A Guide to SEO for Ecommerce Websites

In this guide, Bristol based digital marketer, Joe Cox of Superb Digital, talks about SEO for ecommerce sites.

Many ecommerce businesses simply don’t have an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy with the power to drive the volume of traffic needed to thrive in what is now a very competitive digital marketplace.

2018 research from Advanced Web Ranking on organic click through rates (CTR) for the top positions in Google suggests that the top 3 positions are growing in dominance, with 30% of clicks going to position 1, around 15% for position 2 and 10% in position 3. Beyond that, CTR falls to below 2%.

Put another way, failing to secure the top 3 positions in Google means you are missing out on valuable sales, which is why implementing and investing in a solid organic SEO strategy is so important.

Effective Ecommerce Keyword Research

Targeting the wrong keywords will prevent you from securing the high-quality traffic you need to successfully convert clicks into sales. Let’s take a look at the areas you need to focus on.

  • Homepage and Product Page Keywords: The keywords you use to optimise your website’s most important pages should always be hyper-relevant, have a low ranking difficulty and a high exact match search volume. Your chosen keywords shouldn’t be too broad as this will often result in a low conversion rate/high bounce rate. Additionally, as securing a good ranking position in a relatively short period of time will be a priority, you will also find it beneficial to avoid ultra-competitive keywords.
  • Laser-Focused Keyword Targeting: Optimising blog content with long-tail keywords will help you to increase your site’s reach and demonstrate to your audience that you understand their unique needs and requirements. Avoiding keyword cannibalisation, which occurs when several web pages on the same site are attempting to rank for the same keyword, will ensure that search engines can effectively and appropriately rank each page of your site, thereby allowing you to obtain the largest possible volume of traffic for each keyword.
  • Efficient Identification of Current Issues: Thoroughly auditing your site will help you to identify any issues that are preventing your site from ranking as well as it could.
  • Common Ecommerce Site Errors: Screaming Frog is an excellent free resource to identify common site errors and present them in an easily digestible report. Certain site errors will require your attention more quickly, including redirecting 404 error pages to live content and updating meta descriptions, titles and duplicate content
  • Site Speed: Statistics show that if your site doesn’t load within 2 seconds, a large percentage of your potential audience will abandon their attempt to engage with your business and continue their search elsewhere.

On-Page Optimisation

There are many components of effective on-page optimisation but I’ve broken these down into eight core elements.

  • Keyword Optimisation: You must ensure that every page has a target keyword placed in a range of strategic locations, including in product descriptions, image alt tags, URLs, and image file names.
  • Site Structure: As ecommerce websites are generally much larger than their non-ecommerce counterparts, ensuring that your site architecture is strong, stable and highly logical is of particular importance.
  • Internal Linking: Linking related pages of your site together is an excellent way to enhance your customer’s journey and improve your site’s ranking ability for your primary keywords.
  • Usability: As well as helping to ensure that visitors will return to your site in the future, search engine algorithms specifically prioritise websites that consistently deliver positive user experiences.
  • Mobile Optimisation: With more consumers shopping online via mobile devices, ensuring that your site delivers the same seamless experience across desktop and mobile is crucial.
  • Customer Reviews: Internet Retailer reports [4] that ecommerce conversion rates can be increased by as much as 76% simply by integrating a customer reviews feature. Additionally, your site’s SEO will also benefit from this form of fresh, frequent user-driven content.
  • Rich Snippets: This structured data markup helps search engines to understand the context of the information present on a webpage. Additionally, rich snippets add important visual context for browsers which provides them with a better idea of what they can expect to find when they click through.
  • Social Integration: Social signals pointing to your site tells search engines that people think that your website has something valuable to offer. Your social presence can help you to build crucial brand awareness and help you to secure additional mentions, links, clicks and customers.

Taking Advantage of the Best Ecommerce Plugins

Selecting the right platform for your ecommerce business is essential because the integrated tools and technology will ultimately help you to secure the long-term growth you need to thrive.

A user-friendly interface makes Shopify one of the most popular ecommerce platforms and one of its advantages is the plethora of plugins that help business owners optimise every aspect of their ecommerce business and extend the functionality of their online stores, from better SEO to a simpler and more efficient supply chain.

Below are three great Shopify plugins we’d recommend to get your ecommerce site off to a flying start:

  • Oberlo helps business owners locate suppliers and ship products directly to customers.
  • Kit facilitates the creation and management of more effective Facebook advertisements.
  • Personalizer uses AI to upsell and provide visitors with personalised product recommendations to increase sales and revenue.

Working with Professionals

Developing an effective SEO strategy for an ecommerce site isn’t an easy task. Interpreting SEO and rankings data across hundreds or even thousands of products can be daunting and it’s easy to get out of your depth. A sudden drop in rankings can result from Google algorithm updates as well as bad ongoing management of your onsite content, so working with professional SEO experts is highly recommended if you want to get on top and stay on top.