Ecommerce and online retail is big business, but it can be incredibly competitive. In order to help your website stand out from the crowd and grow you may have considered using a range of different digital marketing methods such as paid advertising and digital PR. But what about Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO is a great long term marketing strategy and it can have incredible ROI. When done correctly it can increase brand awareness and visibility as well as increase your organic traffic and sales.
That being said, if you’re new to the world of Ecommerce SEO it can be difficult to know where to start – but don’t panic as we’re here to help.
We’ve put together our top 10 ecommerce SEO tips for beginners to help boost your website traffic and conversions. Read our guide and discover how to improve your Ecommerce SEO.
What Is Ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO (search engine optimisation) is the practice of optimising an online store, its pages and products for search engines like Google.
The goal of ecommerce SEO is to increase the visibility of an online store and its products in the search engine results pages (SERPs) in an effort to drive more organic traffic to the site.
This is accomplished through a combination of Ecommerce SEO tactics including:
- Technical SEO: Technical SEO is one of the most important factors of Ecommerce SEO. It is the process of ensuring a website follows best practices relating to user experience, page speed, mobile usability, and that the site can be crawled and indexed by search engines.
- Keyword Research and Mapping: Keyword research ensures that you have a list of high search volume keywords to optimise your content with. Keyword mapping is the process of mapping your chosen keywords to the most suitable pages on your site. E.g. The keyword “Women’s Clothing” would be mapped to the Women’s Clothing category page.
- Optimising Metadata: By optimising your title tags for your chosen keywords, you provide both users and search engines with context about the content of your website. By optimising your meta descriptions for CTR (click through rate), you can encourage more people to visit your site.
- On Page Optimisation: Optimising your product and category pages with quality, informative content that targets your chosen keywords provides your customers with a great user experience. This can also help you rank higher in the search results.
- Content Creation: In addition to optimising existing pages, creating new content in the form of blogs, guides and case studies is a great way of driving more traffic to your website. This also allows you to create content related to your industry that will demonstrate your experience, expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness (E-E-A-T).
- Off-page optimisation: Off page optimisation is the process of gaining high-quality backlinks from other websites.
By following best practices for ecommerce SEO, online store owners can improve their chances of ranking higher in search engine results and attracting more quality traffic to their sites.
What Are The Benefits Of Ecommerce SEO?
There are several benefits of ecommerce SEO:
- Increased traffic: By optimising your ecommerce website for search engines, you can improve your website’s ranking in the search results, resulting in more traffic to your website.
- Improved user experience: Ecommerce SEO helps improve the user experience on your website by making it easier for customers to find what they are looking for. This can lead to higher conversion rates and increased sales.
- Better visibility: By ranking higher in search results, your ecommerce website will be more visible to potential customers, which can lead to increased brand awareness and recognition.
- Increased credibility: A well-optimised ecommerce website is more likely to be seen as a credible and trustworthy source of information by search engines and potential customers.
- Cost-effective: Ecommerce SEO can be a cost-effective way to drive traffic and sales to your website compared to paid advertising methods.
- Long-term results: Ecommerce SEO efforts can have long-term results, as opposed to paid advertising methods which may only drive short-term traffic.
10 How To Improve Ecommerce SEO Tips
Create unique optimised content and metadata for your product pages
Poor quality and duplicate content across product pages is a common issue for many ecommerce websites. From not adding enough information to copying product descriptions directly from a supplier’s website, the examples are endless.
To address this, we recommend writing unique high quality product descriptions and meta for all of your products. Search engines, such as Google love to see informative content that adds value to the user. Try to provide answers to your customers’ questions and remove any potential barriers to the purchase.
Take a look at what your competitors are doing in order to get an idea of what you can do to improve. This not only includes looking at what competitors have on their site – but also what they are lacking. If you can provide details that your competitors don’t have, your site will be seen by Google as a quality resource.
Though it may seem time consuming and tedious, especially if you are a large ecommerce business, the benefit far outweighs the time it will take to complete. Alternatively, you could seek help from an SEO agency that offers Ecommerce SEO services.
Optimise product alt tags for usability and keywords
Images can play a huge role in how people perceive your website. That being said, search engines currently aren’t that great at interpreting images. To help search engines better understand the images on your website, alt tags can be used.
An alt tag, also known as “alt attribute” and “alt description,” is an HTML attribute applied to image tags to provide a text alternative for search engines. Applying alt tags to images such as product photos can positively impact an ecommerce store’s search engine rankings. In other words, a picture can be worth a thousand words. Alt tags are also useful for users viewing a webpage on screen readers or browsers that can’t process images.
Improve your overall user experience
User experience is incredibly important for Ecommerce SEO. Especially considering that 79% of customers “dissatisfied” with a site’s performance are less likely to buy from them again.
Optimising your ecommerce website for page experience is crucial to your success as it can help improve your website’s visibility and rankings, as well as give your audience a hassle-free experience while browsing your website.
The main areas you should focus on improving as part of your user experience are Core Web Vitals, site speed, mobile friendliness, https and no intrusive interstitials.
Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are three metrics that score a user’s experience loading a webpage. These metrics score how quickly page content loads, how quickly a browser loading a webpage can respond to a user’s input, and how unstable the content is as it loads in the browser.
The 3 Core Web VItals metrics are:
Largest Contentful Paint: LCP represents how quickly the main content of a web page is loaded. Specifically, LCP measures the time from when the user initiates loading the page until the largest image or text block is rendered within the viewport.
Cumulative Layout Shift: CLS is an important, user-centric metric for measuring visual stability because it helps quantify how often users experience unexpected layout shifts. For example if you load a webpage on a mobile device and as you go to click a button on the page the content shifts down as the page finishes loading.
Site speed is key to an ecommerce website’s success as it directly influences conversion rates, user experience, repeat business, and search engine rankings. A recent study by Skilled found that 64% of smartphone users expect a website to load in four seconds or less, demonstrating the importance of a fast performing site.
Pages that meet a certain threshold for speed are said to benefit from a ranking boost in Google’s search results too. Therefore, websites that are slow won’t perform as well as other websites that do have a fast performing site. You can check your mobile and desktop speed and gain insights on how to improve it using Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool.
Why not download our free guide, ‘Page Speed Insights and what they mean’, to find out more? Fill out the form:
Mobile traffic accounts for nearly half of all web traffic, globally. With this in mind it’s important to make sure your website has a responsive design, especially when taking into consideration mobile first indexing.
Although responsive web design is not a confirmed ranking factor, Google has implied the importance of a mobile friendly experience on multiple occasions. Responsive Web Design (RWD) essentially involves creating web pages that render well across a variety of devices and screen sizes.
Not only does having a responsive web design improve your customer experience, it also improves usability, lowers bounce rate and reduces duplicate content. Get in touch today to find out more about our web design services.
A website that has HTTPS e.g. https://silkandember.co.uk/ is considered secure. Essentially what this means is that it is safe for users to visit and when visiting a site with HTTPS, users will be protected from unsecure networks and hackers.
HTTPS is considered to be a ranking factor as it signals to Google and other search engines that your website has an added layer of security. You can make your website HTTPS secure by getting an SSL certificate.
No Intrusive Interstitials
Intrusive interstitials and dialogs are page elements that obstruct users’ view of the content. They are typically used for promotional purposes such as advertisements. Not only can they have a negative impact on user experience but they can also make it hard for search engines to understand your content, which may lead to poor search performance.
That being said, it is possible to create non intrusive dialogs, which will still allow users to access your content without being interrupted. This applies to all kinds of promotional dialogs, including app install prompts.
Follow these best practices to ensure you’re offering users a good experience while still allowing search engines to understand the content and structure of your site:
- Use banners instead of interstitials: Instead of full page interstitials, use banners that take up only a small fraction of the screen to grab your users’ attention.
- Use common libraries: Most CMS’s have plugins that as standard create user and search engine friendly dialogs and interstitials, such as newsletter sign up prompts. These plugins are typically safe to use and are regularly updated to comply with any changes.
- Use mandatory interstitials when necessary: Certain sites are required to show an interstitial due to the kind of content they are publishing. For example, a website selling alcohol may need to show an age gate, which is a type of interstitial where the user must provide their age before accessing the content. Mandatory interstitials such as this are exempt from Google’s page experience guidelines.
Correctly handle out of stock products
The question of what to do with out of stock products can be really tricky to navigate for SEO. Should out of stock product pages be left as 404 or should they be redirected to another product page?
We recommend that the best thing to do with out of stock product pages is to leave them live, but show that the item is out of stock. Then you can either let users request an email notification for when the product returns or link to other related products that the user may be interested in. This way you won’t lose any organic traffic that the page receives and you’re also offering your customers a choice of what to do next.
We also recommend regularly doing broken internal link checks for your product pages. It can be really frustrating for users if they navigate to a product page that is out of stock from one of your blog posts or category pages. By updating your internal broken links you can ensure that your customers find your in stock products and search engines can crawl your webpages.
Have an easy to use site structure and navigation
The structure and navigation of an Ecommerce site is extremely important for SEO as it allows both users and search engines to understand the structure/hierarchy of your store.
If users can’t find what they’re looking for on your website, they’re likely to leave the site and go somewhere else. Equally, if Search Engines can’t find specific pages on your website because they are not linked to from anywhere, they may not be indexed as no link equity has been passed on.
To help users and search engines find all the pages on your site, make sure that your pages are reachable by following links through your site’s navigation. Ensure that all key landing pages are linked to from your menu as these pages are often crawled first. This includes adding links from your menu to category pages, from category pages to subcategory pages and lastly from subcategory pages to all products.
Utilise free product listings on Google Search
You can now show your products on the Google Shopping tab free of charge. In 2020 Google announced that due to the pandemic they would offer free listings to merchants with online stores.
