Let’s get right down to it:
If you want to learn about eCommerce SEO, you’re in the right place.
What makes us qualified to explain it? We’ve done what you’re trying to do. We’re eCommerce SEO experts who have built one of the only SEO-optimized digital eCommerce platform for the hospitality industry.
If you want more people to discover your business through search engines and purchase your products, we can help.
So let’s get into how your eCommerce business can roll out a successful eCommerce SEO strategy. We’ll go through each individual part of the strategy, in the order you should do them.
But first, let’s cover why eCommerce search engine optimization is important.
What Is eCommerce Search Engine Optimization?
eCommerce SEO is the attempt at improving the quality and quantity of traffic that gets to your website from search engines. And that means learning everything you can about what search engines want to see, and giving it to them.
For example, Google looks at over 200 things when ranking a web page. These are called ranking factors.
The primary ranking factors are:
- Content quality and relevancy
- How fast a web page loads
- How old a web page is
- How often content is published
- How user-friendly a web page is
- If a web page is designed for mobile devices
- How a web site’s web pages are structured in relation to each other
eCommerce SEO, then, is making sure your website and its web pages abide by Google’s ranking signals.
Why focus on SEO for eCommerce sites?
Here’s some pretty incredible reasons why:
- eCommerce SEO boosts your click-through rate
- 93% of all online experiences start at a search engine
- 65% of all eCommerce sessions come from search engines
- Traffic from search engines can provide up to 40% of your company’s sales
Making sure your web pages show up as high as possible in search results is and will continue to be the primary driver of the majority of business’s online sales. If you’re an online business, you can’t do without it.
And If You Ignore eCommerce SEO?
Well, you’ll be choosing to be at a huge disadvantage relative to your competitors.
So let’s get started with your eCommerce SEO strategy.
First up, keyword research.
eCommerce SEO Best Practices: Top eCommerce SEO tips
Step 1: Keyword Research for On-Page SEO for eCommerce
Click the link above for our entire post about keyword research for eCommerce sites.
But the gist of it is this:
Keyword research is the bread and butter of every SEO campaign, no matter your industry.
Google understands the internet through words. And you’ve got to choose the right words for Google to know exactly what your company does—and get you in front of the right people.
And here’s, generally, what you’ll need to do:
- Use a keyword research tool to identify keywords that lots of people search for
- Use a competitive research tool to find keywords your competitors are ranking for
- Use Google’s autocomplete and “searches related to…” features to uncover yet more keywords
- Choose the ones you actually have a chance of ranking high for on the search results page
Here’s a quick end-to-end example to give you an idea. Again, click the link at the top of this section for a full walkthrough on keyword research for eCommerce SEO.
Let’s say your meat and poultry eCommerce business wants to target the keyword meat online.
Here’s the search results page for meat online:
There’s a lot to overcome on that results page. Four ads, heavy hitters like The Spruce Eats and Food and Wine.
It may be hard for a small-to-medium sized business to rank for meat online. A lot of other, bigger businesses are ranking for it and have been targeting it for a long time.
But, using our keyword research methods, you can find other keywords like:
- Order meat online cheap
- Buy meat online in bulk
- Best online meat delivery
- Best place to buy meat online
And more. These keywords are searched less per month by Google searchers, but that means there is less competition for them.
Your goal, doing keyword research, is to uncover a bunch of keywords just like this. Keywords with enough people searching them and low enough competition that you can rank for them and drive traffic to your web page.
And once you get those keywords, you move on to how to build your product pages.
Step 2: SEO for eCommerce Product Pages & Category Pages
For a full review of how to set up your eCommerce product and category pages, click the link above.
Here’s what you can expect if you click that link:
There are three primary pages that go into an eCommerce site. Two are required, one is a bonus.
The two required pages are product pages and category pages.
The one type of web page that’s very beneficial but not strictly required is a blog.
How your category pages and product pages are structured is important. And the type of content that’s on them is important.
Each should have:
- A keyword-optimized H1, title, and description
- An image with alt text
- A title with click-driving modifiers like “fresh,” “deals,” and “best.” There are lots.
