Welcome to our blog post on e-commerce SEO for beginners!
If you’re new to the world of e-commerce, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the technical jargon and fancy acronyms.
But don’t worry, we’re here to help you navigate the world of search engine optimization (SEO) and turn your website into a well-oiled, traffic-generating machine.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: “SEO? Sounds about as exciting as watching paint dry.”
But hold on a minute! SEO may not be the most thrilling topic in the world, but it’s essential for any e-commerce business looking to get noticed online.
After all, what’s the point of having a website if no one can find it?
So, if you’re ready to take your e-commerce game to the next level (or if you’re just really, really bored), grab your favorite caffeinated beverage and join us as we delve into the mysterious world of SEO.
We promise it won’t be all that bad. (Or at least we’ll try to make it not that bad.) Let’s get started!
First, let’s us cover the basics of e-commerce SEO and provide tips for improving your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
First, let’s start with technical SEO.
Technical SEO may not be the most glamorous aspect of e-commerce, but it’s incredibly important for the overall health and success of your website.
Think of it like this: if your website is a car, then technical SEO is the engine. Without a well-oiled engine, your car (or website) isn’t going anywhere.
But don’t worry, we’re not going to bore you to death with technical details.
We’ll just hit the highlights and give you a few simple tips for improving your website’s technical SEO. And who knows, maybe you’ll even learn to love it. (Okay, probably not. But at least you’ll know how to make your website run smoothly.)
Here are a few technical SEO factors to consider:
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol for securely transmitting data over the internet. It is commonly used to protect sensitive information, such as credit card numbers and login credentials, from being intercepted by third parties.
For e-commerce websites, HTTPS is particularly important because it helps to establish trust with customers and protect their personal and financial information. In fact, Google has stated that HTTPS is a ranking factor for search engines, meaning that websites using HTTPS may have an advantage in terms of their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
To switch to HTTPS, you will need to obtain an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate and install it on your website’s server. This process can vary depending on your hosting provider, so it may be helpful to consult with them or a web developer to ensure a smooth transition.
In addition to the SEO benefits, switching to HTTPS can also help to improve your website’s security and protect your business and customers from cyber threats. So if you’re not already using HTTPS on your e-commerce website, it may be worth considering as a way to improve your ranking and build trust with your customers.
Having a clear and logical site structure is important for e-commerce SEO as it helps search engines understand the content on your website and makes it easier for users to navigate. This can include having a clear hierarchy of categories and subcategories and using breadcrumb navigation.
Here are a few tips for optimizing your site structure for e-commerce SEO:
- Keep your site hierarchy shallow: Avoid creating too many levels of categories and subcategories. This can make it difficult for search engines to crawl and index your pages and may also confuse users.
- Use descriptive and keyword-rich URLs: Keep your URLs short and descriptive, and include your target keywords if relevant. This can help search engines understand the content of your pages and may also improve their ranking on SERPs.
- Use breadcrumb navigation: Breadcrumb navigation shows users the hierarchy of pages on your website and allows them to easily navigate back to higher-level categories. It can also help search engines understand the structure of your website and may improve the appearance of your website on SERPs.
- Use a sitemap: A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website that can be accessed by search engines. It can help search engines discover and index your pages more efficiently.
By following these tips and ensuring that your site structure is clear and logical, you can improve the user experience on your e-commerce website and boost your ranking on search engines.
Faceted navigation is a common feature on e-commerce websites that allows users to filter products by various attributes, such as color, size, price, or brand. This can be helpful for users as it allows them to easily find the products they are looking for and narrow down their search results.
However, faceted navigation can also present challenges for e-commerce SEO. When users apply filters to their search, it can create a large number of URLs with different combinations of filters applied. This can be seen as duplicate content by search engines, which can negatively impact the ranking of these URLs.
To avoid this issue, it’s important to properly implement faceted navigation on your e-commerce website. Here are a few best practices to consider:
- Use the rel=”canonical” tag: This tag tells search engines which version of a URL is the primary one and should be indexed. By adding the rel=”canonical” tag to faceted URLs, you can tell search engines which version is the most important and should be ranked.
