Search engine rankings can make or break any website. But with eCommerce, the search is doubly crucial for success. According to marketing stats, more than 40% of web users start their buying journey with a Google search.
The bottom line is – optimizing your website is the best long-term strategy for your business’ success. In this beginner SEO eCommerce guide, you’ll learn how to take your store to the top of the search rankings page. Let’s begin.
How to increase organic search traffic
The way to the top of search ranking starts with comprehensive research. We mean researching your niche, your competitors, more importantly, your target keywords. A thorough competitor and keyword research are crucial to your eCommerce SEO efforts. SEO is a competition. And you need to know how to compete. But before jumping into the research phase, you need to determine the answers to these questions:
What is your store all about? What need are you trying to solve for your potential customers?
For example, if you run an online store selling home-made perfumes, carrying out a simple Google search for the term “home-made perfume” will give you a great starting point for finding competitors and long-tail keyword variations.
Selling your product online is a lot like selling at a traditional marketplace. There is a competition for paying customers. For this reason, comprehensive competition research helps you keep tabs on what your competitors are doing to win customers.
Here are a few things you’ll want to find out with your competitor analysis:
- Discover who your top competitors are
- What keywords your competitors are targeting
- Find the backlinks your competitors are linked to
- Find out the content your competitors are ranking for
All in all, competitor analysis helps you devise a strategy for toppling your competitors on the search engine ranking.
Here’s a quick, actionable competitor analysis to get you going;
Carry out a Google search for your main keyword – let’s say “home-made perfume.” Make a list of the top-ranking websites for this search term.
Notice websites identical to yours -in traffic number, ranking, and domain authority- are your competitors.
Put these websites’ URLs into SEO tools – Ahrefs, Mangools, Moz, Keyword.io, Spyfu, Semrush, for competitor analysis.
Ideally, you’ll want to carry out a SWOT analysis on your competitors. SWOT means, it means strength, weakness, opportunities, and threats.
A SWOT analysis of your competitors helps you find content gaps, link-building opportunities, UX and design features, and other optimization opportunities.
As an unspoken rule, you’ll also want to avoid keywords where your competitor has a high domain and page authority. It will be tedious trying to outrank competitors on such keywords.
Comprehensive competitor analysis also exposes you to valuable keyword variations, long-tail keywords, and keyword combinations your customers use that are unknown to you.
Armed with this information from your competitors, you can now move on to keyword research.
Keyword research for eCommerce
Keyword research is a no-brainer for your eCommerce store if you want to rank high on search engines. As we’ve mentioned, it is as easy as finding customers based on their search intent. In a nutshell, comprehensive keyword research lets you understand what your potential customers are looking for and how and when they want their needs met.
Here’s an Effective keyword research strategy to get things going
The key to this keyword strategy is identifying “diamond in the rough” keywords. By that, we mean – keywords that have high search volume and low competition.
How can you find these keywords?
Typically, you can find “diamond in the rough” keywords in Long-tail keywords or long-tail keyword variations. To find these keywords, use keyword tools such as Ubersuggest, Moz, Ahrefs, Keyword.io, AskthePublic, etc.
When carrying out your research for these long-tail keyword variations, consider:
- relevant keywords to your brand and products,
- the search volume,
- the ranking difficulty of these keywords.
The strategy here is – “diamond in the rough” keyword variations have little competition and gives you a chance to serve the existing potential customers better than your competitors.
On-page optimization includes all the steps you can carry out within your web pages to improve your website rankings. When it comes to on-page optimization, you are in the driving seat to improve your SEO rankings.
Here are a few on-page optimizations to carry out on your eCommerce website;
- Title tags
- Image tags
Title tags are one of the most crucial elements of your SEO strategy. It tells your website visitors and search engines about your web page. It informs your potential customers about your offer and pricing with your eCommerce store.
There are many creative ways to differentiate your title tags from your competition. But we’ll stick with the basics. Your title tags should be no more than 70 characters long as a rule. It should be descriptive and also include your seed keyword.
Title tags are at the forefront of your website’s SEO strategy as visitors decide whether your website is useful to them or not. Title tags also play a part in determining your website’s bounce rate, which in turn signals your website’s value in search engine ranking. So make the most of your title tags.
