The Complete Guide to eCommerce SEO

The Complete Guide to eCommerce SEO

The prettiest online store on the web isn’t worth a penny if it doesn’t get traffic. And while paid ads are a surefire way to bring customers to your door, they don’t provide nearly as high of a return on investment as organic traffic.

Daniel
Daniel

The prettiest online store on the web isn’t worth a penny if it doesn’t get traffic. And while paid ads are a surefire way to bring customers to your door, they don’t provide nearly as high of a return on investment as organic traffic.

In this complete guide to ecommerce SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), you’ll learn everything you need to know to increase your search ranking and get more targeted traffic to your online store.

We’ll cover the three essential components of an ecommerce SEO strategy:

  • Keyword research
  • On-page SEO
  • Off-page SEO

Each section is explained in simple terms with actionable SEO tips.

Let’s dive in.

eCommerce-SEO

Ecommerce SEO 101

We’re going to start with the basics, assuming you are a complete beginner in the world of search engine optimisation (SEO). After all, most retailers get into the business because they are passionate about their products - not because they are marketing wizards.

So if you could talk our ears off about those custom bowling balls that you sell but don’t know a lick about keywords, backlinks, or on-page optimisation, this section should catch you up to speed relatively quickly.

What is Ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimising your online store to make it more appealing to search engines and online shoppers. You can improve your ranking in search results by making your website easier to use, creating high-quality product pages and content, and building authority in your niche.

The goal is to increase your online visibility and attract more potential customers from search engines.

Why Ecommerce SEO Is Important

If someone types “custom bowling balls” into Google, and your ecommerce store pops up high on the list of results, that’s because you’ve got good SEO for that search term (also known as a keyword).

This matters. A lot.

Most people don’t go beyond page one of the search results.

When Backlinko conducted a study of 5 million search results, they discovered that only 0.78% of searchers click on a result on the second page of Google.

Study showing CTR of organic search results

If your category and product pages don’t make it onto the first page, the vast majority of searchers will never find you.

With 40% of product searches beginning on search engines like Google and Bing, that’s a huge deal for ecommerce sites.

High rankings are the equivalent to prime real estate for a brick-and-mortar store. Sure the rent is higher on Main Street, but that’s because your shop is bound to see more foot traffic.

And more traffic equals more sales.

The more keywords you can rank higher for, the more revenue your ecommerce store will bring in every month.

Basic Components of Ecommerce SEO

SEO for ecommerce really boils down to two primary elements: on-page SEO and off-page SEO.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO relates to changes you implement to your online store to make it more relevant to search engines and users. These can include publishing quality content, linking one page to another, and providing crisp product images.

We’ll get into on-page SEO for ecommerce websites later in the guide.

Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO relates to the things that happen outside of your site. Every time a customer re-pins you on Pinterest. Every time a blogger reviews your product and sends a link back to your store. Every time a blog post of yours goes viral on Facebook.

These are all off-page SEO factors.

Google uses the elements of off-page SEO to determine how relevant and trustworthy your online store is. The more people share it and link to it from reputable websites, the higher Google will rank you.

Ecommerce SEO Is a Competition

So, in its most basic form, SEO is about finding the right mix of on-page and off-page factors to convince Google that your site offers the best possible information related to a user’s search query.

You can think of ecommerce SEO as a competition with other stores selling the same products as you. All you have to do is one-up them on their ranking factors, and the search engines will favour you.

Create better content, earn better backlinks, build a more satisfying customer experience - stay one step ahead of your competitors, and the rankings will follow.

With the basics of SEO for ecommerce out of the way, let’s get to the tactics you can use to outrank your competitors.

Keyword Research for E-Commerce

Keyword research is the backbone of your ecommerce SEO strategy.

If you’re serious about earning more organic traffic for your store, you can’t skip out on keyword research.

Keywords are the search terms related to your products.

At this stage, your goal is to find a list of keywords that your ideal customers are likely to be searching for. This will become your SEO battle plan and form the basis of every other step you take in the fight for ranking.

The best keywords for ecommerce are product-focused. These are the search queries your potential customers are using to find products you sell.

For example, “desk fan” is a product-focused keyword.

You can still benefit from informational long-tail keywords, but your priority should be commercial keywords for your product and category pages.

How To Find Product-focused Keywords

While you could stand in front of a whiteboard and brainstorm keywords off the top of your head all day, there are some handy SEO tools to make the job a little bit easier.

