Running an eCommerce business is tough enough, let alone all of the other considerations that go into it – like SEO. eCommerce search engine optimization is a process by which you can improve your visibility and organic search results in order to drive more traffic (and, hopefully, more sales) to your online store. While there is no guarantee that implementing eCommerce SEO best practices will result in increased sales, it’s absolutely worth doing if you want to give your business the best chance to succeed.
Plus, it’s not nearly as difficult or time-consuming as you think!
Today, we’ll share exactly what eCommerce SEO is, how it helps, best practices for site optimizations to improve eCommerce SEO, and much more.
What is eCommerce SEO & How Does it help?
We’ll begin with the basics. eCommerce SEO is the process of optimizing your online store for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. By improving your SEO, you can boost your visibility in search engine results pages (SERPs), which can, in turn, result in more traffic and sales.
There are two main types of SEO: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO refers to all the optimizations you can make to your website and individual product pages to improve your eCommerce SEO. This includes optimizing your title tags, meta descriptions, product descriptions, images, etc.
Off-page SEO, alternatively, refers to optimization efforts outside your website. The most common off-page eCommerce SEO tactic is link building, which is the process of acquiring links from other websites to yours.
Both on-page and off-page SEO are vital for a successful eCommerce SEO strategy. However, on-page eCommerce SEO is usually the place to start because it’s all within your control – you can make all of the necessary optimizations on your own website. Once you’ve perfected your on-page eCommerce SEO, you can then move on to off-page SEO tactics like link building.
We’ll get into the specifics of these eCommerce SEO best practices later on. But first, let’s take a look at eCommerce SEO’s benefits.
How eCommerce SEO Can Help Your Business
Many benefits come with eCommerce SEO. Perhaps the most obvious is increased traffic – if you can improve your eCommerce store’s visibility in search engine results pages, you can generate more traffic (and potential customers) to your website.
In addition to increased traffic, eCommerce SEO can also lead to:
More organic search traffic
Organic search traffic is visitors who find your website through a search engine like Google, as opposed to paid advertising or another referral source. eCommerce businesses should always be striving to increase their organic search traffic because it generally results in higher quality traffic – these visitors are actively searching for products or services like yours, which means they’re more likely to convert into paying customers.
Higher conversion rates
eCommerce businesses that invest in SEO tend to see higher conversion rates than those that don’t. This is likely because SEO can result in increased organic search traffic, as we just mentioned. But it’s also because eCommerce stores that rank higher in SERPs are generally seen as more credible and trustworthy than those that don’t, which leads to more sales.
Because SEO can lead to increased traffic and higher conversion rates, it also usually results in improved ROI. eCommerce businesses that invest in SEO typically see a higher return than those that don’t because they’re able to generate more sales with the same amount of traffic.
Many other benefits come with eCommerce SEO, but these are some of the most common and impactful. As you can see, SEO is well worth the time and effort – it can really help to take your business to the next level.
Best Practices: Site Optimizations to Improve eCommerce Rankings
Now that we’ve covered the basics of eCommerce SEO and discussed some of the benefits, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty: site optimizations to improve rankings. These are specific eCommerce SEO best practices that you can implement to improve your store’s visibility in SERPs.
Optimizing title tags
Title tags are one of the most important on-page eCommerce SEO elements – they are what show up in search engine results pages (SERPs), so you want to make sure they’re optimized to attract clicks.
Your store’s title tags should be descriptive and keyword-rich, but they shouldn’t be too long or stuffed with keywords. A handy rule of thumb is to keep them under 60 characters. You also want to make sure they’re unique for each page – don’t use the same title tag on every page of your eCommerce store.
Creating meta descriptions
Meta descriptions are the short descriptions that appear under each SERPs listing. They’re not nearly as important as title tags in terms of eCommerce SEO, but they’re still worth optimizing.
Your store’s meta descriptions should be clear, concise, and keyword-rich. They should also be unique for each page – like title tags, you don’t want to use the same meta description on every page of your store.
A good rule of thumb is to keep meta descriptions under 160 characters.
Improving site speed
Site speed is a key ranking factor for eCommerce SEO. If your store takes too long to load, Google will penalize it in SERPs. That’s why it’s essential to make your store’s site as fast as possible.
