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Ecommerce SEO Guide – How to drive organic traffic to online stores in 2021

Are you looking for ways to effectively market and improve your online ecommerce business?

Or do you want to boost organic traffic to your website without any help from paid marketing?

Your search ends with  

ecommerce SEO!

What ecommerce SEO is, is it different from ‘standard’ SEO?, why should you care about ecommerce SEO, and how you should optimize your online marketplace for search engines.

I have answered them all in this detailed ecommerce SEO guide. Get, set, read! 

What is ecommerce SEO?

The process of optimizing an ecommerce site for search engines is known as ecommerce SEO.

Simply put, it’s a series of guidelines to optimize an ecommerce website and make it search engine friendly.

ecommerce SEO covers all SEO principles, with the addition of a set of guidelines that are unique to online eCommerce shops that may not be available for other types of websites.

For example, in the case of non-commerce websites, category pages are not so critical for SEO; however, they are crucial for e-commerce websites and need extra recognition.

Everything you learn about SEO in my SEO Tutorial or SEO Guide is also applicable to ecommerce site

Why is SEO important for eCommerce or What are the Benefits of eCommerce SEO?

Here are the benefits of SEO on eCommerce websites and why business owners need it? 

Increase visibility on search engines

At the end of the day, an eCommerce website is just a business that is run online. It’s not a fun-filled hobby, but it’s a venture that has to generate income, make money, and expand with time. 

In a day, search engines answer tens of thousands of queries, and a lot of them are associated with either finding or buying a product online.

Ecommerce SEO can allow you to gain visibility on search engines and drive traffic to your online shop.

Rank high for the right keywords 

Just obtaining traffic from search results is not enough. It would help if you worked on gaining targeted traffic.

Users who know exactly what they want and land directly on your website are known as targeted organic traffic.

These users have explicit intent, which is expressed in their search query.

Most of these queries can be used as long-tail keywords such as “buy Bluetooth headphones with mic” and “buy a red shirt with black stripes.”

Ecommerce SEO will help you find and optimize those long-tail keywords that can give you higher rankings and are a catalyst in bringing a difference to your business.

Create a long lasting online business

Now that you are in the business, you should know that there are lots of ways in which your website can get traffic instantly, such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and other social media networks are the most common and effective means of driving quick traffic.

The challenge with this type of paid traffic is that traffic and sales will see a downward trend once the ads stop.  

That is what is great about SEO.

A well developed and structured SEO friendly website is a gift that keeps on bringing traffic for years to come.

It takes time for SEO to work, but the effects last for a long time, generating greater ROI (Return on Investment) than any other marketing method.

Therefore, if you want to develop a company that generates traffic without solely focusing on paid advertising, SEO is the way ahead.

SEO will help you develop an easy-to-use website. 

Almost all SEO concepts are all about improving a website’s functionality and making it more user-friendly for both users and search engines.

When deciding to adopt an SEO approach to improve the website, the result is a user-friendly website that is well-positioned in the search results. 

Improve your ecommerce website’s conversion rate 

In addition to helping you obtain your targeted traffic, SEO will give you directions on boosting the conversion rate, i.e., revenue.

Optimizing for a higher conversion is a time-consuming and painstaking process involving a lot of testing, but is guided by SEO rules and brings results.

Now that you understand what is SEO for an eCommerce website and the benefits of eCommerce SEO, let us discuss some SEO best practices for ecommerce. 

Ecommerce SEO Strategy for website

The best way to optimize an online shop is to follow a structured approach. This means that you need to have a plan in place that will cover all aspects of SEO.

To be more specific, here is a list of all the things you need to check and optimize:

Let’s get started.

Keyword research for ecommerce website

Keyword research is the foundation of every ecommerce SEO campaign.

The backbone of all ecommerce SEO campaigns is lengthy keyword research. This is because keyword research is integrated with all other SEO tasks such as on-page optimization, link building, and more.

Most keyword research tutorials concentrate on “keywords that provide information.” These keywords are all about locating useful “how-to” content, which your audience type in search engines. However, it is keywords geared to product searches that help eCommerce SEO, such as “Samsung mobile phone.”

