SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the process of getting traffic to your e-commerce website via different search engines such as Google, Bing, and others. SEO’s main focus is to increase website keywords rankings and traffic, and in that way, boost your revenues. The idea behind this is pretty simple. When your website is at the top search results (first page), more people can find your website, contact you, and potentially purchase your product or services.
E-Commerce SEO Process
An Account Manager will contact you and discuss your expectations and the campaign’s goals.
Initial SEO Report & Audit
An SEO specialist will prepare an initial SEO Report & Audit. The SEO Report & Audit will include the website performance, the website technical audit, and the SEO strategy (the plan for future action). It will also include the content and the backlink plan.
An Account Manager will contact you again and present our initial strategy to you.
Technical SEO Fixation
An SEO Specialist will fix any website technical issues that are related to SEO.
The Content Manager will contact you and send you the content before publishing it.
The Outreach Manager will build links based on industry relevance and authority.
You will receive monthly reports from Account Managers who will explain the meaning of the data as well as what we have accomplished in the past month.
What Is E-Commerce And How Does It Work?
Ecommerce, also known as “electronic commerce” or “online commerce,” means buying and selling goods or services using the internet and transferring money in the same manner. E-commerce has experienced consistent growth, and according to Shopify, e-commerce will reach $6.5 billion in sales by 2023 worldwide. Moreover, 1.8 billion people purchase goods and services daily online.
E-commerce traffic is divided between multiple sources, but according to Semrush research, there are two main traffic sources: direct traffic (43.95%) and search traffic (37.5%). These are followed by referrals (8%), social (3.3%), and paid (1.9%). These figures indicate that more than one-third of e-commerce users come from different search engines, clearly indicating that there are vast opportunities in SEO work.
E-commerce services are divided into three main categories: technical SEO, content management, and backlink building/management. Each of these categories is important in its own right, but they are also strongly interlinked, which means that we believe that all of these aspects need to be employed when we start our work. So, let’s discuss each category separately.
E-commerce services are divided into three main categories: technical SEO, content management, and backlink building/management. Each of these categories is important in its own right, but they are also strongly interlinked, which means that we believe that all of these aspects need to be employed when we start our work. So, let’s discuss each category separately…
The main goal is to ensure that a search engine, such as Google, is able to crawl your website efficiently. There are, of course, multiple aspects that need to be considered for your website and we will discuss them more as follows.
1. HTTPS protocol
HTTPS (Hypertext transfer protocol secure) is a secure version of HTTP, which is the primary protocol used to send data between a web browser and a website. It is important to use HTTPS versions because is it encrypted. Hence, it will increase the security of data transfer. Another important detail is to make sure that your website has one browsable version. There are multiple ways of how a user can enter the website:
https://www.company.comOnly one should be browsable and others should redirect the main.
2. 5xx, 4xx, and 3xx Errors
These are errors that will affect the performance of the website and that need to be fixed and removed as soon as possible. A 5xx status code indicates that the website has a server error, which means that the server isn’t working properly. A 4xx error is a client error, which means that the client has a broken page. And a 3xx error, also known as a redirect, indicates that requested resources are redirected and need to look somewhere else.
3. Page Speed
Page speed is a self-explanatory measurement. The main focus is on the amount of time that it takes for a website load. Page speed is a significant indicator, and Google has made it a ranking factor.
4. Mobile Usability
Google uses mobile usability as a ranking factor. Simply speaking, mobile usability means how user-friendly your website is. In order to emphasize the importance of mobile versions, Google, which is as many of you know, is the most popular search engine, uses mobile-first indexing, which means Google primarily uses the mobile version of the website for indexing and ranking.
5. Image Optimization
Image optimization might not be a direct ranking factor for Google, but it vastly improves user experience and other aspects that come with it, such as faster page load speed, additional ranking opportunities, and so on.
6. H1, Title Tag and Meta Description Optimization
H1, title tag, and meta description optimization are basic SEO activities. Each one works for its own purpose, and the main goal is to:
- Indicate the main keywords
- Attract potential customers (CTA)
- Indicate page intent for search engine and potential customers.
7. Site Map (XML & HTML)
Simply speaking, the site map is a file that is added to your e-commerce website where you list all the individual pages for your website. It works for search engines to index and understand your website structure and architecture.
8. Schema Markup
Schema.org (also known as Schema) is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your website in order to help search engines read and represent your website in search results. In e-commerce SEO, we have multiple options that we can add to your website, starting from product schema to aggregate ranking schema, etc.
Content is another enormous aspect of e-commerce SEO because it has a great opportunity to drive traffic to your website when it is properly planned. Different from conventional websites, an e-commerce website usually focuses less on building content for their product pages and category pages, but instead, uses it for blog posts that can increase e-commerce website traffic significantly. However, we can’t diminish the importance of proper, well-written product or category descriptions.
A properly executed content marketing strategy comes with multiple benefits:
- Increase website rankings and traffic
- Help you in the link building process
- Established your website authority
- Represent your business and brand values
- Connect with your clients
Last but definitely not least, is link building. Link building essentially means that you are getting linked from other websites, which can positively impact your e-commerce website authority, and thereby, increase keyword rankings. This, of course, leads to increased web traffic.
