Imagine you opened the doors to your beautiful new pizzeria. You’ve worked hard making the recipes, building the brand on social media, investing money into the shop, and now you’re ready to rock the neighborhood. Then suddenly you notice the sidewalk is marked off. The city happened to be planning a renovation on the path in front of you. It’s hard to see the restaurant with the construction and everyone thinks you're closed. All foot traffic is gone.
If something like that were to happen to you, the clock would be ticking until you shut the doors. When we manage or own an online business, it’s the same situation. We work hard to build it and to spread the word, but our website traffic highly relies on search engines. When people search for what you provide, you want to show up. If you don’t rank, you risk falling into obscurity.
Search engine optimization (SEO) includes all the components necessary to become discoverable when someone searches a term relevant to your business. If you provide electronics for sound enthusiasts, you want to show up on Google when someone is searching for a new sound system. This is a powerful way to generate business and it’s an organic approach to growth.
Great SEO can drive visitors to your site and increase sales. It’s a lot like signage at a mall. People enter the facility looking for something. When they see your name or advertisement, they know where to go.
Here are some ways we can fully utilize our eCommerce SEO:
1. Keyword Research & Search Intent
If you're writing articles, web pages, or developing any forms of content without keeping keywords in mind, you're shooting in the dark. First, you don’t know if the subject you are covering is in-demand or the perspective is relevant, and second if people can’t find you with popular keywords, how else are you going to show up on search engines?
Keyword research saves you time and money. By identifying keywords that are in-demand with low competition, you can create content that serves those needs and increase your chances to rank for them. Instead of writing an article and hoping people need it and can find it, your research helps find winners before you invest the time into it.
Once you rank high for a keyword, you own that piece of real estate and can increase traffic to your eCommerce store. Why is this important? 68% of online interactions start with a search engine and 53% of website traffic comes from search engines (BrightEdge). Keywords help you rank and use your invested time wisely. This increases traffic and helps generate sales.
Another thing to consider is your customer's search intent. This is a great way to find undiscovered keywords or phrases. Only you, an expert in your industry and knowing your audience, can identify some of these. For example, if someone needs to install a backyard fence and searches “how to protect my toddler from our lake”, clearly they are likely looking for a fence solution whether they know it or not. Using a long-tail keyword like this can give them their solution.
2. Create Great Content
Each time you post a video, article, or other types of media, you increase your exposure. This is especially true with traditional blog features on your website. Most websites execute the blog feature by making each post like its own separate web page. This means that every single article or video you post through your blog will function as a new page to be discoverable online.
These are real assets that compound over time and live on the internet for as long as you keep them there. The more web pages created through your blog, the higher the chance people will discover you and your eCommerce store.
The problem is that many eCommerce SEO strategies include posting content just to check it off the list. They forget that real people see this content. If it isn’t helpful, then it doesn’t serve its purpose.
Search engines know when the content is bad by how quickly people leave the page. If Google sees that visitors have to leave your page to go back to the search engine and find another option, then you won’t be ranking for long. Great SEO can only be done through great value.
Develop valuable content so that people enjoy it and your eCommerce store benefits from an effective SEO strategy.
3. Make Sure Your Website Loads Fast
You only have a couple of seconds before a visitor leaves. If they have to wait longer than usual, you can expect a very big bounce rate on your store.
Often, eCommerce stores have too many high-quality images and poor infrastructure that it weighs on browsers and people have a hard time seeing your site. This translates to real money. Your revenue will suffer from slow speeds.
Run an audit and see how long it takes for your site to load. Compare it with competitor sites. Try to experience what your eCommerce customer experiences. Do you have to wait a long time?
See if you need to compress your images. Remove any sliders in the headers. They tend to have big files and the design style is falling out of trend. Adopt a responsive design that highlights simplicity. If you are using BigCommerce or Shopify, check out some of their popular themes which could serve as a good replacement design with a faster experience.
You can find tons of resources and tools to test your website speed simply by googling the term. This will give you some insight.
4. Invest in Link Building and MetaData
Part of your eCommerce SEO strategy should include link building. It’s the hardest thing about SEO because it’s not totally in your control and it is a long-term strategy. But it’s extremely effective.
Link building is the practice of intentionally getting links to your website on other websites. This increases your authority on search engines and your subject authority as a brand also. While some abuse the practice and get penalized for it, you can build your links through an honest and effective method.
Create great content that deserves to be mentioned on other web pages. Also, reach out to bloggers and other influencers that need a link or reference on a particular piece of content. Over time, the more websites that link back to you, the better. The easiest way to do this is by becoming a valued authority online.
Another component of great eCommerce SEO is metadata and responsive eCommerce SEO design. Do your pictures have alternative descriptions or alt text? Are you typing out keywords on all sections that ask for it on blog platforms and social media? Your content doesn’t just show up on a regular search engine. It might show up on Google Images through a picture on an article you posted. Or on Google video search through a Youtube video you uploaded. Provide information anywhere you can that can point back to your content.
Make sure to add the title and meta description on web pages and blog posts so you can optimize what shows up on Google Search. This could be relatively simple in some website CMS systems, but in others might require purchasing or adding a plugin like Yoast SEO for WordPress, or working natively within platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, or Magento in the meta field area. Some platforms call this Search Optimization, others call it Meta Data, and in others, it is part of the product page within an additional dropdown. Make sure to read the documentation from your current website CMS and follow the best practice guidelines.
If you discover that you are running into issues or would like a personalized eCommerce SEO consulting meeting, just hit the get started form and we can set up a website performance review audit to find areas that are currently under-optimized.