If you own an e-commerce store and not investing in SEO, You’re leaving money on the table. Lots of money.
Why is SEO important for e-commerce?
Before we dive into our post, let’s have a look at some statistics and facts about e-commerce:
- Organic traffic is still one of the largest channels in terms of driving traffic to e-commerce stores, with at least %30 to %50 of all traffic, depending on the niche.
- Around 48% of internet users would start their shopping journeys on a search engine to research a certain product before they buy it or even look for a new product they didn’t know existed.
- 70%-80% of users ignore ads on Google which means that even if you bid on all the keywords that matter to you, you’ll potentially get only 20%-30% of the search volume of these keywords as traffic (assuming that everyone who sees your ad will click through)
- About 23.6% of sales generated come from organic traffic which makes it the largest channel driving sales.
Now that we have discussed how important doing SEO is for e-commerce let’s dive into our post.
1- Optimize your category pages
This is one of the easiest quick wins any e-commerce store could do. Your category pages should contain a few paragraphs that talk about your store and the products that you sell in that category and maybe include frequently asked questions.
Optimizing your category pages will help them rank better in search engines and potentially get more traffic as most people search for “categories” of products instead of searching for a specific product.
For example, the keyword “men’s jackets” has a search volume of 7,200 while the keyword “red leather jacket for men” has a search volume of 150.
Here’s an example of a well-optimized category page by H&M:
it has a brief description of what they sell on that page as well as internal links to other category pages with good anchor texts.
This page gets at least 580+ organic traffic per month and ranks on the first page for more than 100 keywords such as “long sleeve t shirts” and “mens long sleeve t shirts” in the UK
2- Start a blog
Starting a blog around your e-commerce store is more like unlocking the path to going after hundreds if not thousands of keywords in your niche.
For example, if you sell basketball clothes, your customers might be basketball fans or practice basketball as a hobby so it would make sense if you blog about things like “how to play basketball” or “basketball for beginners“. These keywords might be less competitive than “basketball t-shirts” and might also have higher search volume.
A great example of this is a store called “Laces Out” they sell shoelaces and knew that their customers are people that buy sneakers or sports shoes in general. They decided to start a blog and wrote guides on things their audience is into such as “How to spot fake Air Jordans“, “How to clean your running shoes” or even “How to lace Air Jordans“…etc. That did not only help them get more traffic and brand awareness but also more sales.
All you need to do to start a blog for your e-commerce store is to do keyword research to figure what your customers are searching for and then start creating content around it.
3. Improve site speed
In my opinion, having a slow website is probably the biggest issue you can have with a website, When it comes to an e-commerce store, this issue is actually quite common as almost any e-commerce store will typically have lots of products images if not videos. All of this will cause your website to slow down and provide a bad user experience, Also, search engine crawlers might have a hard time crawling your website which will directly affect your organic traffic.
Here are a few things you could do to improve your website’s performance:
1. Compress your images and videos
2. Use lazy load
4. Use a CDN
5. Use browser caching
4. Clean URLs
By clean URLs, I mean using URLs that are easy to read by both a user and a bot.
For example, the URL www.domain.com/product=321536/ or www.domain.com/running_shoes/nike_air_jordan aren’t the best things to use when it comes to SEO as bots won’t understand them or know what they’re about without looking at the actual pages themselves.
The first link is bad as both a user and a bot wouldn’t know what this page is about without actually seeing its content. A better alternative would have been www.domain.com/red-running-shoes/ as it contains keywords.
And the second link is bad because bots don’t understand underscores therefore they can’t tell what this page is about. It could have been www.domain.com/nike-air-jordan/ as it contains hyphens so bots would know that this page is about “Nike Air Jordan”
Your URLs should be as short as possible, contain your target keyword and hyphens.
5- Canonical URLs
This is probably the most important thing in e-commerce stores when it comes to SEO. Canonical URLs help tell search engines which variant of a page to index and which to ignore.
For example, the page www.domain.com/shoes-red/ and www.domain.com/shoes-yellow/ are just two different variants of the page www.domain.com/shoes/
These first 2 links are the colors variations of the shoes.
Ideally, you want the shoes’ page only indexed. To do so you’ll have to use canonical URLs on the colors’ pages to tell search engines that these pages are just duplicates or variants of the shoes’ product page.
This could be an issue with SEO as the more filters and variations (such as sizes and colors) of products you have the more links you’ll have for each product which will confuse search engines as they won’t be able to determine which page to index.
6. Product Schema
Using product schema is probably one of the most underutilized things in SEO for e-commerce stores as it’s a bit difficult to implement as it might need some coding skills.
Using product schema allows Google and other search engines to display your website in rich snippets in the results.
The image below is an example of how a page with product schema may look in the search results.
It contains rating based on the reviews of the product, the price of the product and its availability. This can boost your CTR, especially, if you’re the only one using it on the results page as it will help you stand out.
7. Build Links
Backlinks are still the biggest ranking factor and that’s something you can’t ignore if you’re serious about getting organic traffic.
According to research done by Backlinko, There’s a direct correlation between the number of referring domains and position on the results page. The higher the amount of referring domains you have the higher the position.
As an e-commerce store, there are lots of link building strategies that you can utilize such as:
-Starting an affiliate program
-Reaching out to influencers in your niche and asking them to review your product in return for a free product
-Broken link building
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