E-commerce SEO is the process of optimising an online store to rank higher in searopch engines like Google, with the goal of attracting more organic traffic and sales. This is achieved by improving the website’s on-page elements, such as its content, meta descriptions, and product titles, as well as its off-page factors, like backlinks and social media signals.
Key practices in e-commerce SEO include keyword research, product optimisation, and improving website speed and user experience. The goal is to provide a seamless and relevant shopping experience for users, while also satisfying the ranking criteria set by search engines.
The Key Practises of Good E-Commerce SEO
With the rise of e-commerce and online shopping, it’s more important than ever to have a strong online presence to reach potential customers and grow your business. To achieve this, it’s important to understand the key practices in e-commerce SEO, which can help you improve your site’s visibility in search results and drive more traffic to your site.
The first step in optimising an e-commerce site is to understand the keywords and phrases that people use to find products like the ones you sell. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to find the right keywords and understand their search volume, competition, and relevance.
Research tips for newbies:
- Start with long-tail keywords, which are more specific and have lower competition, rather than trying to rank for broad, highly competitive terms.
- Don’t rely solely on keyword tools; also conduct manual research to see what your customers are actually searching for.
Focus on the right kind of keywords
Keywords are generally grouped into distinct keyword intent categories in search. It’s Commercial Intent and Transactional Intent keywords that play a crucial role in E-commerce SEO as they tend to be the types most used by people searching for products.
Commercial Intent keywords are search terms that indicate the user is in the research or comparison stage of the buying process. These keywords often include words such as “best”, “review”, “compare”, “price”, etc. Optimising for these keywords can help your website show up in the results when users are researching products and making purchasing decisions.
Transactional Intent keywords, on the other hand, are search terms that indicate the user is ready to make a purchase. These keywords often include words such as “buy”, “purchase”, “order”, “discount”, etc. Optimising for these keywords can help your website to show up in the results when users are ready to complete a transaction and make a purchase.
When conducting keyword research, it is important to identify both Commercial Intent and Transactional Intent keywords that are relevant to your products and services and to optimise your website and content around these keywords. By doing so, you can increase the visibility of your e-commerce store to users at different stages of the buying process and improve your chances of attracting and converting potential customers.
Product page optimisation
To optimise your products for search engines, make sure each product page has a unique title tag, meta description, and product description that accurately describe the product and include relevant keywords.
Optimisation tips for newbies
- Use bullet points to highlight the key features and benefits of your products.
- Optimise your product images as well, by using descriptive file names and alt tags to describe what the image is.
Having unique and optimised title tags, meta descriptions, and product descriptions for each of your product pages is a crucial part of E-commerce SEO. These elements serve different purposes, but all play a role in helping search engines understand what your products are and what information is included on each page.
A title tag is a text that appears in the search engine results page (SERP) as the clickable link to your page. It should accurately describe what the page is about and include relevant keywords.
For example, "Women's Red High Heels | Size 7 | Perfect for Special Occasions".
The meta description is a brief summary of the page’s content that appears in the SERP beneath the title tag. It should provide additional context and entice users to click on the link.
For example, "Shop our selection of stylish and comfortable Women's Red High Heels. Perfect for special occasions or a night out on the town."
The product description is detailed information about the product that appears on the product page. It should provide a comprehensive overview of the product’s features, specifications, and benefits, and include relevant keywords to help search engines understand the context of the page.
For example, "These Women's Red High Heels are the perfect addition to your shoe collection. Featuring a comfortable padded insole and a sturdy heel, these shoes are ideal for special occasions or a night out on the town. Available in size 7."
When these elements are combined and optimised for relevant keywords, they help search engines understand what the product page is about and what information is included on the page. This improves the chances of the page ranking well in search results, making it easier for users to find your products when they search for relevant keywords.
A well-optimised product page can help to increase click-through rates and improve the overall user experience, leading to a higher chance of conversion and sales.
