E-Commerce SEO Guide: How to Drive Traffic to Your Store

This blog comprehensively guides you through eCommerce SEO and how to implement it on your site to achieve targeted traffic. So whether you are:

  • An individual with an eCommerce startup idea,
  • Small business owners looking forward to increasing online sales, or
  • Any individual trying to understand the ROI of SEO in eCommerce business,

You are in the right place, for this blog can be helpful in meeting your need.

So, why does SEO matters in eCommerce businesses?

SEO has the highest ROI for any marketing campaign; we all know that by far, but despite this fact zero consideration is given to search engines while building an online store. Utilizing social media and paid ads is fine but it is high time you jump into the SEO movement. Why?

Let’s consider the stats for that matter –

  • nChannel claims, 44% of users go to Google search for an online product.
  • SEMrush claims, 37.5% of eCommerce site traffic comes from search engines.
  • Business Insider says 23.6% of eCommerce orders are linked to organic traffic.

There you have it, your store’s position in the search engines matter. And if you do some more research on popular eCommerce sites and analyze their increase in organic traffic, you’ll be even more convinced. They truly own their SEO strategies and yes, SEO matters.

Now let’s just hop in…

The best eCommerce SEO strategy must include the following –

1. Keyword Research
(To identify what customers are looking for)

Keyword research is the first step to any SEO campaign. It is essential, cannot be skipped, and doing it wrong means not reaching enough people. Below level online visibility means below level conversion rate. Neither of these is healthy for your business’ growth.

Keyword research not just involves finding keyword difficulty (KD) and search volume, but also understanding user intent. In the eCommerce store, people search for products, and there are three ways of finding the ideal product-focused keyword:

  • Amazon Suggest
  • Google Suggest
  • Keyword Research tools

(Keyword research in eCommerce is very different from general sites. Most sites involve in informative keyword whereas eCommerce is product specific)

Let begin with our eCommerce giant –

Amazon Suggest: Amazon being the biggest eCommerce site and also your competitor is a keyword goldmine and ultimate place to understand buyer intent. How do you do it? Let me show.

For instance, imagine yourself to be a seller of Refrigerator and its accessories. The first step is you head to amazon and type your product keyword, say refrigerator.

Amazon search_JK

Amazon prefers targeted keywords or long-tail keywords as they are less competitive, convert better than head terms. Now you know what visitors are looking for. So, if you have refrigerator locks to sell, ‘refrigerator locks for children’ is the ideal keyword, long and less competitive.

Similarly, Google Suggest does the same with its auto-complete feature and shows relevant queries –

Google Suggest_JK
Google search_JK

And the keyword tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Ubersuggest.

When the list of keywords appears in the tool, consider these two – Search Volume and Keyword Difficulty (KD).

Also, with these tools you can keep an eye on your competitors and the keywords they are ranking.

Piece of advice: Keywords with low KD and high search volumes are easier to rank for, like these long-tail keywords and the one below –

keyword search_JK
Keyword search_2_JK

And this head term is high in difficulty and not easy to rank –

Keyword search_3

2. Site architecture

Once the keyword phase is complete, the next step is to organize the store to make it navigable. And there are three rules to keep in mind –

  • Simple and scalable structure.
  • Every possible product page is three (or four) clicks away.
  • Relevant page URLs, directories, and subdirectories based on keywords.

Super good keywords with a complicated site structure is a backlash to your SEO efforts.

How does a bad architecture look like?

This…

bad site architecture_JK

Imagine being the customer and try and reach the product X. It would take about seven clicks for the product. This is an example of poor site navigation and hurts the search ranks.

The homepage of your site is the most authoritative page. And when a visitor clicks through categories, some authority is passed to the next page. (Previously, this was called PageRank). This passage is a great way of getting backlinks to your product pages.

But with a deeply complicated site architecture like the one above, the authority dilutes by the time visitors reach the product page.

Here’s a flowchart of an ideal eCommerce site structure to get the most authority to your best product pages.

good site architecture_JK

(Piece of advice: If your site’s structure is messed, instead of moving around pages, better hire an SEO freelancer in India)

3. On-Page SEO
(Optimization of content)

On-page eCommerce SEO is optimizing the content strategically with relevant keywords.

  • The category pages,
  • The product pages, and
  • The blog content.

This step is vital as it helps achieve better ranking in the SERPs. So, here are the on-page factors you might want to pay attention to:

  1. The URL – keep it short and keyword-focused (the ideal length being 50 characters). Do the same for each category and subcategory URLs.
  • The Title Tag – You need to incorporate the target keywords in the Title as well, but let’s not stop there. Add Modifiers to the title to rank for long-tail keywords.
    (Words added to the base keyword for more relevant search results are modifiers)

Some common modifiers buyers look for are –

  • Best
  • Top
  • Cheap
  • Online
  • Buy
  • Reviews
  • On sale

You can also make use of click-magnet words like ‘free shipping’ or ‘x% off’ to boost CTR.

  • Description Tag – the aforesaid modifiers can be implemented in Meta descriptions as well for the same purpose.
  • Product and Category page content – Longer content is Google’s favorite because it’s easier to understand what the page is about. Target for 1000+ words as this makes indexing easier.
    Writing a super lengthy description for every product can be difficult, so focus on your most important items. So in-depth, lengthy, and UNIQUE product descriptions for your top pages are the ultimate goal.
     
    Spreading the keywords about 3-5 times is another SEO strategy.
    Try placing one keyword in the first 100 words of the description.

