Around 93% of all website traffic goes through search engines, and Google accounts for the lion’s share of it. It processes 63,000 search queries per second and is responsible for almost half of all product searches that consumers perform.
If you have something to sell or services to offer online, you must pay attention to your search rankings. This is especially true since only a measly 0.63% of all users click on the second page of Google’s search results.
So, how do you stand out and put your brand in front of your target audience in this highly competitive digital landscape?
We’ve got you covered with these ecommerce SEO tips. We’ll talk about ecommerce SEO and how you can leverage it to secure one of the highly-coveted SERP spots.
Let’s get started!
Ecommerce SEO is a marketing strategy designed to help make it easier for online shoppers to find web retailers that can provide the products or services that they need. Its goal is for business owners to have an optimised website or online store that drives traffic and generates conversions.
However, before we go any further, it’s essential to lay the groundwork for our discussion. A good way to start this is by looking at the definition of SEO.
SEO or search engine optimisation is the process of adding certain elements to a site, page, or content to make it more visible to search engines.
Google, Bing, and other similar platforms have guidelines or standards of what they think is relevant to their users. It’s their way of connecting the right solutions to problems or answers to questions, thereby providing a seamless user experience.
If they see a page as more relevant to a search query, they’ll show it to the user first by giving it a higher ranking and rewarding it with a prominent spot in the search engine results pages – or SERPs.
In turn, businesses that make their way to these hotly-contested search pages get more looks and visits from their target audience. Of course, that means more potential customers, buyers, or clients, which is the point of the whole thing.
If you think that the SEO process sounds challenging, then you’re right.
Granted, SEO might seem pretty straightforward when it comes to blogging and content-focused websites. You identify your target audience, find the right keywords, craft eye-catching headlines and calls to action, and add the right visuals.
However, it still requires a lot of energy, time, and other valuable resources.
Things are even trickier when it comes to ecommerce SEO. You have to think about product and category pages, analyse buyer intent, and more.
Make no mistake – you still have to be wary of the usual things like the relevance of your content, the site’s load speed, and of course, competing in the right search terms. However, be prepared to do much more work than traditional SEO.
Aside from working on your product pages and product descriptions, you have to make sure that your product content and information are diversified and that your homepage and images are optimised.
We’ll be talking more about ecommerce SEO best practices later on, so keep reading.
We’ve mentioned that practically no user today finds their way to the second page of the SERP when doing online searches. So if your site or online store doesn’t make it to page one, you can just imagine the number of sales opportunities that you’d miss out on.
There was a time when things were less harsh to those with a lower ranking in results.
In 2013, 4.8% of all search engine users still had the patience to click on the second page. This number shrunk to 0.78% in 2019 and then to what it is now, which is 0.63%.
The short answer to the above question is yes, ecommerce works. Not only that, it’s absolutely necessary.
But just how effective is ecommerce SEO?
For this, let’s shift our focus to the top search results.
Whenever people carry out an online search using Google, Bing, Yahoo, or any other portal, they’re presented with a list of organic results after they hit the Enter or Search button.
The first page typically consists of ten entries, which are the highest-ranking sites for the specific keyword used for the search.
In most cases, this list of organic results appears along with paid ads and Google Shopping ads. So while our main concern here is the ten organic results, these ads should be included in the discussion as well.
To give you a better idea, here’s a rundown of the clickthrough rates for each of the top positions:
There are two key points that you should consider here.
Firstly, as you can see, the discrepancy between the first and the tenth spots is staggering. This alone shows you how crucial it is to maximise your online store’s search rankings.
Secondly, as mentioned above, Google no longer lays out the search results neatly, where the top ten entries are displayed prominently on the first page. So, even if you land the number one spot, you still have to compete against things like Googe Shopping ads, text ads, “People also ask,” and many more for the attention of your target audience.
You could indeed pour some of your marketing dollars into paid ads to become more competitive, but this is not something that smaller businesses with a limited marketing budget might want to do.
The better option is to buckle down on your ecommerce SEO strategy and increase your chances of snatching the top search ranking.
SEO is a complex task with a lot of moving parts, and you have to pay close attention to each one for the whole thing to work. Ecommerce SEO is even more challenging to implement.
The good thing is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. With these ecommerce SEO best practices, you can have an online store that attracts organic traffic, generates high-quality leads, and converts them into loyal customers.
Whether you’re optimising an online store or a content-driven website, you can’t launch an effective SEO campaign if you don’t find the right keywords.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that you’re vying for the attention of online shoppers and search engines. At the centre of everything is the search term that the user inputs and which the likes of Google and Bing process.
To identify the keywords that are appropriate for your business, you need to have a deep understanding of user intent, which has four main categories:
The intent type will depend on what stage a person is in the buyer journey, whether they are still gathering information, shopping around, or looking to buy something soon. It sounds a bit complicated, but some tools can help you generate custom reports that offer valuable insights into user intent.
