In this beginners guide to eCommerce SEO, we will go over what exactly eCommerce SEO is and why it’s so important for your store’s website. Once you realize how much you actually need it to survive the area of technology – we’ll go through an absolutely free way of creating an eCommerce SEO strategy for your store. 

This consists of 6 time consuming, yet very important steps that your store will need in order to be recognized in search engines all while having a user friendly experience.

What is E-Commerce SEO?

The process of optimizing an online store for search engines such as Google and Bing is known as e-commerce SEO. Writing descriptions on each product page with details on the product along with relevant keywords is a great way to build authority and rank better on search engines. Obtaining backlinks from relevant websites can also improve the ranking of your online store.

SEO is worthwhile if you have a solid strategy in place and collaborate with a partner who understands how to get results. Approximately 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine, and the close rate of SEO leads is significantly higher than that of traditional marketing. As a result, SEO provides an excellent return on investment (ROI).

Why is SEO so important for ecommerce sites?

If you want to boost your revenue and profits, SEO is one of the most efficient ways of doing just that. In order for an e-commerce store to thrive, a steady stream of new customers as well as a loyal core of repeat buyers is crucial. It is difficult for your store to grow if new buyers are not bringing in new revenue. SEO assists in attracting new buyers who are more likely to purchase from you.

It helps your website appear on SERP features:

SEO is in charge of making sure your website appears on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). It helps your website get its fair share of clicks, and that users find what they’re looking for once they click through to your site. SERPs and SEO are strongly intertwined.

If you give valuable details and strategic keywords on your product page – it lets Google know exactly what your page is about! Therefore, building authority and allowing Google to trust your website. So, customers that are looking for similar products or information, your pages could show up on their search engine. The more strategic your SEO plan the higher it will rank on Google and; therefore, show up first thing for your target audience.

 

Creating an E-Commerce SEO Strategy:

Step 1: Keyword Research

With all that talk about having the right keywords, this brings us to our first step – keyword research.

The best place to start when it comes to keywords is Google considering it’s the world’s most widely used search engine – and it’s free! The best places to do keyword research is in the “people also ask” section and at the bottom of the page. Here’s an example… let’s say you’re selling fishing rods:

 

keywprd research through "people also ask" section of google search

keyword research through google search towards the bottom

 

This is a great place to find some inspiration for keywords and what kind of content you might want to put on your page. However, make sure it’s applicable to your products! Otherwise, people will just end up leaving your page because it wasn’t what they were looking for and you’ll slowly start to lose domain authority on Google.

A similar process can be completed on Amazon. The advantage of Amazon suggestions is that they are product-focused, as opposed to Google, which usually includes more information keyword suggestions.

Simply search your keyword on Amazon and see what you can find as inspiration there!

 

amazon keyword research as a beginners guide to SEO

 

At this point, it would be worth mentioning long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords, which are usually three to four words long, are quite specific and result in much less competition. When you get into keywords that are specific you’re much more likely to have higher conversion rates. Examples of long-tail keywords would be:

  • Waterproof hiking boots for women
  • Fishing rod holders for wall
  • Glow in the dark party supplies
  • White platform sneakers for men

It makes sense when you think about it… That these long-tail keywords would result in a higher conversion rate. I mean, if you’re looking to buy something very specific and exactly what you’re looking for shows up – you’re likely to buy it.

 

Step 2: Site Structure

When it comes to e-commerce SEO, the organization and structure of your website’s pages has an impact on search engine rankings. Remember when we talked about having good domain authority with Google? Well, this is a great way to help build better domain authority.

Not only is the structure of your site important for domain authority but it also has an impact on your customers’ experience. Essentially, you want to make it simple for both actual customers and search engines to find items in your store.

Although this sounds easy to iron down, it’s actually probably one of the more complicated steps in your SEO for e-commerce journey. However, if you can manage this properly from the get-go, you’ll save yourself time and money down the road.

You’ll want to make sure your site structure is simple yet easy to scale right from the beginning. As your store grows, you don’t want to keep rearranging your structure. 

Make sure that every page on your site is as close to your homepage as possible. The majority of your link authority is concentrated on your homepage because it is the most frequently referenced page on other businesses’ websites (we will talk more about this in Step 6: Link Building). As a result, it stands to reason that the further a product page is from your homepage, the less authority it has.

When it comes to initially building your website structure, try looking at your competitors or more established brands for encouragement. For example, if you’re selling hiking gear it would be useful to look at Eddie Bauer, Osprey, Arcteryx, LuluLemon, etc., to see how they structure their website.

Step 3: Technical SEO

Technical SEO is more so the “behind the scenes” work on your website. It’s not something that would be visible to you as a customer; however, it’s meant for crawlers and indexing performed by a search engine. To name a few, here are some features crawlers are looking for:

  • Is your website optimized for speed?
  • Is it mobile friendly?
  • Does it have metadata on each page?
  • Are there internal and external links throughout your site?
  • Are your images optimized to load quickly?