Here are just a few to get you started, along with some tips on how to use them.

Keywords Everywhere

This free browser plugin works with both Chrome and Firefox. It’s a really fast way to check the search volume of a keyword directly on the search engine results page (SERP).

When you search for a keyword in Google, Keywords Everywhere will automatically show you a bunch of SEO metrics for the term.

Keywords Everywhere Search Volume

You can see the SEO difficulty and the historical search volume for the keyword.

If you scroll down the page, you can see trending and related keywords.

Keywords Everywhere list of e-commerce keywords

You can use the tool to create a shortlist of potential target keywords. Just enter a seed keyword, like your product category, and you can quickly find related keywords and see the search volume.

MozBar

Like Keywords Everywhere, MozBar is a browser extension that adds extra info to the Google SERP. Specifically, it will show you the page authority and domain authority of every search result.

These are metrics that Moz uses to provide a rough estimate of how hard a page will be to outrank. They range from 1 - 100, and higher means tougher to beat.

MozBar domain authority example

In the above example, you can see that PETA has a high domain authority score, but the second result is much lower.

Using both MozBar and Keywords Everywhere, you can find target keywords directly on the SERP.

A high search volume and a low domain authority equals a winning keyword.

Ahrefs

Ahrefs does a lot more than keyword research, and it is a worthwhile tool for anyone serious about their SEO campaigns.

For keyword research, one way to use it is to do a Google search for one of your terms, grab the URL of a high ranking competitor, and plug their site into Ahrefs.

You’ll then be provided with an exhaustive list of all the keywords that their page is ranking for.

Ahrefs e-commerce SEO tool

You can filter the results to remove branded queries and narrow in on the most valuable keywords.

When you click on a possible keyword target, you get a breakdown of search volume, clickthrough rate (CTR), and lots of other useful data.

Ahrefs keyword data

One of the best features of Ahrefs is that you get an estimate of the number of backlinks you will need to rank on the first page of Google.

You can even see the exact pages linking to your competitors.

Later in the guide, you’ll learn how to replicate your competitors’ backlinks and build your own.

AnswerThePublic

This free SEO tool helps you brainstorm long-tail keywords that you may not have considered. Just type in a search term you want to explore, and AnswerThePublic will generate a visual list of potential keywords that you never knew you were missing.

You’ll see question-based long-tail keywords at the top of the results page, but you can find preposition keywords if you scroll down.

AnswerThePublic long-tail keyword visualisation

These are more product-focused.

You can use question-based keywords for FAQ segments and content, but prepositions work best for category and product pages.

The visual layout looks great, but you can convert the data into lists if you prefer.

AnswerThePublic keyword data

How To Choose Keywords for Ecommerce Product Pages

When you’ve created a list of potential keywords, the next step is to pick out the best terms to target for your product and category pages.

There are a few important factors that you want to keep in mind.

Search Volume

Search volume is the number of people searching for the keyword per month.

This should be your number one consideration.

You won’t get any traffic or make any sales if you target a keyword that no one is searching for.

A good search volume will depend on the type of products you sell.

For some product keywords, 500 searches a month is great. But for other products and categories, it’s too low.

To find out the search volume for a keyword, you can head over to Ahrefs and use the Keywords Explorer tool.

Search volume e-commerce keywords

You’ll be able to see the average monthly search volume and number of clicks.

Ahrefs also provides a potential traffic estimate showing the amount of traffic you can earn by claiming the number one ranking for the keyword.

You might have noticed the spikes in search volume over time in the above example.

That’s because the keyword is for a product that has seasonal sales. Shoppers are more likely to search for an “esky” during the hot summers than over the cooler months.

Keyword search volume trends

This can affect the amount of traffic your ecommerce site gets and the number of sales you generate, so it’s something to consider when planning your keyword strategy.

Competition

Some keywords are much easier to rank for than others. So, how do you know how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword?

You can use Keywords Everywhere for a quick snapshot of the SEO difficulty. But you get much more detailed insights using Ahrefs’ Keyword Explorer.

The “Keyword difficulty” metric shows you how difficult it will be to rank for a keyword on a scale of 0-100.

Ahrefs keyword difficulty

The higher the score, the more difficult it will be to rank in the top 10 results in Google.

Buyer Intent

The end goal of your ecommerce SEO strategy is to make more sales.

But getting lots of traffic won’t do anything for your bottom line if those people don’t buy anything.

Before you target a keyword, you want to check that people searching for the term are ready to buy and not just window shopping.

