SEO for E-Commerce Websites: 23 Strategies for Boosting Online Sales
Through Ecommerce SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you can rack in more sales for your retail and wholesale brands, by making your product or service visible to millions of customers on search engine platforms.
Paid ads are also an option when you want to get new customers for your brand. However, paid ads are expensive to run and they only bring in leads as long as you are spending. SEO, in comparison is a long shot and sets stores on autopilot after decent organic efforts. That’s why we recommend online sellers optimize their online stores for paid as well as organic rankings.
Ecommerce SEO is comprehensive and requires thorough planning. It covers a huge spectrum of optimization techniques, e.g. adding keywords to your online store’s headlines, product descriptions, meta descriptions, meta titles, external and internal linking, etc. Read on to explore as we uncover 23 strategies for boosting ecommerce SEO.
Why SEO For Ecommerce Matters
When consumers are looking for a product or service, they’ll most probably perform a quick Google or Bing search query. They will look for specifications, reviews, prices, or other information related to the product or service you are selling.
If your digital store isn’t visible when they perform a relevant search query, then you can lose hot leads from potential customers. The question here is, "Do your products (and website) pop up when your ideal target audience searches for products like yours?"
The answer to this question lies in the visibility of your website - how well it makes to the top of the search engine result pages when a query is typed. That's exactly where Search Engine Optimization comes in.
Ecommerce SEO bridges the gap between your brand and your target audience without paying for expensive ads. Once new customers start coming to your online store, you can scale the business much more effectively.
In this guide, we have divided the 23 e commerce SEO strategies into 4 broad categories: on-page, off-page, technical and local SEO.
On-Page SEO Strategies For Ecommerce
1. Perform strong ecommerce keyword research
Keyword research is one of the most important steps in any SEO strategy. Simply put, keywords are the phrases your target customers type when they are using search engines, sites like Google and Bing. If you create content around these keywords, your brand will come up in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
We recommend creating product pages and listings around these relevant seed keywords and naturally using LSI (related) keywords in the content.
There are many free and premium SEO tools available for this task. If you want free options, consider using Google Trends, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console.
Premium tools include Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Moz. These will give you more thorough and detailed insights on industry-specific keywords, with statistics like monthly volume and competition.
2. Use content marketing with SEO
Content is one of the most lucrative ways to engage your target audience. By creating and sharing quality content, you are adding value for your customers. This builds up your niche authority. Secondly, great content also helps you rank for keywords, increasing your online visibility.
Content marketing does not only attract potential customers but also helps build backlinks for your website. When you establish authority in your niche, other websites will link to you as a source. Search sites view this as a positive ranking factor, meaning you get higher rankings whenever a website links back to you.
We recommend considering another perspective on why should focus on content marketing. When you publish a mix of informative and transaction content, the target audience will come to your site for educational purposes. This will help you bring them to your sales funnel. Note that informative content has the power to influence purchase decisions.
3. Optimize images with keywords
When you are doing ecommerce SEO, you need to make sure all the product photos, visual demos, thumbnails, and infographics are optimized with keywords. Create a 4-word description and add it in the Alt text of your image.
All your images should have the right dimensions. Apart from that, they should be in the correct category or subdirectory when you are uploading them. The images you’ll be using should either be 100% original, or royalty-free.
4. Create meta descriptions for search engines
A lot of e-commerce store owners ignore metadata, and all the more so ever since Google has started replacing meta descriptions.
Meta titles and descriptions are the small piece of text your potential customers see on your search engine result pages before they click on your website. The meta title and description for your pages should be short and engaging, which motivates the user to click.\
More importantly, meta tags and meta descriptions are one of SEO-sensitive spots where you can use keywords. With this, add major attributes of your products, for example, size, color, and availability in the meta description to ensure you get relevant traffic.
