Ecommerce was going from strength to strength already in the pre-pandemic era. And now with the prolonged close-downs and movement restrictions, people are relying more heavily than ever on online shopping.
So, how can you drive more and more traffic to your online shop?
There is one simple answer to that: by optimising your e-commerce website so you rank higher in SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages).
Now, we normally hear a lot of talk about the importance of using social media, paid ads and so on. However, a recent study conducted by SEMrush across 13 e-commerce verticals shows that Direct and Organic Search account for over 80% of all traffic to an ecommerce website. Compared to this, Social accounts for a paltry 2.92% and the Paid fares slightly better at 6.19%.
The above findings should suffice to show the importance of SEO for an online shop. The basic thing to keep in mind is that you’ll have to score more SEO points. But how do you do that?
In this article, we spoke to Jason Boyd who runs an ecommerce SEO agency to discuss some strategies specific to e-commerce businesses. Of course, no matter what kind of website you run, you’ll always have to concentrate on some basic good SEO practices (proper keyword research and planning, content optimisation, link building and many others). Consider those practices as fundamentals.
However, there are things you need to focus on specifically for an e-commerce website and this is what we’ll discuss in the present article.
Key SEO Techniques for an Online Shop
1. Assigning Keywords
So, you’ve done your keyword research and settled on a cluster of ‘body’ and ‘long-tail’ keywords. Now, it’s time to assign those keywords to each and every page of your website.
However, as an online store, you probably have a large number of products on offer— which means your website contains many product pages. In this scenario, one thing you should always avoid is to have multiple pages with the same set of keywords. This way, all these different pages will be competing against each other for higher search engine results. And of course, you don’t want that to happen!
So, make sure to list all your different pages (product pages, category pages, and so on) with separate sets of keywords. This also points to the importance of choosing a large CLUSTER of keywords (and not just a set of keywords) when it comes to keyword planning for online stores.
2. Mobile Optimisation
Already in 2016, smartphone and other mobile devices had surpassed desktop as devices that are used most by people to access websites. Little surprise then that Google now assigns higher rankings to mobile-friendly sites.
However, keep in mind that mobile optimisation does not refer to making all your content available on a smaller screen. You’ll need to ‘optimize’ all that content to facilitate a fast and seamless experience for the mobile user.
So, how were you to do that? Well, first of all, you’ll need to improve the site’s loading speed. Studies tell us that over 50% of potential visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
That is something! In other words, every second counts! So, practice the following in order to minimise the load speed:
• Reduce redirects
• Minify code
• Optimise the images
• Leverage browser caching
Additionally, vis-à-vis mobile optimisation, it’s also important that you avoid intrusive interstitial ads that directly affect the usability factor on mobile devices. So, take time to learn what sort of modals, overlays or pop-ups you can use safely (and those you should avoid) for your site’s mobile platform.
3. Site Architecture
For e-commerce websites, a ‘flat architecture’ (Homepage> Categories> Sub-Categories> Products) is considered best in terms of UX, ranking and conversion. According to SEO specialists, this type of architecture maximises ‘authority’ for an e-commerce site by easily helping visitors pass from homepage to the relevant product page via internal links.
And yes, make sure to submit a sitemap to Google and other prominent search engines to ensure that all your pages are properly indexed and crawled.
4. Improve ‘Dwell Time’
‘Dwell time’ refers to the time a visitor spends on your site. Google’s algorithms understandably read longer dwell time as a positive ranking signal.
For an ecommerce site, you can improve both dwell time and usability (of course, one is linked to the other) by incorporating features such as thorough, well-written and vivid product descriptions; high-res and attractive photos of the products, product videos, 360degree views of the product; live chat; social share buttons; plenty of verified customer reviews.
Also, whenever possible, put a Comparison Chart on the product page so the visitor can compare the prices and specs of your competitor products without having to leave your website.
And finally, make sure that your site is equipped with a streamlined checkout and a robust search function.
So, the above are some of the key techniques one can employ in order to maximise traffic and conversion from his online store.
Some More Useful Ecommerce SEO Tips: Blog and Google Shopping
In addition, you must also consider Running a Blog for your e-commerce website. A blog helps you add fresh content on a regular basis and Google loves fresh content and reads it as an indicator that your site is relevant and active.
And finally, we highly recommend all online shop owners to list their products with the Google Shopping. Remember those series of images that currently appear on top of the paid ads and organic results? Those are the listings that redirected from Google Shopping.
Go to the Google Merchant Center and open a free account to list your product (with product data, images, etc.) with Google Shopping.