What are the best strategies to win at E-commerce SEO?
If you run an online store, you will quickly realize that getting qualified traffic to your website is important.
In simple terms, traffic is the currency of the digital world.
The more traffic you can drive to your website, the greater the revenue you can make.
This is true no matter what type of site you have but it becomes more important and difficult when you are dealing with an e-commerce website.
This is because e-commerce is a different beast on its own.
There are lots of issues to deal with when it comes to e-commerce website from setup to logistics.
However in this piece I would be looking at one single part of the whole equation, driving and growing your online store through SEO.
How to Drive Traffic Consistently to Your Ecommerce Website
Why SEO for e-commerce?
One major reason why you need to consider SEO as an acquisition source of traffic to your website is that the cost of driving traffic from other sources such as paid advertisement is becoming increasingly higher.
Even though you can argue that it is not cheap, however when you get it right you can consistently get free traffic week over week from your optimization efforts.
However, when dealing with SEO, there are dozens of things that can go wrong but with e-commerce SEO, there are dozens of more things that can go wrong.
Considering that SEO takes time, you really want to get it right.
So here is what we going to learn today
- How to get started on the right note
- How to drive more traffic to your website
- How to approach link building
- What you should be measuring
- How not to get burned
Let get started
#1: Win The Ecommerce SEO Battle By Choosing The Right Platform
The choice of a platform when it comes to SEO is really important and one fundamental issue I have seen with most small business SEO is the wrong choice of platform on which their store runs.
There are three ways to get your Ecommerce store setup via
1: Use a custom built website:
This is ideally the preferred option but only if you have a good developer and you work with a team of digital marketing from the scratch so that all SEO issues are already addressed at the initial stage. The downside I have seen in this scenario is that most web developer creates what they think is the best website while forgetting about almost every issue. This means that when the business is now ready to go online or scale their online effort, there are going to be tons and tons of redesigning that is done. For most small business this is not scalable
2: Use a platform like WordPress:
Ideally this is the best for small businesses. It allows for tons of customization and you practically have a good head start as most themes are already designed based on best practice. This is highly recommended for people just starting their own store.
3: Use other platforms: I like to group most other platforms s together under this category. A major challenge with is that most of them are so limited in what you can do that really optimizing your website for growth can be difficult.
#2: How to Drive Traffic To Your Ecommerce Store Consistently
Hopefully at this point you have taken up on the right note by using either option 1 or 2 in the platform recommendation part. The next thing is how exactly you can start driving more traffic to your website using SEO.
This bores down to understating the fundamentals of SEO.
1: Understand your keyword very well:
Usually when it comes to SEO , apart from business objective, the next thing you should really get good at is identifying the keywords that maters to your business.
Keyword research should form the basis of your SEO project. I usually prefer to have a giant excel sheet with all the potential keywords arranged. On the sheet, you should have three different categories of keywords via
- Informational keywords
- Navigational keywords
- Transactional keywords
2: Create a good Site architecture
One of the major issues most e-commerce have is that there are usually thousands of pages that Google need to access and crawl.
Without Google crawling and indexing your site, you can’t win the SEO game. Therefore indexability issue is a major issue that most e-commerce website will need to deal with.
However the secret is simple. Good site architecture.
Talk Amazon’s for example. No matter what product you finding, with two or three clicks you can get there even if that page has low search volume.
That is a website that understands good site structure and how to leverage it.
To fully bring your site structure or to start building one you need to start thinking like a user and categorize your product very well.
For example if you sell shoes you must have a site structure like the one below
Once you categorize your site structure the next thing is to do your on-page optimization.
Onpage Optimization Tips for Ecommerce Website
On-page SEO is fairly straight forward even though most people miss it.
Every page on your website must be well optimized. A good and optimize webpage will have
- Well written title tag
- Meta description
- Robots tag
- Proper canonical
- Header tag
- Image file name
- Image alt
These are the bare essentials for a good on-page optimization and it works even when you are not running an ecommerce website.
When dealing with SEO for e-commerce website you want to start with your level 1 category and progress downwards.
