Understanding E-Commerce SEO & A Beginners Guide to SEO
Welcome to the world of e-commerce SEO, my friends. It’s a wild ride full of ups, downs, and ever-changing algorithms. But don’t worry, I’m here to guide you through it all.
First things first, let’s define what e-commerce SEO is all about. In a nutshell, it’s the practice of optimizing your online store’s content and structure to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Why is it so important, you may ask? Well, let me put it this way: when was the last time you scrolled past the first page of Google search results? Exactly. If your e-commerce site isn’t ranking on the first page, to many Google users, you might as well be invisible.
Take a deep breath. E-commerce SEO isn’t rocket science, and you don’t need a Ph.D. in computer science to master it. All you need is a bit of patience, some creativity, and a solid plan of action.
Throughout this guide, I’ll be sharing my best tips and tricks for optimizing your e-commerce website to achieve higher search engine rankings, drive more traffic to your site, and ultimately increase sales. From on-page optimization to link building, from keyword research to content creation, we’ll cover it all.
But before we dive into the nitty-gritty, it’s important to understand the basic principles of e-commerce SEO. Let’s take a look at some of the key elements that make up a successful SEO strategy for e-commerce websites:
Key Takeaways for Ecommerce SEO
- Keyword research: Before you start optimizing your site, you need to know what keywords your target audience is using to find products like yours. This will help you create content that’s relevant and valuable to your potential customers.
- On-page optimization: This involves optimizing your website’s content, structure, and HTML tags to make it more search engine friendly. From title tags to meta descriptions, from header tags to image alt tags, we’ll cover it all.
- Technical optimization: This refers to the backend of your website, including site speed, mobile-friendliness, and site architecture. A well-optimized site is essential for both user experience and search engine rankings.
- Content creation: This is all about creating high-quality, valuable content that appeals to both users and search engines. From product descriptions to blog posts, from videos to infographics, we’ll explore the best types of content for e-commerce SEO.
- Link building: This involves getting other websites to link to your site, which helps improve your authority and credibility in the eyes of search engines. We’ll explore the best link-building strategies for e-commerce websites.
So, there you have it – the basic building blocks of e-commerce SEO. Now, let’s dive into each of these elements in more detail and discover how to create a winning SEO strategy for your online store.
- Keyword Research for E-Commerce
- On-Page Optimization for E-Commerce Websites
- The Importance of Content for E-Commerce SEO
- The Role of Internal Links in E-Commerce SEO
- Maximizing the Potential of Product Images in E-Commerce SEO
- The Power of Product Videos in E-Commerce SEO
- Technical SEO for E-Commerce Websites
- Link-Building Strategies for E-Commerce SEO
- Mobile Optimization for E-Commerce Websites
- Local SEO for E-Commerce
- E-Commerce SEO Analytics and Reporting
- Common E-Commerce SEO Mistakes to Avoid
- Taking Action on Your E-Commerce SEO
Rather hire the pros than become one?
Keyword Research for E-Commerce
Keyword research – the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. If you’re new to the world of e-commerce SEO, you might be wondering what exactly keyword research is and why it’s so important.
Let me break it down. Keyword research is the process of finding and analyzing the words and phrases people use to search for products or services online. The goal is to identify the keywords that have high search volume and low competition, which will make it easier for your e-commerce website to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
But how do you conduct keyword research for e-commerce? So glad you asked. Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Use a keyword research tool. There are plenty of free and paid tools out there, like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and SEMrush. These tools can help you identify high-volume keywords, related keywords, and even suggest long-tail keywords that you might not have thought about.
- Consider user intent. Think about what your potential customers are searching for and why. Are they still researching and looking for information about a product, or are they ready to make a purchase? Use this information to guide your keyword research and create content that meets their needs.
- Look at your competitors. Check out the keywords your competitors are targeting and see if there are any opportunities for you to compete. You can use tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush to analyze their keyword strategy and find gaps that you can fill.
- Don’t forget about long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases that typically have lower search volume but can be easier to rank for. Depending on the keyword, they’re also more likely to indicate user intent and lead to conversions.
Once you’ve identified your target keywords, it’s time to optimize your e-commerce website accordingly. But that’s the next topic:
On-Page Optimization for E-Commerce Websites
Let’s talk about on-page optimization for e-commerce websites!
When it comes to on-page optimization, there are a few key things you need to keep in mind to make sure your website is as search-engine-friendly as possible.
First things first, let’s talk about your product pages. These are the bread and butter of your e-commerce website, and you need to make sure they’re optimized to the nines.
