Are you confident that your ecommerce website is achieving its full conversion potential? Research indicates that organic search is responsible for a large percentage of ecommerce orders.
Ignoring or postponing SEO efforts on your ecommerce website has probably already affected your sales. Optimising your site properly can have a positive impact on your bottom line.
Basically, without SEO your website is missing out on an opportunity to thrive.
In this post, we’ll show you how you can keep up with the latest SEO tactics to help you get your SEO working for you as a sales and marketing channel.
So, let’s dive in and get our hands dirty.
Keyword research isn’t a new or complicated SEO strategy by any means, but it’s an absolute must. Your keyword research will be the basis for all your website’s SEO efforts, so it’s a great place to start. Your keywords influence everything from your site architecture to your product descriptions and categories.
To get started, create a spreadsheet and list all your categories in the first row of one worksheet and all your products in a second worksheet. You can then populate the sheet as you go through the steps outlined below.
Here’s a step by step guide to some great keyword research strategies.
G’day Amazon! Welcome to Australia. Now, you might think of Amazon as one of your major competitors, but in this case, think of them as your best mate.
Here’s how you can use Amazon (sorry not sorry) to discover product-focused keywords.
- Go to amazon.com.au.
- Enter a keyword that describes one of your products (e.g. headphones).
- Take note the keywords that are suggested in the search bar.
- Take note the categories suggested above the keyword.
- Do this again for all your products, starting with the most important.
Your keyword list is now off to a good start. You can also use Amazon’s friendship to identify keywords for your ecommerce website’s category pages.
- Click on the “Shop by Department” button.
- Click on “Full Store Directory”.
- Click on category-focused keywords that relate to your products.
- Take note of the keywords listed in the sidebar and consider the ones that are relevant for your category pages.
Just like Amazon, your competitors’ websites can be a great place to start your keyword research. All you need to do is visit their website and take note of the keywords they use to describe their categories. Make note of the ones that are relevant and add them to your keyword list.
Keyword Tool Dominator
Short on time? This is a great tool that will provide keyword suggestions based on Amazon’s search suggestions. It’s a good place to discover a lot of keyword ideas in one place.
- Go to https://www.keywordtooldominator.com/k/amazon-keyword-tool.
- Type in your keyword (you can only do 3 searches per day with the free version).
- Select the keywords that are most relevant to your products and add them to your keyword list.
SEMRush (paid tool)
Your keyword list should be coming together quite well by this point. If you have some budget, SEMRush is a great tool to use to identify the keywords that your competitors are using.
- Enter your competitor’s name in the search field.
- Click on “Organic Research” to see a list of the keywords your competitor ranks for.
- Want more? Click “competitors” to see all the the websites that are similar to the ones you just entered.
SEMRush costs between $99-$399 per month, depending on your needs. Our verdict? It’s definitely worth it.
Google Keyword Planner
The Google Keyword Planner isn’t the best tool to find unique keywords. Plus, Google has started restricting access to the Keyword Planner tool – so you might not be able to get too much out of it if you’re not currently using AdWords to run campaigns. That being said, don’t overlook it, you might be able to find some gems if you do a little bit of digging. Take a look at the keywords listed under “Ad group ideas” to find some unique keywords to add to your list.
We recommend using the Google Keyword Planner to determine search volumes and commercial intent. Let’s determine how you can use this information to narrow down your list. This table gives you a brief starting point to start working on segmenting your keywords:
|Primary keyword||Secondary keywords||Remove from list|
|Keyword-product fit||Highly Targeted||Moderately Targeted||Not Targeted|
|Google check*||Not related||Somewhat related||Not related|
Don’t forget to have a look at the first page of Google for each keyword to see if the pages listed are optimised for that keyword. If the content from those pages isn’t related to the keyword, you have the opportunity to outrank them with highly optimised content.
Setting up your website
Get your hard hat ready. It’s time to use put that glorious keyword list to good use.
Here’s what you need to keep in mind when reviewing or planning your ecommerce website’s site architecture:
- Keep it simple.
- Keep every page 3 or less clicks away from your homepage.
“Deep links” (pages that take more than 3 clicks to get to from your homepage) are not as “authoritative”(trusted, accurate, or reliable) in Google’s eyes. This means, the more clicks it takes to get to a page, the less important Google thinks that page is, and therefore the page will not rank as highly.
Here’s what you should do to help your category and subcategory pages rank in Google and increase your chance at having them indexed (added to Google’s database).
- Link from your homepage to your category pages.
- Link your category pages to subcategory pages.
- Link these subcategories to their relevant products.
An added benefit to having a simple site architecture? Pleasing your customers (easy for shoppers to find what they want = increase their likelihood of making a purchase).
Let’s talk about SEO
Your product or category pages’ title tag, description tag, and product and category content are the basic elements you need to focus on to optimise your site’s on-page SEO.
To get started, open your keyword spreadsheet and start two new worksheets (one for products and one for categories). In this worksheet, list the following columns headings in the first row: Product/Category, Title tag, Description tag, Content.
