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If you want to learn the ropes of search engine optimization (SEO) so you can fully optimize your ecommerce website, this ecommerce SEO guide is the only resource you’ll need.

Click here if you require ecommerce SEO consultancy.

From the outside, the world of ecommerce SEO looks complex and broad, so maybe that’s why most ecommerce website owners rely on social media and paid ads instead. However, these types of campaigns require both time and money, and even though they can get you traffic and potential customers, they won’t do much to get your website to rank high in search engines.

On the other hand, optimizing your ecommerce website for search engines will increase both the quality and quantity of traffic coming to your site organically, through non-paid methods. This means that once you nail down SEO and start ranking, you can rely on organic search and splurge far less on paid ads.

Ecommerce SEO does pay off! Plus, once you dive into the SEO world, things get more interesting and far less complex.

In this ecommerce SEO guide you’ll learn:

  • Why is SEO important for your ecommerce site;
  • How to conduct keyword research for your ecommerce website;
  • Why content marketing should be an essential part of your SEO ecommerce strategy;
  • How to do on-page SEO optimization for your ecommerce website;
  • The importance of domain authority;
  • What’s a good site structure for ecommerce websitesHow to improve technical SEO for ecommerce websites.

Why Is SEO Important for Ecommerce Websites?

First, let’s answer one fundamental question: what is SEO?

SEO (search engine optimization) is the activity of improving the quality and quantity of website traffic through non-paid (organic) search results. It’s essentially the process of making your website more visible to search engine users by optimizing its content with keywords and other methods. Understanding SEO will help you understand what your audience searches for online, what are the exact words they use, and what kind of content can give them the answers they need.

Why is this important for your ecommerce website again?

Think of search engines as answering machines. 

They store and evaluate millions of pieces of content. When people are searching for something online, search engines try to give them the best possible results. Google, the largest web search engine which holds 90.1% of the total search engine market share, uses more than 200 ranking factors to determine which web page gives the most relevant answer to a particular search query. And organic traffic still matters – it’s responsible for “40% of revenue across retail, media & entertainment, business services, technology/Internet, and hospitality” and it drives “300% more traffic to websites than social media”.

If you want to tap into this high volume, evergreen traffic source, then understanding Google’s algorithm plays a vital role in the success of your ecommerce business. 

Knowing how to improve the SEO of your site will help you demonstrate to search engines that your web content gives the most relevant answers to specific search queries.

Look at it this way, if people can’t find your website on Google, they won’t visit it at all (unless you have a very strong social media presence). 

To back up this statement, let’s take a look at some statistics. A study done by IgniteVisibility found that higher-ranking sites receive the most clicks. What’s more, the percentage of click-throughs websites are getting through non-branded queries looks like this:

  • Position #1 on Google – receives 42.32% of traffic
  • Position #3 on Google – receives 29.90% of traffic
  • Position #10 on Google – receives 3.11% of traffic

And in addition to that, 61% of consumers research a product online before making a purchase. And that doesn’t take into account the fact that around 70% of people ignore paid results and decide to click solely on organic search results.

And that’s precisely why ecommerce SEO matters a lot. It’s all about earning your spot in organic search results. Can you really afford to ignore SEO and risk not getting listed on Google?

But, enough on “why”, let’s jump together into learning how to improve ecommerce SEO so you can reap the fruits of your efforts quicker. 

Keyword Research for Ecommerce 

We simply can’t stress this enough – keyword research is essential for every ecommerce website that aims to make a dent in their rankings. Proper keyword research will give you an insight into which keywords are easy to rank for, which have high search volume, and which are currently trending so you can get your content ranking fast. 

Choosing Proper Keywords for Your Homepage and Product Pages

To make an effective keyword strategy, you will need to take into account how often people search for a specific keyword (search volume), how competitive that keyword is in paid advertising (cost-per-click), the difficulty, i.e. the number of backlinks you’ll need, and what exactly users are looking for (search intent).

