Ecommerce SEO has come a long way over the past few years. Today, if you want your ecommerce store to grow, you need to do a lot more than just add keywords to product descriptions. If you don’t optimize your ecommerce store properly, you will have a hard time getting eyeballs on your store.
- What Is Ecommerce SEO?
- Why Ecommerce SEO Matters
- The Most Effective Ecommerce SEO Strategies
What Is Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO is simply a method that you can use to get more traffic to your website. It’s an umbrella term that refers to a variety of optimization techniques that will help you rank your page better on search engines.
Why Ecommerce SEO Matters
Ecommerce SEO is more important than ever before. Here are just a few stats that illustrate the importance of ecommerce SEO:
- In 2021, Google was responsible for just above 70% of all desktop search traffic. Bing got 12%, and Baidu was second at 13%.
- More than 360 billion searches were run on Google this year!
- 61% of all marketers believe that working on SEO and growing a company’s organic presence should be considered a priority.
- 90% of all searchers are already in the clear about which brand to buy from when they initiate their search.
- According to Brafton, more than 95% of searchers only look at the first page of results.
Needless to say, you need to focus on optimizing your website for higher search engine rankings.
The Most Effective Ecommerce SEO Strategies
Now, there are a number of things that you can do to improve your store’s SEO. Here are 10 key practices to help you improve your online store’s SEO.
1. Ecommerce Keyword Research
You must choose your website’s keywords around actual product searches. For example, “Leather Jackets for Men.” The following platforms can help you identify relevant product-related keywords with minimum effort.
1.1. Amazon Suggest
Being one of the largest ecommerce websites, Amazon is a goldmine for researching keywords. It provides a list of long-tail keywords that are product-specific. For example, “blue leather jackets.”
Not only do such keywords convert better, but long-tail keywords are also less competitive. You can start your keyword research by typing a keyword that best describes your products. Come up with a variation of keywords and note down all the relevant keywords that can be fruitful for your ecommerce SEO strategy. Feel free to rinse and repeat the process for all the important products you’re selling on your ecommerce website.
You can also find more keywords by delving deeper into the different category pages on Amazon. For instance, if you want keywords related to “jeans,” you just have to search for items through the category pages, and you’ll have a bunch of options.
Some of the keywords that you can glean from the example above include:
- Relaxed straight jeans
- Retro jeans
- Slim fit jeans
- Boot cut jeans
- Skinny fit jeans
- Fitted jeans
- Loose jeans
This is just a brief example of how effective Amazon can be when searching for the right keywords.
Ahrefs is a phenomenal tool for keyword research. It also has a fantastic Keywords Explorer section that you can use to figure out the best keywords to target. When you search for a specific keyword in Ahrefs, it automatically gives you a bunch of matching terms, and shows you more insights, such as traffic potential, what else you can rank for, related questions, and the common mentions.
Building on from the “blue leather jackets” example, here’s what you can get from Ahrefs:
You can also get a full SERP overview, showing you the top websites ranking for that specific keyword, the number of backlinks, their domain authority, traffic, and the top keywords that they rank for, as shown below.
More importantly, ecommerce SEO tools like Ahrefs can also help you find LSI (latest semantic indexing) keywords for your site as well. These are keywords which are similar to your original keyword, and are considered as a ranking factor by Google.
1.3. Keyword Tool Dominator
Keyword Tool Dominator is another fantastic tool that you can use to find relevant, ranking keywords. It pulls in data from multiple sources, including:
- Google Shopping
It also assigns a score to each keyword, as shown below.
The search parameters are fantastic, letting you go into considerable depth to find the best keywords.
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2. Optimize Your Ecommerce Store’s Architecture
It doesn’t matter whether you have a small or huge ecommerce website, your website architecture creates all the difference. If your website is based on a Content Management System (CMS), you don’t have to worry about the website architecture as it is already in place.
2.1. Ecommerce Website Architecture
The structure of your ecommerce website should be simple so that the link juice flows from top to bottom smoothly.
In the above image, each product page is only three clicks away from the homepage.