This means you must take product-focused keyword research into account. This is how to do it exactly: 

Undoubtedly, Amazon is your competition. Yes. Yet it’s still the largest online eCommerce platform… making it a goldmine for finding keywords. 

This how you can use Amazon for keyword research: 

First things first, go over to Amazon and insert a keywords query that describes your product. Like a faithful servant, Amazon will show you suggested keywords.

Repeat the same process of other important products on your site. You can also use tools such as Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, Ahrefs and more to find more keywords for your eCommerce site. 

Once you have collected enough keywords, check them using this checklist to identify the best keywords for your eCommerce site. 

  1. Ensure that the search volume of the keyword is high. 
  2. Make sure that the high volume keyword you select is relevant to the product you are selling. 
  3. Before you decide on a keyword, take a second to see if the keyword answers commercial/ user intent.
  4. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to select a keyword with medium to high search volume and have a low keyword difficulty AKA not impossible to rank for on the first Search Engine Result Page (SERP).

Site architecture for ecommerce site

After figuring out the right keywords, the next thing to focus on is the architecture of your website.

ecommerce site architecture is the process of setting up your website’s navigation, product pages and category pages.

Ecommerce site architecture

At the end of the day, ecommerce site architecture is all about presenting your best and most engaging content to your users and decreasing the number of times they would have to click to reach it. 

A good eCommerce site structure follows the three “golden rules”: 

  • Ensure the website is fast, simple, and scalable.
  • It should not take more than three clicks to reach from one page to the other.  
  • Use keyword research to build URLs and subdirectories that are highly important.

On-Page SEO strategy for ecommerce

Now is the time to work on the on-page optimization of your ecommerce platform.

On page ecommerce SEO includes using the keywords selected earlier in the right place.

This is just a way to make sure that Google is well aware of the page’s context. Like it is the case with most ecommerce sites.

It is your category and product pages that generate the majority of traffic and revenue. When a user finds these pages on Google, they get immediate access to all your products too.  

One of the toughest aspects of ecommerce SEO is optimizing the product and the category pages.

Yes, you want quality content, but unlike a blog post, you also have to bear in mind the conversion rate of your eCommerce site. 

Here are the key techniques for on-page SEO for ecommerce sites 

Add relevant keywords in your Title Tag

Just like normal SEO, you want your focus keyword to be included 

in the title tag of your website. That’s not it, though; you will also need to add modifiers such as “Buy,” “Cheap,” and “Deals.” in your title for your site to show up in long-tail keywords searches.

If you didn’t know before, your website’s click-through rate (CTR) is a prime ranking signal used by Google.

Regardless it is a good idea to optimize your title tag for a better CTR. You can do that by adding click magnet words such as “X% off” and “Lowest Price” to your title.

Improve your Meta Description

Once upon a time, the meta description of a page used to be a significant part of the on-page SEO process.

While this is no longer the case, your description tag is incredibly relevant for your CTR.

In order to optimize the CTR on your page, add terms such as ‘great choices,’ ‘Free delivery’ and ‘all products on sale.’ 

Your on-page content should be more than 1000 words

Google needs to see what your page is all about. The greater the content on-site, the better Google can do its job.

Moreover, informative content on your page allows consumers to understand what to purchase. That adds to your website’s user-experience too.

Sprinkle your relevant keywords in your content and use LSI keywords 

It is time to make sure that you have used your focus keyword 3-5 times in content after you have written your comprehensive product description.

Additionally, make sure you use Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords (words and phrases closely related to your focus keyword) in your content too.

Create URLs that are short with your Keyword 

Research reveals that on Google’s first page, short URLs appear to rate higher than long URLs. Thus, while creating URLs for your eCommerce site, ensure that it is short and add your keyword to them.

Work on the interlinking strategy

One of the best things about ecommerce SEO is that interlinking can be achieved almost immediately.

That’s because the navigation of ecommerce sites normally produces a lot of natural internal links.

