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Many eCommerce stores focus on paid advertising and overlook the importance of SEO. However, knowing how to optimize an eCommerce website for search engines will increase organic traffic to your store and has the potential of doubling your profits.
Appearing in the top 10 organic search results
Statistics show that only 4.8% of Google searchers click on the second results page. So unless you’re ranking on the first page, you’ll probably be experiencing low traffic and missing out on sales opportunities.
Whilst aiming for the first results page is a good start, the number one spot often pulls in double the amount of traffic than the second. Bearing this in mind, you’ll want to rank as high as possible on a results page to generate consistent, high-quality traffic and reap the benefits down the line.
Not all keywords are the same
Keyword research is one of the most important aspects of eCommerce SEO and knowing how to how to optimize your eCommerce website. Identifying high-value search terms potential customers are using and placing them in strategic positions on your site will make you more discoverable and up your ranking.
The key is to focus on commercial keywords that show buying intent, and not information keywords often used by content-heavy sites. Understanding this difference will help attract users in a buying frame of mind.
Once you’ve come up with some basic ideas, you can use Google’s autocomplete feature or related search suggestions at the bottom of a results page to find relevant keywords other searchers are using.
Keyword phrases formed of 3 or 4 words tend to be more specific, and finding the right ones can have a significant impact on your conversion rates as they usually have a lower competition.
You can also use Amazon or any competitor’s site to check out keywords they’re using for relevant products or product categories.
Up your keyword game
To step up your game you can use research tools to learn more about which keywords your competitors rank for and other useful data such as volume and competition.
Keywords with a high search volume will bring more potential traffic to your site but usually involve more competition. Keywords with a lower competition mean you’re more likely to rank highly, but may not bring as much traffic.
The ideal combination are those with high volume and low competition, so putting the time into finding these should really pay off.
You can check which keywords your competitors use and see if your site is missing any with tools such as SEMrush and Moz.
Finally, try not to fill your site with keywords that aren’t relevant to your products. This is a big ranking factor and will have a negative impact if you’re using search terms with low relevancy. Upping yoru keyword game is an important part of knowing how to how to optimize any eCommerce website
Structuring your site
As well as affecting your user experience, the way your site is structured will have an impact on search engine rankings. Focusing on a simple structure which is easy to scale as your store grows will make it easy for users and search engines to find the products you have to offer.
Keeping your product pages as few clicks away from your homepage as possible will also prevent sending users in circles, and makes it easier to add or remove products and categories without too much re-organization.
Reduce thin content
Product pages often contain very little text, making it hard for Google and other search engines to decide which keywords to rank your page for. Try making your product descriptions longer, include user reviews, the materials the product is made of, etc…
Adding more information gives you the chance to use more keywords, will keep your customers happy, and allows search engines to rank your page accurately. If you’re working with a huge catalog, try focusing on your top products.
These features may differ depending on the eCommerce platform you use and some will be done automatically, but it’s a good idea to optimize your category and product pages, including:
- Adding canonical tags
- Adding your store name to title tags
- Generate sitemap.xml and robots.txt files
- Enabling social media sharing buttons
- Including keywords in your title tags, meta description, and Alt Text
- Editing file names to include keywords
Edit your URLs
Editing each page URL to include a short, to the point description of your page makes it easier for searchers to read, and this is taken into account by Google.
Keeping them below 60 characters, including keywords, matching the URL to your page title, and excluding stopwords (such as and, of, a, etc…) should help pique searcher interest and increase your click-through-rate.
As a note of caution, keyword stuffing and repetition can make your site look spammy and could decrease your chances of improving your Google ranking.
In it for the long run
eCommerce SEO is an essential step in building and growing your online business. Taking the time to implement these techniques will have a positive effect on your ranking in the long run, increasing your exposure and paving the way for higher conversion rates.
About the author: Callum is the head of marketing at Warble Media. They are a boutique website design and seo agency based in Dubbo, NSW, Australia. If you have any questions about marketing, feel free to contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org