From independent businesses to established brands, ecommerce is now simply too big to ignore. Let’s not forget, from wholesale supply chain ecommerce to innovative drop shipping models, the digital landscape can enable and empower absolutely everyone to start selling online.
The ecommerce landscape is extremely developed and crowded, across all but the most niche of product sectors. To ensure that your online store can outperform your competitors and appeal to your target audience, you’re going to need to leverage the power of ecommerce search engine optimization (SEO).
Why is Ecommerce SEO So Important?
It is not an overstatement to say that SEO is easily one of the most important business investments an ecommerce business will ever make. Why? Well, primarily it’s all about securing those click-throughs from search engine results pages (SERPs).
You’ve probably heard plenty of business owners saying that they want to secure the top tanking position for target keywords and phrases. While, yes, this is often an unrealistic objective, they certainly aren’t wrong for aiming high. After all, research has discovered that sites occupying the first five organic SERP results will secure more than 67% of all clicks, according to a study by Sistrix. And yes, that includes paid advertisements as well.
We can’t overlook panels and rich snippets here. When a panel or snippet appears on a SERP, it can take up a significant amount of real estate which will almost always impact the click-through rates (CTRs) of the organic results underneath. Research suggests that, on average, the first organic result on a SERP that also contains a featured snippet will see its CTR reduce by 5.3% according to Sistrix.
As many businesses ultimately decide to adopt a short-term approach to digital, which often involves investing in pay per click (PPC) advertising, investing in a robust ecommerce SEO strategy will allow you to capitalise on the power of organic search and, ultimately, out-perform your competition.
So, let’s jump in to how to devise and implement an ecommerce strategy that will drive results.
Ecommerce SEO and Site Architecture
Most ecommerce stores sell a large number of different products, which is why site architecture is so important. Whatever ecommerce platform you opt for, the structuring of your store should be completed with both user experience (UX) and your sitemap in mind. This means that your store will be navigable for both search engine crawlers and your human visitors. It will also benefit you to ensure that all pages are no more than three clicks away from your homepage and that no structural decision is made without carefully thinking about scalability.
As keyword research is a fundamental component of every SEO strategy, it should come as no surprise that it is also key to ecommerce optimisation. As your site could potentially contain a significant number of pages, you have more opportunities than most businesses to leverage the power of keywords.
Your keyword research should focus on specific products, which are likely to have low search volume. But this should encourage you because those low search volume keywords often also command high CTRs and good conversion rates. After all, when a searcher is using such specific keywords, their purchasing intent is going to be higher than a searcher entering a broad query.
But your keyword research process should also consider the categories the products you’re selling fall into. These keywords are likely to have higher search volumes as they will be more generalised but they are also highly likely to reveal long tail keyword opportunities.
On-Page Ecommerce Optimisation
Many online ecommerce shop owners invest too much time thinking about link building. Yes, it is undeniably important to have a strong link profile but this should never be to the detriment of comprehensive on-page optimisation. After all, getting this aspect of your strategy right will mean that your site could rank well in SERPs before you have earned your first backlink.
It is vital that each webpage is populated with high-quality, relevant copy that your audience will find genuinely valuable. When creating on-site copy, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Google actively likes substance, so don’t publish thin copy
- You should, of course, advocate for your brand but you also need to inform your audience
- Google can spot keyword stuffed copy a mile away, which is why relevance is essential
- Your keyword research should inform the topics you talk about online
Your on-site optimisation process isn’t something you can do once and then forget about. The best SEO strategies are both proactive and reactive, which means that you need to be prepared to make tweaks and adjustments to drive the best results from your online presence.
And remember, if you have a lot of pages that need optimising, always start with your most important pages. This information can be determined by setting up your Google Analytics ecommerce tracking. Just don’t forget to segment the report to only display organic traffic.
Blog Content and Ecommerce SEO
We really can’t emphasise the importance of content enough. When your homepage, product pages and category pages contain high-quality content, you can start thinking about your blog. Blog content is ideal for long-tail keyword optimisation, which are search terms that are more theme, problem or topic-specific. Don’t forget, search volume is likely to be low for this type of keyword but this strategy can drive decent levels of extremely relevant traffic.
Your blog content should be positioned to effectively target potential customers that are in the awareness phase of the purchasing funnel, as this will allow you to create content that highlights the benefits of your products. Additionally, your blog content can also be tailored to your existing customers who are keen to learn more about your brand.
Well-written, highly informative blog content is extremely easy to link to, which will also help you to really nail your link building strategy. Although link building is just one aspect of a robust ecommerce SEO strategy, earning links from authoritative sites can help you to gain some serious SERP traction.
There are many moving parts to a strong ecommerce SEO strategy but we can assure you that making the right decisions here will help your brand to outperform many of your competitors in key SERPs.