Tips for Maximising Your eCommerce SEO

Written by on 27th August 2020

For an eCommerce website to succeed, it needs to appear on the front of the SERPs. While mainstream SEO tips will help eCommerce websites succeed, there are a few additional tips and tweaks that are specific to Commerce sites.

Here are our tips to help you get your online store the traffic it deserves.

How to Optimize Your eCommerce Site for SEO

1. Do your keyword research.

Keyword research is an essential part of any SEO strategy. It isn’t enough to optimize for the names of your products. Good SEO means understanding search intent and optimizing for the keywords and phrases that are used by searchers who have the intent of buying. Google’s own keyword tool is a good starting point for finding effective, low competition keywords.

Unique to eCommerce SEO, you need to understand what keywords your buyers use at each stage of their buying journey. Then create content that speaks to them at each stage of the journey. For example, you might create blog posts and videos to rank for awareness level keywords. Then, you might create category page descriptions of buying guides for desire level keywords. And finally, you’ll create product descriptions for the action stage.

2. Creating keyword-rich category pages.

Every page of your website should include unique content. Category page descriptions provide you with a good platform to produce detailed and insightful content that can rank for mid-funnel search terms. Use them to describe the products available, explain the features and benefits of the products in that category, and add value to the page.

Your category pages should nudge your buyers towards evaluating products.

3. Write unique product copy.

One area where many eCommerce website owners run into trouble is product descriptions. Webmasters who dropship or use supplier-written product descriptions may find their site faces duplicate content penalties because there are dozens of other websites (or even more than dozens) using the exact same content. Investing some time or money into getting your product descriptions rewritten could help you to avoid those penalties, and greatly improve your search rankings.

Not only that, but crafting unique product descriptions lets you communicate your brand’s story and build a deeper connection with your customers.

4. Use rel=”canonical” to avoid duplicate content penalties.

Another area where many online store owners run into trouble is with pages being seen as potentially being duplicate content simply because of the site’s URL structure and the way pages are linked together. There may be multiple “versions” of the same page, reached via different parts of the site. Google and other search engines cannot tell whether those pages are duplicates or not.

The rel=”canonical” tag can be used to highlight which copy of a page is the “master copy”. This means that if there are other links that point to the same page, they won’t be treated as duplicates, and your page won’t lose valuable “link juice”.

Some examples of multiple links to the same page could be:

And so on…

Adding a canonical tag to all important pages helps the search engines understand which page is the ‘right’ one.

5. Use high-quality product photos and include keyword-rich alt text.

High-quality product photos are a must for any online store. Many buyers are visually motivated and want to know what their products look like. Search engines want to know that your website is accessible to everyone, including those on low-bandwidth connections and those who are visually impaired.

Keyword-rich alt-text impresses the search engines and can also improve your overall SEO by making it clear what keywords are relevant for your website. Google’s image search also relies heavily on alt text when deciding which images to show, and there is a lot of potential traffic to be had.

The W3C recommends alt text is used to provide an alternative to images and improve support for screen readers, so doing this well can help your shoppers that rely on these devices too.

6. Add value with in-depth buying guides and product reviews.

Your products may be the things that you want to draw attention to, but it’s hard to persuade people to link directly to product pages. One good way to improve your domain’s authority is to publish reviews, unboxings, buyer’s guides, how-tos and other nice-related content.

This kind of content is highly shareable on social media, more likely to get shared by bloggers and easy for you to include in your weekly mailing lists. You do have a mailing list, we hope?

7. Make use of featured snippets.

Featured snippets are a great way of getting attention for your website. Google uses featured snippets to make its answers to “question” searches more useful. When you are writing your category pages, buying guides, and other long-form content, try to target featured snippets.

Do some keyword research, then look at the questions that include those keywords. Include those questions in your own Q&A pages and provide detailed, high-quality answers. You may not always get clickthroughs from the featured snippets, because Google includes extracts of the answers on its own pages. Even visitors who don’t click on your link will see your domain name, however, and this helps to build trust and name recognition.

8. Assess competing websites

Look at your competitors, both locally and nationally, or even internationally if you sell digital downloads or online-only services. Run keyword research on the articles and long-form content they have on their pages. Use Ahrefs or other similar tools to find out where their backlinks are coming from. Investigate how quickly their pages load.

Once you know what your competitors are doing, you can think about how to beat them. Don’t just copy them, look for keywords they’ve overlooked and niches they aren’t targeting. Find better sites to get links from. Offer your own content as an alternative for dead links on related websites.

Wrapping Up

Building up the SEO profile of an eCommerce website takes patience and persistence, and once your site has good traffic you cannot afford to stop marketing it. Growing your site should be an ongoing effort. Do a little work every day, and you can succeed.