Effective SEO for eCommerce
Effective seo for ecommerce does not matter that you need to rank higher than your competitors on search engine results page, but it all matters if you do not know the SEO tips and tricks that you need to follow to rank on the first page of Google search engine results. If your site is not visible to the users, you will not get enough clicks and the probability of losing potential sales would be high.
No matter whether you started a new ecommerce site or revamping the existing ones, this guide gives you valuable suggestions that let you be on the top of SEO game always
In the current era, it is not just important for the site to appear on the first page, but also should rank first.
A research conducted on search engine watch by Optify in the year 2011 has found that the website ranked on the first has gained the click through rate of over 36.4 percent while the site that ranked second has gained the click through rate of 12.5 percentage and the site that was ranked third got the click through rate of around 9.5 percent.
Another study conducted by Gabe Donnini in the last year found that the number of impressions marked by the site appearing first has got double than the site that is ranked second. This tells the significance of appearing your site on the first position of SERP results.
A person who is no aware of SEO will lose the clicks, impressions and sales for their brand. This would definitely be their costly marketing mistake. So, one should have sound knowledge on SEO. If you are the one who is curious to know on how to rank your ecommerce site better, you need to read on the step by step procedure given in this guide. After reading the entire guide, certainly you will get a clear idea of what is the importance of SEO and how it is impacting your online business. In addition, you also become an SEO expert.
Effective Keyword Research for SEO
Prior to embracing on page and off-page SEO techniques, you need to do keyword research and embed the right and relevant keywords in each page of the site. It is crucial for the site owner to target every page with a primary keyword that is often search by users while looking for the products similar to yours. While doing keyword research, you need to do competitor search to find out the keywords they are targeting.
Why keyword research
Keyword research is the backbone of SEO. Targeting wrong keywords will take a toll on your brand reputation. Despite of spending huge amount on digital marketing, you receive poor traffic and fewer conversions which no business accepts.
Three areas that an SEO expert should focus while doing keyword research include
Find relevant keywords for home and product pages
When you are optimizing the web pages of the site, you should check the keyword relevancy, search volume and ranking given. It is suggested by the experts to pick the keywords that are appropriate to your brand or product rather than choosing the keywords that have high search volume. You can use Google Adwords keyword tool to pull the relevant keywords for every page. Also, you can use Moz Keyword tool to extract low difficulty score keywords.
You should never choose the keywords that are board and highly competitive. If the keyword falls under a broad match, then there would be high bounce rates and low conversion rates. Undeniably, people clicking on the link, if found no relevant information that they are looking on your site will result in increase of bounce rates. In addition, if you embed the keywords that have huge competition, then it takes ample time for your site to rank better on search engine results.
For example, if you are manufacturing coffee filters, then you should never choose the keywords such as organic coffee, natural coffee or coffee, since these keywords are not relevant to your product or brand. In addition, these keywords will have huge competition and it takes ample time for your site to rank better over the other coffee manufacturers.
Pick different keywords for every blog topic
You can create a blog post from time to time to engage the audience on your site for a long time while giving them information about your products. If you have additional keywords that are relevant to your brand, then you can use those keywords in the blog articles rather than stuffing them on your home or product pages. You can incorporate long-tail keywords in the blog.
What do you mean by long-tail keywords? These are the keywords used by the user when he/she very well know what they are looking for. These people want exact information for their search terms. These long-tail keywords consist of multiple words.
For instance, if you are selling coffee beans, you can use coffee word in the content, but researchers have found that this word is not ranked well. Less than 30% of users are searching with this keyword. To be specific to your search, you need to use long-tail keywords.
As per the research conducted by Moz, it was found that around 70 percentage lie about their long tail search. The long tail will pull out unique search results that a user is looking for. This keyword helps the users to find out the information they are looking for with ease.
It is crucial for you to pick the long-tail keywords that have exact search volume and low difficulty score. Once you have added the keywords into your web content, later you can focus on low volume keywords that are relevant to your brand or products or services.
Note that you should not stuff the blog posts or web page content with huge number of keywords. You need to create a blog topic that many users are awaiting to read and share with their friends.
At the end, you need to write the blog posts for users, but not for search engines. Google Algorithms will rank the site having unique and informative content better and penalizes the site with duplicate content and keyword stuffing.
Avert keyword cannibalization
This occurs when multiple web pages are targeted and trying to rank for the same keyword. In the blog posts written by Sean Work from KISSmetrics on on-page SEO stated that, targeting the same keyword on multiple pages is bemusing the search engines. It is like compelling the search engine to identify the important page against multiple pages targeted for the same keyword. This takes a toll on the site traffic and none of the pages will be ranked better for the same keyword.
