The What, Why, & How of Ecommerce SEO

The What, Why, & How of Ecommerce SEO

A person using an ecommerce website

There’s no doubt that ecommerce is now a huge part of the global economy. Other than ecommerce giants like Amazon, Netflix, Google, and more, there are a lot of small ecommerce businesses that are contributing to said economy. Their contribution to the global economy will depend on their business models and marketing strategies.

Marketing is an important determinant in any company’s success, and the internet has created various opportunities for businesses to do just that. And that’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in. Effective SEO marketing can help your business get the attention it deserves and help it thrive among its competitors. This article will provide you with some ecommerce SEO best practices that you can use to grow your business effectively and quickly.

To ensure that you get the best ecommerce SEO strategies, you can visit our website, SEO Resellers Canada. Our knowledge of current SEO trends and algorithms will inform you about what you need to do to get your website to make it to the first and second pages of search engines.

Contents

What is Ecommerce?

Before we explain what ecommerce SEO is, you must clearly understand what ecommerce is.  Ecommerce is any electronic transaction done on the internet. Therefore, in essence, it is the selling and buying of goods and/or services online. A common and popular form of ecommerce is online shopping. Buying and selling physical products over the internet is also a part of ecommerce. That said, ecommerce also includes online ticketing, internet banking, and online auctions.

What Is Ecommerce SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a process in which users can tweak their content on the internet in a particular way that will increase their traffic. Ecommerce SEO is the same process but specifically for an ecommerce business like an online store. SEO is an important marketing strategy for your business online. When done right, you can ensure that your ecommerce website claims the top position in the search engine results page (SERP). This way, users will be able to find your website easily when they search for relevant keywords. As more people know about your website and visit it, you’ll have more visitors who you can convert to your customers.

There has been a significant rise in the total percentage share of online retail in the United States over the years. The ecommerce percentage share of all retail in the US increased from 6.4% in 2010 to 16.0% in 2019. If your ecommerce business is an online retail store, this rise in online retail means that you’ll have more competition. This makes marketing through SEO even more important. Here are some statistics on the rise of online retail in the US during the past decade.

Image source: Digital Commerce 360

In order to improve your ecommerce website’s SEO ranking, there are certain elements that you must include in your web pages. Some of these include well-placed keywords, including content on your product pages, incorporating alt text (more on this later) in your images, and more. Here are some effective ecommerce SEO strategies that you need to know to grow your business.

How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Business for SEO?

Now that you understand what ecommerce is, you can think about starting your own ecommerce business. An ecommerce business can be lucrative if it’s done right. You have to make sure that you consider all of the risks thoroughly and understand the industry you’re planning on entering. Once you get in the game, you’ll need to know how to optimize your ecommerce business for SEO. This will allow you to generate greater traffic on your website, which can result in greater conversions. To help you get your own ecommerce business ready for SEO, here are some ecommerce SEO best practices that you should know about.

Understand the Industry

Before you begin optimizing your own ecommerce business, you must conduct significant research on the industry of your product or service. This includes knowing your target audience, the demand for the product, and what you can offer to consumers that other companies haven’t already. This way, you’ll know what types of keywords to incorporate and what type of content you should include in your ecommerce website blog section.

Define Your Target Audience

Your target audience is the specific group of people you’re marketing your product or service toward. Below is a list of factors that you should use to make your target audience. You can market your product or service more effectively if you know you’re selling to. The factors include:

  • Age group (children, teenagers, young adults, adults, middle-aged persons, and senior citizens)
  • Gender
  • Income level— If your product is designed for people from low-income backgrounds, you must make that clear.
  • Profession—some products are specific to certain professions.
  • Geographical location
  • Race (in some cases)

Use Specific Keywords

Keywords are an essential part of ecommerce SEO. Keywords make it possible for your store, ad, or blog to be visible in the top results of the SERP. Now, there are 2 main types of keywords that you can use: long-tail keywords and short-tail (head terms). Short-tail keywords usually contain 1 to 26 characters, while long-tail keywords contain 26 to 40 characters. To optimize your ecommerce business for SEO, you must use specific keywords, i.e., long-tail keywords. An example of such keywords is “warm jackets for the winter”. This keyword is a lot more specific than something like “jackets”.

Image Source: Search Engine Journal

After analyzing 3,000 keywords, it was learned that 93% of those were long-tail keywords. This is because long-tail keywords do a better job of getting conversions, while short-tail keywords are useful in generating traffic. Therefore, you should include both types of keywords in your work, with extra focus on long-tail ones.

