SEO for e-commerce website have different requirements compared to media websites and blogs. You need to frame your strategy differently to get more visibility and traffic. Many e-commerce websites focus on paid ads and other such marketing mediums because they don’t think SEO is effective for their platform. However, a well-executed SEO campaign can help generate a lot of revenue.
In this article, we provide an effective step-by-step guide to conduct SEO for e-commerce websites to get better results in 2019.
First Step SEO for E-commerce Website is SEO Audit:
The audit is a vital part to do SEO for e-commerce website. The first step is to conduct a thorough audit of your website. An SEO audit gives you a clear picture of the state of your website and just how visible it is on the search engines. Without an audit, it can be challenging to create an effective SEO campaign because you’re running blind. Here’s a look at what you need to check during an audit:
- Check for any Google penalties
- Conduct a search appearance test
- Conduct On-Site SEO audit
- Check Off-Site SEO
- Look at Technical SEO
- Investigate your Local SEO presence
A full audit should be done around once in 6 months because you never know how much the search engine algorithm and behavior will change in this duration. An audit will also reveal the impact of algorithm upgrades on the website.
You can use SEO audit tools for identifying the issue.
Step 2 – Identifying Issues and Potential:
As mentioned before, the audit provides a very clear picture of the current state of your website. By scanning the reports, you can identify different problems with your website and seek out its hidden potential. Here’s a look at what you need to note to SEO for e-commerce website:
- Website Speed – If the speed sores above 2-3 seconds, you might need to optimize the website. Most people are willing to abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. You can test your website speed and page loading speed through the following tools;
- Broken Links – Broken links disrupt the flow of traffic and can compromise user experience. Without a proper audit, it can be difficult to identify these broken links and fix them. You need to fix them because broken links can disrupt search engine bots and that will have an impact on your SEO ranking.
- Redirects – Like broken links, faulty redirects can also compromise user experience and cause problems down the line. Make sure all 404 pages redirect to actual content instead of reaching dead pages. Change all 302 redirects to 301 redirects for better efficiency.
Look at things like bounce rates, traffic, dwell time, low conversion rates, and similar factors to identify areas that might need improvement. You should also take note of all pages and campaigns that perform and attract more traffic. They show what is going well and should be replicated.
Step 3 – Research:
You can’t jump straight into optimization after an audit. While an audit provides a lot of information, most of it is associated with the existing website. Before optimizing, you need to conduct research on two broad topics: keywords and competitors.
- Specific to Product Pages and Homepage – SEO for e-commerce website needs specific keywords for their product and landing pages. They need to be focused on conversion instead of providing knowledge. That will attract the converting traffic and increase your revenue.
- Specific for Blogs – These keywords draw people who want more information but aren’t focused on converting. They help establish a solid reputation and build authority. They’re also used to gain backlinks from high-authority websites.
- Local Long-Tail Keywords – Long-tail keywords are specific and intent-based. They might not bring in a high volume of traffic, but they bring in people who are most willing to convert. This leads to higher conversion rates at a lower investment cost.
- No Keyword Cannibalization – This is especially common in e-commerce websites because there can be several products in one category that rank for the same keyword. Unfortunately, if there are many pages aiming to rank for the same keyword, they cannibalize each other and yield no results.
- Keyword Rankings – It is a good idea to look at the keywords your competitors are ranking for and which competitors are ranking for your chosen keywords. Both of these data sets will provide an insight into your competition and what you need to do to get ahead of them.
- Backlinks – You can also use online tools like Moz’s toolbar to see where your competitors are getting their links from. This can help you compile a list of websites to gain backlinks from as well.
- Website Structure – Successful competitors will have certain elements on their website that makes their platform much more appealing to the audience. That’s why it is a good idea to get a look at their website, more specifically their website structure. That contributes significantly towards the user experience. Take a look at how they prioritize products, services, or related pages.
Conducting this research is vital, especially if you’re looking to establish your presence in the industry and have a new website. The more information you have, the better.
