Top 10 SEO Tips for E-Commerce Stores

Written by Tom Ewer on July 23, 2014 Blog, How to sell online.

SEO for E-CommerceIf you plan on selling any products or services via the internet, you need to make sure that people can actually find you.

There’s no sense in having a fancy website with the best products at awesome prices if your site can’t be found after the first page in Google. Few people will take the time necessary to look that far.

This is where your SEO efforts come into play. Rank higher in the search engines and people are more likely to find you. The more traffic you get, the more likely you are to make sale after sale. After all, isn’t that why you’re in this business in the first place?

Here are 10 tips to help you maximize your SEO efforts to help create a strong presence on the internet.

1. Find Effective Keywords

Much like everything else in life, taking the time necessary to prepare and do a little homework will typically up the chances for success.

This is no different when it comes to website design and structure, and finding the right keywords is key. Without optimal keywords used strategically on your web pages, you risk lackluster results. So make sure that you take the time to do some in-depth keyword research to find those phrases that will jack up your site’s effectiveness.

People tend to be quite specific when they are conducting a keyword search, so make sure that the keywords you use aren’t too general. Otherwise, visitors simply won’t find you. Devise some descriptions and keywords that are distinguished so you can effectively compete for them. Make good use of long-tail keywords as well, which can attract the type of traffic you want, thereby leading to a higher conversion rate.

2. Be Cautious of Duplicate Content

Anyone with even the tiniest bit of experience with SEO knows the dangers associated with duplicate content. It’s well known that search engines aren’t fond of content that’s been blatantly copy and pasted, or even slightly “spun,” so avoiding this faux-pas is essential.

However, when it comes to e-commerce shops, many of the products are essentially the same, which means their product descriptions might be more similar to each other than Google deems appropriate. For this reason, as e-commerce store owners, it’s important to understand that analyzing all pages of your websites and identifying ways to reduce redundancy is crucial. This should be a regular practice.

Rather that posting content without double-checking it first, then having to rectify the situation afterwards (which is a real pain!), make sure it’s as original as can be. Without proper planning and website structure, you’re opening your website up for the real possibility of duplicate content, which will only send your website’s rankings down the tubes – the total opposite effect of your intended goals.

Even before coding begins, ensure your web developers avoid the potential for duplicate content. The more control you have over your site’s content, the better your chances of landing the top spot in search results.

3. Use Strategic Keywords in Anchor Text

Your website should obviously contain a variety of links leading to specific products or pages within your site. In order to more effectively boost your e-commerce store’s visibility in Google, make sure to include relevant keywords in anchor text.

Instead of just using phrases like “click here” or “check this out” as your anchor text for the most part, try to include keywords that you’re trying to rank for instead.

Of course, you don’t want to use the same anchor text repeatedly throughout your site, or you could be penalized. While variety is important, so is good use of keywords. You may also want to consider using important keyword links in your product descriptions that will take the visitor to similar products you sell.

4. Make Your URL Structure Easy for Search Engines to Crawl

Don’t underestimate the importance of your site’s URL structure when trying to climb the search engine results. Proper URL structure can make it a lot easier for search engine robots to find and crawl your site, and recognize what your site is about. This in turn will help to get your site and all its pages indexed.

Proper structuring of your URLs will also make your visitors’ experience much more pleasant. The better the experience, the higher the chances of keeping them on your website for longer. And that increases their likelihood of making a purchase. You want your website to be loved by the search engines, but you want to be sure your visitors love it too!

5. Write Up Catchy Product Descriptions

We’ve already discussed unique content, but this also extends to your product descriptions. In this case, you should probably avoid using product descriptions from manufacturer websites as they are used over and over on other sites selling the same products. Keep it unique and write up your own descriptions that feature relevant keywords to help make them more search-engine friendly.

6. Optimize Your Product Images

SEO Product ImagesImages are particularly useful for e-commerce stores. People want to see photos of what they’re thinking about buying, so it’s critical that the images you put up are of the highest quality.

But using great looking photos isn’t all you need to do. It’s also important to help the search robots find, see, and understand your website’s images. Without proper optimization of your images, you are doing nothing to assist the robots in finding them, which means a lost chance for boosting your site rank.

Make sure to add relevant keywords into the ALT tags of your images. Ideally, each keyword you choose for each particular image should be as relevant as possible so that every ALT tag associated with each image is unique.

7. Leverage Google Ads

Although you don’t necessarily want your site to rely heavily on Google ads, they can work if used in moderation and when strategically placed. Many customers may have negative feelings towards banners, sponsored links, and other types of ads, so it’s important to use these sparingly.