There are a couple of simple ways you can find this out.

First, you can use Google Keyword Planner.

This is a tool for Google Ads, but it can provide valuable info to help you with ecommerce SEO keyword research.

Enter your potential keyword, and you’ll see a table of data like the one below.

Google Keyword Planner for ecommerce SEO strategy

The metric you want to pay attention to is “Competition”.

Competition shows how many advertisers are spending money to get their ads displayed in the SERP for the keyword. If the competition is “high” or “medium”, there is usually commercial intent behind the keyword.

You can also look at the bid range to see how much advertisers are willing to spend to get a visitor on their website.

The second way to find out if there is buyer intent is to analyse the traffic value of the top-ranking competitors for the keyword.

Enter the URL of the top competitor into Ahrefs, and you’ll see an overview of the page’s SEO performance.

Organic traffic value informational keyword

The most important metric is “Traffic value”.

Pages that rank for commercial intent keywords have a much higher traffic value than pages that rank for informational keywords.

Organic traffic value commercial keyword

If you look at the two examples above, you can see the traffic value for the first page is much higher despite attracting fewer visitors overall.

That’s because of buyer intent keywords.

Choose Specific Over Broad

Let’s imagine that you have a niche clothing store online that specialises in vegan apparel. You probably don’t want to target terms like “jeans” or “women’s blouse”.

Even if you sell those items, most people searching for them probably aren’t on the hunt for vegan options.

Likewise, those are very broad search terms, so they are likely incredibly difficult to rank. For example, “jeans” gets over 500,000 searches per month, and the first page is dominated by heavy hitters like Lucky Brand, American Eagle, and Hollister.

It is going to be a years-long battle to rank for that term if it’s even possible.

Instead, you want to aim for keywords that are relatively low in competition and likely to attract your kind of customer. Our vegan apparel ecommerce store, for example, might start with some of these:

  • Vegan Jeans
  • Ethical Clothing
  • Organic Dresses
  • Vegan Yoga Pants

Notice how all of these are much more related to your specific niche market. They are also narrower, which means fewer competitors are trying to fight you for rankings.

Go Beyond Product Keywords

Of course, you are going to be trying to attract people searching for the exact items that you sell.

But you can also find untapped sources of traffic by brainstorming informational keywords that your audience would find helpful or is curious about.

If you are selling grills and backyard barbecue accessories online, you could consider targeting long-tail keywords like this:

  • How to host a barbecue
  • Gas grill versus charcoal
  • How to grill the perfect steak
  • What to do when your gas grill won’t start

These could all be perfect topics for a blog post. If you haven’t considered the value of blogging for ecommerce, think about the early stages of the customer life cycle…

First, they become aware of your brand.

Then, they consider making a purchase.

Finally, they purchase what you have to offer.

While your product-specific keywords aim to attract customers at the end of the cycle, informational blog content targets keywords that are meant to raise awareness of your brand.

Someone searching Google for the difference between gas and charcoal grills may not be looking to buy right now, but you can probably bet they will purchase a new grill at SOME point.

If they find your blog post helpful, they’ll be more likely to put trust in your brand and turn to you when they finally are ready to spend some money.

Once you’ve got a clear idea of the keywords that you’re going to be trying to rank for, the next step is to start implementing the SEO strategies that will boost your chance of ranking.

On-Page SEO For Ecommerce

On-page SEO elements are the factors you have more control over.

While off-page SEO relies on a third-party sharing your content or linking to your store, you can directly impact on-page SEO by making changes to your category and product pages.

So, we’ll start by tackling on-page factors before we look at off-page SEO.

Target Your Most Promising Pages First

As an ecommerce site, you are going to have a TON of pages.

In addition to the standard home, contact, about, and shipping pages, you’ll have category pages, which are likely to have subcategory pages, which could even have their own subcategories.

And don’t forget that every single product is going to have a page of its own!

What that means is that you have to look at SEO as a long term strategy. You can’t do it all in a day, and you’re going to have to decide where to start first.

Rather than print your keyword list out, tape it to the wall, and throw some darts at it, we suggest starting by optimising your pages that are already showing some promise (although that dart thing does sound fun).

If you’ve been up and running for a while, hopefully, you are using Google Analytics to track your conversions, your traffic, or both. If so, take a look at the data and see which pages are converting well but aren’t getting as much traffic as others.

This means that if you can drive more traffic, you know it will pay off.

