11 Must-Do E-Commerce SEO Best Practices to Rank Your Online Store
If you are running an online store then driving more traffic via Google is on the top of your priorities list.
You also know that SEO is critical, and if you have attempted to read content online in order to figure out how to make gains in Google, then you are more than likely feeling a bit overwhelmed.
E-commerce search engine optimization is a different beast -- ranking a blog post compared to a product listing or category can be a completely different animal.
Here are some must-do e-commerce SEO best practices to help your online store gain some traction in Google's organic search results.
1. Accumulate user generated content.
"Start getting user generated content (UGC) as soon as possible, and then look for ways to generate more of it. Whether that's reviews, frequently asked questions, photos or videos, UGC is one of the best ways to generate keyword-rich unique content. This is Amazon's big SEO driver -- they get user generated content from their brands, and they get more from their customers on top of that.
Another key is to customize product templates and category templates to reflect specific search queries. There's a lot of conversation in SEO about user intent but very few e-commerce agencies are working to customize their product page layout or category page layout to reflect a specific search query. Someone searching for 'gift ideas for father's day' may want more of an article type category page layout rather than the typical tiled product listing layout we're accustomed to." -- Jordan Brannon, Coalition Technologies
2. Optimize your pages -- not just the content.
"First, pages need to be mobile-friendly. Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites and will not recommend your e-commerce site in search if it's not responsive.
Second, install a heat mapping tool like HotJar and start monitoring your user behavior report within Google Analytics. With these reports, you'll see how far people are scrolling down a page, where they are clicking and the order of the pages they visit. Use this information to optimize your pages to push users to make the purchase. You'll identify where people are dropping off after viewing a product and can make inferences as to why this is happening.
We had a website that showed people going to an 'About' page the majority of the time after landing on a product page. It's because they needed to learn more about the product prior to making the purchase commitment. We provided more product information on the product pages, and people stopped bouncing and started making the purchases." -- Morgan Hennessey, Electric Enjin
3. Label products using keywords.
"If you sell a 'round table made of metal' labeling it as such is better than labeling the item as just a 'table.'
You won't be able to rank for the broad term 'table,' however, if someone is looking specifically for a a round table made of metal, you have a good chance to rank and generate a sale.
Many Shopify stores don't think about how people search and tend to use 'cool' names for products, however, consumers aren't searching for products that way. You can also use the Chrome plugin Keywords Everywhere to help identify those long-tail titles people use to find what you sell." -- Joe Balestrino, JoeBalestrino.com
4. Build out content-rich product pages.
"E-commerce SEO is the same as all other forms of SEO in the sense that it comes back to high value content and backlinks. However, what you don't see many e-commerce stores doing is building out their product pages to the max.
You should absolutely add a ton of written content and multimedia to each of your product pages. For example, if you sell face cream, on the product page write in the description all about your face cream. Include things like 'why buy x face cream,' 'benefits of x face cream,' 'how x face cream works,' etc. -- and answer all of those questions in full.
Structure it like you would a blog post -- with headings, images, etc. Also include video if you can. A good example of a company doing this online is Healthy Hemp Oil. Take a look at each of their product pages and you'll see what I mean." -- Brad Ormsby, Colorstone Marketing
5. Create content for every stage of the customer journey.
"From my experience, the most important thing that e-commerce sites need to do is map out targeted keywords based on their customer's journey and create content for every stage of that journey.
Customers in the awareness stage near the top of their journey will benefit most from things like blog posts and videos. That should help them develop an interest in the broader category of your products, and you can then provide content for that part of their journey via category page descriptions and buying guides. Finally, once they're in the action phase and are looking at specific products you can help nudge them to a purchase with compelling product copy.
As you're doing your keyword research, you should be able to find keywords that show all of these intents that you can incorporate into your content." -- Eric Hoppe, Crowd Content
6. Optimize on-page content with user experience in mind.
"User experience is often an under-utilized area for building an effective SEO campaign for e-commerce sites. Put yourself in the user's shoes and think about what information a user needs to feel comfortable making a purchase.
If you focus on clothing, helping the user feel confident their item will fit is often essential for conversion. If your product offers health benefits, ensure that the user understands how and why it will be effective for them.
This type of on-page content will offer the additional benefit of tapping into long tail keywords that answer search queries and are more likely to find users ready to convert." -- Matt Benevento, Geek Powered Studios
7. Write your own product descriptions -- don't use the ones from the manufacturer.
"This sounds like a simple one, but it's something we've seen gigantic brands mess up time after time.
If you're selling products that are also sold on other websites, write your own product descriptions.
Frequently, companies will just grab the product descriptions given to them by the manufacturer. The problem with this is that the manufacturer themselves as well as every other seller and distributer is likely using the same copy.
Instead, write your own descriptions. This gives you two great benefits.
First, no duplicate content, so you're going to stand out from the pack a bit more.
Second, you're able to insert your own brand's voice and tone into the copy, which should help with your bounce rate and conversion rate." -- Nikki Bisel, Seafoam Media
8. Fully optimize all product pages.
"One of the best SEO practices to use for e-commerce sites is optimizing your product pages. Your products are the most important part of your business, so you want to make sure you are using these pages to your greatest advantage. Be sure to add more information about your products, rather than just the simple basics, so that Google finds them.
This includes adding keywords in your product names and descriptions, optimizing your product images, adding informational videos about your products, sharing customer reviews, sharing frequently asked product questions, reducing your product page loading speed, etc.
These are all important strategies to help keep your product pages optimized. Keeping your product pages optimized is great for SEO by keeping your business ranked high on Google." -- Andrew Ruditser, MAXBURST, Inc.
9. Don't neglect your store's category pages.
There is a lot of factors to consider when making sure an e-commerce site is optimized properly, particularly on the technical side of things -- but my best tip for any e-commerce store is to optimize your category pages.
The focus is so often on optimizing product pages, yet they often turnover when a product line is discontinued. Whereas, the category page remains building trust and authority over time, while also being a great asset to build backlinks for this very reason." -- Quentin Aisbett, OnQ Marketing
10. Publish high quality content assets.
"Why content marketing and how does it affect e-commerce SEO? Two important factors when attempting to rank higher on Google is Domain Authority (DA) and the number of backlinks. The problem here is people will not usually link to sites of products and categories -- which is what more e-commerce sites are. People link back to more valuable content that helps their readers or their target audience.
So, how do you get backlinks for your e-commerce site? Well, that is really easy -- you have to create content that interests people and provides enough value to warrant linking back to. For example, if your e-commerce site sells camping gear, you can create a blog or infographic about camping and how the products in your e-commerce site are useful. This method is used by big e-commerce sites such as Amazon, AliExpress and eBay." -- Anjana Wickramaratne, Inspirenix
11. Develop a logical URL structure for all of your product categories and pages.
"This is important because if you place products under an unorganized or irrelevant section of your website, Google is going to have a difficult time understanding how your product relates to the site as a whole, and where it properly fits into the context of the site.
This is why creating a visual flow chart to help you understand what categories to create and what subcategories make sense based on the products you sell is a great idea that should not be overlooked. It is a best practice that will build your website a strong SEO foundation." -- Jeremy Lawlor, Active Business Growth
Most online store owners and e-commerce entrepreneurs want instant results. They want to publish a store and watch the sales flood in.
Unfortunately, it isn't that simple.
SEO is the key to attracting highly targeted search traffic that has the potential to convert into sales and revenue for your store.
Follow the tips above to help your e-commerce website rank better in the search engines.