Free listings allow customers to see product results from your shop across Google, such as on the Shopping tab, YouTube, Google Search (.com), Google Images and Google Lens. This means that you can now reach significantly more potential customers.
Although free product listing can drive Organic traffic to your website, there is a lot less control in comparison to paid advertisements. In addition, paid ads will still appear above the free producing listings.
Read our guide on How to set up Free Google Shopping Ads for more information.
Create unique and valuable content for your blog
Having a blog section on your website that contains unique and valuable content, is incredibly beneficial for Ecommerce SEO. Not only can it drive additional organic traffic to your website but can also generate additional leads.
Many users use search engines not only to find specific products but also to find answers to their questions. Creating content that provides users with accurate and helpful information can help your ecommerce website to be seen as an authoritative and trustworthy source, which can help with brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Blog content can also be really useful for helping consumers make purchase decisions. Not all customers are always ready to buy when looking for a product, they may still be in the research stage of the sales funnel. Informative content about a type of product or collection can help encourage customers to make a purchase.
Use structured data to help search engines better understand your website
Structured data is an essential part of any SEO campaign, but particularly for Ecommerce websites. Simply put, structured data is a standardised piece of machine-readable code that can be added to web pages and contains information that helps search engines better understand the content of a website.
Structured data is presented in the SERPs as Rich Results. Examples of this include recipes, FAQs, how to’s and reviews. By using structured data to acquire Rich Results you can greatly increase your brand awareness and CTR’s.
Structured data in general is not specific to ecommerce, although some structured data types are. The types of structured data that are relevant to ecommerce SEO includes:
- LocalBusiness: Local Business Structured Data allows you to tell search engines more information about your business such as your location and opening hours.
- Product: Product Structured data allows you to add specific product attributes to your product listings that can appear as rich results in the SERPs such as price and whether or not an item is in stock.
- Review: Review structured data allows you to add markup to your existing reviews that could generate rich results. This may be presented as a star rating or a snippet of a written review.
- HowTo: Content that is aimed at providing guidance on how to do something and contains HowTo structured data may be presented as a rich result in the SERPs e.g. how to tie shoelaces
- FAQ Page: FAQ structured data is a code that you can implement to your site’s FAQs to increase their likelihood of ranking as a SERP rich result and as a voice search result within Google Assistant.
- Breadcrumb List: BreadcrumbList structured data is an ItemList consisting of a chain of linked Web pages, typically described using at least their URL and their name. This is typically displayed in the SERPs under the page title to highlight where the webpage sites in the hierarchy of a website.
- Website: By adding Website structured data to your homepage you can help Google understand how site search is implemented on your site.
- VideoObject: Video is becoming increasingly important for ecommerce. Appropriately marking up pre-recorded videos (such as on a product page) or live stream events can help Google present the videos appropriately in Google Search results.
Make use of internal linking
Ecommerce websites typically tend to have a lot of pages due to the number of categories, subcategories and products that they have. With this in mind, it’s really important to make sure that you have internal links to all of your important pages so that they can be found by users and crawled and indexed by search engines.
Internal links are important for Ecommerce SEO as they help search engines understand and rank your website better. By giving search engines links to follow along with descriptive anchor text you can let crawlers know which pages on your site are important as well as what they are about.
There are several ways to use internal linking to benefit your ecommerce website:
- Site navigation: Your most important pages should be linked to from your main menu. This helps search engines understand the structure and hierarchy of your website and provides an overview of the types of products that you offer to users.
- Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are internal links that sit either at the top or bottom of category, subcategory and product pages. They allow users to easily understand the connection between their location on your site e.g. a product page and a higher level page e.g. a category page. Breadcrumbs also help users and search engines navigate your website.
- Related products: Your product pages are a great place to add internal links to your other products. This includes things such as ‘related products’, ‘complete the look’ and ‘customers also like’ internal links. In addition to passing on link equity to other product pages these types of internal links are a great way to cross and upsell your products.
- Anchor text: When writing category content and blog posts be sure to include anchor text internal links to products, sub categories, related categories and other related blog posts. Not only does this help crawlers navigate and find additional pages on your site, but it’s also really beneficial for user experience and can encourage users to stay on your site for longer.
Make use of popular ecommerce platforms and CMS’s
There are plenty of platforms out there that are built for ecommerce websites that can be optimised for SEO. This includes CMS’s such as Shopify, Magento and WordPress. Many of these platforms have built in functionalities that can make managing and optimising your site easier including stock management, SEO specific content fields and blogging capabilities.
Furthermore, using an ecommerce specific platform also means that there is a lot of online support, guidance and services that you can utilise to ensure that your website reaches its full potential. This includes things such as user guides and videos, online forums and Ecommerce SEO agencies.
Take your eCommerce SEO to the next level
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of how eCommerce SEO works and how it can benefit your business, why not take your online marketing campaign to the next level with eCommerce SEO?
Get in touch with our team here at The SEO Works today, to see how we can help boost your online presence and sales.
Sarah has a background in digital marketing within the fashion industry and is extremely passionate about all things ecommerce.