Homepage > Category > Sub Category > Product
There is an unofficial rule among UX/UI developers known as the ‘3-click rule.’ According to this, you must reconsider any page that requires more than three clicks to navigate back to your homepage. Don’t complicate the user journey!
2.2. Add Breadcrumbs
You can also optimize website architecture by adding breadcrumbs. The breadcrumb trail is useful for both web designers and SEO experts. It helps Google bots better understand your website’s hierarchy, and helps online visitors better comprehend their current position on your website.
Google also shows breadcrumbs within the search index. SEO experts believe it simplifies the user experience on SERP. You should know about the three kinds of breadcrumbs:
- Location-based Breadcrumbs – It’s one of the most common types of a breadcrumb trail. It highlights the position of a page within the website hierarchy. A user can visit similar pages using location-based breadcrumbs.
- Attribute-based Breadcrumbs – Similar to location-based breadcrumbs, the only difference between the two is that instead of the page title, it uses a specific keyword or another attribute to represent the web page. They are ideal for ecommerce websites.
- History-based Breadcrumbs – These breadcrumbs show the path the user has taken to any webpage. They can access a web page through various paths.
2.3. Optimize Sitelinks
Google adds website links to each website in organic search. Check out the Cloudways site links that show the most visited pages to users.
You can’t tell Google which pages to include as your site links because the process is fully automated. This is what Google says about adding site links.
2.4. Keep a Proper Internal Linking Structure
Make sure that there are internal links properly connecting product pages with each other. For instance, you can link to another product at the end of a specific product page, either as a recommended product or within the product description.
2.5. Ecommerce Website Architecture Example
Let’s take PetSmart.com as a real-life example of a well-structured ecommerce store. Suppose, you have landed at the website in search of a food bowl for your pet.
You’d head to the homepage, hover over the “Shop by Pet” category and click “Dog.”
Followed by “Bowls and Feeders:”
And you get a list of all the bowls and feeders for your dog.
Petsmart uses a flat-site structure allowing Google to fully index all of their pages. In just three clicks, the user finds what he wants.
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3. On-Page SEO Strategy for Ecommerce Sites
Now that you have a better understanding of ecommerce website architecture, let’s see how to fix on-page elements of your ecommerce store. On-page SEO refers to the optimization of content and code on each page of the website.
3.1. Prepare a Keyword List
You must start by creating a list of keywords you want to rank your ecommerce store on. Suppose you want to target Black Friday. To prepare your online store, you must find the keywords that are relevant to Black Friday. For example, “Best Black Friday Deals” or “Best Black Friday Sales.”
It is better to keep searching for variations until you find relevant keywords with minimum difficulty. Feel free to use any tool of your choice. Once you have the keywords finalized, check out for their variations and add them to the main page, category pages, and product pages.
3.2. Optimize for Featured Snippet
You need to write product descriptions or landing pages or blogs in such a way that it can rank for featured snippets. The featured snippet is the top description that shows in Google’s Search Results.
When you search for keywords online, you might see a featured snippet appear at the top of the first page. If you can see a featured snippet, you need to optimize relevant content accordingly. For instance, here’s how Macy’s handbag brands show up as a featured snippet:
And, here’s how the content appears on the website:
3.3. Improve Page Speed
Google indicates that website speed is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. This signifies the importance of page speed in increasing the rankings of your ecommerce store. Use Ecommerce SEO tools like the Page Speed tool to optimize your site’s performance.
3.4. Ecommerce Product Descriptions
There are no set rules for writing effective product descriptions for search engines. Nevertheless, you must remember the following key points for the best ecommerce SEO strategy before you start any promotions.
- Use click-magnet keywords like “25% OFF” or “Lowest Price” in your product’s Meta Title to boost your Click Through Rate (CTR)
- You can also add modifiers like “Buy” or “Deals” to get more traffic
- Try to incorporate phrases like “Great Selection” or “FREE Shipping” to maximize your product page’s CTR
- Keep product descriptions between 300 to 800 words for regular products and 1000+ for high-selling products.
- When adding keywords, you might want to take a look at what your competition is doing. Compare 3-4 product descriptions from stores in a similar niche, and evaluate how many times they have used the keywords.