If you don’t have the analytical data to make a decision or your store is still young, then start with the keywords that have relatively high search volume as well as ranking competitors with low Moz authority metrics.

Once you’ve got a prioritised list of the keywords and pages to optimise, start implementing the steps below to bump up your on-page SEO factors.

Write Unique Product Descriptions

Google hates duplicate content.

Or, more specifically, it wants to provide searchers with content that has something worthwhile to say.

But the standard practice among ecommerce sites is to recycle the manufacturer descriptions on their product pages.

This is a surefire way to make your website NOT stand out from the competition - in both Google’s eyes and your customers’.

It might seem daunting to craft new descriptions for every product, but product and category descriptions are super-important for SEO and conversions.

According to Field Agent, 82% of US smartphone users found product descriptions “very” and “extremely” influential in purchasing decisions.

015 Product DescriptionsStudy on e-commerce product descriptions

So, starting with your most promising pages, create your custom product descriptions targeting a keyword.

You want to place your keyword strategically in a few key locations.

  • Put your exact match keyword in the page title and H1 tag
  • Put secondary keywords in headings and subheadings
  • Include your keyword or close variations of it naturally within your paragraphs
  • Make sure the exact keyword exists at least once within product descriptions

Aim to help the visitor understand what the product does while also highlighting the value it will bring them or the problems it will solve.

Optimise Your URLs

You need to optimise your URLs to help your visitors and Google understand what your page is about.

It’s an opportunity to include your target keyword in a concise, descriptive URL.

Here’s an example of a short and clear ecommerce URL:

www.myecommercestore.com/mens/jeans/slim-black

Here’s an example of what not to do:

www.myecommercestore.com/jpp3/012345678-ojp-113-jeans-black/554

You can make your URLs more appealing to search engines and users by avoiding too many numbers and keeping them short and descriptive.

Optimise Your Title Tags

Title tags are the first things people see when they find your page in the search results. They have a significant impact on CTR.

You should include your target keyword in a short title that encourages clicks.

With more and more people using their smartphones to shop online and search for products, you should keep your title tag between 50-60 characters.

016 Title TagsGoogle search results title tags

Any longer than 60 characters and Google will truncate the title for smartphone users.

You can also include your company name at the end to increase brand visibility and make your result stand out in the SERP.

Optimise Your Meta Descriptions

Meta descriptions are the short sections of text displayed below the title tag in the search results.

Just like the title tag, meta descriptions have a significant impact on CTR.

You can include your target keyword in a short and compelling meta description between 150-160 characters.

Google search results meta descriptions

There’s no guarantee that Google will use your meta description in the SERP, but writing a unique and descriptive sentence or two can be a quick SEO win.

If you want to spy on your competitors’ meta descriptions, you can download the free browser plugin SEO Minion.

Go to the competing page and open the extension to see a bunch of on-page SEO data.

SEO Minion insights

You can see the title tag, URL, meta description and more.

Optimise Your Images

Crisp, high-quality product images are vital for conversions, but they also impact ecommerce SEO.

You can change the file names of your images to make them more descriptive so that Google crawlers can understand what the image shows. Again, it’s an opportunity to include a relevant keyword and your product name.

Here’s an example of an SEO optimised image file name:

jeans-black-slim fit-stretch.png

Alt-text is another part of SEO image optimisation. Alt-text is the short description displayed if an image cannot be viewed.

It’s important for website accessibility and another place to include your keyword if it’s relevant.

Avoid Keyword Cannibalisation

The general rule with SEO is that you should never target the same keyword on more than one page.

If you have two blog posts with competing information about “why custom bowling balls make the perfect Father’s Day gift”, Google will have a hard time knowing which one to rank.

Sometimes this means that the wrong page ranks higher, so you are basically wasting traffic. And if your SEO efforts are being divided among two pages, that means neither of them is getting all the ranking power they could be.

If your website is relatively young, all you need to do at this stage is to make sure that your keyword research battle plan doesn’t plot out content that is likely to compete with itself.

For example, if one of your product category pages targets “leather boots”, you don’t want to plan out a blog post targeting the same term.

If your website has been around for a while, then you likely are cannibalising your keywords unintentionally.

In this case, you could use the Ahrefs site explorer tool to find a complete list of what keywords your posts and pages are ranking for.

Scour your list for duplicates, and then take action as necessary to eliminate the problem. Here are the two most common solutions to keyword cannibalisation:

  • De-optimise the page you don’t want to rank by removing the offending keyword from the copy and revising it as necessary to better target a different keyword.

