SEO For Ecommerce Sites
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However, that does not make SEO easy. Ecommerce SEO can be an incredibly difficult and daunting task, often involving dozens of different tools that all serve their own particular purposes. Most ecommerce sites initially struggle to push their search rankings higher, not even really knowing where to start.
While SEO can be summed up quite easily with only a few sentences, that does not really explain the “meat” behind what it can entail. For ecommerce sites, the task of ranking higher in search engines can take a lot of planning to pull off, and there is always a random element involved that can both help and harm your site.
Whether you are new to SEO or just have not attempted SEO work on an ecommerce site before, it is important to understand the specifics behind what you are doing. It is not enough to know the general idea behind things like on-page SEO and keyword research – you need to know how to deploy ecommerce SEO tools in a way that will benefit your online store.
What Is SEO for E-Commerce?
The purpose of ecommerce sites – usually the online store variety – is to make money. An ecommerce website needs traffic to do this, or more specifically, interested traffic that wants to visit an online store selling the products and services they offer.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is all about pushing for more traffic on a particular site. The obvious end result of an ecommerce SEO campaign should be to draw in more traffic to your ecommerce website, doing your best to turn them into paying (converting) customers that will be interested in what you are selling them.
Of course, this is only part of what ecommerce SEO focuses on. A large part of SEO for ecommerce sites involves optimising your site for the right audiences – drawing in people with relevant interests and trying to minimise the amount of irrelevant traffic or uninterested visitors that you get through normal search results.
In general, SEO focuses on three clear things: traffic, conversions, and relevancy. An ecommerce SEO strategy is meant to build extra traffic sources, capitalise on interested visitors by generating more conversions, and ensure that most of the site’s visitors are interested in what it is offering them.
For people who have never really engaged with SEO before, it is important to understand what SEO actually means.
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the practice of optimising your site to appear more often for relevant search results and keywords.
Most search engines run an algorithm-driven system that displays pages based on relevancy. For example, if you were to search “office chairs,” then you would be shown sites and pages related to both of those words.
Google searches – or searches on any search engine – are all about context and keywords. Every word that you use as part of your search is a keyword, and those keywords interact with the search engines to produce a specific set of search engine results.
SEO can take many different forms and can involve a lot of specific processes, but the end result is always the same, even for ecommerce sites. How you build your ecommerce SEO strategy is the part that varies – no two sites use the exact same SEO system.
How Search Engine Results Pages are Chosen
In general, an ecommerce site appears on search engines when users are searching for terms relevant to that site. This could be the name of the ecommerce site, a product that they sell, or even just a general term that is relevant to what they offer.
However, this does not mean that your site will appear at the top or even on the first page of the results.
Most search engines handle their organic (non-paid ads) results listings based on a quality score, which can be impacted by everything from relevancy to the overall loading times and speed of the website itself.
These details are determined through “crawler” or “spider” bots, which investigate the site and record relevant information about how the site functions, as well as its contents.
In simple terms, your site will rank higher in search engines based on relevancy to the search, the overall quality of your site, and a range of other factors that different search engines might value in different ways.
The first page of results is always the most valuable since it is the first thing that potential customers will see. A huge part of ecommerce SEO involves pushing ecommerce websites to higher ranking spots, hoping for greater traffic and attention.
Ecommerce Site SEO Quirks
Ecommerce sites are generally online store sites, which can create a lot more potential for SEO at the cost of also being more complex.
However, SEO also matters for ecommerce websites the most. Poor ecommerce SEO quality can see sites drown in other search results: unable to rank high on search engines, and struggling to gain more customers.
Depending on the kind of ecommerce business you own, there may also be cases where you want to rank specific product and category pages higher or are struggling to compete with another business that sells the same products as you.
No two e-commerce businesses tackle SEO in the exact same way since every site is distinctly different. However, there are still some generally accepted “good ideas” that will almost always benefit your site if done correctly.
What Affects Ranking in Search Engines
Your e-commerce site ranking can be influenced by a huge amount of factors, usually on a keyword-by-keyword basis. There are a lot of elements that influence your search results rankings, and this can make SEO seem more complex than it really is.
Search engine results page rankings can vary based on things like:
Ecommerce site architecture
Site content (text)
Site image metadata
Meta description and meta title tags
Page load speed
Site load speed
Links to (and from) questionable spam sites
These are only a few of the many different things that will influence where your site ranks, so it can be important to slow down and think about what you are actually wanting to achieve with SEO.