- Unique descriptions of at least 500 words
- A sequence of links at the top of the page called breadcrumbs
- HTML tables or lists
While eCommerce category pages should also be cognizant of the fact that they are, foremost, navigation hubs. They’re there to convey people logically to a place where they can find something to buy.
That’s why navigational clarity is crucial on all category pages. They’re tools to get somewhere else. Make it easy to get there.
Step 3: Create SEO Content for eCommerce
For a full walkthrough of creating content for your SEO eCommerce operation, click the link above.
You can have all the keywords and intelligent structure you want. But if your content isn’t actually good, nothing matters.
The effectiveness of your eCommerce content depends on how accurately you fulfill the needs of your readers.
And that’s all based on sales readiness, or how close someone is to making a purchase.
Sales readiness is usually visualized as a sales funnel with:
- A top of funnel. These are users who are researching and should be targeted with broad keywords and generic phrases. Meat nutrition is a top funnel keyword. It targets people that are simply researching the nutritional content of meat. It’s a broad topic and they’re not looking to make a purchase.
- A middle funnel. These users are using more specific keywords and phrases in their searches. They’re digging in a little deeper. They’re engaged and about to buy. Most nutritious meat for seniors can be considered a middle-funnel keyword. They’re still doing some research, but they’re zeroing in on what they want.
- A bottom funnel. These are the keywords that turn into sales. When searchers type these into Google, they’re looking to buy. Best place to buy halal meat online is bottom funnel. That searcher is looking to buy now.
Creating content is all about making sure you target the right part of the funnel with the right content. If you get that right, you’ll deliver on user expectations and provide a ton of useful content. Users love that, and Google loves what users love.
The next piece, after creating your content, is how to link all your content together. That’s called internal linking.
The way in which you internally link your web pages to one another is important for eCommerce SEO.
- When web pages with similar content link to each other, it makes it easier for a search engine to deduce what the content is about. For all the web pages involved.
- It’s easier for users to organically discover related content in the course of their natural reading.
The link at the top of this section goes into much more detail on building an internal linking structure for eCommerce SEO. Check it out, you won’t be sorry.
Step 4: Review Technical SEO for eCommerce Sites
Next up is your technical SEO. Click the above link for a detailed walkthrough on handling your eCommerce technical SEO.
Technical SEO is the act of identifying and fixing errors that prevent search engines from quickly scanning and understanding your web content.
Here are the broad strokes of getting it right:
Run a Technical Audit
This requires an SEO tool like SEMrush that scans all your web pages and surfaces any errors to you.
Your SEO tool will point out:
- Pages with 404 errors
- URLs with HTTP codes instead of HTTPS codes
- The status of your XML sitemap
- If any meta content is too long
- Pages with 302 redirects
- Any duplicate content
You’ll also need to check your page speed on your technical audit. Because fast-loading pages are a big part of a great user experience. And if Google’s ranking factors do anything, they encourage website builders and content creators to provide searchers a good user experience. That’s pretty much the point of Google.
Some other often overlooked parts of technical SEO for eCommerce are:
- Checking your website’s robots.txt file. This is a file that specifies which pages Google can’t crawl and shouldn’t make publicly available in their search results.
- Reviewing site architecture as a whole. The more intuitive the structure of the web pages that make up your website, the better.
- Mobile-friendliness. Google rewards sites that provide users of all sized devices an optimal experience.
- Clear URL structure. A URL should be human-readable and make perfectly clear what the content of the web page is about.
- Using structured data. Otherwise known as semantic markup. These are little descriptive bits of code you put in a web page’s HTML to make it clear to Google what aspects of your web page are what. For example, if you have a reviews section on a web page, you could add a review-specific tag to the HTML of that section. Google then knows for sure that those are reviews. The quicker Google understands things, the better your rankings become.
Next up, we’ll take a look at what happens away from your website. The off-page SEO.
Step 5: Off-Page SEO for eCommerce
In the link above, we cover in detail the two primary ones: link building and social media.