Having a clear and intuitive navigation structure, a well-structured URL structure, and high-quality content are key components of effective E-commerce SEO. These elements help search engines understand the organisation and content of your website, and provide a positive user experience that can improve engagement and conversion rates.
On-page tips for newbies
- Use header tags (H1, H2, etc.) to structure your content and make it easier for search engines to understand the hierarchy of your pages.
- Pay attention to internal linking, by using anchor texts and link titles that describe the content of the linked pages.
Clear and intuitive navigation refers to the way that users can access different pages and categories within your website. This includes a menu structure that is easy to understand, intuitive categories and subcategories, and clear labelling. A well-structured navigation system can improve the user experience and help search engines crawl your website more effectively, leading to improved search engine rankings.
A URL structure refers to the way that your URLs are organised and labelled. This includes using descriptive keywords in URLs, using hyphens to separate words, and creating a logical hierarchy of pages through the use of subdirectories.
For example: yourwebsite.com/gadgets/apple-watch is an obvious way to show users and search engines the path to a product. It is better than yourwebsite.com/product.php?id=1234, which doesn't say anything about the context of the page.
A well-organised URL structure can help search engines understand the layout of your website, improve the user experience, and lead to improved search engine rankings.
High-quality content is another critical component of effective E-commerce SEO. This includes creating pages that provide value to your users, are well-written, and are optimised for relevant keywords. High-quality content can help improve the user experience, increase engagement, and lead to improved search engine rankings.
Having high-quality content can also improve the chances of generating backlinks, which can further improve your search engine rankings.
Building high-quality backlinks is a critical aspect of E-commerce SEO that can greatly impact your website’s ranking in search engine results. Backlinks, also known as “inbound links” or “incoming links,” link from other websites to yours. They are seen as a vote of confidence in your website’s credibility and authority by search engines, and therefore, having high-quality backlinks can help improve your website’s ranking.
Off-page tips for newbies
- Focus on earning backlinks from websites in your niche, rather than trying to get backlinks from any website.
- Don’t just focus on the number of backlinks, but also the quality; a single high-quality backlink can be worth more than hundreds of low-quality backlinks.
Backlinks and Social Signals for Higher Rankings
When it comes to backlinks, the quality of the links is much more important than the quantity. High-quality backlinks come from reputable and relevant websites within your industry or niche. For example, if you run an e-commerce store that sells outdoor gear, a high-quality backlink from an authoritative website in the outdoor gear industry would be much more valuable than a low-quality backlink from a random website.
To build high-quality backlinks, you can focus on creating valuable and informative content that other websites will want to link to. You can also reach out to other websites in your industry or niche and ask them to link to your website. Just be sure to only build backlinks from reputable and relevant websites, as building backlinks from low-quality or spammy websites can actually harm your website’s ranking.
Backlinks and social media signals can play an important role in e-commerce SEO, as they can help you improve your site’s visibility in search results and drive more traffic to your site. Here’s how you can use e-commerce to build backlinks and generate social media signals:
Partner with other businesses
Partnering with other businesses in your industry can help you build backlinks and generate social media signals. For example, you could offer to feature their products on your site in exchange for a link back to your site, or you could collaborate on a joint project that would result in mutual backlinks.
Create high-quality content
Creating high-quality, informative content is one of the best ways to generate backlinks and social media signals. When people find your content useful and informative, they’re more likely to share it with others and link to it from their own sites.
Use social media
Social media can be a powerful tool for e-commerce SEO, as it can help you reach a large audience and generate social signals that can impact your rankings. By regularly posting content and engaging with your followers, you can build a following and increase your visibility on social media.
Leverage influencer marketing
Influencer marketing can be an effective way to build backlinks and generate social signals. By partnering with influencers in your industry, you can reach a large, engaged audience and generate backlinks and social signals that can help improve your site’s visibility in search results.
Encourage customer reviews
Encouraging customers to leave reviews on your site can also help generate backlinks and social signals. Positive reviews can be shared on social media and used to link back to your site, which can help improve your site’s visibility in search results.