While simple in concept – improving your site to get higher traffic – SEO can be both incredibly easy and very difficult. It all depends on what your goals are and how you try to push your site higher in search rankings in general.
Is SEO Necessary?
SEO is not like search engine ad campaigns, where some businesses can survive without them. SEO is inherently tied to the ecommerce websites themselves and influenced by their content and construction.
Every word you have on your site could be a keyword, and each of your product and category pages is going to be visible in search engines by default. Your site is always on search platforms – SEO is merely a way to benefit more from those search platforms.
Remember: SEO is always a factor. You can’t choose not to engage with it – by even having an ecommerce site in the first place, you are already involved in SEO by simply having text and images on your site.
E-Commerce SEO Best Practices
E-commerce SEO is an incredibly varied and complex niche, with each ecommerce site doing drastically different things to bolster its own rankings. It can seem difficult to stand out, let alone even begin the SEO work.
While it might seem incredibly difficult to approach ecommerce SEO at first, there are some best practices that are a good starting point into the world of search optimisation for ecommerce sites.
Remember that the overall goal of SEO is to gain more relevant customers and organic traffic. Anything that achieves that goal is a good thing, and ecommerce SEO can be so varied that it is often hard to keep track of what actually helps most.
Some notable best practices in the field of ecommerce SEO website improvements include:
Navigation – streamlining your ecommerce website navigation to make it easier for users to move around and minimise the number of unnecessary pages in their way.
Internal links – use clear internal links and make sure that all links go to somewhere relevant, even within your own site.
Removing clutter – getting rid of excess code, compressing images, and just generally trying to make the site load faster while also being easier to use.
Creating original content – making sure that all content on your ecommerce website is unique and original rather than being copied from another source.
Alt text – adding alt text and tags onto images so that a search engine can “read” the image rather than just seeing the file name.
Ecommerce Keyword Research
Keyword research is the backbone of any SEO work, and for a good reason. Without keyword research, it becomes impossible to know which target keywords are worth chasing or what terms you should be including in your product and category pages.
If you are not familiar with keywords, in short, they are terms that users are likely to search for when interested in your business. Including those keywords on your site in various places increases the chance of your website appearing when they search those terms.
Choosing keyword ideas is a delicate balance between multiple factors, requiring detailed keyword research to handle correctly.
What are Keywords?
Keywords are an important part of SEO because they show you what your audience is actually looking for. This is not just in terms of the products that they want but the way that they are finding your site.
If a company has product pages for various transport vans, not all customers are going to get there through the phrase “transport van.” Some might be looking up “buy transport vehicle” or “people carriers for sale,” and chasing these keywords can capture a part of the audience that the company would otherwise miss.
In simple terms, keywords are the ways that people search for things. A large part of SEO is optimising websites to include as many relevant keywords as possible without becoming little more than a spam site.
Think about how many times you have looked up something that you did not know the name of, only to find it anyway. This is the basic principle behind how keywords work – they compensate for the fact that users may not be looking up a product or service specifically.
What is Keyword Research?
Keyword research is the process of gathering, exploring, analysing, and comparing different keywords – the search terms that people use to make searches on various platforms.
This involves looking at relevant keywords to see how often they are searched for (the keyword search volume), the audience that searches for them, and the general value of that target keyword. This is meant to give you keyword ideas that you can use to bolster your ecommerce site SEO as a whole.
For example, ecommerce keyword research might reveal a new target keyword that your competitors are ignoring or one that gets quite a lot of use while being relatively connected to a major service you offer.
If you want to capture more organic traffic, then taking advantage of these keywords is important. It can allow your site to appear in more search results for relevant things, often ensuring that you can capture a larger interested audience as a result.
This obviously means more relevant search engine rankings, as well as a greater presence on search results as a whole.
1. Determine if you are choosing the right keywords
The “right” keywords can make all the difference when it comes to ecommerce SEO. The keywords that you focus on need to be relevant not only to your ecommerce site but also to the particular pages that you are trying to promote through SEO itself.
Relevancy is one of the biggest ranking factors on all search engine platforms. The more relevant your keyword ideas are to the content they are connected to, the better those pages will rank and perform overall.
The best keywords are usually ones that are relevant, searched often, and have actual value as search terms. You also need to think about how users will be searching those terms and the contexts that might be involved.
A good example of this can be seen with something like pre-built computers, which have a wide range of different varieties and niches that users may belong to. This can often require some clarification and careful keyword choices, as well as more specific levels of keyword research.
