e-commerce-seo

A Complete Guide To E-commerce SEO

SEO stands for search engine optimization. That is the process of aligning the website content to the signals used by search engines to understand whether the underlying content is of good quality. From there, it’s possible through e-commerce SEO to build a digital funnel that leads from the store’s editorial content toward navigational pages (search page, category pages) and transactional pages (products) to build a solid online business.

Understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Out of the entire digital marketing channels and strategies, search engine optimization is one of the most effective (even though among the least appreciated). Indeed, Search Engine Optimization is one of the biggest channels in digital marketing because people do trillions of searches yearly, often with the intent to find information about products and services they want to purchase. Search is often the primary source of digital traffic, and almost all other marketing channels are one way or the other dependent on it. Higher ranking in search results than competitors in your niche will make you more visible. It will definitely have a direct impact on your generated traffic, and SEO is tailored to do just that.

Search engine has been proven by many surveys and studies to be the biggest traffic driver to websites, even more than social media. It is also cheaper than social media because after you make the first set of payment for tools (some tools can even be gotten for free), you do not pay recurring fees; you just need to put in the effort to ensure that you remain high at the ranks. That’s the summary, cheap digital marketing with high conversion rates.

Optimizing your website means that you want to create the best possible result for your major keyword. Google and other search engines’ goal is to rank search results in a hierarchy of results that answer all of the searcher’s questions so well that they don’t need to do another search for further answers.

How to effectively utilize search engine optimization for the growth of your online business

There are a few but important steps to take, which you need to pay utmost attention to in effective utilization of SEO for boosting an e-commerce business. They are:

  • Keyword research
  • Optimizing your website architecture
  • On-Page Search Engine Optimization 

Keyword Research

Keyword research is one of the most vital parts of SEO to ensure you target keywords that are quite easy to rank for, have a reasonable search volume, and likely have a high conversion rate.

However, choosing keywords is more than just considering how easy it is to rank or how well it is being searched. But to choose the best keywords possible, buyer intent should be factored in.

Buyer intent in simple terms is how decided an internet user is in their decision to buy. For example, internet users who search for “beautiful kicks” are probably most likely in a debate within themselves or with others; they most likely aren’t ready to buy. They could be comparing products, checking reviews, etc. Well, I’ll say you should leave those for the critic pages. But if a user searches for “Nike air vapor max plus,” they are most likely shopping around for that particular pair of shoes looking for the best prices they can get, which indicates an intention of purchase.

There are three ways to go about E-commerce keyword research to identify search volume and buyer intent. They are;

  • Using Amazon for keyword research
  • Using Competitors for keyword research
  • Using paid SEO tools for Keyword research

Using Amazon for keyword research

Amazon is probably the largest E-commerce business in the world, visited by hundreds of millions of people daily, and also makes hundreds of billions in dollars yearly. Which shows that it is a website having high buyer intent. People do not just go there for sightseeing, they visit to buy. 

Amazon Keyword Tool helps you to generate useful keywords using the Amazon search suggest function. When you input a “seed keyword” (any product you can think of in your selected niche) in the Amazon search box, you will start seeing search suggestions predicting the best matches for the entered words. Then, Keyword Tool pulls all the keyword suggestions generated by Amazon and presents it to you in a concise manner, mark all the keywords and add them to your list, then save that list of keywords for your personal use or even download into .CSV or .txt files. One drawback of this method is that Amazon doesn’t provide search volume for keywords, which is very important in our keyword selection. However, you can use other paid SEO tools to get finer details, which we will examine shortly.

Using Competitors for keyword research

Looking at high ranking competitors in search results can be a good idea as you can use them to get keyword ideas. It goes in two directions, however. You could;

  1. Steal your competitor’s keywords to compete for rankings in the same search results.
  2. Find and begin targeting keywords that have not yet been targeted by competitors.

Although a competitor outranking you doesn’t necessarily mean that they have better keywords. They may have a higher domain authority than you, giving them priority in searches. 

