SEO for Ecommerce, Ultimate Guide for Online Stores

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Welcome to the ultimate guide for Online Stores looking to optimize their SEO strategy! In today’s crowded digital marketplace, it’s crucial for ecommerce businesses to have a strong online presence and rank high on search engines. This guide will provide you with invaluable insights and practical tips to boost your visibility, attract more qualified traffic, and ultimately drive conversions.

SEO for ecommerce is a specialized field that requires a deep understanding of both search engine algorithms and consumer behavior. It involves everything from writing great product descriptions to designing a fast-loading website.

With the right approach, you can ensure that your online store stands out from the competition and reaches the right audience at the right time.

In This Guide

From keyword research and on-page optimization to technical SEO and conversion rate optimization, we’ll cover all the essential aspects of SEO for e-commerce.

Whether you’re a small boutique or a large-scale online retailer, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and strategies needed to succeed in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

Get ready to take your online store to new heights and unlock its true potential. Let’s dive in and optimize your ecommerce SEO like never before!

>> If you’re looking for more than SEO, explore our new post, Trends in Ecommerce (2024)

Why is SEO Important for Ecommerce?

SEO plays a crucial role in the success of an ecommerce business. With the increasing competition in the online marketplace, it’s essential to have a strong SEO strategy to stand out from the crowd and attract qualified traffic to your online store.

Google Analytics Showing Organic Traffic Growth for Ecommerce SEO
2023-2024 Traffic Growth. Ecommerce SEO for one of our UK online stores grew traffic from less than 500 users per day to 2,000 daily traffic.

One of the key reasons why SEO is important for ecommerce is its ability to drive organic traffic. When your website appears on the first page of search engine results, it increases your visibility and chances of attracting potential customers.

Studies have shown that the majority of users don’t go beyond the first page of search results, making it crucial to rank high for relevant keywords.

As of January 2024, Google holds 91% of all search engine traffic.

Techopedia.com/google-search-statistics

Moreover, SEO helps improve the user experience on your ecommerce website. By optimizing your site’s structure, navigation, and content, you can make it easier for users to find what they’re looking for and navigate through your product pages. This enhanced user experience not only improves customer satisfaction but also increases the likelihood of conversions.

Furthermore, a well-executed SEO strategy can help build trust and credibility for your online store. When your website appears in top search results, it signals to users that your business is reputable and trustworthy. This trust factor can significantly impact the decision-making process of potential customers, leading to higher conversion rates.

92-95% of traffic comes from the first page of search results

See Footnotes1

In summary, SEO is crucial for ecommerce because it drives organic traffic, improves user experience, and builds trust and credibility for your online store. By investing in a comprehensive SEO strategy, you can position your business for long-term success in the digital marketplace.

Key Elements of Ecommerce SEO

To effectively optimize your ecommerce website for search engines, it’s important to understand the key elements that influence its visibility in search results. By focusing on these elements, you can improve your website’s rankings and attract more qualified traffic. When we work on SEO projects for e-commerce clients, this is where we start.

  • Keyword research: Conducting thorough keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. By identifying relevant keywords that align with your products and target audience, you can optimize your website’s content and meta tags to improve visibility in search results.
  • On-page optimization: On-page optimization refers to optimizing individual web pages to rank higher and earn more relevant traffic. This includes optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, headings, and URL structures. By incorporating target keywords strategically and optimizing these elements, you can improve your website’s visibility and click-through rates.
  • Technical SEO: Technical SEO focuses on optimizing the technical aspects of your website to improve its crawlability and indexability by search engines. This includes optimizing website speed, implementing structured data markup, fixing broken links, and ensuring proper XML sitemap and robots.txt file setup. By addressing these technical issues, you can improve your website’s overall SEO performance.
  • Content marketing: Content marketing is a crucial aspect of ecommerce SEO. By creating high-quality, relevant, and engaging content, you can attract more organic traffic, earn backlinks, and establish your brand as an industry authority. Whether it’s blog posts, product descriptions, or informational pages, investing in content marketing can significantly boost your website’s visibility and rankings.
  • Link building: Building high-quality backlinks to your ecommerce website is essential for SEO success. Backlinks from authoritative and relevant websites signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy and relevant. By implementing a strategic link-building campaign, you can improve your website’s authority and increase its chances of ranking higher in search results.

Shopify SEO

Many of our clients go to Shopify as their starting point in creating an online store. Whether it’s clothing, fitness supplies, or custom stickers Shopify is often used because it’s simple and handles all the website background work for you – including payment processing.