To ensure that keywords help your website’s SEO ranking, you must know what users are searching for. Effective keyword research will help ensure that people find your ecommerce website with greater ease. Here are some ways you can research keywords for effective ecommerce SEO.

Use Keyword Research Tools

You can use keyword research tools like Ubersuggest to learn more about what users search for on Google. Just type in the keywords you’re planning to use and look at the competition and the number of times users clicked links with said keyword. This tool is also useful for giving you good keyword suggestions. For example, you can search for a head term like “boots” and the results will include long-term keywords related to that head term. For example, the results will show additional keywords like “boots for women” that you can consider using. You should definitely consider using Ubersuggest because it’s useful and, most importantly, free to use.

 

Image Source: Neil Patel

Make a Note of the Search Suggestions on Google

Another effective method of researching keywords is looking at the search suggestions on Google. This can method can be useful in making your long-tail keywords even more specific. Type in the keyword you want to use in the search bar, and press the spacebar once after the last word you typed. Google will suggest search suggestions that build on what you’ve typed. We typed in the keyword “boots for women” in the search bar and received five other suggestions. Here’s a screenshot of what we found.

Image Source: Google

Now, some of these suggestions may not be grammatically correct. In that case, make sure to fix that when you include the keyword in your website’s content. This will allow you to fit keywords organically into your content. Including organic keywords is an excellent way of improving your ecommerce SEO ranking.

Make a Note of the Related Searches Section on Google

At the bottom of the search results page on Google, there’s a related searches section. This section includes some other related keywords that users searched for. This is also a good place to note what users search for. When we searched for the keyword “boots for women”, Google returned 8 related searches. Therefore, you can use any one of these for your website, or you can tweak them to make them even more specific. Here are the searches related to the keywords “boots for women” on Google.

Image Source: Google

Include Alt Text in the Images on Your Ecommerce Site

Add high-quality images on your ecommerce website is an important part of the overall design. They make the website look prettier, and they give viewers something to reference to. In fact, you cannot have an online store without images of each product. However, their function extends beyond that, as you can use them for ecommerce SEO as well. Search engines cannot read an image in its existing file type. Therefore, you must include alternate text in the image so that search engines can recognize what’s in the image.

Alt text is a short piece of text that is used to describe what’s present in an image. For example, if you have an ecommerce website selling winter coats, you can add alt text that mentions that the image is of a winter coat. This way, the search engine will know what the image and content of your webpage are about when it crawls your website.

One of the most effective ecommerce SEO strategies is to include keywords in the alt text of the images on your ecommerce website. This will help improve your ecommerce website’s SEO ranking, and consequently, its visibility. Make sure that your keyword fits in organically in the alt text. Try not to force in words that don’t belong in the alt text, as it may negatively affect your website’s SEO ranking.

Also, try to include long-tail keywords in your images’ alt text. These are more specific and can help improve your website’s SEO ranking. That said, if you’re unable to incorporate them organically, use head terms. Head terms are an effective way of generating more traffic on your ecommerce website.

Include a Blog Section on Your Ecommerce Website

One of the most commonly used ecommerce SEO strategies used by growing businesses is including a blog section on their official website. It’s an effective method of marketing themselves, as the articles in their blogs are optimized for SEO so that more users can see it. These articles are optimized through the careful use of specific keywords and neatly crafted meta SEO titles and descriptions. The meta title is the title of the article on the SERP, and the meta description is the short description below it. Both these meta details should include the meta keyword in order to rank higher on the SERP.

Meta SEO Titles Have a Maximum of 56 Characters

You have about a maximum of 56 characters (with spaces) for your meta title on Google’s search results page. If you exceed the maximum characters, Google will add an ellipsis after the last visible character. This will make it difficult for users to understand what your webpage is about. As a result, they may not click on it. Make sure to include the meta keyword organically in your meta SEO title for a better SEO ranking. Also, the character limits may vary on other search engines.

Meta Descriptions Have a Maximum of 156 Characters

The meta description is the description below the meta SEO title on a SERP. It’s limited to a maximum of 156 characters(with spaces) on Google’s search results page. It’s best to write meta descriptions that are close to the maximum limit. This way, users will learn more about what your webpage includes before they click it.

Here’s an example of the meta SEO details for the keyword Adidas shoes on Google. Both details are under the maximum characters limit, so there’s no ellipsis present. The text in blue is the meta SEO title, and the text in grey is the meta description.