    Heard of Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords? These are words or phrases related to your target keyword. Sprinkling these words a little everywhere is great for SEO. Use Google Keyword Planner or LSIgraph to look for suitable LSI keywords.
  • Schema Markup – How about your product appears on the search results like this…
     
schema markup_JK

Those ratings and reviews look good right? Yes, to buyers as well. This provides an extra bit of information and increases the CTR rate. Even, Google’s Webmaster Guidelines recommend adding markup to product pages.

(You could use schema.org to complete this step.)

4. Technical SEO
(To ensure the site’s crawlable)

Technical SEO is important for all websites for providing the best possible user experience. The vitality only doubles up for eCommerce because of the vast number of pages. SEO is not all about keywords but also active links, site speed, and more.    
So, however effective your off-page SEO is, technical SEO is icing on the cake that can pull it to Google’s top rank. For that matter, technical SEO audits are crucial.

Here are some SEO tools you can use for eCommerce site audit:

  • SEMrush
  • Ahrefs
  • ScreamingFrog  (paid) or BeamUsUp (free)
  • Copyscape
  • Google Search Console

What to focus on while auditing?

  1. Crawling the site to find out broken links, missing metadata, and duplicate content. Such instances are bad for SEO. This can be done by tools like BeamUsUp or Screaming Frog.
  2. Make use of Copyscape to ensure all your content is unique and nowhere near duplicate. Google doesn’t like it and might penalize you.
  3. Another Technical SEO ordeal is way too many pages which result in duplicate URLs and content. Look for pages you can delete or noindex – a request to skip indexing a web page by internet bots.  

<meta name = “robots” content = ‘noindex”>

However, sometimes two similar pages exist for a reason. Maybe they are the same product with slight variation. For such matters, implementing the canonical tag is helpful. A canonical tag (or rel canonical) helps search engines understand which URL is the master copy and needs to be indexed.
(Piece of advice: Implementing canonical tags can be tricky; you can hire an expert SEO freelancer in India.)

  • Another issue for losing organic traffic is thin content. As already mentioned earlier, lengthy content is Google’s favorite. Make use of an SEO tool to filter out thin content pages and make sure the word counts are no less than 500. Unique content helps your site stand out among buyers and search engines.
  • Did you know? 29.8% of buyers abandon their shopping carts due to questionable site speed. This is Radware’s research and the speed factor also affects your business’ net income.

Here are three things SEO experts recommend coping up with the site speed issue.

  • Upgraded Hosting – the quality of hosting depends on how much you’re spending. More smartly you spend, less is your site’s speed sabotaged.
  • Optimize images – high-resolution images are great but damn what they do to page loading. So, optimize images for the web with compression.
  • Utilize the benefit of CDN – it is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to kick-start the site’s loading speed. Also, it provides extra protection from attacks and hacks.
  • I talked about security, so I don’t want to miss this point. Make sure your site’s browsable version is HTTPS. It’s secure, encrypted, and important for user experience and Google’s ranking algorithm.

Did you know? – A SEMrush study claims, 60-65% of websites with HTTPS appear on Google’s page one.

5. Link Building
(To make your site authoritative)

Link building, for eCommerce site, is rewarding. Getting backlinks from websites with high domain authority is a major ranking factor. But this isn’t something you can do in a day; it’s time-consuming and needs effort.

Here I am sharing a ‘few’ tactics you can implement –

  • Start with easily sourced links like requesting backlinks from people you do business with. Like suppliers, dealers, vendors. Also from personal acquaintances like friends, relatives, and colleagues.
  • Make use of Ahrefs again and have a look at linking partners of your competitors. Following their footsteps, for a while, doesn’t hurt you know.
  • Concentrate on and develop domain authority through guest blogging and directory submission. (Avoid free for all directories)
  • Video marketing. Create video content promoting your products for your target audience. Utilize Youtube and check on who subscribes your content. However, you should post the videos, podcasts on your website too
  • Influencer marketing. Millennials are not a big fan of sponsored brands, but they are attracted to influencers. Give out free products to influencers and potential bloggers to review.
  • Forum posting. Participate in forums relevant to your industry and share your knowledge, solve queries, and build your brand.
  • Digital marketing. Develop a strategy for social selling and remember to direct all links to your sites and not to third party sites.
  • Have a blog of your own. This lies at the top of the link building strategy. High quality and unique content never fail in delivering authoritative links. This engages a mass of visitors, improves the backlinks to product pages.

Have a look at this eCommerce website…

ecommerce_site_JK

Hire an SEO freelancer in India to do these jobs for you while you concentrate on the business.

This takes us to the next and last step.

6. Content Marketing
(For additional organic traffic)

eCommerce or not, content is the king of SEO, and you cannot deny it. 7 out of 10 people likely came across your online store through an article and not a paid ad.
Content is like fillers for the gaps, it gives you the scope to play with relevant keywords more, get a higher rank, and more backlinks.  

Content marketing is a huge entity in itself. It requires research and building up the strategy; mostly for the audience and less for your business. Discussing this would require another 1000+ words of reading, so here is a link to the post on content marketing instead: A Step by Step Guide to Content Marketing Strategy.

An effective content marketing is responsible for building a strong brand image and driving in more traffic.

Finally, it’s time for me to hear from you. Was this blog helpful? Did I miss anything?

If you have further queries, I am an experienced SEO freelancer in India. Feel free to get in touch.

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