When starting, most e-commerce websites opt to go for advertising as a way of getting traffic to their shops. Majority of them neglect using SEO as a way of closing sales as they feel it takes time and may not get the profit they want. Proper SEO increases your website presence on search engines, making you rank higher and get more sales.
When buyers want to purchase any product, they search and expect to find the products on the first page. Implementing best SEO practices enables you to compete with the largest e-commerce platforms like Walmart and Amazon. In this guide, I will look at several ways you can use to rank your e-commerce platform higher and get more sales.
What is E-commerce SEO?
E-commerce SEO involves using different SEO techniques like proper keyword research, off-page, on-page practices, backlinks, etc., to increase your website visibility on search results in relation to the products. It ranks your site higher, getting more visitors and converting to more sales.
E-commerce SEO differs from regular blog SEO, where you focus more on web pages and their categories. For e-commerce, you emphasize product titles, descriptions, Meta tags, internal linking, navigation structure, etc.
12 Best E-commerce SEO Practices
E-commerce is not easy at all. It requires a plan, resources, and enough team to achieve results. Here are some of the best SEO practices to increase sales.
1. Don’t run after ranking—attempt for page one
When optimizing your site, ensure your primary target is to rank on the first page. Appearing on the first page exposes your site to many users leading to many visits that result in more sales. Implement all the best SEO practices in a consistent way to get this.
If you keep doing things the same way, ranking on the first page will be hard. A higher ranking gets you more customers.
2. Do proper e-commerce keyword research
A proper keyword strategy determines which page your eCommerce website will rank. Ensure your keywords are relevant to your site niche and popular ones and match the search intent. It helps you show relevant pages to Google.
There are different tools and practices you use to find the right keywords. Some of the common tools include GoogleKeywords Planner, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Majestic, Semrush, and Moz. They reduce the time spent researching by providing more data about a particular keyword.
There are three types of keyword intent according to buyers. Most intents vary according to the terms customers use when looking for a product. The intents are as follows:
- Information intent-When they want to find more information about a specific product or get answers, i.e., how to use a golf club, best golf club tricks, etc.
- Commercial intent- It usually happens when someone wants to buy a particular product, i.e., buy a golf club, golf club prices, or golf club discounts.
- Navigational intent-when looking for information related to the product, i.e., brands, locations, etc.
Get the right keyword intent for your e-commerce, and there are several factors to get the right keyword.
- Look at the Google ads ranking in your e-commerce category and understand the competitiveness and prices of the keywords.
- Analyze the SERP using different methods to find organic and paid rankings.
- Analyze your site’s analytics and get meaningful data, i.e., bounce rates and improve them.
3. Create a blogging section for your e-commerce site
Create a blogging section or page on your website to post product information. When doing keyword research and content outlines, consider publishing them on your blog. Ensure the content in the blogging section is of high quality and well-optimized to enable you to rank higher in the search engines.
Once you provide content that users want. Search engines will trust you and start showing your website to many users in the search results leading to more sales.
4. Optimize your e-commerce blog for SEO, too
Creating content is not enough; you must optimize it for search engines. The common ways for achieving that are as follows:
- Optimize the titles by ensuring they have keywords below 60 characters.
- Write better Meta descriptions to include a summary of the blog posts. It should be creative and have below 160 characters.
- Ensure you only have one Heading 1(H1) across a page.
- Performing internal linking of the blog content.
- Use short paragraphs and sentences when creating blog content.
- Include images in your content and ensure it has a title and alt text.
5. Organize your e-commerce site structure
A good structure helps visitors find products faster and helps search engines understand your site and rank it faster. It also improves crawling and increases conversions compared to those without a better structure.
The easiest way of planning your e-commerce site is as follows:
- Homepage- On your homepage, link it to other pages and categories. You achieve this using the menu, adding offers, top brands and categories, etc.
- URL structures-You should have a better URL structure, for example, www.domain.com/category/categoryname for categories and www.domain.com/category/categoryname/subcategoryname for sub-categories.
