A Simple And Actionable Guide To eCommerce SEO!

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So, you’re thinking SEO!

Your site is up and running.

The product shots look great.

The prices are unbeatable.

Everything is working perfectly, except one little problem:

You don’t have enough traffic.

You search on Google for some of your products, and your website is not on the first page (or second, or third, fourth or fifth…)!

That’s when you might think of consulting a digital marketing agency who would help you get visitors from organic searches. Or, you might decide to go it yourself.

The following step-by-step tips will help you understand eCommerce SEO, and take the right decision when optimizing or outsourcing your website.

1. Conduct a site audit

Use Ahrefs Site Audit Tool to perform a basic SEO audit of your e-commerce website. The audit will uncover errors like broken links, missing pages, missing images, etc. Watch this video tutorial to learn how to do a basic site audit.

2. Use keyword research tools

It’s great that you’re using Google’s Keyword Planner to find and shortlist keywords. But you should also use some paid tools, like those offered by Ahrefs, MOZ, or WordStream. For an e-commerce business, you must research the keywords for each product and category.

3. Try to rank for low competition keywords

Let’s say you’re trying to optimize your e-commerce store for a new product, like cosmetics. Here are the top five organic results for the key-phrase “buy cosmetics”

As you may see, all of the search results belong to well-established brands. You cannot hope to beat them to top rankings anytime soon—not for this particular key-phrase. However, you can beat them if you choose a less competitive keyword, like “buy Korean cosmetic”. If you don’t want to lose faith in SEO, you should aim for low competition/low volume search terms in the beginning.

4. Publish high-quality content

Publishing high quality, valuable content is the only way to get quality backlinks. Period. Don’t buy backlinks on Fiverr, for instance, or some hacker might build spam backlinks to your e-commerce store, and Google might banish your site to the page.

5. Optimize your content for SEO

Make sure that your focus keyword or key phrase is present in your page title as well as page headline. It should also be there in the beginning and end of your content, and several times within the content. If you’re using photos (you should, to prolong the page stay), make sure to use your target keywords in the ALT tag, so the image shows during organic searches.

6. Optimize SERP title and description

Make sure all your page titles are 50-60 character long and your meta descriptions are less than 300 characters. They are the only things your customers see on the SERP (search engine results page), so your click-through rate depends on writing relevant and compelling titles and descriptions.

7. Write unique and compelling descriptions

Don’t just copy paste the product and category descriptions from elsewhere. Create unique, keyword-optimized, and compelling descriptions to beat your competitors.

8. Buy secure hosting

Your savvy and security-conscious customers might abandon your site if you’re using an insecure (HTTP) domain. Buy secure hosting or SSL certification and migrate your site to an HTTPS domain.

9. Go for Local SEO

If you have a street outlet and a Google My Business account, your best option is to rank for local searches first. Ask the digital marketing experts and they will agree it’s easier to rank for local searches as compared to global searches. People who search for your business on mobile will visit your store in the next 72 hours!

10. Target long-tail keywords

Long tail keywords are low-competition, low-volume search phrases that signify high user intent — for example, “buy blue silk shirt”. You should look for such keywords and use them to optimize your site.

11. Monitor your competitors

One of the best ways to finalize target keywords is to look at the keywords your competitors are using. To do this, simply enter your competitor’s URL in Google Keyword Planner Tool and click “Get Started”. Here are few more keyword research tools for SEO.

12. Create an SEO friendly site structure

Distribute your keywords evenly across all of your pages. Keep in mind your user’s intent while designing your site’s navigation. Arrange the pages and categories in a logical hierarchy that your customers can navigate intuitively.

13. Check your page titles

Do a Screaming Frog Analysis to check the page titles and H1s and ensure that they contain your focus keywords.

14. Check your website’s backlink profile

According to the latest ranking factor study, backlinks are one of the most important search signals that Google monitors to rank websites. Use Site Explorer Tool from MOZ to see the number of links and the number and quality of the domains linking to your site.

15. Disavow bad back-links

Google’s Penguin 2.0 algorithm checks the quality of your back-links in real time. Links leading to your website from irrelevant or low-quality domains tell Google you’re probably trying to manipulate its algorithms. This can have a negative effect on your rankings, so you need to disavow the bad links. Follow Google’s guidelines for cleaning up your link profile.

16. Check your competitor’s backlink profile

The easiest way to spot websites that are likely to link to your site is to analyze your competitors’ link profile. Their target market is similar to yours, so their websites are likely to have links from the domains whose audience is interested in your products.

17. Clean up your HTML code

Make sure you’re not copy/pasting content from MS Word into your site’s backend. Word text creates complicated HTML that is difficult to scan for the search engine spiders. Instead, add content in “text” form and format later using WordPress or your platform’s controls.

18. Run Google Ads campaigns

Google Ads (previously AdWords) is the shortest way to get to the top of the SERP (search engine results page). Use Google Search Ads to feature your brand at the top of the listings. It’s free brand exposure and likely to trigger branded searches, which count positively towards your organic rankings too!

19. Run a content outreach campaign

It’s not enough to create great content unless your customers see that content. You must promote the content you create by reaching out to relevant, high-authority websites and offering them to link to your content. For more on advanced content promotion techniques, watch this video from Brian Dean.

20. Optimize images

Use SEO Site Checkup to see how many images on your website are missing the ALT attribute. Enter the ALT text to describe each image so your website may show in image search results.

21. Increase page stay time

You have to capture your visitors’ attention in the first 15 seconds or you might lose them for good. A high “bounce rate” (percentage of people who leave your site in less than 15 seconds) tells Google something is wrong with your website, so it might slap you with low rankings. Using gamification, video, and special offers are some of the ways that increase page stay time.

22. Optimize page speed

More than half of your visitors will leave your page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Check your site using Google’s page speed insights and follow Google’s suggestions to minimize the page loading time.

23. Make your site mobile friendly

Most of the traffic to e-commerce websites now comes via mobile. Mobile traffic also has a higher click-through and conversion rate compared to desktop. Therefore, you must make your website mobile responsive, so that all pages load properly on all screen sizes and devices.

24. Monitor Google Analytics

Sign in to your Google Analytics account, click on the Acquisition tab, and click organic search. See which keywords and pages are attracting the most traffic and which pages are generating more bounce rate. Analyze why it’s happening and optimize all pages based on your findings.

25. Add Schema Markup to your pages

Schema Markup allows you to highlight different parts of your content or page, such as reviews, address, products and more. If you have added Schema to your pages, there’s a good chance Google will pick up and display the micro-details about your e-commerce website. In the following search result, the price snippet on the top is coming from Schema Markup.

So, we have covered everything about e-commerce SEO…or have we? Do you think this guide is complete, or would you like to add to it? Let us know in your comments!

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