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Ecommerce SEO 2021: How to outrank your competitors

Delphia Debra
Dec 3, 2020 10:43:13 PM

Increasing traffic is a priority for any online store, which means you've probably thought about how e-commerce SEO works.

SEO generates the highest ROI of all e-commerce marketing campaigns; however, many online shops are set-up with inadequate consideration of search engines.

Alternatively, we rely on paid ads and social media which are great but require constant effort and recurring expense.

However, SEO only needs effort up front once your website ranks, you'll practically make sales on autopilot with zero recurring expense.

Free, consistent, high-quality, and high converting traffic!

That's what we're about to show you.

What is Ecommerce SEO?

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the scientific process of optimizing your website around target keywords to rank higher in search engine results (Google, Yahoo, Bing), thus generating more organic traffic (that is, free, natural).

Ecommerce SEO involves making sure your product pages rank among the ten organic search results on the search engine results’ first page.

Asides from the first page, there are numerous other pages to explore.

The higher your page number rank, the lower the traffic your product pages will generate.

A recent study shows that only 4.8% and 1.1% of searchers make it to page 2 and page 3, respectively, of search results.

This same study also discovered that the top page gets 32.5% of average traffic, the second page only 17.6% of average traffic.

The trick here is to rank as high as possible on page 1 of search engine searches for search terms used by your potential clients.

ecommerce seo statistics

Improving Your Website’s SEO

Step 1: Ecommerce Keyword Research

Keyword research is the first step in any e-commerce SEO campaign.

If you don't do this appropriately, either of the two below will happen:

You’ll rank for keywords limited traffic or don’t persuade customers to buy

You’ll most likely target keywords that are very difficult to rank for, which dampens your chances of making it to page 1.

Note that e-commerce keyword research is different from most keyword research you’ve read about online.

They target information keywords, whereas you want to rank for commercial keywords.

Ecommerce websites consider commercial keywords that show buyer intent.

Ecommerce keyword research can be conducted in different ways:

Search Engine Suggest

Search engines like Google (which is the most popular) have auto-complete features.

As you begin to enter your search query, the search engine (e.g., Google) suggests relevant queries.

At the page bottom, you can notice some additional queries related to your current search query - these present golden opportunities to mine keyword ideas, especially when you’ve already chosen a few basic keywords.

related search terms on ecommerce seo

Amazon also possesses a similar feature. Amazon has an advantage over Google as its suggestions are product-focused.

Search for keywords relevant to any of your products. This will provide some insight into potential product category names and some other potential keywords.

Be conscious of long-tail keywords, which are commonly three to four words long.

Longer keywords emphasize specificity, which means lower competition and, in most cases, higher conversion rates.

Automation tools (e.g., KTD) can be handy in the keyword research process.

This saves you time and energy, particularly if you’re handling a huge product catalog.

Keyword Research Tools

Keyword research tools such as SEMRush can transform your keyword list.

All you need do is enter the domain name of a high ranking competitor and select "organic search," and the tool will display all the keywords that the competitor ranks for below.

You can also get metrics like volume and keyword difficulty. The competitors’ column allows you to see similar websites to your competitor’s website.

You can also compare their keywords to see which ones they rank for that you don't, using "Gap Analysis."

Now you probably have a big keyword list.

You can focus on relevant SEO keywords that matter by using some significant factors, including:

  • volume
  • competition
  • relevancy
  • intent.

Step 2: E-commerce Site Structure/Architecture

The organization and structure of your website's pages affect search engine rankings and user experience (UX). You’ll want to ensure that search engines and actual visitors find stuff in your store.

This could be quite difficult.

The addition and removal of categories and products get your site structure complicated quickly. The key here is to get it right from the start.

Below Are Some Basic Ecommerce SEO Tips:

  • Ensure that your website structure is simple and can scale seamlessly as your store grows.
  • Make every page on the website a few clicks from the homepage as possible.

You don't want visitors to be over-reliant on the back button to navigate your website or find the stuff they seek.

You also don’t want the hassle of rearranging and reorganizing for site structure every time an addition is made (maybe a new product or new product category).

You can also look into advanced e-commerce SEO terms about site structure, including:

  • page indexing
  • thin content
  • content duplication
  • page canonicalizing.

Step 3: E-commerce On-Page SEO

You've probably completed your keyword research, and your website structure is solid. It's time to learn how to optimize the two highest-value pages on your website:

  • Product category pages, and
  • Product pages.

We will stick with the basics for now.

If you have Shopify, you may have realized that it comes with some in-built SEO features which are advantageous.

Some of the features are auto:

  • Canonical tags
  • Your website’s robots.txt and sitemap.xml files are generated.
  • Themes must have social media sharing and linking options.
  • Themes generate title tags that include the name of your store.

However, a few other features require your optimization skills, like editing the title tag, meta descriptions, and images’ alt text to include your preferred keywords. You can also ensure that your file names include your keywords.

Your title tags and descriptions are Google-facing – always remember this when you're optimizing them.

The first step is to rank on the first page of Google, and the second step is to convince searchers to click through to your website.

Modifiers like “Deals,” “Free Shipping,” “X% Off," "Wide Selection," etc., can provide you with a boost.

This is because Google is adjudged to utilize CTR (click-through rate) as a ranking parameter.

Therefore, you have to stimulate searcher interests, not just focusing on search engines. Those modifiers are often handy when you attack long-tail keywords.

You should also consider:

  • Choosing the right URLs.
  • Reducing thin content pages with long product descriptions.
  • Leveraging Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords.

ecommerce seo checklist 2021

Final Thoughts

There's a lot that goes into building a solid e-commerce SEO strategy – link building, technical SEO, content marketing, etc.

However, if you follow our Ecommerce SEO checklist above, you’ll be set on the right path and possibly fare better than your competitors.

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