If you own an eCommerce store being found on Google and having massive online visibility is the name of the game.
It’s the only way you will bring potential ready to buy customers to the site and make those critical sales. It’s the lifeblood of your eCommerce store and the best way to drive revenue, customer loyalty and your bank balance.
The BIG question is, how do you go about building your website online presence and be discovered by lots of willing shoppers?
The best way to get more customers is called eCommerce SEO and it’s a great way to showcase your products online and be competitive against major existing, well-known brands. In addition, eCommerce SEO will boost your organic Google rankings to the top and drive an insane amount of traffic to your website.
In this ultimate guide, I will teach you everything you need to optimise your online eCommerce store for SEO
What is eCommerce SEO?
Crazy Egg defines eCommerce SEO as the process of making your online store more visible in the search engine results pages (SERPs). When people search for products you sell, you want to rank as highly as possible to get more traffic.
The ultimate goal of eC eCommerce SEO is to get you right up there on the top of Google for all your main keywords.
ECommerce websites are like a 27/4 cash machine where people buy, buy, buy! For example, if your primary product is red tennis shoes, you want to be up on page 1 of Google when people search ‘red tennis shoes’. The goal is to get more people to see your product online, and if they like it, expect them to buy it. It’s like a 24/7 cash machine generating income for you even while you sleep!
Why is eCommerce SEO important?
Online visibility is massive when it comes to eCommerce stores, and according to Serpwatch, Search engine optimisation stats suggest that 39% of global e-commerce traffic comes from search. Other sources say that over 45% of shoppers use online search to buy products. These are huge numbers, and you have to think about grabbing a piece of that market share.
To simplify this, think of Google as one virtual massive Westfield shopping centre, and your eCommerce store is just one of many, many millions of shops inside. So it’s the job of eCommerce SEO to make your tiny shop the biggest and the brightest screaming shop here!
Here’s a great example. Let’s say your store is selling boys skincare treatments just like Jo and Sam Skin Care, and given that over 75% of all clicks are in the top 3 Google search results, you can see the importance of eCommerce SEO for your business. For example, see this incredible statistic from Backlinko. The #1 organic result is 10x more likely to receive a click than a page in the #10 spot.
And, if you think that you can ignore eCommerce SEO and go down the path of Paid Ads, think again as they are super-expensive, and most online shoppers will skip Adwords and go straight o the organic results. Don’t get me wrong here; consumers will still click on Adwords and Shopping Ads with images, but maintaining priority positioning, especially against brands with bottomless wallets, can be impossible for many SME’s.
How do you dominate Google’s search results for keywords your customers are searching for?
SEO keyword research for eCommerce websites
Keyword research is super-important and is the cornerstone of your eCommerce SEO strategy. Keywords are the words and phrases that people type into search engines to find what they’re searching for. So, if your website is at the top of Google when consumers type in a keyword, guess what happens? You will get the click. It’s a fantastic formula to build your business online. The end game for every online eCommerce entrepreneur is to have your website’s main home page and product pages ranking in the top 3 positions.
With over 3.5 billion Google searches per day, you need to have pinpoint accuracy with your keyword research. Even more impressive is that Google now processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average. So get the right and most valuable keywords for your store and getting them ranking is every business owner’s dream.
How do you estimate and place value for a particular keyword?
It’s all about search intent!
Understanding search intent
There are four reasons why a consumer will conduct a search using keywords on Google.
- Informational intent. These searches happen when a user types phrases like: ‘how to make’, ‘ways to’ or’ where to find’ in Google. They are searching for information.
- Navigational intent. A user is looking for a particular page within a website like Bing Lee TV prices, Fitness First Bondi opening hours or SEO Sydney Experts Contact.
- Commercial intent. When a user wants to know most information about a product like ‘Mac v’s Microsoft’ or ‘Samsung TV’s 45-inch reviews’.
- Transactional intent. The consumer is online wanting to buy something. These keywords will usually include buying words, such as “buy surfboard fins online” or “shop cheap Toyota cars”. Transactional keywords are the bee’s knees for eCommerce SEO because the consumers intent is to buy. They are online want to do their research and make purchasing decisions quickly.
