Economists believe that since people are now more mobile-savvy than ever, it is also important to ensure your ecommerce SEO uses strategies that are mobile responsive as well.
In fact, engaging smartphone users is quite easy for e-store owners, which in the long run, will help them stay at the top in the search engine results. Nonetheless, SEO for ecommerce is something where many online stores fail, and are unable to fully exploit the power of organic marketing.
This is precisely why I have curated a list of the best ecommerce SEO practices that will allow you to scale your online store significantly and generate higher profits. Let’s take a look.
Best Ecommerce SEO Strategies For 2018
- Section #1: Website Architecture
- Site Structure
- Add Breadcrumbs
- Optimize Sitelinks
- Keep a Proper Internal Linking Structure
- Section #2: On-Page Ecommerce SEO for Stores
- Prepare Holiday Keyword List
- Optimize Ecommerce Holiday Keywords for Voice
- Improve Page Speed
- Create Landing Pages for Holiday
- Product Page Descriptions
- Create Holiday Gift Guides
- Section #3: Off Page Ecommerce SEO for Holiday Season
- Link building and Announcements
- Strike Partnerships
- Blogger Outreach
- Pick the Right Influencers for Promotion
- Implement. Measure. Repeat.
In a survey conducted by Ecwid, only 34% store owners said that they knew about ecommerce SEO. This identifies the gap that exists in internet-based organic marketing because 76% among them are either not doing it or doing wrong at all.
We also discovered from the same survey that many ecommerce store owners aren’t good at devising strategy and planning. They don’t know how to retain customers; are unaware of financial accounting; and when it comes to marketing strategies for promotions, they drastically fail. Unfortunately, only 20% of marketers are good at devising business strategy and planning. So how do you evaluate your skills?
Optimize Your Ecommerce SEO
You will lose potential revenue if you do not act when the iron is hot. You need to have an effective content strategy in place that accomplishes your business goals. A good SEO optimization will further allow you to rank on the first page of SERPs. You need to prepare yourself for various shopping seasons like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year.
Don’t let go of opportunities. Optimize your online store in order to attract potential customers. Without the right strategy and planning, you will be unable to engage your audience, and will surely lose a good chunk of sales.
Let’s talk about a few facts:
- Almost 62% of netizens shop online by searching on Google.
- Around 16% of online shoppers come through organic searches that convert into leads.
- Your landing pages bring in the highest organic traffic.
- Organic rankings relate directly to the quality of content and appropriate optimization of website.
- 60% of online shoppers prefer shopping via smartphones.
- Many people shop online simply because they enjoy a variety and freedom of choice.
Ecommerce SEO Tactics
Optimizing ecommerce for SEO can be crucial but it isn’t a rocket science. There are many tutorials available online for you, or you can always outsource a professional. With Cloudways cloud hosting service, comes a dedicated support team at your disposal that works diligently so that you can grow immensely.
To help ecommerce store owners out, I have curated a list of ecommerce SEO tactics that you should implement on your store and give yourself a chance to rank higher.
Section #1: Website Architecture
Website architecture matters a lot whether you are running a five-page business website or a thousand-page ecommerce store. If your website is based on a CMS, you will not have to take care of the site architecture as it is pre-provided.
All top ecommerce store platforms including WooCommerce, Shopify, and Magento use optimized stacks that offer improved performance of websites.
For example, here at Cloudways, we offer ThunderStack – an optimized stack built with four different caches to improve page performance and decrease site-load time.
Website architecture is the structure of your overall website. It comprises your ecommerce web hosting server, applications that are installed on the server, additional plugins and add-ons that keep your website up and running.
Your website architecture directly relates to your website’s performance. It plays a crucial role in improving your search engine rankings.
- Secure your website with a FREE SSL certificate
- Install server caches like Varnish, Nginx, Redis, and Full page Caches (if using Magento) on to your web server
- Install image optimization plugins on your ecommerce platform
- Keep your themes lightly coded
- Install AMP Pages
- Optimize your website so it’s mobile responsive
1. Site Structure
The structure of an ecommerce website should be simple so that the link juice flows from top to bottom.
In the above image, each product page is only three clicks away from the homepage.
Homepage > Category > Sub Category > Product
For those who don’t know, there is an unofficial rule among UX/UI developers known as the ‘3-click rule’. According to this rule, any page that takes more than three clicks to reach should be removed from the website because it complicates the user journey.
2. Add Breadcrumbs
You can also optimize website structure by adding breadcrumbs. Google now shows breadcrumbs within the search index. The SEO experts believe it gives them more visibility and importance. There is no official announcement made for this argument, but it is still wise to add breadcrumbs to your website.