Make sure you use your primary keyword within the first few words of your title tag and. Here are some words you can include to help your site show up for more long-tail keywords and increase click-throughs (which Google likes):
- Free shipping
- % off
- X % off
- Lowest price
- Same day shipping
Use these wisely and make sure you’re not guilty of keyword stuffing. Your title tag needs to be eye-catching, useful and contextual. You will also want to keep it under 70 characters to avoid having your message cut short by Google.
Meta Description tag
Next, let’s start crafting your meta description tag. Although this isn’t as important of a ranking factor as it once was, it still has an impact on your click-through rate. Here are some sentences you can use to help get you started:
- Save X% off on ______.
- Great selection of _____ at competitive prices.
Meta descriptions can be up to 155 characters long. A good meta description should be exciting (but not spammy), should include your primary keyword, a call-to-action (e.g. Learn more), and match the content on the page it links to. If you want to get really fancy, try using rich snippets.
Product and category page content
Now that you’ve written your title and description tags, it’s time to start writing your product and category page content. Here are some best practice rules:
- Include 1,000+ words.
- Use your keyword 3-5 times.
- Use words and phrases that are closed tied to your primary keyword/synonyms and use these sparingly throughout your content.
- Use short URLs (e.g. mywebsite.com/category/subcategory/name-of-product). Make sure your URLs are:
- keyword rich
- include 1-2 word descriptions of the category and the subcategory
- include your target keyword separated by dashes for your product pages
Once again, avoid keyword stuffing your content pages. Keep your content natural and try not to sound robotic. When writing blog posts, focus on the user and creating a good reading experience for them by answering their questions/needs.
Take your content pages further by making sure headings are structured and image alt tags are applied and optimised.
Headings should be written naturally and include your keywords (if relevant). They should also be used in sequence, i.e. don’t skip from h1 to h3. Here’s an example:
Blog title (h1) > Intro text (p) > Primary heading (h2) > Some text (p) > Subheading (h3) > Some more text > Secondary heading (h2) …etc.
If your blog post or content includes images (recommended), you will need to use alt tags. Refer to this article by Google about their image publishing guidelines. In short:
- When naming your images, be descriptive (e.g. Wrangler-Unlimited-Sport-black.jpg).
- You’ll also want to scale your image size to help with your page load time. For example, if you have a large image, you should resize it to the size it will display on your website (e.g. a square thumbnail image might only need to be 300x300px).
- Try using tools like ImageOptim to reduce your file size.
- When you upload an image to your website, populate the “Alternative Text” field and the “Title Text”. The text you enter here should be useful, use relevant keywords and describe the image appropriately (e.g. Wrangler Unlimited Sport black driving on rocks).
Technical SEO is what can get you from the bottom of page 1 into the top 3 results. The first thing you need to do is run a technical SEO audit on your website. You can do this yourself by using one of these popular tools (try a couple to get a more comprehensive report):
- Raven Tools
- HubSpot’s Website Grader
- Screaming Frog
- GTMetrix (to test page speed)
Scan the report for problems and issues. Some common problems you might notice include things like too many pages, duplicate content, thin content, and site speed. We recommend seeking out help from an SEO professional to fix these types of issues (not to brag or anything…but we can help).
People LOVE reading reviews. Research shows¹ that 91% of people regularly or occasionally read online reviews, and 84% trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That’s a lot of potential customers, reading a lot of reviews.
Want your reviews featured in your search results? No problem, all you need to do is implement “Product Review Schema”. Let us translate…
Schema is a special code that you can add to your product pages to give search engines more insight into your page’s content. In this case, we’re specifically talking about featuring product reviews from your website in your search engine results. Here’s how:
- Go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
- Select “Products”.
- Find a product page from your website that has reviews on it.
- Paste that product page’s URL in the “URL” field and click “Start Tagging”.
- Start highlighting your product review.
- Choose “Review” and highlight relevant fields (User’s name, rating, number of total reviews).
- Click “Create HTML”.
- Add the new Schema to your existing HTML.
- Login to Google Search Console to make sure your schema is implemented.
- Click “Search Appearances”.
- Select “Structured Data” to see the Schema markup on your site and check for errors.
Content is (still) king
Want to boost your traffic? Want to increase sales? Say hello to content marketing.
Content marketing is one of the best ways to increase page authority (which you can then use in your internal link building strategy). Here’s are three tips to help you start creating great content for your ecommerce website’s blog.
- Do some research and find out where your customers hang out online. Where the homies at?
- Learn what words and phrases your customers use to describe their problems.
- Use these keywords to inspire your blog content.
- Build a strategy around internal linking.
- Most of this will come naturally with an ecommerce website but make sure that your authoritative pages link to your high priority pages product and category pages (e.g. link from a high performing blog post to a specific product).
Content quality is what Google expects. Write naturally about your keyword topics and try to relate to your audience as much as possible. Check out this detailed guide for guidance on how to write high-quality awesome content that drives traffic.
If writing isn’t really your thing, consider outsourcing your content marketing to a copyeditor or a blogger who understands SEO. Having high-quality content will pay off.
The strategies and tactics outlined in this article will help you optimise your ecommerce website so that you can get SEO working as a powerful sales channel for your ecommerce website and start boosting sales.
¹ [84 Percent of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends. Here’s How to Manage What They See – https://www.inc.com/craig-bloem/84-percent-of-people-trust-online-reviews-as-much-.html]