Tackling eCommerce optimization is a hefty task for any SEO. Here at Tower, we have worked with many clients that have eCommerce websites and have gained an expansive knowledge base. That being said, we’ve compiled information from our team’s experience to create an eCommerce SEO checklist. It’s designed to help any SEO who may be beginning to work on eCommerce optimization for the very first time.
Listed below are some best practices you can utilize. eCommerce websites are known to have a range of issues that affect how they rank in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Some of these issues include:
- Duplicate content issues
- Huge lists of product categories
- Thin content
1. eCommerce Keyword Implementation: Web Copy, Titles, & Metadata
Conducting Keyword Research
Take keyword research as a learning opportunity for discovering what your target audience’s search intent is. Search intent is the user’s goal while using a search engine. What does a user’s search intent have to do with keyword research? Figuring out the type of search intent allows you to choose better keywords to implement on your eCommerce website. Some of these types of search intents include:
- Looking for somewhere to go
- Looking to learn something
- Looking to do something
While conducting keyword research, pay attention to the semantics and the ways your audience is interacting with your related products or services. For example, if you sell homemade pottery, learn how users are searching for pottery. Are users searching how to make pottery or where to find pottery? This will dictate your website’s content and intention.
To begin researching, we recommend using free keyword research tools such as SEMrush, MOZ, Uber Suggest, and Answer the Public.
Implementing Your Keyword Research
Deciding where to place your keywords on your eCommerce site can prove to be difficult. There are, however, key areas of an eCommerce site where keyword implementation takes priority. Here’s an outline of the basic, most-important pages that should be optimized on any website:
- Individual product pages
- Product category pages
- Blog content
- Meta titles
- Meta descriptions
Before implementing your optimizations in page copy or metadata, our team suggests utilizing excel, numbers, or other grid-style programs to help outline the work you’re about to accomplish. Once you’ve decided on your program, create a format like the one in this photo example:
Using a program to outline your efforts is not only good for saving your work, but it’s also great for keeping your optimizations on file just in case anything were to wipe out your work on-site.
2. Category & Product Page Optimization
One of Google’s best practices in ranking requires you to satisfy your target user’s experience or journey throughout your website. To do this, consider the following:
Unique Category Page Content
Integrating unique copy into your category landing pages will help your users better understand how to find what they are searching for. Take category landing page copy as an opportunity to utilize keyword research variables and longer-tail phrases in the headings of these pages. A great example of a category page that interacts and engages a user comes from Sephora and their buying guides. The website suggests that the user has never shopping for ‘x’ product before. It prompts product category quizzes for the user to take in order for the user to figure out what they need.
Optimizing Product Descriptions
By matching your users’ search intent and optimizing descriptions on your product pages, you’ll be able to help each user learn more about the quality of your product. Make sure to not stuff keywords into your product descriptions, as Google will penalize this. We personally love the product descriptions from Aerie. In the photo below, you can see how the product title alone has a long-tail keyword term, but the description uses simplistic bullet point format for how the product wears, fits, and feels:
Internally Linking Important Pages
Internally linking your products to categories and internally linking your categories to parent pages will help Google crawl and comprehend your website easier. As an added bonus, it will also assist your users in navigating your site, which may increase their time on your website. Target’s patio ideas category page is the perfect example of internal link domination. The user’s uncertainty of what kind of patio furniture they need is solved by the subtle art profiles that Target has laid out (ex. bohemian, modern). They also include a description of each particular style.
3. Optimizing Product Images: Alt Text, Keywords, & Image Search
Thanks to Google Shopping, users can browse products by images and purchase directly from their Google search window without having to visit the website in which the product is offered. The issue with this is that Google can’t read images. When Google crawls a website, it may see that there’s an image, but it won’t know what the image showing. That’s why it’s extremely important to add optimized alt text to your images. You can check out a great example of alt text below with a search for Nutellaa stuffed red velvet pancakes.” While inspecting the image, you’ll notice that the alt= in the sidebar is the term searched.
4. Schema for eCommerce: Why You Should Learn More
eCommerce sites contain content that is optimized for humans, but not necessarily for search engines. Adding mark-up code to product pages using schema.org will provide search engines with access to your data and ensure a better understanding of your products. These protocols will assist Google in returning properly-organized results for users’ search queries. Implementing structured data in your product pages will help search bots read your website. The data also helps them see what kind of product you sell, which allows them to match the product with the product searches that your users are conducting.
5. eCommerce Tracking: Users’ Journey & Generating Revenue
It’s critical to identify if visitors viewing your site on a daily basis are actually turning into paid customers. With this type of information, you can develop your SEO strategy further to generate relevant traffic that will be more likely to turn into paying customers. Use the free Google Analytics platform to track your traffic and understand:
- Where your website traffic is coming from.
- What demographics are being reached.
- Which areas of your marketing efforts can be improved to increase profits generated through SEO efforts.
Google Analytics eCommerce tracking will help business owners better comprehend the types of traffic coming to the website and where sales are approximately being made from.