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Top 8 tips for building an effective Ecommerce SEO strategy 

Top 8 tips for building an effective Ecommerce SEO strategy 

SEO requires a huge amount of effort when it comes to optimisation and creating content but, once you rank highly in the search engines, that work will continue to pay off long after your investment has stopped. In this complete guide, we’ll look at how you can create an effective Ecommerce SEO strategy. 

SEO provides the highest ROI of any marketing campaign but many Ecommerce websites completely overlook it and can miss out on huge amounts of traffic and sales. 

Many Ecommerce businesses rely solely on social media and paid ads for getting their brands seen online. However, these methods require constant investment and, once the budget stops, the results and sales stop too. 

SEO requires a huge amount of effort when it comes to optimisation and creating content but, once you rank highly in the search engines, that work will continue to pay off long after your investment has stopped. 

In this complete guide, we’ll look at how you can create an effective Ecommerce SEO strategy. 

What is SEO for Ecommerce? 

SEO for Ecommerce is a digital marketing strategy that allows online retailers to rank in the top results of search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo!. You want to be visible in the search results so that, when people search for the products you sell, it’s your brand they’ll find. 

A high-quality and well designed website that features great product images, descriptions and content will rank higher in search engines, helping to increase the visibility of your store online and to drive traffic. 

An SEO strategy will concentrate on optimising your Ecommerce site, making it easier to drive leads and conversions for your business. 

Why does an Ecommerce SEO strategy matter?

When you’re looking for a product or service, where is one of the first places you go? If you’re like 48% of customers, you start your online shopping journey with a search engine. 

Online shoppers are looking for purchase options, tips, comparisons and a range of information to help them make a decision on which product or service they should buy and which brand they should buy from. 

In fact, 37.5% of all traffic to Ecommerce websites comes from search engines. So, if your website isn’t visible in the search results, you could be missing out on huge numbers of qualified customers who are ready to buy. 

Having a website is great but if no one can find it, it’s unlikely to drive any results for you. 

Top tips for building an effective Ecommerce SEO strategy

  1. Keyword Research

Keyword research should be the first step in any Ecommerce SEO strategy. Getting this right will allow your brand to rank on page one of the search results and, most importantly, ranks for the keywords that receive a lot of traffic and will lead visitors to buy from you. 

Performing keyword research properly will allow you to rank in Google for target keywords that don’t have too much competition but will drive enough traffic to your site and have high conversion rates. 

However, there is more to keyword research than just looking at how difficult it is to rank for keywords or how many people are searching for it. To be as successful as possible, you should look at the intent behind the keywords. This will show you how far along a visitor from organic search is along the buyer’s journey and the content you will need to show them to help them answer their question. 

Types of keyword intent 

There are two types of keyword intent so you should pay close attention to the queries you’re looking to optimise for to make sure they’re going to drive traffic and sales for your website. 

  1. Informational keyword intent 

These keywords are used to describe the information the searcher is looking for. These searches consists of: 

  • How tos: ‘How do I…?’
  • Direct purchase: these search queries include phrases such as ‘buy this’ 
  • Factual queries:  these queries contain keywords such as ‘fact’ and ‘information’ and searchers are usually looking for more information on a particular subject

  1. Commercial keyword intent 

These keywords are used when searchers are looking for information to help them make a purchase. They want to find what they need it and make a purchase as quickly as possible. 

Consumers use this type of keyword when they know what they want to buy but they don’t know where to find it. They usually have a higher purchase intent and are looking for information about where to find the product or service they’re looking for. 

Where to perform keyword research 

Now you know what you’re looking for, the next step is to use a variety of tools to find out what your customers are searching for. 

Here are some of the tools you can use to find keywords, search volumes and competition for specific keywords: 

SEMrush keyword magic tool 

SEMrush’s keyword magic tool is a great resource for finding what keywords are being used in relation to your business, their search volumes and how difficult they are to rank for. You simply type your query into the search box and the results are displayed for you.  

This is great for finding out the words and phrases being used by your potential customers and will give your Ecommerce SEO strategy more direction. 

Amazon 

Consumers turn to Amazon with the intention of making a purchase. This makes Amazon the perfect place for finding high buyer intent keywords relating to your product or service. 

Just start typing your main keyword into the Amazon search bar and Amazon will provide autofill suggestions. These are all keyword ideas for your business. You can even run them through SEMrush to find out more about the search volumes and competition for those keywords. 

Google keyword planner 

Google’s keyword planner is another perfect place to find the right keywords for your business. This tool is free to use and will help you to find keyword ideas and provide search volumes and forecasts so you can get an idea of how they might perform for your business. 

Google’s keyword planner is attached to the Google Ads platform but you don’t need to be running PPC campaigns to access it. All you need is a Google account. 

Google Suggest 

Google Suggest is the autofill tool that shows you existing queries as you type your query into Google. This will show you long tail keyword suggestions and is great for finding out what people are searching for in relation to your product or service. 

2. Website architecture 

Once you have your keyword research in place, it’s important to optimise your site architecture to make it as easy as possible for customers to find what they’re looking for and provide the best, most relevant content. 

Site architecture includes how you set up the navigation, category pages and product pages on your website. It’s also about reducing the number of steps customers have to take to find what they’re looking for. 

Your keyword research will help to inform your page URLs as well as product categories and pages on your site. Not only is having an optimised site architecture important for customers, it’s also important for a search engine friendly site that’s easy to crawl and will rank highly. 

  1. Technical SEO 

Fixing technical SEO issues with your site can sometimes be the difference between ranking above or below your competitors. 