There are a few different ways you can improve your eCommerce store’s speed, including:
- Optimizing images: Images are one of the main culprits when it comes to slow stores. Ensure all the images on your eCommerce store are compressed and properly sized.
- Minimizing HTTP requests: Every time users visit a page on your store, their browser has to send an HTTP request to your server. This can slow down your store, so you want to minimize the number of HTTP requests as much as possible. One way to do this is by using CSS sprites – this combines all your store’s images into one big image, which reduces the number of HTTP requests.
- Using a content delivery network (CDN): A CDN is a group of servers worldwide that deliver content to users based on their location. Using a CDN can help improve eCommerce store speed because it ensures your users get content from the server closest to them.
There are all kinds of other eCommerce SEO best practices regarding site speed, but these are some of the most critical.
Improving eCommerce website security
Another key eCommerce SEO best practice is improving your website security.
This is important for two reasons:
- First, it’s a ranking factor – Google gives preference to secure eCommerce stores.
- Second, it’s important for customer trust. Customers who don’t trust your store will not make a purchase.
There are a few different ways you can improve eCommerce website security, including:
- Installing an SSL certificate: An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that encrypts information sent between your store and your customer’s browser. This helps to protect sensitive information (like credit card numbers) from being intercepted by hackers.
- Enabling two-factor authentication: Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires users to confirm their identity with the second piece of information, such as a code sent to their phone. This makes it much harder for hackers to access store accounts.
Improving website security is a critical best practice for eCommerce SEO – not only because it’s a ranking factor but also because it’s key for customer trust.
Creating unique and keyword-rich eCommerce product descriptions
Another eCommerce SEO best practice is creating unique and keyword-rich product descriptions. Of course, your product descriptions should be keyword-rich so they can be found by customers searching for those keywords. But at the same time, they should be unique. With that in mind, we NEVER recommend copying and pasting the manufacturer’s product description.
Your product descriptions should:
- Be keyword-rich: Use relevant keywords throughout your eCommerce product descriptions. But don’t stuff them in though—use them naturally as part of a sentence or phrase.
- Be unique: As mentioned above, don’t just copy and paste the manufacturer’s product description. Write your own product descriptions that are unique to your eCommerce store.
- Be persuasive: Your product descriptions should persuade customers to make a purchase. Use strong calls to action and highlight the benefits of the product.
- Be well-written: Your product descriptions should be well-written and free of grammar and spelling errors. This helps to create a professional image for your store.
Creating unique and keyword-rich product descriptions is a vital eCommerce SEO best practice. Using relevant keywords so that customers can find your products is a must, but at the same time, your product descriptions should be unique and well-written.
Create SEO-rich, informative blog posts
Blog visitors are a major source of traffic you might miss out on if you don’t regularly publish blog posts on your eCommerce site.
Not only that, but blog posts are a great opportunity to show off your store’s unique voice and personality which is something that’s often lacking on eCommerce store websites.
When writing blog posts, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make sure they’re effective from an SEO perspective:
- Do your keyword research: Just like with eCommerce product descriptions, blog posts should be keyword-rich so they can be found by customers searching for those keywords. Use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner and Google Trends to find relevant keywords for your blog post.
- Make sure your eCommerce blog post is well-written: Blog posts should be well-written and free of grammar and spelling errors. This helps to create a professional image for your store.
- Include images and videos: Blog posts that include images and videos tend to be more engaging and get more shares on social media.
Creating SEO-rich, informative blog posts is a great eCommerce SEO best practice. Not only do they help you attract traffic from customers who are searching for relevant keywords, but they also allow you to show off your store’s unique voice and personality.
Improving eCommerce website navigation
Another eCommerce SEO best practice is improving website navigation. Your eCommerce navigation should be easy to use so that customers can find what they’re looking for without any difficulty.
There are a few different ways you can improve eCommerce website navigation, including:
- Organizing products into categories: One way to improve website navigation is to organize products into categories. This makes it easier for customers to discover what they’re looking for and also helps with search engine optimization (SEO).
- Adding a search bar: Another way to improve eCommerce website navigation is to add a search bar. This allows customers to search for products by keyword, which can be helpful if they’re unsure which category the product is in.
