As a merchandiser, your job is to display to customers the products that they need and want. Getting in front of new customers is essential to merchandising success, and in the digital age, that means eCommerce SEO.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of improving the amount of traffic, or visitors, to your website. It means using specific keywords, site navigation, content creation, and other strategies to improve the appearance and position of your website on search engines.(ASK Drew what link he wants)
eCommerce SEO means ensuring that your online store and your products appear when people type in related search terms online. If you sell golf clubs, you want to appear when someone types “9 iron” into Google.
How do you master eCommerce SEO? Consider these 13 eCommerce SEO tips to grow your digital commerce, your revenue, and your business success.
Top eCommerce SEO Tips
1. Define a Priority Keyword Set
The bedrock of an effective eCommerce SEO strategy is to define a set of high-value, high-traffic keywords.
What are keywords? They’re the words and phrases that people type into search engines – most commonly Google – when they’re looking for information, goods, or services.
Having a strong set of high-priority keywords is important because including keywords is a sign to Google and other search engines that you are answering a question, query, or request from a searcher. For example, if someone searches for “a pink chair,” they don’t want a review of the newest Barbie movie. They want to see pink chairs. If someone searches for an estate sale,” they don’t want to get links to book a Caribbean beach vacation. They want information about estate sales.
You’ll want to target keywords that are relevant to your products and those for which you stand a chance at ranking among the top search results. Keyword ideas, competitiveness, volume, and other information is available through Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush, among other tools.
Broadly, deciding on priority keywords is really about deciding exactly what you intend to sell online – and then delivering with web pages and content that match your selected keywords.
2. Prioritize Your Customers’ Needs with Excellent Product Pages
Online commerce is like all other sorts of commerce. It’s about reaching real people with real products that meet their needs. A vital eCommerce SEO tip is to prioritize customers’ needs by producing top-notch product pages.
Product pages are individual web pages that feature a product. Think of the landing page on your site for a specific product or offering – whether a toothbrush or a pickup truck or a fitness class.
In addition to relevant keywords, your specific product pages should contain eCommerce SEO elements, including:
- Video footage of the product being used.
- Photographs of the product – ideally in different sizes, colors, and variations.
- Descriptions of the product and its capabilities and features.
- Ratings, reviews, and customer quotes
Just as your company is only as good as your products, your website will only be as strong as its product descriptions. Strong product pages are an eCommerce SEO must.
3. Ensure Your Site is Easy to Navigate
A reality about online shopping and commerce in general is that you’re in competition for consumers’ time. Google knows that, and that’s why you need a site that is well-structured and easy to navigate.
A poorly designed website will drive customers away. It will also cause Google to rank other websites ahead of yours for important search terms and results pages. Well-structured and navigable sites have clean, short URLs, and structured categories that house certain information and products.
For example, a merchandiser selling clothing would have a red men’s t-shirt hosted on a product page within men’s clothing and shirts. You can use breadcrumbs to take consumers from the homepage to men’s clothing to shirts and eventually to their desired product. Google will recognize that your content is easy to navigate and is more likely to put your site at the top of search results.
4. Optimize for Mobile Browsing and Buying
In the past week, have you bought something or searched for a product on your smartphone? Yeah, we thought so. The increasing popularity of mobile browsing and buying means that nailing ecommerce SEO means having a mobile-friendly site.
Optimizing for mobile means giving users the same quality of experience on a mobile device as they would receive on a desktop. Well-optimized mobile browsing includes:
- A website that loads fast
- Images and videos that display and render correctly, clearly, and quickly.
- Legible text
- Ensuring that all graphics, ads, and site components load on a mobile device.
Remember that Google has a smartphone agent that actively crawls websites to check for mobile compatibility. They call it “mobile-first indexing,”
and you can take the name as an acknowledgement of where SEO priorities are shifting.
5. Maintain a Top-Tier Site Speed
When it comes to eCommerce SEO, your optimizations won’t make much of an impact if your website has poor site speed.
Site speed, sometimes known as page speed, is how fast your website loads. When you navigate to your online store, click on topics, and attempt to view products, everything should load fast. No waiting, no wondering if the site is working – you need to have your site be quick to keep customers on your site and remain in the good graces of search engines.
Just consider: Google has flat-out announced that site speed is a factor for what pages get ranked
on Google Search. Google wants to serve its customers fast-loading websites, so if you want to succeed at eCommerce SEO, your site better load quickly.
6. Avoid Duplicate Content
A common eCommerce SEO mistake is to have duplicate content. It’s understandable when duplicate website content exists products, product descriptions, titles, categories – they often sound the same.
But search engines will ding online stores with duplicate content, as it’s confusing for customers and gives off an unprofessional impression. To avoid duplicate content and SEO penalty, make sure that you have a limited number of clear, distinct product categories. Also, write unique and detailed product descriptions. Selling one pair of white sneakers from Adidas and one pair from Nike? Include brands, sizes, and other differentiating factors in your product description, so that the products stand out to customers and to search engines.