Point to note here:
– Add breadcrumbs to your website and help users easily track their journey.
– Website navigation should be clear so the visitor can easily access content on the website.
3. Optimize Sitelinks
Google adds website links to each website in organic search. For example, here are the site links of Cloudways that show the most visited pages to users.
You can’t tell Google about what pages to include as site links in the search bar, as the process is fully automated. This is what Google says about adding site links.
What you can do to optimize for it, is to place links of most visited pages, or the pages that you want people to visit at the most prominent places in the website.
4. Keep a Proper Internal Linking Structure
Next, add internal links to each page and link the page that you want to give more value to from all other pages so that the link juice is spread evenly.
Deeplink: When you link the product pages from the home page or a major landing page, this practice is called deep linking.
Neil Patel says these are great for both purposes, to help users find products and for doing proper ecommerce SEO.
“Deep links are not only relevant to search engine optimization – they’re also essential to enable deep link discovery, so that users can easily find and view content. It’s true of websites and of mobile apps, too.”
- For this, link category pages to other category pages.
- Link from blogs, knowledge base to relevant product pages
- Add keywords in the internal links of all relevant product pages/category pages that you want to rank to.
Section #2: On-Page Ecommerce SEO for Stores
Now that we have optimized the website structure, let’s fix the on-page elements of your ecommerce store. For those of you, who don’t know what on-page SEO is: it means the optimization of content and code on each page of the website in order to improve its search rankings and make it ready for discovery within SERPs.
1. Prepare a Keyword List
First of all, prepare a list of keywords you want to rank your ecommerce on. Let’s suppose we have the Black Friday Holiday Campaign coming up. In order to prepare for this, we will find keywords relevant to Black Friday.
We are using Ubersuggest keyword tool. Here is a search we ran for ‘Black Friday SEO.’
We shortlisted ‘Best Black Friday Deals,’ and ‘Best Black Friday Sales’
We then ran a search of these keywords on a paid tool. You can use Ahrefs, Moz, Kwfinder, or any other tool that you like.
It is better to keep searching for variations until you find some with 40/100 keyword difficulty score. Do note that the tool we used is KWfinder, you can use a tool of your choice.
Once you have your keywords finalized, check out for their variations and add them to the main pages, category pages and product pages.
Some variations of the keywords are:
- black friday laptop deals 2019
- black friday smartphone deals 2019
- black friday alexa deals 2019
- black friday exercise equipment 2019
- black friday washing machine deals 2019
It is important to note that these may have high keyword difficulty, so don’t use these on your own ecommerce store. Search for the keywords again and find those that best suit your needs.
2. Optimize Ecommerce SEO for Voice
Next, you must optimize your ecommerce product pages for voice. How can you do that?
Write your product descriptions in simple language with a conversational tone. You can start like this:
‘I want to buy…’
‘I want to do…’
‘Where can I buy…’
‘Show me reviews of PRODUCT NAME’
‘What are best features of PRODUCT NAME’
‘How can PRODUCT NAME help me?’
… to your product descriptions.
These are just a few examples of how you can develop a conversational tone and add them to your product descriptions.
Learn 10 Best Practices of Ecommerce Product SEO
Add FAQs for Voice Searches
You can also add Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) to your website as these are the pages from where Google’s voice bots pick up content. According to SEJ, content written in FAQ pages gets more importance, especially if it has a 9th-grade reading level.
“Create content that answers questions (i.e., FAQ page) to drive conversions at an easy reading level. (One paragraph 9th-grade reading level is best).”
You can check the reading level of the content through readability analyzer.
3. Improve Page Speed
Moz says that the page speed is an aspect that Google uses to rank any website.
“Google has indicated site speed (and as a result, page speed) is one of the signals used by its algorithm to rank pages. And research has shown that Google might be specifically measuring time to first byte as when it considers page speed.”
This signifies the importance of page speed in increasing the rankings of your ecommerce store. Use tools like Google page speed test tool in order to improve your ecommerce store rankings.
4. Create Landing Pages for Holiday
You must have seen that most ecommerce stores develop specific landing pages for different promotions. They start optimizing these pages in order to gain higher rankings on search engines. During the promotion or even after it’s over, the pages stay on the website, getting important link juice by becoming old and authoritative – something we call in SEO terminology as Trust Flow (TF), and Page Authority (PA).
Source: Black Friday page of Jet.com
You can develop landing pages relevant to your promotions. Here is an example of event-based pages showing Black Friday deals page by Jet.com.
Each year they will increase in rankings when you promote them through organic and paid marketing strategies.
5. Product Page Descriptions
There are no set rules for writing optimized product descriptions for search engines. But you need to remember a few points, for effective optimization of product descriptions before you start any promotion.
