SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is a powerful tool that most new ecommerce businesses overlook. There is a strong correlation between ranking higher in search engines and the amount of traffic you will receive on your online shop.
Backlinko states that 0.78% of Google users click on results from the 2nd page. So essentially you are non-existant to search engine users if you are not ranking on page 1.
But how can you improve your organic rank with SEO? We’ve compiled 10 of the best ecommerce SEO tips to boost traffic to your online shop.
1. Website navigation
Not only is your navigation heavily important for Google to understand the structure of your ecommerce shop, but it also affects other important metrics that can impact your SEO.
If visitors cannot find what they are looking for or easily navigate around your site, metrics such as session duration and bounce rates will be affected. If visitors don’t spend much time on your online shop or leave without navigating to another page then Google will see these as ‘bad signals’.
Despite the obvious steps to improving your website navigation and adding appropriate subcategories, you can also ensure you use a breadcrumb navigation. This allows visitors to visually identify what path they took to get to where they are currently. This allows for easier navigation back to certain categories or subcategories.
If you want to understand more about the do’s and don’ts of website navigation then you can check out our guide.
2. Make URL links SEO friendly
You might think a URL is just a link but it can still affect SEO too.
MOZ suggests some tips for creating SEO friendly URLs as well as breaking down the structure.
URLs can also improve a user’s experience. Having an understandable URL is good if you typically share direct product links on your businesses social accounts. Not only is it clear to where the URL directs people when clicked, it also helps Google to understand the products better.
Having a URL filled with random numbers and letters can actually deter users from clicking on them. It’s best to keep them clean and include relevant keywords as shown in the example below.
3. Keyword research to improve SEO
Knowing which keywords you want to rank for on search engines is a good place to start. This way you can create content around these keywords in the hopes of improving your SEO.
You will use keywords throughout your online shop. This can include for example; the product description, product title, about us page, as well as blogs. Blogs are a great way to include relevant content surrounding your business and utilise these keywords.
However, don’t just think of these words off the top of your head. There is a range of things you need to consider. For that reason, it’s important to do prior research.
Some things to consider when researching keywords are:
Make sure the keywords you are trying to rank for actually reflect the content on the page.
Keyword search volume
If you create content around a topic that only receives 10 monthly searches, is it worth it? Make sure your keywords have a good search volume.
Unfortunately you’re not the only one trying to improve your SEO and get higher up the search engine. Have a look at competitors ranking for a particular keyword. Most tools will tell you the difficulty of ranking for them.
Depending on the type of user you want to attract you can include a call to action within the content.
Doing your research will save you a lot of time in the long run.
To help you with researching keywords there are a range of free keyword research tools:
- Google Trends
- Keyword Generator
- Keyword Sheeter
- Answer the Public
- Keyword Surfer
- Google Search Console
- Bulk Keyword Generator
Using Google for keyword research is a great free tool that many overlook. It can finish off sentences with the most popular search terms.
Also it will show what other keywords users are searching for. You can generate some great topic ideas from this.
Majority of tools also include paid versions which will give more granular details.
4. Optimising product pages
The worst thing you can do for SEO is leave product pages blank, or lacking the content that search engines need to best understand what it is that you’re actually selling.
At the end of the day it’s a search engines job to find users the most appropriate match for their search query. So help them out and provide detailed information on your products or services.
This leads on from the previous point of conducting keyword research. One way to optimise your product pages is by writing unique descriptions with rich content. This means it should include keywords and information people are looking for when they are considering purchasing.
One thing you must not do is copy and paste product descriptions from your suppliers website. Google will penalise you for duplicated content and you will essentially end up competing with them in the SERP (Search Engine Results Page) rankings. A key SEO rule is to always write original content that utilises keywords customers are likely to be searching for.
If you want more advice on optimising your product pages that are beneficial for more reasons than just SEO, you can read the anatomy of a product page here.
5. Tracking ecommerce SEO performance on Google Analytics
Using Google Analytics and establishing trends is a sure way to build a solid SEO strategy.
Using Google Analytics you can see which pages are performing and which are not. You will be able to see which source contributes the most to your traffic. This means you can focus your efforts on platforms that are truly having an impact.
In addition Google Analytics uncovers pages that contribute as exit pages. Although it’s impossible to establish the reasoning for this, it gives a good indication of areas of improvement that can be made.
Improving core metrics such as time spent on page and bounce rates using Google Analytics will have a profound impact on your SEO.
If you want to learn more you can read Google Analytics: A complete guide for ecommerce here.
6. Mobile responsive ecommerce theme
According to OuterBox, on cyber monday 54% of visitors came from mobile devices.