Step 4 – On-Page and Off-Page Optimization:
Once you have collected your data, it is time to start optimizing. There are two board categories of optimization; on-page and off-page. Here’s a look at what’s included in both of them:
- Keyword optimization by including specific, intent-based keywords.
- Website structure and organization.
- Internal links.
- Mobile performance.
- Speed and user-friendliness.
- Rich snippets with good meta description and title tags.
- Quality of content.
- Image optimization and alt-text.
- Correcting all business-related information online.
- Gaining high-quality links from good websites.
- Optimizing all inbound links from high-authority websites.
- Refining online social media presence. Your on-page and off-page optimization should be thorough and meticulous to get the best results. Some people neglect off-page optimization aside from backlink building and lose out on a lot of traffic.
Step 5 – Managing Reputation with Online Reviews and Ratings:
Online products reviews are a major driving factor behind sales. Around 90% of people read online reviews before they visit a business. Research suggests these reviews impact around 67.7% of all purchase decisions. 84% say they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
All of these things indicate that online reviews and ratings are very important. Most businesses don’t take the time to understand their reputation and that can impact their marketing strategies. Here’s a look at how you can gain more positive reviews and manage negative ones:
- Ask your customers to provide feedback on platforms like Google, Yelp, and similar review sites. You can make it easier by providing direct links to these on your website and in your newsletters to them.
- Don’t ignore negative reviews as they’re a great way to showcase your dedication to customer care. Reply to these reviews promptly and fix the issue as effectively as you can. This can turn negative reviews into positive experiences.
- Don’t add any fake reviews or endeavor to remove all negative reviews. People are suspicious of companies that don’t have any bad feedback.
- The best way to combat negative reviews is to increase the number of positive ones by a considerable margin. This will push back the poor feedback and make the good ones more visible.
- Appeal against illegitimate or mistaken bad reviews. Google provides this option and will remove the negative review in some circumstances. It is a good idea to set an alert for your company name and company-specific products on Google Alerts. This will help you keep track of all the chatter around your brand and manage your reputation accordingly.
Step 6 – Dealing With Expired and Out of Stock Products:
Expired and out-of-stock products showing up on search can compromise user experience by a great margin. The last thing you want is for your customers to stumble across and out-of-stock or expired item. The approach to this problem depends entirely on the size of your e-commerce platform according to Mark Cuttis from Google. The tips mentioned below can help with the process:
- Small e-commerce sites with a few dozen pages can leave the page standing and add links to similar products to provide customers with options and improve the user experience.
- Medium-sized websites with a few hundred pages can include 401 or 410 redirects on their pages if you don’t know what the product will come back. If you know when it will come back, inform customers when to expect it and provide a subscription button so they can be informed when the product is back in stock.
- Large businesses can set an unavailable_after tag while creating the page if they know when the product will go out of stock or expire. The page will automatically become inactive after the specified date. It is important to clearly and immediately show users that the product is out of stock or expired. This ensures they don’t waste their time on it and can look for similar options elsewhere on your website.
Step 7 – SEO for Seasonal Products:
SEO for seasonal products can be tricky because these pages are quite inactive outside of the season. Whether you’re a seasonal business or have seasonal products, it is important to make sure the marketing strategy can be adjusted accordingly. Here are some tips that can help:
- Use season-related keywords, especially long-tail keywords to ensure you attract the right audience.
- Use a good internal linking strategy to get traffic to new product pages. For example, if a person is looking for comfortable sweaters for winter, you can place links leading to new Christmas sweater lines in your old regular sweater pages. That will help spread traffic evenly.
- Optimize your product description accordingly and make sure each description is unique.
- Choose title tags carefully and write optimized meta descriptions. Rich snippets are the best way to stand out on the SERP. Ensure the meta descriptions are optimized for seasonality.
- You can also use the unavailable_after tag for seasonal pages if your products will no longer be available after the season.
A detailed and precise SEO package can help ensure your e-commerce platform stays ahead of the game. SEO might take some time to show results, but with some effort and patience, you can reach new heights with it.