But link building means offsite activities, which is why it is also one of the most complicated and time-consuming ways of improving your e-commerce SEO. Not to mention that every link to your website will not give you the same benefit. Some backlinks can even harm your website. With a proper link-building strategy, however, your website can experience traffic growth. At On The Map Marketing, we have multiple strategies and backlink plans that we offer to our clients.
Every SEO campaign starts with keyword research because it is the point of reference for all the other SEO tasks. Think about it: you can’t optimize your product and category pages unless you know what keywords potential clients will be searching for.
Also, keywords help inform your site architecture and overall SEO strategy. Having a solid keyword strategy for your website is crucial.
Bonus Pro Tip: Your keyword strategy should prioritize developing a list of product-focused keywords. It’s essential to make sure that you target keywords based on a medium-to-high search volume.
Site Architecture Optimization
A good SEO strategy will help your company optimize its website architecture by simplifying its structure. For eCommerce websites, this means improving the website navigation so it’s more user-friendly and search engine friendly.
A good rule to follow when optimizing your website’s navigation is to limit the number of clicks from the homepage to any product on the site down to three or less. This will significantly decrease your website’s bounce rate.
As far as SEO goes, optimizing your site navigation will help search engines crawl your website more efficiently, which means better page rankings for your website.
Here’s an example of a well-structured website layout:
To achieve a higher search-engine results page (SERP) ranking, you also need to optimize your URLs so that they are SEO- and user-friendly. Your URLs should become more apparent, relevant, and optimized with keywords.
If your website has long URLs, it’s recommended that you shorten them, as Google has a hard time crawling long URLs.
On-Page SEO Optimization
Page titles have huge SEO potential due to their impact on a page’s Click-Through Rate (CTR). Title tags are important because they inform both the user and the search engines about your page.
A properly optimized title should be 50-60 characters long, and it must contain keywords.
Similarly, meta description data is the content that appears directly below the page title on a search result. This information plays a pivotal role in a page’s CTR. So how can you optimize them? Some tips include:
- Keep the description shorter than 150 characters
- Each page should have a personalized description
- Don’t be wordy
- Sell your value proposition from the start by including incentives
Optimize Your Images
A page’s loading time plays a crucial role in how Google ranks that page. A typical reason for slow-loading eCommerce websites is when product pages have large images that take longer to load.
You can resolve this issue by compressing your images before uploading them. Try to keep the images under 2 MB each. You can use image compression software such as TinyPNG for this.
The image optimization process does not stop there. It’s essential to optimize image titles with keywords for SEO purposes. By making the file name more descriptive, Google’s algorithm can quickly identify what the image is about.
Image optimization also calls for the use of alt text. This is the text that appears when a page has a problem loading. Always remember to be concise with your keywords.
Schema.org Markup Strategy
Schema.org is a collaborative community project whose goal is to design, maintain, and promote structured data schemas on the Internet. In addition to employees from the original corporations (Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex), the greater Web community participates heavily via public email lists.
Optimizing your schema.org markup strategy will help Google understand your page better and result in a higher CTR.
Some of the most common schema properties include:
- Product schema
- Reviews and rating schema
- Business details, including contact details
- Breadcrumb markup
- Product availability schema
Internal Linking Strategy
Internal linking is the act of linking to other pages on your website. The great thing about internal linking is that it can boost your SEO as you choose your anchor text. Always make sure that you are linking to relevant pages, and remember to vary your anchor text.
SMERush’s Site Audit Tool can help identify potential problems with your internal link structure.
The calls to action (CTAs) that you include on your website should incentivize potential buyers into taking action (i.e., making a purchase) on your website.
To help you optimize your CTAs, you can use a tool like SMERush’s On-Page SEO Checker to find on-page SEO ideas based on your competitor’s top ten keywords.
The number one rule in content marketing is to create content that your audience will want to share and engage with.
Having a blog for your eCommerce website is a great way to execute a long-tail keywords strategy by including keywords in your articles. This helps you implement your keywords strategy while creating compelling content for your audience to learn more about your company and your products.
Leverage Social Media: By publishing compelling content on social media regularly, you will see a positive impact on your product and category pages’ rankings on SERPs. You will experience this positive outcome because social media presence helps create site authority for your website.
By growing your customer recognition and getting click-throughs via backlinks from other websites through social channels, search engines will rank your website higher. This signals to them that your website is authoritative.
Influencer Marketing: Influencers are people within your industry who aren’t your direct competitors and have a high domain authority via the website or through a large social media following.
Working with influencers can be the difference between a good campaign and a great one. According to Tomoson, for every $1 spent on influencer marketing, brands make an average return on investment of $6.50.
Influencers play a crucial role in helping build backlinks to your website. The goal is to have influencers share your product link via their website or social channels, and you can do this by building a relationship with them.
Viral Video Marketing: Video is the most popular form of content consumption on the internet after text. Furthermore, 90% of consumers online say video content helps them when making purchasing decisions.
