SEO 12 min read
E-commerce SEO Best Practices: A Guide To Boost Sales Online
- 16 Oct 2019 10 min read
E-commerce, also known as electronic commerce or Internet commerce, involves the buying and selling of goods and services online. It covers how data and funds are used or transferred to execute such transactions. The difference of e-commerce from e-business is that the latter pertains only to online business operations, while the former focuses specifically on handling online sales of goods and services.
The e-commerce system includes several models such as business-to-business (B2B), business-to-consumer (B2C), consumer-to-consumer (C2C), and consumer-to-business (C2B). Among the four models, e-commerce commonly uses the business-to-consumer (B2C) transactions via online shopping or online retail.
2019 Global E-commerce Data
The global decline in the momentum of e-commerce can account for the current forecasts about the economy’s slight downturn. Data revealed a threshold of below 20% is expected to hit the global e-commerce system, come 2020, compared to 2017’s e-commerce growth of 28.0% and 22.9% in 2018. In spite of this, experts continue to see a positive response to improve sales, with an expected target of about USD5 trillion by 2021.
The United States no longer holds the spot as the top global e-commerce market in 2019. It has fallen second behind China which generated e-commerce sales of USD1.935 trillion. The United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Germany, France, Canada, India, and Russia are the other top countries in retail e-commerce sales this 2019.
Staying Updated with E-commerce Trends
A strong and competitive digital presence is what your business and your clients need to survive, as the e-commerce industry continues to evolve. They would also need a reliable e-commerce SEO strategy that would look like the SEO guide outline below:
- Technical SEO for E-commerce Websites
- On-Page and Content Optimization
- Building Links to Your Ecommerce Website
I. Technical SEO for E-commerce Websites
An SEO tech audit offers countless huge possibilities for e-commerce websites by making content relevant to users. By conducting this system check, you can gauge how your site is doing against competitors in the market. Executing a full audit, however, is not a good idea, at all.
The technical SEO basics are enough, and they are not as daunting as they seem. Minor SEO audits can be scheduled monthly, while a full audit can be done every six months or when your website goes through a major overhaul.
Why does your site need a technical SEO audit? Listed below is a technical SEO checklist to guide you on the common issues of onsite optimization.
Resolving indexing and crawling issues
If Google’s search engine bots can’t index your site, it will be worthless even if it is the best-looking website. This has to do with the robots.txt file that blocks your site’s important pages.
You might also need to look into faceted navigation issues which can result in duplicate URLs. Faceted navigation is the website’s ability to provide users with options when filtering on-site searches based on product attributes. Consider this a technical SEO best practice.
Optimizing meta descriptions and title tags
This particular technical SEO optimization means greater emphasis is given on the target keywords. Pages that don’t contain target keywords in their title tag, meta description, URL, and the content will have a hard time ranking in the search results.
Fixing technical errors
Another technical error slow website speed caused by large images, server response time, and repetitious HTML or CSS codes. The SEO audit also addresses mobile compatibility through usability features such as effective navigation and well-formatted content for easy scanning. This strategy can result in a boost in mobile sales number.
Correcting on-page issues
On-page issues include having the incorrect number of characters for meta titles (35-70 characters) and meta descriptions (maximum of 160 characters, including the keyword and CTA). Improper internal linking can also be addressed by an SEO check-up.
What is internal linking in SEO?
Internal links are links that can go from one particular page on a certain domain to a different page in the same domain. In other words, these are links that direct a user to another page within the same site. This internal linking strategy is used mainly for navigation.
Does internal linking help SEO?
Yes, it does. Aside from helping the users in website navigation, internal linking SEO best practices also help establish a hierarchy of information for a particular website. They also help cascade ranking power among websites.
Organizing site structure
Subfolders have to be a part of your website structure. Site URLs have to be short yet descriptive. Having a good website hierarchy structure will enable your users to seamlessly browse and navigate through your site.
Your site structure analysis has to include creating an easy internal search such as placing the search box where it’s easily located and making it big enough. Personalized search suggestions and setting autocomplete for search queries can also help simplify your site’s architecture.
Clearing site pagination
A review of your site’s pagination or how the sequential pages in your site are arranged takes place in technical SEO vs. content SEO. It also makes a long text on a page easier to digest when broken down into several chunks. A pagination done incorrectly results in a lower search engine rank.
II. On-page and Content Optimization
Conducting keyword research on Google
Conducting keyword research on Google
Your SEO campaign has to start with conducting research for the right keywords. This involves categorizing keywords based on buyer intent.
A buying intent or purchase intent refers to the probability that a buyer will purchase the product or avail of the service. It is correlated to the average cost per click of a particular keyword found in your keyword research with Google.
