Selling online has never been easier. But with the rise of eCommerce platforms like Shopify and Squarespace making it even easier for everyone and anyone to start selling, competition is now fierce.
When you start an online store, you have the choice between paying to send traffic to your site through channels such as PPC or display marketing, or you can choose the organic SEO route. While SEO might take longer to get established, you could see a steady flow of new customers every month.
In this guide, I outline some of the steps any SEO expert would recommend when trying to improve your organic search performance. From on-site to off-site optimisations, these are just some of the steps you should take for SEO success.
You might be an online-only store, but you should still have active Google My Business listings for your location. This helps to build trust for your website visitors and could help to boost your search visibility. It will also make it easier for customers to access vital information such as your customer service open hours and your phone number. Try using a site like brightlocal.com to monitor and manage/update your listings.
Your product descriptions are not just about selling, they are also vital for ensuring your website pages appear in search engine results. The descriptions should be at least 300 words, with relevant keywords and all of the information required to help the customer make an informed decision.
A technical audit can help you to identify areas of weakness on your website. This could be a missing sitemap, incorrect meta titles or descriptions, or even issues with the way your website is built. Tip, use this tool metatags.io when rewriting meta titles and descriptions. One of the best things you can do to improve the health of your website is to make sure you have all of the information. This is why regular SEO audits are essential. There are plenty of tools you can use to run an audit, but here are two I would recommend. Screaming Frog and SEMrush website auditor.
A fast experience for the website visitor should be something that is expected on either desktop or mobile devices. Selecting the right server and the hosting provider can always come with its challenges. The code of your site can be a factor why your site may be slow, but having a good host will get you to where you need to be. While there was a day, I would recommend large companies such as siteground I am more now leaning towards a UK hosting company that can offer a more bespoke solution, if required.
Structured data helps to bring context to your website. It adds an extra layer of information which can then be presented in the search engine results page. Structured data is useful for eCommerce websites as it allows you to add extra bits of information, such as a star review rating or present your store as the available stores for shopping results. This can help to boost your click-through rate and drive more sales.
Keyword research is essential for a successful eCommerce SEO campaign. For this look no further than SEMrush. You need to not only know what keywords are relevant for your products and company, but you also need to know what keywords your customers are searching for. There is often a huge disconnect between the two, which is where keyword research can help.
The more granular you are with the keyword research, the better chance you have of success. For example, you’re less likely to rank for the keyword “t-shirt” but you might be able to rank for “red v neck t-shirt for men” with the correct optimisations. Knowing which keywords to target is half of the struggle with SEO.
Your images can be very powerful for your SEO efforts if you know how to optimise them correctly. They should always have the correct file names, an alt tag and be compressed to load faster. These simple steps can help you to appear in Google image search results which can be a powerful source of leads for an eCommerce store. Tip, see Matthew Woodward's advice to better optimisation of images which is worth a try.
Images are also essential to the customer journey. Customers want to know what they are buying, and professional images can help to confirm this. Images should also be used to optimise the user experience by making the customer journey easier to navigate.
A huge part of SEO success is all about getting the customer journey right. Internal linking can help to make it easier for your customers to find exactly what they are looking for. On a complex eCommerce website, breadcrumb links will help your customers to navigate your site, but they will also make your site much easier to crawl. This will help to ensure the search engine spiders that crawl your site can find every page. When your website is easier to navigate, you have a much higher chance of succeeding in search. Expanding on that implemented correctly diversing you interlinks from your blog to your products to category pages can help vastly with wanting to achieve those page 1 results.