7 essential tips to include in your e-commerce SEO strategy
What is SEO and why should you care?
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation – a scientific approach to increasing the website’s visibility on search result pages by optimising it around user intent. Everything SEO has technical, user experience and design aspects, which is why it’s described as a scientific process.
Google’s objective is to rank websites that satisfy the search intent of web visitors.
Here’s how to do this:
- Provide detailed answers to every possible question around the topic
- Make clearer explanations using good examples, videos or images
- Improve user experience with fast loading website, optimised mobile version, intuitive user interface, etc
- Generate external and internal links
Copywriting, web design, marketing, PR and social media are all essential pieces that can help an effective eCommerce SEO strategy.
Why is SEO important for e-commerce websites?
For a search query, a few ads followed by organic listings will show up on Google.
Most online users will click on the organic results.
However, this depends on how many ads and keywords are there; but most times, the organic listings get the clicks.
You can record additional sales every month by adding in more SEO efforts. Combining Shopify SEO with Search Engine Marketing (SEM), such as Google AdWords, can get two search result listings and improve sales.
Breaking down the 7 essential tips:
1. E-commerce keyword research
The number one step in an e-commerce SEO campaign is keyword research. Missing this step or not getting it right means:
- You’ll rank for low buyer-intent or zero traffic keywords
- Your target keywords will be challenging to rank, and you won’t be found on the first page
It’s essential to perform e-commerce keyword research to help you get easy-to-rank target keywords, a good search volume, and spiralling rates of conversion.
Buyer intent is an important consideration for choosing the best keywords possible.
You’ll know buyer intent by the nature of search queries. For instance, a query like “best women’s shoes” means the searcher is likely researching; no intention to buy yet. But a query like “women’s black leather shoes” means they’re looking for the best deals on the product and are more ready for purchase.
Sometimes, buyer intent is linked to the average cost per click (CPC) of a keyword. You can find this in the Google Keyword Planner. This is because if people spend more to advertise a keyword, its conversion rate will increase.
2. Find keywords through competitor research
For keyword ideas, you can get these from competitors’ sites with search results ranking higher than yours.
Type your keyword into Google, select a competitor, scan their category and product pages for best keywords.
Avoid using the exact same keywords as your competitor. Their higher ranking doesn’t mean their keywords are the best. For example, it could be their domain authority (DA) is higher than yours.
This is where breadcrumbs come in. Setting this up on e-commerce sites enables Google to scan and index the site.
3. Determine if you are choosing the right keywords
For an online business, Google Keyword Planner can help you identify rough search volume and CPC – the buyer intent determinant.
For every vital keyword, note the volume and buyer intent. Then, rate it as low, medium or high following its CPC and compare it to the general CPC for most keywords found in your niche.
After that, use buyer intent and the best mix of traffic to sort the results. The keywords you get are those you should prioritise. Using long-tail keywords are also great. Build a keyword matrix to maximise keyword spread and get more serious about search engine optimisation.
With a keyword matrix, you can evaluate keywords and plan your spreadsheet to allocate potential keywords to all your pages faster.
4. E-commerce site architecture
This is a structure of your site navigation, category pages and product pages. It helps in content marketing to assist users in finding relevant content with minimal clicks.
For e-commerce stores to have a great site structure:
- It shouldn’t take more than three clicks to reach a page from another page
- Build relevant page URLs and subdirectories using keyword research
- Keep it simple and scalable
5. An on-page SEO strategy for an e-commerce site
On-page search engine optimisation involves placing keywords in appropriate positions to tell Google what your page is about.
With this, you show up on other SERP features.
- Instant Answer – a box with simple text answer and source URL found at the top of result pages, below ads.
- Images – Shows a horizontal row of images above a search, for instance, product images.
- Carousel – Shows local results containing ratings, reviews, business name and image.
- Local pack – Usually shows three local businesses plus a Google map; mostly on mobile.
- News – Located at the top of the result page is this time-sensitive news topic block.
- Site links – For brand intent search, about 10 site links can be displayed plus an organic result.
- Featured video – Located at the top of organic search results, this has a larger thumbnail with greater information.
- Review – Stars and rating data appear here for the addition of product and item reviews.
- Video – Shows YouTube, Vimeo, plus other App videos with their thumbnail in organic results.
- Featured snippet – Found above top search results, this special box provides an answer to a particular query.
- Knowledge panel – Displays block of information about people, events, movies etc drawn from various sources of semantic data. Appears to the right of the search result.
- Top Ads – AdWords ads occupying about 4 top spots on the search page.
- Bottom Ads – AdWords ads occupying about the last 3 spots on the search page.
6. Implement on-page SEO for e-commerce category pages
The most important pages to rank are your category pages. Google users who find them instantly have access to all your product in that category.
It would be best if you put target keywords in the following places to optimise product category pages:
- In the URL. Optimise your URL by making them shorter and easier for search engines like Google to read. Adding your primary keyword to the URL makes it friendly, improve search ranking and increase organic traffic.
- In the title tag (H1). As much as possible, place your keyword in the H1 tag very close to the beginning. It’s a way of creating quality content.
- In body copy. Google doesn’t like category pages diving into the product without any introduction to product descriptions. An introduction of 300 words minimum with keywords appearing 2 to 3 times is okay. Avoid keyword stuffing.
- In image alt text. Google reads alt text to know what images are about; it doesn’t understand images. Part of content strategy is leveraging on this to add your keywords and appear in Google image results.
- In the metadata. Adding keywords to meta descriptions (brief information about your page) appearing in search listing improves click-through rates, drive organic search traffic, and increase ranking. How? Google makes your primary keyword bold in the search results when added to the metadata.
7. On-page SEO for e-commerce product pages
Here, you just have to do all you did for category pages. Only 2 things are different:
- There’s no need for a banner image
- Do an introduction of 1000 words minimum rather than 300 words. Why? Google’s top pages contain at least 2000 words, and Google is basically a research tool.
Online business owners should note that Google considers a page with more quality information more likely to answer a query.
Measuring SEO success for an e-commerce website
So many people, not just you, have wondered if their SEO strategy is effective. It takes a longer time to notice the efficacy, and the signs are subtle. What are they? An increase in visibility, rankings and conversions.
You can track your rankings by:
- Using paid SEO tools
- Using your Google Search Console account
Both methods are recommended, but #2 is free.
With these e-commerce SEO tips, you can create essential SEO elements like user-generated content and watch your business achieve set goals.
If you need some extra help and support with your online e-commerce store, grab your ticket to the upcoming Shopify SEO Masterclass!
Or if you would like to outsource this, get in touch and let’s have a chat about your needs.
Doreen Brown from Let’s Get Visible has 9 plus years of experience working with small to medium businesses using ethical & evidence-based Digital Marketing and SEO strategies. She also has a podcast and online academy to further support businesses with their visibility needs.