Is Shopify Good for Seo?

Shopify offers a user-friendly platform with built-in SEO features like automatic sitemap generation and mobile-responsiveness. However, extensive customization for SEO can be limited compared to other platforms. The good news is that Shopify stores can still achieve excellent SEO results with the right strategies.

Shopify SEO Apps are Easy to Install
SEO for Shopify is simplified with Shopify Apps, but be warned, without knowing how SEO works on Shopify many online store owners end up bloating the code on their site. This slows performance, which destroys e-commerce renevue. Website performance is the quickly way to undermine your SEO and Advertising efforts.

Shopify SEO Agency

Considering an SEO agency specializing in Shopify can be a strategic move. These agencies understand the specific nuances of Shopify’s platform and can help you with tasks like keyword research, on-page optimization, and link building.

Explore our SEO Packages

How to Rank Your Shopify Store on Google

Your Shopify rank is the primary objective of SEO strategy, and yes, you can have your online store rank high on Google! While many SEO features are simple to use in Shopify, we recommend focusing on these first:

  • Website organization with clear collections, navigation, and URLs.
  • Quality product descriptions and titles (see below).
  • Create complementary content in a blog to target information search intent in addition to commercial searches.

WooCommerce SEO

WooCommerce is one of the most popular e-commerce plugins for websites built on WordPress – which is most websites. We build most of client online stores on WooCommerce and only rarely suggest Shopify.

However, many of our projects involve cleaning up WooCommerce. That’s because it’s easy and free to DIY an e-commerce site with WooCommerce.

The problem is, it’s easy to do it wrong too.

Here are some tips and pitfalls to avoid.

Is WooCommerce Good for SEO?

WooCommerce is an excellent platform for SEO-focused ecommerce businesses. Built on WordPress, WooCommerce inherits a strong foundation for SEO. It offers great flexibility for customization, allowing you to optimize product pages, meta descriptions, and URLs.

Additionally, there’s a vast ecosystem of SEO plugins specifically designed to work seamlessly with WooCommerce, giving you powerful tools to enhance your store’s search engine visibility.

Pitfalls to Avoid with WooCommerce

  • Using too many plugins
  • Installing an SEO plugin and thinking it’s done.
  • Setting up an SEO plugin and thinking it’s done.
  • Using too large images, slowing website load times.
  • Theme Selection: Choosing a well-coded, lightweight, and SEO-friendly theme is crucial.
  • Content Management: WooCommerce itself doesn’t have built-in content management features like Shopify. You’ll need to leverage the power of WordPress blogging functionality to create SEO-rich content that complements your products.

By focusing on these key elements of ecommerce SEO, you can lay a solid foundation for your website’s visibility and success in search engine rankings. Each element works in harmony to improve your website’s rankings, attract more qualified traffic, and ultimately drive conversions.

Conducting Keyword Research for Ecommerce Websites

Keyword research is the foundation of any successful SEO strategy. It’s a crucial first step when planning your website. It will guide your URL structures, collections, and product names. Keyword research also shows the demand for your products in a given market.

Keyword Research for Ecommerce SEO. This example from one of our clients shows opportunities for keywords and product pages to rank higher for a keyword - "men's gym t-shirt".
Ecommerce Keyword Research – This example from one of our clients shows opportunities for keywords and product pages to rank higher for a keyword – “men’s gym t-shirt”. The keyword has 390 volume (monthly searches). It’s difficulty is 15/100, which means there’s low competition. And the online store is currently ranked for position 28 (3rd page of SERP). With eccomerce SEO effort, we can improve that ranking quickly.

For ecommerce websites, it’s crucial to identify the keywords that are relevant to your products and have sufficient search volume. Start by brainstorming a list of potential keywords that your target audience might use when searching for products like yours.

Tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, and Ahrefs can also provide valuable insights into keyword search volume, competition, and related terms. To get the full benefits of these tools, you’ll need to pay for their pro tools. (Shameless plug – we provide these tools to our premium clients free of charge).

Once you have a list of potential keywords, it’s time to evaluate their potential.

When we conduct keyword research, we look for relevant search volume and low competition. We also prefer targeting low density keywords for paid ads. Long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases, can be especially valuable for ecommerce websites as they often indicate a higher level of purchase intent.

For example, instead of targeting the broad keyword “shoes,” you could target a long-tail keyword like “women’s running shoes for flat feet.”

