What is SEO for eCommerce Websites?

If one of your core business objectives is to increase traffic to your eCommerce website and drive sales, a robust search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy is a vital first step.

Within this article, we outline what eCommerce SEO is and how it is essential to an online business’s success to have a strong organic visibility within the major search engines.

What this article covers:

What is eCommerce SEO?

eCommerce SEO is a term that refers to the process of increasing the visibility of your online store in search engine results pages (SERPs). When consumers conduct an online search for the products you sell, it is essential to secure a solid ranking position to ensure you capture their attention, generate more traffic and put your business in the best position to improve your conversions.

It is possible to secure additional traffic streams from paid search strategies; however, there are several reasons you should also invest in SEO. Not only are SEO strategies more affordable than paid search, but consumer ad blindness and ad blockers can also reduce the efficacy of paid advertising (PPC) campaigns.

There are many components to eCommerce SEO, including ensuring that all headlines, meta-data and product descriptions are thoroughly optimised for SERP performance. Additionally, your eCommerce website’s navigational and link structures should be optimised with both search performance and user experience at the fore.

Best practice dictates that each individual product should be afforded its own dedicated webpage to ensure your site has the ability to draw the maximum amount of traffic from SERPs. It is imperative not to overlook the pages on your site that aren’t product-oriented. Optimise everything from your homepage to your FAQs, contact page, about you page, and help centre answers.

To do this effectively, you will find it helpful to put together a list of keywords those pages should include. It is highly recommended to incorporate one long-tail keyword in addition to a small selection of relevant semantic keywords that can be used in conjunction to attract the maximum volume of traffic to your eCommerce store.

Is SEO important for eCommerce websites?

In short: yes. But let’s delve a bit deeper into precisely why you shouldn’t overlook the potential of a strong SEO strategy for your eCommerce website.

Remember, Google wants to ensure that every SERP contains content that will answer every one of the searcher’s questions when they enter their search query. In fact, Google wants to do this so well that the searcher isn’t forced to return to the search giant looking for another answer.

Now, there are a variety of ways you can ensure that your eCommerce website meets the needs of your ideal audience, including:

  • Utilising clear imagery and video content to showcase your brand and the products you sell
  • Ensuring your website delivers a seamless user experience (UX) by offering an intuitive interface, solid mobile experience, and optimising each page so that it loads efficiently
  • Creating on-site blog content that answers a wide range of questions relating to the industry you’re in and the products you sell
  • Establishing a solid community around your brand who want to talk about and link to you online

Research conducted by SEMrush, which examined 13 eCommerce verticals found that direct and organic sources made up 80% of all traffic. In practical terms, this means that eCommerce websites should be populated with eye-catching imagery, thorough product descriptions and, ideally, customer reviews to aid consumers’ decision-making processes. Other eCommerce web design choices can make your eCommerce store more attractive, including ensuring the purchasing buttons are large enough and that you are using social proof to highlight your best-selling products.

If you’re still wondering why you should care about SEO, allow us to tell you…

Let’s imagine that your eCommerce store sells gifts for people who love Persian cats. It goes without saying that you would want your website to rank for a vital search term such as “Persian cat gifts,” right? Well, in SERPs, Google will usually display a small handful of ads before the organic listings begin. Most clicks go to organic search results, but it’s important to remember that most searchers won’t look beyond the first page. So, you’re going to want to secure a ranking position as close to the top of the page as possible because this will help you drive more clicks and generate more sales.

How do I increase organic traffic on my eCommerce website?

Comprehensive eCommerce SEO strategies incorporate several tactics, including:

  • Keyword research: Ensuring this step is completed accurately is vital. If you make mistakes here, you with either try to target keywords that are much too difficult to rank for, or you’ll rank well for keywords that won’t translate into the levels of traffic and subsequent sales that you want to see.
  • Site architecture: When you have compiled your list of target keywords, you can start to leverage this information. Your eCommerce website’s architecture should be designed to place the most relevant and highest quality content in front of your audience in the most efficient ways. So, your site architecture should be both simple and scalable. Focusing on these two points will allow you to ensure that no page will take more than three clicks to reach, which will significantly improve your on-site UX.
  • On-page SEO: This tactic primarily focuses on ensuring your target keywords are well-positioned to communicate each page’s content and context. Additionally, optimising your imagery can also significantly impact your rankings, so utilising image alt text is imperative to SEO and UX, as screen readers utilised by visually impaired people read aloud the text within the alt tag.
  • Technical SEO: Good SEO also has a technical side and incorporates everything from mobile-friendliness to UX and site speed. Ultimately, technical SEO is concerned with providing each and every visitor to your eCommerce store with a positive and seamless experience.
  • Local SEO: Local SEO isn’t something that every business needs to focus on. Still, if you also maintain a physical store, this tactic can help you build awareness of your brand within the local community.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is a relatively easy way to improve your SERP rankings and build a solid backlink profile. Don’t forget, your category and individual product pages will only rank for a finite number of keywords. So, if you want to target additional SERP real estate, you’re going to need to branch out.
  • Link building: In addition to content, Google also values links, so you’re going to want to invest time into building a strong backlink profile. Link building sits under the off-page SEO umbrella, which means it’ll take a bit more time before you start seeing results from your efforts. It’s worth it, however, because securing links from other high domain authority sites could boost your rankings more significantly than almost every other ranking factor.

How do I find eCommerce keywords?