- Use AJAX to dynamically update the page: Instead of creating a new URL for each combination of filters, you can use AJAX to update the page dynamically without changing the URL. This can help search engines understand that the page is still unique and should be ranked.
- Use a crawlable AJAX plugin: If you use AJAX for faceted navigation, be sure to use a crawlable AJAX plugin that allows search engines to crawl and index your AJAX-powered pages.
By following these best practices, you can effectively implement faceted navigation on your e-commerce website without negatively impacting your SEO.
Next, let’s move on to keyword research.
Keyword research is the process of identifying the phrases and terms that people use when searching for products or services online.
You see, keyword research helps you understand what people are searching for when they’re looking for products or services online. And if you want to attract the right traffic to your website, you need to know what those keywords are.
Think of it this way: if you’re selling handmade artisanal soap and you optimize your website for the keyword “soap,” you’re probably not going to attract a lot of targeted traffic.
But if you optimize for “handmade artisanal soap,” you’re more likely to attract people who are specifically looking for that type of product.
And let’s be real, who doesn’t love handmade artisanal soap? It’s the ultimate indulgence.
So don’t underestimate the power of keyword research. It may not be the most thrilling part of e-commerce SEO, but it’s essential for attracting the right traffic to your website.
(And for selling loads of handmade artisanal soap, of course.)
Here are a few tips for finding subcategory and product page keywords:
Find subcategory keywords:
Finding subcategory keywords can be a useful way to optimize your e-commerce website for search engines. Subcategory keywords are specific phrases that users might search for when looking for a particular category of products. By identifying and targeting these keywords, you can improve the ranking of your category pages and product pages on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Here are a few tips for finding subcategory keywords:
- Consider the language that users might use when searching for your products.
For example, if you sell outdoor gear, users might search for “hiking boots,” “backpacking tents,” or “camping stoves.”
- Use keyword research tools, such as Google’s Keyword Planner or Ahrefs, to find popular keywords related to your products or industry. These tools can help you understand how often certain keywords are searched for and how competitive they are.
- Look at your competitors’ websites to see how they are targeting subcategory keywords. This can give you ideas for keywords to target on your own website.
By identifying and targeting relevant subcategory keywords, you can improve the visibility of your e-commerce website on search engines and drive more targeted traffic to your website.
Find product page keywords:
In addition to subcategory keywords, you’ll also want to identify specific keywords to target on your product pages. This might include the product name, brand, and any unique features or benefits.
Here are a few tips for finding product page keywords for e-commerce SEO:
- Start with the product name: This should be an obvious one, but be sure to include the product name as a keyword on your product page. If you sell multiple versions of the same product (e.g. different sizes or colors), consider including those variations in the product name as well.
- Include brand keywords: If your product is branded, be sure to include the brand name as a keyword. This can be especially important if your brand is well-known or if you sell products from multiple brands.
- Think about features and benefits: What makes your product unique or desirable? Include keywords related to the features and benefits of your product, such as “waterproof,” “durable,” or “anti-aging.”
- Consider user intent: When users search for a product, they often have a specific need or goal in mind. Think about what users might be searching for when looking for your product and include those keywords on your product page.
- Use long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases that are less commonly searched but can still drive targeted traffic to your website. Consider including long-tail keywords on your product pages to attract users who are further down the purchasing funnel.
By using these tips to identify product page keywords, you can optimize your product pages to rank higher on search engine results pages and drive more targeted traffic to your website.
Once you’ve done your keyword research, it’s time to focus on on-page SEO.
On-page SEO may seem like a small and insignificant part of the e-commerce puzzle, but let us tell you, it’s a BIG DEAL.
Imagine this scenario: you’ve spent hours creating the perfect product page, complete with gorgeous photos, compelling descriptions, and all the bells and whistles.
But when you go to check your ranking on Google, you realize you’re buried on page 10, alongside creepy clown dolls and conspiracy theory websites.
What happened? Chances are, you forgot to optimize your on-page elements.
