Leverage your SEO strategy on-site and across your channels for maximum exposure.
Yen Pedrajas | Apr 14, 2021
Leverage your SEO strategy on-site and across your channels for maximum exposure.
Do you want to increase your website traffic?
Do you want to increase the findability and visibility of your eCommerce products?
Write product descriptions, construct product pages, and tailor communication to your customers’ behavior and choices?
Believe it or not, something as simple as getting your eCommerce SEO right will answer each of these questions for you. This article will act as your go-to guide to eCommerce SEO so that you can get it right once and for all.
With these important steps in mind, you can outshine your competition on a battlefield where everyone knows and leverages SEO to their advantage.
Let the games begin.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) establishes your brand voice and increases your website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs), such as Google. Your eCommerce SEO strategy will especially facilitate high rankings on Google’s first page and teach you how to optimize your eCommerce content in the smartest way.
After all, Google is King. And you, my friend, are a mere gladiator in the battle for SEO. It’s up to King Google to personalize their SERPs to the shopper, to streamline browsing behavior.
As eCommerce managers, the execution of your SEO strategies will vary compared to that of a service website or a blog. But for all you merchandisers out there, you already know the importance of SEO in line with your mantra: Always Be Optimizing.
You may also have some experience with paid search, of course, but eCommerce SEO is a low-cost way to rank and achieve relevancy.
In fact, it can cost nothing.
Whatever your role in optimizing your webshop performance, the concept for eCommerce SEO remains the same: You want to drive quality organic traffic to your website through search engine results to delight your shoppers.
The question is: if eCommerce SEO is so low-cost and seemingly fool-proof, how do you make your strategy competitive? How do you build your battle from fundamentals to actionability?
Let’s get you started with some SEO fundamentals.
Keywords are words or phrases that people use to search for a specific topic, product, or service in search engines.
One of the first few steps in eCommerce SEO is finding and analyzing these search terms and establishing strategies around them so you can effectively market your products and target the right customers at the right time.
Keyword types are the options of keywords that suit your strategy the best. For example, if your eCommerce product is a mouse pad, you can create keywords in these ways:
The longer your keyword, the higher the conversion rate (CR). However, the traffic volume for long-tail keywords can be narrow since you’re targeting a very specific keyword for a very specific audience. I.e.,
That being said, it’s good to target all types of keyword lengths in order to have a wider audience reach.
In formulating your keywords you can’t just use any keyword you like. You also need to consider how many people are searching for that keyword in the first place. Remember, we’re in the gladiator games now. A keyword’s search volume will tell you how big your audience will be, i.e., how many people are interested in that particular topic.
A keyword’s difficulty is based on many factors, but it basically tells you how difficult it will be for you to rank on that specific keyword given the competition from other high-ranking websites.
There are many tools you can use to find volume and difficulty. Depending on where your brand has reach, I recommend targeting keywords with high volume and low difficulties (i.e., low competition). This will generally give you a better chance at ranking for that given keyword.
For example, a competition of “49” for “mouse pad” will be quite tricky to rank for. In that case, try word combinations like “mouse pad gaming” if that’s the product you’re selling.
Striking a good balance between specificity and not too niche is key(word) here.
Other than keywords, you need to consider the position and ranking of your eCommerce competitors.
What webshops offer similar products?
What webshops have similar marketing strategies and communication?
By doing this research, you can cultivate a good understanding of which keywords will be easier for you to rank with.
Remember, if you happen to choose a keyword that is hard to compete with, it might be difficult for you to get the traffic you need to your eCommerce platform.
Use your time to research the keywords that your competitors are not focused on targeting and use this as a foundation to building your eCommerce SEO keywords.
Tracking behavior before your shoppers land on your webshop is one thing. But in a world where data protection laws are on the rise, you want to move your tracking in session.
The most crucial eCommerce SEO fundamental is to know your audience. One way of doing this is through market research, focus groups, and surveys. In short, collecting qualitative data on what kinds of keywords your customers say they use when shopping online.
But another way you can understand what attributes appeal to your shoppers as benefits is to deep-dive your product data. Crobox, for example, tests Dynamic Messages like product attributes (or, USPs) to see which keywords drive behavior during a user’s session.