It means that you should not even craft a blog post on the keyword that you have already used in one of the web pages of your site. To keep keyword cannibalization at bay, you need to jot down the list of keywords you have targeted for each web page. By sorting this way, you can avoid using the same keyword for multiple pages.
Do Competitor Research
Once you are done pulling down the keywords for each of your web page, it is time for you to carry out competitors search. Wondering what you need to consider for it.
Which primary keyword are used by your competitors
You need to land on your competitor’s site and list down the keywords that are used by them on each page and understand their SEO strategy. In addition, you need to see whether or not they have high Domain Authority and see the page authorities of their web pages.
Fortunately, there is a tool called Moz which is making the job of ecommerce site easily in analyzing their competitor’s site. You need to install this tool on your system to do competitor’s search.
If your competitors have higher page authorities than your site, then you need to look for the keywords that are competitive, since the keywords they are using are difficult to compete. You try to use easier ways to win.
To find out the Page authority and Domain Authority of the site, you need to install Moz Tool
From where they are getting the links
You need to know the places from where your competitor’s are getting the inbound links. You can also get a link from these sites by doing guest blogging, posting press releases or else by creating a company page.
Prior to reaching these sites, you need to delete the site with lower domain authority score. You should never get a link from the site with low domain authority score, since this takes a toll on your Google ranking and list your site as suspicious and bad site.
Understand the site architecture of your competitors
Thoroughly understand the site architecture of competitors’ websites. Check how deep their navigation link is going. It is crucial for an ecommerce site to keep a close watch on the site architecture for popular products in a specific category, similar products, top rated products and recently viewed products by the users.
By seeing the site architecture of your competitors, you can better understand how to prepare your site architecture if you want to follow the footsteps of your competitors or completely want to take a detour from their route.
In 2011, Moz stated that the pages that are deeply linked with not receive enough link juice to be made visible on search engine results. It is better to keep the link architecture limited to improve the site ranking.
If you see any of your competitors’s using deep navigational architecture, you should never blindly copy the same from them.
How can you differentiate the strategy of your site to your competitors?
This question is closely related to site architecture. You need to think of how can you make your site unique and stand out from your competitors. Do you have chances to make your navigational architecture much better than the competitor? How to improve social proof of your site? Will you integrate blog platform into your website, if your competitor is not having one? You need to list down the weaknesses of your competitor’s site and turn them as your strengths to make your site more interesting, engaging and appealing to that of competitors.
Identify the current problems
Once you are done with keyword research and competitor analysis, it is time for you to do the SEO audit of your site to find out its weaknesses and strengths and then fix the technical or on-page or off-page issues of the site. The key areas that one needs to focus on while doing auditing of the site include.
Detect the site glitches
You need to use screaming frog tool to detect the website errors at a brisk pace. This tool is easy and free to use that scans your website links, CSS, apps, etc. After this, it gives you a clear summary of errors, duplicate pages, duplicate content, missing header tags, etc.
The major errors that are to be corrected on high priority include
• Redirect 404 pages to content pages
• Change 302 redirects to 301
• Remove duplicate content, meta descriptions and meta titles
Use of screaming frog will help you detect many issues on your site that are taking a toll on the website ranking. In addition to the above errors, there are many more website errors that are detected with the help of this tool. Correcting these errors will improve site usability, traffic and conversion rates.
Find the website speed
After fixing the major technical errors on the site, it is time for you to pay attention to the site speed. The site that has poor speed will result in increase of bounce rates. Visitors will not have time to wait until the site loads. They just see for a few seconds and land on the sites with high speeds. Before your traffic is passed on to your competitor’s site, you need to improve the site speed.
A plethora of researchers have found that around 40% of people will bounce from the site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. You should not lose the customer just because your site speed is slow.
If your site is taking more than 3 seconds to load, you need to buy enough server space or use CMS site and reduce the images and junk code to improve the site speed.
There are many websites which takes only two seconds to load.
Both on-page and off-page optimization of a site is important to attain better ranking on search engine results page. On-page optimization is optimizing the website by improving various factors on the site to rank better. On-page optimization plays a crucial role in the SEO game. You need to play safe to rank better and gain a sea of traffic to the site.
