E-commerce SEO: Strategies for Optimizing Online Stores

E-commerce SEO

E-commerce is rapidly growing with increased internet access. Key analysts estimate that e-commerce sales in 2022 exceeded $5.7 trillion, with these figures expected to grow over the coming years.

With such astronomical numbers, e-commerce store owners constantly ask themselves, ‘What separates my store from countless others online?’. In truth, you could have a valuable service or product, but the challenge is getting shoppers to find you easily.

For shoppers to quickly connect with you and locate your store’s offerings, you’ll have to utilize search engine optimization techniques, better known as SEO. E-commerce SEO is the process of optimizing online stores to improve their visibility or ranking in search engines like Bing, DuckDuckGo, and, of course, Google.

Why is SEO important for e-commerce stores? Reports have shown us that 37% of all e-commerce web traffic comes from direct searches. That represents a huge chunk of all e-commerce traffic, significantly translating to sales.

And besides, it’s a cost-effective way to make your website easy to find, as opposed to other ways such as paid marketing and bidding on expensive keywords. 

In addition to traditional e-commerce models, the dropshipping business model has gained popularity. Dropshipping, a streamlined retail model, allows entrepreneurs to sell products without handling inventory, reducing upfront costs.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the best e-commerce search engine optimization (SEO) strategies you should consider adopting for your store to make it easier for shoppers to find you.

E-Commerce SEO Strategies

Competitor Analysis

If you already have an e-commerce store up and running but need help landing shoppers, a good place to start is by analyzing your competition. There’s a good chance that you will compete with other stores similar to yours.

If their pages, services, or products rank higher than yours, it might be time to take a step back and investigate why.

Start by investigating these service pages and seeing what keywords they are targeting. Look at their home page design and fish for pointers to help you improve your site.

Keyword Research

Keywords are special or targeted words your shoppers use when searching for a query related to your product or website’s services. They are typically used in blogs and home pages but are incredibly important for SEO and boosting your e-commerce sales.

As an e-commerce store, your product pages feature headlines, descriptions, images, and URL slugs. If you want these pages to rank, you’ll need to utilize keywords to achieve this. Besides, incorporating keywords to these pages is easier as the keywords and content are typically shorter than you would have on blogs or entire websites.

Start by looking for keywords that have a transactional search intent attached to them. Search intent is essential. You don’t want to waste time looking for keywords that won’t impact your SEO.

Here’s how to approach keyword research for your e-commerce store:

Find keywords for your product pages

Before you start researching for keywords for your product, it’s important to understand your product. There are branded products such as iPhones, AirPods, and Macbooks that will sell on their own because the product name can be used interchangeably with the product keyword.

However, there are unbranded products that are from unpopular brands. In this case, you’ll do well to understand your product’s names and how they relate to similar keywords to target more descriptive terms that people look for.

Find keywords for subcategory pages

As the name suggests, subcategory pages show the various products you sell in a given category. For instance, you could be selling shoes under the ‘Shoes’ category, but you may have subcategories such as casual wear, sportswear, and official wear.

The idea here is to prioritize the terms, phrases, or keywords that make sense as subcategories and place them strategically on your subcategories. But remember to keep it short and sweet, as too many subcategories make a store clunky and unresponsive. 

Find commercial investigation keywords to target with blog posts

These are keywords that people use when researching what to buy. Once you identify these keywords, you can supplement your product rankings with a blog post with high-ranking keywords.

Make Sure Your Product and Category Descriptions Are Unique (And Help Visitors)

Keywords will help you determine how to position yourself concerning user search intent. But you’ll still need to add unique descriptions to narrow down your product for Google and help your visitors navigate your site better while getting the product they want.

As a rule of thumb, consider short and descriptive captions that encapsulate your product/service’s true features. It’s also beneficial for SEO if you mention long-tail keywords to give it an easy and natural aesthetic.

Make Your Site Easy to Navigate

Your e-commerce site needs to be easy to navigate because your visitors need to be able to find what they are looking for in just a few clicks.

Google search algorithms follow your site’s links from page to page. This means that if your site is easy to navigate, you’ll increase your chances of ranking higher on a search result page, as Google will find your pages with less effort.

You also need to think about scalability because it needs to be easy to scale even as your business/ store grows. This is why it’s important to get your site’s development right off the bat.

In addition to enhancing user experience and search engine optimization, a well-organized and user-friendly e-commerce site is crucial for maximizing website revenue. An intuitive navigation system can lead potential customers smoothly through the purchasing process, increasing the likelihood of conversions.

Secure Your Site with HTTPS

HTTPS is a technical feature that allows for safe data transfer between a website and its visitors. It’s a safe feature that prevents hackers and other cybercriminals from intercepting and stealing this data.

Google has a couple of features it uses for its ranking criteria, and HTTPS is one of them. It’s very likely that your store already uses HTTPS, but if it’s not, make sure to address this.

How do you know if your e-commerce store uses HTTPS? It will have a padlock icon on the left-hand side of the address bar.

Speaking of security, another way to enhance your store’s security and privacy is by using a VPN. Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly trying to access e-commerce stores to steal sensitive e-commerce data such as credit cards and addresses.

Top VPNs like NordVPN and SurfShark add an extra layer of protection to your browser and ensure secure transmission of information between you, your visitors, and your website. This makes it incredibly difficult for hackers to tap into this connection and steal sensitive information for their malicious gain.

In Conclusion

E-commerce SEO is essential for store owners who want to help their shoppers find their website and its products easily. There are many other SEO practices that you could adopt to grow your website.

Analyzing your competition, effective keyword research, enhancing your store’s navigation, and securing your store with HTTPS technology are just a few e-commerce SEO practices that will get you started on your journey to get your store the visibility it deserves.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why isn’t my online store showing up on Google?

There are many reasons why your online store is not showing up on Google. For instance, it’s possible that your store is yet to be indexed by Google. This typically happens with new stores. Other potential reasons include:

  • Using competitive keywords
  • Your website isn’t set up to allow Google ‘crawling’
  • Your website has a poor user experience
  • It lacks high-quality backlinks