How to optimise your eCommerce website for SEO

How To SEO Your eCommerce Website

Getting more traffic to your website is the goal for anyone who owns a website or a business with a website. With eCommerce, the goal is even more important as more traffic to your website is the exact same thing as more customers in your store and with the same outcome – more money! eCommerce SEO takes a slightly different route compared to optimising other business websites or blogs. In this blog, I will explain how to properly optimise your eCommerce website and online shop for better search rankings, traffic and sales!

Why Does SEO Matter?

SEO is all about presenting your website in the best possible manners to search engines in the hope that your website will rank higher for the keywords and search terms that are important to you. In its simplest form, SEO is just about making sure your website looks relevant and trustworthy so that search engines feel safe that they can promote your website to people that are searching for it. In its more advanced form, SEO is a method which will simply give search engines no choice but to put your website in-front of the people that you are trying to reach, without having to pay them!

Studies find that less than 5% of searchers will continue to the second page of Google search results – and at least 60% of searchers will click one of the websites that can be found in the top 3 results. These days, it’s no longer good enough to be on the first page for your keywords, if you’re not in the top 3 then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic – and when it comes to eCommerce, that means you’re missing out on a lot of sales too!

Keyword Research

Just like any other SEO campaign, it is important to find and target the right keywords to get the best results. With eCommerce SEO, this means commercial keywords with a real buying intent behind them – this is so your website will appear to people who are already looking to buy your products. For example: “iPhone X” is the seed keyword – there’s no point trying to rank for this keyword. Not only will it be expensive and incredibly difficult to do, but even if you do manage to rank for it you’ll be bringing in a lot of irrelevant traffic. However, with this seed keyword you can then look for keywords that have a clear buying intent such as “iPhone X for sale” or “buy iPhone x online.” These keywords probably won’t have the highest traffic, but you will definitely be seeing a much higher conversion rate and will be easier to rank for. 

Does this mean you should just ignore non-commercial keywords? Absolutely not! There are some very important informational keywords you can target to bring in people that have not yet reached the buying stage of the customer journey. An example can be people looking for reviews. In fact, you’ll find many affiliate eCommerce websites will focus on these review topics as opposed to ranking for commercial keywords. With high-quality, informative and persuasive content, you can convince these users to purchase the product they are researching about. Just don’t forget to promote the fact that you are selling the product, if the customer is persuaded by your content and there’s a quick link to the product they’re looking for, they’ll be much more likely to buy the product from you instead of going back to Google and searching for the product again.

Website Structure

The structure of your website is an often overlooked aspect of web design – not only for SEO but also just for user experience. You’ll want to make sure your key pages and products can be quickly accessed from the homepage, you don’t want to make your users click through 6 category pages to find your most popular product. In terms of SEO, we know that pages that are further away from the homepage will have less link equity (or link juice.) This is a simple story: your homepage will most likely have the most amount of link equity. This link equity is then shared from the homepage to any links that are found on the homepage. The further away a page is from the homepage, the more divided and shared the link equity becomes – so a page that is 6 clicks away from the homepage will have a much lower link equity than a page that is directly linked from the homepage.

Another thing to keep in mind about website structure is scalability. You want to ensure you can easily add new products or new product categories without worrying about having to rework or make changes to other products/categories. 

Titles And Descriptions

It’s important to optimise the titles and descriptions for key landing pages – product categories and product pages. As confirmed by Google in their court case, the search engine does in fact use click through rate to indirectly rank websites (as opposed to CTR being a direct ranking factor, the Google AI uses CTR and bounce rates as feedback to see if the top ranked results are good for users.) Therefore, you can definitely achieve a boost in rankings if you write good titles and descriptions that will pique the internet of a searcher and direct their click to your website. Research shows that modifiers such as “free shipping”, “discounted”, “20% off” etc will drive more clicks to your snippet, sometimes driving more traffic compared to websites that are ranking higher for the same keyword.

Write Content

Content can be quite a difficult thing to include in an eCommerce website. eCommerce websites are heavily image-focused, you want to make sure your users can quickly see and navigate through your sea of products with pretty featured images, pricing information and maybe even an image gallery – it’s easy to forget about written content. Many eCommerce websites fall victim to thin content or even duplicate content issues. You need to ensure you are including high-quality, informative content in your product pages and product categories. To avoid big blocks of text and content, you can stylise your content with accordions or “read more” buttons etc. These buttons will not hinder your SEO like they used to do – many a time Googlers have confirmed that if content is visible in the HTML code then Google will be able to find it and give it full weight. The only thing to make sure is that you are not injecting new content with JavaScript.

“in the mobile-first world content hidden for ux should have full weight” – Gary Illyes

“Specifically when it comes to content on mobile pages we do take into account anything that’s in the HTML. So if there’s something there that might be visible to users at some point we will include that… so that’s completely normal.” – John Mueller

Find out more about writing content for eCommerce website SEO.