Organic search results are 8.5 times more likely to drive clicks than PPC clicks. That means that you could be attracting more customers to your e-commerce without having to spend so much on advertising. That’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
But with the quick pace and evolving search engine algorithms, good SEO strategies come and go with the time. And we can’t ignore that e-commerce SEO has its own set of challenges that most content-based sites related to B2B don’t have to face.
To keep up with and stand out from your competition, you can’t just throw together a couple of keywords and hope it will all work out! So, here is a guide showing only the best current practices as well as the common misconceptions of how to rank your e-commerce store and kill the organic traffic game.
Keyword Research for E-Commerce SEO
No matter where you are in setting up or running your e-commerce store, keyword research is important and part of the process. There are a couple of ways that you can go around all of this including:
Easy Wins Method
The point is to find all of the terms that your website ranks for, but that are not at the top of the search results. Then, you re-optimize those pages.
Once you create your list, you can build links to these pages, re-optimize them, and watch as you gain in organic traffic.
Product Specific Keywords
If you want to find all of the keywords that you should include on a product page, you can look at what is ranking on Google. Then, you can run them through a keyword research tool to see which are the best for you.
For example, let’s say I have a page for fairtrade shoes. I would first search google for the top ranking results for ‘fairtrade shoes’. I then take the top organic result and plug the URL into a keyword research tool like kwfinder.com
Once I have my results, I look at all the different keywords that the page URL ranks for, and get ideas from them.
On-Page SEO For E-Commerce
On-Page SEO is great if it is done right. It is not enough to keyword-jam your title and meta description. You will not rank very high in search results because search engine algorithms prioritize relevance and engagement. Thus, you have to make sure that your content page is designed with your audience in mind.
Create Unique Product Descriptions
One mistake that many e-commerce owners make is that their product description isn’t unique. Many people use the same description that is used by the manufacturers which result in multiple e-commerce sites using the same exact description (boring, I know!).
To avoid this, you want to make sure that your product descriptions are unique to the manufacturer’s text so that in the long run your content does not duplicate another’s. I recommend that you reach for a minimum of 1,000 words for the best results.
A great tip is to search the term you want to rank to see what is already ranking in terms of content, length, and optimization.
The meta description is the text that appears under a page title on search results. It is relevant because it helps people know what a page is about by providing a brief explanation of the content.
Aside from including relevant keywords, you can also use phrases that will grab the searchers attention like ‘free shipping’ or ‘price match guarantee.’ This will maximize your click-through-rate (CTR). A higher CTR shows search engines your relevance and helps to indirectly increase your organic rankings.
Use your meta description to persuade people to click on your page.
User-Generated Content (UGC)
For the world’s top brands, user-generated content drives 25% of search traffic.
UGC helps with both site ranking AND provides you with backlink opportunities that may not exist otherwise.
You can also take advantage of UGC on your product pages. For example, you can embed social media posts with images and videos to then boost your social SEO and increase engagement. This works well to show social proof which works very well.
One recent study states that 85% of people trust online reviews just as much as a personal recommendation.
Customer reviews and ratings are a powerful form of UGC that can help improve e-commerce SEO in a couple of ways. They provide search engines with new, trustworthy content, they increase the number of time visitors spend interacting with your product pages, and they add relevant keywords to your content.
E-commerce provides many chances for making your website more usable. Here are some common problems and their solutions.
Improve User Experience With Content
The problem with having an abundance of content is that too much text can be overwhelming and reduce the page’s usability. It can also distract users site visitors from your call-to-action(s) (CTA).
A solution is to organize your content using tabs or accordions. You should also leverage your visual hierarchy and formatting elements to make sure that your content is scannable and user-friendly.
Using Visual Content
Using high-quality visual content is a great way to showcase your products.
Manipulating technology like zoom or 360-degree views can help you increase your shopper’s engagement with your content. But, be sure to optimize your images and content so that they do not impact loading time. Also, include keywords in the alt text to show relevance to search engines.
Taking Advantage of Video
Cisco states that by 2021, video content will account for 82% of search engine traffic. Thus, it is safe to say that video is taking over the online world. We can also say that it benefits e-commerce companies to add video content to their product pages.
For example, you can post how-to and demo videos to your product page so that site visitors better understand your product. This also increases the amount of time that site visitors spend on your page and their engagement.
Another example is to use videos created by your customers that show’s them using your product. This is great for engagement and it leverages the idea of social proof (it also costs less on your end)!
You see, videos appear in 70% of the top 100 search results listings. Also, viewers are 64-85% more willing to buy a product after watching an accompanying video.
So, try focusing on creating high-quality video content that can accompany your products.
The amount of time a site visitors stays on your page is important. Keeping people engaged with features and content can help you succeed in SEO. However, it is often hard for e-commerce businesses because the majority of your website is product-based.
At the moment, e-commerce businesses are finding innovative ways to integrate interactive tools on their site and improve engagement.
Amazon, for example, has a size recommender on their site that helps shoppers find their perfect size. This is great because it is relevant, helpful, and engaging.
Even more, shoe companies like Converse and Nike are using customization tools where shoppers can create their own design. This is a great way to engage shoppers because it allows them to add their own personality to the product.
Optimizing For Mobile
More and more people shop on their mobile device. Thus, it is in your hands to make their user experience great!
