Ranking well in organic search can make or break an ecommerce site. But traditional SEO tactics often fall short for online stores.
In this comprehensive guide, the SEMburger team will share their proven insider tips for ecommerce SEO success. We’ll cover key optimizations for pages, content, technical factors, user experience, and analytics to start driving more qualified traffic and conversions.
Let’s dive in to unlocking search engine visibility and sales for your online store.
Why SEO is Crucial for Ecommerce Websites
SEO acts as a perpetual traffic-driver that delivers motivated buyers to your site. Consider these statistics:
- 61% of shoppers use search engines to discover new stores per Walker Sands
- 100% more traffic from search than social media according to Forrester
- #1 organic result gets over 30% of clicks per Moz
Ranking high in organic search acts as the most cost-effective and impactful channel for ecommerce brands to acquire new customers at scale.
Most Common Ecommerce SEO Mistakes to Avoid
Before digging into tactics, let’s highlight some frequent ecommerce SEO pitfalls to sidestep:
Focusing Only on the Homepage
Your homepage is just one of many priority pages. Product, category, brand, blog, etc. all require optimization too.
Ignoring Long-Tail Keywords
Short commercial keywords have high competition. Target more niche long-tail phrases with lower difficulty.
Copying Competitor Content
Simply recreating what rivals do tends to backfire. Differentiate with unique, high-quality content.
Disregarding Site Speed
Slow-loading pages lead to awful user experience and hurt rankings. Speed is critical.
Overlooking Local SEO
Optimizing for local searches helps drive in-store traffic and pickups. Don’t miss this opportunity.
Keep these common mistakes in mind as you shape your ecommerce SEO strategy.
Technical Ecommerce SEO Best Practices
A technically optimized site is the foundation for search visibility.
Use Schema Markup
Take advantage of ecommerce schema like Product, Offer, Review, Breadcrumbs. This helps search engines understand your pages.
Optimize Site Speed
Leverage caching, compression, optimized assets and more to load pages in under 2 seconds. This significantly boosts conversions.
Prioritize Mobile Optimization
With mobile driving most traffic, ensure a seamless mobile experience through responsive design, minimal taps, and legible content.
Set Correct URL Structures
Use descriptive category slugs, logical URL structures, and dashes for readability. This aids click-through rates.
Implement XML Sitemaps
Submit XML sitemaps to surface new pages to indexers faster. Also use image sitemaps and video sitemaps as applicable.
301 Redirect Outdated Pages
When archiving product, category or brand pages, use 301 redirects to pass link equity to replacements.
By nailing the technical SEO fundamentals first, you lay the groundwork for search visibility.
Optimizing for Ecommerce Keywords and Intent
Driving qualified traffic starts with identifying the right keyword opportunities.
Research Commercial and Long-Tail Keywords
Use Google Ads Keyword Planner and tools like SEMrush to discover high-value ecommerce search phrases with good traffic and lower competition.
Identify Keywords Across Buyer Stages
Target keywords for every stage – research, comparison, purchase intent – not just commercial terms. Support the full journey.
Align Keywords to Landing Pages
Optimize product pages for the exact models being searched. Don’t drive traffic to irrelevant pages.
Create Location and Long-Tail Variations
Build out location-optimized and long-tail variations of product pages to target more granular searches and gain visibility.
Optimize for Voice and Image Search
Use natural conversation language and alt text optimization to surface in voice and image search results.
Matching pages directly to user intent through expansive keyword targeting provides more opportunities to meet demand.
Crafting High-Quality Ecommerce SEO Content
Creating value-driven content that engages potential buyers is key for ecommerce SEO.
Optimize Product Title Tags and Descriptions
Include important keywords and compelling sales messaging in product titles and meta descriptions. This optimizes click-throughs.
Produce In-Depth Product Descriptions
Write a detailed copy that preempts buyers’ questions and convinces them why your product is best.
Curate Related Products and Suggestions
Linking complementary or alternative products helps searchers find what they need.
Share Customer Success Stories
Publish compelling customer testimonials, reviews, and case studies to build trust.
Create Category-Specific Buying Guides
In-depth buying guides tailored to your product categories guide buyers and build authority.
Blog Valuable Industry Insights
Blogging helps establish your brand as a topical expert beyond just products.
Optimized product content combined with value-driven blogs boosts relevance for searchers.