Rich snippets and schema markup
Rich snippets and schema markup are powerful tools that can help you provide search engines with additional information about your products, such as prices and availability. By using these tools, you can improve the visibility of your products in search results and drive more traffic to your site.
Website speed and user experience
Make sure your website loads quickly and provides a seamless user experience, as both of these factors can affect your search engine rankings.
Tip for newbies
- Use tools like GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to evaluate your website’s performance and identify areas for improvement.
- Invest in a good website hosting solution and keep your website updated to ensure optimal performance.
Website speed and user experience are critical factors in E-commerce SEO that can greatly impact your search engine rankings. A slow-loading website not only frustrates visitors but also signals to search engines that your website is not a good user experience, which can result in lower rankings. On the other hand, a fast-loading website with a seamless user experience can provide a positive signal to search engines and result in higher rankings.
To check your website’s speed, you can use tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. These tools provide a detailed analysis of your website’s speed and provide recommendations for optimisation.
GTmetrix is another popular website speed optimisation tool that provides a detailed analysis of your website’s performance, including the load time, page size, and the number of requests made. It also provides recommendations for improvement, such as optimising images, reducing the number of requests, and leveraging browser caching.
Both of these tools are easy to use and provide valuable insights into your website’s performance. By optimising your website’s speed, you can improve the user experience and enhance your search engine rankings. To get started, simply enter your website’s URL into the tool and follow the recommendations provided.
User experience can be optimised by making sure your website is easy to navigate, has a clear and intuitive layout, and provides relevant and valuable information to visitors. You can also use tools like Google Search Console to track user behaviour on your website, such as click-through rates, time on site, and bounce rates, to identify any areas of improvement.
In summary, optimising website speed and user experience can greatly impact your search engine rankings and should be a top priority for any e-commerce business looking to improve its SEO.
By focusing on these key practices, you can help your e-commerce website rank higher in search engines and attract more organic traffic and sales. Whether you’re just starting out with e-commerce SEO or you’re a seasoned pro, these practices can help you take your online store to the next level.
Mobile optimisation is an increasingly important aspect of e-commerce SEO, as more and more consumers are using mobile devices to browse and make purchases online. Ensuring that your e-commerce site is optimised for mobile devices is essential for providing a good user experience and for ranking well in mobile search results.
Mobile tips for newbies:
- Ensure that your site is responsive: This means that your site should be designed to adapt to the size of the device it is being viewed on, providing an optimal viewing experience for users on all devices, including smartphones and tablets.
- Use a mobile-friendly design: This means using larger text, larger buttons, and an overall design that is optimised for smaller screens. This will make it easier for users to navigate and interact with your site on their mobile devices.
The shift towards mobile-first has been significant in recent years, and it’s crucial for e-commerce store owners to prioritize mobile optimisation in their SEO efforts. A mobile-first approach means designing and optimising your website for mobile devices first, before considering desktop users. This is important because the majority of internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, and Google has also implemented a mobile-first index, which means that it crawls and indexes the mobile version of your website first.
Adapting to this new reality means making sure that your e-commerce site is fully responsive and optimised for mobile devices, including small screens and touch-based navigation. This includes ensuring that your website loads quickly, has easy-to-use navigation, and provides a seamless user experience on mobile devices.
There are several popular mobile-readiness testing apps that e-commerce store owners can use to check if their site is optimised for mobile users, including:
- Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test: This tool allows you to check if your website is mobile-friendly by simply entering your URL and getting a report on the site’s mobile-friendliness.
- GTmetrix: This app provides detailed performance analysis for websites, including page speed, page structure, and the size of files that affect page loading time.
- Pingdom: This tool allows you to check your website’s load time, response time, and overall performance on desktop and mobile devices.
- BrowserStack: This app provides real-time testing of websites on a range of devices and browsers, allowing you to check your site’s performance, functionality, and responsiveness on various platforms.
- Mobirise: This app provides an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface to create responsive websites and mobile landing pages, ensuring your site is optimised for mobile users.
