Increasing traffic is top of mind for any ecommerce business owner, thus understanding ecommerce SEO has most likely crossed your mind once or twice.
You don’t have to pay for consistent, high-quality organic traffic? Please sign me up.
However, with search engine algorithm revisions and heavy business jargon, it can be tough to grasp the concept of SEO.
This beginner’s guide will quickly and easily transition you from rookie to novice. Keyword research, site layout, organization, and on-page SEO will all be covered.
What is ecommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimizing an online store for search engines. An example of optimization is writing extensive descriptions with relevant keywords on each product page. Getting backlinks from related websites may also help your online store’s rating.
Ecommerce SEO is the practice of increasing organic (i.e., non-paid or free) traffic to your online store from search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
When you do a Google search, for example, you are sent to the search engine results page (SERP):
There, you’ll find 10 organic results, like this (in red):
These organic results are displayed with sponsored advertisements (orange) and Google Shopping ads (purple):
The goal of ecommerce SEO is to have your product pages appear in the top ten organic search results. Of course, there are plenty of other pages to explore:
However, the further you rank from page one, the less traffic you will receive.
According to a 2013 survey, just 4.8% of searchers make it to the second page of search results. Only 1.1% are on page three.
That amount has decreased over time, as has the click-through rate from search results on most websites. Backlinko discovered in 2019 that just 0.78% of searchers click on any link identified on page two of search results.
Your location on the first page is also important. Let’s take a short look at the Backlinko click-through rates for the top ten spots.
- Position 1: 31.73%
- Position 2: 24.71%
- Position 3: 18.66%
- Position 4: 13.6%
- Position 5: 9.51%
- Position 6: 6.23%
- Position 7: 4.15%
- Position 8: 3.12%
- Position 9: 2.97%
- Position 10: 3.09%
However, in 2021, it is uncommon to see search results with ten spots nicely lined out. When you search for anything on Google, you may get Google Shopping ads, text advertising, highlighted snippets, or a rich snippet with “People also ask” or “Top articles,” among other things. The inclusion of these rich snippets can have a significant impact on your website’s click-through rate.
The goal is to rank as high as possible on the first page of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo for search phrases that your potential consumers would use. Let’s go over the measures you’ll need to do to understand ecommerce SEO for beginners.
How to create an ecommerce SEO strategy
This SEO best practices guide is for you if you’re new to search engine optimization and want to learn how to rank top on Google. We’ll discuss the fundamentals of SEO in a way that’s straightforward and, most importantly, actionable.
Step 1: Keyword research
It should come as no surprise that the first stage is to find high-value search phrases that your potential clients may be utilizing. You may do this through ecommerce keyword research, which can be done in a variety of methods.
To begin, ecommerce keyword research differs from most keyword research you’ve heard about online. Why? Most websites value informative keywords like this:
You, on the other hand, may like to rank for commercial keywords such as these:
Can you find the distinction? Information keyword searchers want, well, information. These keywords are important to blogs and content-heavy websites. Commercial keywords that indicate purchasing intent are most important to ecommerce sites. You may also enhance domain authority, traffic, and conversions by creating great content for your ecommerce site.
Amazon and Google Suggest
Note: Because Google is the most used search engine on the planet, I use it in images and demonstrations. Similar steps may be taken with most other search engines.
You’ve probably noticed Google’s autocomplete function. When you begin typing your search term, Google provides related queries:
You’ll find some further relevant search phrases at the bottom of the page:
When you already have a few basic phrases in mind, they might be a goldmine for keyword ideas.
A similar process may be completed on Amazon, which is most likely a rival of yours. The advantage of Amazon’s suggestions is that they are product-focused, as opposed to Google’s, which may include some information keyword ideas.
The procedure is the same on Amazon. Look for a term related to one of your products:
This gives you some potential price categories you can add to your website:
As well as some other potential keywords:
Long-tail keywords, which are generally three to four words long, should be avoided. The more exact the keyword, the longer it is. That implies less competition and, as a result, greater conversion rates.
This procedure may be automated using tools. This will save you a significant amount of manual work time, particularly if you have a large product portfolio.
You may conduct even more research on Amazon or any other large ecommerce site with whom you compete. To begin, go through their related product subcategories for keyword and category suggestions for your store:
Jackpot! Assume you sell women’s clothing. Locate the category and select the most pertinent subcategory. You can now view how Amazon classifies and organizes its women’s clothes in a variety of ways:
Repeat this process for any other major competitors.
