What is eCommerce SEO? eCommerce SEO is the process of making your online store rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs).
In this guide by Seomarketingmap.com, you are going to learn how eCommerce sites improve SEO and why SEO is required.
Is SEO important for eCommerce?
If you had an offline store, would it be important to have your storefront on a busy street? Your guess is as good as mine! eCommerce SEO is the offline equivalent of having your store on a busy street.
Why SEO is required for eCommerce sites has a lot to do with statistics and behavioral patterns of online shoppers themselves.
According to nchannel, 44% of online stores’ traffic comes from Google search. A stat SEMRUSH closely agrees with. That is to say that approximately 4 in every 10 persons that visit an eCommerce site come in via search engines.
So, the real question is this, if you had an opportunity to have your store in a location where 4 in every 10 persons that come along would visit your store, would you take it?
Now that we have seen why SEO is required for eCommerce sites, let’s take a look at how eCommerce sites improve SEO.
How do eCommerce sites improve SEO?
Commerce SEO Vs Regular SEO? Although similar in some ways but eCommerce SEO requires a little bit of a different approach.
If you want to improve SEO of your eCommerce site, there’s only one major thing you need to do and that is to rank your individual products and category pages. As simple as that sounds, you’ll need a robust eCommerce SEO strategy to achieve that.
eCommerce SEO strategy
In this guide on how eCommerce sites improve SEO, the goal is to rank individual product and category pages.
Below is a proven eCommerce SEO strategy which the big guys use for ranking their product and category pages.
- Competitor Keyword Research
- Website Architecture
- On-Page SEO
- Link Building
1. Competitor Keyword Research
You probably already know the place of competition and keyword in SEO practice. For eCommerce SEO, the stakes are even much higher. The reason for this is that your list of keywords plays an important part in the results you achieve with the rest of your SEO strategy. That is why eCommerce Websites Should have a Unique SEO Strategy.
If you follow this guide, you’ll learn how to access a free goldmine of your competitors’ keywords and how to use them to your advantage.
Virtually every business out there has at least one competitor. If you’ve one or two competitors who are ranking high on SERPs; you will need to do some keywords research on them. There are mostly two kinds of keyword research you can conduct – namely:
- Product Keywords
- Category Keywords
The essence of this research is to gain valuable insight for your site’s SEO.
How to Research Your Competitor’s Product Keywords
Regular SEO keyword research takes the form of informational keyword searches (e.g. how to make coffee). For eCommerce SEO is more of product keywords searches (e.g. cheap running shoes).
Let’s assume your eCommerce site deals on baby stuff. One of your highest ranking industry competitors happen to be ebay.ca. So, head over to their website and start your keywords exploration.
Here’s how to do it below:
You will need to copy out the best keywords for you and save them somewhere else. At the end of the day, you are to use these competitor generated long tail keywords to optimize similar products and categories pages of your site. Repeat the same process for similar products and categories you have on your site. You can also repeat this process for other high ranking competitors that you might have.
However, before you might want to proceed to use these competitor-generated long tail keywords as is, you might want to read on for a guide on keyword competition.
How to Spy on Your Competitor’s Category Keywords
Although eCommerce category pages may not bring as many conversions as product pages, they do have some benefits when optimized.
To perform a category keyword research on your competitors, follow a similar approach as with product keyword research.
Using Costco.ca as our example, here’s how it’s done in picture:
After you have obtained an applicable list of category keywords, go on to use them to optimize your site’s category pages.
Always take cognizance of the fact that you might have to optimize both your product and category pages to rank for low volume keywords. You do not have to compete for exactly the same high volume keywords as your competitors if you’re just starting out. This article on how to spy on your competitor’s online strategy will show you how to work with the keywords that you already have.
2. Website Architecture
The subject of ideal website architecture for an eCommerce site is a bit tricky, but with a few illustrations, you should be able to understand it.
Brian Dean of Backlinko has this to say about eCommerce site architecture:
There are two important rules to keep in mind when it comes to setting up your eCommerce site’s structure:
Golden Rule #1: Keep things simple and scalable
Golden Rule #2: Keep every page three (or fewer) clicks from your homepage
Without wasting much time, I will show you an example of how not to set up your site architecture and another example of how to.
How not to:
Now, the advantage of “how to” over “how not to” is that link authority is not compromised across the levels. Having your category and product pages at most three clicks away from the home page keeps link authority concentrated on them. This will help your category and product pages rank on Google.
Even Costco used in our example uses the at most 3 clicks away from home page strategy to rank its category and product pages on Google.
See what theirs looks like below:
3. Link Building
In this subheading under how eCommerce sites improve SEO, we’re going to focus on 2 types of link building that matters – namely:
- URL Formations
- URL Formations
In URL formations for eCommerce sites, it is important to form keyword rich URLs. It helps search engines understand what your page is about.
Although an eCommerce site will naturally have longer URLs than regular sites owing to the category/subcategory/product inclusion. However, it is important that you keep it as short as it can ever be. A study of 1 million URLs showed that shorter URLs rank better in Google.
A careful study of Costco website will reveal that there are first departments, then categories, subcategories and lastly product pages. Going by that structure, Costco URLs should look something like this:
But no, it wasn’t formed like that. A more SEO friendly form in use by Costco is:
A real product example on Costco website looks like this:
A real product example on ebay website looks like this:
Both your category, subcategory and product descriptions shouldn’t really exceed two words, three at most. The shorter it is the better.
Strategic internal inking is really a very solid strategy to send link juice down to category and product pages that matter.
Under normal circumstances, an eCommerce site’ pages should automatically generate internal links naturally.
However, some unique cases require conscious effort at interlinking. For example, if you’ve a closely related post page on an eCommerce site already receiving a lot of traffic, you might want to strategically interlink it to a high priority product page for easy conversion.
4. On-Page SEO
We’ve previously established that category and product pages account for more than half the total traffic of eCommerce sites. It is really important to consciously optimize these two sets of pages with keywords that matter.
You’re probably wondering if you have to optimize your product pages one after the other bearing in mind that they could be too many. Well, yes, that’s the actual work that needs to be done. However, if you have far too many category and product pages, it is best you start with your high priority product pages.
Recall our competitor-generated keywords which we talked about earlier in this post, here is the time to strategically utilize them for your advantage. In optimizing your product and category pages, you might want to include long tail ends to them.
For example, if you have generated keywords like running shoes men. You might want to optimize your running shoes product page using long tail keywords such as cheap running shoes men, men running shoes made in Canada, X% off men running shoes etc. You probably know that long tail keywords convert better and can also be less competitive.
To wrap up, eCommerce SEO is just as important as regular SEO. However product and category pages bring the highest organic traffic and conversions to an eCommerce site. It is important that you focus most of your SEO strategy in optimizing both pages.
Haven seen what is eCommerce SEO and how eCommerce sites improve SEO, we hope you have seen why SEO is required.