  • Search volume shows how many searches are made for a particular keyword within a given period. Keywords with high search volume indicate great demand.
  • Cost-per-click (CPC) shows you how much competitors are paying per click when they publish ads based on a specific keyword. Keywords with high CPC are highly competitive and hard to rank for.
  • Search intent shows what intentions users have when they type a specific keyword in the search query.
  • Keyword difficulty is an estimation of how plausible it is to rank for a keyword, based on a variety of factors, like the number of backlinks. If you really want to understand this concept we recommend Ahrefs’ excellent take on it in their article on Keyword Difficulty: How to Determine Your Chances of Ranking in Google

Generally, for new websites, we say that it’s good practice to avoid using extremely competitive keywords and broad-match keywords in the early days, given that it’ll be very difficult to rank for them, and you’ll probably experience low conversion rates and higher bounce rates. 

When you’re just starting out, it’s more effective to focus on smaller, less competitive keywords that can rank more quickly and work your way up as you build the authority of your website.

When searching for keywords, keep in mind the following criteria:

  • Keywords that are highly relevant and compatible with your products.
  • Keywords that show high “exact-match” search volume. You can find them by using Google Keyword Planner. But, if you find a keyword that has strong intent BUT low search volume still mark it down. It could be just that the tool is reporting incorrect numbers. We’ve ranked for many terms where volume was 0 but drove considerable traffic.
  • Keywords that have a low difficulty score. Find them by using tools like Moz’s Keyword tool or Ahrefs.

Key Takeaway: Avoid using highly competitive and broad match keywords. When choosing the right set of keywords, take into account the search volume, CPC, and search intent.

Now that you know the importance of keyword research for your SEO ecommerce strategy and the most important criteria to look out for, let’s see which strategies and tools you can use to target the most relevant keywords for your website.

There are three main ways to conduct keyword research for ecommerce websites:

  1. Amazon Suggest
  2. Competitor Research
  3. Keyword Tools

Amazon Suggest

If you are wondering how to detect user (search) intent, Amazon can help you find out what consumers are looking for, as they visit this site with the sole purpose to buy products.

Amazon is a rich source for product keywords and this is the first place you should visit for some keyword inspiration. So, let’s see what you need to do when you head over to Amazon.

In the search query, type in a keyword that describes your products. For example, we typed “t-shirts”.

Amazon's search query

As you can see, Amazon will list a number of suggestions around that keyword, including t-shirts for women, t-shirts graphic, t-shirts for men cotton, etc… All the keywords that pop up on Amazon listings can be used as part of your keyword strategy – of course, as long as they are related to your products.

You may have noticed that the keywords on Amazon listings are very precise and targeted, and consist of more than one word. These types of keywords are known as long-tail keywords and are usually less competitive compared to one-word (or short-tail) keywords.

Extra Tip: Amazon sometimes features extra categories above the listed keywords. These keywords are great for your product pages. Here’s an example:

Amazon's search query

Competitor Research

Looking for the most relevant keywords in your niche? Just spy on your competitors. They have already done the hard work of optimizing their website and having a little sneak peek in their hat of tricks can give you some guidance on where to start with your on-site optimization.

What you should pay close attention to are the keywords they are using on their homepage and the top product pages.

There are a number of tools you can use to conduct competitor research.

  • Moz browser extension can help you see which title tags your competitors are using in their product title tags.
  • SEMrush will show you which keywords your competitors are ranking for.
  • Ahrefs’ Content Gap feature will allow you to look at and compare the keywords your competitors are ranking for, but you aren’t.

You can also do competitor research by simply typing in a keyword on Google.

Competitor research in Google search

Then just scan through your competitors’ product pages. For example, we checked Redbubble’s product page and it was immediately clear why they rank #1 on Google for “t-shirt”.

Redbubble's product page

It’s clear that the team at Redbubble have done their homework. As you can see, they’ve used a number of variations of the keyword “t-shirt” in their categories. All the keywords that we saw were listed in Amazon’s suggestions for “t-shirt” including “t-shirts for women”, “t-shirt for men”, “v-neck t-shirts”, etc., and they’re all a part of Redbuuble’s category page for t-shirts. 

