There so many to drive traffic and sales to your online store, including using social media, Google ads, and SEO. And according to different studies, organic search drives up to 43% of online store traffic.
If you are still unsure how to organize your online store, how to choose keywords, how to build links, our today’s article is for you.
You will get know how to start or how to fix the major mistakes that were holding you back from ranking properly and open doors to reaching consumers who really need your products.
Table of Contents
#1 Online store architecture
No matter your online store is niche-specific or general, there’s a way to keep things organized for the best ecommerce SEO performance. For example, EyeBuyDirect is selling only glasses but they have two categories to choose from – Eyeglasses and Sunglasses.
Afterwards, you choose how you want to organize glasses, by gender, plus maybe by color/frame shape.
You can also create brand-specific pages, primarily targeting top brands such as Ray-Ban, Oakley and so on.
In short, only 2 clicks (Category-> Subcategory) and glass are in front of you. You can filter them by size, shape, price, color, etc which encourage users to stay on the website and facilitate the selection process.
Breadcrumbs are an important part of the navigation. Do you see the “Home-Sunglass-Women Sunglasses” on the left side of the screenshot? It’s a way to tell your users and also Google how visitors appear on the final page and what page they visit before.
Adding structured markup for breadcrumbs will help Google better understand how your website is organized and crawl pages more often, distribute your site’s internal link juice and maybe even get sitelinks in search results.
As you can see, category pages target broader keywords, while the keywords on the product pages are specific and descriptive. For example, some of them include “square brown striped sunglasses”, “cat eye floral sunglasses”, “round pink & floral sunglasses”, etc.
Broad keywords consist of 1-3 words, have higher search volume, and are typically harder to rank for. Whereas specific keywords or what we call “long-tail keywords”, consist of 3+ words, have lower search volume and are easier to rank for.
Users searching for specific keywords have higher buying intent as they already know what they are looking for. So low search volume shouldn’t hold you back from targeting this or that keyword.
#2 Keyword research
Let’s do a quick experiment now. When we type, for example, “blue floral dress from satin”, we get 103 million Google results. When searching for “blue dress”, we get almost 10 billion Google search results.
The point is – the broader keyword we target, the more results there will be to compete with. Of course, 103 million is still a huge number but it’s far less than 10 billion.
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You already remember from our previous section that naturally broad keywords fit better as category and subcategory keywords, while specific keywords should be part of your product pages. Now let’s understand how you should use them to increase your chances of appearing in front of interested, qualified users.
- Use your target keyword in the product page title, meta title, meta description, and multiple times throughout your page copy.
- Don’t target the same keyword on multiple pages of your online store. Remember the “One keyword, one page” principle, otherwise, you have to deal with the consequences of keyword cannibalization. This may happen when you target the same keyword both on your product page and on your blog post or on two different product pages, for example.
- Add keyword modifiers to your page and meta titles. Keyword modifiers include an adjective or part of speech that helps introduce more accurate results to the searcher. Some examples typical of online stores include “low-price”, “budget”, “overnight shipping”, “free shipping”, “discounted”, “high-quality”, “buy online”, etc. Using similar words will help you attract visitors who have buying intent and are not just browsing.
- Be aware of the nuances of online store translation. Nowadays many online stores are available in multiple languages as it helps expand to new markets and building trust with foreign buyers. If you decide to translate your online store, make sure to conduct keyword research in that language as well. Direct translations of keywords might not have search volume in your target language at all. That’s why it’s worth entrusting your SEO translation process to a professional who is good at both marketing and linguistics. Translating your website turns into a reality through a plugin or app, depending on which platform hosts your online store. That plugin/app will help you get your translated pages indexed on search engines, allow to translate your URLs, etc.
- Start targeting seasonal keywords 1 month before they become popular. According to Google, it can take from 4 days to 4 weeks and longer for the site to appear in search results. Meaning that if you are planning to sell swimsuits, summer slippers, and sunscreens for summer, publish your collection at least at the end of spring. These products are seasonal and they are most likely to be sold in summer. If summer is getting closer, it doesn’t mean there’s no need to take care of your winter collection-related keywords. Though search volume will highly decrease for them, consumers usually use summer/spring to get winter products at discounted prices.
- Pay attention to the growing number of voice searches. According to SalesForce, 40% of millennial consumers use a voice assistant before buying a product. Meaning that if millennials (20-39 years old) are in your target demographics, you should optimize your pages for voice searches as well. To do that, you should start using more questions throughout your website content and answer them right after mentioning the questions. Something like a Q&A. While conducting a voice search, consumers are using longer questions and a more conversational tone than if they were typing the query manually.
#3 Product pages and product descriptions
The visitor applied the necessary filters, chose a product and appeared on your product page. Here’s how it should (and shouldn’t) look like.
