If you are looking for a way to increase traffic to your e-commerce website, eCommerce SEO is one such answer.
It’s a method for getting tons of free targeted traffic to your webshop from search engines like Google.
Are you interested in learning to pull it off in your business?
Ecommerce SEO Statistics
Before we begin, let’s look at some eCommerce SEO statistics so that you know how important SEO can be to the growth of your business.
When buyers are looking for products or services that interest them, 44% do an online search before taking other steps. Also, most e-commerce sites get 37% of their traffic from search engines, so websites that don’t focus on SEO lose a lot of sales.
Ecommerce SEO Checklist
Do you feel tempted to start putting SEO to work for your business?
If so, that’s great. But before you launch, you need to plan and organize your efforts. Moving forward without a plan makes it much harder to reach your goals. You are much more likely to forget steps and encounter setbacks as a result.
The chief elements of your eCommerce SEO checklist MUST include ALL of the following:
- Product Descriptions
- Website Layout
- On-Site Optimization
Google's No.1 Rule
You must look at your website from Google’s point of view if you want to get lasting results.
Otherwise, SEO is never going to produce results for your business.
Some shop owners make the mistake of violating SEO guidelines, which ALWAYS decreases the quality of their content.
For example, the first search engines only ranked content by the number of times a keyword showed up on a page. Some website owners started overusing keywords to outrank each other. As a result, their content was low-quality and did not offer value to their visitors.
Google changed the game by including many other ranking factors to combat the tactic.
When that happened, many popular websites lost all their organic traffic overnight, and many of them shut their doors in the process.
Google updates its ranking factors a few times every year. But you don’t have much to worry about that as long as you focus on adding value to your visitors.
Satisfied visitors make you money, and Google happy.
Ecommerce SEO Keywords
Keywords are the words and phrases your prospective buyers enter on Google and other search engines.
If you want to get the most from your SEO efforts, make a list of possible keywords for each product on your website.
Search volume refers to the average number of people who search for a keyword each month.
If you try ranking for a keyword that does not get many searches, you waste a lot of time and energy. On the other hand, targeting keywords that get plenty of searches will attract more visitors.
Google’s Keyword Planner is a great tool you can use to see what keywords get a decent number of searches. As you review the list, write down keywords that have the most potential, and you can review them as you move to the next step.
In addition to search volume, keyword competition is another crucial factor you need to keep in mind.
Keyword competition lets you know how hard it will be for you to rank for specific terms and phrases.
You can begin reviewing keyword competition with a simple Google search.
Enter the keywords you would like to use and look at the websites that show up on the first page. If major universities or large corporations have all the top spots, a new e-commerce site does not have much hope of ranking.
If other e-commerce sites or small blogs show up for a given keyword, new websites have a much better shot at outranking them.
Keyword intent is another critical factor in your eCommerce SEO plan.
Keyword intent gives you an idea of what the people searching for that keyword plan to do once they reach your website. For example, you don’t want to target keywords that include “cheap” if you sell high-end products.
You also don’t want to target keywords that indicate people are looking for free services if you don’t offer free samples. Considering the intent behind each keyword lets you get the most for your effort, and you won’t waste time targeting visitors who don’t want to spend money.
It also allows you to boost click-throughs to your site by optimizing meta title and meta description to match the intent of the searcher.
As marketers, we MUST enter the conversation already taking place in the head of our prospects. Matching content to the intent of the searcher is how we jump into that private discussion.
Now that you have narrowed your keyword list, it’s time to create product descriptions that grab attention.
If you can make it sound natural, use product keywords in the title and where applicable in the description. Some people only include a few lines in their product descriptions. You will get much better results if you write long descriptions because it allows you to touch more on the pain points of your prospect your product solves. Plus, it gives you extra space to add your keywords.
Write your descriptions as a sales page, listing the top benefits customers get when they buy it. Share who each product is for and what they can expect when using it.
E-Commerce Site Layout
The layout of your website is essential when you want to take advantage of eCommerce SEO to boost your sales.
If you are starting a new website or don’t have tons of products, this step won’t take much time. It will take much longer if you have a site with tons of products or services, but it’s worth the effort.
Your goal is to design your website in a way that is easy for your users to navigate, and you also want Google to find your product pages without trouble. Begin by organizing all your products by category if you have not yet done so. You should also ensure that none of your products are more than three links from your homepage, and you increase your odds of ranking.
Ecommerce SEO Backlinks
Backlinks are the number of websites that link to yours.
Earning backlinks to eCommerce sites is not easy though and takes a lot of creativity and work.
The trick is to create tutorials (much like we have here on this post) and link to your products from the tutorial.
While premium link prospects won’t be interested in linking to your product pages, they WILL link to helpful posts.
SEO without backlinks is not SEO. It’s a pipedream.
Content Marketing for Backlinks
Content marketing is how you earn quality backlinks that increase your rankings on Google.
With content marketing, you provide content to other websites in exchange for a link back to you. Each link you earn can improve your SEO rank, boost your credibility, and send tons of targeted shoppers to your online shop.
It’s also how you earn links to your product pages.
To begin, look for blogs that relate to the products or services you provide. For example, look for nature blogs if you sell nature-themed t-shirts on your e-commerce store. If you sell laptop bags or other computer accessories, you can search for any blogs related to technology.
Instead of pitching your content from the start, get to know the blog owner and their followers first.
You can read existing blog posts and respond to readers’ comments and questions for a few weeks to improve your odds of success. Blog owners are much more open to using your content when they already know who you are, and adding value to their readers gives you bonus points.
When you are ready to pitch your content, begin your email by mentioning one or more blog posts that you enjoyed. You should also tell the blog owner why you think your content will be useful to their followers.