Meta descriptions are content that appears below the title tag on the search rankings page. Think of meta descriptions as a brief intro to your website’s content. They are massively important. Web visitors can take a peek into your web page content and decide if clicking on your page is worth it. Your job will be to convince them that – it is.
Generally, meta descriptions should be less than 150 characters, unique to each page, precise, demonstrate value to your web visitor and entice your web visitor to click on your website.
URLs appear at the top of a web user’s search bar. They convey the purpose of a web page and the web page’s location within your website’s hierarchy. This circles back to your website’s schema and site architecture. Here’s what you have to know. The better your web page URL matches your web visitor’s interest, the more they’ll click into your website, and the higher the page ranks.
Image alt tags are crucial to your on-page optimization in several ways. Not only do images add a visual appeal to your website’s content, but they can also help your pages get found on search engines. Here’s the thing. Search engines can not process the images on your website. Its web crawlers don’t understand the images on your website. This is why you need to optimize your images by providing texts on your web page’s images using alt text. Optimizing your images is crucial as it allows search engines to understand that your images are relevant to your content.
At the core of your on-page optimization is content. Search engines understand what your product pages are about through the content and product descriptions. Yes, I know. It seems like hard work is going through all your product pages and slapping unique product descriptions. But hey, if you’re desperate to increase your organic search traffic – it’s what it is. Start by focusing on your most important pages. As for your product pages, craft 300-550 words for each.
Remember to craft unique and memorable texts for your customers. Further, having a blog on your eCommerce store can increase your chances of increasing your rankings. With a blog, you provide value to your customers by sharing useful information about the products you are selling. However, be sure to publish valuable information and implement SEO strategies necessary for a high blog ranking. Including a blog in your eCommerce website also allows you to include keywords that don’t make it in your product descriptions. So make it count.
Other SEO practices for increasing your organic search traffic
User experience remains essential for increasing organic search traffic.
Look at it this way.
When you go into a physical store, you are more likely to linger on and go through the shop’s catalog if you are interested in the products, the design, and the store’s setting, more than that, the store’s ambiance.
The same is true for your online store.
Web visitors will only spend time looking through your catalog if they enjoy the experience of browsing your website. If web visitors click off your website on landing, it means your website is not what they expected.
User experience, among many other things, includes:
- An aesthetically pleasing website
- Content relevance
- Great UI
- An intuitive website navigation structure
- A mobile-friendly website design
- A fast-loading website
Optimize your product pages for user experience
Search engines take into account signals from how visitors browse your website, such as CTR(click-through rate), bounce rate, etc.
Let’s keep things simple. User experience on your eCommerce store starts with designing a user-friendly and fun website. Your web visitors should be excited to go through your product pages without encountering functionality issues. You do not want these to happen on the checkout pages.
Optimize your website for mobile users
It’s no secret that mobile devices dominate search and online purchases today. Your potential customers will likely be searching for your products using their mobile devices.
More than this, search engines favor mobile-optimized websites. Optimizing your website for mobile traffic is crucial for gaining organic search traffic.
Secure your website with HTTPS
Google states that it factors HTTPS as a ranking signal. Security means encrypting your customers’ credit card personal information such as names, addresses, contact numbers, email addresses associated with your customers. Stats show 85% of online shoppers avoid unsecured websites – like a plague. Securing your website plays a role in SEO as Google wants to guarantee web users safety on its search engine.
Run a site audit
Conducting a site audit lets you identify site errors to fix them. You avoid many indexation mistakes novice eCommerce store owners make on this store. By carrying out a proper site audit, you establish a cohesive site architecture. You also get an opportunity to arrange your product and category pages for search engines to understand. When carrying out a site audit, you have an excellent opportunity to fix issues with page and website speed. It’s no secret search engine favors fast-loading websites over slower websites.
Use SEO tools to run a site audit for potential technical SEO issues.
Running an eCommerce store is a fantastic way to make money online. But it can be too complicated for beginners. If this guide feels overwhelming at first – don’t be discouraged. With enough effort, you can build a budding eCommerce business – if you only take the first step. We hope this beginner guide to SEO eCommerce will serve as a close companion to help you increase organic search traffic and build a budding eCommerce business.
“Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” – Mike Volpe
“Nothing happens until something moves.”- Albert Einstein
Well begun is half done.”-Aristotle
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