Search engine optimization, SEO for short, are the tactics used to make web pages more visible to internet browsers using search engines like Google and Bing. Visibility, or page rank, is determined by where a web page shows up in search results, for example on the first (awesome), second (good) or third (could be better) search results page.
The higher your web pages rank in search results, the more visible your web pages become and, subsequently, the more traffic to your website receives. Since, a visit to your website is the start of your purchase funnel, more traffic, all else remaining equal, means more potential sales. It’s hard to argue with that.
Here's our handy guide to common SEO tactics that should be part of every ecommerce website marketing plan.
The words people type into search engines to start a search for something on the internet, in SEO parlance” are called keywords. Hence, discovering which keywords people are using to search for products similar to yours is the key to optimizing your website for search. This process is called Keyword Research - creating a list of keywords relevant to search terms people use to find products similar to yours.
But creating a list of relevant keywords is just the first step in keyword research. After all, no website can possibly rank well for every search term. In fact, most websites are lucky to rank well for a handful of relevant keywords. Furthermore, your competitors are also trying to rank high for the same or similar keywords for which you wish to rank. And finally, not all relevant keywords are created equal - people use some search terms frequently and others not so much.
Consider three factors when creating a list of keywords your web pages: relevance, volume and competition. Once you have a list of keywords relevant to your ecommerce business along with sufficient search volume and competitiveness, you’re ready to move on to the next SEO challenge.
Once you know what keywords to use, it's time to update your website’s pages. Updating your website to improve search rank is called On-Page SEO, because it occurs on your website’s pages.
Search engines find web pages that are relevant to search queries (such as “women’s shoes”) by comparing the search query against web pages containing similar content. Hence, updating your website’s content with relevant keywords is one of the most important aspects of “On Page” SEO.
The first step in adding keywords to your website is to map them against pages on your website. More likely than not, the most important pages to optimize on an ecommerce site will be the homepage, product category and subcategory pages, and the individual product detail pages.
If your ecommerce website contains a blog or pages with editorial or marketing content, you will want to include those pages in the mapping as well. For example, a keyword phrase such as “comfortable shoes for women” should be mapped against product pages for women’s shoes or a blog article about comfortable women’s shoes.
After you’ve mapped keyword to web pages, it’s time to start updating your content. Use you keyword map to guide you in adding keywords web page in the following areas.
Website Navigation. It is important for your ecommerce website design’s navigation to be structured in a way that makes it easy for shoppers and search engines to navigate. For example, an ecommerce website navigation should move quickly for a homepage to pages that display products.
A website navigation should also contain recognizable and important keywords, such as Women Shoes and Men Jackets. A logical and efficient navigation structure that uses a concise and relevant nomenclature makes it easy for humans to find your products, but also for search engine to understand your pages for search results.
Page Content. Page content refers to visible textual content on a web page, such titles, subtitles and body text. Add relevant keywords to page content in a way that preserves the readability and meaning of the content. Google will not reward you with higher search rank for adding keywords in a way that decreases the value of the web page content to your audience. Focus on creating keyword rich content that is natural and easy to read and understand.
Title Tag. A web page’s title tag is not visible on the web page itself, but is instead added to the HTML code that formats and display the web page. The title tag gives you the opportunity to specific what a page is really about without having to worry so much about readability.
Meta Description. Like the title tag, the meta description is not visible on the web page itself. Search engines also do not rely on the meta description to determine search rank. Instead meta descriptions are displayed in search results. Meta Descriptions should contain a brief summary of the web page’s content along with any keywords that may be relevant to your potential visitor.
URLs. Search engines and human internet searchers both use URLs determine the relevancy of a web page compared to search queries. Make sure your page URLs include keywords phrases that are relevant and readable. Search engines and your potential customers will thank you.
Ensuring your website functions flawlessly is an important part of SEO. Certain technical issues such as web pages with little or duplicate content or slow loading pages will lower your website’s potential for achieving higher page rankings. Fixing issues that are costing you page rank is called Technical SEO.
Technical improvements to the back-end of your site can be tricky to spot, but are often the tiebreaker in rank page similar pages across websites. Search engines reward websites that are well maintained and up to date. Thankfully, the most common issues are easy to pot and fix.
Duplicate Content. Duplicate content occurs when multiple web pages contain the same page content or meta title and description. Because Ecommerce platforms often automatically create links while customers are shopping, search engines can inadvertently flag your web pages for containing duplicate content, if automatically generated page URLs are indexed as searchable web pages. To fix this, you can mark certain pages to not be indexed, especially those that don't directly bring in web traffic.
Also make sure that duplicate text, such as product descriptions or title tags, are not used on multiple pages.
Thin Content. Not having enough content on a webpage can harm your page rank since search engines prefer a certain amount of text in order to analyze and determine if a web page is a good match for a search query. Any web page on your website should have at least 250 words.
Slow Site Speed. Slow site speed has been shown to increase bounce rates, increase cart abandonment, as well as negatively impact page rank. Most often, slow page load speed needs to be corrected on the web page itself. Common fixes can include reducing or compressing code, restructuring code to make it more efficient, or minimizing the size of image files.
But also check to ensure your web server (hosting serve) capacity and set up is not exacerbating the problem.
Broken Links. Broken links that lead to non existent web pages hurt the customer experience. As a consequence, search engines lower the racking of websites with web page containing broken links. They can be fixed by having those links removed from the website, replaced them with working URLs, or redirected the link to an existing web page.
Increasing the rank of your website for specific search engine searches via these ecommerce SEO tactics for will increase your web traffic, aiding in a higher number of sales. In summary, research which keywords are most important your online business and add them to your web pages. Structure your website correctly and set up to make it friendly for search engine web crawlers. Finally, make sure your website’s technicals are sound and fix any known technical issues. Consult a professional SEO expert if needed.