However, experts say, building an inter-linking strategy is unquestionably the best practice for ecommerce SEO.

Thus, it will be wise to spend some time on it. Specifically, you want to link authoritative pages internally to product and category pages of high importance.

Implement Schema for Product Reviews

There is no better way than rich snippets if you want a fast way to stand out on Google’s first SERP.

Ecommerce platforms have the chance and have one of the smartest and most enticing snippets: product reviews. 

Schema is a special code that provides a deeper understanding of your website’s content for search engines such as Google and Bing.

If you want to add the product review schema, you can use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. 

Technical SEO audits for ecommerce websites

SEO is not all just about keywords, and it very much has a technical aspect to it that includes elements like website speed, the UI and UX of the site, and mobile-friendliness.

Ultimately, it’s about supplying users with the best shopping experience. This is why it is essential to audit your eCommerce site for technical SEO frequently.

Use tools such as SEMrush, DeepCrawl and ScreamingFrog to perform a technical SEO audit for your eCommerce site.

Sitemap (XML/HTML)

Two kinds of sitemaps exist, XML and HTML. In general, HTML sitemaps are created for shoppers to access the website easily.

In comparison, the XML sitemaps have the possibility to accurately index the URLs of search engine robots across the website.

Log File Analysis

As the name suggests, log file analysis downloads files from the server and adds them to a log filing tool. Simple, right?

Ideally, you can receive details about all your website interactions – be it a human or a bot. This log file can be used to find errors and to make well-educated decisions about your eCommerce site’s SEO. 

Perhaps the most remarkable SEO value in log files study is to show you how your website’s crawl budget is used.

The crawl budget is higher for domains with high authority.

Although it cannot directly affect how much crawl budget is assigned to your site by the search engine’s crawl budget, log file analysis will do a lot to boost the use of this budget.

This is done in several ways, including:

  • Identifying the URLs that are crawled most frequently and optimized accordingly.
  • Find client errors and remedy them.
  • Pinpoint to orphaned pages that are not visible during site crawls.
  • Highlight slow-loading pages to speed up.

Crawl Budget

Your crawl budget is the number of pages that Google crawls on your website every particular day. A low budget can lead to problems in indexing that affect the rankings of your site.

Given the massive volume of pages, most eCommerce sites need to maximize their budget. To check your crawl budget, use the Google Search Console

Crawl the Website

Using applications namely Screaming Frog, SEMrush, Ahrefs, and DeepCrawl, you can discover and address a host of HTTP error problems, including 3XX redirection errors, 4XX Client errors, and 5XX server errors. 

Additionally, duplicate or missing titles, image alt text, H1 identifiers, 

or meta descriptions may also be found with this crawl.

Canonical Tag

Often, major ecommerce sites have product pages connecting from several category pages. And sometimes, you end up with different pages and different URLs with the same content.

Using a canonical tag can help you eliminate this kind of situation.

This primary HTML feature informs the search engine which URL version is to be crawled and displayed in the search results. 

Robot.txt File

Robots.txt is a file that lets search engine bots know which pages to crawl and index on the eCommerce site and which ones not to crawl. Additionally, the Robot.txt file has a variety of uses, including:     

  • Blocks non-public sections – such as login page, forms, or confidential pages. 
  • Help increase the crawl budget by blocking irrelevant pages. 
  • Deters indexing of resource pages such as PDFs, images, and videos.

Redirect the out-of-stock item pages to similar products

When you are running an ecommerce store, it is almost certain that you will have a few pages with out-of-stock items every now and then.

Ideally, you would take down those pages. However, this can lead to 404 errors that can impact the search results adversely.

Moreover, seeing a 404 error page instead of products they want can be irritating to most visitors. What you can do is redirect the URL to other similar product pages instead.

Fix Duplicate and Thin Content Issues

Duplicate content and thin content problems can cause grave concerns for the SEO for your eCommerce website. You would be surprised how easy it is for duplicate content to show up on an eCommerce site.

You can blame this type of blunder on the technical difficulties with the CMS and errors related to the codes.

