Search engine optimization (SEO) is an effective tool based on the ROI (return on investment) it generates. Unfortunately, most online stores don’t include SEO in their marketing strategy as they would rather use social media platforms and paid ads instead. While these two methods are effective, they need to be monitored and financed on a regular basis. By contrast, SEO is considered to be low-hanging fruit for eCommerce stores. It only requires a little bit of effort at the start. Then, once you have climbed up the search engine rankings, your sales will increase automatically, minus the recurring expenses.
So, how can SEO help your online business?
You can increase your website ranking by utilizing the following approaches:
- Provide thorough answers to your customers’ queries
- Make use of images, videos, and even examples to put your message across
- Deliver an excellent user experience through an intuitive interface and better mobile accessibility
1. Conduct eCommerce keyword research
In order to choose the best possible keywords, you need to consider the buyer’s intent (how far along the path they are in making a decision to buy). So, where is the best place to conduct eCommerce keyword searches? You should begin by using three channels:
This eCommerce platform is a treasure trove of buyer intent keywords. Amazon has millions of customers who are intent on making a purchase. The first thing you should do is go to Amazon and type in your seed keyword (a word that you think will help your ranking). For instance, if you type in the word ‘backpack’, Amazon will provide you with auto fill suggestions, such as ‘backpack for men’ or ‘backpack purse for women’. You will need a spreadsheet to make a list of all these keyword ideas.
If your competitors are ranking well in the search results, you should visit their websites to search for keyword ideas. However, you should never blindly use a competitor’s keywords as there could be a whole host of possible reasons why they are ranking above you, such as a higher domain authority (DA).
Tools such as Ahrefs and Google Analytics are very useful for various SEO tasks, such as keyword research.
2. Improve your site’s architecture
Once you have chosen the best keywords, put them to good use by incorporating them in your online content. In addition, you should try to reduce the number of clicks required for users to find your products and services.
Remember your site’s architecture should be:
- Simple yet scalable
- Accessible – users should need a maximum of three clicks to reach the page they want
- Filled with keywords – in the URLs and subdirectories
3. Utilize on-page SEO
Onsite SEO is a means of ensuring that search engines can recognize what your page is all about using the keywords you have selected.
Optimize your pages by placing your target keywords in various sections, including:
- URL – Put the main keyword in the URL and ensure that it is readable and friendly.
- Title tag (H1) – Place the keyword as close to the beginning as possible.
- Body – You can make your product categories interesting by using introductions. They should have a minimum length of 300 words with keywords used at least 2–3 times.
- Image alt text – Google cannot read images but it can read alt texts. Include a keyword to help your image show up in the search results.
- Metadata – The description doesn’t directly affect your ranking. However, it does improve your click-through-rate which will in turn improve your ranking.
4. Apply local SEO
If you have a physical store or want to generate more traffic, local SEO can help.
- GMB profile
Google My Business (GMB) allows you to put your online store into the search engine’s database. Make sure you include your site information, including address, operating hours, reviews, and pictures. In addition, to help your local SEO even more, you should also include some local citations.
- Local citations
These are backlinks to other local sites and they inform Google that your website is credible and popular. If your business caters for an international audience, consider creating separate websites for each country.
- Local website links
Links to local websites can build your domain authority and local rankings. You can obtain some much-needed local publicity through news outlets, community events and charities, and associations such as the Chamber of Commerce.
5. Use content marketing
This is one of the easiest ways for your eCommerce site to rank for keywords and backlinks. You can put these ranking keywords on your product and category pages, as well as in your blogs.
You should also consider writing articles that guide customers in how to use your products and services. A “how-to” blog will also provide you with the opportunity of inserting long-tail keywords related to your website and merchandise. As an added bonus, blogs will make it easier for you to build links for your product pages.
6. Link building
This off-page SEO strategy is a little complicated and requires more time. You will need to collaborate with other eCommerce site owners to obtain the links. The tasks can include:
- Resource page link building
- Partnering with influencers
- Broken link building
- Stealing competitors’ links
How to measure your SEO success
You cannot calculate the ROI on your SEO after only a day or two of implementation. You can, however, track your search rankings. Google Analytics is an excellent tool for checking your organic traffic and engagement. For example, if your website goes up through the rankings from page 5 to page 2, this means your SEO efforts are paying off. It is also important to know where the majority of your traffic is coming from. Are your visitors using desktop PCs or their mobile devices? In eCommerce, most potential customers tend to use desktops. Their initial research may begin on a mobile device but they usually end up on a PC. Nevertheless, Google has a mobile-first policy so make sure your eCommerce store is optimized for mobile devices.
Owners of eCommerce sites who want to increase their sales from online visitors will need to apply SEO. Even a simple campaign can provide a substantial sales jump in less than a year. The foundation of every SEO strategy is finding the right keywords to attract leads and customers. Once you have done this, make sure you include them in your content, such as the body, URL, image alt text, and meta descriptions. In addition, sites that are optimized for mobile devices and have a fast loading speed are likely to attract more customers.
Guest Author’s bio: Chris Anderson is an online marketing expert with 15 years’ experience in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Google Ads campaigns. He founded Springhill Marketing to help various companies drive up their website traffic via increased sales and inquiries. His company is also a Google Partner, specializing in SEO and Google Ads services.