Looking for a way to get more traffic to your online store? If that’s your goal, then you must learn about ecommerce SEO.
Ecommerce SEO is commonly mistaken for just putting the right keywords in the product descriptions. But that’s a thing of the past, and keywords are just the tip of the iceberg.
Today, if you want your ecommerce store to grow and rank on search engines, you need to do a lot more than just stuffing keywords into product descriptions.
If you don’t optimize your ecommerce store properly, you will have a hard time getting eyeballs on your store, let alone making sales. That’s scary, right?
But don’t worry, as this blog focuses on optimizing your ecommerce store for search engines so that it attracts the right audience and makes good sales.
- What Is Ecommerce SEO?
- Why Ecommerce SEO Matters
- The Most Effective Ecommerce SEO Strategies
What Is Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO is a way to optimize your store’s website so that it ranks better, gets more traffic, and brings in potential customers.
Whenever someone searches for a product on a search engine, they get the results of their desired queries on the search engine result pages (SERPs). The example below shows several results on the first page.
The point of SEO is to help your brand get to the top. So essentially, ecommerce SEO is an umbrella term that refers to various optimization techniques to help you rank your page better on search engines.
Continue reading if you want to grow your store because we’ll dissect this umbrella term and give you some solid optimization areas to help grow your ecommerce store.
But before that, let’s have a quick glance at some important Ecommerce stats.
Why Ecommerce SEO Matters
Ecommerce SEO is more important than ever before. Here are just a few stats that illustrate its importance:
- Stats until July 2022 show that Google was responsible for above 83.84% of all desktop search traffic. Then came Bing with 8.88% and Yahoo with 2.55%.
- According to live stats for 2022, 99,000 searches are done on Google per second, making roughly 8.5 billion searches in just a day.
- 61% of all marketers believe in prioritizing SEO and growing a company’s organic presence.
- 90% of all searchers are already clear about the brand to make their purchase when they initiate their search.
- According to Brafton, more than 95% of searchers only look at the first page of results.
Considering the stats above, the importance of optimizing your website for higher search engine rankings is evident.
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The Most Effective Ecommerce SEO Strategies
There are many things that you can do to improve your store’s SEO. We have shortlisted the 8 key practices to help you improve your online store’s SEO.
1. Ecommerce Keyword Research
The right Keywords SELL!
Keyword research is one of the strongest pillars for your ecommerce SEO strategy. Because with KWs, you help the search engines’ algorithms know the audience you want to attract. Therefore, when your relevant audience puts your targeted KWs in the search bar, the search engines will show your website in results if it is properly optimized.
Also, even if you struggle to gain the top spots on Google, you can still target its “People Also Ask” and “People Also Search For” sections.
Let’s learn how you can do keyword research the right way.
Let’s assume you deal in Leather Jackets. Now you’ll want to search for the maximum relevant keywords. But how do you identify them?
The following platforms will 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 keyword research tool with a dedicated Keywords Explorer section that helps you figure out the best keywords to target. It’s a paid tool that enables you to craft your overall ecommerce SEO strategy beyond just conducting a keyword research.
Searching for a specific keyword in Ahrefs gives you a bunch of matching terms and insights like traffic potential, related questions, and more.
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 big ecommerce website; your website architecture creates all the difference.
If your website is based on a Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress, you don’t have to worry about the website architecture as it is already in place.
2.1. Ecommerce Website Architecture
Your ecommerce website’s structure 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 comprehend their current position on your website.
Google also shows breadcrumbs within the search index. SEO experts believe that it simplifies the user experience on the SERPs. You should know about the three kinds of breadcrumbs:
- Location-based Breadcrumbs – It’s one of the most common types of breadcrumb trail and highlights a page’s position 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, attribute-based breadcrumbs use 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. So, the users 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.
Unfortunately, you can’t tell Google which pages to include as your site links because the process is fully automated. However, websites with neat site structures and clear pages make it easy for Google to identify their prominent site links.
