eCommerce SEO: The 10-point Checklist for Growth
Kaya Ismail • 22 February 2023
When a potential customer has a problem, they often turn to a search engine like Google or Bing to help them find a solution. If you want your customers to find your products, then you need to rank on these top search engines as they can provide a consistent flow of customers who find you organically and reduce the amount you need to spend on digital ads.
In this guide, we’ll provide you with:
Why Does Search Engine Ranking Matter?
Ranking high in search engines can be the difference between your next customers quickly finding your eCommerce store and the products you offer or simply making their way to Amazon and your competitors.
According to Backlinko, the #1 result in Google’s organic search results has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7%. So, just under one-third of the people searching for a product will immediately go to the top search result. How much does that leave for everyone else?
Well, the top three still take most of the traffic in Google search results and get 75.1% of all clicks, leaving roughly 25% of the remaining traffic results on the first and subsequent pages fighting to be seen.
Search engine ranking has a tremendous impact on conversions and sales. If you want to grow your eCommerce business, you need to be seen by customers. Potential customers trust search engines to deliver exactly what they’re looking for, so if you want that to be your eCommerce store, you need to be ranking as high as possible.
10 Search Engine Optimization Tips for eCommerce Stores
These tips will help you optimize your eCommerce store and rocket up the search rankings for your target keywords.
1. Do Keyword Research
When most marketers think about keyword research, they think of content-related keywords meant to answer the questions people are searching for. When doing keyword research for eCommerce, it’s important to remember that people are searching for products and not necessarily answers to their questions.
So what does that mean?
If your store sells clothing and accessories for pets, then you might want to focus on keywords such as “pet blankets,” “blankets for dogs,” and “collars for dogs.” Seeing the sites ranking for these keywords can give you an idea about your competition and the types of keywords you need to include in product titles and descriptions. But don’t just stop at the surface-level keywords as they will have a lot of competition. Get specific and see if there are niches you can target specifically, for example, “blankets for small french bulldogs.”
Check the “people also ask” and the “related searches” sections on Google to get even more ideas that can help you find keywords. Next, go to Amazon and your biggest competitors and perform similar searches to see what people might be looking for in these stores. Also, dig into your own analytics data to see how people are already finding your store.
Now, what about those question-related searches? Well, those keywords can form the foundation of the content marketing strategy that goes along with your products. The combination of content and commerce can help you increase your rankings but targeting multiple related keywords with relevant content.
You can also combine these manual searches with SEO tools like Semrush or Ahrefs to see how many people are searching for a specific keyword and get an idea of how big of an audience you could target.
2. Add Keywords to Headings and URLs
After your initial keyword research is complete, you should ensure that these keywords can be found in the key areas of your eCommerce website. When Google crawls, it looks for keywords in areas such as page headings and URLs. Therefore it’s important to embed these keywords correctly in these areas as well as in your anchor text and, of course, product descriptions.
3. Optimize Images and Alt Text
Search engines use Alt text to crawl the images on your website. Make sure that you include Alt text, which is essentially a caption that describes the images, on all images on your site to provide necessary context. It’s also a good idea to include relevant keywords where possible, as this can improve the accessibility of your site for visitors using screen readers. Accessibility is also an important ranking factor for Google and plays a big part in the overall user experience.
Duplicate content can see your eCommerce store penalized by search engines and plummet in the rankings. One of the most common ways this occurs is by copying product descriptions from a wholesaler or manufacturer. Instead, use the keyword research performed to create a unique description for every product.
Another thing to note with eCommerce stores is that multiple product variations from sizes, colors, and items listed in multiple categories and category pages can lead to duplicate content. By using canonical tags, you can let search engines like Google know to see these variations as related and not copied.
5. Speed Up Your Website
Site speed plays a vital role in the user experience as slow-loading stores often see visitors looking elsewhere. Work to improve the speed of your eCommerce store by ensuring you have the right site architecture, have removed unnecessary apps, mainly if using a Shopify store, and dealt with broken links.
6. Resolve 404 Errors and 301 Redirects
If you change a product URL without updating it, which can happen when you migrate your CMS or update your websites, a 404 error might appear. Rather than have a search engine crawl a page that no longer exists and send a user to an empty page, use a 301 redirect to direct the search engine to the right page.
7. Introduce Schema Markup & Optimize for Snippets
Schema markup is used to create rich snippets that provide the additional details that help your products stand out in search results. Think ratings, videos, prices, and FAQs. Adding these snippets to your products can ensure that they are some of the first seen when a visitor is searching for an answer to their problems.
8. Check for Crawling and Indexing Issues
If your website can’t be properly crawled or indexed by search engines, then you can’t rank. Ensure that your eCommerce website includes Robots.txt files and sitemaps that tell search engines where to go and the content they can find on your store.
9. HTTPS for Security
Security plays a crucial role in the visitor experience. When your eCommerce website uses HTTPS, it lets customers know that your store is safe and protected from common threats. Given the amount of personal and financial data processed on eCommerce stores, making your site secure can also help you beat out competitors that don’t use HTTPS.
10. Use Frontend as a Service
While eCommerce stores are often found via websites, we live in an omnichannel world where consumers can access content in several ways. Social media pages, mobile devices, and numerous other channels will also display your eCommerce content differently.
Many eCommerce merchants might have heard about headless commerce and wanted to use it for their eCommerce store, especially with its benefits for speed and the customer experience. But headless can sometimes be tough to implement. When you use frontend as a service, however, you can more easily adopt a headless approach without making it more challenging for your brand to create the best frontend experience for your visitors. A faster store with a better customer experience means a much-improved search engine ranking.
Optimize Your Frontend Shopping Experience With Instant Commerce
Optimizing your eCommerce store so you can rank higher in the search rankings might seem arduous if you don’t know what you’re doing. However, finding the right keywords, optimizing your images, ensuring you have the proper security protocols, and removing any crawling and indexing issues can go a long way to improving your SEO results.
Ultimately, building your eCommerce store on the right foundation, using headless commerce and frontend as a service can be the biggest difference maker today and in the future. Instant Commerce offers a frontend as a service solution that enables you to quickly build a headless webshop without depending on developers and limiting the non-technical personnel who help make your eCommerce store function.
With Instant Commerce, your eCommerce store can load faster, and you can increase your conversions, and create the shopping experience that excites your customers, no matter the channel.
Getting your SEO right is one way to improve how easy it is to find your eCommerce store. Another is by combining content and commerce. Read about it in: What Is Content Commerce?
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