SEO Guide for E-Commerce Websites - Start your eCommerce Today
The e-commerce industry develops alongside technological advances. The rise of e-commerce in recent years has brought about dramatic shifts in the dynamics between retailers and their customers.
This change has big consequences, influencing not only how we shop but also how companies promote their goods and services. E-commerce search engine optimization, or SEO for short, is a rapidly expanding field that involves fine-tuning a website or online store to perform better in search engine results.
Its significance cannot be overstated, as the vast majority of customers will simply ignore a company if they can't find it online. To help you improve your organic search engine rankings, this guide will inform you of the steps you should take in order to actually appear on Google when someone looks for products you may offer.
Why Does SEO for E-commerce Matter?
Search engine optimization isn’t just an urban digital legend that people swear by. In fact, quality SEO efforts bring amazing results, as proven by research:
- 37.5% of people will visit an e-commerce website through online search engines;
- 51% of people have found new brands and businesses through online searches;
- over 40% of all e-commerce traffic comes from organic Google searches.
These numbers aren’t negligible, and your e-commerce business will surely thrive with the help of SEO. And it’s not just about being on top of the search engine result pages (SERPs); it’s so much more.
1. It Is Cheaper Than Traditional Ways of Marketing
TV, radio, and magazine ads will probably never abandon us, but they can become way too costly. Although SEO isn’t a free effort, the organic traffic your online business earns from it can do much better than any other traditional marketing format.
2. It Raises Brand Awareness
One of the main goals of marketing is expanding your audience and bringing in new prospects. That is where organic traffic really matters; when people search for things that can satisfy their needs and your solution pops up, what better recognition can you get?
Being on top of SERPs also helps establish credibility and cultivate loyalty, both important for a brand as they result in business growth and increased revenue.
3. It Makes Your Business More Visible and Approachable
When you have a fast-loading, easy-to-navigate, and mobile-friendly e-commerce website, you will satisfy users' needs in a matter of seconds. No one wants to spend hours searching for a solution, so making it easily accessible is the key to success.
A better user experience is one of the many benefits of SEO optimization, which in turn can boost engagement, search engine rankings, and sales.
How To Optimize Your E-Commerce Website In 10 Steps
A well-optimized website isn’t something that happens overnight. It is a thorough effort, and most of the time businesses turn to an e-commerce development agency that can help them. Professionals in this field will know exactly what needs to be done, but it’s good for you to be acquainted with the process as well. So let’s see what kind of steps a "website optimization" takes.
#1 Competitor Analysis
The brands and websites that are positioned at the top of the SERPs have clearly done something right. Why not learn from them?
Whether it’s the keywords they use (which we will touch upon later), the content they provide, or the backlinks they’ve established, their SEO strategies turned searchers into customers.
Analyzing who you are up against and understanding what worked for your competitors can give you insight into how and where to begin. And whatever SEO professional you ask what’s the first logical step in creating an SEO strategy, the answer will be keyword research.
#2 Keyword Research
Even if you aren’t familiar with SEO basics, you’ve surely used a keyword before. It is a term that you put into your search engine (Google, Bing, or any other you prefer) in order to find a solution to your problem or answer a question.
Finding relevant keywords is an essential step in developing a successful marketing plan. This will not only be useful for SEO strategies, but it will also help you understand who your ideal clients are.
Even though we might assume particular keywords are frequently used in search engine queries, it's essential to remember that the world around us might yield different results.
Therefore, it's important to research relevant keywords. As you discover them, you can use this knowledge to narrow your marketing efforts and raise your chances of commercial success.
#3 Determine the Keyword Intent
Every keyword has a purpose—a reason why and how people search for things online. That is why we can categorize them into 4 categories:
- Informational: Searches that answer How to, Where, or When questions. These searches have educational purposes and are done when people want to make a certain decision. Some examples would be: how to book cheap flights, when is the next black/blessed friday, or even, where to buy good headphones.
- Comparison: These queries compare different products or brands with the same goal—making a good decision. Think of them as iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 13 queries, or something like Android vs. iOS.
- Transactional: This kind of query is more suitable for a shopping stage where the customer knows what they want, their decision is partially-made and they are ready to take the final step based on results. A good example could be: buying a used iPhone, or the best cheap photo editing software.
- Navigational: This is a very straightforward search query and it’s basically connected to directly searching for a certain business or a brand.
Keywords can be placed in different forms of online content: blogs, TikTok videos, tutorials, and any other “searchable” format online. The best positions for keywords are the URL, product names, H1, title, copy, and an alt tag of the image.
- What you need to do is determine how the keywords you're targeting rank online.
This is where online tools come in handy. You can use free tools such as Google Search Console and Google Keyword Planner or paid ones such as Moz, Ahrefs, and SEMRush.