Keyword research tool (Ahrefs)
We’ve been performing keyword research on the cheap up until now. If you have $99 to invest in a one-month membership to Ahrefs, it may be a useful ecommerce SEO tool because it gives keyword recommendations, displays your rating, and does a lot more.
This is how.
Assume you’re competing with BustedTees.com, a nerdy t-shirt retail site. Simply enter the domain into a keyword research tool such as Ahrefs and click the number under “Organic keywords” at the top:
Scroll down to see all of the keywords BustedTees.com ranks for:
Boom! In the picture above, you’ll also discover measures like Volume.
You may view the most popular terms on their website by clicking on Volume. Keywords can be used or excluded to help you narrow down your search. For example, if its website name appears as a keyword, you may remove it from the list by entering the brand name and selecting Only Keywords under Any Target.
You can see which websites link to BustedTees.com, which may give you an idea of which websites could connect to yours. You may do this for any website in your niche. Increasing your domain authority through backlinks improves your ecommerce SEO.
Choosing the right keywords for your store
At this stage in the ecommerce SEO course, your keyword list is most likely rather lengthy. So, how do you cut it down and focus on the most important keywords? Begin with a few crucial elements.
- Volume. The greater the number of searches, the more potential visitors to your site. Ahrefs can provide volume statistics, but so can free programs such as Google Keyword Planner.
- Competition. The less competition there is, the more likely you are to rank for the term. Again, Ahrefs will provide you with keyword difficulty/competition information (KD).
Page authority (PA) and domain authority (DA) indicate how tough it would be to outrank these organic results. The greater the number, the more difficult (in general) it will be to overturn the outcome.
Overall, you want terms with high volume, low competition, and strong intent.
- Relevancy. What is the relevance of your product or category page to the search term? This is a significant ranking component that is frequently overlooked. Stick to terms that will truly benefit your products. You’re not deceiving Google.
- Intent. Again, you should target terms with commercial purposes. In most cases, you can determine the purpose just by glancing at a keyword. For example, if you operate a bridal business, which searches a term has greater intent: “ball gown wedding gowns” or “work dresses”?
Which of these searches is more likely to purchase on your website? The former. A bridal shop may sell products other than wedding gowns, such as evening gowns, wedding guest gowns, and even mother-of-the-bride gowns. Work gowns, on the other hand, are rarely found at bridal shops.
Step 2: Site architecture for ecommerce
When it comes to SEO ecommerce, the organization and layout of your site’s pages have an impact on your search engine rankings. It also has an impact on your user experience (UX). Essentially, you want to make it simple for both actual customers and search engines to locate products in your store.
Easier said than done.
As you add and delete products and categories, the site structure becomes increasingly intricate. If you can get this right from the start, you’ll save yourself a lot of time later on. So:
- As your shop expands, make sure your site structure is straightforward but easy to scale.
- Make sure that every page on your site is as close to your homepage as feasible.
Simplicity is often overlooked. You don’t want people using the back button to navigate your site, going in circles attempting to locate what they’re searching for. You also don’t want to have to restructure your site layout every time you add a new product category, for example.
The majority of your link authority is concentrated on your homepage because it is the most often referenced page on other organizations’ websites. As a result, it stands to reason that the further a product page is from your homepage, the less authority it has.
Those are the fundamentals. If you want to go a step further, Orainti‘s Aleyda Solis gives her #1 ecommerce SEO advice, which is all about site structure:
“Utilize the supply and demand concept to determine which tiers of the website structure—from categories to qualities, brands, or filters listing pages—are worthy of indexing and optimizing for, as they meet actual audience need”.
For those who are curious, an “index” is another name for a search engine’s database. To “index” a page means to add it to that database. In other words, Google found your page and included it in search results.
“This is due to weak content and content duplication being two of the most typical difficulties for ecommerce sites.” Several of the thin content and content duplication scenarios occur because the website structure has many internal layers, such as filters and attribute-focused sites with few products that are also featured on other pages.”
Thin content refers to the assumption that an ecommerce site has less real text than, say, a blog or software site. Consider thousands of thin content pages generated by random product characteristics and product filter pages. Some of the sites may simply have one or two products listed. Adding blog material to your online store’s website is an excellent approach to combat sparse content on your overall website.
Content duplication is as straightforward as it sounds.