Keyword Tools

There are a number of keyword tools that you can use for keyword research, so let’s briefly go over the best free and paid keyword tools.

Free Tools for Ecommerce Keyword Research 

AlsoAsked

This free tool aggregates the “People also ask” data from Google and gives you the most asked questions based on the keyword you research. Just type the keyword, the language, and the region you’re interested in, and you’ll be given a visual map with grouped questions. You’ll be able to see which question (or sub-question) stems from which topic, so you can better understand how questions are topically grouped.

We researched the term “ecommerce”.

AlsoAsked's search results

As you can see, there are four questions that stem from the main keyword, seven sub-questions that stem from the four questions, and so on. These questions will tell you what to focus on in your content. For example, you can use the first and second group of questions for creating titles, whereas the third group can make great H2s and H3s.

Paid Tools for Ecommerce Keyword Research

Google’s Keywords Everywhere

If you’re looking for a very basic tool that gets the job done we highly recommend Google’s Keywords Everywhere. It’s very affordable, and will provide you with data on monthly trends and search volume for the keywords in your industry. This tool analyzes monthly search volume, cost-per-click, and the number of competitors that are paying ads for those particular keywords. The tool is very easy to use as it can be added as an extension to Chrome or Firefox.

The way it works is that it just allows you to see search volume and other data directly in your browser, so you can use it to gauge what keywords to go after as you’re googling keywords related to your industry. But what’s even better for ecommerce stores is that it also lists this data when you’re typing in queries in Amazon search. (YouTube too)

The moment you type a keyword, the tool immediately shows you a “People Also Search For” and “Related” keywords lists on your own Google search page.

Here’s an example:

Google's Keywords Everywhere on Google Chrome

As you can see on the right side of the Google search page, the tool has listed a number of keywords that can all be used as additional keyword ideas. (Note that to see data like keyword volume, you’d have to use credits).

SEMrush 

SEMrush is an amazing keyword tool that gives you an insight into organic traffic and provides you with keyword difficulty analysis. The tool generates a list of keywords and gives you an insight into yearly keywords trends, plus, it helps you immediately discover some long-tail keywords you can rank for.

SEMrush is particularly good for competitor research as it lists specific keywords your competitors are currently ranking for.

SEMrush's landing page

Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another great keyword tool that will provide you with rich keyword data including search volume, cost per click, and SEO difficulty. Ahrefs’ database is constantly updated so you can uncover new keywords that have been recently searched on Google, Amazon, YouTube, Yahoo, and other platforms. 

What’s more, with the Site Explorer option, you can get an in-depth look into the backlink profiles and search traffic for any of your competitors’ websites. 

We highly recommend Ahrefs, as that’s what we personally use!

Ahrefs' landing page

Use Content to Get Higher Rankings and More Traffic to Your Site 

Now that we’ve covered the basics of keyword research, it’s time to move onto content – as you can’t have keywords without it.

Content marketing should be a vital part of your SEO ecommerce strategy. To prove it, let’s check some stats:

Besides that, quality content can help you rank for more keywords in search engines. If you’ve already done your keyword research, you must have noticed that the amount of keywords that you can place on your category and product pages is limited

Here’s where content marketing takes the stage and can help you get a leg up on your competitors. Content marketing can increase your chances to rank for long-tail keywords in your niche, so make sure to use more specific keywords like “best (name of your products) for” or “how to use (name of your product)”. 

Extra tip: Use Wordstream’s free keyword tool to discover long-tail keywords.

Let’s Look at a Content Marketing Example from an Ecommerce Store

To put things in perspective, let’s check some real examples of how ecommerce websites have managed to capitalize on content marketing. 

Beardbrand is a company committed to selling beauty products for men like beard oils, shampoos, and conditioners. 

On their website, aside from selling products, they also offer customers quality targeted content such as “How long does it take to grow a beard?” and “How to shape your beard”. Here’s the real kicker – their content marketing technique accounts for 69% of their website’s organic traffic!