For example, if users search for “computers for sale,” they will get a wide range of results. This is because most ecommerce websites that sell computers will be attempting to rank for that general term.
While technically correct for the market and boasting a very high search volume (meaning that a lot of users will search for it), “computers for sale” is very generic. This makes it a very competitive target keyword phrase for ecommerce websites.
In this example, using less-popular but still-used terms like “gaming computers for sale” or “custom computers for sale” slightly refines the audience that you are hunting for and reduces the amount of competition you face.
More specificity is better. “Custom UK gaming computers for sale” includes multiple clarifying additional statements that push the term into a much more niche market, which means less competition and a more specific audience that may be receptive to what you are offering them.
Understanding this is important in knowing how keywords work because there are no right or wrong answers – only choices. Some companies can risk using more competitive keywords, while others prefer to skirt around the biggest pitfalls and pursue niche keywords.
Building a keyword strategy that suits your business is difficult but important. For many business owners and managers, understanding the basics behind keywords is only the start of the overall project.
2. Use Amazon for keyword research
Sites like Amazon are perfect for keyword research. While tracking down search volume might not be as easy, the autocomplete results in the search bar can be just as useful.
By typing a few words into the Amazon search field, you can get a drop-down of relevant searches that people have made. These long-tail keywords (highly targeted keywords) are less competitive than short-tail keywords (generalised keywords) but also convert better.
This can give you a great range of keywords to apply to product pages, title tags, or even blog post content. For example, looking up “cat food” might provide you with a range of clarifiers, such as “wet,” “dry,” “kitten,” and “can.”
These keywords can be one of your best ecommerce SEO tools since they provide a good breakdown of the kind of terms that you could be using. For a lot of businesses, being able to capture specific markets is a very important way to earn extra traffic, conversions, and profits as a whole.
This does not just apply to Amazon, either. Any large marketplace site can give you some good suggestions for keywords that might work well when applied to your e-commerce site, including some that could be far more niche than you might expect.
While you still need to keep keywords relevant to what you are trying to sell, it can make a big difference overall and give you a great range of options to choose from.
3. Find keywords through competitor research
Looking at your competitor’s SEO efforts can actually be just as valuable as looking into your own. In the world of ecommerce SEO, competition is a good source of information, and looking into the keywords that your competitors use can be surprisingly effective.
With the right tools – or just searching for terms related to your competitors – you might be able to see areas where they shine and places where they are falling short. This can inform a future SEO strategy that takes advantage of their strengths and weaknesses.
For example, a company selling bedroom furniture might rank high for terms focused on bedrooms but not for a lot of general furniture terms. Knowing this can let you undercut some of their efforts by ranking for markets or audiences they have failed to capture, even if that audience is relatively small.
This can be great for businesses that sell a lot of products since there may be a lot of competitors to draw from. This can also help if your competitors sell a lot of products since they may not have been able to properly cover each niche with a full SEO strategy.
What matters most is that you find keywords that are worth using. While it can feel sneaky to steal niche keywords from your competitors, there is no point if those keywords are barely getting a dozen searches a month.
Techniques like this need to be part of your overall strategy. While SEO itself is a mostly free process that just takes a lot of effort to achieve, it is still important not to waste resources in areas that will not benefit your business.
4. Use Ahrefs to help you find keyword opportunities
Tools like Ahrefs are great for tackling a variety of keyword research opportunities, giving you an in-depth look at potential avenues to improve your SEO. This can include things like backlink opportunities and more ways to explore competitors’ keywords.
In general, using these kinds of tools can really help. For a lot of SEO work, the hardest part is managing all of the relevant data and putting together a strategy that fits. With the right software in place, you can do a lot of this work much faster and far more efficiently.
Remember that ecommerce sites are often quite varied, selling a range of products to a variety of markets. Keeping track of a lot of information can be challenging, and Ahrefs is a good way to consolidate keyword opportunities into a single platform for future use.
Once again, make sure that you are not just sticking with a single strategy and tool for your entire SEO project. There is no perfect way to tackle every single element of SEO, and that can often make it tough to properly understand what you want to do.
With ecommerce SEO, a big part of the process is using the information you have to discover new ways of boosting your SEO. Doing this means sifting through information that might not make sense in a raw form, such as competitor keywords.
While Ahrefs is only one of many platforms used for SEO purposes, it is also a platform that can be worth using as a whole. The more SEO tools you have available, the easier it becomes to pursue the best keywords and strategies at the right time and in the right way.
