SEO For Ecommerce – How To Drive Sales Through Organic Traffic
If you’re running a small business one of the buzz words you’ve probably heard mentioned over and over again is SEO, coupled with SEO for Ecommerce. And while you understand what it means, maybe you’re not totally sure how it works or how to apply it for your ecommerce business.
SEO can seem like an intimidating concept but it’s actually pretty simple. It stands for Search Engine Optimisation and as the name suggests, it’s the process of optimising your website for Google and other search engines.
SEO comes down three major factors.
On page optimisation, off page optimisation and technical SEO.
SEO For Ecommerce – A Small Businesses Quick and Easy Guide
On page Optimisation
This refers to the process of optimising all your content and pages on your website to make them crawlable for search engines. This is doing things such as adding keywords, rewriting for readability, maintaining topics and niche, adding content of value and keeping that content up to date.
Off page optimisation
This is about getting the search engines to trust and recognise your site as an authority on the topics you cover. This is done by getting other sites to link back to yours. This might be through creating great content and so other sites are referencing it or it may be through guest blogging for other sites.
Technical SEO is everything you do in the back end of your site to make it easier for search engines to crawl your site. It is also working to to improve the speed and user experience of your site. This includes fixing any loading issues and meta tags in your site.
Why is SEO important
Working on your SEO strategy can see your site’s ranking on google rise, making it more likely you’ll be found when a potential customer is looking for your products. Depending on what you sell and how your ranking currently stands, you could be missing hundreds of potential leads just because your copy is poorly written or your pages are missing meta-tags.
But don’t worry, we’ve got some tips to help you beef up your SEO and get your site ranking higher on google.
Do your research
Keyword research is really important for SEO. If you’re working to get your site ranking for one phrase but your customers are using another it’s not much use to you. Make sure to do your keyword research and continue to monitor and update it.
Determine if you’re picking the right keywords
To figure out if you’re picking the right keywords there are three factors to consider.
- Keyword difficulty
- Search volume
- Buyer Intent
Using a keyword tool such as UberSuggest or SEMRush, you can see the search volume in the report it generates from your keyword.
To determine the buyer intent, review the Cost Per Click suggested bids. If this is high compared to other key words in your niche, then it indicates a high buyer intent.
When looking at the keyword difficulty, this will give you a score and you’ll be able to factor this in. The lower the score the easier it is to rank for this keyword and the higher the score the harder it is on most programs.
From these three factors you can decide which keywords to focus on. You’ll want a good mix of medium to high buyer intent, medium to low keyword difficulty and medium to high search volume.
Understand the Long and Short of it
Both long tail and short tail SEO keywords are important for your SEO strategy, and you should be using both. Long tail keywords are five or more words strung together. Usually, they will apply to more specific search enquires and questions and they will generally be easier to rank for.
Whereas short tail keywords will be just one or two keywords. They will be searched more often, be broader and therefore harder to rank for. They might also not have high buyer intent as the searchers may only be in the research phase of their buying journey.
Know where to target those keywords
It’s all well and good to know which keywords you want to target and what mix of long and short tail key words you want to use but do you know where to put them?
Get the keyword into your URL. In most cases your site will auto generate a URL when you create a new page and this URL might not be the best wording for your keyword searches. So go into the back of your site and change it to include a keyword that your content or product should rank for.
You’ll also want to add your keywords in your title tag or your H1 tag. You can change this in the back end of your site and you’ll want to get your keyword as close to the beginning of the title tag as possible.
Make sure you’re getting that keyword into the body copy. Best practice for SEO writing is to get the keyword in three times in your first 100 words but don’t keyword stuff!
Optimise your images. This is a step that many people forget and as an ecommerce site it’s especially important. People are more likely to get to your store through google image search as they might be looking for ideas of the product they want to buy. So, getting the keyword into the image alt text and image name will give you a better shot at bringing your customers to your store.
Get your keyword into the meta data, or description tag. You know the grey text that describes a website in your google search results, that is your meta data. It is auto generated by the content on your page but you can attempt to manipulate it by using a SEO plugin such as Yoast. Keep in mind the meta description is about the click-through. So, you want to have a meta description that entices people to click-through to your website.
