eCommerce SEO: Beginners Guide


No spot is sweeter for a website owner than the top spots of search engine result pages (SERPs). However, the real labor lies in getting a website to rank high in SERPs organically. A high-ranking site has higher traffic, more leads, and increased trust from the audience which needless to say is the goal of every business. Websites that rank top of search results command up to 36.4% of the traffic and this justifies website owner’s every effort for their sites to rank top. While attaining a top rank is an achievement, maintaining this position calls for a relentless and continuous investment of time, effort, knowledge, and to some extent finances. 

Expert or no expert, if you have a website, you will work hard to have it rank top through a good SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy. Some businesses may opt to hire an SEO strategist. Others, particularly startups and small business owners may decide to take the longer yet rewarding route of investing their time and effort in an SEO course to learn how to optimize their site for SEO. Ultimately, whether you have hired an expert or opted to go it alone, there is value in acquiring some eCommerce SEO knowledge even if at the very basic level. 

What is eCommerce SEO?

A simple search on a search engine will yield a specific number of results on the first page depending on the particular engine. For instance, a search on Google, the most popular search engine, will bring 10 results on the first page based on a complicated algorithm that is only known to Google. These results are based on SEO which factors the quality and relevance of keyword-optimized content in a website, site speed, bounce rate, backlinks, mobile-friendliness, and ultimately an engaging experience and the ease with which visitors navigate the site.  


A website owner thus has to implement SEO best practices holistically for his/her site to fall within the standards of Google algorithms for the website to rank high on result pages. For many website owners, paid ads do work but may not be the ultimate owing to the cost involved. For this reason, eCommerce SEO remains a viable tool with a high return on investment that a website owner can use to rank high organically. 

Ecommerce SEO is the technique employed to get various pages of an eCommerce website to rank high on search engine result pages particularly for transactional search queries which are queries with the intent to complete a transaction. The goal of eCommerce websites is for their products to be displayed the right way to attract potential customers and rank higher than those of the competition. 

Given how many new platforms are coming up offering tailormade SEO solutions, Ecommerce brands need to be aware that for every platform, the strategy needs to be different. In other words, you need bigcommerce SEO if you are someone using that platform, or look at WooCommerce SEO, as the case may be. Identical strategies might not be the best way forward and would end up ultimately compromising the efficacy of your online performance. 

 A Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce SEO

A good eCommerce SEO strategy helps increase organic search traffic to a website which mostly comes from the top ten ranking pages of Google searches. Here are some effective guidelines for optimizing a website and product pages. 

Keyword Search

An effective eCommerce SEO strategy starts from keyword search. As a website owner, you need to know the keywords or common search terms that your potential audience is using to perform searches on Google to be able to optimize your website for these keywords. The core of any SEO strategy is targeting the appropriate keywords because aside from traffic you need conversion.

The first step is mapping target keywords with the products, product categories, product pages, and the content of the website. Be sure to prioritize the most important keywords based on the following factors: 

  • Relevance: Relevant keywords are focused on the specific niche of products on your store and content on your website.  
  • Volume: Fact. High-volume keywords are often very competitive and don’t always convert. The idea is to make use of them to identify long-tail keywords that will help you drive traffic that converts to your site.  
  • Competition: Keywords with low competition are highly likely to rank higher. A good approach is to go for the high-volume low-competition keywords. Long-tail keywords often fall within this category.  
  • Intent: Your keywords should be in line with what your targeted shoppers are looking for. Remember that for an eCommerce site, the focus should be on transactional or commercial rather than informational keywords because the ultimate goal of an eCommerce site is to drive traffic that converts to leads and eventually, sales. 

Some keyword search tools you can make use of include:

  • Google keyword planner
  • Ahrefs keyword explorer 
  • SEMrush
  • Google trends
  • Ubersuggest
  • Amazon Suggest 

Website Structure

Wondering why keyword search came before website structure? It is because the elements including content, product categories, product descriptions, and images of a website should be organized with your keywords as the baseline. At a glance, visitors should be able to navigate to the product they are looking for within three clicks from the home page. Thus a well-organized architecture does not only facilitate easy navigation for users but also helps search engine bots to crawl the site effectively during ranking.  

Optimized URLs

A simple predictable website structure allows you to optimize the website’s URLs for improved SERPs ranking. Long URLs with unnecessary words are a no-no as they are not easily crawlable. You want to make your URLs searchable by making them short, descriptive, and keyword optimized. 

Ecommerce On-Page SEO for Product Pages

On-page SEO should be implemented on both the product category and product pages. It encompasses four core elements that a website owner should focus on. These are the page titles, meta descriptions, images, and product content. 

  • Page title: The top clickable titles that appear for every result upon conducting a search on any search engine are known as page titles. A good page title should be keyword-optimized, not longer than 70 characters, and be descriptive. 
  • Meta descriptions: Meta descriptions appear underneath the page title on SERPs. They provide a preview of the page and are important for enhancing the click-through rate which Google supposedly uses to determine rankings. Like the page title, the meta description should also include the targeted keywords. They should be no longer than 150 characters and describe the page content concisely. 
  • Images: Images have everything to do with the speed with which a website page loads. Pages that take time to load may not rank well as they have a negative impact on user experience. Compress large images and label them appropriately to make them searchable and crawlable.  
  • Product content: Include descriptions for products and product categories that are brief, precise, and keyword optimized. Ideally, the description should include both the primary and long-tail keywords. 

Link building

A simple linking strategy is to do internal linking. Internal linking is about linking to other pages within the website. On the other hand, one can also use backlinking. Backlinks, also known as inbound or incoming links are links from one website page to another. Both ways, a lot of caution should be exercised during link building, and only relevant and quality pages should be linked else this strategy may work against a website’s ranking.

Conclusion

These are very basic eCommerce website SEO guidelines. There is much more that goes into SEO optimization for a website. However, one thing leads to another. Once you get your footing on the fundamentals, it will be easier for you to work out other strategies that will boost your website further. The ultimate of any SEO strategy for an eCommerce site is conversions and sales. If what you have implemented is not working, understand why and re-evaluate your strategy. 


Mathew Wiggins

Mathew is a digital marketing expert and has in-depth knowledge about SEO, SMO, PPC that he offers through his articles. He has recently started making digital marketing videos and has even developed interest in app development.

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  • App Development Expert

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