Image Source: Google

Your Blogs Must Be Relevant and Valuable

In order to make the most of your blogs, you must write articles that are related to the products or services your ecommerce business sells. This way, you can use keywords that are relevant to what you’re selling. Another advantage of writing relevant content is that it gives users the opportunity to learn more about your business without having to leave your website. This increases the time users spend on your page, which, in turn, helps improve your website’s SEO ranking.

You’ll only improve your website’s SEO ranking by including high-quality content in your blogs. This means that you don’t add fluff to increase the number of words. Also, you must keep your articles focused on providing useful information for your readers.

Your Blogs Should Ideally be Long-Form

Make sure that your articles are at least 500 hundred words long. Shorter articles mean that readers won’t spend much time reading your page. Consequently, this may negatively affect your SEO ranking. While 500 words should be the minimum number of words you include, don’t be afraid to take that number up to around 2,000 words. Research has shown that long-form blogs have a better chance of ranking high on Google SERPs. The top five results on Google SERPs have an average length that is between 1,900 and 2,000 words, whereas the 10th result on Google SERPs has blogs with an average number of words that is below 1,800 words. Here’s a graph that shows the results.

Image Source: Neil Patel

Include Internal Links in Your Blogs

Incorporating internal links in your blogs is a great ecommerce SEO strategy that’ll encourage visitors to spend more time on your ecommerce website. An internal link is a clickable link that redirects users to another page on the same website. Therefore, you can redirect users to your products page through a call-to-action (CTA. You can also create an internal link for another blog article on your website that further explains what that particular article was discussing.

Make a Note of Existing Content for Your Keyword

Don’t be afraid to look at what your competitors are writing about. Search for the keywords you aim to rank for and make a note of the content that’s present in the top positions on the SERP. Try to write content that has a similar style and tone, but try to incorporate additional and valuable information to your articles so that you can rank higher than the existing articles.

Remove all Duplicate Content on Your Ecommerce Website

A surefire way of damaging your website’s SEO ranking is by including duplicate content in your pages. Therefore, the information present on your web pages should not be similar to those on other websites. You can use a plagiarism-checking software like Copyscape Plagiarism Checker to verify your page is completely unique.

Duplicate content tends to occur more often in online stores. This is because online stores use the exact same product names and descriptions that the manufacturer provides. To counteract this duplication, you must bring some variation in the product descriptions. It may be tedious to write unique product descriptions for every product, so you should simply try and paraphrase some of the descriptions. Double-check if the information contains any duplicate content before you upload it on your website.

Optimize Your Website for Mobile

A lot of people use their mobile phones to search for things on the internet. In 2019, about half of all internet traffic was on mobile phones. This percentage peaked in the fourth quarter of 2019 at 52.6%.

Image source: Statista

Therefore, you must make sure that your ecommerce website is optimized for mobile. This includes the user interface. People will be more willing to explore your website if they can surf through it with ease on whatever device they’re using.

Make Use of Backlinks

Building backlinks is one of those ecommerce SEO strategies that can be very useful when done right. A backlink is a link to a particular page on a website that’s present on another website. You can make use of backlinks by creating a profile for an online store on other platforms like Amazon and Shopify. You can also include backlinks in the comments sections of related blogs. A greater number of backlinks can improve your overall SEO ranking. This is because it indicates that your webpage includes credible and valuable information. Here are the results of a study that indicate that the link at the first position on the search results page on Google contains the highest number of backlinks.

Image Source: Backlinko

How backlinks work is through dofollow links. Dofollow links are links that pass link juice when a bot or user visits them. As more users and bots visit the dofollow link, more link juice is passed around. As a result, this can greatly improve your SEO ranking on Google and other search engines. Just make sure that your webpage contains valuable information before you attempt to build a backlink.

Add More Content on Your Product Pages

An effective way to increase the conversions on your ecommerce website is to include content on your product pages. Give your visitors the opportunity to learn more about what you have to offer. Include an interesting description of the product. In that description, you can also mention some ways in which users can use the product. You must remember that your goal is to convince visitors to buy what you’re selling.

Include a User-Based Product Reviews Section

Another great way to improve ecommerce SEO is to include a product review section. People tend to buy things that other people have vouched for. Before buying a product, 56% of users look up a certain product on Amazon to check the product reviews. This is to ensure that the product is worth buying. With a user review section on your product page, visitors won’t have to leave your website to read up on what people have to say about the product you’re selling. Here’s an example of user reviews on the Paiwen paddleboards website.

