How To: eCommerce SEO
A skilful eCommerce SEO strategy can bring in tangible profits for your online business. Your competitors might already be using it. Are you?
E-commerce brings in trillions of dollars for businesses worldwide – and it’s easy to see why. The convenience, cost, and large global market make it the preferred way to shop.
Online retail sales amounted to $4.9 trillion globally last year. It’s forecasted to grow by over 50% within the next four years.
But how does this tie in with search engines like Google?
In short, 44% of people start their online shopping journey with a Google search.
Just ask yourself how often you Google a product or service you are looking to purchase.
As such, the obvious demand for search engine optimisation (SEO) for eCommerce, or eCommerce SEO, is growing day by day.
Read on to understand its components and how it’s different from other forms of SEO.
eCommerce SEO VS Normal SEO
eCommerce SEO deals with optimising an online store so it ranks on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs).
Due to the nature of eCommerce websites, the content is different – an online store would not have the same pages or text as a typical site.
The main difference is the emphasis on product and category pages on the website.
You need to include descriptions with relevant and target keywords on product pages, headers and footers, and your homepage. If the situation calls for it, you’d also need to set up a blog.
Establishing backlinks from relevant websites to improve click-through rate (CTR) and website authority is also crucial for eCommerce. All of these work in symbiosis to enhance your Google ranking and visibility online.
There are certain things you need to do differently, like the kind of keywords you choose. Here’s a guide on how you can create a successful eCommerce SEO plan:
1) eCommerce Keyword Research
For eCommerce SEO, the majority of your site’s keywords will be tailored around product searches. Photo by: cottonbro studio.
For eCommerce SEO, instead of focusing your keyword research around informational keywords, the majority of your site’s keywords will be tailored around product searches.
That means you need to tackle keyword research with product-focused keywords in mind.
You can utilise eCommerce SEO tools such as Amazon Suggest, SEM Rush, Google search console, or Google keyword planner to find product keyword ideas for your campaign.
A rule of thumb is that targeted or long-tail keywords are better for eCommerce as you would be capturing user queries with higher search intent (higher intent users are closer to their point of purchase).
It is also recommended that you take a look at the keywords that your competitors use to describe their categories, or get a trusted digital marketing agency do it for you.
2) Site architecture
Site architecture is how pages on your site are organised and arranged. It is especially important for eCommerce websites because user experience will affect how many customers convert or make a purchase.
Have you ever scrolled through an online shop only to click out because of an inconvenient website? Maybe it isn’t easy to find the products you want, or the payment and registration process takes too long.
Seamless web navigation is the goal – eCommerce sites tend to have significantly more pages for each product or service, so you need to make it easy for your customers to find them.
You need to make sure search engines can index and find all of your pages too.
There are some fundamental rules here. Firstly, keep your site simple and scalable. A flat-structured site works better with Google’s algorithm. Secondly, keep every product page three (or fewer) clicks from your homepage.
Suppose you suspect that your site is giving customers a reason not to buy your products. In that case, it’s best to seek out the expertise of a reputable SEO marketing agency so that you can avoid technical glitches and broken links that can happen when you attempt to move around or add new pages yourself.
When it comes to eCommerce SEO, a flat-structured site works better with Google’s algorithm. Photo by: Pixabay.
3) On-Page SEO
Meta descriptions and page titles
After ensuring your site architecture is user-friendly, you should also optimise your category and product pages.
These two types of pages attract the highest percentage of your site’s total traffic.
Include your target keyword in your page’s title tag and again in your meta descriptions.
Another tip is to use “modifiers” with your title tag so your business will show up for long-tail search queries.
Imagine your target keyword is: “leather shoes”. After adding a modifier, it may look like: “cheap leather shoes on offer”.
Some other common terms people use when searching for products are words like “Cheap”, “Deals”, “Review”, “Best”, “Free Shipping”, and many more.
Longer copy with target keywords is important for eCommerce SEO. Photo by: Karolina Grabowska.
Product and Category Page
Balancing SEO and content is always a challenge. Yes, you want to write high-quality content, but aside from that, you also need to keep conversions in mind.
However, pages that rank on Google typically have longer content – sometimes over 1,000 words in total.
It might be impossible for you to write 1000 words for every single page on your site, so try to write in-depth product descriptions for the 10-50 most important product and category pages.
You can also add to the total word count by enabling product reviews on your site.
Aside from the number of words, make sure you’ve used your target keyword 3-5 times in your content.
Ideally, your keywords should be concentrated at the top of the page because Google’s algorithm puts a bit more emphasis on keywords that appear higher up.
Ultimately, make sure everything makes sense and flows together. Remember to avoid keyword stuffing or you might get penalised! If you’re not sure, we recommend you seek expert advise from a digital marketing agency for the best results.
Short URLs with a lot of keywords tend to rank higher on Google’s first page than longer URLs. Photo by: Leeloo Thefirst.
URLs: Short & Keyword-Rich
Generally, short URLs with a lot of keywords tend to rank higher on Google’s first page than longer URLs.
For category pages, include 1-2 words describing your category:
Follow the same process for subcategories. The subcategory comes after the main category in the URL:
For product pages, include just your target keyword for that product separated by dashes (“-”):
Strategic internal linking is an effective eCommerce SEO tactic.
You should include internal links from authoritative pages on your site to high-priority product and category pages to improve their visibility on SERPs.
Rich snippets help you stand out among other results being shown on SERPs. Photo by Karolina Grabowska.
Additionally, you can implement a product review schema to get rich snippets displayed on Google SERPs.
Rich snippets help you stand out among other results being shown on the SERPs. They add extra information to the text that Google displays on the SERPs about your eCommerce website.
This extra data can range from ratings and product prices to release dates.
As an eCommerce site, you have the best opportunity to add the most interesting rich snippets for your potential customers – reviews.
You can include this using “Schema markup” on your product pages. Schema markup is a special code that tells search engines to take a deeper look at the page content.
You can manually set this up, but it gets confusing. That’s why it’s recommended you use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper or get a digital marketing agency in Kuala Lumpur (like us) to help you.
As an eCommerce site, you have the best opportunity to add the most interesting rich snippets for your potential customers – reviews. Photo by: affapress.com.
4) Content marketing
Publishing content on your eCommerce site and social media accounts regularly help you rank better on Google.
For example, eCommerce websites selling shoes can feature blog posts with in-depth content on upcoming trends, best-sellers, or care instructions.
For keyword and article ideas, be sure to check out sites your customers would visit like forums and Facebook pages.
Here, you can list out the common words and descriptors they use when reviewing or sharing product recommendations with others.
An eCommerce SEO strategy is a must if you want to elevate your online business to greater heights especially in today’s saturated market. Contact us, the leading digital marketing agency in Kuala Lumpur, to learn more.