Beardbrand's landing page

Beardbrand – example of content marketing done right.

Content marketing increases organic traffic and ultimately your sales. Plus, it helps you keep your customers interested and boosts your organic reach. If you want to learn more about how to implement content marketing as part of your ecommerce SEO strategy, check out this in-depth guide on the topic.

Key Takeaway: Creating quality content in the form of blog posts and articles on topics your audience is likely to search can help your ecommerce website rank high in search engines.

On-page SEO for ecommerce websites

By now, you have a pretty solid idea of the importance of keyword research. However, your SEO journey doesn’t end here. Once you nail the most relevant keywords for your ecommerce website, it’s important to put them in the right places.

Bear with us, because we’re going to show you how to take care of:

  • On-page SEO for ecommerce category pages
  • On-page SEO for ecommerce product pages
  • Where to place keywords on your website

On-page SEO for Ecommerce Category Pages

An ecommerce website with category pages that rank for industry keywords is a step ahead of its competitors. When consumers find the category page in the SERPs, they are directed to all the products and items in that particular category. 

How to Strategically Place Keywords for Category Pages

Put your target keywords in the following places:

In the URL

A website’s search rankings can be improved by placing a target keyword in the URL. The URL provides both the audience and search engines with an indication of what type of information and products can be found on that particular page.

Note that a search-friendly URL should always be straightforward, readable, and short. Ecommerce websites have categories and subcategories which can lead to a longer URL. However, it’s vital to keep the URL short and readable.

Let’s see an example of an URL that can be confusing for search engines like Google.

The target keyword in this address should be “face masks”. However, in the example above, we can see that the SLUG (URL) for this page is long, unoptimized, and confusing for both Google and users. As Google advises, the URL structure should be as simple as possible. 

Here’s an example of an URL done right:

Key takeaway: Google prefers short, readable, and keyword-rich URLs. 

In the title tag

Title tags should give users an immediate answer to what kind of information they are going to find on the destination page and how that page is related to their search query.

To optimize title tags properly, put the target keyword at the beginning of the title tag.

Here’s a good example:

Note how the keyword “face masks” is placed at the beginning of the title. Users seeing this website in the SERPs will get a clear idea about what they’ll find when they click the link.

It’s also important to add modifiers to your title tags. By doing this, you’ll increase the chances of showing up in long-tail searches. As you can see in the example above, the word “best” is added to the target keyword “face masks”. This is an example of a modifier. The point is to add a word or two around your target keywords that people are using when they search for the target keyword.

Here are some other modifiers you can use to drive long-tail traffic:

  • Top
  • Cheap
  • Review
  • Deals
  • Online
  • Store
  • {{ Country }} 

Key takeaway: Put the target keyword at the beginning of the title. 

In the Headings

Similarly to title tags, headings should also give users an immediate answer to what kind of information they are going to find in that particular paragraph. And search engines also pay attention to the keywords used in the H1s, H2s, H3s, and so on, which is why you should incorporate your keywords in the heading tags as well.

In the Body Copy

Usually, ecommerce websites have category pages where a body copy is not included and users are immediately introduced to the product. However, it’s recommended that you include a short intro of at least 300 words, and this is where the target keyword should be included at least 2-3 times. Just make sure the sentences are informative and sound natural. 

Here’s a good example:

The target keywords “face masks” and “facial masks” are included 3 times in this category page short intro.

Key takeaway: Include a keyword-rich short intro on your category pages, either above or below your product listings.

In Images’ Alt Text

Don’t name the images on your website with random titles. Keep in mind that Google can’t read images, so the algorithm will read the image’s “alt text” to decide what’s the meaning of the image. Optimize all images on your website by putting the target keyword or related keywords in the image alt text. This will increase your chances of ranking higher in Google results.

Key takeaway: Optimize your images by putting the target keyword in the image alt text.

In the Meta Data

Here’s another spot where you can include the target keyword – in your metadata. This practice is especially beneficial when it comes to click-through rates.

