Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice of managing a website in such a way that it ranks high on search engines. SEO for eCommerce websites revolves around getting organic traffic for product pages.
The ultimate goal of any eCommerce website is to sell more products. But, before people buy products, they search for them. That is why SEO is crucial for eCommerce businesses.
Why SEO is important for eCommerce Businesses
Organic searches are the second highest source of traffic for eCommerce websites. If you want your website to rank high for relevant searches, you need to focus on SEO.
The higher your eCommerce website ranks for audience searches, the better traffic you can drive to your website. Higher traffic brings more customers to your website resulting in more purchases and better revenue.
The benefits of SEO are not limited to search traffic. It also helps improve your website’s structure, performance, content, and user interface.
It is a long and complex process. But, the following guide will help you understand the fundamentals of SEO.
Step-by-Step Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce SEO
If you are just starting out, you need to focus on the fundamental aspects of SEO. The following 5 steps will help you prepare the groundwork to receive organic traffic on your eCommerce website.
Step 1: Technical SEO Review
Before a website can rank on a search engine, it needs to fulfil certain criteria. The search engines should be able to crawl the website and index its pages.
This review helps you identify the problem areas in your eCommerce website that might prevent it from ranking. At this stage, you need to analyze the website’s architecture, loading speed, sitemap, broken links, user interface, security measures, and so on.
You need to make sure that:
- Search engines can crawl your eCommerce website.
- You have defined crawling instructions for crawl bots.
- The website has TLS certification for HTTPS.
- Your website does not take too long to load.
- There are no broken links on the website.
- Your website has a well-defined URL structure
This audit will tell you exactly how much work is to be done before you begin your SEO activities.
Step 2: Keyword Research
The term “keyword” refers to the words or phrases people use to search for something. The purpose of this research is to find the search terms relevant to your products.
Each keyword has a different search intent behind it. Different keywords also come from different types of audiences. You will need to find the keywords that are relevant to your website and its pages.
For example, if your eCommerce website sells sports shoes. Then keywords like “shoes for sports” and “comfortable sports shoes” are relevant for you. At the same time, you should ignore keywords like “office shoes” and “sell second-hand shoes”.
Some of the most common methods for eCommerce keyword research include
- Google Search Suggestions
- Google Related Searches Section
- Amazon Search Suggestions
- Google Keyword Planner
Step 3: On-Site SEO
Once you have the list of relevant keywords, you need to incorporate them into the website’s structure. The first order of business is to include the keywords in the website’s metadata
You will have to put the right keywords in the title tags, headings, meta descriptions, and alt text. Here you only focus on the most important keywords. You can use other keywords in the content. Page headings, titles, product descriptions, image captions, etc. give ample opportunities to place relevant keywords.
Next you have to focus on the URLs of your web pages. You should create descriptive URLs that also include your targetted keywords. If you have several product categories, you should implement them in URLs also.
For example, if you are selling different types of sports shoes. Then you should create categories and subcategories for product pages. In this example, your URL structure would look something like this:
Each category and sub-category will help you target different keywords. You can further structure the URLs based on brands and product specifications. Such descriptive URLs are also helpful for the audience as they are more readable.
Step 4: Content Creation
After the architecture of the eCommerce website, you should focus on the content. You will need to evenly distribute the keywords throughout the content. Using a combination of long and short keyword phrases will help you break the monotony in the content.
Content for product descriptions should be as detailed as possible. You can include information about the product’s features, advantages, uses, reviews, and so on.
Aside from product descriptions, you can also create detailed content for different aspects of your eCommerce brand. If you are using professional courier services for same-day delivery, you can create a blog to highlight this USP.
You will not be able to fit in all the keywords on product and service pages. That’s why you also need to write blogs. Based on the keyword research you can create different blogs to target different searches.
With relevant blog content, you can attract a variety of audiences, improve internal linking, incorporate different keywords, and engage website visitors. Your blogs need to be informative, entertaining, and engaging.
The more content you have on your website, the more keywords you can target. As you start developing more content, you will also find more opportunities for link building.
Step 5: Link Building
Link-Building is an off-page SEO practice where-in you get other websites to link back to you. The links of your website on other websites are called backlinks. They are an important factor in search engine ranking as they are considered a sign of authority.
There are numerous methods to improve the backlink authority of your website. You can write guest blogs for other websites and include a link to one of your pages in that blog.
Another popular method for backlink building is through mentions on news websites. As press websites have high authority, their backlinks are very valuable. But, you will need something newsworthy to receive backlinks from the press. Otherwise, you will have to pay a hefty amount.
You can also create backlinks through product review websites and social media mentions. Although such backlinks do not carry much weight. You should also avoid backlinks that may have a negative impact on your website’s authority.
Customize the SEO Strategy for your eCommerce Goals
As each eCommerce business is unique, so is its SEO strategy. The ideal strategy for your eCommerce depends on a variety of factors. This guide has laid out the fundamentals for you. But, you will need to create an SEO strategy unique to your business.
You will have to consider your products, target audience, USPs, and so on. Each factor requires you to target different types of people. You will need to develop a different SEO strategy for the website and individual pages.
The most important thing to remember about SEO is that it is a marathon. Results may take time. But if you are making efforts in the right direction, you will surely increase organic traffic.
Oliver Thyra is the head SaaS copywriter and content strategist at Your Marketing Digest. His intense passion for marketing and his engineering background in software engineering has made him a guy who understands how to sell software subscriptions with words. In his free time, Oliver enjoys quality time with his pets (he has got 4 golden retrievers!).