- Forget the idea of copying manufacturer/competitor product descriptions
Not a secret, manufacturers provide vendors with product descriptions that describe the color, material, size, etc. That’s not what you’d like to publish on your product pages. Simply because manufacturers share the same details with all vendors they work with and you will end up publishing what already exists on hundreds of similar online stores. When it comes to competitor product pages, things are a bit different. Maybe they have already created unique product descriptions but it’s for their audience not yours. Though Google doesn’t “penalize” for duplicate content, it won’t show multiple pages with the same content on it.
- Say “no” to duplicate content
Generating unique product descriptions for all of your products is not easy, especially when you have hundreds and thousands of products on your online store. You have three options to choose from: 1. do that time-consuming job by yourself, 2. hire a copywriter who will create unique product descriptions, 3. noindex your product pages. Now you think what noindexing means and how you can do that. Noindexing is telling search engines not to show your product pages in search engine results. Thus, you can write the same description for multiple pages and ask Google to index only the original one.
- Say “no” to thin content
Sometimes online stores don’t have much to tell about their products. Well, you created a 100-word product description, described the shipping details but it’s still considered thin content. Whereas it’s a best practice to have at least 500-1000 words content on each of your pages. One way to fill the gap is by answering FAQs under your product descriptions. They give you the chance to use your target keyword naturally throughout your copy and educate the visitor at the same time. Note that the more expensive your products are and the harder it is to use, the more information you need to share with your visitors. Another way to enrich your product page content is by understanding the importance of customer reviews and adding some. Here again there’s a chance that your target keywords will be present.
- Allow purchases via a mobile device, reach 35% more visitors According to BuildFire, 82% of US internet users have used a mobile device to shop online. Moreover, 35% of US consumers use only their mobile devices to buy online. Having a mobile-optimized site, first of all, means driving traffic to your online store and second, ensuring a safe, convenient purchase process. Even if your customers land on your website from direct traffic, mobile-friendliness again allows to make a purchase without problems.
- Ensure secure online transactions
Security is one of the ranking factors and has double importance for online stores. Visitors will be sharing their credit card information with you and are responsible for keeping them safe. Securing your online stores starts from choosing a reliable hosting service, installing an SSL certificate, and being PCI DSS-compliant.Besides, you can use free tools (Quttera, Sucuri, etc) that will conduct a security audit and inform if malware, viruses or server errors detected.
- Get rid of too many product page URLs
When visitors choose different size/color variations, the same product page may generate different URLs for each variation. That’s not good news for your online store because search engines don’t appreciate the existence of too many pages with similar content. Here again, you can apply the noindex technique and ask Google to index only one URL.
- Review elements that increase page loading speed
A fast-loading website is something every website owner cares about. In fact, websites lose 32% of their traffic when the page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds. Your online store might load slowly for various reasons, including server issues, heavy apps and plugins, large amount of traffic, etc. Another reason typical of online stores is high-resolution product images that can significantly reduce the loading speed.
To have the issue fixed, you’d better check your online store with the help of Google PageSpeed Insights and get specific recommendations. One highly recommended way of reducing page load time is using a CDN (Content Delivery Network).
#4 Link building
You know that the quality of this or that page is defined by the number of links that point to it. In other words, backlinks are what make your pages look trustworthy and your website – authoritative.
Recently we created a separate blog post dedicated to not-standard off-page SEO techniques for your eCommerce. Have the main points summarized below:
- List your online store on consumer review sites such as Yelp, Trustpilot, Influenster, etc
- Sign up at Help A Reporter Out and get daily pitch requests. There are about 15 categories/topics available but the ones that will suit online stores include Lifestyle and Fitness and Travel.
- List your online store on your suppliers’ websites
- Answer your niche-related questions on Quora and Yahoo
- Start a Youtube channel and add link to your blog, category/subcategory pages in the video descriptions
- Send samples to influencers and expect mentions with a backlink on their websites
- Reach out to bloggers and list your online store in the lists of Best/Top
- Add your promo codes to coupon websites
- Monitor competitors backlinks and try to steal them with an email outreach (Moz allows to monitor competitor’s URL-to-URL backlinks, first 10 queries are free)
- Guest post on your niche-related websites and earn backlinks. For example, if you sell auto parts, you may contact a blogger in the auto industry and give value both to his/her audience.
Andava is your long-term strategic partner in your online store’s way to high organic rankings
No SEO process starts with evaluating the website’s current performance. If you want your online store to start ranking for thousands of keywords and increase organic traffic, contact our team. We will conduct a free SEO audit for your eCommerce website, find out growth opportunities, and give personalized recommendations.
Get in touch with us and let’s win leading spots for your online store in search results.