your website's pages. Adding them to your site can improve the user experience and help search engines better understand your website's structure.
4. Focus on Homepage SEO
Your homepage is usually the first page visitors land on, so optimizing it is key to improving your website's SEO. Here are some important things to focus on.
Homepage Title Tag
The title tag is one of the most important elements of on-site optimization. It should include your business name and the main keyword phrase you are targeting. Keep it under 70 characters and make sure it is compelling to search visitors.
Homepage Meta Description
This 160-character description of your website shows up in search engine results beneath the title tag. While not important as far as keyword rankings go, a well-crafted meta description can help entice users to visit your site.
The content on your homepage should provide visitors with a clear and concise overview of your business and the products you offer. Avoid cluttering your homepage with too much information. Instead, focus on featuring your top products and unique selling proposition.
5. Optimize Product Pages
Optimizing your product pages can have a significant impact on your SEO. It can help you attract more organic traffic and boost conversions. Here are some essential tips for optimizing your e-commerce product pages.
Optimize Your Product Descriptions
Product descriptions are a crucial element of your product pages. They provide visitors with valuable information about your products and help them make informed purchasing decisions. Therefore, it is important to make your product descriptions as detailed and informative as possible. Use relevant keywords to optimize your descriptions for search engines, but avoid stuffing them with too many keywords.
Optimize Your Images
Images play a vital role in showcasing your products and attracting potential customers. Use high-quality images that clearly show your products from different angles. Include descriptive alt tags, captions, and file names with relevant keywords for better visibility.
Include Customer Reviews
Reviews are an essential element of e-commerce product pages. They provide social proof and build trust with potential customers. Encourage customers to leave reviews by sending automated messages after they make a purchase. You can also set up an email campaign to remind them. Additionally, canonical tags can be used to link duplicate product pages and group similar products together.
6. Reduce Page Load Speed
Page load speed is an important page ranking factor, as it affects both user experience and SEO. A slow-loading website can harm your e-commerce site's visibility on search engines, leading to poor traffic and reduced conversion rates. According to a study, the first five seconds of page-load time have the biggest impact on conversion rates.
Fortunately, there are several ways to improve page load speed, such as compressing files, reducing the number of images on your website's pages, and optimizing the ones you keep. Reducing your server response time can also help. Consider changing your web host or upgrading your hosting package if your current plan cannot accommodate your needs.
7. Avoid Using Long and Complicated URL Structures
Simplified URLs can significantly impact the success of your SEO efforts. Adopting a straightforward URL structure can drive traffic and increase revenue. Here's why a simple URL structure matters and how you can optimize it.
Readable and Understandable URLs
URLs should be as readable and understandable as possible if you want to get the best results. Avoid lengthy URLs with unnecessary words or characters that make it difficult for both search engines and users to understand what the page is about. A simple and concise URL that provides context for the page's content is crucial for ranking high in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Including Relevant Keywords
Search engines scan the URL to determine the page's relevance to the user's query. So, make sure to add relevant keywords. Spend time researching keywords that are relevant to your products or services and use them in your URL structure. However, avoid stuffing the URL with too many keywords, as this can do more harm than good to your SEO efforts.
Avoiding Stop Words
Stop words such as "the," "and," "of," and "a" should be avoided, as these make URLs longer and less concise. Using these decreases the readability of the URL. Moreover, search engines generally ignore these words, so using them can dilute the impact of the more important words in your URL.
8. Use Schema Markups
Schema markups are HTML tags that add context and meaning to web pages. They provide additional information about the content on the page, making it easier for search engines to understand and display relevant results to users.
One of the main benefits of using schema markups is that it produces rich snippets. These are search results that include additional information such as images, reviews, and prices. This can help your e-commerce website stand out in search results, increasing click-through rates and driving more traffic to your site.
The different types of e-commerce schemata include the following.
Product schema is an extension that provides rich product information such as images, price, and availability. It allows search engines to display product ads on the SERPs and enables users to discover new products and services in web search queries.
Review schema enables online reviews. It allows you to display review ratings and snippets in search results, making your listings more attractive and informative to potential customers.
Product Availability Schema
The product availability schema is a list of products that are available to purchase. It displays on the SERPs whether a product is in stock, out of stock, or available for pre-order. This makes it easier for potential customers to find the product they want.
The video schema is used to describe the content and format of videos. It includes details such as the video's audio language, resolution, or age rating.
The price schema is used to display price information for products or services in search results. It provides information such as the currency, the price, and the availability of the product or service.
9. Create Compelling Content
Compelling written content is an essential component of any e-commerce website's SEO strategy. Consistently posting quality content not only drives organic traffic but also increases customer trust and enhances your reputation as an industry expert.
