Although nobody can deny the fact that SEO is the lifeline of eCommerce websites, most online stores show little to no interest in optimizing for the search engines. No doubt, Ads on social media, search engines, and display Ads networks are great, but relying solely on them for an extended period would only diminish your profit margins. If you too are neglecting SEO and relying heavily on paid Ads, you should know about two important facts: In this article, you’ll learn how online stores can drive organic traffic from the best eCommerce SEO guide.
- Paid Ads are best for driving traffic and sales when your website is new and no one knows about it. It gives you the early exposure you need as a new entrant in the market, in return for investments in the form of CPC and others.
- Eventually, you need organic traffic on your online store. You can’t keep on investing in Ads and diminishing your profit margin. It’s simple; you need free, quality, and recurring traffic in the end.
When you are selling ‘women’s running shoe’ and some user is looking for one using relevant keywords on the search engines, you need your listings to show up as higher as possible in the organic search results.
You may ask how to make that happen?
That’s what eCommerce SEO does. You learn about the search algorithms, optimizations, and tactics that help you to push your website’s links on the SERPs when users make relevant search queries.
This guide will help you to prepare a roadmap and give a stepwise explanation of the things you need to do to make your eCommerce store SEO friendly. Keep reading to learn about SEO for your web store in 2020 and beyond.
E-Commerce Keyword Research
It doesn’t matter if you are running a small eCommerce store or a full-fledged multi-vendor marketplace; keyword research is always the start of the race. Getting this part right is extremely critical, or you might end up-
- targeting keywords that are difficult to rank for
- ranking for wrong keywords that bring traffic that does not convert
Be advised that neither of the above situations is ideal for any eCommerce business. You need to target the right keywords so that you can rank for the keywords that bring quality traffic, not just a hopeless load on the website server.
Find these three types of keywords as per your niche and targeted customer base:
- Primary Keywords: Find primary keywords for your business, which resonate with your niche and help you gain a unique brand identity. You need to use these keywords in prominent spaces like in your domain name and home page.
- Secondary keywords: Find 10-15 small-tail keywords that target your primary keywords and main products. You need to use these keywords in the categories on your eCommerce store.
- Tertiary long-tail keywords: You need to further figure out at least 10-15 long-tail keywords for each secondary keyword. For example, if you have 15 secondary keywords, then you have 150 long-tail keywords. These tertiary or long-tail keywords can go as your product page titles, inside Meta descriptions, and other on-page texts.
Now, you may ask how to discover the right primary, secondary, and tertiary keywords for your niche? I can suggest three prominent ways right upfront:
A Look on the Marketplaces:
Use popular marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Alibaba, BestBuy, Walmart, etc. for your keyword research. Find out the most popular products, in your niche, which perform best on these marketplaces.
- You can traverse their prominent pages, for example, the home page and featured product pages, etc.
- You can get some decent ideas from their search autosuggestions. For example, I have searched about “n95 masks” and got several suggestions from Amazon’s search bar:
B Steal keywords from your competitor:
As shady as it sounds, it’s perfectly fine to stalk your immediate competitors. Just visit Google.com and type your primary keyword and search to drive organic traffic to online stores following the eCommerce SEO guide
Let’s take the “N95 Masks” as an example again:
Although we haven’t reached our target yet, we still got some good keywords from the search autosuggestions itself. Now, just hit the Enter and wait for the search results:
You can do two things here:
- Scroll down to the bottom of the SERP and check out the keywords in “Searches related to n95 mask” section:
You have some more keywords now.
- Now, scroll up and choose a competitor from the search results, who is selling N95 masks like you. Visit the website and parse its prominent pages, categories, product pages, for potential keywords.
Note: Don’t just blindly copy the keywords from your competitors’ website. There could be an N number of reasons for their higher ranking. Perhaps they have a better domain authority than your website. Just make a list of all the relevant keywords you get using this method and push them through the steps explained in the following section:
C Use SEO tools: eCommerce SEO Guide To Drive Traffic Doe Online Stores
You can use several SEO tools to discover not only relevant keywords for your niche but also measure the keywords that you have already found using the above two methods. Take Ahrefs, for instance. Ahrefs is an amazing SEO tool that can help you with keyword research, competition research, and link building for your eCommerce website.
Besides, you can rely on some other SEO tools like Google Analytics, Google Search Console, SEMrush, Moz, and UberSuggest as well. While Google Analytics and Google search console are free to use, you can pick one or two of the premium tools as well to get the best results. Premium tools are best when it comes to getting more detailed and graphical guidance, as opposed to Google Analytics, which is equally efficient but not easy to use.
Learn how to use Google Analytics and Google Keyword Planner. These tools will tell you if you are using the right keywords by measuring the performance metrics.