As we have already touched upon, ensuring that you approach the keyword research process with the understanding that this is one of the most critical parts of developing a successful eCommerce SEO strategy is vital.

At its core, keyword research is all about finding out exactly what your potential customers are typing into the search box when they turn to a search engine. Here are a few key things to keep in mind:

  • It will be beneficial to utilise groupings of similar keywords rather than attempting to rank for a single keyword
  • Long-tail keywords are more specific and are ultimately much more likely to target a shopper that is ready to convert effectively
  • Selecting keywords that sit inside your ‘Goldilocks range’ will help you to ensure that you aren’t trying to target keywords with too much competition or keywords that won’t translate into enough traffic to deliver a good enough return on investment (ROI)
  • Keyword research is an ongoing process, and although it might feel like an impossible task at first, it will start to become easier

So, let’s dive into some of the specific steps you’ll need to take to get started with keyword research.

  • Idea generation: The first thing you’ll want to do is sit down and really think about the products you sell. From here, you can describe what those products are, how they work, what they’re made from, and even what colour they are. This process will immediately generate some keyword ideas, particularly if you repeat this process for the 10 most popular products on your eCommerce site.
  • Themes: You might need to start to think a little more broadly here and look for keyword themes from the descriptions you have written. It’s also a good idea to keep your product categories in mind as this should give you ideas for the kinds of supporting content you can create to connect with your audience and address their queries.
  • Qualifiers: From here, you should aim to introduce some qualifiers, which are words that will help to define the users intent. These qualifying keywords can be added to keywords to transform them into long-tail keywords. As we have learned earlier in this article, long-tail keywords can help you ensure that you drive high-quality traffic to your site and effectively target consumers who are more likely to be ready to make a purchase.
    So, let’s say your eCommerce store sells cat treats. That is a very general keyword, but you can make it more specific by adding qualifiers such as:

    “Best” cat treats

    “Organic” cat treats

    “Buy” cat treats

    “Allergy reducing” cat treats

    Qualifiers will also help you identify ideas for additional content you can incorporate within your eCommerce website to answer some of the most common questions and queries your audience has.
  • Tools: The good news is that there are numerous tools available that you can use when you’re making your way through your keyword planning journey. The Google Keyword Planner is a key resource that is free and easy to use.
    The Planner will help you see what people are typing into Google to find the information they’re looking for and filter results locally, regionally, and globally. Importantly, it will also suggest appropriate long-tail keyword ideas that you might not have considered yet.

How do you optimise a product page?

When it comes to optimising your product pages, again, there are several steps you can take to ensure your eCommerce website is the best it can possibly be. To begin, it’s worth thinking about what product pages need to do. Essentially, you want to provide your ideal customers with the information they need to support them to purchase a product they want. To do this, you also need to convince your ideal customer that buying this particular product will enhance their lives somehow.

Four core elements come into play when creating a well-optimised product page:

  • Your brand: Your brand is integral to every single part of your online presence. Your branding efforts can’t solely be present on your homepage because the way that consumers discover products is constantly changing. Now, a consumer might never visit your homepage before deciding to purchase from you, which means that on-page branding is key.
  • The product: The product page should sit at the heart of your approach here because, after all, this is its opportunity to shine. Additionally, the product is likely to influence the presentation decisions you make and the information you want to include in the copy.
  • The copy: On-page copy should be informed by both the product and your brand’s tone of voice. It should deliver the level of information your audience is looking for and leaves them feeling as though they won’t find the same thing anywhere else because your brand is so strong, memorable and relatable.
  • The design and UX of the page: Each of the above elements will influence the design and UX decisions you make. Don’t forget, even something as simple as the way elements are positioned on a page can significantly affect the number of conversions you make.

Here are some specific considerations to make when levelling up your product pages.

  • Call-to-action: Your product pages ultimately have one primary goal: to encourage your audience to make a purchase. In addition to ensuring the ‘buy now’ or ‘add to cart’ button is highly visible, it is important to remove all clutter in the area surrounding it. Although you may be tempted to get creative with the copy, keeping your CTAs simple will lead to more conversions. Don’t confuse your visitors unnecessarily.
  • Details: Consumers that are shopping for affordable products might not be looking for the same level of detail as those shopping for luxury products. Still, it is imperative to consider the needs of your audience when creating product descriptions.
    In short, you need to do everything possible to communicate the value of your product to convince your audience that it is worth the price and will make a tangible difference to their lives. To do this effectively, you might want to anticipate your customers’ questions and tailor your on-page copy around those questions.
    Don’t forget, if your product pages contain a lot of information, using a clear structure incorporating headings and subheadings will make it easier to digest and help consumers find the specific pieces of information they’re looking for quickly and efficiently.
  • Social proof: Every product page is essentially a landing page, which means you can utilise some of the best practices that make traditional landing pages so effective. Integrating an element of social proof gives your imagery and copy an additional layer of credibility. Whether you want to integrate customer reviews or even just images from Instagram. Social proof can build trust and give consumers a tangible reason to believe that you will deliver on the promises you’re making.
    Remember, the best product pages are created from a considered optimisation process that creates a sense of balance amongst all best practice recommendations and your unique audience’s needs.

In conclusion

A considered and robust eCommerce SEO strategy can generate a solid ROI and help you to place your brand in front of your ideal audience at precisely the right time in their consumer journey.

If you have any questions about eCommerce SEO or want to find out more about how a tailored strategy can help you unlock your business’s full potential, contact the Search Creative team at your earliest convenience to discuss your needs and goals.


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