Extra Tip: To make sure your SERP snippet looks good, just use SEOmofo. This is a free tool that corrects your mistakes and gives you an instant look at how your metadata will show up in search engines.

SEOmofo

SEOmofo shows you instantly how your title, metadata, and URL will look like on search engines. Source: SEOmofo

Here’s an example:

I just searched for the keyword “beauty tips”. In the examples which show up among the first results, the target keyword is included both in the metadata and the title.

Key Takeaway: Include the target keyword in the metadata.

Implement Product Review Schema

One way to get rich snippets in search engines is to implement a product reviews schema. This is a simple code that gives search engines information on what your website content is all about. 

If you search for a product on Google you’ll notice that in the first results businesses have their reviews enabled for visitors to see. How do businesses implement these rich snippets? They add Schema markup to their product pages.

Where to start with schema markups? Head over to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.

Once you’re there, click on “products”.

Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper

Now, you need to find a product on your website that has user reviews or ratings. Copy the URL of that product page and place it in the URL field. Next, click on “Start Tagging”.

You’ll need to highlight the number of reviews and your star rating. Once that’s done, click on “Create HTML”. All that’s left to do is to place this new HTML code into your product page.

On-page SEO for Ecommerce Product Pages

When it comes to optimizing product pages, you basically need to follow all the steps that are relevant to optimizing on-page SEO for category pages. The main differences you’ll need to focus on are:

                Google ranks higher websites with longer content. Source: Sweor.com

Research shows that ecommerce websites with product reviews see an increase in click-through rates. What’s more, sites with 100 reviews can see an increase in conversion rates of around 37%. Keep in mind that collecting customer reviews is also a part of an optimized ecommerce website.

Here’s an example of a product page by Ratio Coffee:

Ratio Coffee's product page

As you can see, this product page describes the product in detail. It also includes informative videos showing customers how to use the product as well as customer reviews. On top of that, the website has an elegant scrolling system, a balanced design, and the product descriptions are straightforward and transparent.

Extra Tip: Integrate an Instagram feed with your product pages. This is a great way to implement user-generated content on your website and show how your brand’s campaigns are performing. A great tool for implementing user-generated-content is Taggbox. It lets you display UGC content anywhere on your ecommerce websites and it has a 14 days free trial.

Key Takeaway: Add longer product descriptions (1000 words is enough), collect customer reviews, and add UGC to your product pages.

Use Latent Semantic Indexing Keywords (LSI) for Ecommerce Websites

Don’t get fooled by the fancy name. Latent semantic indexing keywords (LSI) are just words and phrases that are similar to your target keyword. 

Finding LSI keywords is easy. Just type the target keyword in the search query on Google and see the suggestions:

Ecommerce SEO search query on Google

Also, for some more LSI keywords inspiration, check out the related searches at the bottom of the page:

Related searches on Google

Just go through these suggestions and use every keyword that’s relevant to your product. Use them to optimize both your category and product pages. You can also check the suggestions on Amazon and the terms and phrases that are used more than once in a product description. 

Amazon's search query

Key Takeaway: Research and use LSI keywords to optimize the content in your category and product pages.

Voice Search for Ecommerce SEO

Is your website optimized for voice search? A study done by OC&C Strategy Consultants found that voice search is expected to grow by $40 billion by 2020. Voice search should be a part of your ecommerce SEO strategy as this trend is here to stay.

So, how to implement voice search on your ecommerce website?

Add FAQ pages.

When it comes to voice search for ecommerce SEO, your strategy needs to be focused on the questions that customers would ask when purchasing a product. Also, keep in mind that voice searches tend to be longer than searches done by typing.

Your keyword strategy for voice search should be focused around keyword questions. When people use voice search, they ask targeted questions and use words such as how, what, when, and where.

Your job is to add a FAQ page on your website that will give answers to the most frequent questions people are asking related to your niche.

Key Takeaway: Add FAQ pages to optimize your website for voice search.

Optimize for Mobile

Everyone knows at this point that mobile internet usage is increasing with every passing day. 