Store owners should pay close attention to mobile-specific ranking signals, such as mobile-friendliness, tap targets, and font sizes, to ensure that their site is optimised for mobile search engines. By doing so, they can improve their website’s visibility in mobile search results, attract more mobile visitors, and ultimately increase their sales.
Mobile optimisation is crucial for e-commerce sites as it directly impacts the user experience and search engine rankings for mobile devices. A few key elements to consider for mobile optimisation include:
By focusing on these key elements, you can provide a great user experience on mobile devices, which is essential for ranking well in mobile search results and appealing to the growing number of consumers using mobile devices to browse and make purchases online.
Tracking and analysing results
Finally, tracking and reporting is an essential part of any e-commerce SEO strategy, as it allows you to measure the success of your efforts and make data-driven decisions about where to focus your efforts in the future.
To get the most out of your e-commerce SEO efforts, it’s essential to track key metrics, such as traffic, conversions, and rankings, and to regularly analyse and report on your progress. By doing so, you can ensure that your e-commerce SEO strategy is always working to deliver the best possible results.
Tracking and reporting tips:
- Set clear goals. Before you start tracking and reporting on your e-commerce SEO efforts, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want to achieve and what metrics you will use to measure success.
- Use a reliable tracking tool. There are many tools available for tracking and reporting on your e-commerce SEO efforts, so it’s important to choose one that is reliable, accurate and provides the data that you need to make informed decisions. Google Analytics is a popular and widely-used tool that is a great starting point for many e-commerce businesses.
Tracking and reporting provide valuable insights into the performance of your efforts. This allows you to make data-driven decisions about where to focus your resources to achieve the best results.
Effective e-commerce tracking
To effectively track your e-commerce SEO performance, you need to measure and analyse key metrics, such as website traffic, conversions, and search engine rankings. By regularly monitoring these metrics, you can identify areas of strength and weakness, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
There are various methods and tools you can use to track and report on your e-commerce SEO efforts. Google Analytics is a popular choice, as it provides comprehensive insights into your website traffic and user behaviour, including the source of traffic, bounce rate, time on site, and conversions. Another useful tool is Google Search Console, which provides insights into your search engine rankings and the keywords you rank for.
For tracking conversions and abandoned carts, you can use tools such as Hotjar, which provides heat maps, session recordings, and form analytics, or apps like CartHook that provide detailed insights into your checkout page performance and abandoned cart recovery efforts.
Structuring your Homepage for Search Engine Success
The homepage of an e-commerce store is often the first impression a potential customer will have of your business. Therefore, it’s important to make sure that it’s optimised for search engines to increase visibility and drive traffic to your site. Here are some tips on how to organize your e-commerce homepage for maximum SEO benefit:
- Highlight your brand: Make sure your brand is prominently displayed on your homepage, with a clear and memorable logo, tagline and company name. This helps search engines understand what your site is about and improves brand recognition for users.
- Use header tags wisely: Header tags (H1, H2, H3, etc.) help search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your content. Use header tags to create a clear and intuitive structure for your homepage, with the main headline (H1) being a concise, descriptive statement of what your site offers.
- Optimise product categories: Make sure your product categories are prominently displayed and clearly labelled, as this makes it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and helps search engines understand the structure of your site.
- Use keywords: Make sure your homepage includes relevant keywords, as this helps search engines understand the content of your site and improves your chances of ranking for those terms. However, be careful not to overuse keywords, as this can negatively impact your search engine rankings.
- Include high-quality, unique content: Your homepage should include high-quality, unique content that provides value to users and helps search engines understand what your site is about. This could include descriptions of your products, company history, and any other relevant information.
- Optimise images: Make sure that all images on your homepage are optimised for search engines, with descriptive file names and alt tags that accurately describe the content of the images.
By following these tips, you can create an e-commerce homepage that is optimised for search engines and provides a great user experience, which will help drive traffic and increase conversions.
