Imagine you search for something on Google. You type a relevant phrase, click enter, browse the first site for desired results, and then… Do you even go further and check what’s on page number two, three, four? Probably not – just as about 90% of other internet users. And your potential clients are no different than that. If your e-commerce website is not in the first top ten of the search engine results, it could as well not exist at all. But no worries. That’s what SEO’s all about. Although the solution’s neither easy nor fast, the outcome can be a true revolution in your regular sales. So, let’s start with some basics.
1. Make a plan. Every keyword counts
Did you know that every second Google serves over 80k users providing them with the most relevant search results? It’s not only a matter of picking the right pages but also meeting users’ intents based solely upon typed search queries. Sounds like a hard and demanding job, doesn’t it? And it is. But there’s a way you can support Google and, most of all, help your own traffic flow.
In the world of SEO, search queries are actually keywords that can be divided into three main categories:
- Commercial keywords usually consist of the name of a product or its type, e.g. “vintage bikes”, “vintage bikes prices”, etc.
- Informational keywords relate to gathering information about a certain topic, e.g. “What bicycle to buy for a mountain trip?” or “How to choose the best equipment for an MTB bike?”.
- Navigational keywords indicate a specific product, brand or location, e.g. “vintage bikes in London” or “Yeti mountain bikes”.
Informational keywords get 80% of the queries. The rest is divided into half – 10% for the commercial and 10% for the navigational ones.
Either way, the first thing to do is creating a detailed keyword plan, preferably by using one of the suitable SEO tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs. By analyzing the keywords your website’s visible for and repeating the process with your most fierce competitors, you’ll be able to categorize the acquired phrases and use them wisely in your SEO campaign.
2. Get ready for mobiles or prepare to lose
Nobody likes to do the internet shopping in a store that’s illegible on mobile devices – especially that most web users purchase their desired items on smartphones. So, in order to keep your customers close and the Google bots even closer, you have to take care of your website’s responsiveness. It should be pleasant and friendly, readable and clear, and cover all of the content that’s available on the desktop version of your site. This way, you’ll meet the crucial requirements of the needy Google and please your mobile clients who’ll be happy to spend more money in your store.
3. Build strong foundations – proper architecture is key
Your website’s structure needs to be simple, usable and intuitive – it works for both your visitors’ and SEO’s advantage. Starting from your homepage, clients interested in a particular product should be less than three clicks away from finding it. If they have to spend too much time searching for a desired item, they’re prone to lose their patience and move along to your competition. You don’t want that, right? And let’s not forget about the crawling bots. A clear navigation will make it easier for them to visit and index your pages.
One more thing – your website’s URLs should be SEO friendly as well. It means they need to be short, relevant and include adequate keywords. No random letters and digits added!
4. Usability issues don’t concern your store? Check again
You know Amazon, Zalando and other e-commerce giants? They made it so easy for their customers to shop online that the bar for other e-stores is set incredibly high. Consumers expect a flawless shopping experience without any confusing elements, complex processes and errors. However, it’s estimated that only 56% of them make a successful online purchase.
And what about Google? It values the UX factor as well. So, if there are any potential drawbacks – time to fix them:
- You can use Hotjar or other session recording tools to follow your clients’ footsteps in the store and establish what made them leave the site or their basket.
- Google Analytics will help you indicate the most common exit pages on your website. Check them out. Why did your clients leave?
- Try popular online feedback tools and ask customers about their experience with your store. First-hand opinions are a great learning tool.
5. On-site SEO – big little changes
Modern search engine optimization focuses mostly on what Google bots come across on your website. That’s why it’s so important to consider even the slightest changes, both in the code and in content:
- Optimize your title tags and descriptions – they should include a valid keyword and a CTA.
- Make sure to optimize your images, too. If they’re too large, your page speed might drop and you definitely don’t want that to happen.
- Use a descriptive image name (preferably with a keyword) and fill in the ALT text.
- Remember about unique content on each page.
- Every content should be enriched with proper keywords, but don’t stuff them everywhere you can. They shouldn’t cover more than about 5% of the text.
- Implement Schema markup for Google to understand your content and help your clients navigate the site.
- Use internal linking with an adequate anchor text to suggest other related content – both to your visitors and bots.
- Sometimes you have to tell your clients what to do – motivate them with engaging CTAs.
6. Content is king – cliché, but it is
Google wants to provide its users with the most valuable and relevant content there is. And your job is to help. By creating articles that answer your potential customers’ search queries, you cleverly convince the bots that that’s the best source of knowledge. But there are three more things to remember about:
- Every content should bring a real value for the readers. Present them with useful tips and solutions, even slightly unrelated to your products.
- Don’t bore your audience with prolonged waffle and don’t overstuff your texts with keywords. What counts is the high quality of your content.
- Write for people, not for bots. Google doesn’t want you to manipulate the algorithm. It wants you to build content for people.
7. Build your links like small cities
Linkbuilding is actually the most essential off-site part of every SEO campaign. It allows Google to see the value and authority of your domain. And the higher the authority is, the higher your website’s ranked.
The links should be natural, diversified and lead to different but relevant pages. That’s also where all of the effort with keywords pays off. Don’t forget to use your brand’s name, too – it’ll gain more popularity on the web.
8. Prove that you’re a safe partner to shop with
Security is as important as the usability of your website. That’s why it’s best to use the HTTPS version of the protocol that exchanges data between a user’s browser and your store’s server. It creates a safe space for any financial transactions and data submissions.
9. Get technical and dig into the code
You may not love the idea of getting into the insights of your site to improve the SEO ranks, but it’s a thing that just can’t be ignored. Use some high quality crawling tools (e.g. Screaming Frog) to conduct a thorough audit and check the following issues:
- Duplicate content, title tags and meta descriptions
- Slow page load speed
- Broken internal links or images
- Returning 4xx codes
- Lack of Schema markup
- Low word count
- HTTP issues
10. You have a brick and mortar store as well? Choose local SEO
Of course, we don’t advise you to resign from optimizing your online store. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to add the physical one to your SEO strategy as well, mainly due to the fact that about 46% of all Google queries refer to local information. Additionally, it’ll be a good idea to create a Google My Business listing if you haven’t done that already.
Although the length of the article got a bit out of hand, these are only some of the most crucial elements of a well conducted SEO campaign.
If you’re willing to build a new store or migrate the existing one, we’ll be happy to do it for you following all of the SEO principles and keeping your traffic intact (or maybe even enhancing it a little).