Start by making sure your product titles are clear, concise, and keyword-rich. Keep it natural and user-friendly though; don’t just stuff keywords where grammar rules say they don’t belong. You want to make sure that both humans and search engines can easily understand what your product is all about.
Next up, let’s talk about your product descriptions. This is where you can really flex your keyword research muscles. Use relevant keywords throughout your product descriptions, but make sure to do so in a way that sounds natural and not spammy.
In addition to using keywords, make sure your product descriptions are detailed and provide all the information that a potential customer might need to make a purchasing decision. This can include things like size charts, product specifications, and even customer reviews.
Communicate your product’s value to the customer
Speaking of customer reviews, these can be a great way to improve your on-page optimization. Not only do they provide valuable social proof to potential customers, but they also add unique, user-generated content to your website – which search engines love.
But on-page optimization isn’t just about your product pages – you also need to make sure your website as a whole is optimized. This includes things like optimizing your URLs, using header tags (H1, H2, etc.) throughout your website, and making sure your website’s navigation is easy to use and logical.
And don’t forget about your website’s images! Make sure all your images have descriptive filenames and alt tags that include relevant keywords. This can help improve your website’s visibility in image search results, which can drive additional traffic to your website.
All in all, on-page optimization is a critical component of e-commerce SEO. By following these tips, you can help ensure that your website is as search engine-friendly as possible and that potential customers can easily find and purchase your products.
The Importance of Content for E-Commerce SEO
Now let’s talk about one of the most important aspects of SEO for ecommerce websites – content.
As I mentioned before, you need to think about your ecommerce site as a store. And what’s the most important thing in any store? The products, of course! But how do you showcase your products to potential customers online? That’s where content comes in.
Content is key
Content includes everything from product descriptions to blog posts, and it’s crucial for a successful ecommerce site. But why?
First of all, it helps you stand out from the crowd. Think about it – if you and your competitors are all selling the same product, what’s going to make a customer choose you over the others? Great content, of course! It helps you differentiate your brand and show your personality.
Secondly, content is a great way to incorporate keywords and phrases that your potential customers are searching for. By creating high-quality content that includes these keywords, you’ll be more likely to rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). And as we know, the higher you rank, the more likely you are to get clicks and conversions.
But don’t just slap any old content on your site and call it a day. You need to create content that’s valuable to your potential customers. That means writing product descriptions that provide all the necessary information, blog posts that answer common questions or offer helpful tips, and even social media posts that engage your audience.
And speaking of social media, it’s also important to share your content across various channels. Not only does this help with brand awareness, but it also helps with backlinks. Backlinks are links to your site from other reputable sites, and they’re a major ranking factor for search engines.
Quick summary: content is key for ecommerce SEO. It helps you stand out, incorporate keywords, attract potential new customers to your site, and provide value to those potential customers.
The Role of Internal Links in E-Commerce SEO
Internal links are the links that connect one page of your website to another. They help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your website, and also help users navigate through your site easily.
But did you know that internal linking can also improve your e-commerce SEO? Here’s how:
- It helps distribute link authority: When you link from a high-authority page to a lower-authority page, some of that authority is passed on to the lower page. This helps boost the ranking of the lower page in search results.
- It improves user experience: Internal links help users find related products or pages that they might be interested in. This keeps them on your site longer, which sends a positive signal to search engines.
- It creates a hierarchy: By linking from category pages to product pages, you’re telling search engines which pages are the most important on your site. This helps search engines understand the context of your pages and rank them accordingly.
When it comes to internal linking, there are a few best practices to keep in mind:
- Use descriptive anchor text: Use relevant, descriptive anchor text when linking to other pages on your site. Avoid using generic phrases like “click here” or “read more.”
- Link to relevant pages: Only link to pages that are relevant to the content on the page you’re linking from. This helps users find more information about the topic they’re interested in.
- Use a hierarchy: Create a hierarchy on your site by linking from category pages to subcategory pages to product pages. This helps search engines understand the structure of your site and rank your pages accordingly.
- Avoid over-linking: Don’t overdo it with internal links, as this can be seen as spammy by search engines. Only link to pages that are truly relevant and useful for your users.
Internal linking is a powerful tool for improving your e-commerce SEO. By using descriptive anchor text, linking to relevant pages, creating a hierarchy, and avoiding over-linking, you can help boost your rankings and improve user experience on your site.
Maximizing the Potential of Product Images in E-Commerce SEO
Ah, product images. They can make your products look so good, people just click that “add to cart” button without any other questions.