“The simplest, and most typical, approach to managing this scenario is to simply noindex, or canonicalize, to others, these sorts of pages,” Aleyda explains. You may, however, develop meaningful and valuable content for those pages to become unique, relevant, and competitive. After all, while noindexing or canonicalizing sites may be the simplest method to manage this, it is not the greatest strategy to maximize current search prospects and effectively address user search behavior with your content and product offering.”
Canonicalizing a page tells Google that a URL is the “master version” that you want to see in search results. This is useful in duplicate content situations since Google detects them. Google may: if canonical tags are not used:
- Dilute your ranking ability
- Choose the wrong master version for you
- Miss unique content while wading through too much duplicate content
If you use Shopify, auto-generated canonical tags are automatically applied to pages to avoid duplicate material from showing in search results.
When you’re ready, Aleyda proposes moving beyond noindex or canonicalization:
“It’s therefore critical to determine whether there are enough search queries surrounding the specific product’s qualities, categories, or brands that you’re presenting with each level of your ecommerce content to determine whether it’s worthwhile to index it or not.” And, if so, whether there is enough material available on the specific page and whether it is matched with how the user searches for it, or whether you should make more efforts to extend and optimize it in order to make it relevant and competitive.
“If there isn’t, and it’s also not optimized, and you need to put in extra work with it, you know it’ll pay off, because you’ve already proven that there is a need, with enough searches for it.”
That’s a lot of information to take in, especially if you’re new to ecommerce SEO. Aleyda, thankfully, supplied us with this helpful chart to help us grasp the process she goes through:
What is the main point here? Because not every level of your site’s structure is worth indexing and optimizing, be strategic and consult the chart above.
Pro tip: Add breadcrumbs to your product pages to help consumers and Google navigate your website. Breadcrumbs inform Google about the structure of your site and help visitors navigate it.Ahmed Samir Founder as-educate
Take note of how Allbirds employs breadcrumbs to help consumers navigate its product pages. If a customer decides not to buy the Everyday Sneakers, they may quickly return to Men’s Shoes or the homepage and hunt for a new product.
To display your clients the path they’ve taken via your category tree, use the app Category Breadcrumbs ($4/month).
Step 3: Technical SEO
Technical SEO is a sort of search engine optimization that goes “behind the scenes.” It is not visible to customers, but it guarantees that your website is optimized for crawlers, has a fast site, and is mobile-friendly. Technical SEO done correctly might result in:
- Better website engagement since your site is quick and simple to use.
- More organic traffic as a result of your site being easier to crawl.
The following are some suggestions for improving your technical SEO for ecommerce:
- Optimize images to load quickly.
- Create logical internal linking with your menus.
- Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console and fix site errors.
Step 4: On-page SEO for ecommerce
Now that you’ve completed your keyword research and your site structure is ready to go, we’ll discuss how to optimize your two most valuable pages:
- Product pages
- Product category pages
Not surprisingly, it starts with the basics.
If you’re already using Shopify, you’re probably aware that it has certain built-in SEO tools that you can use. Some are pre-programmed:
- Title tags with your store name are generated by themes.
- The canonical tags we discussed before are included.
- The sitemap.xml and robots.txt files for your website are created.
- Themes must have social media linking and sharing possibilities.
But some features require your optimization skills:
- You may put your keywords in the title tags, meta tags, and meta descriptions.
- You may insert your keywords in the alt text for product photos.
- You can put your keywords in the file names.
- URLs for blog posts, websites, products, and collections may all be customized.
Keep in mind that your title tags and descriptions are visible to Google. So, the first stage is to rank on the top page. The second step is to persuade searchers to visit your website.
When included in the meta description, modifiers like “Deals,” “X% Off,” “Free Shipping,” “Wide Selection,” and so on can help you rank higher. Why? Because it is believed that Google uses click-through rate (CTR) as a ranking element. So, catering to search engine overlords isn’t enough; you also need to excite searcher interest.
Those modifiers can also help you attack long-tail keywords.
1. Choose the right URLs
According to Rand Fishkin, the following URL criteria should be followed for the best ecommerce SEO ranking:
- Because Google values accessibility, your URL should be simple for real, living humans to read and comprehend.
- Using your core keyword in URLs is still highly recommended because it appears in search results.
- Short URLs are preferable to large URLs. Keep it between 50 and 60 characters.
- Make certain that the core term appears in the page title. However, you should avoid including your complete page title in the URL.
