If you want customers to find you when they’re searching online, your business must invest in digital marketing strategies to ensure you appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). SEO is critical to any ecommerce website if you want to drive more traffic and sales.
SEO has the highest ROI of any other ecommerce marketing strategy. 72% of companies in the UK said that SEO provides a good ROI for their business. However, most ecommerce websites are created with very little or no consideration of search engines. Many businesses rely on social media or paid ads to attract customers - these are great ways to attract people to your site but require constant effort and stream of income.
SEO requires your time and effort upfront but, once you rank, you continue to gain traffic with no additional costs incurred. SEO is essential for your ecommerce business so let’s have a look at what it is and the best practices you should follow to get the most from your strategy.
Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimising your ecommerce or online store to make it more visible to potential customers in the search engine results pages (SERPs). When you’re selling products, it’s important to be found in the right places when potential customers are actively searching. It’s important that your website ranks as highly as possible so you gain traffi, and so they find you instead of your competitors.
This usually involves optimising your product titles, product descriptions, metadata, internal link structure and site structure for search and user experience. Every product you sell should have a dedicated page that is optimised and designed to drive traffic from search engines.
Alongside your product and category pages, you will also need to think about and optimise non-product-oriented pages on your website, such as:
In 2020, 85% of consumers used the Internet to research goods and services. Consumers now use Google to perform searches and look for options, tips, comparisons and other information to help them make an informed decision.
If your website doesn’t appear in the SERPs when customers are looking for your products and services, you will lose out on a huge number of qualified and interested customers. Getting new customers can be tricky, especially if your website is not easily found online. Paid advertising can cost a huge amount of money over the long term so SEO can provide you with traffic for a longer period of time, long after you’ve stopped paying for it.
SEO for ecommerce sites provides you with a way to reach your target audience without paying for any ads. Then, once you’ve driven people to your site, you’ll need to provide them with a user friendly website which provides information about your products and calls to action to push customers through the sales journey.
The main benefits of ecommerce SEO include:
If you’re new to SEO and want to make sure your ecommerce website ranks well on the search engines, here’s a guide to best practices for setting up and optimising your website.
SEO does not involve stuffing your website with keywords anymore. Your keywords must be present on each page but ensure your website is not overloaded with them.
Mention the primary keyword for each page in the product title, product description, page title, meta description, images and subheadings. You’ll also need to scatter Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords (related keywords) throughout the page to help Google understand the context of your page.
💡 Want to know more about how to conduct keyword research? Take a look at our blog: How to do keyword research for SEO.
You will need to target the most relevant and popular keywords in your industry and the terms customers use to find your products. However, you will also need to understand search intent. Search intent is the customer’s intention behind a search query. You can find it by looking at the phrases and terms people use online searching.
There are four types of search intent:
Tools such as SEMrush’s keyword magic tool can provide you with information on the keywords potential customers are using in the search engines, as well as search volumes and search intent.
You can find out more about the types of search intent by reading our full guide.
Long tail keywords are terms that have low search volume but are still relevant to your business and customers. These keywords tend to convert well because they better match what your potential customers are looking for.
These are great terms to build your blog or advice content around and can help you drive higher traffic to your website.
If you don’t know where to start with SEO, having a look at what your competitors are doing can give you an idea. Whilst your competitors may not have everything right, larger businesses in particular, have put the legwork in for optimising their websites, so you’ll be able to see the keywords they’re targeting and how the site has been optimised.
👉 Learn more about this in our blog: What is competitor keyword research? How to do it and the best tools to use.
Your home page is one of the most important pages of your website so it’s important to make sure it’s optimised properly.
Elements to focus on when optimising your home page include:
Site architecture plays an important role in SEO. It’s important to have a clear hierarchy of navigation through your site. Create clear paths from your home page to product categories and through to the products listed within them. Clear site navigation and links between pages helps Google to crawl your site and make sense of how it all links together.
This is not just important for search engines, it’s important for your customers too. Search engines discover your pages and products based on clear internal linking structures so they should be easy to follow and not too deep. For customers, it’s important that they can get to everything on your site within three clicks.
For Google, and potential customers, to find your product pages, you will need to optimise them. This will help you to drive traffic and sales for your business. Having the right content and optimising pages on your site for relevant product keywords will help you to rank higher.
So, which parts of the page should you optimise?
A huge amount of customers now shop on mobile devices. In fact, research suggests that, by 2024, mobile sales values will reach the £100 billion mark. As a result, having a responsive website design that can adapt to different devices will lead to better user experience, better conversion rates and improved rankings in the search engines. Google’s Mobile-First Index uses mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal, so it’s important to consider when you’re designing and developing your website.
User experience (UX) is the way people can interact with your website and how easy it is to use. To convert as many visitors as you can into customers, enhance user experience through good website design and make your website visually appealing and easy to use.
UX includes everything from navigation, ease of use, and the overall feel of your website. This has become essential for discoverability so if Google thinks your website offers a poor user experience, it can affect your rankings.
Page speed is also a ranking factor for both mobile and desktop and should be part of your technical SEO audit. The faster your pages load, the higher Google will rank your website. Slow-loading pages can affect user experience. Google wants to show users the most relevant and useful results.
A slow website makes a visitor more likely to leave, which signals to Google that your website is not useful to them.
Customers are not willing to wait for a website to load, so the ideal page loading speed is two seconds but the faster, the better.
It can be tempting to copy your product descriptions or category descriptions and add them to other pages but this makes for a poor user experience, and Google will penalise pages that contain duplicate content.
Longer form content such as a regular blog post should be essential to your SEO strategy. Content marketing is a key part of any SEO strategy and can help drive additional website traffic. Regular content will help your website rank for more keywords and drive traffic. It will also help to gain potential customers’ trust and shows both users and Google that you’re an expert in your industry.
Types of content you can write include:
Links are another key ranking factor. High-quality links tell Google that your website is a credible and informative source. Gaining links from other relevant and trustworthy websites shows Google that the information you’re sharing is useful to visitors and can help influence how well your website ranks for your target keywords.
Link building involves the following strategies:
Want to know more about the links you should be building as part of your SEO strategy? Take a look at our blog: External vs internal linking for SEO: Which is more effective?
If you’d like to know more about using SEO to drive results for your ecommerce business, get in touch with our team and request a free digital marketing audit.