When it comes to e-commerce, your success hinges on your ability to drive traffic to your website.
Most merchants turn to pay-per-click, social media marketing, and digital advertising – but when it comes to organic traffic, nothing beats search engine optimization (SEO).
What is Organic Traffic?
Organic traffic refers to visitors who land on your website from unpaid sources. Most commonly, this is via search engines (like Google). Visitors search for your product, service, business name, or anything related to your business, and you pop up.
Other types of traffic include paid (visitors who've clicked an ad or even a link posted in an e-newsletter) and direct (which refers to visitors who've typed your URL into their browser).
What is SEO for E-commerce?
This SEO strategy is for attracting organic traffic to your online store by optimizing it to rank well on search engines. It involves more than content creation – it's an ongoing effort to improve your website for visitors based on what search engines are optimizing for.
SEO gives you long-term benefits that aren't available with paid traffic. This is because your traffic also stops when you stop paying for advertising. With SEO, the website continues to perform for months or even years.
How Do I Develop an E-commerce SEO Strategy?
- Keyword Research
The content on your website has to be optimized for the keywords your target audience is likely to search for. Various free and paid keyword search tools are are available; SEMrush and Surfer SEO are popular. Once you've determined what keywords your audience is searching for, you must start incorporating them across your website.
- Optimize Product Pages
As product pages are the pages that will convert visitors into customers, you should pay special attention to the way they've been set up and optimized. Include relevant keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, and overall content. Use high-quality images and illustrative product descriptions to make the pages stand out.
- Include Links
There are two kinds of links to include on your website – external (which direct visitors to a third-party website) and internal (which direct visitors to another page of your website). Search engines use external links to determine the relevance and authority of your website, so these links should not be overlooked (do your best to cite great sources).
- Create Content
Many people believe long-form content is the way to go for attracting links, but is this necessary to rank well? No, not necessarily – it all depends on your industry and the quality of the content being published by your competitors. Remember that most bloggers want to link to thorough, authoritative articles.
- Site Speed & Uptime
All the SEO in the world won't do you any good if your website is too slow. Even a few seconds can make a big difference – for every second you add to your page speed, the higher the bounce rate (which is when traffic clicks away from your website). Your ranking will be affected if search engines notice that visitors bounce immediately.
- Fix Technical Issues
This refers to improving technical issues on your website, which will ultimately make it faster, more crawlable, and more secure. The most common technical SEO issues include broken links, 404 errors, duplicate content, missing XML sitemap, and canonical tags. Perform an audit to see what improvements are needed.
- Monitor the Results
You must monitor your results and change your SEO strategy as needed. Google Analytics is a great way to track traffic to your website and ensure that you're getting the desired results (this tool provides information on how visitors are coming to your website, how long they stay, and so on).
Increase Organic Traffic with SEO for E-commerce
While e-commerce SEO is an effective way of driving traffic to your online store, a strategy takes work and expertise to get right. Many factors go into creating an effective SEO strategy, and it takes some trial and error to learn what works for your website.
If you don't have the time or skill set to develop an effective strategy for your website, you must look into a digital agency that does. They will handle the nitty gritty for you, allowing you to focus on creating a memorable customer experience that turns visitors into repeat customers.
Understanding the Importance of Backlinks in E-commerce SEO
Backlinks, or inbound links, play a pivotal role in e-commerce SEO. These are links from other websites that point to your online store. Search engines view backlinks as a vote of confidence in your website's content. The more high-quality, relevant backlinks you have, the more authoritative your website appears to search engines. This authority can significantly boost your rankings. However, it's crucial to focus on the quality of backlinks rather than quantity. Earning backlinks from reputable websites in your industry can drive organic traffic and improve your store's credibility.
Mobile Optimization: A Must for E-commerce SEO
In today's digital age, a significant portion of online shopping is done via mobile devices. Ensuring your mobile-friendly e-commerce store is no longer optional; it's necessary. A responsive design ensures your website looks and functions well on various screen sizes, from desktops to smartphones. Search engines, especially Google, prioritize mobile-optimized websites in their rankings. A mobile-friendly site provides a better user experience and decreases bounce rates, leading to higher conversions and sales.