- Category, subcategories, and tags structure- The number of categories should not be more than 10, subcategories should be between 5 and 10, and ensure you do not repeat the names. Ensure all of them are well-optimized for SEO. If you have more products under one category, implement pagination.
Example of a good navigation structure
- Internal linking. It involves linking one part of the website to another page. It makes finding products and relevant pages easier, improving site ranking.
- Removal of broken links. It occurs when the page or product does not exist anymore, resulting in some errors like 404. Fix this by performing a 301 redirect. Having broken links increases bounce rates which have issues with ranking.
6. Link to product and category pages in your blog posts
After creating content, ensure you do internal linking with other pages, i.e., product pages. It alerts search engines that your content has topical authority speeding crawling and indexing processes. After indexing, your website will rank for the blog and shop content.
Making many customers discover you on the search leads to more sales. A blog post must have a minimum of five links to other pages.
7. Stick to three levels of navigation
Having a good navigation structure on your site improves the loading speed, faster crawling and indexing, and leads to more conversions and clicks. When creating a navigation bar, using three hierarchy levels is good, as shown in the picture below.
After the homepage, you have the categories, then the subcategories, and lastly, the product pages. The navigation menu depends on the number of products on your site and keyword strategy.
Image source: kissmetrics
8. Ensure your URLs are friendly
Ensure your URLs are simple and readable. It helps in making them more accessible and meaningful. You can follow several useful practices when creating URLs for your e-commerce sites. They include:
- When separating words in a URL, avoid using underscores(_) instead of hyphens(-).
- Avoid using lengthy URLs, i.e., website.com/myblogisbaoutonlinewriting, but instead, use website.com/onlinewriting.
- Avoid using special characters in your URLs i.e. @,! %, #, e.t.c.
- Avoid using stopwords, i.e., “and,” “of,” “the,” and “a.”
9. Including keywords in your URLs
Include keywords in your URLS to enable the search engines to scan them and rank you higher on search, i.e., if the keyword is a golf ball, the URL will be website.com/golfball. After doing proper keyword research, including them in your URLS should be one of your options.
If the main keyword is men’s socks, the URL will be domain.com/mens-socks.
10. Earn backlinks through authoritative content
Backlinks are one of the biggest ranking factors by Google. Backlinks are links from a website to another website page. If they are of high quality, Google treats your site as authoritative and trustworthy, ranking it high in the search results.
You only get quality backlinks by creating high-quality content. There are other ways companies can use to get quality backlinks, i.e., guest posting, link roundups, testimonials, and reviews. They have a significant impact on engagement, which increases site sales.
Image source: Backlinko
11. Ensure your site uses HTTPS
According to Google, there are several changes in ranking factors, and they keep rolling out different algorithms to ascertain this. They announced that having a secure SSL installed on your website could increase your chance of ranking higher. It went ahead, and even browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla warned visitors that the website they were about to visit was dangerous if it lacked HTTPS encryption.
Since e-commerce sites collect sensitive customer data, i.e., credit cards, full names, and addresses, HTTPS encrypts the data protecting it from hackers who may have malicious intentions. However, a business can go for multi-domain or wildcard SSL to secure e-commerce sites and customers’ information. A low-cost or cheap wildcard SSL or multi-domain SSL can secure subdomains and other domains. It totally depends upon the website’s requirement when you choose SSL type.
Image of Google Chrome warning when you visit a site without HTTPS
12. Make your site faster than fast
Making your site faster is one of the best ways of increasing user experience. A fast website will make many customers flock to your site and purchase more. Once search engines notice your site has a good user experience, it improves your ranking leading to more traffic to your e-commerce site.
If you notice your site is slow, there are tools you can use to check the speed, i.e., Google PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, and Pingdom. They will provide actionable insights on what to do and fix the speed issue.
Many brands rely on other marketing methods to increase sales leaving out SEO. SEO is a long game and can take time before you see results, but don’t let that discourage you. Implement most of the practices discussed above, and you will see an increase in sales after some time. All you need is a strategy and start working on it. It’s the easiest way to beat competitors and big brands and claim their spot.