E-commerce SEO is one of the most complex practices today. It is also such a broad field that the internet is inundated with tons of information (and misinformation!). Navigating through this maze of SEO advice can be overwhelming, often leaving you unsure of where to start and which strategies to implement.
To cut through this noise and provide you with clear and actionable insights, we have compiled this exhaustive E-commerce SEO guide. This is the only handbook you would need to drive organic traffic to your online store and generate more sales.
What Is SEO for E-commerce?
SEO for E-commerce is a collection of strategies that helps online stores rank higher in SERP (Search Engine Results Page). Contrary to popular belief, SEO for E-commerce is much more than simply adding keywords and writing blogs.
Yes, a well-designed website with high-quality content will certainly rank higher in Google, but that’s not enough to reach the top. You need to understand the guidelines of search engines, how they work, and your buyer’s intent before implementing various SEO strategies.
Benefits of SEO for E-commerce Websites
Here are a few benefits you can enjoy by implementing SEO for your online store:
E-commerce SEO is all about improving your brand’s visibility on search engines. It automatically improves your reach among audiences by increasing organic traffic to your online store. Once a visitor lands on your website, you can even reach out to them later via paid retargeting campaigns, further widening your reach.
Better User Experience
When you focus on SEO for your E-commerce website, you are essentially targeting the right keywords. This way, you are not only attracting relevant visitors to your website but also answering all the key queries they might have. Focusing on SEO makes your website more attractive and improves its overall user experience.
Better Conversion Rate
This is a given. When your website ranks for relevant keywords, it will attract visitors interested in your products. It drastically improves the likelihood of them purchasing from you, which, in turn, improves your store’s conversion rates.
SEO is undoubtedly one of the most cost-efficient ways to drive website traffic, especially when you compare it to paid ads. Unlike ads, you do not have to pay for every click or action. You can continue to attract organic traffic for free with E-commerce SEO.
On-Page SEO Strategy
Your on-page SEO strategy should ideally focus on enhancing the elements within your E-commerce website to improve its relevance to search engines. From embedding relevant keywords to optimizing title tags, every minute detail plays a significant role in signaling your website’s value to search engines. Let us quickly go through the different strategies you can employ.
Perform E-commerce Keyword Research
Solid keyword research is the key to a successful E-commerce SEO strategy, as it provides invaluable insights into the language and phrases potential customers use when searching for products. Understanding the right keywords can make all the difference between driving relevant and irrelevant traffic to your website. Now, there are multiple ways to perform keyword research for your store. Here are three popular ones:
Using Flipkart For Keyword Research
Flipkart is one of India’s largest marketplaces selling every product that you can imagine. What this means is – it is a goldmine for product keywords. All you need to do is head over to www.flipkart.com and enter the product type you plan to sell in the search box.
Source: Flipkart Website
Flipkart will start suggesting the most popular keywords around your product type. Pick all the relevant keywords and embed them into your product description for your online store.
Finding Keywords Through Competition
Along with Flipkart, you can explore your competitors’ websites for keywords. This way, you will be able to discover keywords that are effective across multiple online platforms, including search engines, social media, and other E-commerce sites. Also, you will be able to identify gaps in your own keyword strategy and find opportunities to differentiate your online store. Also, exploring your competitors’ websites might help you in identifying long-tail keywords that cater to specific niche audiences. There are high chances of you finding content and pages that target long-tail keywords, which can be valuable for attracting highly targeted traffic.
Using Keyword Research Tools
Use tools like SEMrush & Ahrefs to find keywords and search terms related to your niche, assess their search volumes and trends, and evaluate keyword difficulty and competition. Additionally, these tools help you in analyzing your competitors’ strategies and understand their top-performing keywords with relative ease. You also gain in-depth insights into backlinks, content performance, and search visibility.
SEO Optimize Your Product Pages
By optimizing various elements on your product pages for relevant keywords, you can significantly improve that product’s visibility on search engines and drive targeted traffic. Here are the different product page elements you must optimize for better SEO:
URL: Create SEO-friendly URLs that include relevant keywords. It should accurately describe the product and, at the same time, should be kept short, readable, and without unnecessary characters or symbols. Here is a good example:
Source: Juicy Chemistry
Title Tag (H1): Use a keyword-rich H1 title tag for your product. It should accurately reflect the product’s main keyword. More importantly, it should be clear, concise, and easy to understand for both users and search engines.
Meta Description: Set the meta description for every page of your website. This is a great opportunity for you to write an engaging intro for your pages, which, in turn, will garner clicks on the search results page. Here is a good meta-description:
Product Description: Craft unique and informative product descriptions that incorporate all the necessary target keywords naturally. Avoid keyword stuffing and focus on providing valuable information to potential customers. Here is a great product description from FabIndia:
Header Tags (H2, H3, etc.): Use header tags to organize your product page content logically. Incorporate relevant keywords into these headers to give search engines a clear understanding of the page’s structure and content. Nykaa, the cosmetics brand, has neatly organized all its blog content in H2 and H3 tags:
Image Alt Text: You also need to ensure that all your images have alt text which is descriptive and keyword-rich. Alt text helps search engines understand your images, making them more likely to appear in image search results and improving overall accessibility to your products.
