An Ultimate Guide: Everything you would be thankful to know about E-commerce SEO

An Ultimate Guide: Everything you would be thankful to know about E-commerce SEO

E-commerce brands have shifted the digital marketing focus towards SEO to stand out from the cookie-cutter crowd. Whether it’s fixing broken links, updating meta tags, replacing duplicate content, or compressing product images. It’s all SEO. Learn here.

Don't you want your e-commerce site to be highly ranked on giant engines? And, make your brand noticeable on the SERP?

 You might be screaming in your head with an answer 'Of course, Yes.' Well, as we know to make our product or service easily available to our clients, we need various SEO elements to work for us. An e-commerce website available can rank us high on Google, which shall help in boosting our sales.

If you are missing out on clicks, probably you are missing out on sales also.

It doesn't matter whether you are a small business owner trying to find out ways to expand your business online, or a marketer looking out for innovative and effective digital marketing strategies, or if you are an SEO Manager for a bigger e-commerce company looking to showcase the ROI of SEO; this post is for you.

 Grab a coffee, sit in a peaceful and comfortable environment and just board in.. It's time to put on your thinking caps and learn e-commerce SEO!

What is Ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce SEO is the process of making your brand visible in the SERPs.

 SEO which stands for Search Engine Optimization, from the full form itself we can recognize the core meaning of it. It is the process of optimizing your website in accordance to rank higher in search engines like Google. Google aims to answer all of the searchers' queries.

 When we talk about e-commerce, which means providing detailed and concise product description with clear and eye-catchy photographs and plenty of quality reviews. Help buyers to make their purchasing decision, you need to ensure to keep your e-commerce site clear and glitch-free for visitors.

 The next question arises, why even one would care about it when we have other marketing strategies too like PPC and Social media. Well, it has a higher conversion rate with high organic traffic and lower cost per click than other PPCs. 

Why do we need SEO for Ecommerce Websites?

SEO for e-commerce addresses the first hurdle of acquiring new customers.

89% of consumers use search engines to make their buying decisions. Search has now become an integral part of our decision- making process. 

Ecommerce SEO helps you out by providing you with ways to reach your target audience without paying for ads. And once you get people on your website, you can impress them with your high-quality brand, engaging content and an encouraging call to action.

Thus, ignoring SEO isn't an excellent idea as you would be taking the risk of visitors missing out your brands on SERPs. The organic traffic would decline, fewer customers know about you, reduction in sales, unable to compete with the competitors or to change online trends in the market which would eventually affect the growth of your company.

SEO is a cost-effective strategy

Unlike paid search ads, the traffic from organic search is free. There is no cost per click, no cost per conversion and no cost per impression. In SEO, you can get quality traffic in larger volume without paying for it directly.

 In highly competitive industries and niches, paying for website traffic can run many dollars per click. 

 SEO is a long-term strategy

 SEO doesn't have a lifespan of a few weeks or months, and it keeps on working day and night unlike paid advertisements, whose traffic would drop if you stop paying. In SEO, if you run short of cash, you can still be visible to your audience through organic search results. SEO builds up to grow stronger with time.

Therefore, opting for SEO service is a fruitful option for your e-commerce website. Read on to know the stepwise process of your SEO optimized e-commerce strategy.

Step wise-guide to E-commerce SEO

Step 1: Keyword research

It would be intriguing to know that at every 1 min, 7,00,000 Google searches are performed. And every average visitor processes around 1,00,500 digital words in a day. Now, with all this information, how do you ensure that your target audience can find you in search engines?

It is essential to create a targeted keyword list for getting new clients or for your website. Long-tail keywords are preferred these days, and keyword stuffing doesn't exist anymore.

Two types of keywords – Head terms and long-tail keywords

Head terms or short-tail are the keywords that are mostly of 0-26 characters while long-tail keywords are longer with 26-40 characters and more specific versions of short-tail keywords. 

Long-tail receives the higher pattern of clicks and conversions when compared to short-tail keywords. 

 How to find long-tail keyword search terms?

  • Gather keyword terms based on the main seed word. Refer to the example below:

  • From the list, sort keywords which have four or more words.

  • If you are optimizing a product description, then further go into the keyword research process. For instance, let’s take the keyword “king flannel sheet sets” and search on Google Keyword Planner.

  • After building keyword buckets, classify your keywords based on informational keywords to make relevant blog posts and purchase intent keywords to drive conversions.

Below are the keyword tools that will help you build keyword buckets:

  • Google autosuggest: You need to type keywords in the search field, and you’ll get Google’s auto suggest suggestions. 
  • Google related search suggestions: After typing a keyword in the search field and getting results on SERP, you will also get various other searches related to that keyword.
  • Amazon suggest: this is similar to Google Autosuggest, preferably filled with various product keywords.

  • Wikipedia: You can scan here to see hidden keywords that might be relevant, especially in the ‘contents’ section.
  • SEMrush: You can see where your competitors are ranked. Add the domain and click to “Organic Research.”

Step 2: Site Architecture

Site architecture means how you organize your site. This is essential for all e-commerce websites because e-commerce sites have millions of product pages. The site architecture shows you how the user flows through your website. Webmasters are curious to know how the users can identify key pages and the relationship between the pages.

Flowchart of your site architecture:

Pro Tip: Users should take at most three clicks to get back to the homepage of your website.