Keep in mind though that research from Google has shown that 89 percent of paid clicks don’t necessarily transfer over to organic clicks, so make sure Google ads are used properly in addition to your SEO efforts. Try to take advantage of cheaper cost-per-clicks ads to make the most of them.

8. Check to See if Traffic is Being Converted Into Sales

All website owners are interested in seeing their traffic numbers increase over time, but the numbers alone aren’t the only thing to look at. It’s also crucial to identify if any of these visitors checking out your site on a daily basis are actually turning into paid customers. If not, you’ll have to identify where your website is going wrong and enhance the parts that are working well.

Make good use of Google Analytics to track your traffic. This tool will help you find out where your traffic is coming from, the demographic most likely to convert, where your marketing efforts are working (and not working), and profit increases generated through your SEO efforts.

With this type of information in hand, you can improve your SEO strategy to help generate traffic that will be more likely to turn into paying customers.

9. Make it Easy For Your Visitors to Find Your Product Pages

A common mistake that many e-commerce website owners make is failing to place links to product pages on their site’s home page. This makes it a lot harder for your visitors to find your products, which does nothing to boost profits.

Make it simple and effortless for your visitors to land on product pages by ensuring links to them are found on the home page and other relevant pages within your site. This will even make it easier for search engines to find them.

10. Avoid Broken Links

Imagine your experience when you’re browsing through a particular website of interest. You find something fascinating and want to read more. You click the link provided only to be greeted with, “Page 404 Not Found.” How frustrating is that? You surely wouldn’t want the visitors to your website encountering the same problem.

For this reason, it’s crucial that you keep tabs on all the links on your website on a regular basis to prevent sending them into limbo. One or two broken links is bad enough, but many is just bad for business.

You can use tools like Screaming Frog or the Broken Link Checker plugin for WordPress to check your website for broken links and to optimize your site for both visitors and the search engines.

Conclusion

And there you have it! 10 useful tips for applying SEO strategies to your e-commerce site. I hope you’ve found them helpful.

But tell me, did I miss any tips that you’ve found to be invaluable in improving your online store’s site rank? Be sure to let me know below!

Image source: MoneyBlogNewz, Idhren

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10 Responses

  1. Leo85
    July 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    Nice post !

    How to avoid duplicate content ?

    When you sell different colors that will be sell with different product page. Our website is real pain for this.

    Same for category urls.

    Good to give advices, but exemples would kill 🙂

    BR

    • Rick
      July 26, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Why don’t you use attributes instead of different products with different colors? Upload one product, and give it as many attributes as you have colors.

      • vince8585
        August 5, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

        well it would not appear as nice, category is the more important… maybe do canonical url on each product so that google knows categories are more important than product ?
        and no seo on product ?

  2. viv
    July 25, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    Hi Tom,

    I didn’t know you were active on the ecommerce side too…

    Awesome…

  3. watchteller
    July 25, 2014 at 10:06 am #

    Hi,

    From using Yoast SEO plugin:
    1. I am not to generate product variation/attributes/tag XML to submit google;
    2. I am only generate single product, product category, pages, category, single blog XML to submit Google;
    3. From point 2, set index and follow for google bot, others notindex and follow OR nonindex and nonfollow.

    Hope will alright!

    • vince8585
      August 5, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      I do the same indeed.

      well it would not appear as nice, category is the more important… maybe do canonical url on each product so that google knows categories are more important than product ?
      and no seo on product ?

  4. Chris Finnegan
    July 27, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

    Great topic for the Woo Themes blog!

    Tracking conversions with Google Analytics is so valuable to see which sources of website traffic are converting into customers. You mentioned writing unique product descriptions which is an important tip, I’d add category descriptions as well,

    Cheers
    Chris

  5. Grist Gull
    July 29, 2014 at 9:55 am #

    First , Good SEO optimization For choose your own perfect template. an excellent template is a great way to make visitors stay longer in your site.Seo Tips

  6. Makro
    August 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    Thanks for the great tips about seo. I think we should also consider White Hat SEO basic practices recommended by Google. I found this Google guide helpful for white hat seo too. http://techleaks.us/white-hat-seo-best-practices-guide/ . According to my point of view, every webmaster should atleast learn the basic seo practices.. What do you say?

  7. Addy
    September 8, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    For E commerce websites to rank well, the site owners should be very careful regarding the duplicate content and eliminate them if any exists. Also they should check if there is any empty page or product list in the website, that should be removed. And always give a new title to an new page.

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