5. Use SEMRush To help you find article ideas
SEMRush is a very different tool, providing direct access to competitor keywords (or, at least, the keywords that they currently rank for) based on the URLs that you input.
Not only does this provide you with a great way to get easy access to hundreds of useful keyword details, but you can also use it to explore your own keyword rankings to see which terms you are ranking for the best.
Tools like this can be vital for understanding where a site is ranking, how it is ranking, and which pages are being used to capitalise on those rankings directly. The more you know about a site, the easier it becomes to outright copy the parts that work or base your current strategy on a competitor’s.
SEO is a heavily data-driven field, and being able to improve your own ecommerce sites through gathering competitor data is an unspoken requirement for more competitive fields. The more data you can acquire, the easier it becomes to keep pushing your ecommerce business to new heights.
Remember that SEMRush is only one of many tools that are worth using, especially for in-depth technical SEO. While it might be tempting to save time and money by doing things manually, this can be a huge waste – proper usage of your available tools is a vital part of modern SEO.
6. Use Keyword Chef to bring back people (and also ask questions)
Tools like Keyword Chef are another great addition to your technical SEO strategy, providing you with a good range of filtered keywords that you can judge based on keyword difficulty and other important metrics.
When it comes to choosing keywords, there is not always an easy way to be entirely sure how they will perform with organic search audiences. Gathering more data and understanding your own goals in comparison can be surprisingly useful for keeping expectations reasonable.
Keyword Chef and similar tools are also usually easy to integrate into your existing SEO strategies, meaning that you are not usually stuck just because you decided to choose a new tool. Many of them are perfectly usable as short-notice support options rather than having to replace a major part of how your business handles SEO.
Again, make sure that you use a mixture of tools and services and do not rely on just one too heavily. No keyword tool is perfect, and having two different tools recommending the same keyword can help you make more accurate judgments about whether or not it is actually a good target keyword.
7. Gather Other Tools like Google Search Console
Whether it is Google Search Console, Google Analytics, Bing Analytics, Google Keyword Planner, or a whole host of other options, there are plenty of tools out there to help you perform a site audit and enhance your SEO.
Even tools like Google Keyword Planner can be invaluable for understanding keywords as a whole, letting you properly track and measure performance on an individual level.
Ecommerce product pages
Almost any ecommerce site is going to want to promote product and category pages before anything else. They are the first thing that a customer needs to see before they can make a purchase, so putting them higher in rankings can make a big difference.
While site architecture can vary between each ecommerce site, the majority of these sites are going to have a site architecture structure that focuses on larger category pages, each of which contains product listings that lead to individual product pages.
Promotional product pages are also something to consider. Sometimes a site may have a standalone product page accessed through a banner, outside of the normal site architecture.
Either way, ecommerce SEO projects are going to revolve around both product and category pages heavily. These are the two things that potential customers on search websites need to be directed towards the most because they are the two pages that are most directly tied to sales and conversions.
While you can direct search engine traffic to the main page or other specific pages as needed, it is important that all relevant and interested search traffic goes to any connected product pages.
If a user is looking for something specific, then you want to present those customers with a product page that captures them. The sooner you can push them into a conversion, the more likely you are to see success with that SEO campaign.
Product Page SEO
Product pages are for individual products, which gives them more niche ranges of keywords in exchange for being more conversion-focused. Whether you are using information keywords (customers asking questions) or just general product tags, you want to send interested in-market audiences here.
Product pages are the backbone of your ecommerce site. If anybody is ready to make a purchase, then you want to send them to a page where they can make that purchase, ideally the product page of the product that already fits with their needs (or one that they have an active interest in).
If a customer looks up a product by name or seems to be heavily leaning towards a certain feature that one product offers, then sending them to those products’ product pages is the best option.
If their search terms are more vague, then finding good product pages to direct them toward can be difficult. In general, undecided users should be pushed towards whatever seems the most generally appealing based on the keywords that they are using.
This might all sound quite complex – because it is – but keywords are just another part of SEO work to consider. Knowing which keywords to send to which product pages can be surprisingly tough, but getting it right can lead to greater conversions overall.
Remember that a lot of users’ first impressions of your site may be through a product page. If nothing else, you want to send them to product pages that are relevant to their interests, ideally leading to them starting a quick search around your site to see what else you offer.
Keep in mind that no product will have a 100% conversion success rate. It is impossible to narrow down a target audience so specifically, but getting a general ballpark success through good keyword and page associations can make a big difference.
Category Page SEO
Category pages are more generalised since they focus on a range of different products, all within the same niche. This does not necessarily mean categories like “chairs” or “tables,” either – it might be things like “winter sale products” or “cleaning equipment.”