2.4. Keep a Proper Internal Linking Structure
Ensure that you have linked your product pages properly 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.
Use internal linking to make your user’s journey easier. You can link to pages of complementary products or pages related to your product.
The internal linking technique will increase traffic to your site’s other pages and help you communicate to the search engine’s algorithms that you are an authority over the subject.
2.5. Set up Canonicals
With ecommerce stores, architecture can become problematic due to an abundance of products, tags, and categories. Often, ecommerce stores with an extensive product base have duplications in products and categories.
The duplications can confuse search engines’ algorithms, making it difficult to index your pages. Eventually, you get poor rankings and lesser traffic to your store. However, you can avoid this issue via canonical tags.
By putting up canonicals for your products, you tell Google which pages are relevant for indexing and ranking. Canonicals also make it easy for search engines to sort out your prioritized content so that your own website’s pages don’t compete with each other.
2.6. Review Your URLs
Messy URLs are a problem for many ecommerce stores, keeping them away from getting indexed and ranked.
Setting the right URLs is a crucial part of ecommerce SEO. Let’s dissect the URL structure to help you understand URLs completely and then see some URL setting tips that can be helpful for your ecommerce store:
Let’s take this blog’s link as an example.
- “https://” is the protocol showing that the website is safe.
- “www” is the subdomain.
- “Cloudways” is the root domain of this overall URL structure.
- “.com” is the top-level domain, also known as TLD.
- “/blog/” is the slug, and “/ecommerce-seo” is the permalink.
Now that you know the anatomy of URLs, you’ll need to work on the slugs and permalinks of your pages. A lot of stores have unclear URLs for their pages which confuses Google and even the users about what you are selling.
The image above clearly shows the difference between good and bad URLs. Now, you don’t want to lose sales because of something so easy to fix, right? Here are a few URL tips to keep in mind:
- Keep it user-friendly: Search engines focus on delivering the best human experience to the users. If your URLs are easily understandable, they have a higher chance of getting ranked.
- Use primary keyword in the URL: This will improve your chances of ranking higher in the SERPs.
- Keep it short: The ideal length for URLs is less than 50 characters.
- Avoid keyword stuffing: Search engine bots are now smart and can’t be tricked with keyword stuffing.
Coherent URL & page’s content: It’s a bad SEO strategy if your URL doesn’t clearly communicate what to expect in the page’s content.
2.7. 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
Start by creating a keywords list you want to target on your ecommerce store. Suppose you want to target Black Friday. So, you must find the keywords 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 the keywords are finalized, check out for their variations and add them to the main page, category pages, and product pages.
3.2. 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.
- Analyze your competitors when adding keywords. 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 on your product pages.
- 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 to help your ecommerce website rank for the review-related keywords and bring more traffic.
Reviews Are Important
Reviews are important for any ecommerce business. When you have authentic testimonials on your website, it greatly impacts potential buyers’ buying decisions.
Because even after such a wide prevalence of ecommerce, people are still a little cautious when buying online. Customer testimonials can truly turn the game in your favour.
Also, businesses with better and organic customer reviews rank higher in SERPs than those without reviews.
We also suggest adding a tabular structure for product specifications and reviews to help search engines pick up snippets. Ecommerce product page SEO is an important component of the overall optimization and integration of your ecommerce SEO strategy.
3.3. 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:
3.4. 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.
In fact, slow-loading pages can negatively impact your online business. But thankfully, you can speed up your website and get better business by following the load time improvement tips, like:
- Use a CDN like Cloudflare.
- Avoid cheap shared hosting and opt for cloud hosting to significantly improve your Ecommerce store’s load speed. Most of the ecommerce stores hosted on Cloudways load in under 1 second.
- Optimize your plugins if you are using a CMS for your store.
- Manage your data using tools and plugins to compress the data sizes for faster load times and a better user experience.
On top of it all, you can also use ecommerce SEO tools like the Page Speed tool to check your site’s performance and improve wherever it lacks.
