Just about everyone these days uses a search engine to find products and services. After all, pretty much anything you could ever need is a simple smartphone tap away, right?
However, eCommerce search engine optimization (SEO) is sometimes a whole different type of confection. While a basic website only really requires a few specific steps to rank well on Google, an online store has many more facets that have to be considered.
As a store owner, where do you start? How do you know you’re getting the maximum effect without simply wasting your time?
Thankfully, our fantastic CAKE team has put together this eCommerce SEO guide to help get you started. Get ready to take a bite into the world of increasing your Google rankings with this short checklist of fantastic eCommerce SEO tips.
Start by Performing an eCommerce SEO Audit
What would a quality eCommerce SEO checklist be if we didn’t start by looking at where you currently are? The first step to improving your online store’s Google ranking is to perform a full audit, including ensuring all appropriate tools are configured. Here are a few areas you need to pay attention to:
- Setup tracking and measurement tools including Google Analytics, Bing Webmaster Tools, and Google Search Console.
- Determine if Google can find your site. If not, verify it is linked corrected in Google Search Console.
- Read Google’s Crawl Error Report in Google Search Console to make sure there aren’t any major errors or issues you need to immediately address. In some cases, this is the easiest way to find small fixes that make a big difference in optimization.
- Broadly check usability and speed. Does the site load correctly when there’s a lot of users or does it render well on mobile?
- Determine whether or not your site is secure by looking for the “https” at the start of the URL. If you’re utilizing a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce, this is likely already done for you. If not, you’ll want to talk to someone skilled with SSL certification to ensure your online store has this important online security feature.
- Look at your page on a variety of different sized devices including basic tablets, iPads, smartphones, and more. If there’s a rendering issue or it loads super slowly, there’s work that needs to be done.
While these are just a few small places to start, it’s important to remember that an eCommerce SEO expert likely has even more areas to consider when conducting a thorough audit, such as elements like organizational structure and page blocking. If you’re tackling this aspect yourself, you’ll want to at least get the above items done before moving on to more complicated matters.
Best Tips: On-Page SEO for eCommerce Websites
When it comes to on-page eCommerce SEO, keywords and content play a pretty important role. For online stores, this includes making sure you have enough content and that you’re writing unique product and category descriptions. Here are a few tips to consider:
- Select keywords that promote your niche and brand message. Ask yourself, if I was to put this keyword into Google, would I be able to find my online store within a few clicks?
- Make sure you have enough content. If you only have a single product or sell a handful of items, consider adding a blog section on your online store.
- Each category page should have unique content that describes the type of products a shopper can find on that page. Use consistent wording and verbiage across category pages for the whole site and insert a few of your chosen keywords.
- Try to write unique keyword-optimized product descriptions, titles, and meta descriptions for each item you sell. If you have thousands of different pieces in stock and can’t devote the time to doing this, start with a dozen or two of your bestsellers.
- Alter settings to ensure product reviews show up on product pages. Google loves indexing these and it can be an easy way for a quick rank boost.
- Check your meta tags and descriptions of individual product pages to ensure they’re using the descriptions and keywords you want to rank for. This seems a little like a no-brainer, but if you’re skipping this step due to a high inventory, you could really be missing out on a chance to rank higher.
- Have a plan for out-of-stock or discontinued product pages. Many online retailers opt to keep these pages up with a button for shoppers to be notified if the item ever comes back in stock. Not only does this give you an extra opportunity to rank on Google, but it also allows you additional data on which products your customers want to return to your site.
The most important thing to remember when looking for an easy win with on-page eCommerce SEO is that content is king. Make sure you’re regularly added new text with your desired keywords to the site.
More Tips: Off-Page SEO for eCommerce Websites
Another area to take a look at is off-page eCommerce SEO. While social media alone offers a great opportunity to reach some of your goals, there are other options to consider. A few areas to pay attention to when making off-page optimization pages include:
- Create a partnership with bloggers and influencers. Ask for a link to your website on their blog or profile in exchange for positive product reviews. (Be familiar with best practices and guidelines for this type of promotion first!)
- Utilize online review sites like Yelp, Google, Facebook, and more to help bring in more traffic.
- Post to social media with links to specific products or post on your website. In fact, make this a daily ritual.
- Start to utilize social bookmarking platforms like Pinterest as a part of your overall digital marketing plan. Just a few pins a day linking to your site can create a huge impact on SEO.
The most important thing to remember about off-page SEO for your eCommerce site is that it requires a separate site with great optimization stats linking to your page. There are literally hundreds of ways to get this done and the list above is just a small sample of ideas.
The Biggest Tip? Utilize Keyword Research
It might sound a little redundant, but this is probably the most often missed search engine optimization tip out there—take the time to do keyword research!
Know what keywords your customers type into Google when they shop and make sure those words and long-tail phrases appear on your site. This includes areas such as product descriptions, category pages, blogs, and even boring ones like shipping policy pages. Every facet of your website should have some sort of link to a keyword you are targeting.
There’s More Where That Came From...
If you’re looking for a few quick eCommerce SEO wins, these tips are a great way to get there. However, this is just a small beater-licking sample of everything it takes to bake up a winning search engine optimization strategy.
Working with an eCommerce SEO consultant is another wise idea. At CAKE, we know what it takes to get your online store to the top of the rankings quickly and effectively. Let our team of experts help you grow your business, improve user experience, and reap all the benefits.
Like these SEO tips for eCommerce websites? Our CAKE team has a whole bunch more to share with you. Please get in touch with us today for more details.