Launching an eCommerce business is daunting within itself. When you factor in marketing and ensuring that your website ranks, the stress level is magnified. To get your site to rank you need to improve your SEO, which is short for search engine optimization. When you start to research what SEO is and how to improve it, it’s enough to make you give up before you even start.
But you 100% should not give up. SEO can sound complicated. And to be fair, some technical aspects of it are. But there are many steps and actions you can take on your own that will have a large impact on your page and how it will rank. This guide will clarify the most impactful steps are you can take as an eCommerce business owner and put them in the most simple terms possible.
Here is your simplified guide to SEO for eCommerce.
Step One: Keyword Research
This is the most important step that any business owner can take. It isn’t possible to optimize your site for SEO if you don’t know what you need to optimize it for. Doing research will help you figure out what words and terms your target customers are searching for. Once you know that, you can make sure those words and phrases are sprinkled on your website and any other content you produce. You will also want to see what keywords your competition is using as well. This can help you know what words to targets, or what words to avoid (if they are using words that are difficult to rank for).
For example, imagine you are an eCommerce retailer who sells vitamins. While there is a booming market for these products there is also a great deal of competition. There are countless retailers online selling vitamins and other supplements. To make sure your website and products come up at the top of a search engine results page, you have to conduct keyword research. Ahrefs is a terrific site to help you with your keyword research. For eCommerce retailers, using Amazon’s website can also be useful. Put in a word at a time and see what the top results are. This will give you a good idea of what words drive what results on the eComm giant.
Step Two: On-page Optimization
After you have determined what keywords you want to rank for, your next step is to work them into your website and other content appropriately. This technique is called on-page optimization. During this step, you will check the following items to make sure they are optimized for search engine crawlers.
Check headers for keywords (H1, H2, etc)- using headers in your content is crucial for search engines. Keywords help the crawlers better read, index, and rank your material. Make sure you have written content broken down into this format and sprinkle in your keywords properly.
Meta tags, alt tags, and URL slugs– meta tags, alt tags, and URL slugs are all pieces of your website that search engines use to rank you. Meta tags are pieces of code that tell search engines what your page is about. Alt tags are used to describe what a photo on your website looks like. URL slugs are the words that come at the end of a web address that detail what the page is about. To optimize these for SEO, make sure each one of these includes your keywords. URL slugs are crucial for eCommerce sites.
Page speed– people will leave a webpage if it takes too long to load. Something that always bogs down a webpage is pictures or other graphics. To make sure you don’t fall victim to this trap, compress your images before loading them to your page. Also, don’t go overboard and upload too many images. This could apply to graphics in general. If a page is slated to have multiple images and videos, ask yourself does it really need all of those items? You want to showcase your product in the best way possible, but no one will see that if you have bogged a page down with so many items it won’t load.
Optimize your product descriptions page & category descriptions– optimizing your web pages is important in any industry. But there is no industry where it is more important than in eCommerce. Your pages will pop up in searches for keywords or types of products if you optimize them properly. Making you incorporate your keywords and any LSI keywords cannot be stressed enough. Make sure you are also very clear what the item is that you are describing. If the page is for a white ribbed tank top, it needs to say that on your page.
Step Three: Conduct A Technical SEO Audit On Your Site
Technical SEO can sound very complicated to a novice. And to be honest, some parts of it can be. But it doesn’t have to be. Conduct technical SEO audits of your website for things like broken pages, bad links, etc. Some of this may need to be done by hand. Other parts of the audit process can be done with computer programs or other applications. No matter what you use, run these tools to look for anything that could be holding your site back from reaching its peak SEO ranking. You would be surprised at how many links can “break” over time or how many duplicate pages you can end up with during the process of building a vast eCommerce site.
Step Four: Exam Your Site Architecture To Ensure Optimum Page Flow
You want your site to be easy for people to shop and for search engines to crawl. If your pages don’t flow, neither of these things can happen. You want visitors (as well as search engines) to have to make the fewest number of clicks to get to your products from the home page of your website. From the point of view of a human, the easier your site is to navigate, the more likely you are to convert that person into a buyer. People who get frustrated by a site’s design don’t stay on a page long, increasing your bounce rate. And when they leave a site quickly, they most certainly aren’t someone you can convert into a purchaser. From the standpoint of a search engine, the further away your product pages are from your home page, the less authority your website will have. Less authority means a lower ranking by the search engine.
The best way to make sure that your website doesn’t have products too many steps away from the home page is to give visitors the ability to click on categories on your home page (ie: women, men, kids). From those large categories, they can then click on subcategories (ie: sweaters, pants, shoes) and then directly onto a specific piece of product. This is the shortest distance from the home page to the product.
Step Five: Have A Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing and creation may not seem like something an eCommerce company needs to worry about. You may think your focus should be on driving sales and you can’t see the value in having a blog or other forms of content created for your business. Overlooking the value that terrific content can bring you would be a huge mistake! Well created content can serve as one more way for you to promote and market your eCommerce site. Your content can and will help you drive more sales to your platform. Also, keep in mind that content is more than just words on a page; content includes videos, pictures, tweets, and many other things. By using the techniques in this guide and making use of keywords and alt tags, well-crafted content is another way for you to improve your SEO rankings.
Here are some ways to use content marketing to improve your SEO:
Use video content– video is the dominant form of media consumed today. When used for eCommerce, videos can also help customers decide if they want to purchase your product. You can also use video as a way to share tutorials and other information about your products.
Incorporate influencer marketing on your social media platforms– influencer marketing is one of the hottest trends right now in social media. Not only will this help you get exposure for your brand and product, but it will help you boost your SEO by acquiring some valuable backlinks.
Create easily shareable content- the more your content is shared, the more likely you are to meet your sales goals and acquire new customers for your brand. By creating quality content with easy to use share buttons, you will grow your business and improve your SEO authority.
SEO can sound very complicated and time-consuming. For an eCommerce business, it can also sound like too much work. However, you can get big results by taking the simple steps found in this guide. These easy tips will help you drive even more traffic to your website and help you increase your brand recognition and sales.