Major areas to focus on-page optimization include
• Keyword Optimization
• Site Structure
• Internal Linking
• Mobile Version of Website
• Customer Reviews
• Rich Snippets
• Social Media Integration
You need to optimize every page on the site with a particular target keyword. To do keyword optimization, you need to pull relevant keywords to the page and then incorporate them at the right locations in the content.
Where all you need to embed the keyword
• In the page title
• Paragraph content
• Product descriptions
• Image file names
• Image ALT tags
• Meta Description and titles
Ensure to create the URL that is user and search engine friendly. You need to keep the URL as simple and as short as possible. You should only include a target keyword of the site instead of stuffing too many keywords.
You need to develop content for Meta description and title without exceeding the limit set by Google. Also, develop content that is meaningful and convey about the page clearly. Furthermore, add a primary keyword in the Meta title and description of the page. This Meta description appears on the search engine results. Few users read the Meta description and then click on the page. In order to improve the click-through-rate, make your Meta description short and compelling.
For instance, when you search for promotional products the two things that are displayed on the first page and which one do you like to click, the Meta description stuffed with too many keywords or the description that is enticing and is telling on how the promotional products will boost your brand reputation. Obviously, the answer would be the later link.
No matter whether you are developing the site from the scratch or revamping the design of the site, you would need to consider the information architecture. Though, we have discussed a few points about architecture, now it is time to take a dive into it in-depth.
Architecture of the site has the ability to improve or decline the site ranking, conversion rates and user experience. By creating a proper site structure, it would be easy for you to add many more new products in the future. There should be a proper planning while preparing a site structure especially for the ecommerce site where the site owner keeps on adding new products that hit the market. To check the usability, you can use the LucidChart tool. The purpose of this tool is to create information architecture of your site in the chart form.
You need to create a flat architecture that requires only few clicks for a user to go from home page to product pages instead of creating a big chain that is hard for the user to realize where they are on your website. By keeping the navigational link short, it lets ample amount of link juice to p.
ass from home to product page through various internal links.
The architecture has to be created based on the targeted keywords that are extracted after doing keyword research in the beginning. These keywords will give a logical path for both the search engines and users to pass from home to product pages.
Though, it looks simple, but doing this is complicated on the site. So, you can take the help of SEO consultants to execute the on-page optimization factors on your website.
The site architecture created should link from home to product page and between different category pages. This lets the link to be distributed to the pages that have higher authority to rank well on Google.
This is another on-page optimization technique. This word is probably used many times. Internal linking is nothing but linking one page of the site to another to let the search engine crawl and index the pages frequently. This linking is only done within the website.
With internal linking, you can create an anchor text that helps you to get ranked for top keywords. It is crucial for you to use this internal linking wisely. If you create too many internal links in all pages, Google consider it to be suspicious. Google is very small and it algorithms will decline your ranking for adding internal links to all pages. You need to place the internal links only in the pages needed rather forcefully adding them.
You should not create links for the same anchor text. Google wants the anchor text in each page to be unique to create internal links. Once you are done creating internal links, then you need to create a sitemap to let Google to crawl the site and index every page.
This is the key factor in SEO ranking. This is what makes the website visitors happy and retain them on the site longer. If the site is usable, visitors keep landing on your site time and again. The users having wonderful experience on your site means it is easy to navigate and find the information that they are looking for. In addition, the user experience is also measured by counting the time a user has spent on the site.
You need to conduct usability test frequently to ensure that the site is giving an incredible experience to the user. To increase usability, you should only have a couple of steps to the checkout process in the ecommerce site, give ample ways for the users to get in touch with you, make the navigation on your site simple, and assure quick page loading time.
In addition, you also need to add a live chat widget on the site. This improves the conversion rates and also the time spent by a user on your site.
Make the site mobile friendly
Everyone might be aware of mobile revolution especially in shopping. Everyone is using their mobiles to shop on the go. Not many are sitting in front of their desktops to shop, but are making purchases on mobiles. This clearly means that every site should be mobile friendly and give the same experience that a user gets when accessing your site on desktop.
Here are a few statistics that tells the prime importance of make your site responsive
• Around 31% of users are accessing internet on mobiles and are choosing online shopping
• 61% of customers visiting the site which is not mobile friendly are landing on the competitor’s site
• 58% of mobile users want the mobile sites to load as briskly as the desktop sites
Not many companies have showed interest in making their site mobile friendly earlier and had issues developing mobile versions of the site, since they produce duplicate content and create a huge number of SEO issues and take a toll on the Google ranking of the site.