7. Create First-Class, Highly Relevant Content
Speed, site structure, keywords, mobile optimization – they’re all-important factors to getting your online store in front of customers. But none of those eCommerce SEO tips are helpful if you aren’t creating highly relevant content.
Creating relevant content means having blogs, videos, articles, glossaries, and webinars on your website that your customers are interested in. You should think about what your customers are searching for, and why. For example, if you’re selling fitness classes through an online storefront, people who visit your website may also be interested in a short article about starting a new fitness routine. With proper keyword research and an optimized site, you might even get people first aware of your brand by reading, watching, and listening to the content on your website. Relevant content, then, is a way to build brand awareness, improve SEO, and possibly even capture new customers.
8. Earn Backlinks to Your Site, Products, and Content
Commerce often depends on referrals and endorsements. Your brother told you about a new store, so you go to check it out. Your coworker uses a thermos mug at work; you see it and buy the same brand. A celebrity appears in a commercial for toothpaste or foot cream or car insurance and you think of that brand when you’re ready to buy one of those items.
eCommerce SEO works similarly. Referrals and endorsements encourage Google and other search engines to position your website at the top of search results. And the way that SEO endorsements work is through backlinks.
Backlinks are when a different site on the internet directs back to yours through a hyperlink. Quality links indicate to search engines that your site is credible. So, when you get links from other reputable sites, it’s the SEO equivalent of a referral or endorsement.
A holistic eCommerce SEO strategy will help you generate backlinks. Strong product pages and content make it more likely that people will link to your site. Press releases, social media, creating infographics, writing guest posts for other sites – they’re all additional tips to increase backlinks.
9. Have an Internal Linking Strategy
If you want others to link to you, you have to also link to yourself. This process, known as internal linking, is an important eCommerce SEO tip.
Linking from your blog pages to your products and vice versa helps pass link juice between your pages. If internal links point repeatedly to specific product pages or other web pages, Google takes it as a signal that it should prioritize that page in search results.
If you practice internal linking, then, you raise the odds that your pages will be ranked. That makes it more likely that your web content is noticed, more likely that it receives backlinks, and more likely that it climbs even further up the search rankings. In short, internal linking promotes a positive, successful link cycle.
10. Use HTTPS to Keep Your Site Secure
Security is essential to online commerce. After all, what consumer wants to purchase from an online storefront that doesn’t protect their identity and payment information?
An eCommerce SEO tip to improve security is to use an HTTPS URL structure. HTTPS is a secure way to send data between a web server and web browser. Encryption keeps customers’ data safe. Google considers HTTPS a ranking signal, meaning that all things equal, an HTTPS eCommerce site will outrank an HTTP site.
11. Clean Up Broken Links
Broken links are terrible for customer experience and the performance of your website. Just think about shopping online: If you’re on a site and you click on a product and end up on an error page, you’re not going to buy that product and you may very well go to a different online store altogether.
Broken links also have a negative impact on SEO, as users bounce from your website quicker and your website performance suffers. Fortunately, leading SEO tools such as SemRush, Ahrefs, and Moz all have tools to track and fix broken links.
12. Optimize Your 404 Page
The reality of running an online commerce operation is that at some point, a link will be broken. It will be fixed, but before that, a worthy eCommerce SEO tip is to have an optimized 404 page.
Your 404 page is what appears when someone clicks on a broken link or enters an invalid address within your greater web URL. With an optimized 404 page, you can keep consumers on your site and possibly direct them to helpful pages or content.
13. Add Schema Markup to Your Pages
The final eCommerce SEO tip is to add schema markup to your pages. Schema markups are HTML tags that tell search engines additional information about the content on your web pages.
Schema markups help search engines understand and display your content. You can add schema to your product pages, videos, prices, reviews, and a list of product availability so that search engines know what to display to searchers. Strong schema markup helps structure your web content in a way that makes sense to search engines – improving the odds that your site will be ranked.
Put Your eCommerce SEO Strategy into Action
Now that you’re aware of leading eCommerce SEO tips, you should feel confident about having a stronger online shopping experience that reaches more consumers.
As you angle to reach customers where they shop, you’ll need to prioritize the world’s largest search engine, Google. In addition to the SEO tips listed above, your eCommerce success will be boosted by integrating your products into Google Merchant Center.
Google Merchant Center allows merchants like you to register your websites with Google and upload your product content data. This way, your products appear automatically in Google search results in the Shopping tab.
Every time your catalog is published in Commerce Manager, the product data will automatically synchronize with the Google Merchant Center, including name, description, price, image, EAN/UPC, and a link to your product on your storefront.
Want to boost your eCommerce SEO and get Google’s attention? Contact Drew at Reed Dynamic. Our team of experts will help you along the way to a better understanding of your eCommerce needs.