SEO for E-commerce – First Steps
If you are an online store owner, you have to be aware that satisfactory website traffic is vital to success. Although you may hope that a wide product range and appealing prices will attract thousands of customers, the reality may not be so promising. Let’s talk about e-commerce SEO basics.
SEO for e-commerce doesn’t differ from SEO for other types of websites, however, it’s beneficial to know what to pay particular attention to in order to make sure that performed activities are efficient and effective. Today we’ll focus on SEO for e-commerce.
Ready? Let’s get it started!
SEO for online stores – what to keep in mind?
In the beginning, was the word
An entrepreneur wondering what actually SEO for e-commerce is all about has to face a serious challenge already at the very beginning of the business activity. The challenge is the name of the store. Although smart and intriguing names can appeal to users, they certainly won’t attract search engine robots. Of course, it’s not about naming your shoe store “Sports shoe store Boston”, however, from the perspective of the search engine, such a name would be really appropriate. Therefore, it’s crucial to choose a name that is semantically related to the products you offer and at the same time is to your liking.
Appropriate selection of keywords is another issue you should take into account – in case of e-commerce, there should be loads of long-tail key phrases. As an example, when talking about an electronics store, apply phrases like “Sony PS4 Chassis C 1TB shop” that will complement keywords related to “electronics store Boston”. Thanks to it, you’ll reach customers who have already decided to make a purchase, therefore, your conversion rate will also improve. On the other hand, the number of phrases should be significant so that you can tailor most of them to specific product subpages, which guarantees that the SERPs will correspond to particular keywords.
SEO for a large number of detailed and precisely specified phrases is called long-tail SEO. To learn more about it, go to our blog entry: Long-tail SEO – what is it and how does it work?
Remember that research of keywords suitable for your website should start with a thorough analysis of page content. It’s advisable to focus on your company’s core products or services and values. Pay attention to keywords that clearly define your business and inform users about your business activity and elements they may find on your website.
Google Keyword Planner, Senuto and Google Trends may come in handy in the process of selecting keywords. Want to find out more? Check our blog post: Keywords – 10 useful tools supporting keyword research.
Owners of local businesses should consider local SEO and keywords, especially if they want to attract traditional customers, not only online users. Let’s imagine that you’re a shoemaker with a company in a small city. People needing such a specialist in this city will easily find you if they enter the city name and the word “shoemaker” into the search engine. This way, your services are more accessible for potential customers who probably live in your town and want to take advantage of a specific service you offer. They’ll find you provided you’re visible online. And local SEO will help you with that.
Name things explicitly
Another thing you should take care of is making sure that product and category names are understandable for customers and search engine robots. This means that product categories should be like “1337-shoes-nike”, not “1337-products-default”. In a more down-to-earth example, the category should be called “sports shoes” rather than simply “sports” – after all, it’s the phrase “sports shoes” that you’re interested in, because the adjective “sports” itself doesn’t bring you (or robots) any value.
The same applies to product names which should be in line with their true, full names. First and foremost, a name should define a type of a given product and include additional features determining pieces of information such as a model, color or brand.
The more detailed the name, the greater the chances that products will be accessed by users who know precisely what they’re looking for. This, in turn, increases the probability that they’ll make a purchase in your store. However, it’s crucial to keep an optimal length of the name, it shouldn’t be too long.
Now that we have mentioned the product name, it’s time to say a few words about other destinations visited by users interested in your product range. Obviously, we’re talking about product specifications. If you want to delve into this subject, we’ve prepared a special entry that will tell you how to create attractive product specifications. However, today we’re going to briefly discuss what should be included in such a specification.
Without further ado, a product specification should contain elements such as:
- product name (which has been mentioned above),
- price (placed in a visible location – it should be explicit and it shouldn’t mislead users),
To boost your positions in the search results, mark the word “price” with the <strong> tag. This will inform search engine robots that this particular part of a product specification is important.
- photos (a video showing a given product may be an interesting idea, especially in the case of an online store with clothes or footwear),
- product description (which will be discussed in detail later on),
- other vital pieces of information such as availability, delivery time, or returns.
- product reviews (star ratings or comments – it’s worth fighting for customers’ feedback),
- CTA (Call to Action) – meaning messages such as “buy now” or “inform me when the product is available).
Of course, you can complement your product specification with other elements such as suggested items or size charts – it’s only up to you (and your business profile) how to enrich your specifications with other features.
When talking about product specifications, it’s impossible not to mention the AIDA model. According to this principle, your content should affect the user on four different levels:
- Action (such as making a purchase)
Title and meta description
When talking about SEO for e-commerce, it’s crucial to mention two vital elements of product pages: title and meta description. Both these elements are included in the HTML code and displayed to users in the search results.
Let’s start with the title. It’s not arcane knowledge that title has a direct impact on SEO as it’s one of Google ranking factors. It’s supposed to help the search engine understand your website and summarize what can be found on a given subpage. The title should include a keyword – preferably at the very beginning and it’s also advisable to provide the name of your online store at the end. The title shouldn’t be longer than 65-70 characters.