If your wondering which of the above four categories you should be focusing on, it’s the last two as these have the most commercial intent to buy a product.
Specific indicators that a keyword has seriously high eCommerce search intent:
- If you are typing into Google words like “for sale”, “limited time only”, “quick sale”, or “buy now”.
- If it has an exact product SKU that’s on your website, such as “Samsung 65-inch Q60A 4K QLED Smart TV.”, which means the user knows exactly what they want, which is a super-huge intent to buy.
- It contains dimensions, heights or sizes, like “Samsung 45 inch TV”
- It’s a branded search or a product term search, such as “Tag Heuer Watch’ or ‘Mercedes 4WD’ or “Al Merrick Surfboards’.
Knowing the above is essential, but you should also include ‘informational intent’ keywords in your blogs, content or video marketing as these will still drive traffic to your website.
For example, you might write a blog about 10 Ways to Improve your Golf Swing if you sell gold products, as people who may be in the market for golf products will also search for ways to improve their golf swing or performance.
Conducting keyword research
Now that you have a clearer idea about search intent let’s look at where you can find the best keywords to represent your website.
Luckily, there are many online tools to help you find the perfect keywords for your SEO campaign.
SEMrush has to be one of the best keyword planner tools around, and it’s ideal for any eCommerce website. It has a lot of helpful information to help you spy on your competition and look at what keywords they are using. Once you know what keywords your competition is using, you can search for these words and outrank them.
With Ahrefs you can check keywords your competition ranks to see all their juicy data and then have the power at your fingertips to go after their keywords. It’s a powerful insights tool with loads of extras. Yes, you are spying on them but be assured they are spying on other competitors!
Google’s Keyword Planner Tool is used as a tool for Adwords or PPC but will throw up many similar popular keywords as soon as you type in your primary keywords. For example, I typed in SEO Sydney, and the results came back with about 30 alternative words with their monthly searches. How good is that!!
Target realistic money-making keywords
Now you have all the keywords; it’s time to target only those keywords that will bring in the dollars.
Don’t initially go for keywords that are far too competitive to rank. For example, saturated, highly competitive keywords dominated by government, educational or massive well-known brands are almost impossible to rank, especially if you’re a new business.
I like to use the phrase low-hanging fruit to reflect more accessible target keywords that still have a fair amount of traffic search volume. As soon as you have established your website ( this may be after 8 to 12 months ), you can then realistically expect to target the core competitive words online.
What’s the best way to do this?
i) Examine your competitor’s keywords
The research tools listed above will give you the data and insights, such as keyword search volumes and keyword difficulty for a specific search term. If keywords seem too challenging to target initially, go after easier ones.
The competition for Samsung 45 inch TV is high, but the search volume is low. But it’s still worth going for it instead of Samsung TCV, where the competition and search volume will both be super-challenging. So for the best eCommerce SEO outcome, target these low hanging fruit long-tail keywords.
ii) Keyword Gap Analysis
You can run a keyword gap analysis using SEMrush’s Keyword Gap tool to identify a gap in your keyword strategy. So, for example, you can quickly tell what other keywords you need to be targeting based on your competitor’s strategy. Basically, you can fill in any keyword gaps, so you’re not missing out.
iii) Long-tail keyword options
Usually, over 5 words and make up 70% of all web searches, long-tail keywords are an insanely good option for businesses that cannot compete in a very competitive space. The search volume may be lower, but the people using these long-tail keywords are more likely to purchase as the keyword intent is far more specific.
For example, a primary keyword might be:
Tennis shoes are a broad search term, have high search volumes, and would be challenging to rank.
and the long tail variation would be:
White Nike Tennis Shoes Size 10 has very specific keywords with a lower search volume, but the users intent is precise).
Blue Label Life did precisely this when they were looking to attract more men into their dating agency. Our SEO team targeted the long tail keyword phrase ‘dating agency for me’, and the efforts paid huge dividends, with traffic numbers increasing by over 45% in the first three months. The trick here is to understand what your audience is searching for and find many variations of those keywords to target, especially if they are easy long-tail words.
iv) Focus on 1 set of keywords per page
II know this is hard, but you have to create one individual page per keyword. So, for example, if your n electrician in Bondi and you’re services include:
Commercial Electrical Repairs
Residential Electrical Repairs
Emergency Electrical Repairs
Then each keyword you are targeting needs to have its own separate landing page on your website.
