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A Guide to eCommerce SEO

On a global scale, the world has become stronger in digital marketing than ever before. And search engine optimization (SEO) for eCommerce is one of the most significant initiatives for all marketing companies these days.

Now, online shopping is a way of life. If you’re an eCommerce provider, it’s imperative to understand how SEO for eCommerce works because it’s a highly competitive market. You need to know the rules to be seen above your competitors on the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here, we’ll talk about five tips and tricks to help you be successful with your SEO for eCommerce endeavors.

What is eCommerce SEO?

Let’s start at the beginning. When you master SEO, you can achieve consistent, high-quality organic traffic. However, between search engine algorithm updates and overuse of industry jargon, it’s often hard to get the hang of SEO, particularly if you’re new to the game.

eCommerce SEO is the process of optimizing your online store’s content, so it plays by the search engines’ game. This includes incorporating accurate keywords into well-crafted product descriptions, creating product pages for each item in your store, and obtaining backlinks to help win a higher ranking with Google and the others. You’ll drive more organic (non-paid) traffic to your online store when done right.

You can’t land on just any SERP; you need to be on that ever-important page one spot. The further you rank from the first page, the less traffic you’ll get, even if you make it to page two. In fact, according to Backlinko, only 0.78% of people click on results on the second page. Once you make it to the coveted first page, your ranking position there matters, too. The higher you are on page one, the more likely you will get solid click-through rates; the lower your ranking position, the less likely people will scroll that far down and see your stuff.

Getting Started with Your eCommerce SEO Strategy

If you’re new to search engine optimization and are trying to learn how to rank high on Google’s SERPs, keep reading! We’ll talk about SEO basics in a way that’s easy to understand and, most importantly, actionable.

Step #1: Keyword Research

Keyword research is vital for all forms of digital marketing. It’s the first step to identifying those high-value search phrases your future buyers are using. Be mindful, however, that you don’t ever want to guess at your keywords. Sure, you know your business better than anybody, but when you use the right keyword research tools, you might be surprised at the results. Consumers often look for phrases you wouldn’t even think about using in your content.

Keyword research for eCommerce is a little different from other types of keyword research. In this instance, most search engines are looking for commercial (rather than informational) keywords. What’s the difference? Information keywords are precisely that: informational. eCommerce sites, however, need to use commercial keywords, which show buying intent.

You don’t need to (and really shouldn’t) do this work manually. When you utilize the tools available to you, you’ll find lower competition keywords, which often translates into higher conversion rates. In the end, you’re looking for keywords that are:

  • High volume
  • Low competition
  • High-intent

Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner (free) are great tools to get you started.

Step #2: Focus on Homepage SEO

Your homepage is a great place to focus your SEO budget and energy. Keep in mind that, while it’s certainly one of the top pages you should optimize on your store’s site, it should by no means be the only one you focus on!

Here are three key factors to keep in mind when you’re ready to optimize your homepage:

Homepage Title Tag

Your SEO title tag is one of the most vital elements of on-site SEO. Make sure it includes your company name and the main keyword phrases you’re targeting. Your title tag should be 70 characters or less and curated in a way that’s appealing to your searchers, as that’s how people will see your brand in the search results.

Homepage Meta Description

Your homepage’s meta description is a 160-character description of your company that’ll also appear under the title tag. It needs to be written in a way that entices searchers to visit your site.

Homepage Content

Your homepage content needs to help visitors understand your brand better and the products you’re offering in a clear, concise way. Don’t overload people with too much information. Cluttered homepages can confuse and frustrate people and search engines alike. While you’re at it, consider featuring your top products on your homepage, in addition to your unique selling proposition.

Step #3: Make Sure Your Site Architecture Follows the Golden Rules

Site architecture refers to how your navigation, category pages, and product pages are set up. At its core, it’s all about getting your best, most applicable content in front of visitors while minimizing the number of times they have to click to find it.

There are two golden rules to great site architecture:

  • Make it simple and scalable
  • Make sure it doesn’t take more than three clicks to get from one page to any other page

Creating or modifying a great site architecture can get a little hairy. At this particular step, it’s usually best to consult an SEO expert to make sure you’ve got all your ducks in a row.

Step #4: Implement Technical SEO

Technical SEO involves building a site with clean URLs, correct internal linking, and, more important than anything, without any stacked redirects. Here are a few key steps to help you get started:

  • Implement schema markup. Rich snippets (or schema markup) enable you to highlight specific bits of information for Google and other search engines.
  • Clean up URLs. Swap out dynamic URLs for clean URLs and get rid of the parameters. Avoid using spaces or underscores; utilize for dashes if you must. Stick to all lowercase letters, and add targeted keywords. Also, don’t forget to keep it short and simple!
  • Redirect 404 pages. It’s always good to clean up and redirect your dead pages.
  • Implement pagination. Pagination enables sites to divide content into smaller sections.

Step #5: Maintain Site Security

You might deal with hundreds to thousands of users, depending on how large your eCommerce store grows, meaning many transactions can occur in a single day. It’s incredibly vital to maintain the security of your website. eCommerce platforms are unfortunately very vulnerable to cyberattacks that can lead to leaked financial credentials and hacked accounts. Search engines pay attention to the security level of your site and consider this factor when figuring out where you should rank in the SERPs.

Your eCommerce site needs an HTTPS and SSL certification to protect users’ sensitive data. You also need to back your site up regularly, so if data gets damaged or disrupted, you can easily restore it as quickly as possible.

Work With an SEO Specialist

If all of this sounds overwhelming, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are great folks who specialize in eCommerce SEO who will be happy to help you implement these best practices and more. Soon, you’ll be off and running, enjoying the success of your online store

 

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Alyssa Anderson

Alyssa Anderson is the Director of Content at Zero Gravity Marketing (ZGM), a digital marketing agency in Madison, CT. ZGM is known for developing overarching marketing strategies and specializes in Pay-Per-Click, SEO, content marketing, social media, development, design, and eCommerce services.

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