With mobile usage becoming an increasingly popular way to shop online, search engines are increasing their focus on mobile ecommerce a.k.a mcommerce. In particular, ensuring that the user’s experience when visiting mobile sites is a highly enjoyable experience.
Search engines ensure the results they present load fast on mobile and are user friendly. Having a mobile friendly ecommerce theme, means that the webpage is appropriately sized on any device, ensuring a good user experience.
One way to improve your SEO, is to ensure your ecommerce site is mobile friendly, otherwise known as fully optimised. A quick and easy way to check this is by using Google’s mobile friendly test.
If you don’t have a mobile friendly website then it will heavily affect your chances of ranking on search engines.
EKM provides a wide range of fully responsive themes. Meaning that your website is automatically re-sized depending on what device the customer is browsing on. This way you don’t have to worry about building a mobile version of your ecommerce site unlike other ecommerce platforms require you to do.
7. Secure your ecommerce website
Back in 2017, Google announced that it would flag sites as not secure if they did not have an SSL certificate. Users would be alerted that their data would be at risk.
Having a warning message pop up on your online shop definitely won’t make people want to put in their payment details and checkout with you. The message will significantly lower trust levels. Not only is this bad for your sales, but also they are highly not likely to return either.
The warning message will also have a definite effect on important SEO metrics such as the bounce rate and time spent on your online shop. This means one way to instantly improve SEO is by ensuring your website has an SSL certificate.
A simple way to check is by looking at the start of your URL. If it begins with https:// then you have a secure website. If it begins with http:// then users will receive warning messages when landing on your online shop.
You can also buy differing levels of security. Some SSL certificates offer a green padlock to reassure their visitors it is a well protected site.
EKM provides each ecommerce shop owner with a free SSL certificate on each plan.
8. Reduce image sizes
How fast your ecommerce pages load can be a key deciding factor for how well you rank on search engines.
One of the best ways to improve your page load speed is by reducing image sizes. Images are typically not optimised for webpages and therefore have bigger file sizes than what is needed.
The best way to reduce the file size of your images is to use free compression tools. This won’t affect the overall image quality but will reduce its size, allowing your online shop to load faster. As a result, improving your SEO.
To compress PNG images you can use TinyPNG.
To compress JPG/JPEG images you can use TinyJPG.
The best thing about these websites is that you can compress multiple images at once. Speeding up the process if you have a wide array of images for your online shop.
9. Remove broken links
Broken links affect your SEO efforts and can damage user experience. This is why it’s important to regularly check the health of your pages.
Remember this can also include links to external sites that you’ve mentioned in blog posts for example. But how are you meant to know if a link in a blog post you wrote a year ago is broken?
You can use a free broken link checker such as Ahrefs. It will quickly check for inbound and outbound links that can be damaging your ecommerce website.
Using tools makes it much easier to keep on top of outdated and broken links. You should already be regularly checking older content to see if it can be improved or updated, however checking links can be time consuming.
You can also use this broken link checker not only for your website but for generating backlinks. This will work best for blog posts. Simply find a broken link on another’s website you’d like to receive a backlink from and recreate the content. Then reach out to them, making them aware of the broken link and offering your content as a replacement.
This is a great way to improve your SEO efforts, however can be very time consuming.
10. Don’t use duplicated content
Google hates duplicated content. You’re SEO efforts will be greatly affected if search engines believe you are posting out unoriginal content that is copy and pasted. You need to ensure that you don’t have any pages that contain the same content as others.
However sometimes it makes sense to have information in more than one place on your website. This is when we would use Canonical & Canonicalised URLs.
What is a Canonical URL?
A Canonical URL is simply a webpage with a canonical tag. This URL inside the tag is the one you want to appear on Google’s search results. It is also the same as the webpage you are on.
What is a Canonicalised URL?
A Canonicalised URL is again a webpage with a canonical tag. This time the URL inside the tag is different from the page you are viewing. This URL will be the canonical URL that you want Google to actually index.
Every now and then, between 1-2 weeks Google crawls your pages and index’s any new content you’ve added on your site. This is when it would pick up duplicated content. If a canonical is added, this tells Google which pages such be indexed and which are duplicated content.
The result being, only one page is indexed and you won’t be penalised for having duplicated content.
These 10 tips are guaranteed to improve your SEO efforts. Being able to rank higher in search engine results, directly correlates to an increase in traffic to your ecommerce store. This is why it’s crucial to understand what SEO is and how it can impact your business. If you want to understand more about this topic, then you can read an introduction to SEO for ecommerce here.
If you’d like to learn more about setting up your own online shop, read on for more insights into running your own online business here.