Your eCommerce website, whatever the niche or product, is heavily influenced by search engines.Many online shoppers take the first step of the buyer's journey on a search engine, and the next step usually lands on one of the first few links in the search engine results pages.
So, your goal is to improve your eCommerce SEO and start attracting that traffic. Search engine optimization is the absolute best way to improve your site to start seeing these kinds of results, and we're here to help you get started.
We'll discuss 12 key eCommerce SEO strategies that you can use to improve your site today, giving you some insight into how you can start seeing improved sales and engagements through optimization.
Let's take a look.
1. Identify Your Key Users
Finding the demographic of individuals that are most likely to engage with your content is absolutely key. You've probably got a specific idea of the kind of customer you're targeting, and it's time to put that sketch to use.
Having an idea of the basic personal factors of your target audience gives you a huge leg up when it comes to angling your SEO strategy in the right direction.
Details like age, location, and general interests are some of the foundational pieces to narrow down. Once you have that figurative person or group in mind, you can start targeting them online and finding out what they're up to.
This is where keyword research comes into play.
2. Keyword Research
Keyword research involves identifying the search terms that your demographic is using the most and getting intelligence on those terms to see if you should be using them to direct your content.
You can find popular keywords through secondary tools or the features in Google Analytics, or you can take a simpler route. One way to get a general idea of the kinds of keywords you should be using is to use the suggested searches on different platforms.
If you sell a product, Amazon is a great place to go to find out what is working. For example, if you run a yoga mat site, type "yoga mat" into the search bar on Amazon.
You'll see the drop-down list come up with around ten suggestions to continue typing. Those extensions are variations on keywords that you can use to direct your content.
When you've found a popular keyword in your niche, find out if the top results are filled with competition that you can compete with. If the companies that fill the top spots are massive and powerful, you might have better luck trying to rank for other terms.
3. Improve Your Site Architecture
Site architecture is basically the way that the pages of your website are organized. A simple business website isn't typically too complex, while a thriving eCommerce website might need to have a lot of pages.
As you start to produce SEO keyword-optimized content, you'll generate a lot of pages and it's important that you have them organized in a particular way. Google's algorithm checks for the simplicity and intuitiveness of your site.
It's a metric that tells Google how easily users can navigate your site.
You should aim to keep things as simple and intuitive as possible. Think of the pages of your site not as they appear to you visually, but instead as a network of links.
These links form a flowchart, starting with your home page and branching outward as more content arises. To avoid too much complexity, make sure that no page is more than three links away from your home page.
If your page has a lot of product categories, for example, you can make things very simple; the flow chart should have a home page, followed by your categories, a set of subcategories, then the product pages.
This organization is simple and intuitive. It also only requires users to make three clicks to get where they'd like to be.
4. Don't Produce Random Content
The idea of a blog has changed significantly since the term originated. There's a lot of talk about blogs and content creation in the digital marketing world, and a lot of people interpret that to mean that one should just make content in general.
A "blog" in your eCommerce business' sense isn't a platform to express general thoughts and feelings about random subject matter. While it can be that if you want it to, that's not going to impact your search results positively.
Instead, your content should be created in response to the keyword research that you do. When you find an optimal keyword, you can then generate content that fits that search term well.
This poses a couple of important benefits. First, you know that the type of content you're creating is something that your users are interested in. Second, it allows you to naturally fit the most popular keywords in your niche into your content.
For example, let's say your search term is "cold weather bike tires."
You can then produce content that explores the best cold-weather bike tires, ideas for where to bike in the winter, or tips on staying warm while you bike in cold weather.
Those subjects can easily fit the idea of cold-weather bike tires into the content, giving you more ability to work your optimization in naturally.
Being natural is extremely important.
5. Avoid Black Hat Optimization
Black Hat SEO is an instance where a business or website tries to cheat the search engine algorithm.
For example, stuffing keywords into content that doesn't relate to the keyword. Trying to stuff your content with backlinks that were purchased from entirely unrelated websites is another way to use Black Hat SEO.
These methods might boost your results for a small period of time. A lot of digital marketing companies that offer immediate results are using some form of this kind of optimization.
The downside is that, while there's a temporary boost for a moment, you run the risk of extreme penalties from Google. Once caught, your rankings will plummet.
