Ecommerce SEO: Our Guide to Ranking Online Stores

In SEO by Kaomi Team

Ecommerce (also known as electronic or internet commerce) is a growing platform for buying and selling, particularly in the current ‘low-touch economy’. There are many ways to improve the rankings of online stores and increase traffic flow through search engine optimization (SEO). To assist you, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide to ecommerce SEO.

Ecommerce SEO Explained

What is SEO?

Most people have a vague understanding of what SEO means, but for those who don’t, it’s basically a valuable tool for enhancing your website’s rankings on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. 

What is Ecommerce SEO? 

For business owners selling products online, ecommerce SEO is a way to incorporate best practices so as to stay ahead of the competition. Content design, innovative digital production and valuable ecommerce features can be used to propel your site to the top. 

Ecommerce SEO Best Practices

There are many ways online strategists are able to increase traffic to your site – here are some of the best techniques being used. 

Link-Building for Ecommerce SEO

Link building is a digital strategy whereby you build quality links within your site as a way to boost the visibility of your landing pages and items for sale. Some leading link-building tactics include:

1. Video Marketing 

Bring your content closer to the audience through on-site videos. These could be anything from instructional videos to more humorous gag clips that express the brand’s narrative. By hosting the video on YouTube – and sharing on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – you expand the video’s reach. 

2. Market Unique Products

Through limited-offer promotions with more mass appeal, you can create a unique user experience and build links. 

3. Bring in Influencers

A popular technique in ecommerce SEO is to get established influencers on board to build your brand. Free product samples for targeted bloggers to review, or even paid-for content (which will be promoted as such) can secure you inbound links. 

Design Your Website for Your Shoppers

Starting with your homepage, the website should entice shoppers, not only with quality products, but with an easy-to-navigate design. This will work to retain visitors which gives you a lower ‘bounce rate’ (percentage of people that leave the site after viewing one page). When search engines detect a higher bounce rate, your website ranking decreases. Some of the design techniques to consider include: 

Sensible Menus 

You need to really consider what categories your customers will be searching for when they visit your website. If it’s clothing products, the obvious clothing types should be easily found, but make sure men’s, women’s and children’s are discernible.  

Sparing Use of Imagery 

While images are obviously necessary to give a clear indication of the product, you must also consider the load time as this will impact SEO.

Simplicity in Design 

A crowded website will chase away customers before they’ve even begun. Make sure your ecommerce site is not too convoluted – simplicity is key. 

Use Alt Text in Images

Alternative (alt) text can be displayed when an image is broken or if a cursor hovers over an image. In terms of ecommerce SEO, alt text is a great way to bring keywords into your website. Search engines are then able to identify these keywords for improved rankings, and they will also come up in image searches. 

Use Schema Mark-Up

Schema markup is a code that creates a rich snippet (enhanced description) which you include within your website. The schema markup will allow a search engine to understand your product information, displaying this in the SERPs (Search Engine Results’ Page), driving customers to your site. These rich snippets can consist of:

  • Events
  • Software
  • Products
  • Pricing

Customer Reviews

Although businesses might prefer no reviews on the page for fear of negative comments, allowing this rich snippet on your ecommerce website will improve SEO. The organic use of keywords, as well as long-tail keywords, can help with rankings. Just ensure a content manager is checking what is uploaded, or monitors reviews before they’re permitted on the site. Studies also show that customers are more likely to buy products with positive reviews. 

Ecommerce SEO Tips on What Not to Do

We’ve outlined some ecommerce SEO best practices, so here are a few pro tips on what to avoid. 

Avoid Complicated URLs

The website address for your ecommerce page is a URL (uniform resource locator), which contains a significant amount of information. Despite this, your URL must be as clear as possible for SEO. 

Avoid Repetition

For product descriptions across a few different pages, you might find some sight overlap, but try to minimise content duplication, particularly on the homepage. Incorporate the product keywords in a few sentences, so that the consumer has everything they need to make the purchase. 