By testing different product messages, you can see what attributes make products your sell. This will in turn enable you to optimize your SEO strategy. Of course, knowing your audience should be the SEO fundamental you start with.
But leveraging AI and testing as Crobox does can take your maturity to the next level. Plus, testing which attributes appeal to who can help you optimize your product descriptions with the most relevant keywords to your individual customers.
So what are some other ways you can leverage these eCommerce SEO fundamentals on your webshop and beyond?
eCommerce SEO on-site
If you’re leveraging product badges on-site, these are sometimes as straightforward as “Popular” or “Bestseller”.
But which word drives behavior better?
In fact, both “Popular” and “Bestseller” fall under the psychological principle of Social Proof, where people look to the behavior of others when they’re unsure of what to choose.
That’s where your keyword research can really enhance your messaging. From product badges to notifications and overlays, the words you choose are crucial to driving behavior on an intrinsic level.
Which means you should always be testing what works and what doesn’t. Then, you can supplant this information with your keyword strategy to make sure you are creating the right kind of messaging for your audience.
Read more about psychological marketing for more on this topic.
The content in your product pages plays a vital role in the success of your eCommerce SEO strategy. Your product page content includes the product title, product description, meta description, product URL, tags, and product image alt tags.
These tips are helpful to make your product page content more effective:
Eventually, the click-through rate (CTR) of your pages will increase and Google will raise your positioning based on your webshop’s popularity and conversions.
One of the common mistakes that eCommerce SEO or CRO owners do is neglect the optimization of their product images.
Images affect a website’s loading speed. The bigger the file size of your images, the slower your website load will become. Website loading speed is a direct ranking factor that, if left unmanaged, will affect your Google rankings.
Your website’s speed also has an indirect influence on your rankings and this is reflected in your visitors’ dwell time and bounce rate metric.
Bounce rate reflects the page sessions made by your visitors while dwell time measures the duration from the time a visitor clicks on your web page to the moment he/she returns to the SERPs.
A high bounce rate and a low dwell time is never a good sign. Imagine entering a website that takes a long time to load and is difficult to navigate. No doubt, you’ll go back to where you came and click on another result Google offers you.
So, monitor your page’s speed and keep your images at 70KB at the most to maintain your website’s performance.
Other than your website’s home page, the category pages of your eCommerce site can generate the most organic traffic.
That’s because users are more likely to search for product categories. To be specific, many users search for user intent keywords and particular product names or categories than searching for a specific product in general.
Creating a good product categorization structure will improve the user experience. A well-planned product taxonomy will help your visitors navigate through your products with ease and help them find whatever they need quickly.
You should also optimize the content of your category pages for SEO. Here are some tips you can apply:
When your webshop is able to give solutions and answers to visitor’s queries, they stay longer on your website and build trust in your products through their customer experience.
Plus, improving the structure of your website will increase the bounce time and decrease the sessions, dwell time, and page views. Remember, these are all metrics Google takes into account when ranking your products and website.
Carefully plan your website structure with the end-user in mind. For instance:
Content creation is essential whether you’re working in merchandising or on marketing campaigns. For example, creating a blog for your website. Or, publishing content that is related to your products.
Both are great ways to index more keywords and add internal links to boost your website’s authority. According to Hubspot, the more blog posts you have on your website, the more indexed traffic you will receive.
Video content is also super useful. Videos are easier to understand, absorb, and can be more entertaining than reading texts. Potential customers are more likely to trust products if they can see them in use.
They can help you boost your brand, drive traffic to your website, whilst increasing your conversion rate. Which are all signals to Google that yours is a credible brand and your posts are useful to your target audiences.
Although your influence in social media can’t be considered as a direct ranking factor in Google, it does impact your SEO indirectly in many ways. Social signals contribute to a website’s organic search and bring traffic to your website through the fundament of eCommerce SEO.
These actionable tips can create a positive impact on your social media presence and eventually help improve your SEO rankings:
Some may call it backlinking, but this is more of an intended practice to answer people's queries and concerns.
