Step-By-Step Guide to SEO for eCommerce Websites
eCommerce SEO should be an inherent part of your business if you want to survive in the competitive market. Hiring the services of a reputed SEO agency will help you achieve your short-term and long-term business goals.
Your eCommerce website needs to be optimized in a million ways. From keyword search to on-page SEO and local SEO, it’s when you bring everything together that you will start to see the results.
The step-by-step guide for eCommerce SEO deals with each component and tries to explain the need for investing in SEO for eCommerce platforms, especially in the current scenario.
Online sales are no more limited to giants like Amazon. Every business, big or small, can have its eCommerce website and generate sales through it. So does it mean that having a website is enough? Definitely not!
During the last few years, SEO has become a prominent factor that decides the success or failure of a business in attracting new customers. SEO in eCommerce is needed to ensure that the website shows up among the top search results on search engines.
The more people see your website, the more the chances of them choosing your business. With so much competition around, can you afford to not focus on SEO?
But working on SEO all on your own can be exhausting and overwhelming. It is the job of an expert. Reading the tips and tricks and implementing them are two different aspects. SEO is a continuous process. Hiring the services of an eCommerce SEO agency will give you an idea about how to optimize an eCommerce website for search engines.
What is eCommerce SEO?
Okay, we’ve mentioned it is important and necessary. But what is eCommerce SEO? How is it different from regular SEO?
SEO is the process of optimizing the website for search engines. But the main differences between a regular website and an eCommerce website are –
- Product and category pages
- Payment gateway
- Data security
- Navigation header
Other aspects, such as having a user-friendly interface, faster-loading speed, optimizing the website for mobile phones, etc., are common.
eCommerce SEO includes content management, on-page SEO, off-page SEO, local SEO and technical SEO. An eCommerce marketing strategy is vital if you want your website to rank higher on search engines.
Millimetric reported that an eCommerce website that ranks first on Google has a CTR of 34.36%. Just imagine the increase in the website traffic and the range of audience you can reach. This is not the only advantage of eCommerce SEO. There are various reasons to optimize your eCommerce website.
Why SEO Matters for eCommerce Websites?
Junto mentioned that around 40% of eCommerce sales in 2018 were via mobile phones. And that was two years ago. With our increasing dependence on smartphones, it is expected that the majority of eCommerce sales will take place through these devices.
Serp Watch has more to add. About 80% of internet users do not care about paid and sponsored ads. Spending money on ads is not going to bring results as SEO strategies can do. And 75% of the users do not check beyond the first page of the search results. If your eCommerce website is not visible on the first SERP page, you are losing a majority of your business.
The best eCommerce platform for SEO ensures that your website ranks high for the targeted keywords (we’ll read more about it in the next section) so that you get organic traffic to the website.
SEO does its job 24×7. It is a way to get long-lasting results and expand your eCommerce business by attracting more customers online.
An eCommerce SEO audit will show the gaps in your website and help you find ways to improve the website’s performance and make it more user-friendly. The SEO agency takes the responsibility to understand your business, the website and then create a step-by-step plan to implement eCommerce SEO for your site.
Step-by-step Guide to SEO for eCommerce Websites
nChannel says that 44% of online shopping starts with Google searches. If your eCommerce website is not optimized for Google, you will be missing out on half your chances to attract new customers. The following guide will help you understand the various factors involved in the SEO for an eCommerce website.
eCommerce SEO expert explains the importance of keyword research to rank higher on search engines. Searching for keywords is a time-consuming and necessary step.
And yes, keyword research for eCommerce websites should be done page-wise. Your category pages and individual product pages should have the relevant keywords for which you want the website to rank higher.
- Make a list of webpages on your eCommerce site. You can do that by getting the sitemap.xml file. If you are still creating your website, get the sitemap of your competitor’s website.
- The next step is to explore keywords. There are online tools to search for keywords and know which ones are more popular. The best platform for SEO has access to various SEO tools.
- Keywords that are generic or too broad will be more competitive. It becomes harder to rank high for such keywords. These are usually short-tail keywords with 2-4 words related to the topic. Find long-tail versions of popular keywords.
- For example, “kids clothes” is too broad and common for it to create any impact on your website. It will take you a long time to rank on the first page on the search engines. But if you use something like “kids clothes for a 6-year-old girl” or “kids clothes in Indian traditional wear,” you are likely to rank higher.
- People searching for these specifications will find you faster and are more likely to visit your eCommerce website.
- Go to Google Keyword Planner and start making a list of keywords for each category and product page.
- Once that’s done, divide the keywords for promotional and information purposes. Some keywords can be used in blogs for eCommerce marketing through content management.
- Use more than one keyword planner to finalize the list of keywords for your website. This will help you come across potential new ones that could make your website rank higher in less time.