Optimize Product Pages for Search Engines

Optimizing for search engines in 2024 and beyond means one thing – optimizing for speed and user experience. In Ecommerce SEO, it’s particularly important to optimize your product pages.

Product pages are the heart and soul of any ecommerce website. They are where customers make purchasing decisions, and they can also be a powerful tool for boosting your search engine rankings. To optimize your product pages for search engines, start by ensuring that each page has a unique and descriptive title tag. The title tag should include your primary keyword, as well as a compelling description of the product.

Using product tags as a tool for ecommerce seo.
Product tags help customers discover products they might not find through browsing categories. In your example, someone looking for “island time” products might not think to look under “Drinkware” or “Accessories” but a tag cloud or a link to the “Island Time” archive page in the menu helps them find exactly what they’re looking for.

Next, optimize the meta description for each product page. The meta description is the snippet of text that appears below the title tag on search engine results pages. It should provide a concise and enticing summary of the product, using relevant keywords to attract potential customers.

When it comes to the product description itself, aim for a healthy balance between keyword optimization and persuasive copywriting.

Ever seen those descriptions on Amazon where someone stuffs all sorts of keywords into the text?

If feels like gibberish.

That’s bad.

Include your primary keyword naturally throughout the description, but focus on creating a compelling and informative description that will engage potential buyers. Use bullet points, headers, and other formatting techniques to make the information easy to scan and digest.

Product Pages are the Core of SEO for Ecommerce Websites. Using clear URLs, a single category, and 2-4 tags is essential for SEO.
Product Pages are the Core of SEO for Ecommerce Websites. Using clear URLs, a single category, and 2-4 tags is essential for SEO.

Finally, don’t forget to optimize the product images on your ecommerce website. Use descriptive file names and alt tags that include relevant keywords. This will not only improve the accessibility of your website but also provide additional opportunities for search engines to understand and rank your product pages.

Creating Compelling and SEO-Friendly Product Descriptions

Product descriptions play a vital role in informing and persuading potential customers. They provide crucial details about the product, highlight its features and benefits, and help customers make informed purchasing decisions. But product descriptions can also be a powerful tool for SEO when done right.

To create compelling and SEO-friendly product descriptions, start by conducting keyword research specific to each product. Identify the primary keyword that best represents the product and its features.

Then, incorporate that keyword naturally throughout the description, ensuring that it reads well and provides value to the customer.

In addition to keyword optimization, focus on creating unique and engaging product descriptions that set your online store apart from the competition. Avoid using generic manufacturer descriptions or copying content from other websites. Instead, highlight the unique selling points of the product, its benefits, and how it solves the customer’s problem or meets their needs.

Consider incorporating customer reviews and testimonials into your product descriptions. Not only does this provide social proof and build trust with potential customers, but it also adds fresh and unique content to your ecommerce website.

Search engines love fresh and unique content, so leveraging customer reviews can give your product pages an SEO boost.

Remember to keep your product descriptions concise, easy to read, and visually appealing. Use bullet points, headers, and other formatting techniques to break up the text and make it scannable. This not only improves the user experience but also makes it easier for search engines to crawl and understand your product pages.

Better SEO for Ecommerce by Improving Website Speed and Performance

Website speed and performance are critical factors in both user experience and SEO. A slow-loading e-commerce store will frustrate visitors, increase bounce rates, and negatively impact your search engine rankings. If you want visitors to actually see your products, the website must load quickly instantly.

Faster Loads times for an ecommerce store. Increase Website Performance and Speed can Help SEO - Website Optimization by Mafost Marketing
In late 2023, we worked on a client’s ecommerce site and improved performance from Google Pagespeed score of 28 to 90. This work included a change of hosting to Protilt.org and proper ecommerce landing page design.

To improve your website speed and performance, start by optimizing your product images.

A product page often has 4-10 images showcasing the product. Large image files can significantly slow down your website. Compress and resize your images to reduce their file size without compromising quality.

Most importantly, if you’re product page is only using a picture that’s 450 pixels wide and 450 pixels tall, don’t upload a file that’s 1000 pixels.

Additionally, consider lazy loading images, which means that images are only loaded when they become visible on the user’s screen. This can greatly improve the initial load time of your web pages.

Another important aspect of website speed optimization is caching. Caching reduces the load on your web server by storing static versions of your web pages and serving them to visitors instead of generating them from scratch every time. Implementing browser caching and server-side caching can significantly improve the speed at which your web pages load.

