Best SEO Practices for eCommerce Brands
As an eCommerce business, SEO can always seem like a moving target. With each new algorithm change, different strategies can be more important than they were before or new technologies are rolled out that you need to implement. In this guide, I’m going to walk you through eCommerce SEO best practices that are tried-and-true methods for boosting your rankings, traffic, and overall online revenue.
Website Speed and Core Vitals
In 2021 Google rolled out an algorithm update that focused on Core Web Vitals, website speed, and UX signals that can be found in Google Search Console. For the first time, website load speeds became (and are becoming even more) a part of Google’s ranking factors. With that being said, it’s vitally important to speed up your eCommerce website. eCommerce websites can be notoriously slow, pulling in hundreds of products on a category page for example and Core Web Vital scores on eCommerce sites are often lower than a standard, informational WordPress site.
To check your site’s speed instantly, you can use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool as seen below.
As seen above is a score of 100, the best score a webpage can receive.
Depending on your platform (Shopify, Magento, etc.), there may be plug-ins that can help boost your scores that use CDN and caching. It can get really technical really fast, so it’s important to work with an SEO expert and consult with your website development team. If you can get your scores all into the green, you should not only get a nice SEO boost now, but you will set your site up for future success as Core Web Vitals become an even bigger part of the algorithm.
Articles, Guides, and Expert Content
An eCommerce website is all about selling products, right? So why have articles and guides Google loves a website that not only sells products but informs customers on making the right buying decisions? The top-ranked websites on Google are seen as authorities in their industry, and one of the best ways to become an authority is to provide the best content and answer questions.
The first step is to create a content plan. Map out which articles you’ll write and when you’ll write them. It might be good to start with one a week then work your way up from there if needed. Start with creating “cornerstone” content, meaning content that will not go out of date. Buying guides are a great place to start and you can include products within your content, ultimately driving conversions and sales.
Remember, there are two different types of potential customers searching–those that already know exactly what they want, and those doing research first. Great content will help you get that second customer. Be sure to create a robust piece of content and include all of the SEO elements that will help your content rank.
Some eCommerce website platforms have articles or blogging capabilities built-in, while others may require you to install the feature. You should once again work with an SEO expert and your developers when doing this to ensure everything is set up correctly. Otherwise technical issues can stop your content from ranking no matter how well written it is.
Pro tip: Don’t have your articles live on a subdomain as it can negatively impact your SEO. Your content will rank much higher if it is on your main domain with a subdirectory.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Use Schema To Boost Your CTR
Schema is an easy SEO win to boost your CTR (click-through rate). Your CTR is the rate at which searchers see your page appear in the search engines and click it. If your listing appears 100 times and is clicked 10 times, you have a CTR of 10%. So, how can you boost your CTR?
Make your listings stand out. While updating your meta description can help (although Google often overrides these now), adding review stars through schema is a surefire approach.
The star rating seen above is powered by schema code on the page. If you’re not sure how to add this, your website developer or SEO agency should know-how. It’s a simple implementation that is well worth the effort!
Have Pages for the Keywords Searched
Seems pretty obvious, huh? But the reality is, most eCommerce sites are missing out on huge traffic potentials by not having pages targeting the keywords that would be the highest converting. When you’re setting up your category structure it’s easy to create 10-20 categories and drop your products in. Done. But often this leaves your website with all high-level categories and no subcategories.
Let me give an example.
If you sell telescopes only it would make sense to have a category for “Telescopes.” You can add all of your telescopes into the category and you’re good to go. If you have 500 telescopes you may break this down a bit into a few categories.
Now, let’s say you want to rank for “beginners telescopes” and “kids telescopes,” which are great keywords. The best way to do this would be to create additional subcategories under your main “telescopes” category. Within these subcategories, you can select the products that make sense for beginners and kids. Voila! Now your website has the ability to rank for keywords that it never had before. The more targeted subcategories you can create the better.
Pro tip: When creating category pages be sure to optimize these pages, meaning writing a great title tag, adding content, internal links, and more. A category page with just products and no optimization probably won’t rank.
Drive Links To Your Pages
The number of external websites that link to your pages has always been a search engine ranking factor. Think of each link as a vote. It’s someone saying, “I think this website has some value, so I’m going to link to it.” When you look at it that way, it makes sense why sites with more links rank above sites that don’t have many external links.
Link building for eCommerce websites can get tricky, so I’ll outline a few tips below:
Get Links into the Authoritative Content You’ve Created
As we talked about above, having authoritative content that lives on your site is extremely important. Not only for potential customers to land on, but for your ability to gain links. If you write great content, other people will link to it naturally. Also, you can do outreach to bloggers in your industry and ask them if they would feature a link to your page within one of their posts.
Run Sales and Giveaways
Running promotions on a product can give incentives for bloggers and affiliates to link directly to a product page. Again, reaching out to bloggers in your industry and letting them know you have a sale, asking them to promote it, can get you links directly to a product or category page.
If you don’t know much about link building, Moz has a beginner’s guide to link building which is a great resource to learn.