But, how does it affect your business? Well, statistics show that 82% of customers use their mobile devices before they make a purchasing decision. What’s more, customers get easily frustrated by websites that are not optimized for mobile, with stats showing that around 40% of customers just leave the website after a bad mobile experience.

Besides, a website’s mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor since 2015

However, just having a mobile-friendly website is not enough. The term mobile-friendly refers to a website that looks as good on mobile screens as it does on desktops. To make sure your website offers a good mobile experience for your customers, it should be both mobile-friendly and mobile-optimized. A mobile-optimized website is a website created specifically for mobiles and it offers customers a simplified user experience.

It’s obvious, mobile optimization should be a vital part of your ecommerce SEO strategy. Here’s a quick list of tips that can help you optimize for mobile.

  • Test your site’s mobile speed with Google’s Mobile Speed Tool;
  • Pick a fully responsive theme for your website;
  • Pick a web hosting service that offers excellent performance and minimal downtime.

Social Media Integration

Does your business have an active presence on social media platforms? Social signals are a vital part to growing your traffic.

Source: Moz.com

Social media signals have an impact on organic search rankings. They basically signal to Google that people find your products valuable.

So, how to grow your social signals?

  • Add share buttons 
  • Add connect buttons
  • Add a blog

Additionally, websites with a strong social presence have a higher chance of establishing brand awareness which arguably leads to more conversions.

Ahrefs Rank

Ahrefs rank is a metric developed by Ahrefs that ranks all the websites that exist in the world according to the size and quality of their backlink profiles. 

Ahrefs calculates these factors and scores websites’ domain rating from 1 to 100. A website with a higher score has a lot of high-quality backlinks, and it will have authority on Google search and show up higher in search engines, while a website with a lower score won’t be able to pop up among the first results for competitive keywords.

The important thing to remember is that increasing your domain rating is not as easy and quick as optimizing your metadata and URLs. However, there are several things you can do to improve your DA. Even though this is more or less of a guessing game, most SEO experts agree that to get your website score/authority higher, you can generally try to improve the following things:

  • Improve the overall SEO on your website. A website with a high DA score is a well-optimized one. Make sure to optimize all aspects of your category and product pages, as well as your blog posts or articles, including URLs, metadata, images, and titles.
  • Link internally. If you have a blog on your website, don’t forget to internally link your articles. Internal linking is beneficial because it builds a powerful network on your website and it establishes information hierarchy. 
  • Get rid of spammy links. Make regular checks and clean your ecommerce website from toxic links by removing them manually.
  • Get backlinks from high authority websites. The easiest way to do this is to write high-quality content. As we mentioned above, having a blog on your ecommerce website will be beneficial for both improving your conversion rates and your domain authority. In fact, getting backlinks from authoritative websites is another method of improving your ranking in the SERPs.

Backlinks are an important SEO factor. Source: OptinMonster.com

Backlinks basically show Google that your content is gaining industry recognition and that it provides value to both customers and websites. So, how to get some quality backlinks? 

  • Getting links from relevant audience websites

According to the link-building expert Eric Ward, you should build your links in such a way as if Google could completely vanish tomorrow. What this means is focusing on getting links from relevant websites that’ll bring your target audience to your site. This will help you to boost your backlink profile and connect with a new target audience already interested in your content and what you sell.

  • Build internal links

Also, keep in mind that the strength of your website depends on the internal linking structure. Internal links pass link juice and provide a better user experience as they allow visitors to navigate your website more easily.

So, interlink your blog content as this will help you create a stronger link profile and it will entice your visitors to stay there longer.

  • Create infographics

Nowadays everyone loves visual data. Visually representing data in the form of data visualizations will help people easily digest complex data that they would otherwise not bother to read. Plus, they can help you attract more website traffic. For example, original infographics drove more engagement than any other type of visual content in 2018. 

