[UPDATED] Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plays a significant role in creating a strong online presence of any business. The importance of ecommerce SEO best practices shouldn’t be underestimated. SEO for ecommerce websites is something where many online stores are failing miserably, unable to fully exploit the power of organic marketing.
To paint a picture, 39% of all global ecommerce web traffic comes from search engines and 80% of online shoppers ignore paid ads in search results. Therefore, in order to be seen by potential prospects, you must optimize your ecommerce website with the best SEO strategies and rank higher on Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs).
To give you a head start, I’ve curated a list of best ecommerce SEO strategies that will allow you to scale your online business significantly and generate higher profits in the long-haul.
Best Ecommerce SEO Strategies
To begin with, you must understand that effective keyword research is the foundation of ecommerce SEO strategy. With a list of target keywords, you can reach out to a relevant audience who’s more likely to convert.
Appropriate keyword research is crucial for every ecommerce store as it helps in offering the right product to the right audience at the right time. With that being said, let’s learn how to pick the best keywords for your ecommerce website to rank higher in SERPs.
#1 Ecommerce SEO 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 Amazon Suggestions
Being one of the largest ecommerce websites, Amazon is a keyword goldmine. It provides a list of long-tail keywords that are product-specific. For example, “Red Leather Jackets for Men”.
Not only 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.
#2 Keyword Tool Dominator
This keyword tool brings the best search suggestions from Amazon, Etsy, and eBay to a single platform. When you type a seed keyword, Keyword Tool Dominator will show dozens of keyword suggestions for you. It allows you to find long-tail keywords much faster than Amazon’s suggestions. Also, in my opinion, it gives you a better variety of keyword options.
SEMRush is a bit different than Amazon’s suggestions and Keyword Tool Dominator. It is a great analytics tool for analyzing the brand’s online visibility. You can insert your competitor’s name and identify what is ranking for which specific keywords.
You can do so by clicking “Organic Research” in the sidebar.
Here you can see all the keywords that your competitor ranks for:
If you wish to grab every keyword out of SEMrush, simply check out the “competitors” report:
Repeat the process with different competitors. Build on your research and create an effective list of relevant keywords that are popular within your niche.
#2 Ecommerce Website 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.
Your website architecture directly relates to your website’s performance. All top ecommerce platforms including WooCommerce, Shopify, or Magento use optimized stacks that offer improved performance for ecommerce websites. For example, at Cloudways, we offer an optimized stack that comes integrated with four different cache options that improve page performance and decrease site load time.
#1 Ecommerce Website Structure
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 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:
1. 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 page using location-based bread crumbs.
2. 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.
3. History-based Breadcrumbs – These breadcrumbs show the path the user has taken to any webpage. They can access a web page through various paths.
#3 Optimize Sitelinks
Google adds website links to each website in organic search. Check out 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.
#4 Keep a Proper Internal Linking Structure
You must add internal links to each and every product page and interlink them to different pages. You can always link them to pages you wish to give more value. It lets the link juice distribute evenly.
If you don’t know about ‘deep linking’, the process refers to linking the product pages from the home page or a major landing page. Neil Patel says deep links play a vital role in helping users find products as well as for executing an effective ecommerce SEO strategy.
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.
#3 On-Page SEO for Ecommerce Websites
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.
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.
2. Optimize Ecommerce SEO for Voice
You must not neglect ecommerce SEO for voice in such a mobile-savvy world. Google supports the human voice. Therefore, focus on writing product descriptions that have a conversational tone. People generally prefer asking a question instead of typing it on search engines. For example:
- Where can I buy [PRODUCT NAME]
- Show me reviews of [PRODUCT NAME]
- What are the best features of [PRODUCT NAME]
- How can [PRODUCT NAME] help me?
These are a few examples of how you can develop a conversational tone in your product descriptions. You can also add Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) to your product pages as this allows Google to pick up your content with its voice bots.
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 tools like Google page speed test tool to improve your ecommerce store rankings.
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. Also, ensure you don’t use your primary keyword more than 3-5 times in your product descriptions
- 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.
#4 Display Rich Snippets with Product Review Schema on Google
If you want to stand out on Google’s first result page, Google’s rich snippets are your way to go. The search engine picks up rich snippets for product reviews and ratings allowing you to enjoy more brand visibility.
You can get these rich snippets by implementing the Schema markup on your product pages. It is a unique code that provides a better understanding of the content on your page. Take a look at the following types of Schema markup specific to product reviews.
There’s no assurance that Google will display your brand in its rich snippets just because you asked. Nonetheless, proper Schema markup can help you make your mark on Google’s rich snippets with ease.
Since setting up the Schema markup manually isn’t a piece of cake, I recommend you to use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. Here’s how you can go about it.
Step 1: Open the tool and select “products”.
Step 2: Find a product page on your website that has reviews and ratings.
Step 3: Copy and paste the URL of your product page as shown below and click “Start Tagging”.
Step 4: Highlight the (reviews or ratings) section of the page in order to tag it.
Step 5: Highlight the number of reviews and choose the “count” tag. Provide as much information as you can.
Step 6: Click “Create HTML”.
You have the choice to copy and paste this new HTML code into your page or add the new Schema markup to your existing code. Also, use the Google Search Console to double-check whether you’ve implemented the Schema correctly.
#5: Off-Page SEO for Ecommerce Websites
Now that we have covered the on-page elements of ecommerce SEO, let’s move on to the off-page ecommerce SEO strategies.
Off-page SEO for ecommerce stores is a little different from the on-page SEO. It includes partnerships, sponsorships, and affiliate programs, however, the basics are the same such as link building and outreaching.
#1 Link Building and Announcements
Start with the basic link building tactics for the initial promotion of your offers. You can start with citations, blog comments, web 2.0 links, Q/A websites, and even social bookmarking sites to promote your offers.
ou 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.
Find a good affiliate website. You can search for various affiliate websites by searching ‘[Product Name] REVIEWS’ or ‘[Product Name] BUYERS GUIDE.’ Check out the websites that are ranking for these keywords and then contact them for partnerships.
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.
Bear in mind, blogs with a strong Domain Authority (DA) often have a list of prerequisites. You must create and promote content in such a way that fulfils their requirements.
#4 Blogger Outreach
Another great off-page ecommerce SEO tactic 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 ideas like ‘iPhone or Samsung: Which one is better for Introverts?’ Think of similar topics and grow your ecommerce business by outreaching industry bloggers.
#5 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 who 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
#6 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 everyday. There is no point in links that redirects 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.
Implement. Measure. Repeat.
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.
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. Do remember that SEO for ecommerce sites demands a lot of time and effort. Therefore, optimize and start promoting your ecommerce store today. In case if you’re unable to comprehend any particular tactic, simply comment below and we will be happy to answer.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org.