These category pages allow for a broader application of keywords but will also convert less overall. Since they are not a product page, a portion of users may simply leave immediately if they are not presented with a product that meets their search criteria properly.
However, they have the advantage of presenting users with a variety of products that they may be tempted to click through, meaning that they may direct themselves to the products that they are interested in.
This can make category pages quite valuable, especially higher-level categories that are much broader. Directing users seeking chairs to an entire chairs product category can really help – even more so if you can direct them to one that contains a variety of different sub-category pages of chairs.
However, more clicking is not always a good thing. Over-complicating the site or sending users to a grid of products might not appeal to each one. If they are looking for a specific product, then sending them to category pages may lose you their business.
This means that you need to carefully balance who you are sending where using keywords to try and set aside each group in the right way. Users are inherently unpredictable, but using some common sense can at least help guide groups of potential customers in different ways.
URLs: Use Short, Keyword-Rich URLs
Site URLs are a part of the site architecture that many people do not think about, but they are extremely important for SEO.
An e-commerce site is usually full of product and category pages, additional page sections, and even separate pop-up or one-time pages for things like account creation. All of these have URLs.
In theory, this is fine, but URLs are actually a huge part of the user experience and can even impact your rankings in specific ways.
Let’s say you have a page about a pair of hiking boots. The obvious URL may be something like https://www.hikingbootssite.com/brandname-brown-reinforced-hiking-boots.
However, depending on your site architecture, what you might actually be giving users is something like https://www.hikingbootssite.com/5435/hiking/product/hiking-boots-1533433.
This is because many page URLs are at least partially auto-generated from the page title and various other details, with the site’s overall structure having a huge part in that. The more “layers” there are on the site, the worse things get.
Look at Amazon product pages for an example. These can be entire paragraphs long and are mostly a combination of numbers, keyword terms, and item IDs. This is fine in theory, but it can have quite a major impact on how the URLs are perceived by users.
In general, if you see a URL alongside a search result, you want to see a clear one that tells you what the page is going to be. URLs are like additional context, and even if you do not actively notice them, your brain still does.
Using keywords clearly in URLs is vital. You want a user to see a category page titled Hiking Boots alongside a URL that says https://www.hikingbootssite.com/hiking-boots, rather than a jumble of numbers and letters.
This is a small but important part of technical SEO since many site owners overlook it at first. The less clear a URL is, the less likely somebody is to click on it, especially if the URL is presented in a vacuum or does not clarify an ambiguous page title.
Using keywords also helps you rank more for those keywords. If your URL matches what a user is looking up, then it makes total sense that the said URL would be much more likely to rank higher.
Remember that URLs are still visible to users, and Google (or other search platforms) will still take them into account when ranking or penalising your site. Misusing URLs with a lot of irrelevant terms can often get you in trouble, just like if you filled a site page with nothing but keywords and no actual information.
In the title tag (H)
You absolutely want to use keywords in a page’s title tag. Ideally, you want at least one or two top keywords in every page’s title tags.
The title tags are both the actual titles of the page (in terms of font and content) as well as an organisational element that serves as the page’s title.
If a page is named something related to a keyword, then you can fully expect it to rank a lot better for that keyword overall.
However, using title tags properly does not just involve making them keywords. Ideally, you want to use them as a way of nudging particular modifiers or extra details into your pages.
Modifiers in Title Tags
Certain modifiers can make a huge difference when setting up title tags, and for a good reason.
A larger proportion of potential customers are likely to look up searches with words like “cheap,” “buy,” “deals,” “free shipping,” or other words and phrases that directly relate to a purchase.
Meanwhile, terms like “best” or “review” do not necessarily indicate an intent to purchase, but they do show interest, allowing you to appear for users who might still be researching their options.
By including these modifiers alongside tags with higher search volume, you can nudge your website in front of more people who are actively looking for a product that you sell rather than just looking up that product or service.
This can be a surprisingly effective way to lock down tricky markets. By including small but useful terms like this, you can emphasise that part of your site while also appearing in more searches that are specifically about deals and purchases.
Just remember to keep the information accurate. For example, you do not want to include “free” alongside a product that is not free. Specifying free shipping is fine, but outright lying about the nature of your page or business can lead to penalties.
In general, the more accurate and realistically targeted your keywords are, the better they will perform. Modifying words can really help with this, at least if they are used correctly.
