Ecommerce and SEO are a win-win combo for businesses and consumers.
Do you recall those days when you really had to travel to the mall to purchase what you wanted? No more! Consumers like having the ability to look for the solutions needed and buy a product with one click of a button from the convenience of their sofa.
Not just do ecommerce and SEO make life easier for consumers, they’re a big revenue driver for retailers. In the year 2017, United States e-commerce sites netted a sum of USD 452B in revenue.
Organic search consistently is the leading identifiable source of traffic for ecommerce websites – leading stores online receive more visitors from organic search (mainly Google) than social media, paid search, and referrals combined.
How can E-Commerce Websites Grab more Relevant Organic Visitors?
Ecommerce websites are available in all different sizes, industries, and shapes; different tactics work better for different websites.
But, I have discovered there are a few tactics which are efficient for most ecommerce sites. This post offers the top 20.
Begin with Keyword-Driven Category Structures
Begin your strategy of SEO off right by building your site structure that fits your keyword plan. It’s more effective and much easier than constructing the structure of your website to fit manufacturer product lines or store departments, then later attempting to shoehorn in keywords.
Note: Pencil in a rough structure of your website by adding a category for every one of your keywords that have a high search volume. It’s possible to adjust from that point, yet that usually is an excellent place to begin.
As you construct the structure of your website around the keywords folks use to browse your products, you also will make a website that is simpler for your customers to utilize. That is because you will have a navigation menu which uses precisely the same words your customers utilize while looking for the products that you sell.
Example: Let us assume your site sells hiking boots. Most retail stores may be tempted to organize the store utilizing categories like “Winter Boots,” “Top Rated,” or “New This Year.” Those categories may be helpful; however, it usually is best to construct your main navigation around what folks are looking for.
A fast look into the Google Keyword Planner shows us that people are browsing hiking boots by feature (waterproof hiking boots), brand (keen hiking boots), and gender (hiking boots for women). Developing a navigation structure which permits users to search by feature, brand, or gender is ideal for search engine optimization and is fantastic for user experience.
Target all Comparison Keywords
One effective strategy I have utilized for targeting extra searchers includes creating content that is targeted to comparison keywords. They’ll, of course, vary by industry, yet include keywords like:
- Wood fence vs. PVC fence
- Honda Civic vs. Toyota Corolla
- Best women’s deodorant
Those searches are from prospective buyers who are studying various products and attempting to make a decision. In offering valuable content that helps them make a purchasing decision, it’s possible to win their trust and then guide them towards buying from your store online.
Be Strategic with your Product Variations
Most e-commerce sites include products that have a lot of various product variations – model years, designs, sizes, colors, etc. Should you SEO and create individual product pages for every product variation? Generally, no. The general rule of thumb includes creating separate pages for every product variation a substantial amount of customers are separately looking for.
Target any “how-to” Keywords
Developing how-to content is one other fantastic method ecommerce stores may target prospective buyers. For instance, if your e-commerce store is selling automobile parts, it’s possible to develop content that ranks for searches like “how to change a Honda Civic headlight”. In offering a simple-to-follow tutorial, it’s possible to give a searcher confidence that they’re able to do the task themselves, then it’s possible to guide them towards buying a replacement headlight from your online store.
Add Content to Category Pages
Too many e-commerce sites neglect the search engine optimization upon their category pages. It’s a huge missed opportunity! For the majority of stores online, the product pages rank for longtail keywords, while category pages have the chance to rank for the greatest search volume keywords.
Do you wish to take your category page search engine optimization to the next level? An excellent place to begin is to write category descriptions that are keyword optimized which will offer relevant text to search engines and useful details to your customers. The descriptions may be added to the upper part of the page if they’re short, or can be moved to the lower part of the page if they’re long.
Utilize Shopping-Specific Tools for Keyword Research
All of us have our favorite tools for keyword research we use while constructing keyword lists for PPC or SEO campaigns – Moz keyword explorer, Google Adwords keyword planner, SEMRush, or other ones – all of them have their solid points and may be valuable tools. However, as you are constructing keyword lists for your e-commerce site, you will find extra relevant keywords if you utilize keyword research tools that are specifically for shopping and e-commerce searches.
Ubersuggest and Keywordtool.io are two favorites – they return ideas for keywords from eBay, Amazon, Google shopping, and additional e-commerce specific resources. You will discover that these tools oftentimes surface e-commerce keywords which more general keyword tools do not.