Title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s may not seem like the most exciting things in the world, but trust us, they can make or break your website’s ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs).
So don’t neglect your on-page SEO! Take the time to craft compelling and keyword-rich titles, descriptions, and headings, and you’ll be well on your way to the top of the SERPs (and the hearts of your customers).
Here are a few key on-page SEO elements to consider:
Title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s
These elements help search engines understand the content of your page and can influence its ranking on SERPs. Be sure to include your target keywords in these elements, but also make them compelling and user-friendly.
Title tags and meta descriptions help search engines understand the content of your pages and can influence their ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). H1 tags, or header tags, are also important for on-page SEO and can help structure the content of your pages.
Here are a few tips for writing effective title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s for e-commerce SEO:
- Title tags: Title tags should be concise and descriptive, and should include your target keywords if relevant. Keep in mind that title tags are typically displayed as the blue clickable link on SERPs, so make sure they are compelling and entice users to click through to your website.
- Meta descriptions: Meta descriptions are short summaries that appear below the title tag on SERPs. They should provide a clear and concise overview of the content on your page and should include your target keywords if relevant. Meta descriptions should be user-friendly and convince users to click through to your website.
- H1 tags: H1 tags should be used to organize the content of your pages and signal to search engines the main topic of the page. They should be descriptive and include your target keywords if relevant. Be sure to only use one H1 tag per page and use subheading tags (H2, H3, etc.) to further structure the content.
In addition to including your target keywords, it’s important to make your title tags, meta descriptions, and H1s user-friendly and compelling. This will help improve the user experience and increase the likelihood of users clicking through to your website from SERPs.
Writing URLs for e-commerce SEO can be a bit of a balancing act. On one hand, you want your URLs to be descriptive and informative so that users and search engines understand what the page is about. On the other hand, you don’t want your URLs to be too long or cluttered with unnecessary information.
Here are a few tips for writing URLs for e-commerce SEO:
- Keep it short and sweet: Aim for URLs that are around 50-60 characters in length. Anything longer may be truncated on SERPs (search engine results pages) and may not be as user-friendly.
- Use keywords wisely: Include your target keywords in the URL if they are relevant and make sense. Avoid keyword stuffing or using irrelevant keywords just for the sake of including them.
- Use hyphens to separate words: Use hyphens (-) to separate words in your URLs. This makes the URL easier to read and helps search engines understand what the page is about.
- Avoid unnecessary parameters and numbers: Avoid using unnecessary parameters or numbers in your URLs. These can make the URL harder to read and may not be as user-friendly.
- Use lowercase letters: Use lowercase letters in your URLs. While search engines are generally case-insensitive, using lowercase letters can make your URLs easier to read and understand.
By following these tips, you can create URLs that are descriptive, user-friendly, and optimized for e-commerce SEO.
Product and category descriptions
Writing product and category descriptions for e-commerce SEO involves crafting compelling, informative content that helps search engines understand what your products and categories are about and how they may be relevant to users. Here are a few tips for writing effective product and category descriptions:
- Use your target keywords: Be sure to include your target keywords in your product and category descriptions, but don’t stuff them in there. Use them naturally and make sure they make sense in the context of the content.
- Make it user-friendly: Your product and category descriptions should be clear and easy to read, with short paragraphs and bullet points if appropriate.
- Include important details: In addition to using your target keywords, make sure to include important details about your products and categories, such as features, benefits, and specifications.
- Use compelling language: Use language that will grab the reader’s attention and persuade them to take action, whether that’s making a purchase or clicking through to a subcategory.
- Keep it concise: While it’s important to include relevant information, try to keep your product and category descriptions concise and to the point. No one wants to read a novel about a toaster.
By following these tips, you can write product and category descriptions that will help improve your e-commerce website’s ranking on search engines and drive more targeted traffic to your website.
Link building is another important aspect of e-commerce SEO. Links from other websites to yours can help improve your website’s authority and ranking on search engines.
Making links can be a tedious and time-consuming task, but it’s essential for any e-commerce business looking to improve its SEO.