- Ensure clear visibility of important features in a prominent place within the product page
- Create internal links on product and category pages
- Use at least 3-5 links in your product descriptions
Moreover, add a Review Section to your product pages. Entice the buyers to engage with your web store and write about their experience. This will help your ecommerce website rank even for ‘Review’ keywords and bring in more traffic to the website. It’s better to add a Tabular Structure for Product Specifications, as that will help search engines to pick up snippets. Ecommerce product page SEO is an important component of the overall optimization and integration of your ecommerce SEO strategy.
4. Off-Page SEO – Create Backlinks for Ecommerce sites
Now that we have covered the main ecommerce SEO best practices, let’s move on to the off-page ecommerce SEO strategies.
Off-page SEO for ecommerce websites is a little different from on-page SEO. It includes partnerships, sponsorships, and affiliate programs; however, the basics are the same such as link building and outreaching.
4.1. Link Building and Announcements
Start with the basic link building tactics for the initial promotion of your offers. You can start with Q/A websites, posting on forums, and on platforms such as HARO.
You will see constant fluctuations as algorithms analyze the authority of your website. To sustain better rankings in the search engines, get quality links from third-party websites to your main landing pages.
- You can strike partnerships with different affiliate websites that are working within your industry. These affiliate websites will take a small percentage as commission when they successfully sell your products. The advantage of entering into a partnership is that you will not have to stress over increasing your sales.
- Another way to promote your offers is by sponsoring them on different blogs. There are many high-paying blogs that accept sponsored content. You can use their audience to promote your products and boost your ecommerce sales.
4. 2. Blogger Outreach
One of the best ecommerce SEO best practices is to promote your ecommerce store by reaching out to relevant bloggers from your industry. You can start outreaching after analyzing which influencers are promoting your competitor’s products.
In that way, you can ask the influencers to include your promotional offers on their blog too. Many bloggers might do it for free, while some will request for a payment. Either way, don’t forget to ask for backlinks. Generally, they are happy to do so.
You can also request bloggers’ websites for guest posts. All they need is a controversial idea like ‘iPhone or Samsung: Which one is better for Introverts?’ Think of similar topics and grow your ecommerce business by outreaching industry bloggers.
- If you get in touch with another party that wants to exchange a link, you can do that too. You’ll just have to add a link to their store, and they’ll do that for you too. However, if you are getting links from a blogger, you should always make sure that you get links from their high-traffic pages.
4.3. Pick the Right Influencers for Promotion
You can bring more eyeballs to your online store by connecting with the right influencers. Make sure that each influencer you target has a blog of his/her own.
Here is what you can do to connect with relevant influencers:
- Create skyscraper content and ask influencers to share it
- Interview influencers on your ecommerce blog
- Curate tips from various influencers on any particular topic and then ask them to provide you a link back from their blogs
4.4. Find and Replace Outdated Resources with Email Outreach
You must find resources that are out-of-date, expired or not working. No matter what you sell, plenty of businesses go out of business every day. There is no point in links that redirect to their old website.
In many cases, the domain name of the business expires, and the entire website gets replaced with parked pages. You must know that the pages on out-of-business websites are technically still working as they’re not 404s and broken link checkers cannot find them.
Therefore, once you’ve identified the outdated resources, inform the concerned person via emails. Moreover, don’t just tap them on the shoulder, instead, provide them with a replacement link. They’ll be happy to entertain you when you help them improve their websites.
5. Technical SEO for Ecommerce Stores
Technical SEO is all about fixing issues with your ecommerce store to make sure you don’t lose traffic. It’s about getting rid of duplicate content, fixing broken links, and removing excess pages from your store. Ideally, you’ll want to use a tool such as Ahrefs to run technical SEO on your website. Here’s a full guide, featuring popular ecommerce store LARQ.
First, you need to enter the ecommerce store’s URL in a tool like Ahrefs. Then, you’ll see a comprehensive overview of the store itself.
Now, if you want to search for broken links, the next step is to click on “Broken Links” from the sidebar on the left. As you can see, LARQ has quite a few broken links on its website:
The anchor, link, and the page are all shown, making it easy for SEO experts to fix it.
