e-Commerce was once the wave of the future and it has arrived as one of the most effective ways to expand your sales and connect with new customers. Though e-commerce does require some specific strategies for things like SEO link building and optimizing your e-commerce site.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the key components that go into maximizing your e-commerce success.

The Importance Of Search Engine Optimization & Keyword Research

Often referred to as SEO, Search Engine Optimization is an absolutely critical component of e-commerce success. It’s estimated that 44% of consumers will turn to Google first for online shopping, whether it is looking for products directly or simply to do research.

Search Engine Optimization is the strategic use of keywords laced into your e-commerce site’s content. This makes effective keyword research of paramount importance as it essentially informs every other SEO-based task on your website. This is due in part to the fact that your site architecture and URLs take keyword usage into account.

How Do I Find Keywords For My E-Commerce Products & Category Pages?

A lot of keywords used for SEO purposes are informational keywords that phrase a question. Such as “How to fold a fitted sheet?” or “How to paint a fence.” When we apply this concept to e-commerce sites, it means that the majority of your keywords and phrases will be related to product searches in some way.

Amazon is one of the largest competitors for most e-commerce sites. While the scale is certainly a factor, it also means that they have a successful model for implementing effective use of keywords. With a little cunning, you can tap into their strategic approach.

You may have noticed that when you start typing into Amazon’s search bar, it starts giving you a string of phrases related to the product name. If you happen to have a product in your e-commerce wares that is also carried by Amazon, you can take advantage of these suggestions to use as your own keywords for naming a product.

Amazon’s keyword suggestions tend to be targeted, which is known as “Long Tail Keywords” that often read like short phrases. You can then tally a list of these keyword phrases for every product on your e-commerce site.

Keyword Research Using SEMrush

SEMrush is essentially an SEO tool for effective keyword research that is trusted by internet marketers of every size. This special type of software tracks the keyword strategies employed by your competitors, it also runs an SEO audit of your own content including blogs, then it looks for SEO opportunities.

SEMRush is a little different than a lot of other keyword research tools. It doesn’t just generate new keyword ideas based on seed keywords. Rather it gives you keywords that your competitors are already using to improve their ranking.

To make the most out of this strategy you first have to enter a competitor into SEMrush’s search field, then on the sidebar click “Organic Research.” This will generate a list of keywords that the competitor is ranking for. You can even check out the competitor’s report to see which keywords are ranking the strongest. Typically you would want to focus on key phrases that have the most volume, however, most likely your competitors know this, and it will be a much more difficult and longer process to rank for them. It should be considered more of a long term strategy to go after these phrases, and in the meantime focus on the smaller more plentiful gains of lower volume and long-tail phrases related to user intent.

You can then repeat this process for each of your biggest competitors. Chances are you will find related patterns of strong words through each competitor, which will further help you refine what keywords you want to lace into your e-commerce site’s content and product descriptions.

Keyword Research Using AHREFs

Ahrefs.com is a very popular toolset for SEO analytics and backlinks. It includes a “Site Audit” tool that is designed to analyze your website to catch a lot of common SEO issues. It can also be used to monitor your SEO health as part of your e-commerce site maintenance practices. You can also set it up to alert you of any new or lost backlinks, including web mentions and keyword rankings.

When used in tandem with SEMrush you ensure that you are ranking just as well as your competitors, while also making sure that you don’t develop any of the telltale issues that might reduce Google’s algorithm’s ranking of your site. This is a great way to make sure you are staying at the top of the rankings in your niche.

Tips For An Effective Site Structure & Site Speed For User Engagement

Informational architecture is an important aspect of any website design or upgrade. Effective site structure helps in a variety of ways, including easy site navigation and being able to expand your product lines in the future. It’s especially critical with large e-commerce sites, as well as sites that offer rotating seasonal products.

Ideally, you want to try to achieve what’s called a “Flat Architecture” where visitors to your site can navigate with as few clicks as possible. This starts with making the most out of the keywords you collected during your Amazon and SEMrush research. The goal is to create the most logical and efficient path for a search engine like Google to navigate from your home page to your product pages. The more efficient this is the better you are likely to rank against your closest competitors.

Engaging Content To Connect & Drive Traffic

When people read your content, you have 3-5 seconds to connect with them before they decide to leave or read on. Most people don’t read, they skim the content, and look at the pictures. Content creation is a driving force in all e-commerce sites. You want all the content on your site to be educational and informative. Try to answer any potential questions you think your site visitors and interested customers might ask. In addition, the content will help with your ranking for a slew of phrases that you are not even aware people may ask in Google.

Also make sure that you are demonstrating the features and benefits of each of your products, using keyword-rich content. If possible, try to include things like bulleted lists, this helps customers and search engines to quickly skim for key information they want. Also try and separate long paragraphs with mini titles that help break things up, and more importantly give people a chance to quickly skim the features and benefits of your products.

This will keep them engaged and less likely to bounce out of your site to one of your competitors. Of course, this also translates to an increased chance of making a sale.

