Boost Your Store’s Rankings With Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization
Is your online store languishing on page two (or worse) of Google’s search results? If so, ecommerce search engine optimization is the ticket to organically reach new customers. While returning shoppers are likely to visit your site directly, and other browsers may come across your store via social media or advertising, SEO plays a crucial role in connecting new customers to your website at a purchase-ready point in time.
Why Does Search Engine Optimization Matter in Ecommerce?
If you already invest in brand or store awareness through various marketing channels, you may be wondering if it’s worth putting time and effort into SEO as well. After all, ecommerce search engine optimization has a reputation as a long game. It’s not a strategy you reap benefits from overnight.
But, think about the nature of shoppers who find your store on Google and the value of SEO quickly becomes apparent. Yes, loyal customers will quickly reach your homepage. Others, however, may not be familiar with your site and instead find your store in a search for a specific product.
This presents value in two ways: the first is that you are organically reaching a shopper who might not have discovered your site otherwise; the second is that you are presenting your products to this shopper at the exact moment they are motivated to buy.
Think about it: Someone who searches Google for “black leather dress shoes” is in the market to purchase said pair of shoes – and they probably want to do so quickly. They know exactly what they want. This shopper is more likely to convert than someone who is in the mood to browse and searches for something more simple like “shoe shopping”.
The good news is that it’s much easier to rank highly on search engine result pages for more specific, long-tail keywords.
6 Steps to Improve Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization
Follow these ecommerce search engine optimization best practices to organically reach new shoppers.
1. Choose Keywords Carefully
Before you can optimize your site, know which keywords to target. Take time researching the most popular search terms in relation to your ecommerce site. Google and Amazon are free and easy places to start, while a variety of paid keyword research tools are also available. When selecting target terms, strike a balance between popularity and competition. High volume search terms are great, but only if you can realistically rank for them.
2. Optimize Meta and Alt Tags
With your chosen keywords in mind, make sure these terms are included in the meta title, meta description, and image and video alt tags. Shoppers may not read this copy all he time, but Google does. Incorporating the focus keyword in the page URL is also a good idea. All of these small steps help Google to discern how relevant the page is to the searching shopper.
3. Pay Special Attention to Faceted Navigation SEO
Faceted navigation is a unique ecommerce search engine optimization consideration, and not one to be overlooked. Think of the many category page variations that can occur when a shopper uses product filters. What begins as a page of men’s shoes, quickly gets more complicated when the results are refined by size, color, brand, and material. While highly specific, allowing these pages to be “searchable” on Google isn’t always a good idea. For one, you’ll blow through your crawl budget in no time. That’s before considering duplicate content implications. Read up on the details of faceted navigation SEO here.
4. Allow User-Generated Content
Not only do reviews and user-generated content (UGC) give shoppers additional context that helps them reach a purchase decision, this content is also viewed favorably by search engines. All of those reviews on product pages equate to regular page updates with unique, fresh content that likely contains your target keywords – all of which serves you well with Google. Struggling to collect customer reviews? Incentivize UGC as part of a loyalty program.
5. Link It All Together
Hyperlinks play a significant role in ecommerce search optimization. Whether it’s regularly testing for (and eliminating) internal broken links on your store, minimizing redirects unless they are absolutely necessary, or creating shareable content to encourage backlinks from social media, it’s worth spending some time on a solid link-building strategy.
6. Check Site Speed
There are many worthwhile reasons to optimize the page load speed for your ecommerce store. Typically, user experience is the first that comes to mind. But, it’s equally important that your site performs quickly to rank well on search engines. Check out Google’s site speed test for insights into how to improve page load times. Lastly, don’t forget mobile when making speed optimizations – most stores are much slower to load when not running on desktop.
Introduce New Shoppers to Your Store With Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization
Ecommerce search engine optimization requires long-term strategy and investment, but the payoff is worth it. Getting your store in front of shoppers who may not have otherwise discovered it is invaluable, especially if you reach them at the exact moment they are most interested in buying what you’re selling.
By following these SEO best practices, you will slowly but surely bump your store up rankings to a position to easily attract and convert new customers.