Every business is different, therefore, your SEO strategy should be personalized to fit the needs of your website. This is especially true for e-commerce websites. While the basic pillars of SEO remain, you’ll need to tailor your strategy to accommodate your users. A quick refresher: SEO, or search engine optimization, is a form of web marketing geared towards reaching the first page (ideally, the top hit) of search engines. There are multiple factors that go into SEO, often everchanging, but relevancy is a key contributor.
According to Statistica, a 2017 survey indicated that 40% of internet users in the US purchased items online several times in a month, and those sales are expected to double by 2020! SEO trends are always changing, but as an e-commerce website, here are some factors you should consider in your SEO strategy.
Keywords are a vital part of your content, and search engines use them to determine whether your website is relevant to what a user. Begin your SEO strategy by determining your target audience. You can do this through social media, google analytics, and buyer personas. Buyer personas are essentially profiles of your ideal customers. Now, ask yourself, “What are users typing into search engines when they research products like mine?”
While there are various keyword planners out there, you should know that those keywords are the same for every business in your industry. Instead, Google Search Console shows you backlinks, errors on your website, structured data, and keywords that you already rank for. Search Console even offers a Search Analytics Report that tells you how often your websites shows up on SERPs (search engine results pages) and the keywords you already rank for.
To expand your keyword bank, consider words that are brand-specific. Use those along with keywords you already rank for to find long-tail keywords. Keyword.io lets you type in a “seed keyword” and spits out a slew of long tail keywords. Oh, and it’s free! Also consider LSI keywords, or latent semantic indexing keywords. These are synonymous keywords or keywords that fall in the same category. For example, “IT maintenance” and “security updates” could be considered LSI keywords because they fall within the same topic. An easy way to determine LSI keywords is to type a keyword into Google, look at the autofill suggestions, and check out the related searches at the bottom of the page.
Now that you have a substantial keyword collection going on, it’s time to use them. Use them in URLs, meta descriptions, title tags, product descriptions, atl-image texts, etc. If you have a blog on your site, incorporate them, but avoid “keyword stuffing.” In the case of a blog post, keywords shouldn’t dictate the content, rather your content should naturally include those keywords.
E-commerce content is a little different from the norm. There’s product descriptions, customer reviews, and perhaps a blog. Websites often use blogs to funnel users to conversion pages through internal links. However, sometimes a blog just doesn’t go with your e-commerce site.
The most important part of any e-commerce site is the products, and that’s where most of your content will be focused. Product pages are your chance to incorporate keywords and expand your catalog. Make sure that each product page is optimized for search engines.
Another common piece of content on e-commerce sites is product reviews. Give customers a way to send feedback. This will help with your website’s relevancy and authority on search engines, and it also looks good. At the very least, you get some honest feedback about you can improve your products.
3. Structured Data
Sometimes search engines need help translating a website. That’s where structured data comes into play. Structured data uses in-page markup to read your website’s content and organize it on SERPs. Your content might show up on SERPs as a graph, a list, a rich snippet, star ratings, etc. You’ve probably seen these features before.
Major search engines recognize structured data that uses vocabulary from schema.org. For example, e-commerce websites feature multiple products. Use the schema properties for “Product.” With Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, enter the URL of the product page you want to add structured data. Tag the page using the properties for “Product.” Once you’re done tagging, the Helper will give you an HTML code that you can insert into the page’s code, usually in the body. Use the structured data testing tool to make sure you’ve entered your data correctly.
4. Local SEO
E-commerce websites definitely serve as a convenience to your customers. They can shop without ever leaving the couch. A website is certainly enough to sustain a company. In fact, e-commerce has become preferable over traditional storefronts. For example, bookstores have been a steady (and steep) decline since 2004. Why go to the store when you can order online? Still, for other industries, it’s common to have a physical location. People still like to try things on or compare online images with the real thing.
With local SEO, you can tap into an audience that you’re already familiar with. Customers use local search every day to find goods and services in their area. A great way to improve your local SEO is with Google My Business. It’s a free listing that takes the important information about your business (location, hours, phone number, ratings etc) and organizes it into a rich card on SERPs. It’ll look something like this:
- “Localize” your website by including your location and contact information throughout your website, or on a global feature like the footer.
- Make sure your business is on citation sites like Yelp and Yellowbook. These are essentially backlinks to your website and display your contact information prominently.
- Give your customers a way to review your products and/or services directly on your website. The higher the rating, the more relevant your business is, and therefore the better it will rank on SERPs.
- Optimize your site for voice search. How many times do you ask search engines to find a business “near me”? Google My Business serves this point as well as structured data. As you did with schema properties for “products,” do the same with properties for “LocalBusiness.”
5. Site Architecture
Another great strategy to improve site architecture is through user stories. With the knowledge you have your audience members, you can create user stories to explain where the user goes on your site and for what purpose. This will help you organize your site in a way that highlights important product categories and/or services. This will also help you tailor your content if you’re using a blog to attract visitors. Always use internal links to capture those blog readers and guide them towards a conversion.
Finally, make sure your site runs smoothly and there are no broken links. Simple maintenance issues and ugly error pages will deter customers. More importantly, join the movement for a safer web. Major search engines will flag your site if you don’t have an SSL certificate, not to mention search engines rank make secure websites a priority when it comes to SEO.
A simple website audit and a basic SSL certificate can get you started on your SEO strategy. Although we boast full-scale development and managed hosting, we also offer consulting for SEO and maintenance plans. Let Sevaa Group help you make the most of your website!