But product images also play a crucial role in your ecommerce SEO strategy. That’s right, my friends. The potential of product images is not limited to just making your products look pretty – though that’s a good start.
First things first, let’s talk about the technical details. When you upload your product images to your website, it’s important to optimize them for search engines. That means giving them descriptive file names (with relevant keywords, of course), including alt tags, and compressing their file size to prevent slow page loading times.
But beyond the technical stuff, product images also have the power to engage and convert your website visitors. Think about it – when you’re shopping online, what catches your eye more: a product listing with just a plain text description, or a listing with multiple high-quality images showcasing the product from different angles?
Moreover, product images can also increase the chances of your products being shared on social media platforms. This, in turn, can lead to increased visibility and more potential customers.
So, how can you maximize the potential of product images in your ecommerce SEO strategy? Here are a few tips:
- Show multiple angles and zoom-in capabilities to give website visitors a better idea of what they’re buying.
- Use high-quality images (but still compressed!) that are visually appealing and showcase your products in the best possible light.
- Include images of your products being used in real-life situations to help customers envision themselves using the product.
- Don’t forget to include alt tags with relevant keywords to help search engines understand the context of your images.
Optimizing your product images for search engines is just as important as making them visually appealing to your website visitors.
The Power of Product Videos in E-Commerce SEO
I know what you’re thinking. “Oh no, not another thing to add to my to-do list!” But trust me, adding product videos to your e-commerce site is worth the investment.
Why? Because videos increase engagement and time-on-site, which in turn increases your chances of ranking higher in the search engine results pages. Plus, according to studies, videos can also drive conversions and boost consumer confidence in their purchase decisions.
Now, I’m not saying you have to create a full-blown Hollywood production for every product on your site. Keep it simple and sweet, and aim for a video length of one minute or less.
But also remember that there can be a big difference between a homemade product video and a professionally designed one. Investing in a professional video can really set you apart from your competitors and make your brand look more polished professional.
If you’re currently running a smaller ecommerce site, I wouldn’t recommend going into debt to get a professionally made video, but using a top-of-the-line smartphone and good natural lighting to film can give surprisingly excellent results – certainly better results than not having any!
So don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with your product videos, especially if you are making them at home. Your customers will appreciate the extra effort, and your search engine rankings might just thank you for it too.
Technical SEO for E-Commerce Websites
Technical SEO is an important aspect of any website, and e-commerce websites are no exception. In fact, technical SEO is even more crucial for e-commerce sites because of the large number of pages and products they typically have.
One important aspect of technical SEO is ensuring that your website is crawlable and indexable by search engines. This means ensuring that search engines can access all of your pages, and that they understand the content on those pages.
To achieve this, you need to ensure that your website is built using clean, semantic HTML, and that your website’s sitemap and robots.txt file are set up correctly. You should also use structured data markup to help search engines understand the content on your pages.
Need for speed
Another important aspect of technical SEO for e-commerce websites is site speed. E-commerce websites typically have a lot of images, product descriptions, and other content that can slow down page load times. This can have a negative impact on your SEO, as search engines consider page load speed as a ranking factor.
Mobile searches account for over 60% of queries
Finally, it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. With the majority of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, having a mobile-friendly website is no longer a nice-to-have, but a necessity. Google also considers mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, so it’s important to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile users.
To achieve this, you can use responsive design, which automatically adjusts your website’s layout to fit the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on. You can also use mobile-specific features, such as click-to-call buttons and mobile-friendly navigation menus.
This is a big topic, so let’s summarize:
- Technical SEO is an important aspect of e-commerce SEO, and it’s crucial to ensure that your website is crawlable and indexable, fast, and mobile-friendly.
- By optimizing your website for technical SEO, you can improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results pages.
- Ultimately good technical SEO can drive more traffic and sales to your e-commerce website.
Link-Building Strategies for E-Commerce SEO
Link-building is the process of acquiring hyperlinks from other websites to your own. These links help search engines understand that your website is credible and authoritative, which in turn improves your rankings in the SERPs.
But here’s the thing: not all links are created equal. In fact, some links can do more harm than good to your website.
So, how do you build quality links that will help your e-commerce site rank higher in the SERPs?
Here are a few strategies:
Broken link building
Broken link building is the process of finding broken links on other websites and reaching out to the website owner to suggest a replacement link – a link to your own e-commerce site, of course.
To find broken links, you can use tools like Ahrefs or Check My Links. Once you find a broken link, reach out to the website owner with a friendly email suggesting a replacement link.