Improving Ecommerce SEO Through User Experience
Beyond copy, making shopping seamless wins with both users and search engines.
Obsess Over Site Speed
Optimize images, enable caching, and more to load pages fast. Every second delay hurts conversions.
Refine Filtering and Faceted Navigation
Make it easy for visitors to self-serve and find the exact product variations they want.
Personalize With Recommendations
Product recommendations based on past purchases, views and category affinity boost engagement.
Improve Internal Link Structures
Link complementing products and categories together for easy discovery of related offerings.
Feature High-Res Product Images
Insert beautiful, high-resolution product photos and gallery views to wow visitors.
User experience truly matters for ecommerce SEO – improve it and metrics will follow.
Tracking Ecommerce SEO with Key Analytics
Robust tracking provides the data you need to inform optimization:
Monitor Organic KPIs
Watch weekly/monthly trends for impressions, clicks, average positions, and landing pages.
Correlate Rankings to Conversions
See which ranking improvements directly lift revenue and prove SEO ROI.
Review Keyword Conversion Rates
Identify your most effective high-converting keywords that you should target more aggressively.
Analyze Site Search Usage
See the most common on-site search queries to uncover new keyword and content opportunities.
Attribute Conversions to Channels
Leverage multi-touch attribution to understand the influence of SEO vs. other channels on sales.
Consistent analytics review ensures you optimize the SEO tactics delivering real ecommerce value.
Leveraging Social Signals for Ecommerce SEO
While social media may not be a direct ranking factor, there’s evidence to suggest that social signals like shares and engagement can indirectly boost your SEO efforts. Google considers these signals as a form of ‘social proof,’ which can enhance your site’s credibility and authority.
Integrate Social Sharing Buttons: Make it easy for visitors to share your products on social media platforms.
User-Generated Content: Encourage satisfied customers to share their experiences and tag your brand on social media.
Social Media Meta Tags: Use Open Graph tags for Facebook and Twitter Cards to ensure that your content looks appealing when shared on social platforms.
Example Open Graph Meta Tags:
<meta property=”og:title” content=”Your Product Name”>
<meta property=”og:description” content=”Your Product Description”>
<meta property=”og:image” content=”URL_to_Image”>
Seasonal and Event-Based SEO for Ecommerce
Seasonal trends and events can significantly impact search behavior. Capitalizing on these changes can give you a competitive edge.
- Seasonal Keywords: Incorporate seasonal keywords into your product descriptions and blog posts.
- Limited-Time Offers: Create event-specific landing pages optimized for SEO.
- Event Countdowns: A countdown to a significant sale or event can create urgency and improve engagement.
The Role of Video in Ecommerce SEO
Video content is becoming increasingly important in SEO, and it’s a medium that ecommerce sites can leverage effectively.
- Product Videos: Create short, engaging videos that showcase your products in action.
- Video Transcripts: Include a transcript of your video content to make it accessible and crawlable by search engines.
- Video Sitemaps: Submit a video sitemap to Google to ensure that your videos are indexed properly.
Example Video Sitemap XML:
<video:title>Product 1 Video</video:title>
<video:description>This is a description of Product 1 video.</video:description>
A/B Testing for Ecommerce SEO
A/B testing isn’t just for UX and conversion rate optimization; it’s also invaluable for SEO.
- Meta Descriptions: Test different meta descriptions to see which ones result in higher click-through rates.
- Headings and Subheadings: Experiment with different H1 and H2 tags to find what resonates most with your audience.
- Content Length: Test the impact of longer vs. shorter product descriptions on your SEO rankings and user engagement.
Conclusion: Key Takeaways for Unlocking Ecommerce SEO Success
To wrap up, here are the core fundamentals for winning at ecommerce SEO:
- Use structured data to help search engines comprehend your products.
- Obsess over website speed optimizations for conversions.
- Target commercial and long-tail variants across the buyer’s journey.
- Produce optimized product descriptions, buying guides and other value-added content.
- Boost user experience through recommendations, navigation and visuals.
- Track analytics to tie SEO efforts to actual sales lift.
- Avoid over-optimization to appear unnatural – focus on satisfying users first.
Ecommerce SEO requires work, but pays immense dividends. By following these best practices, your online store can tap into search engines’ unrivaled ability to deliver motivated shoppers ready to buy.
The sooner you learn and apply these techniques, the faster your ecommerce revenues will start growing.