Additionally, you could get unindexed from Google's archives and eliminate the possibility of showing up in any search results.
Generally, the more organic and natural you can work your optimization in, the better your results will be.
6. Think of Users First
Thinking about optimization and its various practices can be overwhelming at times. Getting too close to the project and focusing on eCommerce SEO tips can distract you from the most important thing: user experience.
Not only does user experience have an evident, inherent value, but it's also the most important thing for Google's search algorithm as well.
At the end of the day, Google wants to provide its users with the best possible experience. For them, that means producing top quality results that relate to the user search.
The complexity of the algorithm is all directed at finding the sites that provide the most value to users. When you focus on the user value of your content, you will inherently use some important SEO methods.
If you focus only on optimization, though, you won't necessarily add real value to the content. Even if you do end up ranking well, content with no value won't do as much for you.
7. Create Longer Content
The more comprehensive, your content, the better you'll do in the search rankings.
That typically means generating content that has at least 1,000 words. The more, the better. Try to explore the content you're discussing as much as possible without going too far off of the map.
The more that you branch off slightly, the more area within the niche that your content will cover. Longer content gives you the chance to accurately discuss a particular issue and provides a larger chance to contribute user value.
Trying to produce content that exceeds 1,000 words is a great start, but make sure that you're not just writing to fill that word count. Fluff, or content that is redundant and has no purpose, will only work to hurt your rankings.
8. Place Keywords Strategically
In your 1,000-plus word content, you'll want to add the target keyword 3 to 5 times. It's important that these terms are added naturally, and that they're not clustered.
In fact, it's best to have the keyword entered in the introduction, in one primary header, and at the end of the content.
Wherever else is natural to add the keyword should be utilized as well.
9. Work on Backlinks
Backlinks are links that are directed to your pages from other pages.
In the eyes of the search algorithm, this tells Google that your content is quality enough to be recommended by other sites in your niche. If the site that links to you has a high domain authority and similar content to your own, that will only add to the quality of the backlinks.
Pages with more backlinks get higher rankings. It's as simple as that, but the process of getting backlinks is a little more complicated.
As you're just starting out, you might find that it's hard to acquire links naturally. You can reach out to other sites in your niche and see if you can write a piece for their blog in exchange for a link back to your site.
Once the ball gets rolling and rankings start to generate, you'll find that your pages get linked to on a regular basis just from exposure.
10. Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, URLs
Great optimization requires that you're fine-tuning each element of the page you're working on.
When it comes to any blog post or piece of content, make sure to optimize the title, the meta description, and the URL.
It's possible to add the keyword phrase into the URL on most content management systems like WordPress. Additionally, that keyword phrase should be present in the meta description and title.
If you're having a hard time figuring out how to adjust those elements of your content, it's worth giving a call to the customer service of your CMS platform to find out.
These elements of SEO don't have as much to do with user experience, but they're crucial in letting Google know what your content is about.
11. Use PPC Advertisements
PPC ads or "pay-per-click" advertisements typically show up as sponsored posts or advertisements in our feeds.
It's possible to use these advertisements on search engines as well as social media platforms. While these don't fit exactly into how your pages rank, they do pose benefits that can help your rankings overall.
First off, they give you access to users immediately. You don't have to wait for organic search results to generate results, they're just given to you.
The only downside is that you have to pay. At the same time, you only pay for the engagements that the content receives. Your ad could go past the screens of a thousand people, but you'll only be charged for the two-hundred that actually engage.
One good thing, though, is that the rates are usually very affordable.
As more traffic rolls in, engagements within your page are monitored by Google and can impact your rankings. So, the more that people interact with the various pages on your site, the more reason Google has to think that your site is interesting and useful.
12. Work with The Professionals
If you're finding that the importance of SEO for eCommerce outweighs your ability to do it well, it might be time to talk with the pros.
Running great search engine optimization is difficult, and it often takes time. Many small business owners don't have the time to learn about optimization and dedicate the effort needed to do it well.
That doesn't change the fact that it's necessary, though. We're here to help you on that front.
Want to Improve Your eCommerce SEO?
Once the ball starts rolling with your eCommerce SEO, you'll likely see increased sales that justify the effort you put in to get those rankings. If you want to learn more about how that process works and what you can do to get there, you've come to the right place.
Contact us for resources and options for your next SEO campaign.