One major area you should focus on is keyword research. Keyword research should form the basis of your on-page optimization. I have created articles on how to properly conduct keyword research before. You can check it out here and here.
Each singular page on your website should be targeting one keyword.
#3: Link Building and E-commerce SEO – A match made in hell
Link building is really tough but when it comes to e-commence it can really hard.
This is because as an ecommerce website, what matters to you is to rank your product pages and category pages whereas people linking to webpages on the internet, will rarely link to product pages or category pages.
It can therefore be tough getting someone to link to your website.
This can be really taunting.
Before you focus on building links or engage in any backlink campaign for your ecommerce website, I will like you to have three things sorted out
- Internal links
- Content strategy
- 3 or 4 backlink strategy you want to use
My reasons for advocating that you think very well about the above points are pretty straightforward. You will link a good internal link campaign to improve discoverability for your website.
Your content strategy will determine who well you are going to be able to acquire the right links that can move the needle for you and basically because content as a link building element is highly scalable.
Finally, you will eventually need to engage in a link building campaign that will not hurt your website sometimes down the lane when you start out. Your technique will depend on resources available, your level of tolerance and effectiveness.
So probably the next question you might want to ask is what link building technique is safe? Majority of them but the following have worked very well for me.
- Guest posting
- Resource link building
- Broken link building
- Acquisition link building
- Shipyard link building.
#4: What Metrics Should You Be measuring When Running An Ecommerce Store
“Data levels all argument”
With proper measurement you can gradually start improving on your SEO. That is why I want to use this segment to really share some things I think every e-commerce website should be measuring when it comes to SEO.
1: SEO traffic: of course, the first thing you want to measure is what percentage of your total traffic comes from SEO.
Traffic is the currency of the online world. The more quality traffic you have, the better
2: SEO conversion rate: conversion rate is the total number of traffic divided by the total number of people who completed the goal. On an average your sites conversion rate should be more than 5%
3: Keyword Ranking Position: The higher you rank for targeted keywords that matters to your business, the better for your site. It is therefore important that you track your ranking. You can do it using s giant excel sheet pulling your result from Google search console or you can use any of the ranking tools mentioned in this article.
Whatever you do, you need to be tracking your ranking. On any average you want to rank within the first 3 positions for your target keyword.
4: Bounce rate: Bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website from the same page they landed on without interacting with any other thing on your site. Measuring bounce can be fairly confusing. The lower your SEO bounce rate, the better.
5: Share of Transactions: The total number of transaction is any important figure you should be measuring. How much of your traffic is finally converting to transactions to your website because you make money when a transaction is completed.
Those are just a few of the metrics you should be measuring from your SEO effort. If you are using Google data studio, you can use a free SEO dashboard I created to start measuring your effort. If you want a simple excel you still get it.
#5: How not to get burnt at SEO for e-commerce
As with everything SEO, it can talk a long time to see value. It is therefore important that you get it right from the start. That is what basically this article has been all about. However as I round up, it is important to buttress some points.
Running an e-commerce website can be tricky, time consuming and expensive. You just have to kind of get it right from the start and you can do that by
1: Niching down:
E-commerce is getting more competitive. No matter what country you are, you will be competing against giants such as amazon. One way to get into the market is to pick a niche and start from there. Remember that most of today’s successful e-commerce store started from jut a single product.
2: Figuring out logistics:
How will you be delivering your products? Even though e-commerce is online business, if you are selling product, you will need to find a way to get the product across to your customers. One solid way to do so is have pickup stations in different places
3: Ensuring you focus on the full marketing funnel:
4: Analytics will be your best friend:
Like I said earlier, the more you use data to do a lot of things, the better for your business. Data will be your guide in the darkness so it is important you quickly start using it in all areas of your marketing.
5: Look beyond SEO:
There are different ways to drive traffic to your website beyond SEO. SEO is for perhaps the best acquisition channel you should be thinking of using. Unfortunate it takes time. If you just starting out, I will suggest you start with paid marketing and then gradually start putting your SEO house in order.
There you have it. My thought and advice on how anyone can quickly scale an e-commerce website levering SEO as an acquisition channel.