And what’s great about video marketing is that you can repurpose your videos for use on other channels to communicate with customers. Your imagination only limits its applications. It is a worthwhile investment.
Local SEO Optimization: This might not apply to everyone, but it’s crucial for small-business owners with a physical storefront or eCommerce store owners looking to increase local sales.
The first thing you need to do is claim your Google My Business profile. This Google feature allows you to put your business information online so that when people in your area are looking for your services, your business will pop up as a result under local companies offering the service or product in question.
Once you have a Google My Business profile, you can publish your key business information, such as your address, hours of operation, pictures, and reviews.
Next, you need to build local citations. These are backlinks from local media. Your citations can be taken from a local newspaper article about your business, a press release, or a magazine. Citations are influential because they will help Google view your company as being popular in your area.
Lastly, getting backlinks from local websites is a great way to build domain authority. We often recommend that our clients try to get an article published about them on local news outlets.
How to Resolve Common SEO Issues On Your eCommerce Website
Along with helping create a strong campaign to grow your business, a good eCommerce SEO agency can help you fix some common problems that may develop.
Issue 1: Too Many Pages
Having too many pages on your eCommerce website can present you with a plethora of problems. For example, it could be hard to write unique content for each page effectively, and you might duplicate some content, as well.
Some eCommerce sites have too many products for sale. Each product requires its page, which causes an accumulation of pages.
Also, each variation of a product may require its own individual page, leading to additional pages on your website.
How To Fix This Issue
The first step is to determine which pages you may remove or noindex without impacting your sales.
According to Backlinko, 20% of an eCommerce website’s product variety generates 80% of its revenues.
You’re better off removing or indexing sites that aren’t bringing in any revenue than concentrating on improving them.
Most eCommerce content management systems (CMSs) make identifying and noindexing pages that haven’t earned income in a long time simple.
Pro Tip: Check Google Analytics to see if these pages aren’t driving any traffic to the store. If a page isn’t driving traffic and isn’t making any sales, consider deleting that page.
Deadweight pages can make up about 5-10% of your website. In some extreme cases, the number can be as high as 50%.
Once you optimize your website by deleting non-performing pages, it’s time to start optimizing the pages that are left.
Issue 2: Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is a common SEO issue, and it can significantly lower your search rankings on Google. Fear not, though — you can quickly resolve this issue by creating unique content for all your website’s pages and using SEO techniques like canonical tags.
The three most common reasons why duplicate content occurs are:
- Unique URLs for product variations
- Boilerplate content that appears on multiple pages
- Copied descriptions
How To Fix This Issue
The first step that you can take is to noindex pages that aren’t bringing in any search traffic or sales. An example of this would be category filters that generate unique URLs.
The next step in the process is to use canonical tags. A canonical tag tells search engines that certain pages are duplicates or slight variations of the same page. When a search crawler sees a canonical tag on a page, it knows not to treat it as a unique page.
Not only does using canonical tags solve your duplicate content issues, but it also makes your backlinks more valuable because the links reroute back to a single link.
Issue 3: Thin Content
The term “thin content” refers to content that is of little or no use to the user. Thin content is a technical SEO problem that eCommerce websites face apart from duplicate content. It refers to pages with very little content on them, and even the largest companies have had to deal with this issue. For example, eBay lost over 33% in organic traffic due to a thin content penalty imposed by Google Panda.
One of the biggest reasons why eCommerce websites suffer from thin content issues is that it’s challenging to write long, unique content about similar products. A good rule to follow when writing product and category pages is to ensure that the content is not less than 500 words (preferably more than 1,000 words).
How To Fix This Issue
Identify pages on your website with thin content. Raven Tools scans your website and identifies pages with fewer than 250 words as thin content pages.
Once you’ve identified thin content pages, the next step is to optimize them with unique and compelling content. Here’s a template for writing killer product descriptions for your website courtesy of Backlinko.
Issue 4: Website Speed
Google has publicly stated that they use speed as a measuring metric for their search algorithm. Site speed not only plays a vital role in how your website gets ranked by Google, but it also affects your bottom line.
A research study conducted by Radware found that slow load times can increase cart abandonment by 29.8%.
The three most common reasons why eCommerce platforms load slowly are:
- Bloated Platforms: Some eCommerce platforms are slow due to excessive code; unlike with CMS platforms like WordPress, you can install a plugin to solve this issue.
- Large Image File Sizes: High-resolution images are great for your customer’s viewing pleasure, but they hack away at your page’s loading time.
- Slow Hosting: Ever heard the adage “You get what you pay for”? When it comes to web hosting, this cliche couldn’t be any more truthful.
How To Fix This Issue
There are three potential ways you can improve your website’s speed:
- Upgrade Your Hosting Plan: The provider you use for your hosting needs is your prerogative. However, your hosting plan should cost at least $50 a month; anything less than that will affect your website’s overall speed.
- Invest in a CDN: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to significantly boost your website’s loading time. It also protects your websites from hacker attacks.
- Use An Image Compression Tool: We can not stress the importance of ensuring that your product images are 1-2MB.
Working with a SEO agency on your eCommerce website is definitely something you ought to consider if you are ready to take your eCommerce business to the next level.