As a society, we’re coming out stronger in digital marketing after the pandemic. According to the UN, online shopping jumped to a USD 26.7 trillion industry. That economic burst shows no signs of returning to pre-Covid-19 (Coronavirus) levels.
So it’s no surprise, search engine optimization (SEO) for eCommerce is one of the biggest initiatives for all marketing companies. Even when they don’t have to, people are opting for the convenience of buying online!
Are you doing what it takes to tap into this surge of eager buyers? Learn five tips and tricks on how to be successful with SEO for eCommerce:
1. Choose Keywords Wisely
Opt for keyword phrases that have three or more words in them. These longtail keywords serve several functions.
Consider the difference between “SEO tips for eCommerce” and simply “SEO tips” or “eCommerce tips.” You’re interested in SEO advice, and you’re running an eCommerce site, so “SEO tips for eCommerce” are more relevant. They improve relevance because they more accurately represent what someone is looking for. And in the world of SEO, relevance is everything!
Longtail keywords make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. If your eCommerce site offers that something, you’re now driving traffic. Longtail keywords also tend to have less competition, so you’ll find them easier to rank for as your eCommerce site gains the traction it needs to begin ranking for more difficult keywords.
Identify and Leverage the Low-Hanging Fruit
Experience higher search engine ranking faster from eCommerce SEO tips like these when you first work with what you have.
Before you spend too much time developing an eCommerce SEO strategy, know where you stand if you’re already ranking for certain keywords and leverage that visibility to strengthen your website’s standing with people and search engines.
If you’re currently ranking on page two or three for a certain keyword, often small SEO improvements that make a big difference are:
- Image optimization
- Improving EAT (Expertise, Authority, Trust)
- Adding more semantically related keywords
- Converting short content to long-form content
- Adding a video and scheme markup
2. Optimize Product Descriptions
Don’t cut corners here by scraping the descriptions from the manufacturer’s website. It will get you nowhere with search engines. Chances are the manufacturer or their top retailer is already ranking with that description, so that’s more duplicate content that will not rank.
It takes time to craft your product descriptions, but this is an afternoon (or several afternoons) well spent. Make those descriptions both enticing and answer the questions your customers have that lead them to your product.
But don’t stop with the actual product description pages.
Optimize Category Pages, Too!
Many marketers spend time on product descriptions directly, then forget about the category pages. However, category pages are critical pages to rank through eCommerce SEO because they reach people early in the Buyer’s Journey before they know exactly what they’re looking for.
Your target customer is still trying to solve a problem, so your category page should address those problems rather than getting into specifics.
As a bonus, it’s easier to rank for keywords that represent Stage I of the Buyer’s Journey: Awareness. This allows you to lure in potential customers early, so you can build trust and earn the sale.
Attending category page SEO can also reduce the risk of driving too much traffic to an out-of-stock product. Now, people enter your eCommerce site through the category page. Even if something is sold out, they can see you have many great alternatives. So they stick around and buy something else. Or they sign up for your email list so they know when you restock or offer something new.
3. Narrow Your Categories
In a brick-and-mortar store, categories are broad because a lot of products can fit on one shelf. But in the digital world, people expect to find what they’re looking for quickly, or they leave. So it will be hard to rank for anything because the category page tries to rank for everything.
Be specific enough that people know they’re in the right place. But don’t get so micro that your site feels bloated with one to two products in a category. Instead, create an intuitive taxonomy you can stick with and build upon as your eCommerce site grows.
When creating sub-categories, consider in what order people search for things. For example, broad product category > specific function > preferred brand. So if you sell power tools, then Chainsaws > Cordless Chainsaws > Greenworks.
Only make subcategories two to three layers deep to avoid that website above bloat that neither people nor search engines like.
4. Set Up eCommerce Tracking
Whether you choose a free tool like Google Analytics or a paid eCommerce SEO analytics tool, eCommerce success hinges on your ability to track your performance over time, make changes, and improve your ranking to meet key performance indicators (KPIs) that matter to your business.
Important eCommerce metrics include:
- Conversion rate
- Average order value
Compare these metrics across categories and products to learn where your money-makers are. Then, analyze what makes those winners stand out and apply what you learn to optimize your inventory and website.
5. Develop an Internal Linking Strategy
What’s a link’s ultimate job? It’s not to give a page link juice. Instead, its role on your site is to enhance the user experience (UX) by making useful resources more accessible and easy to find. As a bonus, when you link for the right reasons, you can also improve eCommerce SEO because, yes, each time someone follows that link, it signals to Google that you’re delivering a useful user experience.
Strategically link to related products and “customers also bought” items to do all of the above plus increase your average order value and revenues.
Create Original, Engaging, Informative Content to Generate Links
Original content is an important part of any linking strategy. Linkable content generates links from other websites. Your internal linking strategy helps you get the most out of those incoming links. But stop! Not just any eCommerce content can accomplish this.
Is that content you’re creating adding value to your ideal customer? Is it something they’re actually looking for? And does it guide them in the decision-making process without telling them what to buy?
Create content that people want to consume. Speak with your customers, not at them. Focus on educating customers about options and resist the temptation to hard-sell them on anything in this awareness stage content. People respond to brands that make them feel like active participants in the decision-making process rather than consumers.
Monitor for Broken Links
“404 Pages Not Found” errors are bad for UX and worse for your eCommerce business. Furthermore, they frustrate customers who will leave and not come back.
Use free and paid tools to scour the site looking for these errors regularly. Then, when you find them, follow these steps to fix them and reduce the risk of it happening in the future:
- Eliminate the link or link to another similar page.
- If you must remove a page, create a 301 redirect in its place to forward any links to a relevant product or category. This will preserve its keyword ranking.
- Develop a clear naming structure to reduce the need to delete, rename, or move pages in the future.
Small SEO Tips for eCommerce Can Go a Long Way
eCommerce continues to explode worldwide. The eCommerce businesses that win big will do so through eCommerce SEO. Often, small changes in your SEO strategy make the biggest difference to your website’s success. Start with these to see your website’s true ranking potential!