Off-page eCommerce refers to everything that happens away from your website that has an impact on your eCommerce SEO.
Most off-page SEO focuses on link building. Link building is the act getting other, external websites to link to your website.
The reason that’s important is because every site that links to yours is a vote of confidence for your site, in the eyes of Google.
Here are the primary ways companies go about building links for their eCommerce SEO campaigns:
- They create darn good content. Seems simple enough, right? If your content is simply excellent, people will naturally share it and link to it.
- Create an FAQs section or page. If your questions are formulated around popular search terms or questions from Google’s “people also ask” feature, you’ll be providing answers to commonly asked questions. And you’ll give yourself a chance to show up in the “people also ask” section yourself.
- Sponsor companies and ask that they link back to your website when laying out their sponsorships on their website.
- Find all the mentions of your company name online that aren’t linked to you, and ask that they link to you. This is also called link reclamation.
- Find broken links on your competitors’ websites that have backlinks, then reach out to the folks linking to those broken websites and tell them you have replacement content that’s live. This, of course, requires that you either already have or create replacement content.
- Interview experts for a blog post, and those experts’ organizations will likely link to the post once published.
- Guest blog on someone else’s blog and link back to your website in your author bio or in the post itself.
Social media is an indirect off-page SEO signal. That means social engagement is not an official Google ranking factor.
The reason why it’s still worthwhile is because a lot of engagement on social media increases your brand’s and your content’s visibility.
The more something is shared, the more people visit the associated website and link to it. Both of those are direct ranking signals.
There are two primary ways social media can help eCommerce SEO:
- Organic social media discovery. This means your business genuinely participates in social media. Post reviews, interact with customers, etc.
- Paid social media marketing. This is paying influencers to mention you to their followers, paying for ads on social platforms, or forming brand partnerships.
We go into much more depth about social media marketing and off-page tactics for eCommerce SEO in the link at the top of this section.
Step 6: Best eCommerce Platform for SEO & Tools
The last step in eCommerce SEO is getting your tech stack in order.
A tech stack is all the technology you use in service of your SEO. In this case, it’ll be the eCommerce platform for SEO you choose and the SEO tools you use.
And you can get a full run-down of what makes a good eCommerce platform and tools in the link above.
According to us, the best eCommerce platform for SEO: BlueCart Digital Storefront.
BlueCart Digital Storefront is SEO-ready right out of the box.
- It’s optimized for optimal viewing on all screen sizes
- The title and descriptions that search engines look for are totally editable
- Product-specific Schema markup and structural data
- Every page has its own, search-optimized, human-readable URL
- Alt text for images is fully editable
And here are the SEO tools you should look into:
- SEMrush. This is the all-in-one SEO tool that we rely on. It does pretty much everything, from on-page to off-page to technical SEO.
- Screaming Frog. This is a helpful website crawler that uncovers technical SEO opportunities. If you’re not already using the SEMrush for your crawling needs, that is.
- Yoast. This is the most popular WordPress SEO plugin. It’s pretty much indispensable if you’re using WordPress.
- Answer the Public. Here’s a free website that provides all sorts of insight into what people are searching. Related terms, similar terms, etc. It’s like Google’s autocomplete or “searches related to” function on steroids.
- Google Search Console. Another indispensable tool. Thankfully this one’s free. GSC helps measure your site’s traffic from Google, along with performance metrics.
eCommerce Search Engine Optimization
If you haven’t yet, click through to every link at the top of each section. That’ll take you to the in-depth posts that cover these eCommerce SEO topics.
Remember that eCommerce search engine optimization is an ongoing process. Google changes, your website changes, and user search behavior changes.
That’s why internalizing eCommerce search engine optimization is what every eCommerce business should do.
And that’s a lot easier to do with an eCommerce platform that’s consistently optimized to provide industry-leading SEO for online businesses.
BlueCart Digital Storefront does just that. Book a demo and we’ll show you how easy eCommerce SEO can be.
BlueCart is a member of the SEMrush affiliate program and makes commission through advertising and linking to SEMrush.com.