These problems typically include the pages of session IDs, pages of shopping carts, internal searches, and sometimes even review pages. 

On the other end, thin content refers to pages that contain either very little or no content at all. These typically have empty product descriptions, test/orphaned pages, and thin category pages (unimportant pages). 

Since thin content isn’t ideal for the user’s experience, it can be a primary culprit that can blur the website’s performance.

This, in particular, will severely hinder the potential of a website to rank high on related searches.

To help with thin content and duplicate content, you need to again take help from canonical URLs, which will let the search engines know that only one-page should be indexed.

Page Speed

It has been quite some time since the Page speed of a website has been an important ranking signal for search engines.

Often referred to as page load time, page speed refers to the time it takes to view content on the screen from when the server receives the initial request.

The faster the page speed, the better the search rank. You are wise to routinely test your eCommerce website’s pages with Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool and make necessary changes to improve your site’s speed.

Structured Data

As part of your SEO campaign, you can enhance your eCommerce website’s products in the rich snippets on the search results using structured data. In exchange, you get a greater chance of ranking high. 

Search engines can use this data to boost your website’s visibility, improve click-through rates and beat the competition. Popular types of structured data to be used are: 

  • Name of the product 
  • Product rating (star rating)
  • The price of the products
  • Availability

Adding these schemas to your product pages would hopefully show the mark up to the search engine and boost the chances of ranking for a similar query.

Website Security with HTTPS/SSL

HTTPS and SSL certificates are linked to the security of the website. The HTTPS/SSL tag means that the website is encrypted and that the link is secured. 

Mobile Responsive Design

Google’s Mobile-First Index has been the talk of the SEO town since its release.

According to that, Google will give more importance to the website’s mobile version as the basis for indexing and rankings.

In the course of executing your SEO campaign for your online eCommerce shop, you need to address configuration factors, including: 

  • Responsive design 
  • Dynamic serving 
  • Use of separate URLs

Content marketing

Marketing your content AKA Content Marketing will boost your overall eCommerce marketing efforts opening the gates to more targeted traffic and easy sales.

Let us learn how you can make content marketing work for your eCommerce website. 

Be where your audience is

Think of your audience as your friends, the more time you spend with them, the more you will learn about their hopes and dreams, fear, needs, and desires.

Since it is not really ideal for hanging out with all your consumers in real life, the next best thing is to be where they gather online.

For example, if your target audiences are tech nerds or people interested in learning more about the latest tech news, you can publish content about your tech products (product reviews, analysis, etc.) on websites like TechCrunch, where people come to get their tech updates.

Learn the language of your customers

You found where your customers are, great!

Now is the time to keep an eye on the vocabulary and phrases they use to explain their issues and problems.

These terms will be your keywords to build your blog content or any other type of content. 

Start making some magnificent content

As a result of you being diligent with publishing your content on your ecommerce site, you will find that these links generated by the blogs, traffic it attracts, and the social media shares allow your product and category page to rank higher on the search engines. Win-Win for all!

Now that you have optimized your eCommerce site, the next step is high traffic, and a higher ranking is to master Off-page SEO or Link Building for an eCommerce store. Here are a few ways you can bag some high-quality backlinks for your site.   

Produce some in-depth content and power it up with links

In your link building campaign, your main goal is to produce high-quality, that is, educational content and answers your user’s search intent.

This will encourage other players in your field or closely related to your business to link to your high-quality content. 

Reach out to influential bloggers

Connecting with leading bloggers and vloggers in your niche will offer you many advantages — exposure to their followers and gaining high-quality, and relevant backlinks are just some of them. 

Take advantage of seasonal promotions

Holidays and festivals are obviously the time when eCommerce sites get maximum business. If you are one of the smarter companies to offer killer deals to maximize your sales, you can also convert this opportunity into linkable assets.

Bear in mind that you need to build your seasonal promotional pages as posts with some widgets linking back to your product page. 

Additionally, you can also partner with businesses offering products/ services that complement your business.

This link building relationship is a double win for both of you. You will promote your content through a wider pool of targeted audiences and find new and creative ways to get backlinks. 