- When multiple web pages rank for the same keyword, the search engines will be forced to choose the most important one. Don’t risk it. Use separate keywords for each webpage.
- And lastly, keep an eye on the keywords your competitors are ranking for. If your competitor has a higher domain authority (DA) or page authority (PA) score, it is safer to choose a slightly different keyword. This will help your website rank higher.
The next important step is to optimize web pages. The leading eCommerce SEO agency emphasizes the need for prioritizing web pages. Wanting all your web pages to rank first immediately is the wrong way to look at eCommerce SEO.
When your website has 50 or 100 webpages (if not more), writing unique titles for each page can take forever! But going for templates is not advisable either. So what do we do?
- Pick the pages you want to rank higher. Product pages have better chances of ranking sooner than the homepage or about page.
- Now that you have keywords and the webpage, you will need to work on the on-page details, such as Meta titles, descriptions, headlines, images, etc. For the remaining webpages, follow a standard template.
- The priority webpages should have the primary keyword in the Meta title and Meta description, along with the body of the content.
- Use a long-tail version of the primary keyword so that you won’t end up stuffing keywords and attracting penalties.
- Include at least one high-quality image of the product. You will need to optimize the image by changing the alt description. This will help the search engine crawls find the webpage easily (more about it in the next step).
- On-page SEO for eCommerce sites starts optimizing the URL to keep it short and clean. Get rid of the excess tags and codes from the link.
- Add at least one CTA (Call-to-Action) button on the webpage.
- Highlight the USP of your business. Do you offer free shipping? Do you offer discounts? Did you receive any awards? Show them on the webpage.
- Product descriptions need to be clear, concise and detailed. Keep the text error-free (yes, grammar is important) and use bullet points to improve user experience.
- Add internal links from one webpage to another. Apart from the homepage, about us page and contact page, you will need to link to web pages that don’t get more traffic. Make sure the link appears natural and not forced.
eCommerce SEO services are not complete without technical SEO. So what happens here? Let’s take a look in brief.
- Start with making the website more secure by moving on to HTTPS from HTTP. You will need an SSL certificate for this. You can get it via the domain hosting service provider. Websites with HTTPS rank higher because they offer more security to the users’ information.
- Add and create Schema Markup for product pages so that users can see reviews and ratings for the product right on the search results page. This is said to increase CTR by 30%. Do it for the category pages as well.
- Check for duplicate web pages and remove them or use canonical tags to help search engine crawls understand which ones are duplicate pages and the original ones. Adding a canonical tag to the original page will help that one rank on the search engines instead of the duplicate ones.
- SEO and eCommerce rely on attracting Google’s crawls to find the web pages and index them on the search engines. A crawl is a bug or a spider released by Google to search on the internet for web pages, images and content for various keywords. The pages visited by the crawls are indexed and displayed on the results page.
- A page that no longer exists will show a 404 error. Using Redirect 301 will let you reroute most of the traffic to the new webpage.
- Use “load more” buttons and divide the webpage into sections. Provide internal links (from one section of the web page to another) for easy navigation.
- Optimize the website for mobile phones and improve the page-loading speed. Technical SEO audit will show areas where you need to improve the website.
- Sitemap.xml and Robot.txt files are essential to guide the crawls about which web pages they should index and which ones to avoid.
Off-page SEO (Link Building)
SEO experts say that link building is a crucial part of off-page SEO and can bring organic traffic to eCommerce websites.
- Start by listing out the websites that are linking to your competitors’ pages. An easy way to do that is by using online tools, such as Link Intersect.
- You can then shortlist websites with higher DA scores and contact them to backlink to your website.
- Get the manufacturers to backlink to your website as one of the places to buy the products.
- Directories and citations are other valid sources of backlinks.
- Customer reviews, social media pages, influencers, bloggers, news articles, email marketing, such as newsletters, etc., are a few more sources for backlinks.
The eCommerce SEO company highlights the need for local SEO. This is to ensure that you attract customers to visit your stores in the respective locations.
- You will have to follow the same approach, starting from keyword research to technical SEO, but with more focus on keywords specific to the region where the business is located.
- Create a Google My Business profile and verify the account.
- Join the local directories and add location maps to social media accounts.
- Ensure that the NAP (Name, Address and Phone Number) details are the same across all platforms.
The ultimate reason to invest in eCommerce SEO is to increase sales and profits. You can enter new markets, attract a wider audience and improve profits. Hiring the best eCommerce SEO agency will ensure that your website delivers the kind of results you expect from it.
Just remember that SEO is never a one-time process. You have to continuously work on your eCommerce website to optimize it for the search engines and see that the rank is always higher than your competitors.