User Experience and Its Impact on SEO
User experience (UX) is a critical factor in e-commerce SEO. Search engines aim to provide users with the best possible results, and a site that offers a positive UX is more likely to rank higher. Easy navigation, clear call-to-action buttons, and a seamless checkout process can enhance UX. Moreover, a website that loads quickly and is free from technical glitches can significantly reduce bounce rates. Investing in improving the UX of your e-commerce store can lead to better engagement, increased dwell time, and, ultimately, higher rankings.
The Role of Social Signals in E-commerce SEO
While the direct impact of social signals (likes, shares, comments) on SEO is still debated, there's no denying that they play a role in driving organic traffic. Integrating social media with your e-commerce store can increase brand visibility and customer engagement. Encouraging satisfied customers to share their positive experiences on social platforms can act as word-of-mouth marketing. Moreover, regularly sharing valuable content on your social channels can drive traffic back to your site, indirectly boosting your SEO efforts.
Local SEO: Capturing the Local Market
For e-commerce businesses that also have brick-and-mortar stores, local SEO is invaluable. It ensures that your business appears in local search results when potential customers search for products or services nearby. Incorporating local keywords, claiming your Google My Business listing, and gathering positive reviews can enhance local SEO efforts. By optimizing for local search, you can drive foot traffic to your physical store and boost online sales from local customers.
In the evolving digital landscape, e-commerce businesses rely heavily on driving organic traffic to their online stores. While many opt for paid advertising, the sustainable and cost-effective way to achieve consistent traffic is through search engine optimization (SEO). Organic traffic from unpaid sources, like search engines, is a testament to a brand's credibility and relevance. SEO for e-commerce is a meticulous strategy that involves optimizing an online store to rank higher on search engines. This optimization encompasses various facets, from keyword research and product page optimization to backlink acquisition and mobile responsiveness. The ultimate goal is to enhance user experience, ensuring visitors not only land on the site but also engage and convert. With the added insights on the significance of backlinks, the indispensability of mobile optimization, the profound impact of user experience, the subtle influence of social signals, and the power of local SEO, it's evident that a holistic approach to e-commerce SEO can propel an online store to success.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is SEO for e-commerce?
SEO for e-commerce is optimizing an online store to improve its visibility in search engine results, drive organic traffic, and increase sales.
How can I do SEO for an eCommerce website?
You can optimize your e-commerce website by conducting keyword research, optimizing product pages, acquiring quality backlinks, ensuring mobile-friendliness, improving user experience, and monitoring results.
Is SEO worth it for eCommerce?
Absolutely. SEO offers long-term benefits, driving consistent organic traffic to your store even when you're not paying for advertising.
What is the difference between SEO and eCommerce SEO?
While general SEO focuses on optimizing any website for search engines, e-commerce SEO specifically targets online stores, emphasizing product pages, checkout processes, and customer reviews.
How does mobile optimization affect my e-commerce store's SEO?
Search engines prioritize mobile-friendly websites. A mobile-optimized e-commerce store provides a better user experience, leading to higher rankings and increased organic traffic.
Why are backlinks important for my online store?
Backlinks from reputable websites signal to search engines that your e-commerce store is credible and authoritative, leading to improved rankings.
How does user experience impact SEO?
A positive user experience can lead to better engagement and increased dwell time on your site, factors that search engines consider when ranking websites.
What are social signals, and do they influence SEO?
Social signals refer to interactions on social media platforms, like likes, shares, and comments. While their direct impact on SEO is debated, they can increase brand visibility and drive traffic to your site.
How can I improve the local SEO of my e-commerce business?
Incorporate local keywords, claim your Google My Business listing, and gather positive reviews to enhance your local SEO efforts.
Why is site speed crucial for e-commerce SEO?
A faster-loading site provides a better user experience, reducing bounce rates. Search engines prioritize faster websites, leading to higher rankings.
What technical issues should I look out for in e-commerce SEO?
Common technical SEO issues include broken links, 404 errors, duplicate content, missing XML sitemaps, and missing canonical tags.
How often should I monitor my e-commerce SEO results?
Regular monitoring, preferably monthly, is recommended to track your SEO performance and make necessary adjustments.
How does content creation benefit e-commerce SEO?
Quality content attracts backlinks, engages visitors, and provides value, which can improve your site's search engine rankings.
Can I do e-commerce SEO independently, or should I hire an expert?
While basic SEO can be done independently, hiring an SEO expert or agency is advisable for comprehensive optimization and tackling complex issues.