What’s the first thing you do when you are looking to purchase a new product or service?
Most probably, you hop on your computer or mobile phone and do a quick Google search.
Well, that’s not just you.
One study found that 44% of consumers perform a Google search before buying online. Moreover, nearly 38% of all traffic to eCommerce sites comes from search engines.
What do these numbers tell you?
If your eCommerce website is not optimised for search results, then you are missing out on a big chunk of your potential customers.
But, even when business owners are aware of the importance of search engine optimisation for their eCommerce site, they usually get it wrong. Now, imagine you have an online store that sells women’s clothes and want to get your site at the top of search engine results to generate more organic traffic. What keywords would you target to achieve this goal?
If your answer is “women clothes,” then you are in for a pretty tough competition. A simple Google search for “women clothes” will display results from big brands like Asos, Urban Outfitters, and Zara. It would be close to impossible for a small business to go head-on with these guys.
So, what can you do to get eCommerce SEO right?
We’re going to tell you all about it in this guide.
You might also be interested in WHAT IS THE BEST SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMISATION STRATEGY?
What Is SEO for eCommerce
Just as the name suggests, SEO for eCommerce refers to the tactics an online store uses to rank high in the search engine results and get more organic traffic from their target audience. These tactics involve everything from optimising your content and product descriptions to improving your site architecture to provide a better user experience.
In a way, eCommerce SEO is not that different from your regular SEO strategy. Whether you’re optimising a website or an eCommerce store, your main objective is to get as much traffic as possible for your target keywords. For a website, that may mean creating high-quality content and focusing on top clusters. When it comes to an online store, on the other hand, good SEO translates into compelling product descriptions, eye-catching images as well as making it easy for your customers to navigate your store and buy your products.
Why Should You Care about eCommerce SEO?
If your business is online, then you need to make sure that your customers can find you. And, that’s where eCommerce SEO comes into play. It enables you to reach your target audience without having to pour money into online ads.
Let us give you an example to better understand the benefits of eCommerce SEO. Let’s say that you have an online store that sells beach toys. One keyword that you may want to rank high for could be “sandcastle building kit.”
If you type “sandcastle building kit” in Google, you will find a few ads at the top of search engine results, then the organic listing. Don’t worry about the paid ads right now as most people click on the organic results.
Now, let’s do some math.
Let’s say that the keyword “sandcastle building kit” gets around 1000 average monthly searches. Assuming that the average CTR for the first organic result is 30%, then you would get 300 clicks.
If you have a conversion rate of 10%, which is the minimum for a buyer keyword like this one,) then you would score an extra 30 sales just by ranking number one in Google.
And, that’s just one keyword. Your eCommerce site has multiple product pages and most pages rank for more than just one keyword. So, with a bit of SEO, you could be looking at thousands of extra dollars in sales every month.
How do you get there?
Let’s learn about some of the best eCommerce SEO practices.
The Best SEO Practices for Your eCommerce Website
Here’s a quick look at what you need to focus on if you want to build an effective SEO strategy for your eCommerce store.
Keyword research is the first and one of the most important steps of a successful SEO strategy. Skipping this part or rushing through it could lead to costly mistakes, such as targeting keywords that are too difficult to rank for or ranking for a keyword that doesn’t get a lot of clicks.
But, there’s more to keyword research than just looking at the search volume your target key phrases get. One essential keyword to keep in mind is buyer intent.
Buyer intent is the probability that a consumer will buy a certain product or service in a certain amount of time.
For example, someone looking for “best phones 2020” is still in the research phase. They may not be ready to buy yet but are still looking at reviews, comparing products, etc. However, someone searching for “iPhone 12” is probably shopping around for the best deals.
It’s also important to focus more on long-tail keywords than head one. While they might have a low search volume, the reality is that the people searching for them are usually more action-driven. And, that could translate into more clicks and sales for you.
We know what you are wondering right now: how do you find keywords that can help your product pages rank high?
There are a few options you can use:
- SEO Tools: there are a plethora of tools that can help you research keywords and choose the best ones for your goals, starting with Google Keywords Planner. Ahrefs is another example of an excellent tool that can give you in-depth information about your target keywords, including a breakdown of your competition and how many users actually click on the search results.
- Spy on Your Competitors: If you have no idea where to begin your keyword research, then you can look at your competitors for some inspiration. Look at the keywords they are using on their homepage or product categories. Use tools like Moz to get more details about the key phrases they are using in their title tags and descriptions.