The majority of traffic, worldwide, is mobile. With such a shift, Google has already begun penalizing websites that are not mobile-friendly. Google is also already bringing out a mobile-first index which places priority on websites that are optimized for mobile devices.
A website that is mobile-optimized is more than just making a screen smaller, there are many more effective practices that will have a bigger impact on user experience and help improve your organic store ranking.
A higher bounce rate is associated with a longer page load time, this negatively impacts your e-commerce SEO.
According to a Google report, only a few seconds can mean a huge hit in your bounce rate. Actually, 47% of consumers expect your web page to load in only two seconds or less. 40% of consumers leave a webpage if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load (THATS CRAZY!).
So you see, speed can turn great traffic into no sales and a huge bounce rate.
Even more, mark the date, because in July of 2018 Google will dampen the rankings for slower mobile sites to help improve mobile users’ overall experience. So, if you want to keep customers coming, you definitely need to have your site speed in check.
Thankfully though, Google offers free tools where you can analyze your mobile site and show the ways in which you can improve it.
Since January of 2016, Google has been decreasing the ranking of websites that use intrusive pop-ups. These pop-ups prevent mobile users from accessing the page’s content.
To prevent this from happening to your site, avoid using pop-ups that take away from your site-visitors experience. Instead, try using timed pop-ups that are triggered by the number of pages a visitor goes to. You can also use exit intent to attract visitors that are leaving.
There are studies that show that an average of 10% of conversion increases when using exit intent. And, you don’t have to worry about negatively impacting your visitor’s experience for a couple more sales.
Content Strategy For E-Commerce
No content means that you can’t appear for diverse keywords in search results. Without links, you can’t build trust, credibility, or referral traffic.
Your content should be the base of your e-commerce SEO strategy. As Hubspot has stated, for both B2C and B2B companies, the more blog posts you publish per month, the more traffic you will drive from organic search.
Thus, more, quality content can increase your traffic, and drive more leads and sales.
If you’re conducting SEO for an e-commerce, you can’t skip out on producing quality content. It is a great way to rank for a variety of long-tail keywords and signal your site’s relevance to search engines.
Most e-commerce platforms allow you to set up a blog under the same domain name so that you can fully benefit from the ‘SEO power’ generated by content.
Here are a couple of ways that you can improve your e-commerce SEO with content.
Featured Answers/Answer Boxes on Google
It can be hard to create useful, unique, and relatable content, while other times your keywords don’t actually reflect what people are searching.
So, to prevent this, you can search for topics in your niche and see what questions are most often asked. You can use this research to create innovative videos, blog posts, and content that revolves around your more frequently asked questions.
Funnel-Based Content Types
The modern shopper follows a complex series of actions before actually making a decision or purchase. This is referred to as the buyer’s journey. People do not make rash decisions anymore and do not make an immediate purchase anymore. Now, most people prefer to do their research before making any decisions.
To capitalize on the buyer’s journey for your e-commerce SEO, you need to create content that appeals to all stages of their research and decision making. These include awareness, consideration, and decisions.
For the awareness stage, you need to focus on content that answers fundamental questions that someone looking to buy your product might ask. You need to educate your leads first.
As your lead begins to move down the funnel, you can begin to produce content that is more focused on specific products and not only the purpose of your brand. This content can be specific to certain buyer niches. You can use a call-to-action offer in the decision stage to help seal the deal.
The overall idea is to bring in new inbound traffic that wants to learn about your brand and product niche and then slowly move them towards making a purchase.
Link Building for E-Commerce
Links are very important to showing Google your content’s relevance, for trust, and driving relevant referral traffic. Links are crucial to ranking; Backlinko has found a direct correlation between total links and organic rankings. They found that if your average number of backlinks 5,0000 or more, your Google position will rank from 1st to 3rd place. Thus, you have to aim high in regards to links.
Here are a couple of ways in which you can add links to your e-commerce site.
Create Linkable Content
Creating content is one of the easiest ways to build up quality links. You see, it’s much more difficult to get direct links to your products than it is to drive links and referral traffic to a blog post or video.
Furthermore, as you continue to develop your blog, you can begin to campaign for links by reaching out to other well-known blogs, product reviews and comparison sites, and more.
Send Products to Review Blogs
If you want to work on getting your product out there, I recommend that you try reaching out to review blogs. You can send them free products and in return, they can write a review. This is a great place to put a little bit of money for a chance to generate links.
To do so, you conduct a basic search on Google and look for reviews that fit your e-commerce niche. Once you find bloggers that fit your profile, contact them and offer to send free products without asking for a review.
By doing so, you will likely get a couple of really great review links that help drive relevant referral traffic.
Get Links From Product Manufacturers.
If you are selling products from brands, you can sometimes get a link from the manufacturer as an ‘authorized retailers’ type page. I recommend that you look at your manufacturer’s website and try to get a link.
Don’t Forget Internal Links
I’m not going to lie, it is hard to get people to link your product pages. Thus, internal linking is super important because you can build linkable assets and then internally link from them your product pages.
What You Should Take Away From all of This.
In the long run, organic search is one of the greatest ways that you can get in front of your audience in a cost-efficient way. And, by following this guide, you will be a step ahead of your competition.