A Complete Guide to SEO for Ecommerce

What is SEO?

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. In simple words, it is the practice of getting traffic to your site or page by ranking higher organically on search engines. As a business, you need high-quality content curation around trending keywords and adding backlinks for higher rankings.

One of the most significant advantages of SEO is that using relevant topics and content can get “free & organic” traffic to your site. However, many people get ecommerce SEO wrong!

For example, if you have a women’s jewelry-related business, the most apparent keyword that people are likely to search for is “women’s jewelry.”

If you search for women’s jewelry, some of the top-ranking pages are Amazon, Michael Kors, and Saks Fifth Avenue.

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As a small or medium enterprise owner, it is nearly impossible to outrank corporations as big as Amazon! Knowledge and understanding of an important tool like SEO may get you the attention that you’re after. So, to understand SEO ecommerce better, it is essential first to understand what ecommerce SEO is.

What is SEO for ecommerce?

SEO for ecommerce can be defined as a strategy that helps online businesses rank higher on search engines. A keyword-optimized website with high-quality content will rank higher on search engines (for example, Google) and thus increase the traffic to your website and increase your store’s visibility.

However, remember that there is more to ecommerce SEO than merely adding keywords and writing blog articles – you need to understand how search engines work. That also means:

  • Understanding how ecommerce SEO works
  • Keeping Google’s guidelines in mind
  • Identifying consumer behaviors
  • Implementing the strategies

What Are the Benefits of ecommerce SEO?

Not having an SEO strategy is one of the biggest mistakes business owners make, along with choosing the wrong platform to sell or market their products and not having a mobile-friendly website.

Remember that SEO is not one of those tools that will bring you overnight success. It requires constant research, strategy, and consistency. However, the whole process can be gratifying once you see an increase in traffic and sales.

In this article, we will discuss some of its benefits.

1) SEO Is for the Long-Run

Sure, it is nice to get tons of messages and calls after you boost a post on social media. However, advertising your products or services online can be expensive, especially for small and medium ecommerce business owners who do not have limitless budgets that you can keep shoveling into advertisements.

If your competitors are advertising their products, it can be challenging to remain in profit and outbid them when it comes to ads. Eventually, your marketing budget will run out, or the funding would be needed elsewhere. As soon as this happens, your business will disappear from the search results.

By shifting your focus from paid marketing tactics to SEO, your business will rise through the rankings organically on search engines, leaving your competitors behind!

What’s impressive is that you don’t have to pay a dime to keep that spot. You just need to ensure that you are incorporating all trending and relevant keywords into your site.

2) Users Trust Organic Results

Have you ever googled something and completely skipped the first few paid links?

Customers actually tend to skip past the first few paid advertisements and instead click on the top-ranking organic results.

According to research conducted by a digital agency, approximately 39% of global ecommerce traffic comes from search engines – with about 35% of the traffic being organic and only about 4% through paid search advertisements results.

What this study shows is that web retailers need to invest more in SEO than paid advertisements. By investing in SEO, your customers will engage with your business and trust it more.

3) SEO Increases Brand Awareness

Imagine, instead of selling your products online, you decided to open a physical store. For some personal reasons, you couldn’t complete the storefront outlook. Now imagine hundreds of other shops on the same street. How will people know that your shop exists? If you want them to come and shop from your store, you must let them know that your store exists, right?

Search Engine Optimization solves this problem for online retailers. It lets the audience know that your business exists by being ranked higher on search engines. This is how you complete your storefront outlook when you have an online business.

Being on the first few results of Google will increase your brand awareness.

4) SEO Can Lead to Sales

According to Statista, in 2021, 2.14+ billion people globally are expected to purchase goods and services digitally, up from 2016’s 1.66 billion online buyers.

Building your business can take time, and until your e-business is famous enough that people search for it specifically, you have to rely on search engines.

Other than that, you must ensure that your website is user-friendly. If your website is difficult to navigate, there is a high chance that this will negatively impact your SEO. According to a study, about 38% of users stop engaging with a site if the layout or content is not up to the mark.

As an ecommerce store owner, it is your job to reduce the bounce rate of the customers leaving your website and, ultimately, increase sales.

Step-By-Step ecommerce SEO Guide

Step 1: Know your Keywords

Instead of relying on your gut feeling about which keywords customers are currently using, the first and foremost thing that you need to do is keyword research.
Here is what you need to do:

  • List all the pages of your ecommerce store’s website.
  • Use a keywords planner to find appropriate keywords for each page.
  • Keep an eye on the trending keywords!
1.1 Optimize the Prioritized Pages First

Performing keyword research on a page-by-page level can be easy for people who do not have a lot of pages, but if you have about a bazillion pages, it can be challenging to assign keywords to each page individually.