Product Reviews: Encourage customer reviews and User-Generated Content on your product pages. This not only enhances credibility but can also naturally include additional relevant keywords. Here is a product description from the brand Nykaa:
Using E-commerce Content Marketing For SEO
E-commerce content marketing is a powerful tool to drive organic traffic to your E-commerce store. You need to consistently create valuable and engaging content such as blogs containing your target keywords and answer questions that your audiences might have.
You can also leverage social media to promote content and interact with your audience. Posting content on social media is a great way to foster brand awareness, and ultimately enhance your website’s authority in search engine rankings. It’s also important to maintain a consistent publishing schedule. Regularly posting content will increase the likelihood of attracting backlinks further boosting search engine visibility.
Technical SEO Clean Up
The technical clean-up involves a careful review and enhancement of various technical aspects, including your website’s structure, page speed, mobile responsiveness, canonicalization, and internal linking, among others. By conducting this process, you will be able to improve your website’s overall health, facilitate better search engine indexing, and ultimately boost organic traffic.
Make Your Site’s Architecture Simple
Site architecture is all about how the pages on your website are arranged. Your goal must be to keep the architecture simple and well-organized. A typical E-commerce website tends to have significantly more number pages than an average blogging website or a service-oriented website due to the presence of category pages and product pages. This makes it even more crucial for your site architecture to be simple, as it helps search engines to effortlessly browse through your site and assists customers in finding the information they need.
When your architecture is well-defined, you can also scale your website in the future. As you add more products and categories, you will find it easier to maintain your website.
While designing your website architecture, your goal must be to ensure that every page can be accessed within three (or fewer) clicks from your homepage. This ensures that your customer journey is short and frictionless, making it more likely for users to complete their purchases.
Let us now look at the structure of two websites, one with bad site architecture and another with solid architecture.
Bad Site Architecture Example For E-commerce
As you can see in the above example, the architecture is not straightforward. It’s challenging to understand what category comes where. This means it’s not scalable. Whenever you plan on adding a new category, you need to build an additional layer and(or) reorganize all your existing categories and subcategories. Lastly, if you notice, some of the pages can be reached only after 6 clicks from the home page.
Good Site Architecture Example For E-commerce
This is an excellent example of how your site architecture should be. It is simple and scalable, which means it is completely future-proof. Also, every page can be reached in 3 clicks from the home page, ensuring that the user journey is short and without any obstacles.
Improve your Page Speed
Your website’s page speed is a key ranking factor for Google. Why? Because Google values user experience and if your page takes a long time to load, it will result in a poor experience, and most users will abandon that page. The probability of users abandoning a page almost triples if the page takes longer than 2 seconds to load. If you’re not sure about your current page speed, you can check on PageSpeed Insights.
Now, if your page speed is low, it simply means you either have too much content on your website or too many scripts are slowing down the page speed. And don’t forget, images take a lot of time to load, so if you have a lot of images on a page, it will slow the load time.
Here are some tips to improve your page speed –
- Do not overload the webpage with too many images. And ensure that all the images are optimized and compressed.
- Use fewer social media widgets on the web pages.
- Do not clutter the pages with too much content. Use white space wherever possible.
If nothing is working, consider changing your web host or upgrading your existing hosting package. You can consider switching to Kartify, a highly scalable E-commerce platform that supports +1 million concurrent users without performance issues. Also, the platform helps in optimizing your storefront so that your page load speeds are always high.
Impact Of Redirects On SEO
Redirects are instructions that inform web browsers and search engines to transfer users from one URL to another. This transfer could be due to website restructuring, moved or expired content, or simply to offer a better user experience. 301 is a popular permanent redirect that indicates that the original URL has permanently moved to another location. So whenever Google encounters a 301 redirect, it automatically updates its index and caches it to reflect the updated URL. This ensures that the SEO value of the old link is transferred to the new one.
Now too many redirects are also not good for your SEO. For instance, excessive redirects can impact page load times, which will have a negative impact on the user experience and SEO rank.
Also, if redirects are not properly implemented or maintained, your users may encounter “404 Not Found” errors that can result in lost traffic.
Incorrect redirects can also cause canonicalization problems, where search engines may index the wrong version of a page. For instance, if you use a 302 (temporary) redirect instead of a 301, it may lead search engines to keep indexing the old URL, thus losing your link equity.
Importance Of HTTPS
HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) is a protocol that encrypts the data transmitted between your website and its users. This makes it more secure against potential cyber threats and eavesdropping. Unsurprisingly, this has been a Google ranking factor as Google has always valued data security.