- Using breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs are links that show the path a customer has taken in your store. For example, if a customer is viewing a product page, the breadcrumb might show “Home > Men’s Clothing > T-shirts.” This is a helpful way to improve website navigation, as it allows customers to backtrack if they get lost.
eCommerce SEO Best Practices for Link Building
Link building is a process of getting other websites to link to your website. This is important for SEO because links are one of the major ranking factors used by search engines.
There are a few different ways you can build links to your eCommerce website, including:
- Guest blogging: When you write a blog post for another website in your industry, this is known as guest blogging. It’s a great way to get exposure for your eCommerce website and also build links. When guest blogging, include a link to your store in your author bio.
- Directory listings: Directory listings are websites that list businesses in specific industries. Getting your store listed on these websites can help build links and improve your store’s visibility.
- Partnering with other eCommerce stores: Partnering with other stores is a great way to build links. For example, you could create a joint venture (JV) where you promote each other’s products on your websites. This is a win-win situation: you get exposure for your website, and the other eCommerce store also gets exposure.
Unique Challenges When it Comes to eCommerce SEO Best Practices
eCommerce is unique in many ways, and SEO is no exception. Here are some of the particular challenges you might face while implementing these best practices and boosting your site’s SEO success.
This is one of the most common SEO challenges. Because multiple retailers often sell products, it’s not uncommon for there to be duplicate content across the web. This can be a problem because it can dilute your website’s search engine rankings.
To overcome this issue, you can use canonical tags. Canonical tags let search engines know which version of a piece of content is the original and should be indexed. So, by using canonical tags, you can ensure search engines are properly indexing your website’s content.
Another common eCommerce SEO challenge is faceted navigation. Faceted navigation is a type of navigation that allows users to filter products by various attributes. For example, on an eCommerce website that sells clothes, a user might be able to filter the products by size, color, and style.
While faceted navigation can be helpful for users, it can also be a problem for SEO. This is because it can create multiple versions of the same page, leading to duplicate content issues (as mentioned above).
You can use parameter handling in Google Search Console to combat this issue. Parameter handling allows you to specify how you want Google to handle URLs with specific parameters. This can help prevent duplicate content issues and ensure your website’s pages are properly indexed.
Putting a product in multiple categories
Another eCommerce SEO challenge is when you have a product that belongs in multiple categories. For example, let’s say you have a dress that can be classified as both “Women’s Clothing” and “Formal Wear.”
Again, this can be a problem for SEO because it can create duplicate content issues. However, you can combat this issue by using canonical tags (as mentioned above). Canonical tags will tell search engines which version of the page is the original and should be indexed.
Finally, eCommerce SEO can be challenging when it comes to tagging. Tagging is the process of labeling products with keywords so that search engines can properly index them.
It’s helpful to tag products carefully and with relevant keywords, but you don’t want to go overboard. If you stuff your product pages with too many keywords, it will not only be ineffective, but it could also get you penalized by Google.
To avoid this issue, only use relevant keywords when tagging products. And, try to use various keyword phrases rather than just using the same keyword repetitively.
eCommerce SEO Best Practices: FAQs
We’ve covered many eCommerce best practices, but we know you might still have some questions, so let’s get to those next!
How much does eCommerce SEO cost?
The cost of eCommerce SEO can vary depending on the eCommerce store’s needs. However, a typical SEO campaign might cost between $500 and $5,000 per month.
How long does eCommerce SEO take?
The timeline for SEO depends on the eCommerce store’s needs. However, seeing results from an SEO campaign typically takes 3-6 months.
What are some other eCommerce best practices?
Along with the best practices we listed above, some bonus tips include:
- Creating eCommerce product pages that are optimized for conversion
- Conducting keyword research to find the right keywords
- Offering customers discounts and coupons
What is the top strategy for eCommerce sites?
The top eCommerce strategy is to focus on creating a great user experience. This means having a website that is easy to navigate, has products that are easy to find and offers a seamless checkout process. If you can create a great user experience, your website will be successful.
Now that you’re armed with all of these eCommerce SEO best practices, it’s time to put them into action and see what they can do for your website. Just remember to focus on creating a great user experience, conducting keyword research, and optimizing your eCommerce product pages. Do all of that, and SEO success will be right around the corner.
To expedite the process and increase the success rate of your eCommerce SEO campaigns, consider working with an eCommerce SEO agency like Blue Water Marketing. We can help you to implement the best practices we listed above and take your store to the next level.