Use video marketing

Videos are trending in every business, and eCommerce is no exception.

Leveraging this opportunity to gather high-quality links, you can create product tutorials, instruction/ how-to videos embedded to your product page that address top queries of your audience, and more.   

Launch a Brand Ambassador program

The aim is to excite people with so much curiosity and interaction with your brand and product that they write about it on their websites, speak to people in their videos about you, and most importantly, give you some sweet backlinks.

It would help if you inspired loyal clients to share and drive traffic on your product pages with deals such as free delivery for a review, cashback on referrals, etc.

Publish guest posts

Each time you contribute content to an authoritative website, apart from getting a link, you get to use it for social proof. In fact, many brands add sites where they’ve been featured on their homepage.

Measure the Performance of your eCommerce SEO Campaign

You won’t be the first one to wonder if your SEO efforts are actually working or not. To tell you the truth, SEO isn’t as straightforward as PPC — you won’t get your desired results in a day or two.

Rather, the results are not so obvious and can take quite a long time. Let’s discuss some signs through which you can measure the success of your eCommerce SEO.    

  • A surge in search engine traffic.
  • Small increases in rankings.

You can use tools such as Ahrefs to track your ranking, or you can use your Google Analytics account for it.

You should also search Google in incognito mode to see the rank for your eCommerce site and know where you stand. Again, you are searching for minor improvements.

If you notice a jump in your ranking from page 7 to page 4, that is a significant jump indicating that your eCommerce SEO campaign is working and your efforts are soon to pay off. 

Additionally, you should also keep an eye for the source of your organic traffic; is it desktop or mobile? It is observed that the percentage of organic traffic may differ from some ecommerce verticals.

People prefer to do their product research on desktops. At the same time, the initial research might be conducted on mobile, which eventually leads to additional desktop searches.

This is critical because you want to optimize your pages for the best experience for visitors.

Local SEO for brick and mortar businesses

Local SEO might not be for all, but it is a boon for eCommerce businesses with a physical store or might just be looking for some local traffic.

There are three crucial aspects to local SEO: 

Claim your profile for Google My Business

Google has a handy function called Google My Business, allowing you to add specifics of your business in the Google database.

This helps in quite a few things, but it mostly enables your company to get featured in local searches. 

Build local citations 

Local citations are mainly backlinks from other local sources, such as magazines, newspapers, press releases, etc.

Citations for local SEOs are relevant because Google then sees you as someone well known in your locality.

Bring local links

Local links offer an ideal way to build up the domain authority and promote your local search rankings.

Benefiting link sources include local news stations, foundations or NGOs you support, bloggers, and local groups, including the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.

Steps to Optimize your eCommerce Website for SEO

  1. Conduct in-depth keyword research to find the best keywords for your eCommerce business. You need to include both keywords for your product and category page plus long-tail keywords for your blogs.
  2. Work on your site architecture and ensure that users can reach your product page from the homepage in 3 clicks.
  3. Carry out an on-page SEO Campaign that includes updating your content with relevant keywords, optimizing your page title and meta description, URL strategy, interlinking, and more.
  4. Administer your Technical SEO, including site map submission, log file analysis, crawl budget, and more. 
  5. Create a content marketing strategy and link building strategy.
  6. Add elements of Local SEO if you are looking for local audiences.
  7. Measure the Performance of your eCommerce SEO Campaign

Conclusion

You can drive traffic to your eCommerce site in so many ways you can use content marketing,  paid ads, organic SEO, and more.

All of these need you to master e-commerce SEO now if you want to increase the number of visitors to your site.

If you follow the steps in this guide, work on your eCommerce SEO, create high-quality content, and are diligent with your efforts, you can easily beat your competition and might even rank in the top #3 ranks SERP. Easy-peasy, ain’t it? 

I hope that this super detailed Ecommerce SEO Guide offered you a lot of value and gave you the answer to how to do SEO for ecommerce websites.

And now, I want to hear from you: What tactic would you try first from this guide? 

Let me know in the comments section below.



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