A guide to SEO for your ecommerce website 

If you want customers to find and buy your products online, you will need to invest in an SEO strategy as this is key to driving more traffic and sales for your business.

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. 

What is ecommerce SEO?

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: 

  • Homepage 
  • About page 
  • FAQ page 
  • Blog articles 
  • Help centre answers 
  • Contact page 

Why does SEO for ecommerce matter?

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:

  • Driving brand awareness
  • Promoting your content
  • Growing remarketing audiences 
  • Improving user experience 
  • Lowering paid search costs 
  • Building a long-term strategy

SEO best practices for ecommerce 

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. 

Keyword research 

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:

  • Informational - these people are just looking for information. They’re not looking for a specific site or to buy something. They just want an answer to their question or to learn more about a specific topic. 
  • Navigational - these people are looking for a specific website. Someone who is searching for ASOS is probably looking to go directly to the site. 
  • Transactional - people who are searching with a transactional intent want to buy something at that exact moment. These people are not researching, they know what they want to buy, and they’re just looking for the best price. 
  • Commercial investigation - these people are looking to make a purchase soon and researching on the internet. They’re past the informational stage and have narrowed their search to a few options. 

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. 

Optimise for long tail keywords 

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. 

Conduct competitor research 

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. 

Optimise your home page

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:

  • Title tag - this is shown in the search results when someone searches for your keyword. It should include your business name and the main keyword phrase you’re targeting. Ensure it’s less than 70 characters and that it’s appealing to searchers and makes them want to click through. 
  • Meta description - this also appears in the search results. It’s not a key ranking factor, but it should still entice searchers to click through to your site.
  • Content - your home page should provide details about your business and the products you offer clearly and concisely. Don’t overload visitors with too much information or clutter. 

Simplify your site architecture 

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. 

Optimise your product pages 

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? 

  • Product description - your product description should include relevant keywords, but it also needs to provide visitors with enough information about the product they’re buying to help them make a decision. 
  • Product name - the name of your product is important; in most cases, it’s used as the SEO title and URL of the product page, so you should add a common search term or keyword phrase to your product pages. 
  • Image optimisation - put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Are you more likely to buy a product from a website that either has no image at all or blurry, poor-quality images or a website that has high-quality images and shows the product from a number of angles?
  • Video - if you can, include videos on your product pages. It could be anything from a video of the product from all angles, basic information on the product or how to use it to get results.
  • Customer reviews - displaying product reviews on your website can help to boost confidence in your products and business. They signal potential customers that they’re making the right decision by choosing your products. 
  • FAQ content - if you find that customers ask the same questions on a regular basis, having product-specific FAQ content on product pages will help to drive conversions. If customers have questions about your products but you don’t answer them, they’ll likely decide to go somewhere else and buy from the brand that answers their questions. Having a general FAQ page on your website is also a good idea. 

Create a responsive design 

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. 

Create a user-friendly 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. 

Reduce page load speed 

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. 

Avoid duplicate pages and content 

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. 

Create 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: 

  • Share how-to pieces 
  • Create FAQ content 
  • Announce new product launches and news from your business 
  • Provide user-generated content 
  • Video demos
  • Q & As 
  • Webinars 

Build links 

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:

  • Creating internal links 
  • Writing guest posts 
  • Using social media adverts 
  • Sharing press releases 
  • Sharing whitepapers and case studies
  • Checking for and fixing broken links

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

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Blog written by

Amy Ward