If you throw all these keywords into the mix on one page, you’ll confuse your customers, but Google will find it hard to examine the page’s intent. And, remember, each page must have unique content, clear call to action buttons and clever graphics to maximise conversion rates.
On-page SEO for eCommerce
Now that you have your keywords handy, it’s time to make your website perform at its optimum best.
I will show you all the nifty tricks to optimise all your on-page elements to make your eCommerce website a powerful sales tool. In this way, all your product pages will be SEO squeaky clean and ranking on the search engines, which is how you make the big dollars.
i) Optimise your eCommerce stores site architecture
A clear, structured and straightforward website is a no-brainer in any SEO strategy. If your structure has a clean layout, it’s easier for Google to crawl and index all pages on the site. And, if your customers can quickly navigate the site, it will help them find your products easily – a seamless user experience leads to more sales. These are huge ranking factors as Google considers the user experience critical.
Also read The On-Page SEO Cheat Sheet for beginners.
The best way to keep buyers happy browsing your website is to follow the simple 3 click rule. Wikipedia tells us that a website user should find any information with no more than three mouse clicks or less. So the key to the best site structure is to keep it as simple as possible.
ii) Use a logical structure for your URLs
It would be best if you created logical, easy to follow SEO friendly URL’s and all of this has to be implemented at the planning phase of your website design and build.
For example, a complex URL structure would be:
more straightforward URL structure would be:
As you can see, you can easily follow the intent of the page just by looking at the URL. For example, you know that it’s about size 10 red tennis shoes.
iii) Add killer titles and descriptions
Titles and descriptions are critical components for your eCommerce on-page SEO strategy.
The title is what Google displays in the search results and is up to 60 characters. It has to be concise, punchy and very sales driven. It’s what people will immediately see and is considered a massive sales trigger point. See what Google has to say about this here.
The meta description is a brief description ( up to 160 characters ) of your page that appears under your meta title. It offers your readers a little bit more information about the page, and it’s here that you can sell your products more.
Best practice for having the ultimate titles and descriptions.
- Keep the title tag for each page between 55-60 characters long. Please don’t make them any longer, as Google will cut off the tail end of the title. You may miss important information.
- Your eCommerce store name should be at the end of your meta title, like Channel Islands Surfboards – Mod Pod | SurfStitch.
- Keep your meta descriptions for each page between 150-160 characters long. No longer as again, Google will cut off extra information.
- Create unique titles and meta descriptions for each page.
- The title and description must show the intent of the page.
- Never overstuff critical keywords in titles or descriptions to push page rank. It will just look odd, confuse Google and your customers.
iv) Optimise your product pages
Your product pages are the most crucial part of the website, and it’s where your customer will make their buying decision, which is why these pages need to be optimised for conversions. If you have a sizeable eCommerce site optimising hundreds of pages will be an uphill task, but it’s well worth it and will increase your chances of better Google rankings and, more importantly, making that sale!
Tips to make your product pages SEO-friendly and conversion-focused
a) Add unique copy and product descriptions for each of your product and category pages.
Duplicate copy on the pages of your website will harm any chance you have of Google rankings, so all product descriptions, page titles, images and page copy have to be unique. Writing unique content for each page for huge sites is a monumental task, must be done, and there’s no way around this.
b) Include product specifications ( sizes, heights and dimensions ) within your product descriptions.
The more in-depth description you can give, the better your chances of rankings. You might even like to add a video on assembling the product or showing how it works for better consumer engagement. HubSpot tells us that 73% more visitors who watch product videos will make a purchase. So videos are a fabulous way to sell your product hard and should be an essential part of your marketing mix.
c) Use proper H1, H2 and H3 headers
Every page needs H1, H2, H3 and the paragraph for formatting. The H1 ( you can only have 1 of these ) is the main subject heading, followed by the H2, which goes under the header. The H3 headings can be dotted throughout the site and break the page up into digestible paragraphs.
d) Include essential product information
The essential information you should have includes the product name, SKUs, part numbers; basically, anything the user might find helpful. Just imagine your a plumber searching for a particular part, and you go to a significant well-known site like Bunnings for a part. You would type the part in the search bar, which should take you to that part page. So you see how essential it is to have all the information about that part or item on its page.
e) Label the images on the product pages
Label each image with a short description such as the image name, dimensions. You should have a decent photo and take a few pictures of this product from different angles to give the customer as much information as possible. Plonking an image on a page by itself doesn’t sell it hard enough.