Finally, consider upgrading your web hosting plan if you’re experiencing consistent slow loading times.

RECOMMENDATIONS: We provide managed hosting at Mafost Marketing, but we only use three sources for our servers. We recommend only three hosting providers

A dedicated server or a virtual private server (VPS) can provide more resources and better performance compared to shared hosting. Investing in a reliable hosting provider can make a significant difference in your website’s speed and overall user experience.

Implementing On-Page Optimization Techniques for Ecommerce Sites

On-page optimization is crucial for ecommerce SEO, influencing how search engines rank your product pages and attract potential customers. Here are key techniques with ecommerce-specific examples.

Optimize Your Page and Product Titles

Instead of generic titles like “Women’s Dresses,” be specific like “Flowy Summer Dresses for Women (2024)”. Target relevant keywords and highlight unique selling points. (Ex: Everlane uses titles like “The Organic Cotton Boxy Tee” which includes the material and style).

Compelling Product Meta Descriptions

Focus on benefits and user intent. For example, instead of “Blue Cotton T-Shirt,” craft a description like “Our luxuriously soft blue cotton t-shirt is perfect for everyday wear. Shop now for free shipping!” (Ex: Patagonia uses descriptions emphasizing sustainability and performance in their product meta descriptions).

Product Heading Tags

Use H1 for the product name and H2s for key features like “Material,” “Care Instructions,” or “Size Guide.” This improves readability and helps search engines understand product details. (Ex: REI uses clear H2s like “Tech Specs” and “Features” on product pages).

SEO-Friendly URLs for Products

Instead of dynamic URLs with numbers, use descriptive ones like “summer-dresses/blue-linen-midi-dress.” This improves user experience and search engine understanding. (Ex: The Sill uses clear URLs like “plants/ZZ-Plant” which reflects the product category and specific plant).

Image Alt Text Helps Search Engines Read Product Pictures

Don’t just stuff keywords. Describe the image accurately, including product details and color. (Ex: Instead of “dress image,” use “Long sleeve maxi dress with floral print in black and white”).

Unique and Informative Content

Create high-quality product descriptions beyond just specifications. Include details about fit, material feel, and how the product can be styled. Consider user-generated content like reviews to build trust. (Ex: Outdoor Voices uses lifestyle imagery and customer reviews alongside product descriptions).

UGC User Generated Content on Product Pages can Help SEO - Outdoor Voices image by Mafost Marketing
User Generated Content (UGC) on Product Pages can Help SEO. Outdoor Voices places user-generated Instagram images in a prominent location on each product page. User reviews also are given top space on the product pages. This allows text and image content to expand the product pages.

Structured Data Markup for Online Stores

Implement product schema markup to display rich snippets like star ratings and pricing in search results, leading to a higher click-through rate.

What is structured data? Let’s turn to Google’s own e-commerce help articles for a definition:

Structured data is a standardized machine-readable format for providing information about a page. This can improve the accuracy of Google’s understanding of your content.

Structured data in general is not specific to ecommerce, although some structured data types are. The following resources are useful to learn more about structured data for your ecommerce website.

Google.com

If you’ve read this far, then you’re destined to succeed in SEO for ecommerce. Honestly, 80% of the client sites we’re hired to work on have almost none of the previous SEO recommendations.

However, this is where ecommerce SEO skyrockets.

Backlinks are crucial for ecommerce SEO, acting as votes of confidence for your online store.

All of the previous recommendations are the core – the foundation. Without them, nothing works for e-commerce SEO.

With the foundation in place, it’s time to accelerate e-commerce rankings with backlinks.

Backlinks are crucial for ecommerce SEO, acting as votes of confidence for your online store. Earning high-quality backlinks can significantly boost your website’s authority and organic ranking for product-related searches. Here are some strategies tailored for ecommerce backlink building.

NOTICE – Most businesses that build large quantities of backlinks for e-commerce SEO do so with a budget exceeding $5,000 per month. And that’s not ad budget. That’s SEO budget.

So if you’re a small startup or new online store, consider the tactics below carefully. Many can be done in-house or by a marketing agency dedicated to your size company (…like Mafost Marketing).

Backlink Tactic 1: Create Shoppable Content

We just talked about how UGC is invaluable and gave an example from a popular online store. Creating shoppable content is another way to enrich the search engine optimization of your online store.

Craft informative and engaging blog posts or guides that showcase your products in action. This could include buying guides, gift recommendations, or product comparisons. Integrate high-quality visuals and ensure your products are easily discoverable within the content. This valuable content becomes a resource for other websites to link to when recommending products to their audience.