In body copy
Body copy can be quite tricky. On a product page, this is usually the product description (which you can always adjust on the fly), but category pages or promotional pages might not actually include conventional body copy.
While it might be convenient to have a category page and send users straight to a big list of products, platforms like Google do not really appreciate that. This tends to get those pages penalised, meaning that they perform less and are not as effective for ecommerce SEO.
To counteract this, a lot of site owners put a small intro or set of information (usually around 300 words or more) on each page, regardless of whether users are meant to read through it.
Including at least a small amount of text on each page gives you a place to add more keywords, place more links, and have search engines actually scan through the page for content. Ecommerce SEO relies on pages having actual information and text there, and this is no exception.
It helps to include the primary keywords at least 2-3 times on each page. For example, on a category page about armchairs, you might include a term like “best armchairs for sale” a few times, working it naturally into the copy.
Keep in mind that keywords should always be included naturally, if possible. Search engines can usually tell if a page has been packed with keywords that do not fit with the actual text – a process called keyword stuffing that is frowned upon.
In image alt text
Google cannot read images like a human can. Search platforms do not know how to interpret an image file as actual content beyond the file name itself, and that means that they do not know what the image actually is.
This poses a problem for image-heavy sites, especially sites that might have promotional banners or deals that are purely image files. Including a keyword in the text on an image does nothing since it is not real text, just pixels within a file.
Alt text allows you to get around this problem by keeping some extra alternate text alongside the image.
Using alt text properly gives you a way to clarify what images are and include more keywords on your page, all without users actively seeing the extra text. While users can view alt text if they choose to, there is not much of a reason to, essentially giving you some extra keywords “for free.”
This alt text is often the same kind of text used to help page readers (for people who cannot read well or who have trouble seeing) narrate pages. As such, it can have accessibility benefits too.
Remember that alt text still falls under the same rules as normal site text – it needs to be relevant. If you are including the same images across multiple pages, avoiding duplicated alt text might help slightly, too.
Not all images need alt text, so do not feel required to add one for each product image. Not having this alt text will not lead to any penalties, but using it correctly can lead to some huge benefits for your ecommerce SEO strategy.
Image File Name
Image file names can be used as a place to include keywords, too. Many people do not realize this, but these are also seen by many search platforms.
While their impact on your SEO might be quite minor, it is still something to consider, especially if you are struggling to rank higher in search results.
For example, an image named image343.jpg is not descriptive. Its name does not mean anything, and it does not really provide much context to the search engine or any visitors who are only seeing the image by its filename.
By changing it to something more specific, such as mahogany-end-table-343.jpg, you are including some keywords while increasing relevancy. This image now has actual value if added to a page that mentions end tables.
Again, this does not need to be done with every image, especially those with technical purposes (where changing filenames could cause site structure problems). Like alt text, it is another tool in your arsenal to consider.
In the metadata
Metadata does not directly influence your rankings, but it can increase the number of users that click on your site (the click-through rate). Meta descriptions form the description of each page as it appears on most search engines, making it a vital part of improving SEO.
Let’s say you have a page focused on selling armchairs. While the page’s description may help draw in search traffic, it will be pulling that description from the page itself. Users will only see a snippet, and it might not be the snippet that you want, depending on what their search terms were.
If you look up something like “new armchairs,” that text will appear in bold on a result with no metadata, meaning that the page’s description may end up being something like:
“…by buying bold new armchairs and setting a new standard in your home. Our new armchairs can fit with almost any room and style, providing a…”
This is accurate to the page but also fairly useless for actually drawing Google search users in. With a good meta description, you can build your own description for the page, tailor-made for Google search results (or other search platforms).
For example, one of the meta descriptions that you may use for your armchairs page could be:
“Shop for armchairs, sofas and other seating options at (Brandname), with free delivery on orders over (free deliver limit).”
These customised meta descriptions appear for organic search users. As long as your page appears in Google search results, this meta description will appear – while the terms the user searched for are on the page, they are not in this description.
This can be a great way to ensure that all visitors in your target audience get the same high-quality description without having to optimise each piece of content just in case it appears as part of a search result.
Product and Category Page Content: Include 1000+ Words of Content
Any product and category pages on your site can be optimised with the right changes, but these are not always obvious at first. Including a primary keyword a few times helps, but you need the actual page itself to be worthwhile.
Longer snippets of content tend to get the most attention, meaning that it is often a good idea to write more rather than less. In most cases, more text usually would not impact things like page load speed or layout.
The more content you write, the easier it becomes for Google to understand what your page actually is. While a meta description can help, having more actual text and content is the biggest factor here.