Optimising Product Pages
Product pages are generally made up of a few important pieces of content that should be well optimised to achieve high rankings in search engines. Optimising product photos, short descriptions, and detailed descriptions can greatly impact the performance of your product pages in search. Here are some best practices for each, along with examples of good and bad practices:
High-quality product photos
Product photos should be high-quality and visually appealing but also optimised for search engines.
Relevant ‘short’ descriptions
Short descriptions provide a brief overview of the product on e-commerce product pages and should include keywords to make them easier for search engines to understand.
Detailed descriptions provide a more in-depth look at the product, its features, and its benefits.
By following these best practices, you can help ensure that your product pages are optimised for both users and search engines, and have a better chance of ranking higher in search results.
Optimising Category Pages
Category pages are typically considered as “thin” content pages and often overlooked in terms of their SEO value. However, with the right optimisation strategies, these pages can be leveraged to drive traffic and improve search engine rankings.
To optimise your e-commerce store’s category pages for SEO, consider the following steps:
- Focus on User Experience: Your category pages should provide a clear, user-friendly experience for visitors. Use clear, descriptive headings and subheadings, and ensure that the page is easy to navigate.
- Include Relevant Keywords: Make sure that each category page includes relevant keywords in its title tag, meta description, and heading tags. This will help search engines understand the content of the page and increase the chances of it ranking for the target keywords.
- Add Unique Content: Each category page should include unique and relevant content that provides value to users. This could be in the form of product descriptions, images, videos, or customer reviews.
- Optimise Product Listings: Your product listings should be optimised to include relevant keywords, high-quality images, and compelling product descriptions. These elements can help improve the visibility and click-through rates of your products in search results.
- Use Breadcrumb Navigation: Implementing breadcrumb navigation can help users and search engines understand the structure of your site and the relationships between pages. This can improve the user experience and help search engines better understand the content of your category pages.
By following these tips, you can help search engines understand the value of your category pages and drive more traffic to your site through organic search results. Remember, category pages are an important part of your e-commerce store’s overall SEO strategy, and optimising them can have a significant impact on your search engine rankings and traffic.
Blogging your way to Success
blogging can be a powerful tool for e-commerce SEO, as it can help you rank for informational keywords and reach potential customers earlier in the sales journey. Here’s how it works:
Targeting informational keywords
Blogging gives you the opportunity to create content that targets informational keywords related to your products or industry. This can help you attract potential customers who are just starting to research a problem or product and are looking for information. By providing valuable, informative content, you can build credibility and establish yourself as an authority in your market.
Increased exposure for products and categories
Blogging about your products and categories can help increase their exposure and drive traffic to your site. By writing about the features and benefits of your products, you can provide potential customers with more information and encourage them to take action.
By consistently producing high-quality, informative content, you can establish yourself as an authority in your market and build credibility with potential customers. This can help you earn trust and establish yourself as a trusted source of information, which can ultimately lead to increased sales.
Improving site structure
Regular blogging can also help improve the structure of your site by creating more pages and providing internal links that can help search engines understand the relationships between your pages. This can lead to improved visibility in search results and increased traffic to your site.
Overall, blogging can be a powerful tool for e-commerce SEO, as it can help you reach potential customers earlier in the sales journey, increase exposure for your products and categories, and build credibility in your market. By following best practices for e-commerce blogging, such as targeting informational keywords and creating high-quality, informative content, you can help improve your site’s visibility in search results and drive more traffic to your site.
In conclusion, e-commerce SEO is an essential aspect of running a successful online store. By implementing key practises such as optimising product pages, structuring the homepage, internal linking, blogging for e-commerce, and building backlinks & generating social media signals, you can improve your site’s visibility in search results and drive more traffic to your site.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that e-commerce SEO is a constantly evolving field, and that what works today may not work tomorrow. To stay ahead of the competition, it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest e-commerce SEO trends and best practices, and to continuously monitor and adjust your strategy as needed.
Whether you’re just starting out with e-commerce or you’re looking to improve your existing online store, following these key practises in e-commerce SEO can help you reach more potential customers, grow your business, and succeed online.