Create Enhanced Product Descriptions
As Google does not have a duplicate content penalty, per se (Google makes allowances for a little bit of content duplication in which several sellers offer precisely the same products), relying upon manufacturer offered product descriptions and product images is not ideal.
Not just will the descriptions be duplicated around many additional sites, they typically are short and aren’t optimized for conversions. Creating your own original product content makes your product pages:
- More in-depth
- More unique
- More engaging
All three of the above are great signals to send over to Google!
If there are too many products to rewrite all your product descriptions, here is what I suggest doing:
- Develop a spreadsheet with all your products
- Pull traffic in and sales information for every product
- Pull keyword search volume in for every product from keyword research
- Prioritize products by traffic, sales, as well as potential (consider keyword search volume)
- Begin with the greatest priority products and then work your way down your list, and rewrite descriptions as you go
Transfer to Https on each Page
Should a website owner make each page on the site HTTPS, or simply pages within the checkout process in which customers are putting in their payment information? If you asked me this question a couple of years ago, I’d have said you just need to encrypt your checkout pages. However, times are changing and now, expectations are different.
The argument for making the whole site utilize HTTPS is a firm one:
- Google provides a small ranking increase to HTTPS pages
- Utilizing HTTPS sitewide protects peoples’ passwords from getting intercepted while logged on
- Utilizing HTTPS on each page demonstrates your website security to customers during their purchasing journey
Google Chrome, as of July 2018, will begin to mark all HTTP pages as “not secure” – if your store pages online utilize HTTP in July, you may be certain that this label is going to scare off some customers.
Presently, around 3/4 of high traffic sites utilize HTTPS by default, yet only around 25 percent of lower traffic sites default to HTTPS. I expect more sites to begin to adopt HTTP as by default after July’s update by Google. Which will lead to more customers expecting it.
If you are prepared to change your whole website to HTTPS, below are basic measures you will have to take:
- If you have not already, install SSL certificate
- Configure server (that is through .htaccess) that automatically 301 redirects every http URL to the same URL upon https
- Update all redirects, canonical tags, or additional references to all http pages
- Set Google Search Console up for your https website URL
Add Proper Schema Mark-Ups
Google Rich Snippets are a chance for ecommerce websites to capture more visibility and click-through rates from all existing organic rankings. With the proper schema mark-ups, it’s possible to get star ratings, as well as product information to show up on the Google SERP listings.
The most critical mark-ups to implement on your website include:
- Aggregate Rating
Tips for ratings: Be certain that your aggregate rating is nestled inside your product schema, and the ratings information is for that certain product. Most e-commerce shops make the mistake of utilizing their merchant ratings, resulting in showing precisely the same rating on each page sitewide.
Blog on your Main Domain
We get it: Most e-commerce platforms do not have good blogging features, and most will not permit the installation of WordPress in a subdirectory (that is, example.com/blog). It is tempting to merely install WordPress on a subdomain (that is blog.example.com) to make things easy.
However, there are search engine optimization benefits to keeping the blog and additional content on the exact same subdomain as your main site. There’s solid evidence that suggests keeping your blog on the primary domain may improve your rankings on Google. I suggest that you keep the content and store on the exact same subdomain and liberally interlink between them.
Mine PPC Campaigns for Keyword Ideas
An increasing amount of keywords means more opportunities for ranking, meaning more revenue and potential customers. Where will you go to discover extra keywords to optimize your site for? One excellent source is Google Adwords – both for search, as well as shopping campaigns.
Here is how you do it:
- Run search terms report to gain a full list of user searches your advertisements showed on (from Keywords page, click Search Terms tab)
- Export searches to a spreadsheet
- Shortlist searches which led to substantial traffic or sales
- Run organic rank check on keyword shortlist
- All keywords you aren’t ranking high on are possible opportunities
Optimize Images for Search
Most customers will perform an image search as they are shopping for visual products like art, home décor, furniture, and clothing.
If you are selling products customers want to see, image search may be a critical source of new revenue and customers for your e-commerce store.
Recently, Google changed its user interface in such a way that’s beneficial to ecommerce sites. The view image choice was removed; therefore, searchers clicking on the image directly will go to your webpage.