- Amazon: One of the great things about Amazon is that it will give you a lot of buyer keywords ideas since most people searching on Amazon have an intent to buy. Write these suggestions down and use an SEO tool to check the search volume and difficulty of potential keywords.
Strategically Include Keywords in Your Content
Just because you now have a great list of keywords doesn’t necessarily mean that your online store will start ranking high. How you use these keywords matters just as much.
A keyword-stuffed product description won’t propel your page to the top of search engine results.
Keyword stuffing is widely condemned by Google and it could lead to a search penalty.
Be smart about how you use your keywords. Include them in your product headline and description, in the image alt attributes and meta description to make it easier for crawlers to “read” your page.
Create a Great User Experience
A good SEO strategy goes beyond what keywords you are targeting and how you integrate them into your content. Even if your eCommerce site ranks at the top of search results and your products are the best on the market, prospective users will not spend that much time browsing through your merchandise if your site is confusing and difficult to navigate.
All this has to do with your site architecture.
There are many factors that you should keep in mind when designing your eCommerce store, but the golden rule that you need to remember is that it shouldn’t take more than three clicks to navigate from one page to another.
Not only that a poor site architecture will frustrate your users, but it can affect your SEO too. Here’s how.
When you link two pages internally, you create “link juice,” meaning that you pass authority from one high-performing page to another. The homepage is usually the most authoritative page of a website. You can use it to pass some “link juice” to your category pages and from here to your product pages.
Obviously, you want to send as much authority as possible to the best-performing pages to boost their ranking. But, that can be hard if your site architecture is too complex and it usually takes users four or more clicks to get to your product pages.
Focus on Writing High-Quality Content
What does content marketing have to do with eCommerce? After all, your purpose is to get prospects to buy your products, not subscribe to your weekly newsletter.
But, here’s the thing: 70% of consumers say that they prefer learning about a brand through its content rather than from an ad. Moreover, content marketing generates three times more leads than outbound marketing tactics.
So, the numbers are in your favour.
But, there’s one more aspect that makes content marketing a valuable component of your eCommerce SEO strategy. You can only use so many keywords in your product descriptions. Content marketing allows you to fill in the gaps and rank for the key phrases that didn’t make it to your product pages.
For example, if you are selling electric toothbrushes for kids, you can write blog posts for keywords like “how to use an electric toothbrush” or “the best electric toothbrushes for kids.” You can then link the articles to your product pages and generate more traffic and potential conversions.
Don’t Duplicate Your Content
If you are a retailer that sells products produced by other companies, then it may be tempting to simply take the product descriptions from the manufacturer’s website and use them for your own pages. While it’s essential to give prospects as much information as possible about the products you are selling, duplicate content can hurt your eCommerce store.
Duplicate content confuses Google, making it difficult for the search engine to decide which page it should rank at the top of SERPs.
Understandably, if you sell a ton of products on your eCommerce store, writing unique descriptions for all of them will be a daunting task. But, if you want to rank high for “Dell XPS 13 laptop,” then you would need to differentiate yourself from all the other online stores that sell the same product. And, a compelling product description that highlights the features and benefits of the item is a good start.
Build Backlinks for eCommerce
Backlinks are an important factor that search engines use to determine ranking. They act as a “vote of confidence” from one site to another, as Moz puts it. If a high-authority site links back to one of your pages, then Google will take that as a signal that the content on your website is relevant and helpful and will boost your ranking. For example, if laptopmag.com writes and articles about the best laptops for 2020 and includes a link to one of your product pages, that that is a huge vote of confidence that can boost the ranking for that particular page.
So, how can you generate backlinks? Well, there are many ways, but the best strategy would be to reach out to the leaders in your industry and offer to guest post on their blogs.
Do You Need Help Implementing These eCommerce SEO Tips?
The tips listed here are merely scratching the tip of the iceberg of a comprehensive eCommerce SEO strategy. You should also avoid complicated URLs, fix any broken links, optimise your images, include customer reviews, and know what tools to use to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. We’re not going to lie: all of this requires a lot of work and a good understanding of how the search engines work and what you need to do to perform well.
If you need help with optimising your online store, we here at Australian Internet Advertising can be a valuable partner. Check out website to see what we can do for you.