You have your keywords but what about LSI words
LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. LSI keywords are words that are conceptually related to your keywords. If your keyword is cupcake, cake and muffins would be LSI keywords.
In the old days of SEO, google wasn’t as good at indexing sites so it based it’s ranking on your keywords alone which is why keyword density used to be so high.
But these days google is smarter and now tries to understand the overall content on the page so it looks for LSI keywords as well as SEO keywords.
Are you answering the question?
This is what you should ask yourself when trying to rank for these key words. Are you really answering the question, as comprehensively and thoroughly as you can?
If someone clicked on your search result would they have to go to another page after yours to get their question answered? Google is going to rank the site that most thoroughly answers the question a searcher has asked, so make sure you’re giving as much value as possible in your content. But keep it relevant, people want to know the answer and they want it fast too.
Content length and word count
Now we’re not saying that you should write a novel about every product on your site but google tends to rank longer form content. The top pages on google have 1000 – 2000 words. This is because google is trying to provide the most comprehensive response to a searcher’s request. So for your most important pages and your best selling products you should aim for 1000 words at least.
Be mobile friendly
More and more people are doing their searches on a mobile phone these days. If your site is not optimised for mobile and iPad, it will suffer in the rankings.
Make sure that your site is built on a template that is responsive. This allows for the size of the site to be adjusted depending on what screen it is being viewed on. Mobile responsiveness is important for UX and therefore for ranking.
How’s your site built?
In technical SEO it’s important to review the structure of your site and make sure it’s user friendly and optimised for searching.
How is your site set up for navigation? What have you called different product pages and content pages? These are the questions you’ll need to ask yourself when reviewing your site’s structure for technical SEO.
There are three things to keep in mind when structuring your ecommerce site for technical SEO.
- Keep the site structure simple and factor in how you’ll scale it in the future. It’s important to remain open to growth. Ideally, you’d want to be able to have the option to offer more products and a wider range of products to your customer down the track. Keeping this in mind will help you create a structure that accommodates that growth at a later date.
- Review how many clicks it takes to move around your site. No page should take more than three clicks to get to another page or perform an important action.
- Factor in your keyword research when creating your URLs or sub-directories in your site.
Check your site’s crawlability
Head over to your google search console and check for any crawl errors. This is going to tell you where the google indexing robots are not able to crawl your site. The kinds of errors you’ll find in here are things like 404 errors where a page links to a broken page – this is usually due to deleting a page or a product without redirecting it.
The important thing to fix on the 404 error page is to make sure it links back to your site. You’ll want a clear redirect so your customer or searcher isn’t just left in limbo.
The other issue that your google search console will turn up is duplicate content. So consolidate those duplicated pages.
Don’t skip Competitor analysis
This is an important step, review your biggest competitors and analyse what they are doing. Check out their keyword rankings and compare their strategy and rankings against your own.
Ask yourself these questions.
- Where are they beating you?
- What are you ranking for that they are not?
- What is your point of difference to them?
These questions will help you to fine tune your SEO strategy.
What’s in a word
In ecommerce a big factor for your SEO ranking is going to be how you write your product descriptions. They need to be written in the style of SEO which means using your keywords and variants in the description about three times in the body copy and in the title if possible.
It also means writing engaging and vivid descriptions for the products and keeping the copy readable by breaking it down into smaller subheadings and being clear in your prose.
Measure and Monitor
One of the frustrating things about SEO for ecommerce is that it’s a long and slow burn. You can’t see results immediately so measuring the success of your efforts can be a little difficult. This is why it’s important to monitor your rankings to watch for small increases and generally monitor your page views.
If you start with optimising your site page by page you may be able to measure the success of your on page and technical SEO efforts as the page views change and the rankings go up.
Implementing these tips into your SEO for ecommerce strategy will help improve your ranking and bring more organic traffic to your site. It will form an important part of your overall digital marketing strategy for a business of any size.
Interested in learning more about marketing? Foundational knowledge is important before you move onto the technical stuff. Check out our Certificate IV in Marketing and Communication. It can give you the foundational knowledge you need to kickstart your digital marketing knowledge.
Are you a small business just starting out? Take a look at our setup checklist for marketing your small business online.