Influencer outreach involves reaching out to influencers in your industry and asking them to share your content or products with their audience. This can lead to quality links and increased exposure for your e-commerce site.
But here’s the thing: you need to make sure the influencer is a good fit for your brand and has a relevant audience. Otherwise, their audience won’t be interested in your content or products.
Brand mentions are when another website mentions your brand but doesn’t include a link back to your e-commerce site. Reach out to the website owner and politely request that they add a link to your site.
Create valuable content
Creating valuable content on your e-commerce site can attract backlinks naturally. If other websites see that you’re producing high-quality content that’s helpful to their audience, they’re more likely to link to it.
Remember, the key to link-building is to focus on quality over quantity. A few high-quality links are worth more than dozens of low-quality ones.
So, take the time to build relationships with other websites in your industry and create valuable content that people want to link to. Before you know it, your e-commerce site will be ranking higher in the SERPs and driving more traffic and sales.
Non-SEO strategy: Guest blogging
Guest blogging involves writing and publishing a blog post on another website in your industry. By doing so, you can earn a link back to your e-commerce site in the author bio or within the content.
I can almost hear the protests: “Google says guest blogging doesn’t build authority!” And you’re 100% right, but though Google doesn’t care, Google isn’t the one who buys your products, either. Let me explain.
Let’s say you sell tents on your website. A link in your guest blog on an influential camping website could generate a significant amount of quality leads and conversions. It’s not actually an SEO strategy, but hey, there’s nothing wrong with being creative!
But here’s the catch: the blog post needs to be high-quality and provide value to the audience of the website you’re guest blogging on. Otherwise, the website owner won’t want to publish it, and users won’t be as interested in clicking through to your website either.
Mobile Optimization for E-Commerce Websites
We all know that mobile usage is skyrocketing, and according to Statista, mobile devices accounted for over 50% of all internet traffic in 2020. That’s why it’s crucial for e-commerce businesses to have a mobile-friendly website that loads quickly and provides an excellent user experience.
So, how can you optimize your e-commerce website for mobile devices? Here are some tips:
- Use a responsive design: A responsive website design ensures that your website looks great and functions well on all screen sizes, whether it’s a desktop computer, a tablet, or a smartphone.
- Optimize your images: Large images can slow down your website’s load time, which can be frustrating for mobile users. To solve this problem, make sure to optimize your images for the web by reducing their size and compressing them.
- Use large and easy-to-read fonts: Small and hard-to-read fonts can make it difficult for mobile users to navigate your website. Make sure to use larger and easy-to-read fonts that are optimized for mobile devices.
- Use shorter meta descriptions: Mobile devices have smaller screens, which means that your meta descriptions should be shorter and more concise. This will ensure that your website’s information is easily accessible and readable on mobile devices.
- Optimize your page speed: Mobile users have a shorter attention span than desktop users, which means that your website should load quickly. Use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to analyze your website’s load time and optimize it accordingly.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your e-commerce website is optimized for mobile devices, which will improve your website’s user experience and ultimately help you rank higher in the search engine results pages.
Local SEO for E-Commerce
Local SEO is all about optimizing your website to rank higher in local search results. When people search for products or services in their local area, Google will show them local results first. This is where local SEO comes in.
Here are some tips to help you optimize your e-commerce website for local SEO:
- Optimize Your Google My Business Listing: Your Google My Business (GMB) listing is a powerful tool that can help you improve your local SEO. Make sure your GMB listing is complete, accurate, and up-to-date. Include your business name, address, phone number, website, business hours, and photos.
- Use Local Keywords: Include local keywords in your website content, product descriptions, and meta tags. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to find relevant local keywords that your customers are searching for.
- Get Listed in Local Directories: Get your business listed in local directories like Yelp, TripAdvisor, and Yellow Pages. Make sure your listing is complete and accurate, and include a link to your website.
- Encourage Customer Reviews: Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your website, Google, and other review sites. Positive reviews can help improve your local SEO and attract more customers to your business.
- Use Local Structured Data Schema Markup: Schema markup is a type of structured data that helps search engines understand your website content. Use local schema markup to help search engines identify your business location, phone number, and other important details.
- Optimize for Mobile: More and more people are using their mobile devices to search for products and services. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and optimized for local search.
Local SEO is an essential part of e-commerce SEO. By optimizing your website for local search, you can attract more customers to your business and improve your overall SEO performance. Use these tips to get started and watch your e-commerce business grow!