- Stop words such as “and,” “of,” “the,” and “a” should be avoided unless they are part of the keyword.
- Keyword stuffing and meaningless repetition do not fool Google and make your store appear spammy.
When deciding on the URLs for your product and category pages, keep these rules in mind.
2. Reduce thin content pages with long and unique product descriptions
Google and other search engines evaluate the content on your website to determine which keywords to rank your page for and how high your page should rank for each keyword in ecommerce SEO.
So, if your product page only has a brief description and nothing else, Google won’t have much to go on. Duplicate material is defined as copying and pasting a description from a manufacturer or supplier, and it is also discouraged. Writing a unique description with a lot of relevant data will assist enhance the product page’s rating and decrease thin content on your online store.
As a result, you’ll notice product pages with longer descriptions, reviews, and so on.
Write extensive, detailed product descriptions so that Google can work its magic more effectively. On each page, include a few distinct relevant keywords to assist Google to comprehend what your product is. If your catalog is large, prioritize your top products or products that rank towards the bottom of the first page or near the top of the second page. While it may be time-consuming, investing in your product description benefits, not just ecommerce SEO but also conversions.
The more you write, the more accurate Google’s rating of your page will be. And, well, the more chances you have to use your keywords.
Plus, as long as you offer a high-level description for the highly driven, your customers won’t mind the additional product information. It may even encourage them to buy.
3. Take advantage of latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords
LSI keywords are those that are closely connected to your primary keyword.
You may locate these by performing a fast Amazon (or another big-name rival) search or using the aforementioned Google Keyword Planner.
Search Amazon for your primary keyword and check for additional keywords that keep coming up. As an example, suppose you’re attempting to market a blender:
“14 Speed,” “450W,” and “48oz Glass Jar” all appear many times, indicating that they are significant selling points and presumably typical search phrases.
You can also use Google Keyword Planner to get LSI keyword ideas for your keyword:
If you’re getting traffic from that primary keyword, you may as well aim to rank top for related secondary keywords as well. So, wherever possible, apply these LSI keywords.
4. Create internal links
The longer you can keep your visitors browsing your web material, the better your chances of making a transaction. Relevant links to other landing pages on your site aid in the browsing and discovery of information or products by your potential consumers.
Make sure to include the target keyword verbatim in your anchor text (the words in which you position the link). Customers may be directed to appropriate product pages, category sites, and instructional information by using internal linking.
💡 Pro tip: You may create content that guides your audience through the many phases of the purchase journey if you understand their decision-making process.Ahmed Samir Founder as-educate
Also, avoid going overboard with internal connections. Every few hundred lines, one or two links are sufficient.
Step 5: Blogging
Blogging is a type of content marketing in which you utilize on-page and technical SEO tactics to improve the search visibility of your website. It helps to ensure that search engines consider your website reliable enough to rank for certain keywords related to your audience’s interests and demands. When you blog, you use SEO to support an ongoing long-form content strategy.
Every published blog article has the potential to:
- Improve your site’s authority
- Increase visibility in organic search
- Build your reputation as a credible source
Assume you’re launching a business that sells running shoes. You want to assist potential clients in understanding your products, making better use of them, and solving their running and fitness challenges. Blogging may assist you in getting noticed in search engines such as Google.
A well-written blog provides your shop with a consistent supply of fresh material. The more individuals that discover your work, the more trustworthy you’ll become as an information source. As a result, you will rank higher. Ecommerce firms frequently struggle with blogging because getting it properly takes time, effort, and resources. Publishing blog entries at random each month will not drive visitors to your website.
Many ecommerce businesses, on the other hand, excel at blogging. Au Lit Fine Linens, for example, supplies everything you need to obtain a good night’s sleep, including premium sheets, pillows, bath linens, and more. Between the Sheets, the brand’s blog also offers useful advice on how readers might enhance their sleep quality.
The blog is SEO-driven, which means that its primary goal is to rank in search engines. Posts frequently emphasize a problem that the reader is experiencing and propose Au Lit Fine Linens products as a remedy. A delicate blend of promotional and informative content.
When creating an ecommerce SEO blog, keep the following three factors in mind:
- Optimize blog posts for SEO. Make sure that each blog focuses on a single term for SEO purposes. These are frequently centered on reader concerns about something.
- Research what keywords to rank for. Publish content that focuses on terms that people are likely to search for while looking for solutions to issues or making purchasing decisions.