To start creating data visualizations, you can either hire a professional or learn how to craft them by using free tools such as Piktochart and Venngage

  • Invest in video marketing

Stats predict that 80% of all traffic will be video by 2020. It’s safe to say that your business can neglect the impact that videos can have for your ecommerce SEO marketing. Videos give you the chance to build brand awareness, reach a larger audience, and boost conversions. 

Where to start with video content? Create “How-to”, “Product-in-use”, “Close-up”, and “Story” types of videos. Use them to tell your customers your brand story, show your products in action, and explain all their features and functionality.

Extra Tip: Develop an email outreach strategy and contact a couple of authoritative websites monthly. Plus, always check the website’s guest posting guidelines so you increase your chances of landing a link.

If you need more help and you’re up for a long read, check out OptinMonster’s guide on domain authority.

Site Structure for Ecommerce Sites

Your website structure is as important for SEO as your keyword strategy. The site’s architecture defines the way in which your content is represented on your website. This matters to both visitors and search engines. In a nutshell, an excellent site architecture puts the most important content in front of visitors and reduces the number of clicks that lead to relevant content. 

What encompasses the structure of an ecommerce website? Your website architecture depends on how you’ll set up the navigation system, category pages, and product pages.

Follow these key rules to create a user-friendly site structure for your ecommerce site:

  • Make sure your website is simple and scalable. This means that your visitors should be only 2-3 clicks away from finding the product they’re looking for.
  • All subdirectories and URLs should be optimized with keywords.
  • Most importantly, browsing through pages should be super easy and fast for both customers and robots.

Extra tip: Make sure that the homepage links to all category pages and best product pages in a transparent way. Plus, use internal linking to create a network of all pages so customers can easily be redirected from one page to another.

Here’s an example of a well-organized page hierarchy:

An example of a well-organized ecommerce SEO page hierarchy

As you can see, the homepage links to all category pages, which means that visitors will find the products they’re searching for in only 2-3 clicks. It’s recommended that your best product pages are also linked on the home page.

The most important thing here is to make sure that all pages receive traffic from your homepage through internal linking and excellent navigation. Also, make your website visually appealing with banner images on the homepage and high-quality product images. Creating an excellent site structure is all about improving customer experience, which will arguably increase your conversion rates.

Key Takeaway: A well-organized ecommerce website looks like this: homepage > categories > subcategories > products. 

Technical SEO for Ecommerce Websites

Let’s get one thing straight: technical SEO is vital for a website’s success. Ecommerce websites usually have more pages than regular websites, so the technical part really makes a difference.

Before we jump into the details, let’s just answer this question: What is technical SEO?

Technical SEO encompasses all website and server optimizations that are made to help search engine spiders index a website. Search engine algorithms prefer websites that display a number of technical characteristics such as fast loading time, a secure connection, and responsive design

Google rewards websites with excellent technical SEO because they provide the best user experience. As a result, competitors with more or less similar ecommerce websites can outrank you in search results due to a technical issue.

How can an ecommerce site audit help your ecommerce website?

  • You’ll get a clear idea of the current quality of your website.
  • You will know exactly which steps you should take in order to improve the overall quality of your website.

Let’s see how you can optimize user experience with the help of technical SEO.

Crawl Your Site

Crawl your site with a free tool such as Screaming Frog and find whether your website has technical errors. Screaming Frog is designed to crawl websites and provide you with valuable data about your site’s broken links, errors, duplicate content, and redirects. It also analyzes page titles and meta descriptions and determines if some of them are missing or are too long.

ScreamingFrog's landing page

Sitebulb is another powerful website crawler (which is also an award-winning SEO tool, and so much more) that’s user-friendly thanks to its intuitive dashboard and valuable and actionable insights. It’s a desktop website crawler, so you’ll have to install it on your computer as a separate program.

Sitebulb's landing page

And lastly, we have to recommend DeepCrawl, a cloud-based website crawler that’ll also fix your site’s performance and give you technical SEO analytics. It’s used by some of the world’s largest enterprise brands, as well as ecommerce and retail brands, publishers, and agencies.