The criteria on how to keyword research falls under three categories:
This refers to the number of instances people have searched for the keyword. It shows how interested people are over a specific keyword. A keyword is popular among users when it has a high search volume. This means there is a high percentage of users actively searching for this particular keyword.
One of the tips for keyword research is knowing the intent of people using a particular keyword to look up a certain product. The user intent reveals what people are interested in when they input a particular keyword on Google’s search bar. You may enter additional words if you’re having a hard time targeting the user intent of a specific keyword.
Your competition can reveal specific areas on your site that you need to optimize. Type a particular keyword on Google’s search bar and select a competitor from the results. Choose a larger competitor and take a look at their site by going over their product categories and pages for a particular keyword research niche.
What are long-tail keywords?
Long-tail keywords are phrases that consists of 3 or 4 keywords and specifically describe a particular product or service offering. Every time a customer uses a very specific search phrase, this means they already have a particular product in mind that they want to buy.
Long-tail marketing commonly results in higher sales conversion. In contrast to long-tail keywords, generic keywords used during general searches target consumers who only need information to make a buying decision.
Creating high-quality content
After conducting keyword research, use the keywords you gathered by writing highly relevant content. They have to be placed in strategic locations of the content and mapped according to its landing page. Do take note that it also has to be based on the buying cycle.
Creating content that is relevant to users is critical when learning how to do SEO on an e-commerce website. It must contain the following:
- Category Pages - categories based on similar themes or subjects that give structure to every content
- Product Pages - where your potential buyers will see your product offerings
- Buyer’s Guides - help your consumers in their buying decision
- Reviews - the customers’ overall customer experience and satisfaction rate about your products or services
- Blog Content - any informative content from infographics, videos, images, and text related to your site
Optimizing on-page SEO
Your URL has to contain the keyword, and it has to be simple; so that your site’s search rankings will improve. The keyword also has to be in the title tag or H1 tag of your content and should be placed at the beginning. For the meta description, the keyword needs to be present since Google highlights it in the search results.
Rich snippets are also essential in SEO e-commerce because the click-through rate for them is higher. Every snippet that has a high CTR means more traffic is directed to your site. As more people click through your snippet, the more that Google will recognize it, thus improving your rankings.
To get rich snippets, you need to add structured data or schema on your site. This is a piece of specifically formatted code that search engines understand. The search engine will then read the code to create rich snippets and provide users a more informative result. Rich snippets are basically what you get when you use a Schema markup, which is one of the most important e-commerce SEO tools. Have an on-page checklist, just so you don’t get lost in the process.
III. Building Links to Your Ecommerce Website
Link building works by getting more high-quality links that contain your target keywords. The catch here, however, is that it can be a bit difficult since you will build links to Product and Category pages.
When your content links to low-quality sites, this can also adversely affect the traffic to your site, on top of getting a penalty from Google. You can do outreach from bloggers or other sites, however, these site owners may remove some of the links in your content or ask you to pay for the links as another form of marketing strategy on their end. In general, try building links by following Google’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Here are some link-building tactics that will improve SEO for an e-commerce website:
When you provide product samples to bloggers or content creators, this is called influencer marketing. This is an e-commerce SEO best practice that involves a collaboration between top influencers and brands.
Your brand can benefit from these “ambassadors” since they already have the audience you need on different channel streams, including blogs, social media, digital ads, television, blogs, and columns.
Links from complementary business and suppliers
Wholesaler and manufacturer links will help your site or brand name a great deal. There are manufacturers who showcase their affiliate stores or companies if they need to buy products in a selected area. Your brand name can be included on their list of legitimate resellers.
Look at the manufacturers’ websites and see if your brand offers some of their products that they can link back to your site. Start by looking at their store locator; if they don’t have a list, reach out to them through their business email address.
There is nothing more essential to an e-commerce business than to rank higher than their competitors on Google, to generate more sales. The guide on how to improve your SEO game might just do the trick to improve your site’s traffic and help you come up with strategies to boost your online sales.
Know your competitor and where you stand in the market. The e-commerce system is constantly changing; it is critical for your business to stay up-to-date on the latest e-commerce trends.
Conduct a technical SEO audit for a regular site check-up and clean-up.
Perform content and on-page optimization. Start by doing keyword research and then create high-quality content, based on the buyer intent.
Apply link-building strategies to your site to boost sales performance.
These are only some of the ways to improve sales via SEO tactics, assuming you have all the right elements to implement them. Once you have all of these in place, you have a great opportunity to be way ahead of the game and perform better than your competitors.
As a digital marketing expert, you can partner with Propelrr to help you set up your site, make it SEO-ready, and improve your e-commerce sales. Reach out to us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and follow us on Twitter.