E-Commerce SEO Analytics and Reporting
You can’t improve what you can’t measure, right? That’s why analytics and reporting are crucial for any SEO campaign. By tracking your website’s traffic, user behavior, and other metrics, you can make data-driven decisions that will help you improve your SEO and grow your business.
When it comes to reporting, it’s important to track the metrics that matter most to your business. For an E-commerce website, these may include metrics such as:
- Revenue and conversion rates
- Traffic sources and user behavior
- Top-performing products and categories
- Search engine rankings and keyword performance
By tracking these metrics over time, you can identify trends and make data-driven decisions to improve your E-commerce SEO.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the analytics and reporting tools you can use for E-commerce SEO:
- Google Analytics: This free tool from Google is a must-have for any website owner. With Google Analytics, you can track your website’s traffic, user behavior, conversion rates, and much more. You can use this data to identify which pages are performing well and which ones need improvement. You can also set up goals and funnels to track specific actions on your website, such as purchases or sign-ups.
- Google Search Console: This free tool from Google is designed specifically for website owners who want to improve their search engine rankings. With Google Search Console, you can monitor your website’s performance in Google search results, track your search engine rankings, and identify any technical issues that may be impacting your SEO. You can also submit your sitemap to Google and track your website’s indexing status.
- SEMrush: This is a paid tool that provides in-depth SEO analytics and reporting. With SEMrush, you can track your website’s rankings, identify your top-performing keywords, and analyze your competitors’ SEO strategies. You can also use SEMrush to identify technical issues on your website, such as broken links or duplicate content.
- Ahrefs: This is another paid tool that provides comprehensive SEO analytics and reporting. Ahrefs allows you to track your website’s rankings, monitor your backlink profile, and analyze your competitors’ SEO strategies. You can also use Ahrefs to identify keyword opportunities and track your website’s traffic over time.
Common E-Commerce SEO Mistakes to Avoid
SEO is an incredibly complicated topic with a lot of depth and a certain amount of technical knowledge needed, so don’t beat yourself up if you find that you’re guilty of some of these. Just use them as a guide to help you get back on track for the future.
Going by your gut: One of the biggest mistakes that people make is not doing their research. You can’t just slap some keywords onto your website and hope really hard that they’ll lead to conversions. You need to do thorough research as a first step to determine which keywords are going to be the most effective for your business. If you skip this step, you’re going to have a hard time getting any traction in the SERPs or increasing conversions.
“All that matters is getting more traffic”
Another common mistake is ignoring on-page optimization. Your website needs to be properly optimized if you want to A) rank well, and B) actually keep your users there once they’ve come in. It doesn’t matter how many users you get if that traffic is irrelevant. On-page SEO includes everything from your title tags and meta descriptions to your internal linking structure and content. Don’t neglect any aspect of on-page optimization if you want to see results.
Lack of focus.
It’s important to have a laser-sharp focus when it comes to your SEO strategy. You can’t just try to optimize for every keyword under the sun. You need to identify exactly the keywords that are going to be the most valuable for your business and focus your efforts on those.
Fits and starts
Another mistake is not consistently investing time or resources into your SEO efforts. SEO is not a set-it-and-forget-it type of thing. You need to be constantly monitoring your website and making adjustments as needed. This takes time and effort, and doing it only twice a year is not going to help anybody.
“But nothing is happening!”
One of the first things we always, always communicate to our clients: SEO takes time. It’s not uncommon for it to take 6 months to see significant results. If you’re not willing to be patient, you’re going to end up disappointed before you get the results. Stick with it, keep making improvements, and eventually, you’ll start to see the results you’re looking for.
Taking Action on Your E-Commerce SEO
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the end of our comprehensive Beginner’s Guide to SEO for E-Commerce Websites. By now, you should have a clear understanding of the key SEO tactics and strategies needed to succeed in the highly competitive world of online retail.
But implementing all of these techniques can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a small business owner trying to manage everything on your own while already wearing sixteen different hats. Fortunately, we excel at this stuff!
Get the SEO boost you need with ‘corePHP’
As a digital marketing agency, ‘corePHP’ specializes in helping e-commerce businesses of all sizes maximize their online visibility and drive more traffic to their sites. We have a proven track record of success, and we’re confident we can help you take your online sales to the next level.
From keyword research and on-page optimization to link building and mobile optimization, our team of experts can handle it all. We use the latest tools and techniques to deliver measurable results, and we’re always available to answer your questions and provide ongoing support.
So if you’re ready to take action on your e-commerce SEO and start seeing real results and increased conversions, get in touch with us today. We’d love to help you achieve your goals and grow your business.