DeepCrawl's landing page

Find Site Errors

Once you get a summary of the data on your site, make sure you make the following improvements:

  • Redirect 404 pages; 
  • Remove broken links;
  • Change 302 redirects to 301 redirects;
  • Correct missing alt text and missing data;
  • Identify if your website’s page titles and meta descriptions are too long or short;
  • Update duplicate content pages, meta descriptions, and meta titles. 

Check the SEO status of your homepage

We already talked about the importance of optimizing your category and product pages. However, let’s quickly go through the following steps to make sure your homepage is also optimized:

  • Your homepage should have a visible and clickable title.
  • Your homepage has one instance of the H1 tag.
  • Your homepage has a custom meta-description which is optimized for click-throughs.
  • Your homepage should have properly optimized H2 and H3 subheadings.

If your homepage doesn’t conform to the above-mentioned practices, make sure to fix that.

Search Your Brand on Google

Head to Google and type your brand name in the search query. If it doesn’t pop up in the first results, take the following steps:

  • Build some branded links.
  • Create citations on business directories.
  • Check if your website is on Google Business listings.
  • Make sure your website has a strong online presence on social networks.

Speed Up Your Website

Is there anything more frustrating than a slow website? And precisely because slow websites cause frustration among users, studies show that website owners may also lose conversions. Statistics tell us that a 1-second page delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.

Plus, users spend less time on these websites. The same study we referenced above showed that 40% of visitors abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load and 47% of visitors expect that a website should load in 2 seconds or less. 

Plus, website speed influences your rankings in the SERPs. Website speed has been a Google ranking factor since 2010.

So how can you improve your site speed?

The first thing you should do is check the speed of your website. You can do this by using Google’ PageSpeed Insights Tool. Just enter your website URL and Google will guide you on which steps you should take to increase the loading time. 

Extra Tip: You can also monitor your website performance by using tools like Pingdom and GTmetrix .

Your hosting provider also plays a big role here. Quality web hosting will keep up with large traffic and make sure your website loads fast. Plus, it will reduce the chances of downtime and increase the growth capabilities of your online store.

Another thing to pay attention to is the file size of your images. Large images can slow your website down, so keep in mind to compress all images before you put them on your website.

Small product images should have a size of around 20-30 KB and high-resolution images shouldn’t surpass 150 KB.

Compressing images is far from hard, as there are a number of free tools like  TinyJPG, Toolur and JPEG optimizer that will reduce image file size within minutes.

We particularly recommend TinyJPG. As you can see in the image below, we just dropped our image file in the box and it immediately reduced the image size file. Now, all you need to do is download the freshly compressed image file. Plus, TinyJPG allows you to upload up to 20 images at once, so you can speed up the process.

The result? Your images will retain quality without wasting storage or bandwidth.

Key Takeaway: Make a test speed for your website and take the steps to improve your loading time. Be picky when it comes to web hosting and always compress your images.

Improve the Quality of User Experience with Web Vitals

Google’s initiative Web Vitals is all about improving your website’s user experience by analyzing the most important metrics you should focus on, like loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability. 

You’ll now be able to measure these metrics with 6 tools: 

  • Search Console; 
  • PageSpeed Insights; 
  • Lighthouse;
  • Chrome DevTools; 
  • Chrome UX Report; 
  • Web Vitals Extension.  

Keeping your users happy is what will bring you more traffic and sales, which is why you should always strive to improve the quality of experience you deliver to your users.

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this guide helpful. We would like to leave you with one final thought: Don’t let SEO be the last thing you do for your ecommerce website. If SEO is only an afterthought, that won’t do the trick in a highly competitive world where the top ten websites are already optimized to the last detail. 

Finally, it’s up to you to measure how your ecommerce SEO is performing. Track your results so you can know where most of your traffic comes from and keep an eye on your analytics. Most importantly, audit your ecommerce site regularly since you will need to improve and fine-tune your technical SEO as your business grows.

Use this ecommerce SEO guide to build a highly optimized ecommerce website that will catch the attention of both search engines and visitors. Eventually, your ecommerce SEO efforts will pay off.

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