Before looking for competitor keywords, you should know what keywords you are already ranking for. A free SEO tool, e.g., Google AdWords, will help you to see what kind of pages are generating the most attention for your website. Then you can proceed to analyze competitors. Your competitors aren’t every business that sells a similar product or renders similar service to you. Instead, you’re going to be focusing on the businesses that already have a good rank in the keywords and phrases that you want to rank for. 

Your research will hopefully give you a list of five to ten competitors in your industry that is ranking for the kind of terms that you want people to use when they’re searching for you. Now that you have that list, the next step is to look for keywords that those competitors are ranking for that you’re not. SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush can help you discover important areas that your content does not cover. This will enable you to develop proper contents to fill up this gap with your next digital content. There’s usually a lot of keywords related to you, so there is a good chance that you won’t be able to rank very high in all, so develop a list of keywords in order of importance to create preference.

Using paid SEO tools for Keyword research

Using Pro SEO tools can help you speed up and even automate your keyword researching, making it easy for you to target keywords for your e-commerce SEO. Although you can use free SEO tools like Google keyword planner, Ubersuggest, Google search console to aid your keyword research, there are additional features you will get from pro tools. And the great deal is that majority offer free trials, so if you feel they aren’t advanced enough, you can easily opt-out.

A few examples are Keyword tool pro, SEMrush, Ahrefs, KWFinder, Jaaxy, and many more.

SEO

Some of the special functions you can get from pro SEO tools is the Quoted Search Result (QSR) tool, a function that highlights how many websites are trying to rank for a particular keyword you searched. If competition were too high, it would be advisable to use other keywords, as extremely high competition will favor the best sellers. Jaaxy offers this special function.

Keyword difficulty (KD) is another function most pro SEO tools offer. KWFinder and Ahrefs keyword research tool are some of the pro tools that offer this function. KWFinder, by default, shows a Keyword Difficulty score next to every keyword, so it absolves you of the need to click on each keyword to see the difficulty score. Although this style can be vague and not specific enough. Ahrefs, on the other hand, tells you the exact amount of backlinks you will need to rank among searches on Google’s first page.

Search Volume helps to know how many people are searching for a particular keyword; too low searches probably mean there is no market, while extremely high searches mean that the market is already oversaturated. Pro SEO tools like Jaaxy, Keyword tool pro gives data on search volume to ensure that you pick a keyword with an optimal amount of searches for good click rates.

Competitor Analysis is a very special function that can be gotten from pro SEO tools; Keyword Tool Pro especially offers you this. You basically just need to input a competitor’s website, the tool will generate a list of keywords based on the website content, and you can see what makes your competitor rank higher than you. 

SEMrush also shows you keywords that top businesses related to your search already rank for, not just showing you keyword ideas; this will give you a path to focus and help you streamline the keywords to work with. You only need to enter your competitor’s domain name, and you’ll get the top 5 keywords that your competitors are ranking for; you have the option to see more, and you’ll get a list of all of the keywords that the site or URL ranks for in their order of ranking.

Some pro tools are relatively cheaper than others, and SEO at this point may seem to not be your thing, but you can always hire SEO experts to tailor your needs according to what you want. Surely, this book has opened your mind.

Optimizing your website architecture (Why modern SEO is about UX)

Site architecture represents how your website is sorted into categories and sub-pages. An optimized website is very important for search engines. A good site structure makes it easy for search engine bots and crawling spiders to navigate each page on your website.

If pages aren’t properly linked together, these bots may not index them, or if they are hidden, they may not find them, which is contrary to the ideal nature of making every single page on your website readable by search engines. If your structure is very good, in fact, your site links will regularly appear in search results.

Apart from search engines, visitors to your website will also likely stay on your page if your website has a good structure because of the ease of navigation it offers them. All pages are interlinked such that users can reach each page with the least possible amount of without having to keep going back over and over again; better user experience (UX) translates to more sales.

