By now, you could have been hearing about the importance of SEO for an eCommerce website for years. But as for whether you’re convinced of its importance? That’s a whole other story. In this comprehensive post, we are going to share everything you need to know about eCommerce for SEO. We will cover all of your major considerations, including on-page and off-page SEO, how to conduct technical audits, how to measure success, and much more.
So, if you’re still on the fence about implementing SEO in your overall marketing strategy for your eCommerce website, this is one post you can’t afford to miss! Let’s dive in.
Important Factors To Involve In Your eCommerce SEO Strategy
We’re going to explore each of these factors in more detail throughout this post. But to begin here’s an overview of the eight critical factors to include in your SEO strategy.
- Keyword research: This is the backbone of any SEO strategy. It involves developing a deep understanding of the terms searchers use to find your products and services, then implementing those terms into your own content to rank higher in search engine results. (Learn more about the importance of headers and keywords in this post)
- Site architecture: This refers to the organizational structure of your website, including the hierarchy of your web pages.
- On-Page SEO: On-page SEO refers to optimizing the written content, including web copy, blog posts, headings, URLs, and more.
- Technical SEO: This involves the more technical elements of SEO, including indexing, crawling, and site architecture.
- Local SEO: This helps your site show up in local results.
- Content marketing: Content marketing can include blogging, web copy, ad copy, and a variety of other web content used on your eCommerce site.
- Link building: An important part of building your domain authority. It involves getting high-quality links back to your site from relevant pages.
- Measuring SEO Success: When you measure SEO success, you have an idea of what’s working, what isn’t, and any opportunities for improvement.
Keyword Research in eCommerce Business
When we said keyword research is the backbone of SEO, we meant it! The importance of effective keyword research really can’t be overstated.
Even with an unlimited marketing budget, if you aren’t targeting the right keywords with your SEO strategy, you simply won’t get the results you want. If you have low-quality keywords and your strategy is based on targeting them, this is what happens: a whole lot of nothing. With irrelevant or low-ranking keywords, you won’t be getting any conversions. But with a smart keyword strategy in place, you can be sure your eCommerce site is set up for SEO success.
As for how to go about keyword research for an SEO strategy for an eCommerce business? It works much in the same way as you do for other projects and industries!
To begin, you can turn to a keyword research tool. There are a variety of free or paid tools out there to choose from. If you have the budget, we encourage you to opt for a paid plan. Not only does this include more powerful features, but it also lets you research more words and get more comprehensive reports. Free options can be effective too, just be sure to know exactly what you’re looking for.
But don’t worry: we’ve got your go-to guide to keyword research right here. It includes everything you need to know about where to use keywords, how to research them, and much more: Keyword Research for SEO: Your Go-To Guide.
eCommerce Site Architecture
Next, let’s move on to eCommerce site architecture and optimize it for SEO.
Of course, you want your site to be highly visible to get more traffic and conversions. And as it turns out, optimizing your site architecture is one of the best ways to do this!
Under the umbrella of site architecture or two different architectural elements: technical architecture and information architecture.
This is usually taken care of by your web developers. It pertains to the functional and technical elements of your site and optimizing them for search engines.
Information architecture, on the other hand, refers to the content on your website and how it’s organized. For example, do users have to go several pages deep just to find your “Shop” page? As you can guess, this isn’t a smart SEO strategy for an eCommerce site. You want your site to be easy to navigate for users. This is something search engines look for when ranking your site, so it must be done right!
Chapter two of the eCommerce SEO Guide from eCommerce Tuners covers information architecture for eCommerce sites in depth.
For example, include some of the rules your internal linking strategy may follow:
- “Only highly related categories will interlink.
- Categories will link only to their parents.
- Subcategories will link to related subcategories or categories.
- Product pages will only link to related products in the same category and parent categories.”
On-page SEO for eCommerce
As for the on-page SEO considerations for your site, there are three main areas we’re going to focus on:
- Category pages: These top-level pages where your visitors might click first need to be titled with appropriate keywords
- Product pages: Product pages and sub-category pages also need relevant titles with keyword optimization
- Blog content: Don’t overlook the importance of SEO-rich blog content for your eCommerce site. It provides you with more opportunities to rank for additional keywords, as well as establish trust and relationships with your customers.
In addition to how you label your categories and the blog content you include, there are other on-page SEO considerations to keep in mind.
For example, the use of headers throughout your blog content and web copy. Headers break up your content and signal to search engines what the following content is all about.
Your links also need to be optimized. For starters, they should include your keywords whenever possible. Try to keep them as short as possible, without any unnecessary long URLs with random numbers and figures.
How To Do Technical SEO Audits for eCommerce
Unless you have a comprehensive understanding of technical SEO, we encourage you to outsource your technical SEO audits for eCommerce sites. They’re an incredibly important part of your overall SEO strategy, and if anything goes wrong here, the entire operation could be doomed!
While the truly technical elements of SEO auditing, including deeper indexing, crawling, and auditing practices might be tricky to master on your own, there are still a number of ways you can start to get control of this part of your marketing plan.
- Google Analytics: This is your home base for checking in on your web traffic, your ROI on ad spend, session duration, bounce rates, and more.
- Google Search Console: This is often one of the first tools people turn to for identifying site issues, optimizing your content to perform well on Google, and much more.
- Ahrefs: A popular SEO tool utilized by businesses all over the world for keyword tracking, research, and more.
- Screaming Frog: This website crawler for Windows, macOS, and Ubuntu, is trusted by thousands of SEOs and agencies worldwide for technical SEO site audits.
- Copyscape: This helpful tool ensures the content on your site is 100% real and non-plagiarized. It also helps you identify if other sites are using your content without your permission.