- Present your products as a solution to the problem. Not every post has to be about your stuff. However, don’t be hesitant to provide a link to a product page or two when applicable.
Step 6: Link building
Rather than only returning results based on keywords, the Google algorithm believes that the best information might be obtained if webpages were granted “authority” in the same way that academic publications are assigned authority depending on the number of citations they get. Except that in this situation, citations are referred to as backlinks.
While Google’s algorithm considers hundreds of other characteristics, the amount, quality, and relevance of links are used to determine a site’s quality and trustworthiness. As a result, new websites have less authority in the eyes of search engines. While time will heal this, generating quality backlinks will help Google recognize your authority more quickly.
Respected.com,.gov, and.edu sites will provide the highest authority when providing a backlink. Starting with. coms is arguably the most straightforward.
Focusing on partnerships is one of the greatest methods to approach link building. Determine what other comparable websites you can help with. Guest articles, for example, may be a terrific approach to create backlinks if the material is relevant and provides actual value to your audience and your partners’ audiences. On Ahrefs, you can easily locate relevant sites in your field by analyzing rival backlinks.
Press mentions are another approach to building backlinks. Building a press list or employing a public relations agency may be costly, so here is a simple growth hack that everyone can implement.
Sign up for Help A Reporter Out (HARO) or Help a B2B Writer to receive a daily summary of reporter requests sent directly to your inbox. When a lead matches your brand, send an email to the specified email address and pitch a story. If you land an interview, make sure to request a connection back to your website.
Backlinking services should be avoided. They may attempt to sell backlinks based on number rather than quality, which can be detrimental to your site.
Best ecommerce SEO tools for beginners
SEO: Image Optimizer Page Speed
This Shopify SEO app by AVADA is ideal for assisting ecommerce shops in outranking competitors. It aids with picture compression, site performance optimization, schema markup, and other aspects of search engine optimization. It also provides customer service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
SEOAnt SEO & Image Optimizer
The SEOAnt SEO & Image Optimizer is a free all-in-one SEO tool that allows you to conduct SEO checkup reports, monitor SEO health, repair broken links and redirects, and increase Google traffic. You may also mass modify alt text and meta components in a matter of seconds.
If you have a website, you will utilize Google Analytics. This free SEO tool monitors and reports website traffic, allowing you to better understand your consumers, optimize your business for SEO and increase marketing ROI. You may link Google Analytics to Shopify Analytics as a Shopify store owner and track specialized ecommerce data.
You saw Ahrefs in action in the preceding course, but it’s worth delving further into some of its important features. Ecommerce marketing pros utilize many of the capabilities to develop SEO strategies and rank higher on Google. Ahrefs competes with Moz and Semrush, two other SEO software businesses that may be found while investigating SEO tools.
Analyze a website’s link profile, keyword rankings, and general SEO performance with Ahrefs. It may also be used for keyword research on Google, Amazon, and YouTube. Ahrefs provides several useful features, including:
- SEO audits
- PPC features
- Competitor research
- Top content analysis
Getting started with ecommerce SEO
There is a lot more to ecommerce SEO than meets the eye. I’m talking about international SEO, off-page SEO, marketing analytics, and so forth.
However, these first six basic stages will get you started (and likely keep you occupied) for the time being.
Ecommerce SEO FAQ
Ecommerce sites optimize product pages for keywords and provide blog material on their websites. Requesting backlinks from relevant websites also aids in the development of page authority. Adding new pages with substantial material consistently informs search engines that your website is still active and “fresh.” Once a year, updating information on blog articles and product sites for relevancy also helps improve SEO ranking, as this is known as “content freshness.”
SEO is important for ecommerce since it increases visibility on search engine result pages (SERPs). Your website will rank better in search results if you optimize it for users, build pages that handle certain keywords and user intent, and obtain backlinks from other websites. The more pages you do this for, the more pages will begin to rank. Getting organic search traffic to your website allows you to spend less money on paid marketing.
Shopify is the most effective ecommerce platform for SEO. You may create and change your titles, meta descriptions, alt text, and URLs on Shopify. You may also use Google Search Console to submit your sitemap. On Shopify, you can also add a blog to your online store. A blog on an ecommerce website might assist you in ranking for other relevant keywords that do not compete with product pages. If you offered birthday party supplies, for example, your product pages might include keywords based on particular product names such as balloons, streamers, and so on. However, your blog may contain terms related to, say, birthday party planning.