  • Combine the two posts into one. Don’t simply cut and paste, though. Instead, take the best ideas from the one you don’t want to rank and incorporate them smoothly on the other page.

Implement Schema Markup To Get Rich Snippets

When a shopper searches for a product, Google will usually show a list of results containing normal snippets and rich snippets.

Normal snippets contain the URL, title tag, and meta description. Here’s an example:

Normal snippet for an e-commerce site

Rich snippets contain additional information below the meta description. Here’s an example so you can see the difference.

Rich snippet for an e-commerce site

You can see the star rating, number of reviews, pricing, and if the product is in stock.

Rich snippets are a great way to stand out in search engine results pages and increase CTR.

So how can you get a rich snippet for your ecommerce product pages?

By implementing schema markup.

Schema is additional code that provides search engines with extra information about your product pages. This type of optimisation is known as technical SEO.

You can add data about the product dimensions, brand, price, rating, and more. You can find the complete list of product information for schema markup on the Google Developer website.

If the thought of adding new code to your ecommerce website feels overwhelming, there is an easy way to do it.

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper can guide you through the process.

Structured Data Markup Helper menu

Enter the URL of your page, select “Products” data type, and you can start tagging your page.

Structured data markup for e-commerce website

When you have finished adding tags, click “Create HTML” to generate code to add to your product page.

You don’t need to be a developer to add HTML to a web page.

If you use WooCommerce, you can simply add a plugin to add the code for you.

There are also a bunch of schema plugins and apps to help you add HTML code to your Shopify product pages.

Build a Sound Ecommerce Site Architecture

Google likes websites that are organised hierarchically. This provides an easy way to let the search engine know how each page or post relates to the rest.

A strong website structure also usually correlates with a better user experience.

You can think of your ecommerce site as a city. When you have an intuitive site architecture, your visitors can easily find their way around and get to where they want to go.

When your ecommerce web design is overcomplicated, there are no signposts or street names, and everything comes to a grinding halt.

Site architecture is another component of technical SEO. It’s about making sure that search engines can understand the pages on your site.

Here are a few things you can do to organise your ecommerce store for both Googlebot and your customers:

Limit Clicks as Much as Possible

Ideally, users should never have to click more than three times to find what they’re looking for.

The good news is that ecommerce sites naturally lend themselves to this sort of click minimisation. Most online stores can be organised as follows:

Home > Category > Subcategory > Products

Let’s take a look at how the biggest ecommerce company in the world uses a simple site architecture.

Amazon sells millions of products, but shoppers only ever need to click a few times to find what they are looking for.

Let’s say that you want to buy a new saucepan.

You land on the Amazon homepage, open the menu, and click on “Kitchen & Dining”.

Example of structure for e-commerce websites

From the “Featured categories”, you hover over “Cookware” and click on “Pots & Pans”.

Example of e-commerce site structure

Next, you click the “Saucepans” subcategory.

Example of an e-commerce category page

You can now see the best selling saucepans on Amazon with more products further down the page.

Example of e-commerce product pages

In just three clicks, you can find a new saucepan for your kitchen.

Not only does a well-organised ecommerce site make it easier for your customers, but it also helps Google to crawl and index all of your product and category pages.

Well-planned site architecture is great for ecommerce SEO.

Pass Authority With Purposeful Internal Linking

Another key aspect of your ecommerce site architecture is strategically linking to your own content. This helps pass authority on to the page that you really want to rank.

There are two main strategies to keep in mind when planning your internal linking:

Link To Relevant Pages

Let’s say you have a category page that you are trying to rank for “custom digital signage”. You could create a series of blog posts with informational content about digital signage.

Each post can include a link to the category page.

This not only encourages readers to convert into customers, but it also boosts that category page’s topical relevance in Google’s eyes.

Choose Appropriate Anchor Text

Every link consists of two parts: the anchor text and the URL.

The anchor text is the text that appears to readers. In the following example link, the anchor text is for On-page SEO, and the URL is:

https://pwd.com.au/complete-guide-to-on-page-seo/

When building internal links, you want to make your anchor text relevant to the keyword you are trying to rank the target page for.

Picking up with our previous example, you would build internal links using anchor text such as “custom digital signage”, “custom digital signs”, and “digital display screen”.

Create A Helpful User Experience

One of the often-overlooked aspects of SEO is user experience.

