If your e-commerce business has a fantastic product that hits all the marks with customers, you're in a great position. You've already checked the boxes for a lot of customers. However, how's your website? More specifically, how are your e-commerce website's search engine optimization efforts?
If your answer is 'not so good,' or 'could be better,' it's time to hit pause on your day. It's time to consult our guide for SEO for e-commerce businesses. Or, if you simply need help with SEO, you can learn something, too!
So, let's take a look.
SEO For E-commerce: The Basics and Best Practices
Firstly, SEO for E-commerce focuses on boosting traffic towards an e-commerce site through excellent optimization. It could mean the difference between ranking on the first page of Google SERPs and selling yourself short. And with your e-commerce startup, you definitely want the former.
Through great content, strategies, product pages, and linking strategies, you could easily boost your organic SEO in short order.
Let's dig in and see what you need to boost your Internet traffic.
High-quality Keyword Research
First thing's first: you need to do some comprehensive keyword research.
That being said, think about what your business aims to accomplish. Are you selling a niche product? Have you researched your target market? What's your business goal?
With that in mind, keep your business goals in mind when conducting your SEO keyword research.
And before you think that merely aiming for high-volume keywords will cut it, think again. There are many moving parts with SEO for e-commerce businesses, and you need to account for a lot of them.
What Is Your Customer Looking For?
For example, instead of focusing on the highest-ranking keywords in your industry, try and get into the buyer’s mind. More specifically, you're going to want to consider the customer's intent. This is especially useful the consideration phase, where customers are seriously considering your product.
We recommend Answer The Public as a great little tool to monitor what people are thinking, saying, and (most importantly) searching on Google.
This nifty tool allows you to see real search intent with certain subjects.
For example, let's say I wanted to see what people were looking for with 'digital marketing.’ When you type in that term, you're presented with data visualizations showing the most popular searches using said term.
With this massive wheel based on searches for digital marketing and digital marketing consultation services, you have a ton of buyer intent.
Phrases starting with 'how,' 'what,' 'when,' 'where,' and 'why' are fantastic jumping-off points. For example, 'what is digital marketing?' Or, you could get a tad more detailed: 'What are the benefits of digital marketing consultations?' Feel free to experiment with the information from users to see how they think, browse, and convert. And there are even more search options from the site.
You can also see what people compare digital marketing to or simply see a simple alphabetical list of terms related to your original search.
With keyword research, you need to examine your goals, industry, and buyer intent to get the most out of e-commerce SEO.
Checking Out The Competition
Browsing the web for your direct competition is a valid strategy for building a keyword portfolio. What are your more successful contemporaries doing right? Keep in mind, absolutely no plagiarizing or copying web page content! Not a blog post, article, or single sentence. Not only is it a terrible thing to do, but you could run into legal trouble.
Instead, try this exercise.
Think of a search term. It could be related to your e-commerce site or not; just give it a shot.
Type that keyword or search term into Google and examine the first three results. What do these top three results on the SERPs do apart from other sites? Do they have better writing? Do they implement a better linking strategy? The number one site is obviously doing something right, so what sets them apart from the other e-commerce sites?
And remember, no plagiarizing content.
E-commerce SEO Linking
Linking is a massive pillar of good search engine optimization. With SEO, you want your e-commerce website to sit comfortably at a high position on the Google SERPs. And with links and linking strategies, your content gets a big boost, and you build brand awareness in the process. It's a win-win.
SEO specialists deal a lot with URLs. Along with serving as web addresses to millions of sites online, URLs are a fantastic SEO tool.
Having backlinks or links from other sites leading to your site is crucial. Think of backlinks as endorsements for your site. The more backlinks you have, the more Google will take notice.
Don't be afraid to trim down your URLs. A busy URL with multiple words doesn't look the best, and it also makes easy sharing a pain. Having a shorter and more relevant URL makes SEO even better.
For example, instead of having your URL be:
In short, make URLs easy to read, more straightforward, and easy to share. No one likes a long and complicated URL, least of all your customers. Also, try to make your URL just your keyword if possible.
Keeping track of your URLs is essential, too. Don't get too hasty and change all your existing URLs right this second.
Once you change a URL, every page linking to that URL results in a broken link. If you want to change URLs, plan out a detailed strategy that minimizes changes to your site.
A Picture Is Worth A Few Keywords
Images on your pages are great ways to break the monotony, improve design, and generally just make your site better to look at.
But images also increase your SEO potential.
When posting images that relate to your product, business, or content, you're well on your way to utilizing them for SEO purposes.
Take an image, add a caption, and create some alt-text. Alt-text is a great secondary way to boost SEO for your business, as well as a necessary accessibility option for readers.
For example, if you wrote an article on in-house advertising agencies, maybe add images of people working in an office together. Okay, it's a good start, but it could be better.
Now it's time for the finish. Add that relevant caption to the keyword. Then add alt text with your keyword organically involved. Don't force it, though.
Remember; alt-text should describe an image accurately, so don't stuff keywords.
Writing Good Web Copy
While you can plug in high-ranking words, nail buyer intent, and understand your business goals, there's the final piece of the puzzle. Equipped with your newfound SEO keyword research experience, it's time to put your business's message into words. That's right; it’s time to write good copy to compel your readers.
Writing good content for your prospective readers is absolutely essential to success. You could have all the right keywords, a solid link strategy, and your user intent nailed down. But if you can't string words into a coherent sentence, you're in trouble. And worse, it could go directly against your efforts to build trust with customers.
SEO copywriters are professionals that take their writing skills to create outstanding ad copy, blog content, and other attractive materials for customers. SEO copywriters help businesses with their keyword research, linking, and other various SEO responsibilities.
When you write good copy, you communicate clearly with the user, and hopefully, compel them to check out your product page in your store.
What Are Negative Keywords?
Negative keywords, despite the name, can be lifesavers in SEO for e-commerce. Shopping campaigns that use Google broad match on the title and description can have you wasting money trying to whittle down your audience to that desired target audience.
For example, let's say you're looking to sell a brand new pair of women's Nike Air Max 90's. Obviously, you don't need people who want used men's pairs of Nike Air Max Plus's to show up.
So, if you want your shopping ad to show up to the right people, create a negative keyword list including terms like 'used,' 'men's,' and 'Plus.' Negative keyword lists can help you and your customers navigate Google broad match more easily.
SEO Mistakes To Avoid
Not everything is so clear cut with e-commerce SEO. While all the above are parts of the well-oiled online machine, you need to watch out for some of the biggest SEO mistakes when retooling your e-commerce website.
We already covered some of the problems that duplicate content causes companies. When you post duplicate content, Google can get a bit confused when deciding which content to show for a query. Which is your original post? That's the issue search engines run into.
It also skews your domain authority and spreads thin your traffic across however many duplicate URLs or sites you have. Most importantly, Google doesn't know which URL to rank.
In short, avoid duplicate content at all costs.
Not Updating Your Content
Although we love to see brand new content online, it's always important to go back and update old work. When you have a backlog of old, outdated content, this not only causes issues when trying to target customers, but it can lead the viewer astray with faulty info. And no one needs that.
Instead, we strongly recommend going back, formulating a sound strategy, and tackling old content and making it shine like new. It not only builds upon a winning foundation of information, but it serves your reader and their purposes.
Yes, this means you probably need to do some more keyword research. Since SEO is constantly changing, this is just a part of the business.
E-commerce SEO: The Final Word
Whether it's a good keyword strategy, blog post writer, or linking to your product page, good e-commerce SEO is far from impossible to accomplish.
Keep our SEO tips for your e-commerce website in mind, and who knows, maybe we'll see you in the top three spots.