- Barracuda Panguin Tool: This tool monitors Google’s algorithm changes and compares them to your traffic over time to see which updates could have negatively affected your search engine performance.
- Title Tag Pixel Width Checker: There are several free Google SERP snippet preview tools to use as a guide when creating and optimizing your Title and Meta descriptions for your eCommerce site.
Technical SEO Audit Steps
Here are some of the important steps involved in a technical SEO audit. Additionally, we have included the tools (including many we just mentioned) to use to get the job done.
- Crawl your site (this is where Screaming Frog is useful), then analyze your crawl report
- Make sure only one version of your site is browsable (You can check this on Google Search Console. Learn more here)
- Check your on-page SEO (Implement a tool like Ahrefs for this step)
- Ensure your content is unique using Copyscape or a similar tool.
- Search for your site on Google to make sure it shows up
- Analyze your search traffic in Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
- Analyze your backlink profile (Programs like Ahrefs also include backlink profile tools)
Local SEO for eCommerce Retailers
It’s really helpful to show up in local search results when people near your person search for the products or services you offer. No surprise there, right? But implementing local SEO practices is often part of an overall digital marketing strategy that’s missed.
Here are three steps to get you started:
Claiming your Google My Business profile
Here are three reasons you want to claim your Google My Business profile:
- So you can add your business information to Google Maps, Search, and other Google services
- It lets you create or get access to a Business Profile on Google
- You are able to manage how your business information shows up across Google
This is a particularly easy and actionable step you can take today! Learn all about getting started here.
Building local citations
Let’s go to BrightLocal to learn more about building local citations and why it’s important:
“In the context of online marketing, a citation is a mention of your business name, business address, and business telephone number on a third party website. The name, address, and phone number part is often referred to as NAP, and is a particularly important part of local citation building, as we’ll see shortly.
Your online citations can take many forms and may include any mixture of:
- Company name
- Phone number
- Opening hours
- Products or services
- Social media links”
Local citations are an important ranking factor, and if you haven’t considered working on building yours yet, your search engine performance could be suffering.
If you want to get started today, one way to begin is by submitting your business information to local directories. Doing this manually is possible, although time-consuming. Alternatively, you could use a data aggregator to simplify the process.
Get local links
Part of building your local SEO strategy also includes getting links from local businesses. This could include getting links to your products included in local newsletters or on event pages.
Learn more about local link building in this post.
The term content marketing refers to a number of different types of content used to promote or market your business online.
When you hear “content marketing,” it could specifically be referring to:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
You don’t necessarily need to include each of these content types in your content marketing strategy. But the ones you do include should be thoughtfully and strategically executed for best results. Of course, this includes incorporating keyword research into any content on your website.
If you plan to hire a blog writer or website copywriter for your eCommerce site, this is one reason it’s beneficial for them to have SEO experience. You will get the best return on investment in ANY time or money you spend on content marketing if there are powerful SEO strategies backing it.
There are many ranking factors Google looks at when they index your site.
But there are two that stand out above the rest: your website content and backlinks.
Website content, including many of the content marketing types we just discussed, provides ample opportunity for Google to learn about your site. The written content on your site not only tells users what they need to know, but search engines also rely on this data for ranking and indexing your page.
Another critical factor you can’t overlook is link building. Technically considered a form of off-page SEO, link building involves getting other URLs and online destinations to link back to your page. But there is a notable caveat we can’t skip: the pages linking back to your site will ideally be, not only relevant but also have high domain authority.
Take a look at this post for everything you need to know about keyword relevance, domain authority, and more when it comes to link building: An In-Depth Look at Link Building Strategies Used by SEO Agencies.
Because of how important link building is, it might also be no surprise it’s not necessarily the easiest part of your SEO strategy. Now, let’s also look at some unique link building opportunities.
- Resource page link building: This involves building backlinks from pages with curated lists of links to external websites, also known as resource pages.
- Partnering with influencers: For eCommerce sites, this includes things like getting influencers to wear your products, and share links to them on their blogs or social media pages.
- Broken link building: It’s also called dead Link Building, but they both mean the same thing: getting backlinks by replacing links to 404 pages with a working link to a target website.
- Stealing competitors’ links: Monitor BackLinks shares four helpful steps for stealing competitors’ backlinks: “1) Get the same backlink as your competitor 2) Get a backlink from a different page 3) Get a new backlink your competitor doesn’t have 4) Get an editorial backlink”
Measuring SEO Success
As powerful as SEO for eCommerce websites can be, it’s also not something that necessarily gives you quick results. This doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing, however. SEO is all about playing the long game, and improving your rankings (and ultimately, your business) over time.
Measuring SEO success is important. Not only does it let you see what’s working and what’s not, but it also provides you with helpful metrics to use moving forward.
Generally speaking, there are two primary ways to measure SEO success for your eCommerce site.
First, you can use SEO tools like Ahrefs, Moz, or SEMRush. There are some free SEO tools you can use, but when you invest in a paid platform, you generally get more comprehensive reports and more powerful features.
You can also create an SEO dashboard with an analytics account using SEO reporting software.
Can you guess one of the many benefits of entrusting your SEO services for eCommerce websites to professionals? All of this tracking is done for you and provided to you in a user-friendly format!
SEO Services for eCommerce Websites from BWM
On the subject of professional SEO services, we encourage you to take a look at the search engine optimization services we offer next.
With our services on your side, you can grow your eCommerce business to the next level. Take a look at some of these case studies from our clients to see what we did for them, and how we can get those same results (or even better) for you.
Blue Water Marketing started this post by asking if SEO for eCommerce is important. By now, we hope to have proven that it’s not only important, but it’s entirely necessary for your online business to succeed. SEO is a complicated, at times frustrating, but altogether powerful tool that you will wonder how your business ever survived without once it’s up and running.