#4 Make Your Product Descriptions Better
The product description is part of your website that has the potential to increase both customer engagement and the number of clicks. It’s a playground with some ground rules, such as distinguishing the features and what the offers are.
Features are the characteristics of a product, including its form and function. However, it's worth asking: Why should potential buyers care about your products? If you answer this question inside the product description, you may instantly seal the deal.
Yet, product descriptions shouldn’t be taken for granted, just like anything else in the SEO process. But, as you’ve already done your keyword research, you can use that knowledge to act strategically. By placing successful keywords that bring traffic inside your product descriptions, your online business will be riding high.
Ask yourself these questions and answer them using keyword research tools:
- How many people are using these keywords?
- What is the traffic potential of my target keywords?
- What are some related terms or synonyms I can use besides the words I’m targeting?
- Is my keyword too difficult and will people actually search for my products this way?
#5 Write Intriguing Meta Descriptions
The meta description is the text that appears under the result title and URL and serves as a page summary. It’s a snippet of content that will show up in case someone clicks on the search result, so making it work for you can easily bring you more customers.
Meta descriptions are short and provide users only with essential information. In order to write a good one, follow these tips:
- Write up to 160 characters (including spaces);
- Include well-performing keywords;
- Put the focus on values and benefits;
- Use a call-to-action (CTA) and create a sense of urgency.
#6 Update Your CTAs
A good call to action can turn even the biggest non-believers into instant buyers. The secret to such valuable CTAs isn’t in lying or creating a false statement—it’s simply based on limiting your offers and satisfying the needs now.
What you want is to evoke a sense of urgency in people and convince them that now is the perfect moment to make a purchase.
Most of the time, CTAs are in the form of eye-catching buttons on your website that includes a hyperlink leading prospects to a destination of your choice. Their shopping cart, spring sales, subscription deals—you name it.
Some examples would be:
- “40% off by midnight!”
- “Last chance to buy 3 for the price of 1!”
- “Boost your SEO ranking NOW!”
#7 Think of Images as Text
Images on your website may be visual material, but you shouldn’t think of them only as that. All of them include the “alt tags” that describe the image’s content.
When a search engine crawls a website, it can't "see" images how people can. Instead, it uses alt tags to figure out what the picture is all about. By using keyword-rich alt tags that accurately describe the image's content, you can help search engines understand how the image fits in with the rest of the page's content and why it's important.
That way, when someone searches for white shoes, make sure that you use alt tags with the same keyword inside your media that include the same white shoes.
#8 Include Social Proof
Word of mouth is a marketing tactic almost everyone will believe in, so why not implement it on your e-commerce website?
Customer reviews are very important in the purchasing process. Positive reviews can inspire confidence in the business and assist prospective customers in making wise decisions. Reviews are an essential component of any marketing strategy because customers can influence others' decisions by sharing their feedback and experiences.
When determining the authority and relevance of a website, search engines consider user-generated content, such as reviews and testimonials. You can improve your search engine rankings and drive more traffic to your website by incorporating positive reviews into your content.
#9 Optimize for Mobile Devices
Due to the fact that mobile devices are the most common way for people to access the internet today, mobile optimization is essential for e-commerce SEO. Lack of mobile optimization can result in a bad user experience, sluggish page loads, and ultimately lower search engine rankings.
Google has also revealed that it will prioritize mobile versions of websites when determining search engine rankings. This is known as "mobile-first indexing." You can enhance the user experience and raise your chances of ranking higher in search engines by optimizing your e-commerce website for mobile devices. This will bring more traffic, more sales, and greater success to your e-commerce business.
#10 Build Internal Links
Even if you cannot attract a customer into the buying stage quickly, you can at least give them a reason to stay on your website. Believe it or not, it will also positively impact your SEO.
Why? Because linking your website's content to one another increases the time spent on the website, which is a green flag for search engines, and it can also lead prospects to different products they may find more attractive than what they initially searched for.
E-Commerce SEO Is a Worthwhile Marathon
The long-term nature of e-commerce SEO calls for perseverance as well as consistent effort. Success does not come overnight because it takes time; it is a marathon, not a sprint.
Laying a solid foundation for your e-commerce SEO takes a big effort, but the results are well worth it. Keyword research, technical optimization, link building, and other crucial SEO techniques all require resources and time. It's critical to keep in mind that SEO is a continual process that needs ongoing updates and improvements in order to stay competitive.
There are many advantages to investing in e-commerce SEO. You can increase targeted traffic to your website, brand recognition, and revenue by increasing your website's visibility and ranking on search engines. The key is to remain consistent and persistent in your efforts even though it may take months or years to see noticeable results. So, arm yourself with patience as the results will prove that this is something no business can survive without in the digital age.