A product description has two important jobs:
This means that when you’re putting together your product page, make sure that it doesn’t just have a title, an image, or a price. It must also have a well-crafted description that highlights all the information that your potential buyers might find useful.
To write a well-crafted product description, try to think like your ideal customer. How would they search for your type of product? What questions would they be asking?
Once you figure these things out, you’d be able to come up with something engaging and informative, that builds authority for your brand.
When optimising your site to boost search rankings and enhance user experience, you probably spend a lot of time on your product pages. It’s understandable, given how these URLs help guide the purchasing decision of users who are further along in their customer journey.
That said, while there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you must not neglect your category pages. Make sure that you also target broader keywords that are further up your marketing funnel.
People who are still unsure about what to buy far outnumber those who have a good idea of what they want. So if you manage to become competitive in the search terms used by those in the early stages of the marketing funnel, you get the opportunity to see higher traffic numbers.
Granted, the quality of the leads you generate here won’t be as good as those who are ready to buy. Still, it allows you to connect with more potential buyers that you can convince later on by offering a good deal or promo.
What’s more, the competition for these types of keywords isn’t as tough as specific niche phrases, so you have a higher chance of standing out here.
One of the biggest mistakes you should avoid when optimising your online store is using duplicate content. That’s because it confuses search engines like Google and Bing.
Imagine this: your site contains something very similar to a piece of content on a different page (regardless of whether it’s on your site or another). Which one is the original or more accurate? More importantly, which one will search engines rank?
To avoid this problem, do not just copy and paste the description created by the manufacturer. At the very least, put your spin on things.
Even better, start from scratch and write your own description for each product. This way, you won’t water down the search rankings that similar products get.
Finally, take a closer look at your URL structure and watch out for pagination issues or problems with your tracking links and session IDs.
A URL does much more than just indicate the address of a unique resource on the internet.
If done right, it can give visitors a sneak peek of the topic, thereby improving user experience. On top of this, it makes the page easier to crawl for search engines.
So when choosing your URL, try to follow these guidelines:
An online store isn’t complete without images, so you should use them where possible. Also, aside from using high-quality photographs, make sure that you add an alt text. It’s a written copy that appears on a webpage in case an image fails to load.
An alt text is vital to your ecommerce SEO process in two ways.
First, search engines use it to index your content. Secondly, screen readers read it aloud for users who are visually impaired. So aside from boosting your search rankings, it also improves the user experience for a broader audience
A big part of ecommerce SEO (or technical SEO, if we’re being technical) is maximising the speed and performance of your site across all devices.
This step is necessary to enhance your online store’s user-friendliness and ensure that people won’t suddenly abandon their carts because your pages don’t load fast enough. Also, it’s something that search engines look for from an SEO standpoint.
There are many steps that you can take to make your site run faster, whether on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet.
First, you can fix site errors and submit your sitemap to Google Search Console. The internal linking in your menu must also be cohesive, and you must compress media files where possible.
Aside from creating a logical internal linking structure, check to see if your site has any broken links.
A broken link takes a user to a page that doesn’t exist. It can be very frustrating for your visitors and confusing to search engines, making it doubly harmful to your site.
Manually tracking broken links can be tedious and time-consuming, but fortunately, there are tools that you can use to speed up the process.
Every time someone buys your product or signs up for a subscription, you get their email address, phone number, or any other important data. So as a web retailer, you’ll be collecting and handling tons of personal information from prospects and current customers.
Having a secure HTTPS site that encrypts and protects all this information is an important ranking factor for Google. But beyond that, it’s a big part of your responsibility as a store owner.
A backlink is like a vote of confidence from other sites. It’s like they’re telling their users to trust your content and, by extension, you.
That’s why having lots of high-quality backlinks is a surefire way to boost your search ranking. In addition, it helps you embody Google’s EAT guidelines of expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
The more time a visitor stays on your site, the higher your chances are of making a sale. One of the best ways to ensure that users do not bounce from your pages is to make your site easier to navigate.
That’s where internal links come into play.
Make sure that your internal linking is structured to guide users through different stages of their purchasing journey. Lead them to relevant product pages or category pages, and make it easier for them to discover your products.
Google Merchant Centre is an online platform where web retailers can upload product information that’s used for Product Listing Ads, or what’s now known as Google Shopping Ads.
It offers free publicity for your brand by including your products in listings within the Google shopping experience. It also makes your product and store info available to online shoppers across Google.
Try to make the most of this feature by linking to all your pages. If your site is too big to do this, use sitemap and Google Merchant Centre feed.
When optimising your website or online store, make sure that you always keep your customers in mind. That’s what Google and other search engines do anyway — provide the best possible user experience.
These ecommerce SEO tips should give you a good idea of how to boost your rankings and, ultimately, your online sales. However, they would work more effectively when paired with reporting tools that integrate data from different sources to create insightful reports.
Reporting Ninja’s Google Reporting Services is particularly effective in visualising your raw data and transforming it into strategic information.
Sign up now for a free trial and see how Reporting Ninja can help catapult you to the top of the search results and put your products in front of your target audience.