With the user responsive web design, you can make the site work on all the devices irrespective of their screen resolutions. In fact, these sites open even on the devices that are going to hit the mobile world in the coming years. The businesses do not need to create a separate website for mobiles, which is wonderful news for ecommerce sites.
If you believe that hiring a web developer is expensive, then you can buy a responsive design template from the reliable web template store and customize it as per your business needs.
The best way to boost up the sales of an ecommerce site is to encourage customers to leave review on the products purchased from their stores. The happy customers will motivate the prospective buyers to buy from the site.
As per the research conducted by the Internet Retailer, it was found that the conversion rate can be improved by 14 to 76% by posting happy customer reviews on the ecommerce store. Another research conducted by Jupiter found that 77% of customers are reading the reviews prior to making purchases.
Alongside boosting up the conversion rates, the customer reviews are also adding huge value to SEO. The more positive reviews, the more the content and the more frequent reviews, the fresher the content which search engine like to have.
To get more customer reviews, you can use a review plug-in like WooTheme.
After the customer ordered and received the product, you can send a follow up email to the customer asking them to leave a review on the site about their experience in using the product. This is a powerful trick that helps you in terms of SEO.
These small reviews left by the customers will have a huge impact on your website ranking. There are different types of snippets available for authors, events, reviews, recipes, products, albums, videos, etc.
Rich snippets are nothing but the piece of HTML codes that lets search engine knows the importance of why website visitors should understand about the site prior to clicking on the link. When searches see reviews or star ratings about your site on Google, they immediately land on your site and become a potential customer.
Step by step instructions one need to follow to successfully install rich snippets include
• Add HTML code on each and every page on the site where you want the rich snippets
• Add micro data for the rich snippet you would like to add
• Perform testing to ensure that it is working
Social Media Integration
Every ecommerce site is incomplete without the integration of social media buttons on the page. A user liking your product will share on their social media page by clicking on the social media button available on that particular product page. In addition, you need to create social media pages on every platform. The more number of users follow you, the more brand image you can reap. Higher social signals convey Google that you site is valuable for users.
The strength of social signals can be improved by adding social media buttons in every product page, blog post, and in the home page of the site.
As per Jayson Demers from Forbes, a brand having strong social presence will spread a word of mouth to other customers.
An ecommerce site should create a social media page on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other sites. Moreover, it is found that Google’s algorithm give high importance to the sites having high social signals. The social network that adds high weight to your social signals is Google plus and in fact is more than Facebook and Twitter.
Once you are done using all the on-page optimization techniques, it is now time to focus on testing and tweak the SEO strategy. For that, you need to use Google analytics to see which keywords are performing high and which are performing poor. You can also use PPC campaign to find out the high performing and converting keywords and add them into your SEO strategy. You need to test how the Meta titles and descriptions are compelling users to click on the links. Furthermore, conduct A/B testing to see how the webpage content, colours on the site and placement of images and other content is improving traffic and conversion rate.
You need to have a powerful testing strategy in place to attain effective results and improve them from time to time. You need to tweak the strategy regularly to avoid drop in the ranking, loss of leads and results in poor conversion rates.
Create Blog Content
Undeniably, keyword research is the backbone of every SEO strategy. As you need to optimize every page of the site with a single keyword, so there would be umpteen important keywords that you cannot use on your website. The best way to use those keywords and boost the ranking of the site is to develop blog post. In every blog post, you can use a keyword other than the keywords that are used on main pages of the site.
In addition to the web pages, your blog content should be informative, rich and reader-friendly. You need to hire an expert SEO writer who better understands about your niche industry to write blog posts and have some knowledge on SEO.
If the blog posts are stuffed with too many keywords and uses poor language, then the bounce rates would be high. No customer would share it on their social media pages. In addition, Google penalizes the blogs or websites that are keyword stuffed. This would decline your ranking and also you cannot earn higher social signals.
You need to create a blog post on the trending topics and also you need to put all the blogs together to make an eBook or guide.
Kyle Lacy who is serving as the Senior Manager – Content Marketing and Research at Exact Target states that the eBook is easy to publish and also you can let the users to download this eBook by giving their personal details on your site. The primary goal of content marketing should not be to generate huge content, but rather to use the content effectively to generate sales.
For instance, you are into jewellery business, you can write a slew of posts related to jewellery including tips to select the best jewellery for your spouse, which ring suits for your fiancé, how to finance for the ring, tips to select a diamond ring for your lover on valentine’s day to make her romantic, etc. You can compile all these posts and prepare an eBook that can be downloadable.
This eBook can only be downloaded by the users after giving their email address. This helps you to get the list of interested buyers on your products. You need to add this call-to-action button the contact page or landing page of the site.
