An ecommerce website is an online portal that allows the online transaction of products and services through the exchange of funds. But in order for your customers to find you, your ecommerce site needs to be optimised.
If you run an ecommerce business, then you will want to drive as much traffic to your site as possible. And one of the best ways to ensure that your customers find you online is by ensuring that every aspect of your ecommerce site is optimised.
Because a survey suggests that almost half of us start our online shopping experience with an online search. 37.5% of all online traffic to ecommerce sites come via search engines and 23.6% of all ecommerce purchases are made through entirely organic traffic.
So what does that mean for your ecommerce business?
It means that you should treat your ecommerce website just as you would any regular website, and SEO it to within an inch of its life.
The first thing you should do when looking to optimise your ecommerce site is conduct research. In particular, you want to conduct keyword research as well as competitor analysis.
Because you need to know what keywords you should be targeting and who you’re up against trying to vie for customers’ attention.
Keyword research for ecommerce SEO
When conducting keyword research for ecommerce SEO, there are three areas that you will want to focus on:
1. Keywords that suit your homepage and all of your ecommerce product pages.
Don’t use keywords that are too abstract nor ones that are too competitive. Abstract keywords will result in high bounce rate or low conversion because people won’t find what they’re looking for when they click on your link. Competitive keywords require a lot of time, money and effort to rank highly for them, if you ever do.
2. Keywords that you work into blog topics.
Blog posts are one of the best ways to draw traffic organically to your ecommerce site. Write blog posts that are not only hugely beneficial but that are interesting for your audience – Google’s algorithm will reward you for creating content that people actually want.
Work into them the keywords that you’re trying to rank for. Just don’t stuff your blog post with the keywords as this is considered black hat SEO and you will be penalised for your efforts. Capitalise on long tail keywords here – the phrases and sentences that people use when searching google.
3. Keywords that don’t cannibalise each other.
Cannibalisation happens when you have different pages on your website trying to rank for the same keywords. It confuses the Google spiders when they crawl your site, forcing them to choose which page has more relevancy and which to rank higher, thereby forcing the other pages lower down the ranking and weakening your SEO efforts as you are effectively competing against yourself.
The easiest way to avoid this is to use a different keyword for each product page. Create a spreadsheet for all the keywords you want to rank for and ensure you aren’t duplicating any keywords.
Competitor Analysis for ecommerce SEO
Now that you know which keywords you want to rank for, you need to know who you’re competing against.
- What keywords your competitors are ranking for or trying to rank for.
Find your likely competitors using Moz’s Domain Authority, or by conducting a local search using the keywords that you would use if you were searching for your business.
By knowing what keywords your competitors are using means you can either avoid competing with them for those keywords, or find weak spots in their keyword campaigns that you can exploit.
- What their backlink strategy is.
Inbound links are a great way to boost your SEO efforts as Google places high onus on sites that are peer approved ie those that have backlinks leading to them from other relevant sites.
Spammy links from non-relevant sites don’t count and will be used against you, so disavow any spammy backlinks.
- How their site is laid out.
For ecommerce businesses, pay particular attention to how your competitor’s have created their site architecture for example:
- How they display their popular products
- How they display their related products
- How they display recently viewed products
Because once you know how your competitors have done it, if it’s successful, it’s a recipe you can follow, and if it’s not, you’ll know what not to do!
How to optimise your ecommerce site
Find the errors.
One of the best ways to find out where your site is letting you down is by using Screaming Frog – it’s free and it will mimic how the Google spiders crawl your site. But, instead of ranking or penalising you, it points out where you can optimise links, images, CSS, what script needs improving, all to enhance your SEO efforts.
Screaming Frog will present its findings to you listing errors, redirects that need attention, any duplicate pages or missing meta descriptions or titles.
Check out your ecommerce website speed.
Speeding up your website will not only get you into Google’s good books, but it will enhance your customer’s UX. Slow websites will likely put users off, raising your bounce rate and lowering your conversion rate.
Optimise on page.
Optimising off page is hugely beneficial ie building links, but optimising on page is equally important as it helps your site to rank more highly. On-page optimisation will help drive more traffic towards your ecommerce site, as well as making your site easy to navigate for users.
On page SEO includes:
- Optimising keywords
- Better site layout
- Building internal links
- Ensuring great UX
- Ensure your site is mobile friendly
Linking building is all about creating relationships, but not just with any old site. You need to be getting backlinks from sites with high authority in a relevant industry to yours. Don’t buy links. Instead look for ways to earn your links.
- Provide guest posts
- Highlight broken links
- Create content that other sites will want to share ie infographic