During this process, you also need to avoid some common problems that could cause Google and other search engines to reduce your ranking. This includes avoiding duplicate pages and duplicate content. Even if there are two or more products that are very similar, you still need to write fresh original descriptions and content for each.

Proper Use Of Internal Linking Throughout Your E-Commerce Site

The internal linking strategy in your e-commerce site’s infrastructure can also have an impact on its ranking and usability. This is links embedded in the pages of your website that connect visitors and search engines to other pages within your website. Proper interlinking can go a long way toward improving your ranking for your top keywords.

Though this isn’t to say that you want to go hog wild and overdo your interlinking. Overuse of internal links gives Google’s algorithm the impression that you are trying to manipulate the rankings, and will actually lower your ranking as a result. So, it’s best to only use internal links where it’s natural. Such as linking to an internal FAQ or if a more in-depth analysis would be beneficial for visitors who “Want to know more” about a technical subject.

When you are done with your content and established your final infrastructure, you should create a site map. This is handy for you or your webmaster to keep everything organized. You can also submit your sitemap to Google to help it crawl the entirety of your website and index each page. This can potentially improve your ranking in the long run.

Focus On The Long-Term Benefits Of Categories

If you take the time to surf through a major e-commerce site, you will likely notice creative and unique descriptions on their categories pages. Of course, this is more than just a marketing copywriter making a clever turn of phrase. There are a variety of functional reasons for doing this.

Right off the bat, categories give visitors a clearer understanding of the product they are looking at. Categories also help Google’s algorithm to better understand what the page itself is about. If the page is blank, Google’s algorithm is likely to ignore it for ranking consideration.

Here again, you want to make sure you are writing truly fresh and unique content in the description. If you simply copy and paste descriptions from another product page or the manufacturer’s website it might lead to a lower ranking in Google’s algorithm.

Page Titles & Engaging Descriptions For User Intent

The page title is the most important element on a page that tells Google and the user what your page is all about. From time to time try to weave long-tail keywords into page titles and descriptions. Just don’t overdo it, and make sure that they read naturally. If they sound forced it could turn off visitors and might flag in Google’s algorithm which could reduce your ranking. More importantly there are limits to the number of characters that appear in a search results page. Google has experimented with this often, and will sometimes even overwrite your own titles and descriptions. However, a good rule of thumb is to keep your Page title under 70 characters and your descriptions under 155 characters.

You also want to avoid using the Amazon descriptions as best as possible. Amazon is almost always going to rank higher when the same description is used. You want to stand out from the pack. So, by giving each product a fresh description you decrease your chances of being buried under Amazon and other competitors.

Whenever possible you want to provide your readers with information, insights, features, and benefits that go beyond what Amazon and your other e-commerce competitors offer. This goes beyond Google’s algorithm and comes right down to offering your visitors and potential customers with the kind of information that they can’t get anywhere else. This in turn will fill them with a sense of trust and desire to add items to cart and check out.

Product & Review Schema

Schema markup, which shows things like the number of ratings and the number of reviews posted for the product is incredibly attractive to potential buyers. Not only is it more eye-catching in the SERP or snippet you find it in, but it can increase CTR by up to 30%!

At the same time, it helps Google to get a better understanding of your content, and products. Which, of course, translates into a higher ranking. This includes things like category pages, blog posts, and descriptions.

Though Schema can be a little complicated to set up. You need to make sure that you are adding markups to each of your product pages that also provide Google with detailed product information. This will increase your chances of ranking higher in content searches as well as image searches. Being detailed about things like price, availability, and especially review ratings will further increase the chances of potential visitors clicking on your product over a competitor’s.

Schema can have a variety of properties, some of the most important are bare-bones things like:

  • Product Name
  • Product Image (With Tag or Description)
  • Product Description;
  • Aggregate Rating;
  • The Current Price Per Unit
  • The Currency Of The Price

Get Links From Valuable Sources To Home & Category Pages

Building links to your website’s homepage, product pages, and category pages can be challenging. Though this is a double-edged sword that cuts against you and your competitors who are likely trying to do the same thing.

There are a few ways to build links to your pages without risking lowering your ranking. One of the easiest ways is to source links from high-ranking competitor’s home pages. This can include things like using link intersect tools which can show you which sites are linking to those competitors.

About Us Page

Often overlooked, the about us is perhaps one of the most important factors that lead to a conversion because it tells your story that instill trust in your brand or website. There has been many studies that show how people navigating a website will often visit the about us page prior to checkout, and there is a high dollar amount of value given. to that page. Go ahead and fill up that page with your beginnings, the people that work there, ideals, customer service policies and authentic pictures that tell your story. Its that story that people often connect with, and gives them the confidence and desire to want to do business with you.

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of things to do for your e-commerce site needed in order to grow. These are just a few things we’ve put together to get you started. E-commerce is a huge ecosystem of driving traffic, engaging traffic, re-targeting,  remarketing, marketplace channels and so much more. It can be overwhelming and daunting in the beginning, but start small with little tasks to drive bigger wins for your brand. Remember, even Amazon started as just one guy at a desk.

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