Getting more traffic is a top priority for any online business owner, especially if you’re new to the eCommerce game. You’ve got product management, customer support questions to answer, and a mountain of admin tasks to handle. One area you may be neglecting is your eCommerce SEO.
SEO for eCommerce websites is a little more complicated than for other sites because search engines treat queries related to selling more cautiously, and also because eCommerce is extremely competitive. That makes it harder to optimize well enough to make a difference.
To help you understand eCommerce SEO better and get you started with it, here’s some of the best advice for it.
Why SEO Matters for Ecommerce Websites
SEO is all about ensuring your website and all the pages appear high up in search results. eCommerce SEO is all about ensuring your product and category pages appear as high as possible in the search results. Because search engines use slightly different criteria and factors when ranking eCommerce pages, your SEO game has to be on point to make your online store successful.
So, how can you make sure your eCommerce website has excellent SEO to increase your search rankings, traffic numbers, and, most importantly, your sales? Keep reading for the best advice on how to do that.
The Best Advice to Improve Your Ecommerce SEO
Let’s dive into the best pieces of advice that’ll improve your eCommerce SEO and increase your conversions.
Do Your Keyword Research
Keyword research should be the foundation of every eCommerce website. It should dictate what market you go after, but after you set up your store, it’ll guide every other SEO-related activity you do for your site. That’s why it’s got to be the first step in your eCommerce SEO journey.
Before we get started, though, it’s important to note the difference between informational keywords and eCommerce keywords.
- Informational keywords are what people use to search for helpful “how-to” content. Think “how to start training for a marathon” and all the blogs and content-heavy sites that speak to that.
- Ecommerce keywords are what people use for product searches when they’re ready to buy. Think “best shoes for marathon runners” or “black countertop coffee makers.” These people are searching because they want to buy something right now.
So, when doing your eCommerce keyword research, you’ve got to do it from a product perspective. Your eCommerce site must be optimized for keywords that show buying intent. Here are a few free ways you can search for eCommerce keywords.
Amazon and Google Suggest
Head over to either site and enter a keyword that describes one of your products. The search box will list suggestions around that keyword, which you can use to optimize your product pages.
Amazon’s suggestions tend to be very targeted since people are already searching for those products. Also known as long-tail keywords, these keywords have lower competition and convert better than other terms. And conversions are vital for your eCommerce site.
You can find long-tail keyword suggestions in the related searches list at the bottom of every Google search results page.
Keyword Tool Dominator
Automate your keyword research with Keyword Tool Dominator. It’s a keyword research tool for the top search engines, several top eCommerce sites like eBay and Etsy, and other search-heavy sites like YouTube. The paid version of the tool gives you access to in-depth results and stats, but you can do two searches per day for free on each site you’re interested in.
Use Amazon’s departments and categories to optimize your eCommerce site. While category pages themselves don’t convert as well as individual product pages, they can still generate sales for you. Find them under your keywords when you search for them:
You can also find them under related Amazon departments. Open the department that best matches your product or keyword, then click through to the subcategories underneath. That’s where the gold is for your product keyword research.
Wikipedia is another great place to find keywords for your product and category pages because they also organize information by keywords and categories. They’ve already done the work for you.
Go to the site and enter a keyword that describes a product you sell. Then, scan the Wikipedia entry for words and phrases that apply to your product or category. Don’t forget the Contents box, which is the table of contents for the page.
Choose the Right Keywords
Your list of keywords is probably pretty long now, so here’s a four-step checklist you can use to narrow them down.
- Look at the search volume: This is the most crucial factor to look at. High search volume can mean higher traffic to your site, but it also means a lot of competition for them. To get exact numbers, you’ll need to purchase a subscription to a keyword planner tool like SEMrush or KeywordTool Pro, but with Google Keyword Planner, you can find out a range of search volume to give you an idea if it’s worth optimizing for it. The free MozBar will also give you a search volume range for free if you want to check that out.
- Check out the keyword competition: The lower the competition rate, the easier it is to rank for the keyword. MozBar gives you this information for free and gives you insight into how difficult it would be to rank higher than other sites online. The higher the number, the more difficult it is to outrank them. It’s not impossible but will require more work.
- Choose the most relevant keywords: Uncovering a keyword with high search volume and low competition is great, right? Yes and no. It’s only great for your eCommerce site if it’s relevant to your products. Stick to keywords that your products would genuinely satisfy and have the right combination of search volume and competition rates. It’s tricky to find the balance, but when you do, you’ll see a big difference.
- Pick the keywords that show buying intent: The final step is to pick the keywords that show the highest level of purchase intent. For example, compare “size 9 men’s trail runner” to “best trail running shoes.” Which shows more buying intent? (Bonus points if you choose the first one.)
Set Up a Flat Store Site Structure
How the pages on your site are organized and structured affects your search engine rankings and user experience. You want to make it easy for actual visitors and search engines to find products in your store.
As you add and remove products to your eCommerce site and rearrange the categories, your site structure gets complicated. If you’ve organized it right from the beginning, you’ll save yourself time and effort in the future (and make eCommerce SEO more manageable.)
There are two important rules to keep in mind for a flat eCommerce site structure:
- Keep it simple and scalable.
- Reduce the number of clicks it takes to get to a page.
The first rule makes it easy for you to manage so you can add products and categories without having to rearrange things every time. The second makes it easy for your site visitors to navigate, so they don’t have to rely on the Back button or do a new search to move between categories.
The link authority lies in your home, category, and product pages, because they tend to pop up more frequently in online searches (one of the factors search engines use to rank pages.) Other ranking factors that give your eCommerce site higher search engine love include the internal links these pages send each other and the fact all your pages are easy to index by search engines. All of these things make it easier for buyers to find those pages quickly online and then dive deeper into your site as they shop. It’s a positive feedback loop between the search engines, your buyers, and your site, so take advantage of it!
Optimize Your Product Pages
The final piece of advice is about your product pages. Each one should be heavily optimized for search because they’ll generate the majority of your sales. Take a look at each one of these parts of your page to ensure it’s working hard for you:
- Title tag: Add words like “buy,” “deals,” and “discount” to your titles, so they’re always visible in the browser window and subtly nudge people to the Buy button.
- Description tag: Include click magnet words and phrases like “FREE shipping,” “BOGO,” “Guarantee,” or “Lowest Price” to increase your click-through rates (CTR.) These appear in the preview of your link on the search engine results page, so use them wisely.
- Page content: Use your chosen keywords at least 3-5 times in the page content as naturally as you can. Include as much as you can about your product or category on the page. Remember, the content on your entire page is indexed by Google, which means the description, any reviews or testimonials, related products, and more. So ensure you’ve got as many words as you can on the page.
- LSI keywords: Latent semantic indexing (LSI) is the process by which search engines look for words and phrases that are closely tied to your main page keyword. So, on your category page that uses “men’s sneakers” as the main keyword, your LSI keywords could be: leather sneakers, athleisure sneakers, no-tie sneakers, vegan men’s sneakers, easy-wear, soft uppers, 3-hole sneakers, 4-hole sneakers, and so on. An LSI keyword is anything related to your main one that people might search for. Include them naturally in your product or category page to take advantage of them.
Spending a little time on eCommerce SEO for your website can pay off for you in the future. It’ll cost you a little time and effort up front, but you’ll save time on site management, improve the customer experience of your store, increase traffic, and get more sales.
You can run through all of these tips one after another to optimize your eCommerce website, but there’s no rush. SEO is more of a marathon strategy than a sprint, so take your time and work through each step thoroughly. Your customers will appreciate it.