Google’s algorithm is far more complex than you can imagine, and it uses all manner of metrics to determine where your site should rank for your target keywords.

One of the metrics that may influence Google ranking is bounce rate.

Bounce rate is the percentage of people that leave your webpage without engaging with any links or navigating to another page on your site.

They arrived, had a quick look around, and left. They bounced.

If visitors come to your page, get frustrated by the experience, and bounce back to the search results to choose a different site, Googlebot could hold that against you.

It indicates that your page doesn’t provide what users are looking for.

When Backlinko analysed the correlation between bounce rate and Google ranking, they found that a low bounce rate is associated with a higher ranking.

Study on the impact of bounce rate on search ranking

With that in mind, here are a few things you can do to improve your ecommerce user experience and keep your bounce rate low.

Include Pictures, Videos, and User Guides

Beating your competitors at on-page SEO means going a step above in every aspect. For example, if they include just a single picture of a product from one angle, you should take more.

Even better if your pictures are zoomable, rotatable, and representative of different variants (like colour, style, or size).

Online shoppers need to form an extra level of trust with the store because of the physical distance. They can’t pick up a product or test it out like they can in a brick and mortar store.

That’s why visuals are so important for conversions and user experience.

According to a 2019 survey published by eMarketer, digital shoppers expect to see an average of six images and three videos when looking at an ecommerce product page.

Study on consumer expectations for product pages

The more you can answer their questions upfront with high-quality visuals, the more likely they will buy from you.

You can film videos to explain how a product works or compare two similar products, for example.

Downloadable user guides for complicated products are another excellent way to build faith with the customer and help them find exactly what they are looking for.

Make the Checkout Easy

The average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce websites is around 75%.

That means around 3/4 of visitors that add a product to their shopping cart will leave your ecommerce store before they complete the purchase.

Extra costs are the number one reason customers leave, but a complicated checkout process is another big issue.

Reasons for e-commerce store cart abandonment

If you could capture just one-quarter of the abandoned carts on your store, you would increase revenues by leaps and bounds.

Here are some simple ways to make the checkout process as simple and user-friendly as possible:

  • Show shipping costs upfront, ideally listed on the same page as product pricing.
  • Allow as many payment methods as possible, including non-credit card options like PayPal and Apple Pay.
  • Don’t require users to create an account to make a purchase.
  • Enable autofill to reduce customer effort filling in forms.

Keeping the checkout process short and simple can also help you make the most of the traffic you already generate and maximise sales revenue.

Collect Customer Reviews

The more product reviews you can collect, the better.

Online shoppers seek out product reviews to validate a purchase before clicking “Buy Now”.

If they can’t find reviews on your product page, they’ll leave your store to find them elsewhere. And most of those shoppers won’t come back.

According to a 2019 survey, online shoppers expect to see an average of 112 reviews when looking at a product online.

How many reviews do you expect when looking at a product online?

Consumer expectations for e-commerce product page reviews

For younger shoppers, the number of reviews expected is even higher.

In addition to boosting conversions, reviews published on your page can also improve ecommerce SEO.

Customer reviews boost your total word count with lots of super-relevant content.

Google loves this type of content, especially when it’s updated regularly.

So make sure that your ecommerce store is equipped to let customers leave reviews. And, in your order confirmation and follow-up emails, don’t be shy about asking customers to give you a review.

Some 70% of people are willing to leave a review if you ask them.

Improve Your Site Speed

A page that takes more than 3 seconds to load will lose more than half of its mobile visitors.

Slow site speed kills conversions and damages SEO.

Google has a free tool for testing page speed that can show you how you are performing.

Just pop in your URL to PageSpeed Insights, and it will provide you with the amount of time it takes to load and give the page a score between 0-100.

Google PageSpeed Insights report

The higher the score, the faster the page.

If you aren’t happy with the results, PageSpeed Insights also provides recommendations to help you speed up your site.

Here are a few additional easy techniques to reduce your load speed:

  • Upgrade your hosting plan
  • Compress images and large files
  • Control your caching settings

If you aren’t a tech wiz, upgrading site speed is a task that you can outsource to a professional web developer for very affordable rates.

Off-page SEO for Ecommerce

Once you’ve got your on-page elements squared away, you can begin tackling off-page SEO for your ecommerce site.

As we mentioned earlier, the goal at this point is to build both your trust and relevance in Google’s eyes.

Off-page SEO strategies involve finding ways to get others sharing and talking about your content. The more authoritative the sources linking to you, the more trustworthy your website will appear to the search engines.