Go the extra mile, and you will see higher interaction rates and overall sales. Think with Google tells us that 50% of online shoppers say images helped them decide what to buy.
Moz defines Alt Text (alternative text), also known as “alt attributes”, “alt descriptions”, or technically incorrectly as “alt tags,” are used within an HTML code to describe the appearance and function of an image on a page.
The Alt Text helps Google understand the images intent on the page for indexing.
g) Page speed.
Your website page speed is a massive ranking factor with Google, and you should always be looking at ways to improve the sped performance of your page. However, when it comes to large eCommerce sites where you’ll have lots of product images, chances are a few of these will fly under the radar and be massive image files. If you have a WordPress website, see this article 11 Best WordPress Image Optimization Plugins from HubSpot. In this way, you can be sure you have fully optimised all images for page speed.
Whatever you do, never ignore this part, as it’s so crucial for your Google rankings.
h) Image filename
Image file names are an essential SEO on-page ranking factor forgotten by many SEO agencies. For example, suppose your image name is 1254789.png label; you will need to label it correctly plus include relevant words like red-tennis-shoes-size 10.png.
i) Use schema markup for each product page
Neil Patel tells us that schema markup is code (semantic vocabulary) that you place on your website to help the search engines return more informative results for users. You can get more information on Structured Data Markup Helper from Google.
There are heaps of schema markups you can add to your product pages displayed in the SERP’s. These include reviews, pricing, last-minute discounts, even third party software that uses star ratings ( which can show up on Google ), as the guys at Bali Villa Escapes has used effectively with their TrustPilot reviews.
j) Internal linking
Internal links between pages of your website drive both users and the search engines to pages. It helps these pages get indexed and creates a sense of logic between the pages. Without these internal links from the main home page to your primary or secondary product pages, some of these won’t rank or get indexed. In addition, these links make it a lot easier for consumers to jump to pages within your product catalogue quickly.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: don’t use the exact anchor text as internal links as this might appear spammy. You can use your Google Search Console to see if any of your product pages are not indexed. You can fix these issues relatively quickly.
Content marketing for eCommerce SEO
If you want to keep your website fresh, updated and dominate your online niche, you need to be content marketing. For eCommerce sites, this has to be a massive part of your marketing mix, whether it’s blogs, news articles, product updates, video’s on YouTube or adding new pages.
Content marketing helps distribute the all-important link juice and allows you to rank for other long-tail keywords that will drive organic traffic to the site. Plus, if your content is appealing and exciting, it will build up your brand’s trust, and you might get a whole new audience of followers that love to read what you have to say or publish.
What are the must-haves content elements for eCommerce stores?
Use content pillars on your website.
Content pillars a fantastic way to help improve your SEO rankings and drive lots of new revenue. They are a subset of topics or themes which create the foundation for your overall content strategy.
For eCommerce sites, content pillars are an incredible way to dominate your niche. So, for example, let’s say you have an online skincare store, then your central pillar might be a page about skincare for women. However, the following pillars of content marketing would fall below this and include blogs about ways to improve the look of your skin or perhaps a video of sun damage, all of which link from the central content pillar.
In this way, pages connect via internal links and relate to the same topic. I always like to see what my competitors are writing and perhaps look at their articles from a different perspective.
So rather than:
10 ways to improve your SEO rankings
I would write an article about
10 mistakes that kill your Google rankings
As a content pillar, I would then publish a video on Youtube about mistakes most people make when doing their SEO and link it to this page.
Create a company blog
Nothing beats blogging as a content marketing exercise. I try to publish at least 2 to 3 detailed blogs per month, which allows me to keep this site fresh and target new keywords. Remember, if your content is not content marketing, then your competition will be, and this will start to outperform you for online visibility.