3.5. Optimize Product Images
Visuals are among the most vital parts of any ecommerce store. Your site’s images are important for your audiences and search engines alike.
Optimized images will massively favor your store. Here are a few tips to consider when optimizing your product images:
- Upload pictures representing your product and its description, and avoid misleading images.
- Compress the images to avoid slowing down your website’s load time.
- Name your images properly. If your image’s name is absurd, like “IMG 001”, it’ll be hard for users and Google to understand. Use proper alt tags to communicate to the search engines about your images’ content.
- Use primary and secondary keywords to name your image and improve your chances of ranking better.
3.6 Structure Your Data With Schema
If you truly want your store to succeed, then you’ll have to take care of the little details.
Some minuscule things that people miss can deeply impact your store’s success, and Schema is one such example.
Schema basically tells Google every possible detail under the meta-title by adding a code to your website’s HTML. It helps the audience understand better what your web pages offer and increases your CTRs. How to add it, you may ask?
- You can simply download the “schema” plugin if you have a WordPress website.
- If you use any CMS other than WordPress, find a relevant schema plugin for that.
- If your website is custom-built from scratch, you’ll have to manually add the schema codes.
3.7. Avoid Content Duplication
Google is strictly against content duplication. Websites with plagiarised content get deranked easily. If you want to rank higher, then you must focus on producing unique content.
Even duplication in your website’s internal pages can be a deranking factor. As a part of your ecommerce SEO strategy, come up with new content, meta titles, and meta descriptions for each product.
Also, avoid blog duplication. If you have outdated blogs, then update them with new information. Or, if you are publishing new blogs on a certain topic, ensure the old ones are eradicated.
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 blogging affiliate programs; however, the basics are the same such as link building and outreaching.
Let’s learn more about how you can work on your ecommerce site’s off-page SEO to get better rankings.
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. Just make sure the link exchange makes sense and avoid any and all link schemes
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
Find out-of-date, expired, or not working resources and replace them. There is no point in links redirecting to old websites.
In many cases, a business’s domain name expires, and the entire website is 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, inform the concerned person via email once you’ve identified the outdated resources. Moreover, provide them with a replacement link, as they’ll be happy to entertain you when you help them improve their websites.
5. Make Your Website Mobile Responsive
As of 2022, almost 66% of all internet traffic comes from mobile devices, making it a borderline sin to have a website that lacks mobile responsiveness. As an ecommerce store, you must take care of the traffic coming from mobile devices.
Ensure adjusting your websites on your audiences’ screens to have lesser bounce rates, better traffic, and, eventually, better business.
6. 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.
Learn What Julian Goldie Has to Say About Optimizing Ecommerce SEO For His Clients
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
You can group similar content together by producing content around similar niches. Link the pieces 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
Search engines constantly update their bots and algorithms, meaning your ecommerce stores must be updated to keep up with the search engines.
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).
Ecommerce SEO will remain vital for online businesses for a long time. Optimizing the store is the only way to grow and reap fruits. However, if you lack expertise, you can always hire a top-notch SEO agency to grow your store. 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 2022. 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. Is SEO Important For Ecommerce?
Yes. You must optimize your ecommerce store to rank higher in the SERPs. Without SEO, you’ll have a hard time ranking and most likely leave the top spots on search engines for your competitors.
Q2. 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.
Q3. How can I do SEO for my ecommerce website?
SEO for ecommerce websites is tricky. You can follow the on-page & off-page SEO best practices mentioned in this blog to optimize your ecommerce store for the SERPs. Or, you may hire an SEO agency to do the job for you.
Q4. 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
Q5. Which ecommerce platform is best for SEO?
Woocommerce offers great plugins that can help you with ecommerce SEO for free. BigCommerce is another ecommerce platform that’s good for SEO but is a paid platform.
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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] or connect him on linkedin: https://pk.linkedin.com/in/umair-qureshi-seo