When technical SEO is done well, website traffic and engagement will increase because your site is quick and easy to use. When your site is organized and the menus are linked properly  – you’ll get more organic traffic because your site is easier to crawl.

A good resource to check your page speed for mobile and desktop is Page Speed. You should also submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and fix the site errors.

 

Step 4: On Page SEO for E-commerce

Your most valuable pages are your product category pages, and your product pages. Lets get into how to effectively optimize them.

The Foundation

Below are the features you’d need to manually optimize:

  • You should include your keywords in the title tags, meta tags, and meta descriptions.
  • You should include your keywords in the alt text for product images.
  • You should include your keywords in the file names.
  • URLs for blog posts, webpages, products, and collections can all be customized to include your keywords.

Now, what is this metadata we’re speaking of? Well, the orange box is your “URL” (also known as “slug”), the green box is your title tag, and the red box is your meta description. All of these attributes encompass what metadata is.

 

metadata: URL, title tag, and meta description example for SEO beginners

Keep in mind that your title tags and descriptions are visible to Google. So, the first step is to rank on the first page. The second step is to persuade searchers to visit your website.

In order to be successful with on-page SEO you’ll need to follow these 4 steps:

  • Choose the right URL’s

Make sure to use your keywords in your URL along with making it easy to read. Keep it short and sweet. For example, https://newfoundmarketing.ca/our-work/. It’s always a good idea to have your target keyword in the title of you page as well – much like this:

choosing the right URL example of it in the page title

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Google recognizes when you’re “keyword stuffing”. When you’re throwing keywords all over your page, especially in places where it’s not applicable – Google will see this and it wont help your SEO.

  • Replace thinner content with long unique product descriptions on your pages

The content on your page is used by Google and other search engines to determine which keywords to rank your page for and how high your page should rank for each keyword.

So, if your product page only has a brief description and nothing else, Google won’t have much to go on. Write detailed descriptions on your products – your customers will actually like it! Not only does it improve user experience, but it might coax them to make a purchase on your ecommerce website.

  • Create internal links

Make sure that throughout your pages, you’re linking to other pages on your website. The longer you can keep customers looking through your content, the more likely they are to purchase.

An effective way to do so is linking similar products. For example:

 

product linking example of a retailer prompting another similar product to add to cart

 

This clothing brand recommends buying this matching sports top when you add these leggings to your cart. Not only does it prompt you when adding it to your bag, but they also have the matching sports top linked at the bottom of the page as well.

 

Step 5: Blogging

Blogging is a way to improve the search visibility of your website. Combining technical SEO (step 3) and on page SEO (step 4) will do just that! When you blog, you build credibility for your websites and it helps you rank for specific keywords related to your audience’s interests and needs. In short, it will support your businesses long term goals – making sales.

Lets pretend you’re starting a business that sells hiking bags. You’re going to want to assist potential customers in understanding your products and making better use of them. You can do just that by blogging about them. 

For example, a blog about all the features your bag has, or creating a packing list for hikers and end it off with the perfect hiking bag. This is a great way to get found in search engines such as Google.

Before we move to the next step it’s important to keep these three elements in mind:

  • Research keywords you want your website to rank for. You’ll want to talk about content that people are searching for. Solving problems people are asking will help in the purchase decision process.
  • Optimizing each blog post for specific focus keywords makes your content more visible to search engines.
  • Blog about how your product provides your customers with a solution. However, you don’t always need to write content about your product but don’t be afraid to throw in a link to your product pages when appropriate.

 

Step 6: Link Building

It’s important your page has “authority”, much like those papers you wrote back in high school with academic citations – Google’s algorithm works the same way. However, in this case, citations are referred to as backlinks. In simple terms, a “backlink” is when you link to another site outside of your domain.

Of course, it’s not as simple as linking out random content. If you linked to other sites that had nothing to do with yours – Google’s algorithm will pick this up and it will actually hurt you more than it will help you.

Google evaluates a site’s quality and trustworthiness based on:

  • The number of backlinks
  • The quality of those backlinks (Are you linking to a new site? Are you linking to a site that has good domain authority? Etc.)
  • The relevancy of these links (Does this backlink help users better understand your content? Is it applicable? Etc.)

FYI, new websites have less authority in the eyes of search engines. While time will heal this, building quality backlinks will help Google recognize your authority more quickly.

The best recognized sites are:

  • .com
  • .eu
  • .gov

Now comes the question: How can you start with building backlinks and what are the best ways to do so?

  • Focus on Partnerships so you can link to each others websites.
  • Guest Posts or Guest Bloggers will typically create content for your website in order to drive traffic back to their site.
  • Analyze competitors backlinks to find relevant sites.
  • Press Mentions. Having a local news outlet talk about your business or link to it through news resources is another great way to build up authority.

Related: How to Create a Link Building Campaign

Getting Started With eCommerce SEO

There is a lot more to eCommerce SEO than meets the eye. However, these first six foundational steps will keep you busy for the time being.

Need help with your SEO Strategy, learn more about our SEO Management Services