This task can be daunting; thus, you need to optimize the most important pages first.

To learn more about your essential pages, simply go on Google Analytics and follow the following steps:

Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages > Sort by Revenue

This will help you get an idea of what your important pages are. Now that you have a list of all the crucial pages, you can start finding the keywords.

You need to research:

  • Primary Keyword (i.e., the term that can bring a considerable amount of traffic to your store).
  • Secondary Keywords: (i.e., the terms that support the primary keyword).

Step 2: Optimize Your Titles, Meta Descriptions, and H1s

Writing proper titles, meta descriptions, and headings can be a tedious and exhausting task. One of the things that you can do to save time is use a hybrid approach.

Put most of your efforts into writing well-researched tags for the priority pages. For the pages that are not as important, use a templated approach.

Remember not to use the same template for all the pages. Ensure to create a unique template for different categories, brands, etc.

For example, Tiffany & Co. sells 764 different types of necklaces, including chains, bold necklaces, everyday necklaces, etc.

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Here’s an example of Tiffany & Co.’s meta description template for the necklaces category:

Tiffany&Co Necklace and Pendants Search Page
Tiffany&Co Necklace and Pendants Search Page

Sounds easy now, right? But it wouldn’t make sense if you use the same template for products in the watches category.

In the end, make sure that you’re writing unique meta descriptions for your important pages. Important pages are those pages that already rank in the top 10 pages on search engines.

Here are a few tips from us:

  • Know your primary keyword.
  • Add in some extra secondary keywords, where necessary.
  • Include words commonly used in Call to Actions/CTAs, such as “click,” “buy,” “free,” “sale,” etc.
  • Mention your unique-selling point. Do you provide free delivery? Do you ship worldwide?

When it comes to your H1, it is the category title and the product title. Just do your research and make sure that you are incorporating the keywords correctly.

Step 3: Focus on Your URLs

This is a step that many people forget, because who cares about URLs, right? Unfortunately, search engines do!

Your URLs should also be optimized and not at all messy.

Here is an example of a URL from Amazon:

You do not want your permalinks to look like this; URLs should be optimized too!

Here is what you need to do:

  • domainname.com/category
  • domainname.com/category/subcategory
  • domainname.com/category/subcategory/sub-subcategory
  • domainname.com/category/subcategory/sub-subcategory/product

Here are a few examples for Tiffany & Co.

  • tiffany.com/necklaces
  • tiffany.com/necklaces/chains/
  • tiffany.com/necklaces/chains/silver
  • tiffany.com/necklaces/chains/silver/hardwear-link

In simple words, just avoid permalinks such as tiffany.com/chains/silver-2019284737293.

Here are a few tips for URLs:

  • Keep them short.
  • Include your primary keyword.
  • Make the context of the categories or pages clear.
  • Use – (hyphens) to separate words.

Step 4: Write Proper Category Descriptions

Look at almost all the big brands, and you will see that all of them have unique descriptions for their categories.

Here is an example of Kylie Skin:

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Here are a few reasons for this:

  • It informs your users about the category or product that they are checking.
  • It helps search engines know what your site is exactly about.

Make sure that the descriptions are unique and that the descriptions are not copy-pasted from somewhere else.

Here are a few tips regarding this:

  • Make sure that your primary keyword is in the description.
  • You can also add your secondary keywords to the description.
  • Make sure the descriptions aren’t too complicated and are easy to read.
  • Keep them short.

Step 5: Create Link-Worthy Content

Here’s a tip for finding link-worthy content ideas in your niche:

Go to Google Trends > Enter a term related to your niche > Look through related queries.

These are some of the results you get when you search for “Lipsticks.”

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Go through the related topics and queries, check the issues that are closely related to your niche, and start creating!

Step 6: Include Internal Links

So now you have an interesting topic to create content on; once you publish that, you will likely get a few clicks on that link!

Now, what you have to do is internally link pages. Ensure that you are linking only relevant pages. For example, if you write an article about lipsticks, don’t link a product or page related to moisturizers.

In the end, remember that you are linking these pages to generate sales. Here is an example of Vaseline hyperlinking their product pages on their blog article to improve their SEO for ecommerce product pages:

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How To Conduct an ecommerce SEO Audit

If you’re an online business with no physical presence, your website or application is probably your primary source of revenue.