This also applies in terms of relevancy. The more obvious the subject of a page is, the easier search engines will find it to pinpoint relevant keywords compared to irrelevant ones.
Naturally, duplicate content is always a bad idea. Never copy content from another site, and be very careful about copying from your own. Repeat content usually leads to penalties, some of which can be quite harsh (if you directly stole from another site).
Technical SEO Clean Up
SEO is not just about making Google understand your page. Search engine platforms also need to approve of your site structure and overall performance, as well as the technical details of your website.
This is where technical SEO starts to shine. Filling a page with keyword suggestions means nothing if your e-commerce site barely functions.
There are a lot of technical SEO techniques to consider, some more obvious than others, and understanding them is vital for proper e-commerce search engine optimisation.
Search platforms notice your site loading speed. If your sites take ages to load, then some urgent on-page SEO work is needed.
Most search platforms treat user experience as a major ranking factor, and a lot of organic search customers will simply give up if a site is running too slowly to use.
This leads to a dual-pronged problem of your site appearing less often and being abandoned more often by the people who do find it, dragging your rankings into the dirt.
Depending on the source of the problem, this could require anything from optimising image files to overhauling part of your site structure entirely.
As a major part of technical SEO, it is very important to make your site load and run as fast as possible. If it takes a moderately fast connection several seconds to load a page, especially from other internal links with no redirects, then expect a massive drop in visitor retention.
Redirects can send users to different URLs from the ones they requested. These can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on how they are used.
If a page is popular and gets a lot of visits and links but is no longer up-to-date, then redirecting that URL to its new product page is usually fine.
However, a redirect between two pages without much of a connection – especially in terms of long-tail keywords, can lead to major SEO penalties if you are not careful.
Internal linking Structure
Internal links are often overlooked but are important for on-page SEO and user navigation.
A good network of internal links can let organic search users navigate around quite quickly, such as moving from a blog post to a relevant product purchase page without having to explore your site structure to get there themselves.
This will not always boost SEO rankings directly, but it can still help you direct new traffic to the pages that you want them to visit.
Internal linking also improves the user experience, which can help prevent early drop-offs from users who can’t find what they want – something that some search engines really take into account when ranking your website.
The SSL certificate is what provides your site with the https prefix rather than just http. This indicates a secure site.
This is not always that important for SEO, but it can be vital for making sure that auto-generated URLs do not turn users away.
Some browsers even have warnings for users visiting http sites. Even if there is no security risk, it might be enough to push a significant amount of traffic away before they even see what is on your page.
More than 60% of searches are made through mobile devices, so not having a mobile-friendly site is cutting off a huge amount of potential customers.
Most customers will not bother moving over to a PC or tablet device to look at your site. If it does not work on their phone, then they will most likely just move on to another platform.
Keeping all blog posts, products, and category pages mobile-friendly is important since this allows you to actually capture that mobile audience. Relying on browser searches alone is almost always a mistake.
As mentioned a few times before, search engines hate duplicate content. Meta tags and rich snippets may be ignored, but duplicate content in a blog post or product page will get penalised eventually.
The more duplicate content your site has, the worse it gets. This gets especially bad if some of that duplicate content is taken from other sites, which can lead to serious penalties that do not go away easily.
Craft all content to be unique and only overlap when necessary. While some shared terms and phrases are understandable, a Google search spider will not be merciful if it found that every armchair on your site has the same exact description.
This can apply to your site structure, too. If you are keeping all product pages the same, then that might backfire. Even small changes or quickly-rewritten paragraphs can be better than copying the same text time and time again.
Hreflang is an attribute in HTML that is used to identify a website’s language.
If you happen to have a site with multiple language variants for each page, hreflang can let you set them apart. This helps avoid accidental penalties for keyword stuffing, excessive link-building, or even duplicate content.
With hreflang checks in place, you can tell a Google search spider that you are hosting multiple identical site variants that all use different languages, saving you from harsh e-commerce site penalties.
Canonical tags Google which version of a URL you want in search results.
This becomes important for things like blog posts, which might have a master page and a lot of sub-pages that all focus on the same topic.
Using canonicals stops you from getting penalties for including the same redundant keywords across similar pages and stops searches from putting sub-pages in results rather than the main master page.
A sitemap file tells search platforms which pages are most important, allowing their spider bots to crawl the site more effectively.
This might not sound that useful, but remember that crawlers work on limited resources. They can only crawl so much, and you want them to take a snapshot of the best and most important parts of your site rather than semi-hidden pages that exist purely as part of the site architecture.
