Whether your ecommerce business has a physical store or not, one of the best long-term strategies is with search engine optimization (SEO). With the right approach, you’ll make consistent sales and rise above your competition.
93% of online experiences start with search. The idea is to have your site in the top 5 spots whenever shoppers search for your product or brands online. Missing the top five spots on the first SERP (Search Engine Results Page) means less opportunity to get clicks and sell your products.
More than 65% of consumers conduct online product research before stepping foot in a store, amplifying the need for retailers to optimize digital experiences
SEO is all about improving rankings, driving traffic, increasing product and brand awareness. However, optimizing an ecommerce website is a lot different than other types of websites.
The Difference Between Ecommerce SEO and Local SEO
Ecommerce SEO optimizes individual pages and products so that each one will rank higher and get more clicks than their competitor’s pages or products. Local SEO focuses on searching for businesses in a specific geographic location.
The dynamic nature of ecommerce makes SEO challenging due to the constant turnover in inventory. Ecommerce SEO is a broad topic, and many elements contribute to increasing your page rank.
According to Seer Interactive - Ecommerce SEO Strategy Yields 64% Increase in Organic Revenue
Power brands already have the advantage of brand awareness and loyal followers. However, it is crucial that they use proper SEO brand strategies to funnel customers to their products or their competitors will sneak in and siphon away the clicks and sales.
Here are recommended strategies that can be incorporated for better brand awareness and product sales.
17 Primary SEO Strategies for Power Brands
While some of these tactics may seem rudimentary and intuitive, leaving any of these out of your SEO brand strategy will make it harder for your customers to find specific products and lower your page rank.
- Run HTTPS Instead of HTTP- Switching to HTTPS makes all the personal data that you collect on your site encrypted, not just credit cards.
- On-Page SEO Optimizations – On-page SEO generates free inbound organic, targeted traffic that continues for the life of the page. You can refer to Kissmetrics for a 13-point checklist.
- Make URLs for Search Engines to Crawl and Easy to Read - Keep them short as possible using short relevant keywords.
- Rich Snippets and Applying Structured Data – Large ecommerce sites can dramatically boost rank by providing ratings, price, availability and other exact information to search engines using rich snippets. Moz has five essential rich snippets for ecommerce examples here.
- Use Long-Tail Keywords - 70% of searches use long tail keywords, and they are a goldmine of opportunity because they share the searcher’s intent and mean a buyer is close to the end of his or her journey. These keyword phrases are low competition and highly relevant exact match.
- Flush Out Duplicate Content – This often happens with sites that use tables to showcase multiple products. Google penalizes duplicate content. Use XML-sitemaps or Google Webmaster Tools to sniff it out.
- Unique Product Descriptions – Avoid using the manufacture’s description by writing original descriptions featuring relevant keywords and brand.
- Include Product Reviews – Google loves UGC (User Generated Content). Be sure to add an app and fields to allow users to add comments and reviews. Shopify, BigCommerce, and Magento have apps to add reviews to your pages.
- Make Your Site Mobile Friendly for Google – This is critical for ecommerce sites. As of 2016, Google has started ranking both desktop and mobile sites by using the metrics from the mobile site. A poor mobile experience will drag down your ranking. To learn more, go to Google’s article, “Mobile-first Indexing.”
- Increase Page Speed – use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool or GTmetrix to learn how to improve the user experience.
- Avoid Keyword Cannibalization - That’s where you try and rank for the same word on two or more pages, diluting your rankings.
- The Title Tag - The title is the most critical page element, both search engines and searchers use it. Make sure there is only one per page, that it is unique, and relevant to the product.
- Internal Linking - Create many internal links to boost rankings and establish a page hierarchy for the Google bots. Yoast covers the details of internal linking.
- Meta Descriptions are Vital for SEM - Keep them between 50 and 300 characters and natural for humans to read. They should be descriptive to provide value to searchers.
- Use H2 Headings Naturally – They help search engines determine page relevance. Keep H2 titles under 70 characters.
- Use Image ALT Tags for Images or Graphics – Add descriptions and model numbers to the tags to increase the SEO.
- Use 301 Redirects to Take Advantage of Older Content– If you overhaul your website, use a 301 redirect to be sure the search engines find the older content instead of returning a 404 Not found message. Wikipedia has an example of an HTML 301 redirect.
Using all these elements of SEO will propel your pages to the top ranks, increasing clicks and sales. However, there are two other strategies for SEO that power brands should incorporate for maximum results.
2 Additional SEO Strategies
Backlinking and leveraging your power brand name are advanced SEO options.
Link Building for ECommerce
Link building or backlinking is a valuable long-term traffic building tactic. The effort and dedication pay off over time like compound interest.
There are some ways to create backlinks such as clever marketing or just asking site owners directly for them. One excellent source for link building ideas is this article by Moz. By referring you to their article, they earn a quality backlink from us. You can do the same with your content, and that’s only one of many techniques.
While link building and SEO are the best ways to improve your organic traffic, there is one more step to increase your brand’s reach and image.
Add your brand name to everything in your marketing arsenals such as video, emails, and meta tags. It seems a simple idea, yet many companies disregard this technique that can help build their brand.
A branded SEO campaign targets many long-tail branded keywords like “Bose over-ear wireless noise-canceling headphones.” While there are a few models of wireless noise-canceling headphones, there is only one “Bose.” By adding your brand, it will rise to the top of the SERP naturally due to its relevance.
SEO for Ecommerce Wins the Click War
Optimizing your pages by applying Google’s best practices helps the search engines find your pages faster and increases your rankings. Although Google changes their algorithm all the time, these tips should remain valid for a while.
SEO for your ecommerce pages gives you a competitive edge over sites that are not optimized. More importantly, your customers can find everything they want and check out more easily. A positive UX means repeat business. Proper SEO gives you the opportunity to sell more often.