Don’t Write for SEO

It might seem counterproductive, but while you’re looking to optimise eCommerce SEO, you must remember you’re writing for humans. It’s a fine line to navigate but is certainly worth getting it right. 

Ecommerce SEO Keywords

The incorporation of useful keywords on your website will benefit both the consumer and the SEO. If you’re selling products, then valuable keywords include:

  • Sizes and measurements
  • Pricing
  • Colour options
  • Up-to-date product information

Further to this, optimising your SEO will mean strategic keyword placement. This means that you’ll need to look at keyword incorporation within:

  • Page titles
  • Headers
  • Sub-headers
  • Product descriptions
  • Image file names
  • Image alt tags
  • Meta title and descriptions
  • URLs

There are several digital marketing software options – such as SEMrush – that can give you a better idea of what keywords people are already searching for. 

Ecommerce SEO Usability 

As mentioned, your website must be user-friendly in order to achieve higher search engine rankings. This will see consumers return to your site, as well as checking multiple pages. Usability testing will assess various aspects of the website to identify what works and what doesn’t. One of the key areas in ecommerce usability is the checkout. If there are too many steps involved, visitors will quickly lose interest and log out long before they checkout. 

Ecommerce SEO Site Structure

Regardless of whether you’re developing a website from scratch, or re-designing an existing one, the information architecture is important. The better the architecture, the better your website’s usability and SEO. Ideally, for ecommerce, you want flat architecture to facilitate effective crawling and whereby consumers get to the product pages with as few links as possible. 

Ecommerce SEO Trends 

To really set your site apart, here’s a brief look at what’s trending in in the world of ecommerce SEO:

  • Environmental ethics: Consumers are much more conscious about a company’s carbon footprint and commitment to the earth. This makes sustainability and associate keywords high-priority for ecommerce SEO.
  • Omnichannel experiences: This strategy allows customers to pick up where they left off, creating an enhanced customer experience. 
  • Voice recognition technology: Customers are increasingly choosing voice for inputting searches, and this is entering the ecommerce realm. 
  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs): This web application will advance mobile ecommerce as customers can interact with brands in a way they prefer. 
  • Headless ecommerce: This is a separation of the front-end and back-end of an ecommerce application. Using this architecture, the brand has the freedom to build in a way that suits them.  

Ecommerce SEO Benefits 

If we haven’t convinced you that ecommerce SEO is a vital business tool, then here’s an overview of the benefits you can enjoy:

  • Increased brand awareness: Basically, what you want when developing an ecommerce site, SEO will elevate your brand to the top of the page. 
  • Maximum traffic, minimal cost: Through relevant content such as blog posts and guides, your SEO increases, bringing in more page views without you having to pay premium rates. 
  • Captures long-tail searches: Customers might not use all the obvious keywords in a search. A well-structured ecommerce site will navigate these longtail searches to you. 
  • Better user experience: By getting the SEO right, you are optimising your site’s usability. It’s a win-win – customers enjoy the buying process, and you’re getting more customers through improved SEO. 
  • Added value: Unlike once-off advertising campaigns, SEO creates long-lasting value that continues to produce results. You will need to continue optimising over time to maintain performance, but getting it right initially will set you on the right track. 

Ecommerce SEO Services

To really get the maximum benefit, it’s best to enlist the assistance of local SEO analysts with experience in the field. They are able to provide a complete site audit to evaluate the SEO performance, and work with you to develop a comprehensive ecommerce site that ticks all the right boxes. A specialised SEO marketing team will offer a range of services that provide tangible results. Some services offered include: 

  • Lead generation: By leveraging leading SEO strategy, specialists can actively engage new audiences, thereby attracting leads. 
  • SEO platforms: SEO experts will harness top-end SEO platforms, such as Shopify, to drive rankings.  
  • SEO consulting and strategy: Through a site audit or complete site development, these specialists can identify what will work and what doesn’t, ensuring organic keywords are converting into actual sales. 

Don’t underestimate the value of ecommerce SEO in business success, consult with industry specialists to ensure you’re maximising your website value and attracting the right attention.