5. Add Internal Links to Relevant Products, Categories, and Resources
Contrary to what many experts think, internal links within your website’s on-page SEO copy help boost sales. Relevant links throughout your on-page copy make customers browse your products for much longer, potentially enticing them to shop more from your store. However, you should be cautious of keyword stuffing and irrelevant links. Search sites view keyword overdoing and irrelevant links as a negative ranking factor that can also lead to a penalty on your ecommerce store.
Off Page SEO Strategies For Ecommerce
6. Link building for ecommerce product pages
Backlinks are the core of an effective SEO strategy. Backlinks and brand mentions build your website's authority in search site rankings. Search engines give huge leverage to websites that have strong backlink profiles. There are two ways you can build links:
Natural link building
When you post valuable, informative content for your customers, other websites start linking back to your site as a source. This is known as natural link-building.
In addition to natural link earning, guest blogging is another popular way to get a strong link and brand mention for your website.
Black hat link building
Black hat link-building means exploiting loopholes in the search system for higher rankings. These links can damage and blacklist your website's reputation.
7.Drive social signals for more traffic
Social media has the potential to skyrocket your e-commerce store’s sales overnight. Creating a social media presence with quality content goes a long way especially when when you are a new business owner.
When customers find your content valuable they’ll share that content, growing your brand in the process. Same way, when users find something valuable on your social media, they get curious to check the website/online store and end up making a purchase - or at least, add the products in their wishlist.
8. Newsletters of your ecommerce site
Customers love when brands reach out to them personally. When you send them content they find interesting, they are more likely to try out your product or service.
Creating a newsletter that engages your target audience, with a few links of your ecommerce store, can be a great organic traffic source for your brand.
9. Influencer Campaigns
Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have created a completely new marketing strategy that is influencer marketing.
c Partnering with these influencers can help forward the narrative of your products and increase your audience. When an influencer promotes a product/service on their social media accounts, customers see it as credible. You get traffic and ultimately leads and conversion.
Technical SEO Strategies For Ecommerce
10. Optimize your site's architecture
Before you start your online website, you should invest some time in creating a solid architecture for your site.
When search site crawlers go through your ecommerce website, the architecture of your website plays a pivotal role. If your website’s site structure is out of place then the crawlers will find it difficult to index all your web pages.
11. Consider using 301 redirects
301 redirects are a simple way of redirecting traffic from one page to another page of your website through a code at the backend.
These redirects are an ideal way to retain traffic and decrease bounce rate when you are rebuilding product pages, revamping your online store and improving your site's architecture while deleting redundant or out-of-stock products.
Here is the code for 301 redirections:
12. Prioritize page speed for user experience
Speed is another important ranking factor and Google loves websites that load faster than milliseconds.
With so much competition in the ecommerce industry, your website should deliver content as quickly as possible to search engines and users, that too without any errors or delays.
No matter how good your product or service is, customers won’t wait for more than a few milliseconds on a web page.
13. Implement schema markup for product and category page
Schema markup is a way to index your web pages faster. It provides search site crawlers with information about the content of your site without having to crawl each page individually through Google search console.
For eCommerce stores, you should use the ‘product’ markup and ‘reviews’ markup. For product and category pages, make sure that it has all information related to your product, such as size variations, material, and more.
14. Use canonical tags
When you are running an ecommerce store with a large product catalogue or category pages, those products are accessible from different categories. That’s why you’ll find the same piece of content on different URLs throughout your ecommerce website.
This can lead to a search site's duplicate content issue on your store website. Canonical tags are an HTML element that indicates search site crawlers whose URL should be shown in the search results.
15. Use XML sitemap
Similar to schema markup, a sitemap is a file on your website’s backend with all the information about the photos, videos, or other files on your website. The only significant difference between a sitemap and schema markup is that sitemap prioritizes which web page crawlers should index first.
A lot of newbies and even experts underrate how crucial sitemaps are for your website. When you tell search sites which pages are the most important, it starts to move readers onto those specific pages first - getting an abundance of traffic for your e-commerce business.