Blogging establishes you as a credible market leader with something important to say, and if you have a WordPress website, the blogging platform is super easy to use.
I know the thought of blogging may be challenging, but you have to throw everything at it in this online space to make an impact.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: One well-written blog of 2500 words is far better than two mediocre blogs of 1500 words. It’s quality over quantity in the blogging space.
Stuck on content ideas for your next blog post? Here are some tools that I always use to get the creative juices flowing:
Create YouTube videos
Video marketing is enormous, and many eCommerce businesses simply ignore this fact. For example, I’m a huge surfing fan, and if I’m going to buy a new surfboard, I will definitely go to YouTube and see what videos are out there about this board.
I am also responsible for the marketing of Bali Villa Escapes and have created a YouTube channel for these guys and posted videos that get lots of views. So check it out here, and you can see how easy it is to publish video content for your business and just how powerful a marketing tool it can be.
eCommerce link buiding stratgeies
You need to build credible backlinks to your website, and you must know the difference between black hat and white hat SEO. You also have to see the difference between quality v’s quantity link building. I’m not going to go too far into this except to say that many SEO agencies out there will not be looking out for your best interest when it comes to link building. These so-called agencies will say anything to get your business and offer cheap pricing packages, but at the end of the day, they’ll do nothing.
They will use cheap spammy links from their private blog networks that will end up getting your site penalised. So be very careful who you decide to use for your SEO. The best way to get as many high-quality backlinks as possible is to create content that people want to share.
The best way to get high DA ( domain authority ) backlinks is:
- Use an SEO agency that knows what they are doing and practices best SEO practices. To find these agencies are not so easy as there are loads of agencies online advertising themselves. A rule of thumb is to go with an agency that can rank their website for their primary keyword, and in our case, it’s SEO Sydney. If I were to use an SEO company, I’d want to choose one ranking organically on page 1.
- Look for online industry publications that you can post content. If they accept your article, make sure you link it back to your website.
- Use industry influencers. Find them on Instagram and offer them some free products to promote your website on their site. It’s a win-win as they get some freebies and you get lots of promotions.
Technical SEO for eCommerce sites
Technical SEO is so essential for all websites. You can have the best content in the world and the most fabulous graphics, but if the technical side of your eCommerce site is substandard, all that hard work will be for nothing.
If your constantly adding products, changing prices or updating delivery costs or special deals, you can sometimes forget the minor details, which can easily affect your SEO rankings. But don’t stress too much; you don’t have to be a geek to make sure your on-page technical elements are working well, and the following are just a few that you need to pay close attention to for the site to be functioning like a well-oiled machine.
But first, you need to be working with the right tools. Having these at your fingertips will make your life so much easier.
The following platforms will ensure your site is operating smoothly and quickly identify any issues or problems that need immediate attention. These include indexing issues, duplicate copy on pages, broken internal links, prolonged website load times etc.
- Google Search Console is a must, and all eCommerce stores need to have created their Google account and fix web issues based on their Google Search Console data. It’s 100% free, and Google will periodically email you problems with your site. We have received such an email about our mobile usability, and we could fix it asap.
- SEMrush’s Site Audit Tool is another handy tool to help you analyse and fix and website issues.
- Ahrefs Site Audit is another platform that crawls your essential web pages and generates an SEO health score, issues and makes recommendations to fix them.
The above three tools should be enough to get you started but let me delve into some critical and widespread web issues and how to fix these quickly.
i) Duplicate content on your pages.
Duplicate content is a killer for your SEO rankings. Still, with many large eCommerce sites, there will be times when you have to repeat content as parts, return policies, discounts, specials, or items may be the same except for some minor differences. Plus, how do you write unique copy for 1000’s products? It’s a nightmare!
Search Engines like Google see duplicate content as spammy, and they will penalise your rankings if this is rampant. A super-common SEO mistake, but you can remedy the situation.
How to fix duplicate content on your site
Do a complete site audit using one of the above tools. Once you’ve identified the duplicate pages, all you need to do is add the “rel=canonical” tag to duplicate pages, which tells search engines that they’re identical for a reason. See what Yoast has to say about these canonical tags.
