E-Commerce SEO: The Essential Checklist For Your Site
Online shopping is here to stay. More and more business owners are beginning to realize that and the volume of e-commerce trade is getting substantially larger every year. Namely, in 2017, e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 2.3 trillion dollars and are expected to increase, getting really close to the 5 trillion-mark in 2021.
However, with the growth of e-commerce revenue, there’s a growth in the number of companies selling their products online, which means more competition. In order to stay ahead of your competitors, having a strong SEO strategy is crucial. Here are some of the most useful e-commerce SEO tactics you should use in order to improve your search engine visibility and organic traffic.
Keyword strategy for e-commerce SEO
Just like in the case of any other website, first you need a solid keyword strategy. Choosing keywords that are relevant but not too competitive at the same time is vital. You also have to pay attention to long-tail keywords that will capture the attention of those who perform very specific searches and are thus more likely to convert.
An important thing to have in mind when it comes to e-commerce SEO specifically is that if you’re optimizing for informational keywords, then you’ll have to have some actual content related to it. That means that if a page ranks for “how to fix my microwave” but you just use this page to sell microwaves and there’s no an actual explanation, that’s a very bad approach. If you don’t include an answer to the question asked in the query, this will increase your bounce rate and cause your rankings to drop again on the long run.
The quality and quantity of backlinks remains one of the most important SEO factors to this day. In order to improve your link building results, setting up a company blog on your main domain is a good start. Strong links from relevant websites pointing to your blogposts can help you a lot to build your authority. If you don’t feel like you need a blog or don’t have time for it, there are a couple of other tactics you could use.
For instance, you can search for online posts that mention your company or product but don’t contain a link to your website and then ask the webmaster if it’s possible to include one. Finding broken links that point to similar products and contacting the blog owner to check if a link to your website can be added instead is also a reasonable idea.
Your NAP (name, address, phone number) is one of the most important pieces of info you’ll include in your website – it tells people how to find your business or contact you. However, it needs to be optimized for search engines as well. This means that it has to be consistent and that the wording, spelling and formatting you use for your NAP is the same across all pages, directories, review sites and even social media, so that the crawlers can easily understand and identify who you are.
Less than two years ago, mobile traffic has surpassed traffic generated by desktop devices. This has provoked some changes in Google’s algorithm, so the company decided to introduce mobile-first indexing, which puts a huge emphasis on the mobile experience of your users.
Thus having a quick and user-friendly mobile version of your website is crucial. In addition, responsive web design goes without saying. You can check some of the most beautiful website designs of 2018 for inspiration, but remember – lack of full mobile responsiveness can hurt your SEO, regardless of the good looks and functionality of the desktop version.
Unique product descriptions
Another optimization practice that’s specific for e-commerce SEO is a unique product description. On the one hand, it’s important to include a description of a product in order to give search engines something to crawl, help them associate some relevant terms to the product as well as provide useful info to your customers.
On the other hand, adding descriptions to all the products you sell can be a long and tiresome process. Thus you might get tempted to simply copy the description created by the manufacturer. You should never do this as search engines might see it as duplicate content, which is a practice that is most likely to be severely penalized.
Another novelty introduced by Google this year is the “speed update”, which takes page loading time as one of the critical factors for determining rankings. And it makes perfect sense – slow website inevitably hurts your UX, which is what SEO is all about.
One of the most common ways to speed your website up is optimizing your images. Make sure you choose the right file type and compress them to less than 70 kb, which is a recommended size for e-commerce websites. Apart from optimizing images, you need to keep your code clean and efficient, find a reliable hosting service and get rid of all unnecessary design elements, ads or social buttons in order to achieve the best results in this respect.
Just like with any other site, optimizing numerous on-page elements that count as ranking factors is a must. Taking proper care of navigation, meta descriptions, image file names, image alt descriptions, H1 and H2 tags, rich snippets, as well as making URLs clean and informative are just some of the things you need to worry about. Every single element counts and you need to make sure you’ve done everything you can in order to make them as optimized as possible.
The list never stops
There’s numerous other things you should think about when working on your e-commerce SEO, such as canonical tags for filtered previews, integrated social sharing or including ratings and reviews to your products. A list of SEO factors includes as much as two hundred components that need to be in order so that your website would rank well on search engines. It’s a long, exhausting and never-ending process, but getting your business high up in the rankings is indispensable for all online retailers and putting some effort into achieving this will certainly pay off.
Author: Meaghan Yorke is a content writer for DesignRush. These days she is all about researching various IT related topics. When she is not working she enjoys dancing classical ballet.