Image source: Search Engine Journal

It’s in your best interest to encourage users to spend more time on your ecommerce website. This is because it may improve the chances of your visitors making a purchase, as they learn more about what you’re selling. In addition to that, it also has an effect on two important SEO factors: ‘time on page’ and bounce rate.

Keep ‘Time on Page’ High

‘Time on page’ is the time users spend on average on your website. Search engines use this information when calculating your website’s SEO ranking. Your ecommerce SEO ranking has a better chance of improving as your average ‘time on page’ increases. ‘Time on page’ is also known as ‘dwell time’.

Keep Bounce Rate Low

Bounce rate is a measurement of the number of visitors who visit and leave a website before clicking on another page on that particular website. Web pages that are at the top positions on a SERP tend to have lower bounce rates than others. This is because search engines tend to rank pages that have low bounce rates higher. Therefore, it’s important that you do your best to encourage users to spend more time on your ecommerce website and visiting various pages on it.

A Products Review Section Improves Dwell Time and Keyword Density

A user-based product reviews section is useful because it encourages users to spend more time on your website. Visitors may spend time reading what people think about the products you’re selling. This is good for your SEO ranking even if they don’t make any purchases at that moment in time. In addition to that, users may also write down important keywords in their comments. This is especially useful if they write long-tail keywords or sentences similar to your original keyword. This can improve your website’s optimization for SEO.

Include Breadcrumbs for Ecommerce SEO

Breadcrumbs on a website is a short text path that’s used to aid users in navigating through your website. Including breadcrumbs is one of the best ecommerce SEO strategies to increase traffic on your website. This is because the text path is present on Google’s SERP. It helps Google in determining what your ecommerce website can be categorized as, and how the website is structured. In addition to that, it also improves the user experience by acting as a helpful landmark on your website.

Improving navigation on your ecommerce website will encourage users to stay on your website for longer periods of time. What this means for you is that your website’s average ‘time on page’ will increase. A higher ‘time on page’ value will help improve your overall SEO ranking.

Keep Your Website URL as Short as Possible

Another ecommerce SEO best practice you must incorporate is to keep your ecommerce website’s URL as short as possible. Make sure that you include your SEO keyword in the URL, and you must reduce the number of underscores and odd characters. Here’s a graph that shows the average number of characters a URL contains for the top 10 links on a Google SERP. The number 1 result has an average number of 50 characters, whereas the average number of characters for the 10th result is close to 62 characters. Therefore, this indicates that shorter URLs have a better chance of ranking at the top position on Google SERPs.

Image Source: Neil Patel

Keep Your Website Working Fast

Another important method of ensuring that users spend more time on your ecommerce website is to keep the loading time on your web pages to a minimum. If your website takes too long to load a page, users may visit another website instead. In this process, you’ll lose a potential customer. Here’s what you can do to keep the loading time to a minimum.

Reduce the Quality of Your Images

While high-resolution images do look nice, they usually have a large file size. This means that it will take more time to load the image. As a result, other content on your page may also take longer to load. Therefore, you can counteract this by reducing the file size of your image file before you upload it on your website. This is especially important for product pictures on an online store. If you still want to give users the option to view the image in high resolution, you can allow them to open the image in a separate tab. This way, you won’t increase the loading time on your existing product page.

Decreasing the load speed for your ecommerce website will help in reducing the bounce rate on your website. It will also increase the average ‘time on page’ for your website. This, in turn, will increase your ecommerce SEO ranking, and help you increase conversions in the process.

Conclusion

As ecommerce continues to grow, it’s important to stay updated with the latest ecommerce SEO trends so that your company can stay on top. This also means that you must constantly update your SEO keywords, improve the features on your ecommerce website for better user experience, and learn more about your consumers.

If you’re looking for rock-solid ecommerce SEO strategies, you should check out our website, SEO Resellers Canada. We make sure that we continue to educate ourselves on current SEO trends and algorithms so that we can help your business grow faster and more effectively.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
author – Jamie – Barton
Jamie Barton
CEO of NASN Licensing Inc. & Shopincities.com

Jamie has more than two decades of experience in accelerating brand visibility for online businesses. His company operates SEOResellersCanada.ca, a white label SEO and digital marketing agency. With his unique and actionable business processes, agencies and small businesses can successfully expand online operations without the traditional associated cost overhead.

For over 18 years we have been the solution to fit any size agency or business. Our team of creative SEO experts and marketers develop some of the best results driven campaigns in the industry.

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