You probably have goals set to increase brand awareness, get more traffic to your website, and successfully communicate your business’s messaging; at the end of the day, your main goal of your ecommerce website is to drive sales and make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there might be something wrong with your SEO strategy!
The biggest mistake you make, and that many ecommerce sites do make, is to not be HTTPS secure. According to NetTrack, only 29% of websites are using HTTPS. If you have an SSL certificate, make sure it is carried out through your entire site. For user experience reasons, you must remember that as an ecommerce business, people are putting their trust in your website and giving you sensitive information. They’ve already trusted your site over Amazon or any other company to purchase this product, so don’t break that trust by not promising security on your website. Many customers will choose not to complete a purchase on your website if they don’t see the security lock. To make it even more prominent to the user, Google Chrome now signals a warning before they enter a site that isn’t secure and suggests they don’t visit the site.
Google will always favor a secure website over one that doesn’t the SSL certificate on the search engine results page (SERP). This means that you will begin ranking higher for organic keywords and search queries, as well as getting more organic traffic to your site from appearing in more searches. Cloudtec shared their results after switching to HTTPS. They saw that the number of keywords that were in top 10 positions doubled, and their overall website visibility increased as well.
After setting up security on your ecommerce website, you’ll begin the fun SEO tasks! Keyword research is a never ending process to your SEO maintenance, and there are many ways to perform this research. For starters, you might want to audit yourself to see how you currently stand with your SEO. You’re going to want to gauge how effective your current website is in bringing in organic traffic, or traffic that is received from a web search.
A great and free tool for this is Google Search Console. You’ll also be able to see the search queries that brought users to your website, which is useful information in your keyword research because you can see which keywords are driving traffic and which aren’t performing well. You can use this information to include or remove certain keywords from your SEO keyword strategy.
Another tool that you can help you out in this research is Google Analytics. Google Analytics tells you just about everything regarding your website that you need to know, which includes organic traffic and conversions. By adding ecommerce tracking to your account or by setting conversion goals, you’ll be able to not only see how much traffic or sales you’re receiving, but also where these users are coming from. If it’s mainly direct and not organic, then you know you’re going to need to step up your ecommerce SEO strategy.
After auditing yourself, take a look at what your competitors are doing. Competitor keyword research can be done against your direct competitors or other businesses that sell a similar product as you. Use a tool like SEMRush to see the organic keywords they are ranking for and what their keyword position is. Then you can ask yourself, “are those keywords relate to my business or products? Should people be finding me for these searches?” If your answer is YES x2, then you can start implementing those keywords in your SEO strategy and begin competing for higher positions for those keywords. Check out our article to learn more about creating content to help improve your keyword positions and put you ahead of your competitors in the search results.
Long tail keywords, or keyword phrases that include more than two words, allow you to be much more specific about what your product is – this why long tail keywords are very important to an ecommerce SEO strategy. As an ecommerce website, you want to provide shoppers with as much information as possible about your products so they can make an informed decision. You also want shoppers to be able to find the specific product they need and are searching for. Shoppers aren’t searching for just “shoes,” they are looking for “black suede booties.” Use that long tail keyword in your SEO strategy to show up in that search and make the organic sale!
Implementing the Ecommerce SEO Strategy
Now that you’ve completed extensive keyword research internally and through competitor research, it’s time to start optimizing. There are a lot of places on your site to implement your SEO strategy, so there’s no official place to start. I think meta title and description tags are a good place to begin because it allows you to test out your new keyword strategy by using a variety of keywords, so you’re going to be able to see what works and what doesn’t before rolling out the rest of the higher-level changes. Meta titles and descriptions are what display on the SERP, so you want to include a description title for your product pages and a description that further sells your product and includes a strong call to action for the user to engage.
Some of the higher-level SEO changes you can make on your site include optimizing URLs. A lot of CMS’ won’t create a neat slug that includes the product name and other keywords you’ll want to target in the page’s URL. Optimizing your URLs is important to your SEO strategy because Google does look at when ranking your site for search results and keyword positions. It also makes it easier for users to recognize where the link will lead them to, which establishes trust – something we can agree is very important for ecommerce websites.
If you’re not currently building your ecommerce website, then changing your URL slugs can be tricky business. You’re going to have to make sure all of your old URLs have the proper redirects set up so preexisting links lead to the new URL. You also should create a standard template for slugs across your website, so that all the URLs are set up in the format to create unity across your website and limit the amount of orphan pages, or pages that can’t be accessed from your navigation menu.
While you don’t have a huge amount of control on your backlink strategy, you do have full control over your internal linking strategy. Internal links exist throughout your website and link back to another page on your website. This helps SEO by lowering your bounce rate and increasing the time that users spend on your website. It also helps how your website is crawled by Google. Google needs to be able to prioritize different pages and understand the hierarchy and layout of your site. Your homepage is going to have the most links (internal and external), which makes it’s the highest priority page of your website. Then each of your category landing pages and individual pages follow the hierarchy after that. If these pages aren’t linked enough and are difficult for users to find, it’s going to be more difficult for Google to find as well. Moz recommends that no page on your site should take more than three link hops to get to it from any page. Google is smart, but it’s still learning more about websites every day. If you don’t give it the chance to learn the structure of your website, then those low priority pages are going to rank much lower in search results.
Another place on your ecommerce website that you have the opportunity to optimize is the content. The bulk of your content probably exists around your products. Product descriptions allow you to write a lot of unique copy that includes your targeted keywords. They will help Google understand what your page is about and will directed related searches to the page. It’ll also help users understand what you product is, which is important for ecommerce UX and driving users through the sales funnel because it can sell them on the product and allows them to make an informed purchasing decision. Keep in mind when I say “product descriptions allow you to write a lot of unique copy,” that the average first page result on Google contains 1,890 words. Don’t be afraid of writing content for your website because it’s going to improve your visibility in search results and improve SEO.
Now that you have a better understanding as to how SEO can help you drive sales on your ecommerce site, you better get moving! Start with an audit of your own site using Google’s tool that are already available to you. After that you can begin keyword research and actually implementing an SEO strategy. Or you can call us because we’ve got this down to a science.