Reddit, Quora, and Yahoo! Answers are just some of the good forum sites where you can provide solutions on queries that are related to your products.
However, remember that quality traffic is important. If you leave your links everywhere without considering its relevance to your niche, you will most likely leave a bad taste if users see your URL somewhere else.
Understanding eCommerce SEO will help you optimize your Google Ads. But this topic gets a little technical. So, we recruited an expert, Anthony Capetola from Sales & Orders, to helps us out.
Here’s what he has to say:
“The value of running Google Ads - both Google Search Ads as well as Google Shopping - just cannot be overstated as a key practice to eCommerce SEO growth. Amazon knows this—which is why it’s constantly running Google Ads for millions of products at any given time.
Google Search Ad
Two key concepts to note from these examples:
First, notice how specific the longtail keywords are for each ad.
This tells us that Amazon develops individual ads for individual products, to be presented when the consumer searches for them by name. By creating product name or model number-specific ads for matching longtail keywords, Amazon attracts customers with a clear purchase intention.
The other thing to note is that Amazon’s team doesn’t manually create these millions upon millions of ads.
Take another look at the text-based ad from above:
Note how certain words are bolded?
That’s by design; the rest is a template, created via Dynamic Keyword Insertion and dynamic Google Ads.
As the name suggests, Dynamic Keyword Insertion is the automated process of placing specific keywords into an ad’s copy accordingly. Each of Amazon’s ads are automatically generated using dynamically chosen phrases from Amazon’s ad copy database—then presented to the consumer in a way that Amazon’s AI has determined to be most effective.
Looking again at Amazon’s Google Shopping ad:
Without going too far into everything that happens here, the gist is that Amazon syncs its product library within its Google Shopping account, enabling the team to automatically generate ads for specific products as needed.
Tl;dr: Amazon uses AI to create highly relevant and targeted ads that easily bring business to its virtual doorstep. But, the lesson here isn’t to rely on AI and other technology to run your PPC ads for you.
If the name of the game is improving sales via your PPC campaigns, the lesson is to target the right customers by targeting the right longtail keywords. That’s right, it’s all about your eCommerce SEO research and fundamentals.
Think of it like this:
The person searching Google for “electric guitar” might eventually end up making a purchase. But the person searching for “Fender Player Telecaster Maple Fingerboard Electric Guitar” is almost definitely looking to purchase a specific product.
If the goal is to attract customers to that specific guitar (and get them to buy it), it’s a no-brainer which keyword will produce better results.”
For more about decision-making at different parts of the customer journey, read our ebook!
This is an aspect that you should pay close attention to. If your visitors discover broken links, they will not continue visiting your page. This will cause the number of visitors to decrease, which will affect your positioning on the web.
Search engines will assume that your site is not providing a good experience. Try to redirect your links to the pages that are active.
Use Google Search Console, formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools to submit your web sitemap which is essential for Google to crawl and index your pages.
Google Search Console also gives you insights into which keywords you are ranking for and the pages where your visitors usually visit. This will give you a good idea of your current website standing plus show you all the errors that Google finds while crawling it so you can fix them as soon as possible.
You probably also use Google Analytics. This collects important data such as your website’s traffic, visitors’ location, source, and even their behaviors while using your website. This is data that will be useful to evaluate your positioning, new and recurring users, traffic, etc.
SEO goes far beyond getting more clicks. It’s your super strategy that you should mold and adapt to your business in favor of whatever metric you’re aiming for this year: CR, click-rate uplifts, product sales, etc.
The best results require a lot of patience and dedication and you must be willing to invest as much time as necessary. It’s essential that you organize yourself and establish strategic monthly objectives and implement different SEO tactics for your eCommerce website.
Make SEO your ally from now on, and you’ll carve out a competitive advantage in the eCommerce battlefield.
Yen Pedrajas is a technology and eCommerce marketing enthusiast who loves to write informative content about the latest tech and digital marketing trends, actionable tips, and startup growth hack ideas. Read her work at Medium. She is currently managing public relations and customer operations for Removal.AI an AI technology that operates as an image background remover and photo editing software to offer professional photo editing for eCommerce and all other web and app development purposes.