One way to do this is by adding a blog section to your website, where you can publish regular posts on topics related to your niche. This can include how-to guides, FAQs, and new product launches. You can establish yourself as a trusted authority in your field by addressing your customers' pain points and answering their questions.
Another way to leverage compelling content is by including user-generated content (UGC), such as customer reviews and testimonials. This not only provides social proof of your product's quality and reliability. It can also improve your website's SEO by increasing engagement and driving more traffic to your website.
10. Create an Effective Backlinking Strategy
Link building, an important factor influencing website ranking, can be considered one of the best ways to improve your website's SEO and establish a dominant online presence. Backlinks are incoming links from other websites to your site.
The significance of quality backlinks cannot be exaggerated as they serve as a signal to search engines that your site is trustworthy and credible. This is accomplished when other websites link to your site, which search engines interpret as a vote of confidence in your content and brand. The more high-quality backlinks you have, the more chance you will rank higher in search results for your target keywords.
Creating internal backlinks, writing guest posts, sharing content on social media, utilizing social media ads, participating in forums, creating infographics, and publishing whitepapers and case studies are all proven ways to generate quality backlinks for your website. But, no matter what you do, avoid purchasing links, as this can damage your site's reputation and ranking. Creating quality backlinks takes time and effort, but the result is undoubtedly worth the investment.
11. Use Google Merchant Center
Making sure that potential customers easily find your products is crucial if you want to stay ahead in the cutthroat e-commerce market. That is where Google Merchant Center (GMC) comes in. GMC is a tool that lets you upload your product data, such as product name, description, price, and image, to Google.
This product data can then be used in Google Shopping and other Google services. So when a user searches for a product, the GMC displays relevant products in the search results. But this isn't just for displaying products. It can also boost your website's SEO.
When you add product data to the GMC, it creates a structured data feed that Google can easily crawl and index. That means your website becomes more visible in search engines. Additionally, when you link your GMC account to other Google services like Google Ads and Google Analytics, you can gain valuable insights into your product traffic and performance. This provides significant help in refining your SEO strategy.
12. Sign Up for Google Shopping Tab
One way to increase the visibility of your e-commerce site is by signing up for the Google Shopping tab. This feature allows your products to be displayed in the shopping section of Google search results, making it easier for potential customers to find and purchase them.
Signing up for the Google Shopping tab means getting your products displayed with images, prices, and other important information on Google searches. This helps attract customers to your site. Additionally, the Google Shopping tab provides a platform for customers to compare prices and features of different products, which can increase the likelihood of them choosing your product over a competitor's.
To get started, you must create a Google Merchant Center account and upload your product information. Once approved, your products will be eligible to appear in the Google Shopping tab. Keep in mind that optimizing your product data and using relevant keywords can help improve your visibility in search results.
Free Shopping listings are great for driving traffic to your site. But if you want more control over your campaign, you may opt for paid shopping ads. Incorporating Google Shopping ads into your PPC campaign is a great way to take advantage of the benefits of having a wider reach.
13. Add a Sitemap
A sitemap provides a clear and organized layout of your website's pages, allowing search engine crawlers to comprehend the structure of your site and locate your content. This way, search engines can swiftly discover any new pages you add or updates you make to your site. A sitemap increases the likelihood of search engines indexing your content faster and more accurately.
Additionally, sitemaps can help you identify any broken links or pages that may be hindering your SEO efforts. Creating a sitemap is easy, with tools like Google's Webmaster Tools, Lucid Sitemap Generator, and Powermapper available to assist you. These tools can automatically generate sitemaps for you or allow you to create one manually.
14. Conduct Regular Site Audit
Regular site audits can help you detect, prioritize, and fix website errors that may negatively impact your search results ranking, web traffic, and sales. An audit can identify mistakes such as external links harming your ranking, duplicate content that is confusing search engines, missing meta tags, the slow load time of web pages, and error messages, among others.
An SEO audit can also evaluate how specific SEO activities affect your website's condition, allowing you to devise a tailor-made game plan to maximize your website's potential and focus on elements worth improving first. Moreover, it helps you stay up to date with ever-changing Google algorithms and ensure your website passes the criteria of the latest modifications. Regular site audits are a great and simple way to see how your website is performing and if anything needs to be adjusted or tweaked.
A solid SEO strategy is a necessary tool for the success of any e-commerce business. It doesn't just help increase your visibility and drive traffic. It also enhances the user experience, ultimately leading to more conversions and revenue. An effective SEO strategy involves a combination of on-page and off-page optimization, keyword research, content creation, and link building. Keep in mind that SEO isn't magic. It will take a lot of time and effort before you start seeing results. But all your hard work will eventually pay off. You just have to hang in there.