In addition, you can keep following the interested buyer by sending emails regularly about the discounts you are offering for festivals, new collection, etc. This is the best way to push the buyer into the sales funnel. When you are using the blog posts for email campaign and for content marketing, you need to develop the content that is informative and is of high quality.
In addition to developing the quality content, you also need to focus on getting quality inbound links.
Google penalizes the site that has link building from poor quality sites. In addition, it takes a toll on the referral traffic. You need to make sure to build links only from authoritative and government sites or industry specific sites. The low quality inbound link would be definitely from a poor quality or not authoritative site. You can use Moz tool to check the authority of the site domain.
It is easy to identify the poor quality sites by just looking at their site design and structure. The site will be crammed with ads and poor content. These sites will provide you with a poor link that would not add any weight to your site ranking. Google will never encourage the sites to get backlinks from content farms. You need to get links only from authority sites by allowing them to get a backlink from you and you can get a backlink from them.
In addition, you can write a blog post for them and ask them to publish it on the site. In the blog post, you can add a link to your site. Also, you can co-author along with the other site owners. Create inforgraphics and publish them on reliable infographic sites.
You should never get broken links, since this have negative impact on your site ranking. As per Dana Lookadoo serving as the president of Yo! Yo! SEO, it was found that, no site should focus on broken link building as it is not a crucial part of SEO project. You need to conduct an SEO audit to find the broken links and take a right action on it. Next, you need to focus on information architecture issues. You need to fix those issues to improve the site authority and trust in search engines. If your on-site techniques are perfect and have a powerful content strategy in place, then you can go for broken link building efforts.
When you are working on link building task, you should not do the following things
• Use the similar anchor text multiple times on the site
• Link to the same page continuously
• Get links from poor quality and authority sites
As it is merely impossible to have control over the anchor text all the time, you can use the links naturally.
If you are working closely with the website owner, you can recommend a specific anchor text, but otherwise, you need to take the anchor text or link that is given by the site owner. You need to establish a friendly relationship with the higher authority sites than to request them for a particular link.
Local Business Tips
Do you have a business that is operated in locally? If you are doing traditional business, you still want your name, address, phone number and location to be shown on the site to get heavy foot traffic to your site. You should use the same format of name, address and phone number in all the sites.
In addition, you also need to submit your business details on all directories, especially the niche directories to get sales for your business. In addition, you need to embed location based keywords in your blog posts or product descriptions at the appropriate places.
This is very important for you to gain foot traffic to your site. As many customers of your locality may not be aware of your business. Once you are online, you can gain loyal customers for your business. It is crucial for you to use location based keywords to pull out your website in local and organic search results. As per Dr. Pete of Moz, there are high chances for the sites which are facing difficulty to rank better on organic searches to get better ranking for local searches.
There is opportunity for the low ranking organic results to boost their ranking in the organic results by boosting up the local ranking factors.
You need to provide your business details on all the directories which your competitor is using.
Best SEO Tools
No matter whether you are working in a team or alone, there are umpteen SEO tools available in the market to improve the site ranking. Few of the favourite tools of many SEO experts include
• Moz Keyword Tool
• Open Site Explorer
• Screaming Frog
• Google AdWords Keyword Tool
• Authority Labs for Monitoring
• Ubersuggest Keyword Suggestion Tool
• Citation Labs Broken Link Finder
Using the above mentioned tools will help you to improve the SEO strategy and provide you with the required data that lets you to take informed marketing decisions that can improve your ranking.
There are myriad of reasons to optimize the site, but at the end it is to improve conversion rates and sales.
The site that is perfectly optimized will see a steep rise in traffic, leads and sales. In addition, they can gain new visitors while retaining the old visitors.
Prior to taking a dive into SEO world, you need to understand that it is not a onetime work. Google along with other search engines keep on changing their algorithms thousands of times in a month. You need to stay on par with those algorithmic changes and tweak your SEO and marketing strategy to avoid decline in traffic and sales. By gaining knowledge on regular updates, you can stay top of the game.
To do SEO one needs to dedicate a lot of time, but the benefits it gives it priceless. We hope that this guide is helpful to you to prepare an SEO strategy for your ecommerce site to improve traffic and sales.
He is a prowess Digital marketing expert having ample experience and profound knowledge on SEO. This person loves to keep on par with the latest digital marketing trends and Google algorithm changes. He loves to share his knowledge through writings. Feel free to contact him for any clarifications on SEO.