Before building site structure and navigation, follow this mind-mapping process.

  • Ask these questions to yourself:

-        What search queries do consumers have before they get to your site?

-        What search queries do consumers have once they’re on your site?

-        What pages on your website get the most traffic?

-        What are your top exit pages?

  • For drop-down menus, make sure you are using HTML. When working for e-commerce sites, make sure to use HTML as search engines will fail to find your navigation.
  • Use head keyword terms in your page title, header and the top 200 words paragraph. Look for example below from Wrightwood Furniture.
  • Funky URL parameters can cause duplicate content. For instance, If you choose to go the Amazon route which keeps your filtered products indexed, you’ll need to create filters to display in a custom order.
  • Add breadcrumbs to your product pages to give users and the search engines a chance to see where your product fits appropriately on your website.

If you have a well-optimized website, smooth navigation, finding pages easily and a clean URL structure that follows your navigation, then you have an organized site architecture.

Step 3: Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the journey of optimizing your website for crawling and indexing. It covers everything like site maps, meta tags, indexing, linking, keyword research, etc.

Below are some of the technical SEO ideas:

a) Implementing schema markup

Schema markup or rich snippets can highlight particular pieces of information for search engines. There are 2 types of schema markup for your e-commerce website:

  • Product schema markup: This includes product name, price, image, description, URL and brand name.
  • Review schema markup: This includes a review or a rating from a website, and it requires 2 types of markups:

o   Aggregate ratings: For implementing aggregate, you need overall rating value, rating count, best and worst rating.

o   Individual review: For implementing individual, you need reviewer, review value, review date, best and worst rating and review body.

b) Clean up URLs

It is essential to have pretty, clean URL structures and dynamic URLs. Below are the tips to have a clean URL structure.

  • Swap dynamic URLs.
  • Never use spaces or underscores, opt for dashes.
  • Ditch the parameters.
  • Consider all lower-case letters.
  • Keep it brief and precise.
  • Add targeted keywords.

c) Prefer HTTPs over HTTP

HTTPS (Secure HyperText Transfer Protocol) adds a layer of security using SSL (Secure Socket Layers) to transfer data which keeps data encrypted. As announced by Google in 2014 that the sites offering a secure website through HTTPS shall experience higher ranking.

d) Redirect 404 Pages

If any product is no longer available and you delete that page, your target audience might receive a 404 page. Redirecting users with a 301 redirect or a permanent redirect is the best route to go. If you get stuck with a large amount of 404 errors, I suggest creating a custom 404 page. You can add a fun message as well.

e) Implement Pagination

- Pagination: Let the websites divide content into smaller sections. By adding rel=”next”, rel=”prev” tags to show which pages are part of a series; you are in a way helping the search engines understand the relationship between these pages.

- The “load more” button: Allows the user to scroll through the product list wherein there isn’t a need to click on the next page.

f) Canonicalize your e-commerce site

It is a mundane part to figure out what and how to canonicalize your e-commerce site. You can publish a new product any time, but being in charge of your canonicalization every day can get tedious.

g) Crosslink top pages

Internal linking allows you to guide the user from one page on your site to another, improving user engagement and navigation. Some of the benefits are:

  • It gives your users various options and stays engaged to your site.
  • It increases their chance to rank for certain keywords.
  • It helps SERPs to crawl your site.

h) Create a sitemap

An XML sitemap creates a readable format of your site for search engines. These sitemaps are a list of the URLs on your website and have different sections: Products, categories, boilerplate pages, editorial pages, blog.

i) Mobile Optimization

You would have noticed a trend on your site with mobile driving more traffic to your site than other avenues. Below are the steps to make mobile-friendly:

  • Create call-to-action buttons.
  • Decide on the mobile configuration.
  • Make sure not to block javascript, CSS or images in your robots.txt.
  • Increase page load speed by creating mobile-friendly images .

j) Page speed

Some of the typical quick fixes for page speed include:

  • Reduce the page size by keeping page load times to 3 seconds or less.
  • Add image sizes to help search engines create placeholders.
  • Compress data sent to the browser.
  • Use a content delivery network to track your content.
  • Upgrade your hosting server.

Step 4: On-site SEO

Below is the layout of fully optimized, on-site SEO e-commerce page:

On-site SEO

a) URL: A potential consumer viewing a URL that's long and filled with a bunch of gibberish may lose confidence and move onto the next site.

b) Meta Title: Using action words like learn, click, decide, buy now etc. shall be beneficial.

c) Meta Description: A few tips to optimize the meta description:

  • Use 155 characters
  • Write it like a headline of an article
  • Ensure to be specific to your target audience.

d) Body Copy: Following are the steps to follow to optimize your keywords well and get relevant content.

  • Write more than 1000 words with 50 to 100 words for product description, incorporate critical features and product benefits, use the manufacturer's description and create a space for reviews and ratings.
  • Incorporate 3 to 5 keywords.

e) Social Media Share buttons: Social media share buttons give you the potential for free promotion on social channels.

f) Images and Product videos: Eye-catchy images of your products and video, offering a complete look of a product engages users to your site.

Final Words!

The above step-wise guidance shall help you to build a well-optimized e-commerce website, ultimately leading to ranking high on Google and other search engines.

This post was submitted by a TNS experts. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on digital marketing, SEO, social media, growth hacking and content marketing with our audience.

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