Rankings and conversion rate matter more to an eCommerce store due to the nature of the business. An eCommerce store thrives online, therefore it needs all the attention it can get from people on the internet.
The store only exists on the web, so just like any other website, you have to optimize the store for the search engines. This will ensure that the search engines regard you highly and send some targeted visitors towards your site. Conversion is all you should think about as a business.
eCommerce SEO: Rankings matter
These days, you need to be on page 1 of search results at the very least, and ideally result #1 if you want users to notice your website. A research study by Optify was shared by Search Engine Watch and found:
- It’s critical for websites to appear on Page 1 of Google, especially in one of the top three organic positions, as these spots receive 58.4 percent of all clicks from users
- Websites ranked number one received an average click-through rate (CTR) of 36.4 percent; number two had a CTR of 12.5 percent; number three had a CTR of 9.5 percent.
- Being number one in Google, according to Optify, is the equivalent of all the traffic going to the sites appearing in the second through fifth positions.
In other words, your store is going to lose out on major sales and clicks opportunities if you don’t optimize the web store for search engines. Another study by Gabe Donnini showed that the first 10 search results on Google’s pages fare way better than those on the second page.
Although the first result still outperforms the others in terms of click-through-rate, it is not entirely fruitless to rank lower on page 1. This is where the audience analyzes the best search results and clicks them to find answers to their queries.
As an eCommerce store, you should target the number 1 spot, but even if it ranges between number 2 to 10, you are in the safe zone.
Now that you know the importance of first page rankings, here are some things you can do to make sure your eCommerce website ranks on the first page in the SERPs.
8+ Ways to Improve your eCommerce SEO
1. eCommerce Keyword Optimization
The first thing you should do is optimize your website pages using highly targeted keywords. They should be relevant to your business niche and bring in organic traffic from the SERPs. Google’s Adwords tool or Moz’s keyword tool can suggest some good keywords for you.
You can use them, but avoid keywords that are highly-competitive or are too broad. You have to be very specific. Moz suggests:
“The remaining 70% lie in what’s called the ‘long tail’ of search. The long tail contains hundreds of millions of unique searches that might be conducted a few times in any given day, but, when taken together, they comprise the majority of the world’s demand for information through search engines.”
With this piece of information in mind, go for long-tail keywords. After you have used and exhausted this list of long-tail keywords, you can go on and use low-volume keywords on other pages or blogposts.
2. Research Competitors
Believe it or not, keyword research does half the job for you. Now you have to wear your investigator hat and analyze the strategies your competitors are using.
When thinking about competitors, think about all possible businesses (websites) that may be talking about your products or services. This could include industry blogs and other websites that may not even sell the product. These websites can be competition OR sometimes they can be an opportunity for you to contribute content to in exchange for a product shout out.
3. Main Keywords
What keywords are your competitors focusing on and ranking for? Look at their domain authority as well. Check if their pages have higher domain authority than yours. If you have no idea how to perform these searches, go to Moz and install this toolbar that will do the job for you.
When looking at the keyword gaps between your website and theirs, consider keywords with high search volume and lower competition. These will be much easier to obtain than keywords with higher difficulty.
Also consider secondary keywords, or a handful of keywords that relate to one of your focus keywords that can help support the content breadth as well as depth.
4. Important Links
Make a list of places your competitors get their inbound links from. Linking is very important, but it is necessary to link to and get linked from credible websites. Once you have that list, you can also attempt to get linked to these websites.
Check out the Spam score of these sites and see if a website has high spam score. Delete those sites from your list, because they will not make your eCommerce store look good in front of the SERPs. Google can suspect that a bad site is linking to you, so be aware and choose wisely.
5. Site Navigation
Study the navigation of these competing sites closely. What elements define their site architecture? Look at how they have placed product pages, categories and descriptions. These important elements will help you sort out the flaws on your store.
Navigation should be very vertical and smooth. Is your checkout smooth? Are your products aligned and in order? Learn by studying your competitors closely. Start from the biggest businesses in your industry and see how they organize their websites.
Once you have that idea, organize your website to make it look different. Avoid the deep-rooted site architecture, because nobody will have enough time to trace and visit those pages. Keep everything out in the open and easily accessible.
How Can You Stand Out?
Look at your competitors’ strategies and it will give you a pretty good idea about the points you are missing out on, or the points you can adopt to stand out of the crowd. What can you do to make your website experience different from that of your competitors?
Make a list of actions you can take to be different and then adopt these actions. Users are very smart today, if they see a store providing something unique, there’s a huge chance that they will choose that option.
6. Checking Site Errors
After gathering a list of keywords and performing thorough research, it is time for you to audit your site and find any flaws which are making the site lag behind. This can include any site errors and any other elements that are causing problems for your site. You can use this awesome tool called Screaming Frog to survey your site and check links, images, CSS and apps from the SEO perspective.
You should check 404 redirect pages, changing 302 redirect pages and remove any duplicate content from pages. The screaming frog tool will help you identify these and many other site errors.
Once you have looked at all the big errors, it is time to pay some attention to website speeds. Your customers are not going to like it if the site loads slow or loads with some elements missing. Research also suggests that people will abandon the site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load!
This is why you need to have a faster site, because you can’t afford to lose any customers. Check if your site is loading in over 3 seconds. You can lower the site load times by checking the following:
- Buy more space on your hosting server
- Use a different platform
- Use a content delivery network
- Reduce image and media sizes
7. Usability & Mobile Optimization
Usability is something which can make or break your e-commerce business. If your site visitors are happy, you will get a boost in SEO. Great usability means repeated visitors, which equals a credible position from Google rankings. If you have confusion about the usability of your site, you can run usability tests to determine if the site elements are working smoothly.
Another big factor which directly improves usability is mobile optimization. Your website should be optimized for mobile because it is unavoidable now. Mobile shopping is the new hot trend and you have to provide this ease to your potential customers.
These stats will convince you:
- 31% of mobile Internet users “mostly” go online using their phones (Pew, 2012)
- 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site (IAB)
- Small screens and difficult checkouts are the biggest reasons behind cart abandonment in e-commerce. However, with phablets and other large-screen gadgets, it is expected that mobile optimization will have a key role in the advancement of e-commerce businesses.
When you find out the keywords related to your business, there might be some that will get lost due to the more important keywords. While it is good to optimize your pages with one keyword, a blog can host keywords which can’t make it to the main site.
With blog posts and other blog content, you can optimize your blog pages for other keywords per post. A blog is a casual part of business, but isn’t entirely out of touch from the main site. eCommerce websites can use their blogs to explain their business strategy, share stories and create how-to articles to help users. You can either do it yourself or hire a professional writer who has a lot of experience at blog writing and understands how to use SEO keywords in articles.
Integrate your blog link with your website so that it is visible to the audience on your main website and the two sites complement each other. Another great option is an e-book. It can be either written from scratch or be a compilation of effective posts you have posted over time. Avoid keyword stuffing in these posts, since they invite a penalty from Google.
Additional eCommerce SEO Tips
- Write unique product descriptions and try to use this space to add a strong keyword.
- Pay special importance to product photos and videos, since they leave a lasting impression on people’s minds.
- Title tags, reviews and product categories are excellent places to put keywords in.
Want to improve your site’s rankings? Our experts will help get you to the top! As a full service digital marketing agency, we will create and/or optimize your eCommerce site to help you increase your online revenue and capture your target market’s attention. Contact Thrive Internet Marketing today for your free consultation!