Similarly, it’s also important to keep an eye on pages that aren’t generating any revenue and remove those from your site. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that you can use to figure out which pages are generating traffic, and which ones you need to remove.
Here’s how data is presented in Google Analytics:
It’s fairly easy to understand, allowing technical SEO guys to figure out which pages need to be removed, and which ones to keep.
Another important issue relates to the use of duplicate content. Ideally, you don’t want any duplicated product descriptions or blogs on your ecommerce store at all. You can run a Site Audit using Ahrefs to figure out how your website is performing, and make changes accordingly.
Ideally, you’d want to:
- Cut down on boilerplate repetition
- Syndicate content with care
- Be very consistent in terms of content quality
- Use 301 redirects if you have restructured your store
- Always use top-level domains
- Avoid publishing stubs
- Cut down on publishing similar content on your site.
You will also pay attention to the way product pages are designed. If you want, you can also install a plugin, such as the Yoast SEO plugin on WordPress, to further improve your website’s SEO.
6. Content Marketing
It’s also incredibly important for you to make sure that you create content clusters to promote your content of your ecommerce sites. For instance, if you are going to sell jeans, you need to identify relevant content above as shown above.
Once you have identified the relevant keywords, the next thing to do is to create other articles around that specific keyword. For instance, if you are selling jeans, then you might want to produce content around other relevant keywords, such as:
- Boot-cut jeans
- Straight-fit jeans
- Skinny jeans
And more. Similarly, if you are selling T-shirts, you should consider producing relevant content around other types of t-shirts, such as:
- Ruffled shoulder shirts
- Crop top shirts
- Shoulder drop shirts
- V-neck shirts
- High-neck shirts
By producing content in a similar niche and around similar topics, you can group them together. You can then link to the pieces together in order to create dedicated user funnels and guide your traffic accordingly until you eventually convert them. You can also add CTAs in your content to further coax users through the sales funnel.
Ecommerce SEO Is an Ongoing Process
You must have an effective content strategy in place that helps you accomplish your business goals. I believe we’ve established how the best ecommerce SEO strategy can allow your content to rank higher on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
Optimizing an ecommerce store is important. However, if you lack the expertise, you can always outsource a professional. Throughout the year, you must prepare your online store for special days like Valentine’s Day or Black Friday. The holiday season – last quarter of any year – is a great opportunity to scaling the revenue of your online business. You can also choose to outsource these tasks to a SEO reseller.
Don’t let go of opportunities. Optimize your online store with thematic visuals to attract potential customers. Without the right marketing strategy and planning, you won’t be able to engage with your audience, and will surely lose a good chunk of sales.
I’ve mentioned all the tried and tested top ecommerce SEO strategies that you can implement to promote your ecommerce business. Also, see Eight Steps to Planning Successful SEO Campaigns in 2021. Do remember that SEO for ecommerce websites demand a lot of time and effort. Therefore, optimize and start promoting your ecommerce store today. In case you’re unable to comprehend any particular tactic, simply comment below and we will be happy to answer.
Moreover, in order to follow a 360-degree approach in leveling up your ecommerce seo checklist, read the following actionable in-depth articles related to your seo goals for the year:
- Ecommerce SEO Checklist
- How to Sell Ecommerce SEO Services to Improve Revenue
- Ecommerce Product Page SEO: 10 Best Practices to Follow
- 10 Ecommerce SEO Tools to Grow Your Revenue in 2022
Q1. How much does ecommerce SEO cost?
There’s no fixed pricing for ecommerce SEO. The cost of SEO depends on the scale of the project. In 2022, most businesses usually paid between $1000 to $2,000 in a month. One-time projects generally cost between $1000, going all the way up to $35,000, with hourly rates varying from $150 to $450/hour.
Q2. What is the top strategy for e commerce sites?
Some of the top strategies for ecommerce sites include:
- Using optimized descriptions and meta titles
- Adding keywords to your product descriptions, including LSI keywords
- Add internal links to your content
- Adding schema markups
- Use keyword-rich URLs
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Umair Qureshi is a Digital Marketer at Cloudways. He loves to read and share his digital marketing experience with Ecommerce & Startups community. In his spare time, he enjoys watching and playing cricket. You can email him at [email protected]