Ecommerce is huge all over the world. Wanting to sell things online is a healthy ambition, with more than just a promise of making you richer. However, because ecommerce is so massive, your competition is going to be just as enormous. You will probably compete against titans like Amazon, and even smaller stores may provide a challenge.
It certainly helps to be an ace businessman – even better when you have an expert business consultant, but it won’t be enough. Your online store will never make it big if it can’t be found on the first page of Google. That’s why ecommerce and SEO go hand in hand – and that’s why we’ve prepared this ecommerce SEO guide for you. Are you excited? Then let’s proceed!
In the beginning was the keyword. Where do you start looking for keywords? Try the names of the products you are selling and their categories. There are two requirements your keywords should fulfil:
Obviously, not all keywords will be up for the task. Some will be too short and too vague to attract the kind of users you need (i.e. buyers). Smart SEOs rely on keywords that both sound specific and are searched in Google often enough to attract a large number of visitors. This awesome breed of keywords is called long-tail.
Where can you find long-tail keywords?
Once you’ve prepared a list of keywords, it’s time to optimize your site. In order to make your pages rank high, use keywords in these places:
Make sure your site’s pages have those places! If search engines can’t scan them for keywords, those pages will sink lower to the deepest bottom of search results. Audit your site with WebCEO’s On-Site SEO Issues Overview tool to avoid squandering your SEO potential.
Also, product descriptions need special care. Each of them has to be unique if you want them to appear in search results; if they aren’t unique, Google will filter them out. The descriptions should also include words and terms that are often used with the page’s subject (i.e. what you sell). And last but not least, write product descriptions in such a way that will convince the visitor to make a purchase after reading.
To say that ecommerce sites tend to have a lot of pages is an understatement. For example, Amazon’s product selection is measured in hundreds of millions. That’s why online stores must be a breeze to navigate, or else customers will find a more user-friendly place. In order to make your site easy to browse and use, its pages need to be linked between each other in the most efficient way possible.
Most ecommerce sites are structured like this: main page -> product category -> subcategory -> product. As a rule of thumb, the “link distance” between any two given pages shouldn’t be more than three clicks, and this example of an ecommerce site layout follows this rule (even better when you don’t have subcategories). You can make your online store even easier to use if you follow these tips:
There’s also the matter of products that permanently go out of stock. Don’t delete pages belonging to such products; they can still be of use. One option is to redirect these pages to their categories or similar products. Another is to replace their content with a message that will convince visitors to keep browsing. The same kind of content will prove useful for your 404 error page.
Check out these examples of funny 404 pages for inspiration.
No ecommerce SEO strategy can do without structured data. Why does it matter so much? Structured data helps Google understand the content of web pages better. When a page is marked up with a schema, Google can display additional information about it in search results, which is immensely useful for potential customers. Marked-up pages receive many more clicks from users than ordinary ones, so I highly recommend you learn how to use structured data.
Review schema is especially important for an ecommerce site. It displays customer feedback right in search results, convincing users about the quality of your products.
How important is online security? You’ve probably heard about the scandal surrounding Facebook and its data leaks. Incidents like this are a disaster for all parties involved: users are put in danger when their sensitive information falls into the wrong hands, and the website’s stock and reputation may tank beyond recovery. Take online security seriously.
Customers must feel safe when they use your website; make it as safe for them as possible. Here’s what you can do to make your site secure:
One of the most embarrassing mistakes you can do is forget to check if your site’s pages are indexed by Google. If they aren’t in the index, they will not appear in search results, period. Naturally, this means customers can’t find you online, and all the work you’ve done on your site will go to waste. Make sure this never happens to you by generating a sitemap of your store and submitting it to Google.
The fastest way to create a sitemap is with WebCEO’s Sitemap Generator tool. If you haven’t made one yet, follow these steps. If you’ve made a sitemap but haven’t submitted it yet, skip to step 6.
Done! Now search engines know about the pages on your site and will show them in search results.
Here’s a very important part: a single sitemap can list up to 50,000 pages. It isn’t rare for ecommerce sites to go above this limit. If your site has more than 50,000 pages, you’ll need to create multiple sitemaps to index everything. Fortunately, WebCEO’s Sitemap Generator automatically creates multiple sitemaps when necessary. Be careful not to miss any when you are submitting them.
Mobile Internet has the majority of search queries, and now it’s been reinforced with Google’s mobile-first index. How does this affect SEO for ecommerce sites? Simple: if your online store isn’t mobile-friendly and works fine only on desktop PCs, you’ll miss out on a massive crowd of customers. What can you do to keep them on your site?
Run a test on your site in WebCEO’s Mobile Optimization tool and see how well it’s doing.
(Click to enlarge)
A good ecommerce site closes a sale quickly. If a page takes its time to convince a visitor to buy, it’s not going to work; visitors would rather just get what they came for and move on. That’s why it’s better to leave long-winded descriptions of your products to pages that aren’t directly involved in sales. That’s right: this part of online shop SEO is better suited for a blog.
A blog post with interesting and valuable information can be a prolific source of extra traffic, especially when written by a marketer who knows how to sell her product. Social media may amplify the effect even further, so enable the option to share your posts.
Link building does more than just move your website up in rankings. Backlinks bring you users from other sites. They also help you grow your store’s authority and reputation. That’s only if they are quality backlinks, of course. So what can you do to earn them?
And don’t forget that not all backlinks are good for you. Scan your backlinks with WebCEO’s Toxic Pages tool to keep your website safe from any bad apples.
If there’s a niche where you cannot afford to let your users down, that’s ecommerce. Site errors may paralyze your business or even hurt your customers’ wallets. That’s a lot of responsibility on a single website! Fix technical issues of any sort as soon as you notice them.
Find errors on your site with WebCEO’s Technical Audit tool. It can help you detect problems ranging from a broken image to server malfunction. Stay vigilant and scan regularly – or use the WebCEO Alerts tool to get emails whenever something on your site breaks.
Since you’ve already done so much SEO for your online store, there’s no point in stopping halfway. Aren’t you curious to know how well you’ve performed? You may have improved your rankings, but they are a fickle thing. Every SEO worth their salt knows that rankings should be checked regularly.
That’s why you have SEO tools. There’s no better way to keep track of the changes in rankings. Boot up WebCEO’s Rank Tracking tool, punch the keywords into the Settings and enjoy the view.
Why watch your rankings at all? For one, to feel proud of yourself. If you are driven by more than just optimism, then you might also expect the rankings to fall at some point. It might indeed happen, many times. A drop in rankings is a certain signal to double down on SEO; in a worst-case scenario, it could be because Google gave you a penalty. So spend a few minutes at least once per week to scan your site.
The exact same things can be said about user traffic. Keep an eye on its fluctuations with WebCEO’s Web Analytics toolset.
So you’ve ensured high search engine rankings and targeted visitor traffic to your site. What’s next? Be sure to engage visitors on your site and convert this traffic well. Otherwise people will come and go, and Google will think that your site is not relevant enough to the queries that have brought people to your site organically.
The best way to engage your visitors and not let them leave too quickly is to use online chat software on your site. If you feel lost – here’s the Top 10 Best Live Chat Software Solutions Compared.