Do you want to receive more visitors from image search? Begin with these four best practices that maximize image search rankings:
- Take your very own product photographs rather than utilizing manufacturer-provided photographs
- Utilize descriptive filenames which include target keywords, like honda-civic-2018-silver.jpg
- Utilize descriptive ALT tags which include target keywords
- Utilize descriptive captions and work inside target keywords
Measure Revenue by your Landing Page
Ever since the search engine Google removed the capability of seeing organic search keywords inside Google Analytics, attributing revenue to search engine optimization efforts has been more difficult. More difficult, but not impossible. Here is the approach I suggest:
- Download spreadsheet from Google analytics that shows organic search revenue by landing page – it’ll inform you which pieces of content and keyword groups drive revenue.
- Use Google search plug-in to pull spreadsheet which includes columns for search and landing page query – it’ll allow you to drill down to the specific keywords driving visitors to any given landing page.
It’s also possible to utilize some spreadsheet formulas that merge the search console and Google analytics data into a single sheet which shows all the information.
Increase Page Speed
Quicker page load times not just result in higher rankings on Google, they lead to more satisfied customers who spend more on your site. Scientists have known for 10 years that consumers abandon pages which take longer than a few seconds to load. If your pages are slowly loading, you are losing traffic that you do not even know about (if consumers exit before the page loads, the analytics will not even record them).
Below are 4 of the tactics I have discovered that may make a huge impact for most websites:
- Upgrade hosting to VPS that has SSD storage.
- Set caching up on server or set a CDN up which caches your pages.
- Utilize GTmetrix to identify configuration and code changes you might make that improves speed.
- Optimize images for decreased file size.
Add Canonicals to each Page
Ecommerce sites are well-known for creating different URLs to access almost identical pages. That is ecommerce features like category filters or sort orders develop new URLs for every option.
It’s why it is particularly vital for ecommerce sites to implement canonical tags sitewide. It’ll ensure that Google:
- Just indexes the main URL for every page
- Will not dilute link authority and additional metrics
The set-up of canonicals for filters and pagination is somewhat tricky, so let us tackle that in the following section.
Correctly Handle Category Pages
Many ecommerce platforms provide various category pages and sort and filter options. They’re good for users yet might create a bit of a complication for search engine optimization. Search engines specifically might wind up indexing multitudes of URLs for the exact same category.
It also is simple to make an error on the opposite end of the spectrum with the implementation of canonical tags in such a way that blocks the search engines from discovering all of the products inside a category.
Here is how to properly implement canonical tags upon category pages:
- If a category has more than one page of products, permit search engines to index all of them
- Just permit search engines to index default sort order
- Typically, you will want to allow search engines to index none or few of the filtered versions
Add Offers to Page Titles
Here is an easy, fast method of enticing more users to click upon your SERP listing: add a unique offer or selling proposition to your page description and title.
Rather than: Green and Blue Widgets | MyStore
Do this: Green and Blue Widgets | 25 percent off until June 15
Develop Epic Content Around High Priority Products
E-commerce search engine optimization managers oftentimes have trouble getting quality backlinks to build their authority. An excellent way to do that includes creating linkable assets which are closely associated with your top products and categories. Interlink the content with your products and categories in order for link juice to flow back and forth. Next, utilize outreach and additional tactics that build editorial backlinks to your pieces of content.
Develop Ego-Bait for Non-Competing Professionals
Ego bait is an excellent method of getting relevant influencers to link to and share your content. The idea is that flattering influencers by featuring them inside a content piece is an outstanding method of getting them to link to or share your content.
How might ecommerce sites utilize ego-bait? In identifying professionals selling complementary services or noncompeting products and featuring them within a content piece!
For instance, if your store sells promo materials, noncompeting experts would include event managers, chambers of commerce, business coaches, sales consultants, salespeople, and marketers.
Give Products away to Gain Publicity
In our digital world, it is simple to become overwhelmed with tweets, messages, and emails. If you are attempting to gain coverage from bloggers and additional influencers, you probably are one of many folks pitching products to them. How can you stand out in the crowd to gain attention for your website?
One exceptional method of standing out includes sending complimentary products to bloggers and additional influencers. Merely the gesture of a complimentary product might be sufficient to gain you a mention on their blog or social media channels. Even if not, it is an excellent way to begin a relationship.
Tip: If you are trading products for reviews, Google considers this a paid link. Therefore, it is better to give away your product without any expectation in return in order for any links you receive to be organic.
Ecommerce and SEO really are a match made in heaven. Companies get to market to consumers at the precise moment they are searching for their products, and consumers get to immediately locate the shopping information and products they want. The key for companies is to concentrate on delivering and understanding what the customer needs/wants.
Kolten Montgomery is the Founder & CEO of Reticence Marketing, a local full service marketing firm based in Colorado Springs, CO.