Sure, following the current trends and customer insights are essential, but there is one more thing that should dictate how you optimize your website: search engines.

Search engines are constantly updating their algorithms, but most of these changes are subtle and won’t require you to change your website completely.

What Exactly is an ecommerce SEO Audit?

An ecommerce SEO Audit involves evaluating how your ecommerce store is performing and whether it is accomplishing the following:

  • Identifying SEO-related issues that are impacting your website’s performance.
  • Suggesting optimizations to increase website performance, traffic, and visibility.
  • Guiding your SEO strategy by highlighting areas that need work and how to do so.

Here are some ways through which you can audit your ecommerce site’s SEO.

1) Include a Meta Description Based on Your Keywords

As explained above, if you have hundreds or thousands of pages, we suggest you add meta descriptions for the pages that are currently the most important in terms of bringing you revenue.

Vitamin C Serum Kylie Skin Google Page

2) Don’t Stuff Your Website With Keywords!

Strategically place them throughout your website to let search engines know which keywords you are targeting.

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3) Use Breadcrumb Trails

They help users navigate through your website easily. Breadcrumbs also help make your website look organized.

Other than that, search results also show breadcrumb trails, which shows that search engines consider breadcrumb trails a vital tool for SEO.

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4) Optimize your website for site links

Google states that they only show sitelinks for websites that are well-structured. Sitelinks help users quickly browse through pages that interest them.

You can’t exactly control whether search engines will show sitelinks for your website, but here are some of the things you can do to increase your chances:

  • Include breadcrumb trails.
  • Make sure your website is well-structured.
  • Use relevant keywords in your URLs and internal links.
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5) Make Sure Your Product Pages Include Reviews

This is a big part of SEO for ecommerce product pages! Check out this documentation from Google to learn how to maximize your website’s chance of displaying reviews.

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6) Improve Your Website’s Page Speed

Here are some of the things you can do to improve your page speed:

  • Get a better hosting service.
  • Enable lazy loading – the images will only load if users scroll down.
  • Remove large elements from your website such as high-definition videos.

7) Include Blog Articles

According to a study, approximately 84% of online buyers have bought products based on recommendations that they read in blog articles.

Blog articles will assist your website in generating more traffic and build trust with users.

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12 Best SEO Strategies for an ecommerce Website

Here are some of the most basic but often overlooked SEO strategies for an ecommerce website. Forgetting about any of these might negatively affect your strategy. If ecommerce search engines do not show relevant results, it will become difficult for your audience to find the products they are looking for. So, let’s get started:

  1. Switch to HTTPS instead of HTTP – yes, this makes all the difference! It will make all the personal data on your website encrypted.
  2. Optimize your page to generate organic traffic.
  3. Keep URLs short and include the most concise but relevant keywords.
  4. Ensure that your website contains relevant information, including prices, availability, reviews, and other data.
  5. Include long-tail keywords! Long-tail keywords are longer and more specific keywords that users are likely to use when they want to make a purchase. For example: “Buy Vitamin C Serum Kylie Skin” (six words) is an example of a long-tail keyword, whereas “buy serum” is a short-tail keyword.
  6. Get rid of duplicate content. This is a crucial step because Google penalizes repetitive content!
  7. Don’t copy your product descriptions from other sites. Write original product descriptions and include relevant keywords.
  8. Include reviews. Make sure you have a form or page where the audience can add comments and reviews.
  9. Make your website mobile-friendly. According to a study, in 2020, approximately 68.1% of all website visits came from mobile devices, while laptops or PCs only drove about 28.9% of visits. A poor experience will not only drive your customer away but will also decrease your ranking.
  10. Keep meta descriptions between 120-155 characters.
  11. Add descriptions and alt tags to your images.
  12. Add your brand name to everything, including videos and emails. Include long-tail keywords as part of your branded SEO strategy. This will help you build your brand. For example, a long-tail branded keyword such as “Kylie Skin Vitamin C Serum for Face,” is more relevant than “Vitamin C Serum for Face”, since there is only one “Kylie Skin.”

Take Away

Optimizing your pages by applying SEO for ecommerce techniques will easily help search engines find your sites and increase your rankings. Even though Google changes its algorithm all the time, adding these tips will still help your search engine rankings.

SEO for ecommerce provides you a competitive edge over competitors that are not SEO optimized. Most importantly, users will find your products and website easily, thus increasing your sales.

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