- Keep product descriptions between 300 to 800 words for regular products and 1000+ for high-selling products.
- Add important features in a separate column and place that at a prominent place within the product page.
- Make internal links between product and category pages.
- Use at least 3-5 links in a product description with 1000+ products.
Add a Review Section to the product page. Entice the buyers to review their experience and engage with your web store. This will help your blog rank even for ‘Review’ keywords and bring in more traffic to the website.
Add an FAQ sectionto your product page. It will improve the voice search optimization of your pages. Product pages that have an FAQ page that answers all relevant questions about the product, not only get higher rankings, but also get listened through voice searches.
Add a Tabular Structure for Product Specifications, as that will help search engines to pick up snippets from your pages for ‘zero’ ranking.
Learn How To Build Product Pages That Convert
A forum participant on Moz blog has this to say about the product descriptions of an ecommerce store.
Show discounted prices in snippets whenever possible. Google users who are looking for discount deals will surely land on your website by clicking on such an offer.
6. Create Guides For Your Customers
Finally, create guides for your online visitors. These guides can be in the form of an e-book or a video where you can guide them on how to use your product. You can even ask them to subscribe to your email newsletter which is an effective content marketing itself.
Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide for Boss. Source: Lulu
Or, these can be in the form of landing pages where your customers can learn everything on the page
For example, Jet.com offers a gift guide featuring gifts for various age groups.
Section #3: Off Page Ecommerce SEO
Now that we have covered the on-page ecommerce SEO optimization, let’s move on to the off-page ecommerce SEO strategies.
Off page ecommerce SEO is a little different from on-page SEO for a blog or a business website. It includes partnerships, sponsorships, and affiliate programs. But the basics are the same such as link building and outreach.
1. Link Building and Announcements
Start from the basic link building tactics for initial promotion of your offers. You can start with citations, blog comments, web 2.0 links, Q&A websites, and even social bookmarking sites for promoting your offers.
These submission sites may not provide the required link juice that your website needs to rank higher, but they will help make a noticeable impact within the search rankings.
You will see constant fluctuations as algorithms analyze the authority of your website. In order to sustain better rankings:
- Link from third-party websites to your main landing pages.
- Use tools like ‘Getty Images Embed’ to help users link to your products when they add code to their blogs.
- Create separate blogs reviewing your website’s products. This will create a sort of Private Blog Network (PBN). Google doesn’t like PBN if it is meant for creating links. Therefore, you need to come up with unique guides to promote your offers. Check out the This is why I’m broke blog for more inspiration.
2. Strike Partnerships
You can even strike partnerships with affiliate websites that are working within your industry. The affiliate websites will take a small percentage as commission when they sell your products. The benefit of entering into a partnership during the shopping season is that you will not have to worry about getting sales.
Find a good affiliate website. You can search for various affiliate websites by searching ‘Product name REVIEWS’ or ‘Product name BUYERS GUIDE.’ Check out the websites that are ranking for these keywords and then contact their administrators for partnerships.
Another way to promote your offers during any shopping season is by sponsoring products on a number of blogs.
There are many high paying blogs that accept sponsored content. Contact them to sponsor your products. If you have multiple offers then contact their publishing network directly. For example, Purch is the publishing network of Tom’s Hardware, Laptop mag, Business.com, Live Science, and Space.com.
You can ask them for custom offers to promote your blog.
4. Blogger Outreach
Another way to promote your ecommerce store is by reaching out to bloggers who are already linking your competitors. Ask them to include your promotions on their blog too. Many will do it for free, while some will ask you for payment. Here, the choice is yours, depending on your needs.
Also, ask for backlinks from those who have mentioned your brand, but not linked to you. They will be more than happy to link to you if the piece, where they mentioned you, has a positive vibe to it.
You can also ask blogs for guest posts. Simply provide them with controversial ideas like ‘iPhone or Samsung: Which one is better for Introverts?’ Think similar other topics for blogs and help yourself with outreaching to many different people using the internet.
5. Pick the Right Influencers for Promotion
Another way to bring more eyeballs to your web store is by connecting with the right influencers. Make sure that each influencer who you target has a blog of his/her own.
Here is what you can do to connect with influencers:
- Create skyscraper content and ask influencers to share it.
- Interview influencers for your ecommerce blog.
- Curate tips from various influencers on a particular topic and then ask them to link back to it from their blogs.
Implement. Measure. Repeat.
These are all the ecommerce SEO strategies you need to implement in order to promote your online store during any shopping season and climb higher on the SERPs swiftly. Do remember that this practice requires time and effort, especially with each new product that you add to the store. So, start promoting your store today by following the aforementioned tactics.