Website architecture is vital for e-commerce businesses due to the high number of pages on your website, ranging from hundreds to thousands, especially upon expansion – adding new products and categories; your site structure gets even complicated.

Restructuring a website can be very messy even for professionals if it doesn’t have a standard architecture from the start.

When working on your site architecture, it is important to note that:

  • Your structure is kept simple and scalable
  • No page takes more than 3 clicks away from the homepage
  • Have short URLs that humans can easily understand.
  • Use high quality and attractive images; your product photos can appear in Google image search, essentially doubling your exposure.

Website Speed

Your website speed plays a huge role in SEO because it contributes greatly to the user experience on your website. Nearly half of internet users expect a page to load in 2 seconds at most, and if it takes longer, they tend to close the page or just open a new browser tab. One of Google’s ranking metric is User experience (UX), which is your website speed is a major part of your SEO.

To optimize website speed, you need to know your current site speed. Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a good tool to see how fast your site is.

Several reasons could cause a slow website ranging from slow hosts and poor server response time to very large images, crawlers, redirect issues, and many others. You should watch out for these and ensure they aren’t affecting your website.

Mobile-Friendly Websites

Google also uses mobile-first indexing, meaning your site rankings will depend on mobile performance because more than half of all internet traffic goes through mobile devices as more sophisticated mobile devices are being manufactured. So it is important to see that users enjoy the best mobile experience to maintain a high ranking in Google searches.

On-Page Search Engine Optimization

On-page SEO refers to all the measures you can take within your website to ensure that it ranks high enough and generates higher traffic in search engines. Some of the things to watch out for on-page SEO are;

Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are small text-arrow paths, usually at the top of a page; they serve as secondary navigation. It allows users to know the exact location where they are while navigating your website. Knowing where you are on a website, plus the added ability to go to a previous page or category enables a better User experience (UX). Google also loves breadcrumbs because it helps to figure out how your website is structured. Breadcrumbs can also appear in the search result.

Secure Connection

Having a secure (HTTPS) connection is very important for ranking your e-commerce site. Your site security is important to Google before directing users to ensure encrypted browsing and safe navigation, preventing hackers from stealing personal information like passwords and credit card details.

Run a full SEO audit

E-commerce websites usually suffer from technical SEO issues due to many pages on a website. These issues can hamper performance and, in the process, give a poor user experience.

Things you should check out for when running an SEO Audit

  • Avoid duplicate content as Google might not index such pages.
  • Make sure you implement redirects properly to avoid slow performance
  • Poor redirects can also cause indexing issues as they lead to orphaned pages (pages with no links pointing to them), making it difficult for bots and crawlers to access them for indexing. 
  • Avoid broken links, as Google will lower your rank if you usually have “error 404” because of your unreliability for searchers and the poor user experience it brings about.

Last but not least: Work on Link building

One of the strongest pointers to how well your website is optimized is the number of external links that point to it (backlinks). Without backlinks, it’s really hard to rank in a competitive niche. Backlinks are the most difficult part of your whole strategy as they drive traffic to your website. Although many business owners just buy backlinks from sellers to rank well in search results, it is important to try and make them organically, to save cost, and because it usually lasts longer than when you buy from sellers. Also, bought links can be bad, which will harm your website instead of ranking them higher.

Read Also: Amazon Business ModelEtsy Business ModeleBay Business ModelE-commerce Business ModelsPlatform Business Model, How to Start an E-commerce Business, E-commerce Marketing, Amazon SEO.

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Gennaro Cuofano

Gennaro is the creator of FourWeekMBA which target is to reach over two million business students, executives, and aspiring entrepreneurs in 2020 alone | He is also Head of Business Development for a high-tech startup, which he helped grow at double-digit rate | Gennaro earned an International MBA with emphasis on Corporate Finance and Business Strategy | Visit The FourWeekMBA BizSchool | Or Get in touch with Gennaro here