16. Optimize your website for mobile users
You need to optimize your website for all kinds of devices, especially smartphones and tablets. You may start getting website traffic, but if the website isn’t optimized, the content would be difficult to scan, increasing your website’s bounce rate.
Make sure that all the visual and textual content doesn't shift places when your website is viewed on smartphones and tablets. The text size should also be readable at all times for any device.
17. Use breadcrumb navigation
Breadcrumb navigation ensures that a visitor navigates through your website seamlessly. E-commerce sites normally have huge product pages on their e-commerce store, so customers need a proper navigation process to help them find what they need.c
18. Claim your Google My Business listing
Google My Business is Google’s own free tool that assists local business owners in getting brand visibility on Google listings. For example, when you type in “Plumbers in Houston” on Google Search and Google Maps. The results you see with a business name, name, location, reviews etc., are Google My Business listings.
All you need to do for Google My Business listings is to create a free account and add all of the relevant information about your business, such as contact info, photos, location, hours etc.
19. Claim your listing in other major directories
Google My Business is still an effective SEO strategy, but not as effective as it used to be a few years back. But Google’s algorithm is constantly evolving and now focuses more on other ranking factors. However, you can still leverage the potential of other online directories. List your business on directories that apply specifically to your industry.
Here are some of the most popular ecommerce directories. We recommend going for the one that best suits your target audience and the industry you serve.
- Bing Places
- Apple Maps
It’s also important that all of your business information is accurate across every single listing. Secondly, if anything changes, make sure to update the changes on all of your directory listings.
20. Focus on reviews
Focus on reviews Search engines take customers’ feedback as an indication of how good your product/service is. Customer reviews go well beyond local SEO because reviews help customers make a purchase decision almost instantly.
Now the question comes up, how can you get customer reviews? We recommend asking your existing and past customers for honest feedback on your product/service rather than paying someone for a review. Search engines will eventually figure out your scheme, and you’ll get a negative brand reputation.
You can simply ask your customers for a genuine review through an email link after they purchase your product or send a review request in the customer’s product packaging.
As a foundation start with Google reviews and then gradually expand to other local directories like Yelp and TripAdvisor. Also, reply to those customer reviews in a professional and friendly manner for long-term business growth.
21. Generate local links
When a credible source talks about your business on their website, search engines see this as a sign of credibility. Quality backlinks are crucial, no matter what kind of business you are in.
However, there is a difference between local SEO backlinking and general backlinking. In local SEO, instead of getting links from general websites, you look for backlinks in your own specific area.
Here are a few ways you can get those local backlinks:
- Writing a guest post on a local business website.
- Getting mentions in local events.
- Listing in city pages or country directories.
With a quick search query, you’ll find loads of authoritative business websites in your targeted area. If you are reaching out to local influencers, make sure to do it in a way that is beneficial for both of you. For example, you write a blog post for their readers instead of just expecting a favor.
22. Optimize Your Website for Local Keyword Ideas
When you are doing local SEO, you need to take a different approach to keyword research. In local SEO, you should target long tail keywords that are location specific, like ‘Plumbers in New York’ or ‘Chefs in LA.’
Targeting these keywords in your website content and metadata increases your chances of appearing in local search results.
23. Create location pages
If your ecommerce store has multiple locations, then it's always recommended to have a separate web page for each location.
For example yoursite.com/atlanta-cement-company
When you have a separate page for each location, you add your business information that is specific to your targeted area. Information such as an address, business hours, contact number, and customer testimonials for local customers should all be visible on your location pages.
URL, title tags, meta descriptions, and headers all of these should also include your targeted local keywords.
Wrapping up the ecommerce SEO
On-page, off page, local and technical SEO, all contribute to the success of ecommerce websites. All in all, ecommerce websites need an effective and actionable SEO strategy for their long-term sustainable growth. If you are DIYing the SEO of your product and category pages, these 23 tips will significantly boost your results. If you need more information on how you can make these tips work for your brand, book a call and we'll take it from there!