Ecommerce Example: Sézane uses blog posts like “5 Ways to Style Your Leather Jacket” which features their leather jackets alongside styling tips.

Backlink Tactic 2: Partner with Influencers and Bloggers

Identify relevant reviewers, bloggers, or social media influencers in your niche. Partner with them to provide them with samples for review or collaborate on sponsored content.

Positive reviews with backlinks to your product pages can significantly improve your search ranking and brand trust.

In a 13-month study, nearly 92.3% of the top-ranking domains (within the top 100) had at least one backlink.

SEO Stats, Aug.10, 2023

Backlink Tactic 3: Target Industry Publications and Directories

Research online publications, industry blogs, or niche directories that cater to your target audience. Reach out to editors and propose guest blog posts or product roundups featuring your offerings. Earning backlinks from these relevant publications positions your store as an authority within your industry.

Tip: Find low-cost directories that can provide listings of your online store like the Claros Business Blog.

Ecommerce Example: Backcountry partners with outdoor adventure websites to feature curated gear lists with links back to their product pages.

Backlink Tactic 4: Leverage Broken Link Building

Find relevant websites with broken links to products similar to yours. Contact the website owner and suggest your product page as a replacement. This can be a win-win situation, providing them with a valuable resource and earning you a backlink.

Backlink Tactic 5: Community Building and Engagement

Actively participate in online communities and forums relevant to your niche. Provide valuable insights, answer questions, and establish yourself as a helpful expert. Over time, other community members may link to your store as a trusted resource.

Measuring and Tracking SEO Success for Online Stores

Measuring and tracking the success of your SEO efforts is essential to determine the effectiveness of your strategies and make necessary adjustments. There are several key performance indicators (KPIs) that you should monitor to evaluate the impact of your SEO initiatives.

Imagine playing a game of darts with the lights off and blindfolded.

That’s what working on SEO for ecommerce without proper analytics is.

Now turn on a few metrics, it’s like removing the blind fold.

Next, turn on the lights.

Eyes open and lights on. That’s the importance of knowing how to measure SEO success. It gives you clear view of the bullseye.

One crucial metric is organic traffic, which refers to the number of visitors that come to your website through search engine results. By analyzing the organic traffic, you can assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts in driving qualified visitors to your online store.

Another important KPI is keyword rankings. By tracking how your target keywords perform in search engine results pages (SERPs), you can gauge the visibility and relevance of your ecommerce website.

Additionally, monitoring conversion rates is vital to understand how many visitors are taking the desired actions on your site, such as making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.

This metric helps you evaluate the overall effectiveness of your SEO strategy in terms of generating revenue and achieving your business goals.

In order to track these metrics, you can use various tools such as Google Analytics, which provides valuable insights into your website’s performance.

By regularly analyzing these metrics, you can identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize your SEO strategy.

Conclusion: Ecommerce SEO can Grow Your Online Store

In the competitive world of ecommerce, having a well-optimized SEO strategy is essential to stand out from the crowd, attract qualified traffic, and drive conversions. By conducting thorough keyword research, optimizing your product pages, improving website speed and performance, implementing on-page optimization techniques, and building high-quality backlinks, you can significantly improve your ecommerce website’s visibility and organic rankings.

Remember, SEO is an ongoing process that requires continuous monitoring, testing, and optimization.

Stay up to date with the latest industry trends, algorithm updates, and best practices to ensure that your ecommerce website remains competitive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

With the insights and strategies provided in this ultimate guide, you now have the tools and knowledge to take your online store to new heights. Invest in your ecommerce SEO today and unlock the true potential of your online business. Happy optimizing!

…or hire a pro like us. View our SEO Packages here >>


Footnotes, SEO for Ecommerce

  1. Some sources say 95% and other studies find 90-92% of traffic comes from first page of search results – a critical factor in e-commerce SEO. Citations: https://www.theleverageway.com/blog/how-far-down-the-search-engine-results-page-will-most-people-go/ and https://research.chitika.com/the-value-of-google-result-positioning-2/ ↩︎

Comments

2 responses to “SEO for Ecommerce, Ultimate Guide for Online Stores”

  1. Outdoor Voices Avatar
    Outdoor Voices

    Thanks for showcasing our online store! We appreciate your work and looking forward to future projects.

    1. Matt Foster Avatar
      Matt Foster

      Sure thing!

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