Keep in mind that not everyone will want to publish your content, and you can't let that discourage you.
Make a list of at least five blogs you can use to earn backlinks, and you will know you have additional options if the first one does not go as planned.
You might need to start with owners of small or midsized blogs before you build credibility in your market. Once you gain some traction, owners of large blogs will be open to using your content on their website. Popular blogs with lots of followers give you better results for each link you earn. Also, you don’t want to publish one blog post and forget about that blog.
If someone publishes your content once, they will likely do so again if everything works out the first time.
Replacing Broken Links
Helping your blog prospects replace broken links is another great way to earn valuable backlinks that boost your SEO rank.
Your prospects link to other sites on their content to back up their statements. Also, many website owners have a resource page for their visitors. The problem is that websites don’t last forever, and not all webmasters go through their content to ensure the links still work. Broken links are links that point to sites that no longer exist, and you can use them to boost your website’s rank.
Start by searching for the keywords you would like to target. You can then go through the top websites that show up and look for any broken links they might have. When you find broken links, reach out to the website owner to let them know about the problem. You then offer your backlink as a replacement for the one that no longer works.
Since webmasters don’t like having broken links in their content, you have a good shot at earning a backlink. Plus people are pretty cool by nature and will often reciprocate your good dead by linking to you as well.
Press Releases for Links?
You can also use press releases to get backlinks in addition to the other methods.
A press release company charges you to distribute your content to a range of news publications, making it one of the fastest ways to get exposure and quality links.
However, a lot of companies and online shops abuse press releases all the time to get backlinks, but that hurts them in the long run.
Ensure that each press release you publish offers valuable information that people will want to read. Try coming up with new twists on old products, or host fundraisers for worthy causes. You can use a press release to tell people about your event, earning backlinks along the way.
Backlink Mistakes to Avoid
While earning quality backlinks is a great way to boost your SEO effort, not all backlinks are equal.
Backlinks from the wrong places can hurt your SEO ranking FAST.
For example, some websites exist ONLY to sell backlinks to the highest bidders. Or some services create profiles on tons of sites just to put links to your e-commerce store in them.
The problem is that Google and the other search engines LOVE natural links. But they hate unnatural ones.
Once Google discovers that a website is selling backlinks, they penalize the site so that the links become worthless and sometimes toxic.
That tactic quit working a decade ago. In some cases, getting links from those sites can put you on Google’s wrong side and cause them to penalize your website forever.
Don’t cheat with links.
Ecommerce SEO and Page Loading Times
Many webmasters focus only on keywords and backlinks and ignore the importance of fast loading speed.
The top search engines know that people don’t like waiting too long for content to load, so they reward sites with fast loading times with a higher rank.
You should navigate to your website and see how long it takes to load, but don’t forget to take the speed of your internet connection into account. Your webpages should not take longer than three seconds to load with an average internet connection.
Hosting Package and Bandwidth
Look at your web hosting package if you are not happy with your website’s speed.
Some of our customers start their online business with the most affordable hosting package they can find, which is understandable. But as you gain traction, you will find that more people start viewing your content each month and will wax your limitations.
Cheap hosting plans USUALLY cap your monthly bandwidth.
If you have more visitors than you did when you first started, you might have reached your limit. Contact your hosting provider to see if this is the case. If it is, upgrading your hosting is an investment worth making if you don’t want to lose customers or hurt your SEO rank.
Removing Unneeded Graphics
If you are not reaching your data limit, the problem could be on your website.
Having lots of pictures or graphics reduces your loading time and forces your visitors to wait longer than they might want. To solve this problem, you can go through your website and remove images you don’t need and compress the ones you’re keeping.
If you take that step and still have trouble with your loading speed, you might have problems with your website’s code. Review your code to ensure no errors are present. If you don’t know how to optimize your website's code, your hosting provider should be able to give you a hand.
The Importance of a Mobile-Friendly Design
Having a mobile-friendly design is another critical factor in your SEO success.
Depending on your hosting provider, you might have an option to create mobile-friendly versions of each webpage. Your website will then detect what device a visitor is using and display the proper version. As you design your mobile-friendly site, keep in mind that many people have data limits on their phones.
Limiting images and audio reduces the amount of data your website transfers.
Finding and Fixing Ecommerce SEO Problems
Implementing the steps, you have just learned, will help you boost your SEO rank, but it's not enough if you want to maintain your results over time.
Conduct an eCommerce SEO audit on your website every few months to ensure you have not encountered any problems.
You can find plenty of tools that check your site for broken links, duplicate content, and other issues that could lower your position in the search engines. A little effort goes a long way when it comes to protecting your SEO rank and profitability.
Duplicate and Thin Content
Duplicate content is a problem because search engines don’t like it.
Google wants to index and rank original content that provides value to its users, so do your best to avoid using the same product description more than once. Even if you have similar products or services, you can find many ways to describe them to your prospective buyers.
You also want to do your best to avoid thin content that does not offer much information about your products or services. If you don’t know what to write, ask yourself about the questions your customers might have. Answering those questions increases your word count and provides additional value to your prospective buyers.
If you update your website or change the layout, you could create broken links within your website.
Broken links prevent your visitors from accessing all your content, causing you to lose sales as a result. You can manually review your site for broken links if you don’t have too many pages.
If you have a lot of products and don’t have time to review them all, let one of the many tools on the market find them for you.
Using SEO for your online store allows you to rank your content so that Google begins sending a river of free customers to you.
Since SEO is a long-term approach, remember that you won’t always get the results you want when you are first getting started. You will slowly notice a boost in your web traffic if you stick to the plan and avoid taking shortcuts.
Once you put your SEO plan in action and see the results, you can enjoy the rewards for years to come.