Create Shareable Content

One way to encourage natural links is to regularly publish content that your audience is likely to share.

While a classic strategy is to write incredibly useful and engaging blog posts, don’t neglect other types of content that tend to go viral.

People love quizzes, for example. They can be just for fun, or they can offer serious advice. Here are two quiz ideas that could be great for a store that sells winter sports gear:

  • What “must ski” mountain are you? (fun!)
  • What temperature rating do you need for your winter sleeping bag? (serious)

Creating high-quality content that adds value for your audience and stands apart from your competition is going to do two things for you:

First, it’s going to earn you backlinks (the single most important ranking factor).

Think of all the hobbyist blogs out there about winter sports, skiing, camping, and outdoor adventure that would love to feature a post about your quiz on their website.

Every time they send a link to your site, a little bit of their authority is being passed on to you.

Second, it’s going to get you social signals. These are things like retweets, shares, and pins—signals on social media that tell the search engines that people are talking about you.

There’s a debate among SEOs whether social signals impact Google ranking. But more eyes on your content is always a good thing.

How To Come Up With Content Ideas for Ecommerce Digital Marketing

So how can you come up with ideas that have a chance of going viral on social media?

One of the most effective ways is to learn from existing content that does well on social media.

BuzzSumo is the best tool for showing you these insights.

This tool helps you develop ideas by revealing the best performing content on social media around a topic.

Enter a keyword or topic, and you can see content that has already been shared a lot around the web related to that term. This gives you insight into the type of content that performs best on social media.

Buzzsumo for off-page SEO for e-commerce

You can also see the content formats that get the highest engagement.

Buzzsumo for content marketing research

This can help you choose the best formats and topics to maximise your reach on social media. See what works for each topic, and create a new piece of content that is better than what’s already out there.

Encourage Product Reviews

A really good source of backlinks for ecommerce sites is product reviews.

We’re talking about product reviews on third-party websites - not customer reviews on your ecommerce product pages.

Consider finding the influencers in your market and sending them a free sample of one of your hit products in exchange for a review.

When they publish the review, they’ll include a link to your website.

If they are an established leader in your niche, this is one of the most authoritative backlinks you can get.

Here’s an example of a backlink on a review website.

 Example of link building for ecommerce SEO

Bonus points if the reviewer has a YouTube channel. Video content is super engaging for your audience and more likely to drive traffic to your website.

Consumers love video reviews because they generally make it clear that the reviewer has actually tested the product out thoroughly.

Get Backlinks From Manufacturers and Distributors

If you are selling someone else’s products, the odds are that the manufacturer or supplier has a website. And many of these websites will include a list of authorised dealers that come with (you guessed it) a backlink to you.

Check in with all of your suppliers and ask what it takes to make the list. Some will add everyone on there. Others require you to hit a certain annual sales figure first.

Do whatever it takes to get these links because they are obviously industry-specific (and with backlinks, relevance is key!).

If you sell products from 10 different distributors, that’s 10 potential trustworthy links that could be pointing directly to your store.

Ask for Links

Another strategy to acquire links is to shamelessly ask for them.

We don’t mean spamming a hundred inboxes in hopes of getting a few links. Instead, create some really high-quality content for your audience.

If you sell healthy pet treats, for example, maybe you could create an ebook about the Ten Vitamins Your Dog Isn’t Getting From Their Usual Pet Food.

Then, hunt around on the internet for blog posts in your niche that would naturally link to your ebook page.

Maybe you find a dog enthusiast blogger who has a roundup post in which she offers the Best Resources Around the Web For Raising a Healthy Pup.

Check out her contact page and send a simple email like this:

Hi {firstname},

I just read your post about Resources for Raising a Healthy Pup and thought it was full of great ideas. I especially liked that you noted the importance of choosing organic treats because I actually sell them!

I noticed that your list of resources didn’t include any information specifically about vitamins, so I thought you might be interested in adding this ebook that I wrote to your list: {insert a link to ebook page}.

The trick is to be genuine. Off-page SEO is often just as much about building relationships as it is about building links.

Match Competitor Links

SEO is a race. To win, you just have to stay one step ahead of the competition.

When it comes to backlinks, this means acquiring as many of the same backlinks as your competitors as possible. And then some.

But how do you find out what links your competition has already got?

For this, we’ll turn to Ahrefs again, specifically their domain comparison tool. With this, you can plug in the top domains ranking for your target keyword and get a list detailing the number of links they have already got.