Think of it like the high school popularity contest all over again: the more people that link to your website, the cooler (or more authoritative) you seem to search engines. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want to be the coolest kid on the block (or, you know, the first page of Google)?
But seriously, link building is important because it helps improve your website’s authority and ranking on search engines. Imagine if every time someone mentioned your business or linked to one of your products, it was like getting a virtual high five.
Pretty soon, you’ll have so many virtual high fives that search engines will be begging you to be their BFF (best friend forever).
Okay, maybe it’s not quite that simple, but you get the idea. So don’t skimp on the link building, folks. It’s worth the effort (and the potential awkward conversations with strangers).
Here are a few link-building techniques to try:
Product feedback technique:
The product feedback technique is a link building strategy that involves reaching out to customers who have purchased your products and asking if they would be willing to provide feedback or a review on their blog or social media. This can be a simple and effective way to build valuable backlinks to your e-commerce website.
Here’s how it works:
- Identify customers who have purchased your products and are likely to be satisfied with their experience.
- Reach out to these customers via email or social media and ask if they would be willing to write a review or provide feedback on their blog or social media.
- If they agree, provide them with a link to your product page and any relevant information they may need to write a review.
- Once the review or feedback is published, be sure to thank the customer and consider sharing their content on your social media or website.
By implementing the product feedback technique, you can build valuable backlinks and generate positive exposure for your business. Just be sure to only reach out to satisfied customers and to follow any guidelines for reviews and testimonials (such as disclosing any incentives you may have provided).
Unlinked mentions in reviews:
The unlinked mentions in reviews strategy is a link building technique that involves identifying instances where your business or products have been mentioned online, but no link has been provided to your website. By reaching out to these individuals or organizations and politely requesting a link, you can build valuable backlinks to your e-commerce website.
Here’s how it works:
- Use a tool like Google Alerts or Mention to identify instances where your business or products have been mentioned online.
- Review the mentions and identify any instances where a link to your website has not been provided.
- Reach out to the individuals or organizations that have mentioned your business or products and politely request a link to your website.
- If a link is provided, be sure to thank the individual or organization and consider sharing their content on your social media or website.
By implementing the unlinked mentions in reviews strategy, you can build valuable backlinks and generate positive exposure for your business. Just be sure to only reach out to individuals or organizations that have mentioned your business or products in a positive light, and to be respectful and professional in your communication.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out):
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) is a service that connects journalists with sources for their stories. By signing up for an account and responding to relevant requests, you may be able to get your business or products featured in a publication and earn a backlink to your website. This can be a powerful link building technique, particularly if you are able to secure a mention in a high-authority publication.
Here’s how to use HARO for e-commerce SEO:
- Sign up for a free account on the HARO website.
- Set up email alerts to receive daily pitches from reporters looking for sources.
- Review the pitches and respond to any that are relevant to your business or expertise.
- If your response is selected, provide the reporter with any additional information or materials they may need.
- If your response is published, be sure to thank the reporter and share the article on your social media or website.
By participating in HARO, you can build valuable backlinks and generate exposure for your business. Just be sure to carefully review the pitches and only respond to those that are relevant and appropriate for your business.
Advanced e-commerce SEO
You know what they say: “Go big or go home.”
And when it comes to e-commerce SEO, that means it’s time to take things to the next level with advanced techniques.
Sure, you could just stick to the basics and hope for the best, but where’s the fun in that?
With advanced e-commerce SEO, you can turn your website into a veritable fortress of search engine dominance. (Okay, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the idea.)
By leveraging techniques like indexing faceted URLs, creating product-led content, and adding schema markup, you can give your website the competitive edge it needs to rise above the rest.
Plus, let’s be real here: advanced e-commerce SEO is just way cooler than the basic stuff.
It’s like being a black belt in karate versus a white belt. Okay, maybe not exactly like that, but you get the point.
So don’t be afraid to get a little fancy with your SEO strategy – your bank account (and your ego) will thank you.
Finally, here are a few advanced e-commerce SEO tips to consider:
Index faceted URLs with search demand:
If you have a large number of faceted URLs (URLs with multiple filters applied, such as color and size), consider using the rel=”canonical” tag or using AJAX to dynamically update the page without changing the URL. This can help search engines understand which URLs are unique and which ones should be consolidated.
