eCommerce SEO - A Guide to Maximizing Your Site's Potential (ROI)

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When was the last time you bought something online?

Chances are it was within the past month, and probably even within the last week. The eCommerce world is exploding at a mind-boggling rate as consumers realize they can buy things they need with the click of a button. 

No more crowded stores. No more queueing. 

The eCommerce world is doing so well, in fact, that sales are predicted to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021

While this is all well and good for consumers and eCommerce stores at the top of the pile (we’re looking at you, Amazon), it means that there will be increased competition for smaller online stores.

Which is why it’s important for brands to maximize their site’s potential. The most cost-effective and rewarding way to do this is by implementing eCommerce SEO.

Let’s face it, getting more traffic is a key goal for most business owners, so mastering the fine art of SEO should be at the top of your list if you want to stand head and shoulders above other eCommerce stores.

Think about it: getting high-quality traffic you don’t have to pay for means every sale you do get is mostly made up of profit. 

Sounds good, right? 

But there’s more to SEO than meets the eye. 

In between constant algorithm updates and endless industry jargon, it can be really confusing knowing where to start, let alone actually doing eCommerce SEO successfully. 

To help you out, we’ve written this comprehensive guide that will break eCommerce SEO down into two key parts: onsite and offsite. 

Mastering the Art of Onsite eCommerce SEO

Say, for example, you run an eCommerce site that has thousands of pages; you’ve got loads of products and have built up an inventory of really cool stuff you’re selling. 

Each and every one of these pages needs to be indexed if you want it to rank on Google at all - but getting it to simply rank isn’t enough. Rather, you want to get those pages ranking high on Google (on the first page, if you can). 

To do this, you want to start with onsite SEO. 

1. Keyword Research

In order for Google to know what consumers will find once they get to your page, it needs keywords. These basically describe what your page is about and reflect the search terms consumers use on search engines. 

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Keyword research is the first step of any onsite SEO process, and you can use a variety of tools, like Google Adwords Keyword Tool, to determine which keywords have the highest search volume with the lowest competition. 

2. Keyword Optimization

Once you’ve got your keywords, you can then sprinkle them throughout your product pages. Ideally, you want to feature the keyword in the title, description, alt tag, and headers, as well as in the copy throughout the page. 

3. Plan Your Site Architecture

Google also takes into account the internal architecture of your eCommerce website. 

This needs to be done in a logical fashion so that search engines can determine the importance of each page and put together a “bigger picture” idea of what your site is about. To do this, you can link authority pages to smaller, relatable pages, making sure any internal links include relevant keywords. 

4. Add Multimedia Content

Content is the most important thing when it comes to SEO.

As well as written text in the form of product descriptions and an onsite blog, you can boost SEO rankings by integrating multimedia content as well. Try adding videos of your products to keep people sticking around for longer, as time spent on site is another factor Google uses to determine how relevant a site is. 

  This eCommerce site uses feature videos of its products on each page.

This eCommerce site uses feature videos of its products on each page.

5. Create a Blog

While your product pages will be pretty static (as in, they won’t change much as time goes on), a blog keeps feeding Google fresh content which gives you more opportunities to rank on search engines.

Not only does a blog improve your site’s quality in Google’s eyes, but it also builds trust and authority in your industry, which means consumers are more likely to buy from you - it’s a win-win situation. 

6. Spruce Up Your Local SEO

Over the past couple of years, Google has placed a heavy emphasis on local SEO and favors businesses that are set nearby to the searcher.

Now, this is slightly difficult when it comes to eCommerce because, let’s face it, the online world means you can sell anything to pretty much anyone anywhere on the planet. 

But going local is particularly useful if you’re targeting specific cities or countries. By making sure you list correct product categories in the local language and tweak copy to reflect intonations in certain parts of the world, your site will be seen more favorably in Google’s eyes. 

Building an Offsite eCommerce SEO Strategy

Once you’ve mastered onsite eCommerce SEO, it’s time to really seal the deal by working at your offsite SEO. This will add an additional layer to Google’s opinion of your site and cement its authority. 

The Power of Link Building

The easiest way to get your eCommerce site ranking high on Google is to have other prominent sites give it a kind of “recommendation” in the form of a link. The more links you have coming in from respectable sites, the more status Google will give your site. 

For eCommerce stores, there are two main ways you can get high-quality links coming in.

1. Social Link Building

First of all, there’s the power of social media and links coming in from platforms like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. This is where publishing a mixture of content really pays off, because you can experiment with what people share the most.

Just look at mega eCommerce sites like the Dollar Shave Club that regularly push out viral videos to get linkbacks to their online store. 

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2. Standard Link Building

This covers everything from product reviews to testimonials, press releases, and mentions on other sites. 

Gaining a cross-section of links like this will show Google that your eCommerce store is popular which, in turn, will push up its search engine rankings. 

You can ask previous buyers to leave reviews of your products on external sites, or you can run a campaign where powerful industry folk link to your store from their own highly-successful websites. 

eCommerce SEO Helps You Stand Out

There is so much information out there about doing eCommerce SEO right and what factors are most important when it comes to ranking well on Google. 

Setting aside some time to really focus on your SEO strategy can mean the difference between disappearing onto the second or third page of Google and getting no sales, and featuring on that much-coveted first page and raking in new buyers every single day.