Ahrefs competitor site audit to see number of links

For example, if you see that your competition has guest posts on Medium, you can start making efforts to do the same.

Continue to replicate their links to the best of your ability, and slowly but surely, you’ll catch up with them in the search engine results.

Watch Out for Blackhat SEO Link Building Tactics

If you start hunting around online for backlinks, you’ll come across all sorts of offers for link building. Approach with caution.

A lot of SEOs use shady tactics involving spammy websites that become link building farms. While these might boost rankings temporarily, they can also tank your website.

Google is on to such tricks, and its algorithm updates regularly to combat blackhat SEO strategies.

If you do make a mistake and end up getting slapped on the wrist by Big G, don’t miss our guide on how to recover from a Google penalty.

Never Stop Link Building

One thing to keep in mind is that just because you’ve built a few links doesn’t mean that your off-page SEO efforts are over.

For starters, your competitors will be trying to outpace you at every step. So just because you manage to score a top position for a keyword doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels.

Remember the story of the tortoise and the hair.

Additionally, as an ecommerce store, you’ll have no end to the keywords you want to rank for. So even if you are in a very comfortable position for some, there are always links you can build for others.

Conversion Rate Optimisation for ecommerce

We’ve explored all the elements that go into a successful ecommerce SEO strategy. With the above tactics, you should start to get more traffic from search engines.

But before we wrap up, we need to touch on conversion rate optimisation.

Once you’ve done the hard work of getting visitors onto your website, you need to convert them into paying customers.

Here are three actionable strategies to get more sales from your organic traffic.

Add Trust Badges

People want to know that their information is secure - especially when it comes to online purchases.

If your visitors don’t trust you with their credit card information, they won’t buy from you.

Adding trust badges to remind customers that they are shopping safely can make them feel comfortable hitting that checkout button.

According to a 2021 survey, Norton SECURED is the most trusted badge:

Study on most trusted checkout badges for ecommerce sites

You can boost customer trust by securing your ecommerce site using one of the above providers and placing the trust badge on your checkout page.

Add Social Proof

Shoppers need to know that other customers have had a good experience with you. In brick-and-mortar retail, they can get this sense by seeing and hearing employees interact with other customers.

Online, you need to add social proof.

Reviews and testimonials can be a great way to show shoppers that other people have gone through the process of buying from your store.

Glowing testimonials on your home page and your product and category pages are some of the most powerful types of social proof.

Keyword Research Tools

While you could stand in front of a whiteboard and brainstorm keywords off the top of your head all day, there are some handy tools that may make the job a little bit easier. Here are just a few to get you started, along with some tips on what you can use them for.

Example of ecommerce site testimonials

You can also use product recommendations to add social proof and create FOMO (fear of missing out).

Amazon uses this tactic on its product pages. Shoppers can see similar products that other customers have viewed after looking at the same item.

Example of social proof for ecommerce sites

Nobody wants to miss out. So many shoppers will look at the products other people are buying before they commit to a purchase.

Another way to use social proof for FOMO marketing is to add “Frequently Bought Together” product bundles.

Example of ecommerce site product bundle

This can be an effective way to capitalise on cross-selling opportunities and increase average order value (AOV).

Add Live Chat

Live chat has the highest satisfaction level of any form of customer support. Among the reasons that consumers cite is the ability to get their issues resolved quickly and multi-task while they get support (and, of course, the fact that they don’t like to talk on the phone).

For ecommerce, live chat can be a driver of conversions and sales. You can be there to answer customer queries when they are making a purchasing decision.

Think of live chat as the online version of an in-store customer service representative. It can be a powerful way to boost sales.

Study on the impact of live chat on ecommerce websites

While you might think it requires a lot of extensive coding, a plugin like ZenDesk makes live chat easy enough for anyone to implement.

Get To Work

As an online retailer, you’ve got your work cut out for you. But with patience and consistent effort, you can master the art of ecommerce SEO and get more traffic and sales.

Or, you can save time and focus on what you do best by letting Perth Web Design get you ranked for the keywords that matter most.

Get in touch, and let’s talk about how we can help you get more customers on Google with proven SEO strategies for online stores.

Get in touch with one of our digital strategists today
PWD Logo

PWD acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land where we work and live and we pay our respects to Elders past and present. PWD celebrates the stories, culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of all communities who also work and live on this land.

Privacy PolicyTerms