There are a few technical issues you should look at to give your site the best chance of ranking properly. 

Resolve errors 

Keeping your website clean can have a huge impact on both user experience and SEO. Continually monitoring Google Search Console for site errors will help you to solve problems before they become an issue. This will help you to fix errors such as broken links, indexed 404 pages, or errors in sitemap files. 

Resolving these errors improves Google’s ability to index the site and will positively affect your search rankings. 

Enable canonical tags 

Canonicalisation, (canonical tagging) informs search engines that a page URL represents a default master page. This is perfect when you have pages with more than one URL such as your homepage or blog pages. This is a simple fix but it will have a huge impact on your search rankings. 

Fix duplicate content 

Duplicate content can be a huge problem for Ecommerce websites as they often have thousands of products and can lead to large numbers of pages. Having too many duplicate pages can impact on the crawlability of your website. 

Thin content 

Thin content can be an issue with Ecommerce websites as it can be difficult to write a lot of content for huge numbers of products. Fix this by creating detailed product descriptions to avoid these problems and let users know more about your products. 

Page speed 

Your page speed is the measurement of the time it takes for someone to open a page on your website. Page speed is a ranking factor and customers do not want to wait for your site to load. 

The ideal site speed for SEO is two second but the faster, the better. 

  1. On page optimisation  

On page optimisation is all about getting keywords in the right places and making sure that Google and visitors can easily navigate the page and understand its content. 

There are a number of different ways to optimise your site: 

Category pages 

Your category pages are the most important when it comes to your ecommerce SEO strategy. If a potential customer finds them in the search results, they are given access to all of your products in that category. 

It is recommended that you include around 300 words of content on your category pages optimised with your keywords for that page and a banner image. 

To make sure these pages are optimised for SEO, make sure your keyword is in the following places: 

  • The URL
  • The title tag (H1) 
  • The body copy 
  • The image alt text 
  • The meta data 

Product pages 

For your product pages, you should do everything as you would with your category pages but with 1,000 words of optimised content and no banner image. 

Your product descriptions should be optimised to provide visitors with the information they’re looking for and to encourage them to buy. Maximise the impact of your product pages by adding elements such as: 

  • High quality images 
  • Relevant keywords 
  • Detailed descriptions 
  • Calls to action 
  • Reviews 

Images 

This is often something that Ecommerce websites tend to overlook. However, they’re a great way to draw customers in and showcase your products to them. Optimising your images for SEO will also help you to rank higher in the search results and gain more traffic from potential customers. 

Title tags

These can have an impact on SEO due to their impact on the click through rate of a page. This is the blue text you see in the search results and tell searchers and search engines what the page is about. 

Your title tags should be between 55-60 characters long and use your target keywords. 

Meta descriptions

Your meta descriptions also play a key role in click through rates so should be unique to each page. Use these as an opportunity to explain why searchers should choose your brand and keep them to 150 characters. 

Reviews 

Provide shoppers with information to weigh whether to go with a particular product or store. 

Vital for success in ecommerce. Help to build trust with potential customers and improve conversion rates

Encourage customers to leave reviews by sending automated messages whenever they purchase. 

  1. Make sure your site is user friendly 

User experience (UX), refers to the ease with which customers are able to use your site and find information. Your site should be well designed and visually appealing but it should also work well too. 

This includes your site speed, navigation and how easy your site is to use. If it’s difficult for customers to find what they want or your site is slow, your bounce rate is likely to be high and customers will leave to buy from a site that is more user friendly. 

  1. Content marketing 

Producing regular, high quality content is an easy way for your site to rank for more keywords and will help you to build backlinks too. 

But, content marketing is not just useful for SEO. It’s the best way to engage your customers too. 70% of consumers would rather learn about a company through an article rather than an advert and 60% of consumers are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it. 

Posting regular content can help to build trust with your customers and set you as an expert in your industry. 

Types of content to consider include:

  • ‘How-to’ content 
  • FAQs 
  • New product launches 
  • User generated content (customer photos or blog post) 
  • Testimonials 

Content such as ‘How-to’ or other guides is known as evergreen content and will continue to sit on your site over the long term and continue to bring in traffic. 

For ideas on these types of content, have a look at your buyer personas and keyword research and think about their concerns and problems. You can then create content that will address their worries and provide solutions through your products. 

Social media 

Once you have created your content, publishing it and sharing it on social media will help to have a positive impact on your position in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Building a presence and following on social media will help to create site authority and tells the search engines that your site is an authority in your industry. 

  1. Link building 

Link to and from your website (backlinks) is another huge ranking factor. 

Other relevant and high authority sites linking to yours indicates to Google that your website is a trustworthy source with relevant information that people want to read and share. 

These backlinks can also have an influence on how highly your ecommerce site ranks for certain keywords. 

How can you build backlinks for your website? 

  • Create internal backlinks - link between a blog post and product pages on your website 
  • Write guest posts 
  • Use social media 
  • Send press releases out to relevant publications 
  • Create and share visual content such as infographics 

Creating interesting content will help to increase the number of people who look to link to your site and those who engage with your content. 

  1. Measuring your SEO success 

To make sure you stay on track and understand how successful your Ecommerce SEO strategy is, it’s important to measure your success. 

Unlike PPC, you can immediately calculate your ROI from SEO. It takes time for your site to rank and for rankings to improve so it’s a long term strategy. 

Use tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console to measure your organic traffic and engagement metrics. Google Search Console will also show you what keywords your website is ranking for and where it ranks so you can work on improvements to make sure your site appears on page one of the search results. 

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Blog written by

Amy Renardson
Director

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