Here’s how it works:
- Identify the URLs for your faceted pages that have the most search demand. You can use tools like Google Search Console or a keyword research tool to determine which URLs have the most traffic or the highest search volume.
- For each of these URLs, add the rel=”canonical” tag to the head of the page and point it to the main category page. This will tell search engines that the main category page is the primary version of the content and that the faceted pages are variations of it.
- Alternatively, you can use AJAX to dynamically update the page without changing the URL. This can help ensure that search engines see the updated content as a single page rather than multiple pages with duplicate content.
By indexing your faceted URLs with search demand, you can help improve the visibility and ranking of your e-commerce website on search engines. Just be sure to keep track of which URLs you have optimized and to regularly check for any technical issues that may arise.
Create product-led content for search
Creating product-led content for search is a strategy that involves creating content (such as blog posts or articles) that focuses on specific products or categories. This can help you rank for long-tail keywords (more specific phrases) and drive targeted traffic to your e-commerce website.
Here’s how to create product-led content for search:
- Identify the products or categories that you want to focus on. Consider which products or categories have the highest demand or are most popular with your customers.
- Research long-tail keywords related to these products or categories. You can use a keyword research tool to identify relevant keywords that have a high search volume but low competition.
- Create content that focuses on these products or categories and includes the target keywords. This can include product reviews, comparisons, or round-ups of top products in a particular category.
- Optimize your content for SEO by including the target keywords in the title, headings, and body of the text, as well as in the URL and meta description.
By creating product-led content for search, you can drive targeted traffic to your e-commerce website and increase sales for your business. Just be sure to create high-quality, informative content that is valuable to your audience.
Add schema markup to product pages
Adding schema markup to your product pages can help improve their visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) and potentially increase their ranking. Schema markup is a type of code that helps search engines understand the content and structure of your pages. By adding schema markup to your product pages, you can provide additional context and information about your products, such as ratings, reviews, availability, and pricing.
Here’s how to add schema markup to your product pages:
- Identify the relevant schema markup for your product pages. There are many types of schema markup available, such as Product, Offer, and AggregateRating. Choose the schema markup that best fits your product pages and the information you want to provide.
- Add the schema markup to your product pages. This can typically be done by adding the markup to the HTML of your page or by using a plugin or tool that generates the markup for you.
- Test your schema markup to ensure that it is working properly. You can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to check your schema markup for errors or issues.
By adding schema markup to your product pages, you can help search engines understand the content and context of your pages, which can improve their visibility and potentially increase their ranking on SERPs. Just be sure to follow the guidelines for schema markup to ensure that it is implemented correctly.
Keep on top of technical issues:
Keeping on top of technical issues is an important aspect of e-commerce SEO, as it can help improve the user experience and ensure that search engines can crawl and index your pages efficiently. Here are a few technical issues to watch out for:
- Broken links: Broken links can be frustrating for users and can also signal to search engines that your website is not being well-maintained. Use a tool like Dead Link Checker to regularly check for broken links on your website and fix them as soon as possible.
- Crawl errors: Crawl errors occur when search engines are unable to access or index certain pages on your website. This can be caused by broken links, robots.txt errors, or other issues. To check for crawl errors, use the Google Search Console or a tool like Screaming Frog.
- Page speed: Page speed is a factor that can influence your ranking on search engines and the user experience. Use a tool like GTmetrix or Google PageSpeed Insights to check your page speed and identify any issues that may be impacting it.
- Mobile-friendliness: With more and more users accessing the internet from mobile devices, it’s important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Use the Google Mobile-Friendly Test to check if your website is mobile-friendly and make any necessary updates.
By regularly checking for and fixing technical issues, you can improve the user experience and increase the chances that search engines will crawl and index your pages effectively.
We hope these tips have been helpful for improving the SEO of your e-commerce website. By following these best practices and staying up-to-date on the latest trends, you can drive more traffic and increase sales for your business.