Search engine traffic is an undying evergreen source of new customers.
Ecommerce has ballooned from where it stood a year ago to many more billions today and is projected to grow even further—meaning the industry is growing bigger than ever.
That’s not all. Investing in SEO is yielding rich dividends for most online stores.
It isn’t all that difficult to do SEO for your site. You just have to take care of the basics and do things sensibly ensuring that your strategy covers all best practices.
1. Do keyword research and optimization
Start by finding keywords to add to your homepage and product pages.
To optimize your product pages and category pages pay attention to how relevant the keyword is to the overall theme of the site, its search volume depending on if you sell globally or locally and difficulty in getting the keyword ranked.
The main keyword and related keywords should be very topical to ensure that people searching for and landing to your site find what they’re looking for.
Another strategy is to focus on long tail keywords.
Long tails often consist of two or more words (think 3 or 5 words) and go even longer because most people are now searching with their voice these days.
The data doesn’t lie. Analyzing over 1.4 billion keywords consisting the entire database of keywords for the United States Ahrefs concluded that one-word keywords account for only 2.8% of the search traffic.
The rest is divvied up between two keywords to five plus word keywords, fitting the description of long tails and account for nearly 98% of all keywords searched.
Choose long tail keywords that are relevant to your main keyword and yet have a low difficulty so that you can rank for them easily.
Also take care not to keyword stuff your blog posts or product pages with keywords. That worked until 2006 and doesn’t anymore.
Additionally, create content surrounding these keywords. You will not be able to fit in every keyword in your product description copy and hence blogging about the long tails would be a much better option.
At the same time don’t be carried away with long tail keywords to include ones that aren’t really relevant to your niche. If you’re selling coffee mugs don’t start including keywords like “coffee packs” or “buy coffee” which have nothing to do with your main keyword.
As part of keyword research, another hot pot to collect keywords is from your competitors. Make a list of your competitors to learn from the SEO strategy. Tools like Ahrefs and SemRush show all the keywords a particular site ranks for and advertises for.
2. Don’t plagiarize product descriptions from manufacturers
Product databases take a long time to create. You have to import products, descriptions, images and specifications and make sure everything is up to date. Probably, that’s the reason why most skimp on it. Product descriptions often amounting to thousands are simply copy-pasted to the new site.
Google’s penalty for duplicate content doesn’t mean that plagiarizers will get their sites penalized. Google seldom penalizes copied content unless there’s an attempt to spin the content and misrepresent it.
However, Google would only rank one site for the content and it’s probably going to be the manufacturers’ sites.
Hence having unique descriptions make sense.
Also do keyword research and understand the mindset of the customer before you embark optimizing the site.
3. Don’t miss the opportunity provided by Google’s Image search
Image search is gaining popularity among your potential customers.
Over 72% of search engine users search for images before making a purchase.
Most customers want to see a particular product at different angles to gauge how it looks feels and functions. Google search is one of the biggest channels for that and you have one tool to optimize images- the alt tag.
Use a different alt tag for each image and ensure its relevance to the product image.
There’s more than one reason to optimize for image search.
After Google’s image sharing agreement with Getty, they have removed the “view image link” that used to appear when searchers looked for images on the site. Now one has to directly go to the actual site from which the image was taken to download it or view the image with more clarity.
Which means at least for eCommerce brands, more people visiting your site and generating an opportunity for you to convert them.
When you search for a product a number of images show up.
Most eCommerce store owners miss the whole image traffic boat because they use the same image description as provided by the manufacturers. If an image is named image00001 or as a meaningless series of numbers of alphabets like 90abdce so will its name remain.
Since search engines can’t read images they rely on descriptions and names effectively ensuring that meaningless combo of numbers don’t get ranked.
To reiterate- spend time adding alt tags and some description to each image you have on your site and you will be surprised by the new-found source of high-converting traffic.
4. Optimize site structure
The best way to gain insight on how to structure your site is by looking at your competitor’s site architecture.
A golden rule of site architecture is no important page should be more than three clicks away from the homepage. If the distance is greater than the link juice gets diluted and doesn’t do you any good.
What is their site architecture like?
A good place to learn from is their site structure: look for answers to how are the links structured and how deep do they go.
It’s important to see what category names they choose and how they display products in that category. See if there are special links to top rate products and related products/
5. Other quick wins
i. Reduce site errors
For an eCommerce site with thousands of product pages, the errors can quickly add up to an insurmountable problem.
Site errors slowly chip away at the organic traffic you’re getting. Some of the most common are duplicate content and site structure existing on separate protocols like one with www and without www, with and without https.
This can cause penalties. Redirects should also be minimized. All header tags should be filled with appropriate info.
Minimize 404 errors by redirecting them and thus conserve link juice. Change all 302 redirects to permanent 301 redirects.
ii. Optimize Website Speed
A faster loading site converts better and is also a factor used in site ranking.
A recent post from Search Engine Land reveals that starting July 2018 site steed will finally become a ranking factor.
Taking care of the basics and then some more is often sufficient to improve conversions and your site’s on page SEO.
Keyword research, competitor’s sites keywords and SEO structure are few of the things you need to pay most attention to.
What do you think? Do let us know in the comments below.
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