Work on your Website Architecture and on-page SEO
Once you have the right keywords to target, it’s time to put them in good use. Begin with optimizing your website’s fundamental architecture for SEO.
Your site architecture represents how you set up your navigation flow, category pages, product pages, and the home page. Working on your site architecture will optimize your store, not just for SEO but also for the users of the website. To optimize the same, you need to present the most relevant content of your website to your users and make the navigation as smooth as possible to drive organic traffic to online stores following the eCommerce SEO guide.
- Make the architecture simple yet scalable
- Minimize the number of clicks required to reach your prominent pages
- Put your primary, secondary, and long-tail keywords in relevant pages as discussed earlier
Note: If you are using a good eCommerce software or multi-vendor marketplace solution, you will get most of your website architecture sorted out of the box. You just have to work on your keyword placements to get the best results. So choose your software carefully.
As per your on-page SEO is concerned, optimizing the website architecture and keyword placements will cover 90% of the job. The rest of the tasks can be completed by writing SEO-friendly content on the web pages. It may include-
- In-body copy of your Home-Page and every Category Page with proper meta description
- Content on the Product Page, including the product description and user-generated content
- In-image Alt text, Meta Tags, and Descriptions for every image, including product images
- Metadata and description for every URLs on your website
- Modifying your robot.txt file for intended site map
Technical SEO and SEO Audit
Once you are done with your fundamental on-page SEO, it’s time to check where you stand in front of the search engines. For that, you need to measure certain metrics and perform a deep audit of your website. Doing this will help you to accomplish three major goals:
- Firstly, you will have an overall picture of the quality of on-page SEO on your website and its current standing in the competition
- Secondly can create a list of task to be accomplished to improve your on-page SEO before you can move to off-page SEO
- Finally, you will get assurance if you are moving in the right direction as of now
Here are the things you can do to audit your website for SEO:
A Crawl your website: eCommerce SEO Guide To Drive Traffic Doe Online Stores
You can use tools like Google’s search console or Beam Us Up to crawl your website and discover important aspects such as:
- Broken links
- Missing Metadata
- Duplicate content
B Perform 301 redirects on other versions of your site:
If you have any other version(s) of your website’s URL, make sure you apply 301 redirects on all of them, keeping only one version for browsing. For example, you might have other versions of your URL such as-
Ensure you are using only one of them, while 301 redirecting others to it. Especially, when you are moving from HTTP to HTTPS, you need to redirect your users to your new HTTPS URL when they are typing-in the old HTTP URL.
Having multiple variations of your URL will only confuse the search crawlers and flag duplicate content issues, which will hurt your SEO.
C Home Page audit:
Check your home page for SEO mistakes. Make sure it has proper H1, H2, and H3 title tags along with keyword-rich Meta descriptions and other metadata.
D Unique content: eCommerce SEO Guide To Drive Traffic Doe Online Stores
Make sure your website does not has duplicate content. Keep all your content on all the web pages Unique. In case you have no other option but to use some of the content repeatedly on different web pages, for example, product descriptions of variations of the same product, you can use Canonical Tags to let the search crawlers know which page to crawl and which ones to omit.
E Analyze Backlink Profile:
You can use a tool like Ahrefs to analyze your backlink profile. You need to discover three major things from this audit:
- Firstly, the quality of your Anchor texts
- Secondly, the quality of your backlinks
- Finally, broken backlinks
Once you have a complete profile of these aspects, you need to work your way around to –
- Make your Anchor texts SEO friendly
- Disavow backlinks from irrelevant sources
- Fix the broken links
F Analyze Mobile-friendliness: eCommerce SEO Guide To Drive Traffic Doe Online Stores
The Mobile-friendliness of your website plays an important role in Google SEO. Mobile friendly and responsive web pages always rank better than the pages designed keeping only desktop users in mind. So ensure all your web pages are offering the best user experience to your mobile users. You can use tools like Google’s PageSpeed Insights Tool to check your mobile-friendliness score and get useful recommendations.
G Analyze site Speed:
Make sure your website loads as fast as possible on all kinds of devices. A slower-loading website can never rank well, not at least in Google’s SERPs. If your web pages are taking more than 5-6 seconds to load, you need to work on reducing loading time to as low as 3-4 seconds.
eCommerce SEO Guide To Drive Traffic Doe Online Stores Final Words
In conclusion, If you optimize your eCommerce store on all these fronts, you get an SEO-friendly website. Once you complete these optimizations, you can use tons of other options to improve your prospects further and drive traffic using tactics like content marketing, social media marketing, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and link building.
You may be adopting tons of other cutting-edge tactics to improve your SEO in the future. However, the basic steps as explained in this guide are always important, and you need to address them with priority before going any further.