September 14, 2020
Did you know that SEO has the highest ROI of all online marketing tactics? Still, most online stores ignore it and choose to pay heavily for PPC ads.
Not convinced yet?
Let me put it this way: if you invest in SEO for your eCommerce business you will get free, recurring and, above all, relevant traffic.
Do I have your attention now?
OK! Let’s see how you can do that.
Top eCommerce SEO Tactics
Not long ago, when you said eCommerce, you said Amazon, eBay and a few other giants. Now, even the mom-and-pop corner store has an eCommerce option. Since the pandemic kicked in, more and more stores appear every day.
The eCommerce industry grows year after year, pandemic or not. While this may be a good thing, it also means more competition.
Stand out from the crowd with these savvy SEO tactics:
1. Keyword research
This is the most important step of your entire SEO strategy. Finding the right keywords. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or the free Google Ad Planner can help you.
But you can also start your research for free.
The key here is to focus on intent. I wrote more about user intent here if you want a longer read, but the gist of it is: don’t focus on simple, short keywords. Aim for long-tail keywords that aren’t just easier to rank for but can also be tied to intent more easily.
Let’s say your shop sells toys. Now, the first thing you might consider is trying to rank for “toys”.
It’s hell to try and fight Toys R Us, Amazon and other giants. Go niche instead. For instance: “educational toys for toddlers” is a great place to start. Yes, there are only 6,600 monthly searches for this term. But all these 6000+ people have a greater intent to buy than those who are simply searching for “toys”.
After you’ve defined a type of toy, go even deeper. Google suggestions help:
See the related searches section? That’s where your gems lie. Click on each suggestion to go even closer to nailing that user intent.
For instance, let’s say you want to optimize a category page for the top keyword above – “educational toys for toddlers”. On that page, you should also have all the keywords that appear in the related searches section.
The same goes for all the keywords you target.
Pro tip: perform the same search on Amazon for extra suggestions, then go to your keyword research tool of choice and refine it even further.
2. Optimize every product description
I know, you may have hundreds of thousands of products. It’s not an easy task. If you start somewhere, start with your highest-ROI products or with those that are special enough to have low competition and rank faster.
Don’t write walls of text just to make the bots happy. Remember: SEO is about humans first and foremost. If they like it, Google’s bots will rank it higher, too.
What do you do when you need to write more to beat the competition? It’s quite easy: create your useful description first – the product specs and everything else the reader might be really interested in. Then add a “read more” button and create a lengthier description that only those who want to go in-depth with their research will read.
However, the “read more” button shouldn’t open up a world of crappy writing and keyword-stuffed copy. No one likes that, not even search engine bots. Write naturally and aim for useful information.
There are other places to add your keywords, don’t cram them all there.
3. Optimize your meta description and your URL
You know that little box that most people ignore? Don’t do that! Add a meta description that contains your target keyword plus a short and useful description of the product and its attributes.
Whenever possible, add your main keyword to the URL, too!
4. Don’t ignore photos and videos
The alt tags in photos and videos are your best friends! They signal search engines that you’ve got tons of content about a certain topic (your keyword) in multiple formats – just what most users love!
So don’t ignore the alt tags and photo descriptions. These small tweaks could help your products move from page two to page one in a few days!
5. Cleanup broken links and 404 pages
When you build large websites, stuff gets moved around but usually no one cleans up after a move. Take the time to analyze all your pages for broken links and don’t forget to redirect 404 pages.
Pro tip: a tool like Screaming Frog can make your life much easier!
6. Analyze and tweak as needed
You won’t be able to rank for every keyword you ever aimed for. That’s OK. It’s perfectly normal.
Go to your Google Search Console account and check which pages are currently on the second page. This is one of your most important content marketing and SEO KPIs.
They are SO close to page one! What can you do? Perhaps add more text? Another photo? Get some backlinks to those products? Pro tip: even internal links from another product or from your blog help!
Keep doing this evaluation at least once per month. There’s no point in starting from scratch on certain products when you can begin by getting first prize for those that are super-close anyway!
Wrapping Things Up
SEO for eCommerce can be brutal, especially if you are in a crowded niche. Things like domain age or competitor’s SEO budget aren’t within your control. But doing SEO like it’s 2020 not 1990 is.
By focusing on user intent, you can attract relevant, valuable and high-ROI traffic. My agency has done this for clients in eCommerce and other industries and we have the case studies to prove it.
Need help with your eCommerce SEO?
Adriana Tica is an expert marketer and copywriter, with 10 years in the field, most of which were spent marketing tech companies. She is the Owner and Founder of Idunn. In October 2019, she also launched Copywritech, a digital marketing agency that provides copywriting, SEO content writing, and strategy services to companies in the tech industry.