You probably already know what SEO is and you are probably already implementing some kind of SEO strategy. If you are running an eCommerce store then you should be aware that normal SEO probably won’t get you the results that you are looking for. There are some extra steps when it comes to getting an eCommerce store to rank well.
Why is eCommerce different?
Normal websites generally have static pages. They would have a home page, main offering pages and a blog. eCommerce sites will normally also have a multitude of product pages that are always changing when new products come in or are phased out. These pages also normally house information that is replicated on all of the other sites that house the same products as you. There could potentially be hundreds of websites that have exactly the same product information and descriptions as you as they all use what the manufacturer specifies. So what do you do here
According to a study done in 2022, 37.5% of all sales on eCommerce stores came from organic search traffic. The intent varies from informational to transactional but they normally have one aim. Their customers are looking to buy something later or they want to buy it now. You want to capture all of these users and SEO will lead these potential buyers to your online store.
How to develop an effective eCommerce strategy for SEO?
We know that organic traffic is highly valuable for eCommerce sites so how do you go about capturing this traffic?
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer or straight path to victory here. SEO is not a linear path. The strategy used will depend on the context but in general, there are certain umbrellas of SEO that one must follow. Aspects such as keyword research, link building, on-page optimisations and content generation are all important. They also all need to be looked at through an eCommerce lens. Tracking your goals and conversions are also very important. Start off a strategy on the following points:
- Products: start off by figuring out which of your products should be prioritised. If you have a particular product that you want to push then focus the strategy on that product.
- Competition: Let’s firstly state that the competition you should look at here is the other websites that already rank well for the terms that you want to rank for. Have a look at what they do well when it comes to SEO. Take each of these aspects from your competitors and find ways to implement them on your own website.
What are eCommerce best practices for SEO?
Let’s look at each aspect of SEO and show you what you can do for better eCommerce rankings.
This will always be the first step of any SEO optimisation as you need to know which keywords you want to optimise the site for. You will want to select keywords that have good search volumes but also don’t have crazy competition. Try to rank for the low competition keywords first and once you capture these, move on to the ones that are more competitive (and usually have higher search volumes)
Products on eCommerce sites normally have thin content so keyword placement is important. You don’t want to make the text look forced. A good rule to follow is try to optimise every page on the site for a different keyword…one page=one main keyword. There will be secondary keywords that you can also use but every page should have one main optimisation objective.
Then you will want to include this keyword in the following places:
- URL slug
- Product headline
- Product descriptions
- Image ALT attributes
Look for transactional keywords. You want to find keywords that have purchase intent like “Nike shoes for sale” as opposed to simply optimising for “Nike shoes”. Anyone looking for something for sale wants to buy them and doesn’t just want information.
Product page optimisations
A product page is a standalone page for each of your offerings. You want these pages to have a lot of information but not so much information that it makes users feel lost. A good product page should include the following:
- Value to the customer
- Unique descriptions
- A clear brand voice that stands out from other competitors
- Creative and proficient writing (no fill-in-the-blank templates)
- Schema markup that will tell search engines how to display your page properly
Don’t reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to. You will most likely have online competitors that have similar product offerings to your own. If they rank higher than you then they are doing something right that you are not.
Have a look at the page that ranks for the term that you want to rank for and see what their page looks like. What are they targeting, how much content is on that page, is the design better than yours, and does their page load much faster than yours? These are all factors that can influence rankings. See what they do better and replicate it (or improve).
Category page optimisations
We have recommended that you improve your product pages but the truth is that even the best product pages will battle to rank all by themselves. This is why you also need to have category pages that each related product sits under.
Always have your products organised in a logical manner using category pages. Search engines love organised content and the category page itself has the potential to rank. Let’s stick with the Nike example used previously. The specific product pages will rank for granular searches, for example “Mens Airforce 1 Nikes” will bring up the Airforce 1 Nikes product page but if you search for “Nike Shoes” then their category page will appear as you are looking for a wide variety of Nike shoes. Your own products should ideally rank in the same way.
One way to get your name out there is to become an authority with regard to information in your industry. Create a blog that houses well-written, well research and unique content. Create content clusters around the same general keyword.
Sticking with the Nike example, some of the content they may have:
- Which shoes are the best for exercise?
- Are Nike Air Force 1’s good value for money?
- Why Le Bron James only wears Nike?
- Nike shoes are made with love
Always include relevant internal links to other pieces of content that relate to the one you are creating. Uses links to other informational content, and links to category and product pages.
This will show users that you have a lot of content on a given subject, it will keep them on the site and potentially get them to make a purchase too. Win-win-win.
Even if users don’t buy something right away, establishing yourself as an authority on a product means that they will probably come back to you when they do choose to purchase.
There are so many important aspects to look at. What we have looked at so far are the biggest factors but don’t forget about things like social media sharing, your website design and user experience and how easy your site is to use.
Get more traffic to your eCommerce site today!
If you follow the advice highlighted in this article then you will start to see more customers and sales. SEO is a long-term marketing strategy and success won’t happen overnight. Keep at it and consistently optimise your website.