The meta description doesn’t affect e-commerce SEO in a direct way. It hasn’t been considered a Google ranking factor for a few years now. However, it’s still true that meta descriptions can effectively support SEO. A proper structure can encourage users to enter your website (and consequently improve CTR) which increases organic traffic.
The meta description should have approximately 150-160 characters, otherwise, it may not be displayed in full in the search results. It’s a good idea to provide a keyword in the meta description – remember that this element is supposed to briefly summarize your website content and attract people.
Content is king
As stated by the article written by Bill Gates in 1996, content is king. This quote is particularly accurate in the case of online stores with numerous product subpages. Each activity related to content is likely to have a significant impact on website positions in the search results and you can’t miss such an opportunity. Many entrepreneurs fail already at this initial and very important stage because they decide to copy product descriptions from manufacturers or duplicate their external page content.
Apart from the fact that such texts frequently aren’t tailored to sales requirements, Google perceives them as duplicate content and doesn’t rank pages with such descriptions high. Of course, descriptions should incorporate relevant keywords, however, if you focus on long tail phrases that are product names, they should also be applied a few times in a natural manner.
As we’re discussing duplicate content, it’s also worth paying attention to the fact that apart from external duplicate content (e.g. caused by copying descriptions from manufacturers), there is also internal duplicate content (e.g. caused by publishing a few identical texts on numerous subpages of your website).
In the case of e-commerce, you may face the latter situation if you offer different versions of the same product (e.g. diverse color variants) and you place the same description under each color variant. Not many people realize that such activities can lead to internal duplicate content. See how to solve the issue: Similar product but different color version – what to do with descriptions?
SEO for e-commerce? Do something new!
When it comes to doing SEO for e-commerce, there is one more king – new content. How to constantly saturate your website with new texts? Running a blog is the simplest answer to this question. There’s one more method typical for SEO for online stores – altering product descriptions.
As we’ve already mentioned, one of the most basic differences between e-commerce and traditional websites is the number of subpages and texts. This means that even simple updates such as adding a sentence or information about the producer can refresh a large part of the website and bring you measurable benefits. Product descriptions can also include a keyword other than the one describing a given item which can improve website positions for the applied phrases.
Remember that product descriptions ought to be comprehensive, unique, and appealing. They should present the product in a realistic way and encourage people to buy it. The description needs to be detailed (it should serve the informative function) and concise. Provide users with specific and reliable pieces of information and take advantage of the language of benefits. Visit our blog to access more tips on product descriptions.
Running an optimized company blog is the most common recipe for updating website content. SEO benefits brought by this activity are already well-known. Apart from refreshing website content, running a company blog can improve traffic, expand the list of applied long-tail keywords and support specific phrases. However, these aren’t the only benefits of blogging. A properly managed blog can be your full-time content marketing tool. It can help you position yourself as an expert in the industry and improve your brand recognition online.
There are chances that reading your entries will convince potential customers that it’s worth buying in your store. However, if it doesn’t happen, it’ll certainly inspire trust in your e-commerce business. This means that they’re more likely to revisit your website once they want to purchase one of the items from your product range. It’s advisable to consciously choose products described in a blog post. For example, during the football championship, it’s beneficial to attract the attention of potential buyers to new TV models.
If you still aren’t convinced whether it’s worth devoting your time to run a company blog, check out our entry where we discuss 9 reasons proving it’s worth running a company blog.
As you know, effective SEO involves generating backlinks. So where to obtain links supporting SEO for e-commerce? Social media is extremely helpful in this respect. Building links in social media isn’t particularly time-consuming if you’ve numerous product subpages you can present to your potential customers. Moreover, if offered goods are attractive, your activity may enjoy popularity and the provided link will get stronger and stronger.
Social media offers a wide range of other marketing possibilities – platforms such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter make it possible to organize contests or share discount coupons that successfully tempt new customers. When doing SEO and benefiting from social media, it’s important to remember about the distinctive relationship between Google and Facebook – links placed on this platform don’t transfer power which means that although it’s worth performing various activities, they won’t improve your website positions, even if potential customers are really engaged.
Quality links, high positions
In order to gain a competitive edge over your market rivals already when users see the search results, consider incorporating elements that make the link redirecting to your e-commerce website more attractive. Such elements are called Rich Snippets and inform about product reviews, prices or stock levels.
Google recognizes when you provide users with more facts and appreciates such websites by displaying them in higher positions. Additionally, such an elaborate link should appeal to your potential customers. It’s a win-win situation!
Why is it worth doing SEO for e-commerce?
How to effectively do SEO for e-commerce? We already know the answer to this question! But why should you actually perform any activities for your online store? Quality SEO improves your online visibility and attracts potential customers searching for specific products available in your product range. It’s like having a store in the heart of a big city – nobody will go to the suburbs if the shop in the marketplace inspires trust and is at your fingertips :).