Pages are slow to load
I bet that you didn’t know that most web users will exit your website if it’s slow to load. Well, of course, you did. We all hate slow page load times, and so does Google. Anything longer than 2 seconds, and you’ll pay the price with missed customers, high bounce rates and lower page rankings.
In the competitive eCommerce space, your site needs to load in superfast time. And I’m talking in less than a second.
How to fix your website load times
Conduct a site audit for page speed using Google PageSpeed Insights.
A great tool to measure your sites load times, and they will provide recommendations on how to improve these times. If you can shave a second off your load times, you’ll see an improvement in rankings, conversion rates, SEO rankings and revenue. If I had to point out one essential web fix, page speed is definitely it!
On top of this, you can implement several best practices to improve your pages for lightning-fast site speed. These include:
- Compress all images on your pages.
- Get rid of unused plugins that could be slowing your load times.
- I love to use Broken Link Checker to fix all broken link issues within site.
- Use a local hosting provider that has fast servers. And, if you have a large site, you may need to upgrade your hosting package to improve speed.
- Get rid of too many pop-ups or fancy slide-in or parallax images as these may look great, but they do slow load times. Also, if there are extensive videos, you should pop them on YouTube and use the link to embed them on your site.
The wrong pages are ranking.
Incorrect page rankings are both good and bad. Yes, you have been able to rank a page, but it’s the wrong one, which is because you have optimised the same pages with the duplicate titles and content, and Google will determine which page has ranking priority.
For example, these two pages look the same:
Plumbers Bondi | Fix Blocked Drains | XYZ PLumbers
Plumbers Bondi | Fix Broken Drains | XYZ Plumbers
How to fix incorrect ranking pages
Work out which page has priority and redirect the weaker page to the primary page with a 301 redirect. Yes, you’ll lose a page, but at least you’ll be able to determine which page you want to display in the SERP’s.
You’re not running an SSL certificate.
SSL stands for secure sockets layer and shows Google and users that you have a legitimate, trustworthy site vital in the eCommerce space. If you are handing over private information, including credit card details, you definitely want to see HTTPS in the URL. Without this, who knows where your details could end up? Google will penalise sites without an SSL certificate.
How to get an SSL certificate your site
Your hosting company can arrange this, and you must implement this before you make the site live. It’s easy to do and not a huge task but forgotten by webmasters who pay the price for neglect later on.
Never delete last season’s products.
It might be tempting to remove old products entirely from your eCommerce site but never do this. There are a few good reasons for this:
- You may have internal links pointing to these pages, and deleting them will create many broken internal links.
- Google will have indexed these pages, and they may be ranking for a brand name. So, why go and delete this? Instead, keep it there and say ‘out of stock’ and place a ‘view other products’ link in the copy, which keeps the page indexed and redirects people to other similar product pages. It’s a win-win.
- If you have to delete that page because a supplier insists, implement a 301 redirect from this page to the main product category page.
- If your product is out of stock, but you still want to keep the page move is down the results, so people view other in-stock items first.
Don’t forget your social media.
SEO and social media are an excellent combination for rankings and traffic. For example, if your website gets lots of new traffic from your social media profiles such as LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook, these are HUGE ranking signals to Google. In addition, 29% of social media users are more likely to purchase on the same day of using social media.
The eCommerce space for certain products is so competitive that going against established brands on platforms like Instagram may seem impossible. Still, you have to bite the bullet and go for it.
SEO Sydney Experts Tip: make sure all your social media accounts have a link to your website. YouTube is an excellent example of posting videos and link them back to your online store how Robyn Nind has done on her YouTube channel.
Rank higher, sell more with our eCommerce SEO strategy.
By following all of the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to competing online. If your an entrepreneur, business startup or perhaps you have an eCommerce store that’s not performing as it should, these tips are gold.
In some cases, you will need the help of an SEO Expert and others you can do yourself. But to be truly competitive, you have to work with an SEO agency. There’s really no way around this. If you have an eCommerce site and you cant generate sales, there are solutions that professionals can only implement. Ask us about a FREE website audit or call us on 02 9360 8514 and go over your whole online strategy.