Link Building Strategies
Link building is another major SEO strategy focused on building links from other sites back to your own.
Good link building transfers some of the original site’s “authority” to yours, which can boost your rankings.
While simple in theory (get links from good sites to point back to your own, ideally while being relevant to your main keyword on that page), link building can be surprisingly complex.
1. Resource page link building
Resource pages are basically any page that lists important resources for users who need some kind of support.
This is best with informational keywords, allowing you to get your site listed via its main keyword as a resource relating to that keyword.
However, getting onto these lists means that you need to provide some valuable resources or advice. Back your informational keywords up with some actual content that users will want to rely on and share.
2. Partnering with influencers
Influences, including blog owners, are a great place to get both free and paid backlinks.
Again, this is a place for informational keywords to shine. Just be sure to choose relevant bloggers with a strong following and/or level of site authority.
3. Broken link building
If you find broken links (links that no longer point to a valid page) on the internet, you can always request that the site owner point them to your site instead – sometimes for a fee.
It can also be important to fix broken links that went to your site, such as ones that pointed to pages that now have different URLs.
There is always a chance that they will refuse, but if your main keyword and content are similar, you may receive a brand-new link that already has a lot of potential behind it.
4. Stealing competitor’s links
Through tools like AHrefs, it is possible to steal competitors’ links by looking at where they are being linked to and from where then approaching those platforms yourself.
While you can’t usually remove their links, you can still get your own from the same sources, leading to major boosts for your own business.
5. Guest Posting
Guest posts on blogs or article sites are a great way to create custom content that points back to your e-commerce business.
This does not have to be promotional content. A blog post with informational keywords that just “happens” to link to a resource on your own site is perfectly valid and is a standard strategy within the SEO industry.
Just remember that not all site owners will accept free guest posts. You might have to pay them, offer a promotional incentive, or both.
6. Podcast Link Building
Podcasts are a relatively new but growing way of getting backlinks, especially if you employ the right informational keywords at the right times.
Podcasts can be hosted on a range of sites and platforms, so getting your site linked to by a podcast can be a multi-stage backlink option.
Naturally, this works best on the websites of the podcasts themselves, but not all podcast owners actually host their shows on a custom site.
Content Marketing for Ecommerce Sites
If you want to capture customers, then content marketing is just as important as the rest of your SEO work.
Producing content that captivates or draws in users is a major part of being able to secure additional traffic and can offer a lot more value than a simple title tag change or some new long-tail keywords.
1: Find Where Your Target Customers Hang Out Online
Look at how your audience behaves. What do they look for? What kind of keywords search volume do you get, and where are links to your site coming from? What sites are they most likely to explore?
The more you know about your traffic, the easier it becomes to create content that specifically targets this traffic while also avoiding a huge amount of keyword difficulty.
2: Learn What Words and Phrases Customers Use
What kind of phrases are your customers using to find you or searching for in general?
While auto-generated keyword suggestions are a good starting point, you want to know specifically what your target audience tends to look for.
Tailoring your keywords and content to suit your audience is the bread and butter of SEO, and it becomes most important with content marketing.
3: Create An Outstanding Piece of Content Around That Keyword
Rich snippets and title tag long-tail keywords are a good way to capture a search audience, but the content you produce has the biggest impact.
From blog posts to informational pages, it is important to create content on your e-commerce site that gets attention from your audience. Building this e-commerce site content around a specific keyword can massively improve how well you rank for it.
Even with keyword difficulty and site audit spiders to consider, there is no reason not to put more content on your site. All content will eventually draw in somebody, and having it there can lead to greater rankings without any extra effort required.
E-commerce SEO is a tricky field. It is not just a side audit process, an e-commerce relevancy check, or a simple fix that can require nothing more than an extra title tag review.
If you want to make your e-commerce site actually rank properly for the things it is supposed to, then you need to put the effort in. That means focusing on optimising what already exists and making changes as needed, not just one or the other.
Platforms like Google Search Console, Google Analytics, and Google Keyword Planner can be a great way to start, but even performing a site audit on your own store is only part of the process.
Slow down, explore your site’s shortcomings, and research both your audience and your competitors. Make sure that you know exactly what you want from your SEO, and do not be afraid to make changes if you feel that you have to.
SEO, as an industry, is always changing. It can be a constant battle to keep your site high in the rankings, but the success you will see from proper SEO implementation makes it one of the most important tasks you could ever take on.
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