The world of e-commerce is competitive as it is. Now, big brands are shelling out obnoxiously huge amounts of money on marketing, thereby leaving little to no growth opportunity for newer or smaller e-commerce stores to come into the limelight!
So, how can you start getting consistent traffic to your e-commerce website without breaking the bank on paid digital and offline advertising?
You can make that happen through SEO.
Importance of SEO in E-Commerce
Any e-commerce store has a significantly more number of pages than the average business or portfolio website. As a result, more pages are indexed by search engines like Google. With several brands offering similar products in their stores, the competition becomes more intense to rank high on SERPs.
Without consistent SEO efforts, an e-commerce store will fade away from people’s minds and algorithms of search engines, thereby only having paid ads to generate revenue.
You might lean towards other strategies like Social Media Marketing (SMM) and paid ads to get results. While Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Pay Per Click (PPC) ads get you instantaneous results, they also wear off just as fast.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) services provided by several website development agencies give you results that compound over time to the extent where they could easily surpass the Return on Investment (ROI) of paid online advertisements on search engines and other websites.
Now that we are on the same page, here are five intelligent e-commerce SEO strategies that you should be implementing on your online store starting today!
1. Keyword Research
Keyword research is the holy grail of a strong SEO foundation for any brand. Doing proper keyword research can help you figure out the words and phrases that your target audiences and potential customers are using on the internet to find products similar to yours.
But what exactly is a keyword, and which keywords qualify as “good” or “bad.”
Simply, put a keyword is any “search phrase” that is entered into the search engine by the searcher or user. Interestingly, a “keyword” does not necessarily refer to a single word but can also be a short phrase or a question.
So, how do you spot the “good” keywords?
Firstly, there are no “good” or “bad” keywords. Some keywords work for your website, and then some keywords do not. So, working on keywords that are relevant to you is the way to go.
Every keyword has a set of attributes associated with it like:
- Volume: Number of times users have entered that keyword into the search engine.
- Cost Per Click: How much are brands willing to pay for their ads to rank for these keywords.
- SEO Difficulty: This is a relative measure of how difficult it is to rank for a particular keyword.
- Relevance: Another relative measure of how relevant a keyword is to your business or niche.
The ideal keyword would be:
- High in volume – Indicates more people are searching for it.
- High Cost Per Click (CPC) – Indicates that your competitors see results from those keywords.
- Low SEO Difficulty: This indicates that there is a potential opportunity to rank quickly.
- High relevance: This indicates that you could rank faster and higher.
To perform keyword research, you can use online SEO research tools like:
2. On-Page SEO
On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) refers to the strategies and practices executed on your e-commerce website to send signals to search engines and prompt them to rank the website higher.
A large part of on-page SEO becomes mechanical and iterative once the keyword research has been carried out diligently.
Let’s start with the text. Written content plays a highly significant role in ranking your site higher than your competitors. Unlike social media, where quantity is often preferred over quality, search engines tend to rank written content highly relevant to the user’s search query and intent on top.
After you have done your keyword research thoroughly, create content around them on your e-commerce website. Here are some places to include your keywords:
- Page heading tags
- Product titles
- Product descriptions
- Meta descriptions
- Blog articles
If you are not an SEO specialist or are new to SEO, one of the rookie mistakes you might make is overusing or stuffing your pages with keywords. A black hat SEO practice called “Keyword stuffing” is frowned upon by reputed search engines like Google.
Keyword insertion should be natural and contextual. Look for Latent Semantic Index (LSI) keywords to further optimize your pages without stuffing too many of them.
3. Local SEO
Have you observed that any time you attempt to purchase something via Google, the results page typically begins with three to five local business listings?
In the perspective of search engines, the searcher’s intent holds more importance than the search query itself. The reason being, people often look up things but fail to articulate them clearly on search engines. Below is a statistic to support that.
According to Safari Digital, over 45% of everyday Google searches (about 1.6 billion searches) have local intent!
So, how can you get ahead with Local SEO? Google My Business
If you want to nail Local SEO, you should have a physical store or even a warehouse where customers can walk in (even by appointment).
Being the largest search engine globally, Google has many free resources to help small, and emerging businesses get ahead, get noticed, and cut down on expenditure. One of them is a Google My Business (GMB) listing.
When you list your business on GMB, it will appear in the search results of users searching for similar products or services in your vicinity.
Directories and Citations
Submitting your business in various directories and local business listing websites will help you increase your organic website traffic from different sources and maximize your credibility and improve the likelihood of being shown on Google.
Furthermore, listing your business on local and regional directories will open your business to new markets and audiences. For example, if you are running a business in the United States but want to attract customers from New Zealand to your e-commerce website, then listing your business on New Zealand directories will help you build momentum.
Another crucial aspect that may seem obvious but one that many people overlook is adding relevant keywords on your regional website.
In the example shown below, you can see how the chiropractic clinic, Living Well Chiropractic, has cleverly included the words “Las Vegas NV” in one of the heading tags of their home page’s copy.
By including names of cities, states, and countries, the likelihood of emerging on top of search results with local intent increases.
4. Mobile Friendliness and Load Speed
As the internet and smartphones become more available to everyone, and as computational power increases, more people prefer looking up things on their mobile instead of a desktop.
To put this in perspective, research by Perficient shows that almost three-fourth of all searches in the year 2020 were made on mobile phones and handheld devices like tablets. Desktop searches amounted to less than 30%!
But how does this affect your SERP position and SEO?
One of the critical factors of ranking on Google is whether or not your website is responsive and how fast it loads on different devices. Let’s break this down.
Mobile phone screens are very different from desktop or laptop screens. Users do not interact with both the same way.
Smartphones have a lesser screen area and have a touch-based or touch-optimized User Interface (UI). As a result, a smartphone user would prefer to look more at images and tap on large buttons rather than read a lot of text.
Hence, you should have different versions of your websites for different screen sizes. Such a website is called “responsive.”
Did you know that if your website page loads even one second later than it should, your conversion rate could drop by 7%? That indicates that users do not like slow-loading websites if that wasn’t obvious already. But guess what, search engines don’t like that too!
Hence, websites that load slowly often fail to rank high even if they have great content and sell high-quality products that are a bang for the buck!
You can check your e-commerce store’s page load speed and more on Page Speed Insights.
Some ways to increase page load speeds are:
- Use themes that are not too heavy
- Optimize your product images
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Implement lazy load
- Have fewer animations
5. Content Marketing
You have done your keyword research, written long, thorough blogs, and published them on your e-commerce website’s blog section. Is that enough to rank on top of search results and start getting tons of traffic? Absolutely not!
Publishing the blog on your website is just half the battle won. You have to follow through with intelligent content marketing strategies if you really want to reap the rewards of your efforts.
To market your content, you can use Google Search Ads or social media ads. But hey, we are in the ads space again. Is there a way to market content for free? Yes!
Here are some ways to market your content for free:
- Run a small email marketing campaign using free email marketing tools.
- Publish snippets from your blog on social media groups.
- Share your blogs on other forums and discussion sites.
- Tweet about your newly written blog article.
- Answer people’s queries on websites like Quora and link back to your article.
- Share within your business’s inner circle through message apps.
- Prompt your friends and family to share and amplify your blog article.
Those are some of the most competent SEO strategies you should begin implementing for your online store today!
If you do not have an in-house marketing team with SEO specialists with decades of experience, it is best to outsource the work to save time, money, and other resources.