You will know that your website has HTTPS if it has a ‘lock’ icon in the address bar. Here is an example –
Most modern E-commerce platforms offer HTTPS as the default protocol for your website. However, if you find that (for some reason) HTTP has been used instead, you need to fix it immediately. We recommend partnering with trusted E-commerce platforms like Kartify to make sure your online store is always secure.
Make Your Site Mobile Responsive
With a major chunk of internet traffic coming from mobile devices these days, search engines like Google have started adopting mobile-first indexing. This means they primarily use the mobile version of your website for ranking and indexing. Make sure your website is mobile responsive which will not only improve your SEO rankings but also result in lower bounce rates and increased user engagement.
Here are some best practices to follow while making your website mobile responsive –
- Test your website across a range of mobile devices and operating systems to ensure a consistent user experience
- Optimize all your images by compressing them without compromising quality.
- Streamline your E-commerce checkout process by eliminating unnecessary form fields and providing multiple payment options
- Replace complex dropdown menus with simple, easily accessible navigation elements like hamburger menus.
Provide Good Internal linking
Interlinking helps search engines understand the organization of your E-commerce website and allows users to navigate with great ease. This greatly boosts the user experience and subsequently your SEO rank.
The best way to implement internal linking is via breadcrumbs. These are navigational aids that highlight the user’s current location within the website hierarchy. Clicking on a breadcrumb will help users backtrack or switch between different categories. Here is an example of a breadcrumb:
The other way to implement internal linking is via product recommendations. Implement a product section widget on all your product pages to encourage users to explore related products or complementary items. Besides being a good internal linking strategy, it also helps in improving the chances of cross-selling and upselling.
Lastly, if your E-commerce website has a blog section, make sure to provide contextual interlinking to blog posts, relevant product pages, and category pages. For example, if you are writing a blog about the benefits of a product, link it to the respective product page where users can make a purchase. This not only enhances conversion rates but also strengthens the association between your content and products in the eyes of search engines.
Importance of Hreflang
Technically speaking, Hreflang is an HTML attribute that specifies the language and geographical targeting of a webpage. It is a crucial element of E-commerce SEO, particularly for online stores that cater to an international audience or offer content in multiple languages.
It aids search engines in understanding the language of your web pages, thereby ensuring that the right content is always presented to the right users in search results. In simpler words, when you add hreflang tags to your website, you are clearly highlighting which version of your website is relevant to a particular location.
Without this tag, search engines might index and display the wrong version of your website to users accessing it from another country. This can result in irrelevant search results and frustrating experiences for the users.
Canonicals are tags that instruct Google on which version of a page to index and display in search results. The three important goals of canonicals are-
- To avoid potential duplicate content issues
- To ensure that the right page receives proper SEO value
- To consolidate link equity from all the duplicate pages of a particular E-commerce page
E-commerce websites often have multiple versions of the same product page, category page, and other pages. For instance, if a particular product has multiple variants, then multiple duplicate pages will be created for these variants.
Without canonicals, Google might end up interpreting all these duplicate pages as separate entities, resulting in the dilution of SEO value for that particular product. It might even penalize you for having duplicate content across all these pages. To avoid such issues, you need to use canonicals.
Include a site map
A sitemap is a file on your website that contains complete information about all your web pages and content. Search engines use this sitemap to crawl your website more efficiently. A good sitemap will not leave out any page be it a category page or a product page. Sitemaps use both XML and HTML, however, HTML sitemaps are generally considered to be more useful for users. You can create a sitemap either manually or by using various tools. Google’s Webmaster, Lucidchart Sitemap Generator, and Powermapper are some of the popular tools used for generating sitemaps. Here is a sample HTML sitemap:
Source: H&M Group
Link Building Strategies For E-commerce Site
Link building is important for SEO as it improves the authority, visibility, and rankings of your website. When you build high-quality backlinks from reputable sources, you are essentially attracting high-quality organic traffic who are more likely to buy. Here are a few strategies you can adopt for link building:
1. Resource Page Link Building
In a resource page link-building strategy, you get backlinks from webpages that curate and link out to useful resources within the industry. You, as a website owner, can suggest your webpage as one of these resources. The best part is you do not have to do too much convincing to get your webpage added because you are helping the resource page owner to keep their pages fresh and up-to-date.
But your website must be relevant to the resource page, otherwise, your request will be rejected. Just search for all the relevant resource pages in your industry, vet these pages, reach out to the page owner, and suggest your website as a potential resource.
2. Partnering With Influencers And Affiliates
It is not difficult to find major and micro-influencers in every industry. Partnering with these influencers and affiliates can expose your products to a wider audience, thereby attracting natural backlinks. This, then, has a positive impact on your SEO score.
You can ask influencers to write product reviews, create unboxing videos, or even write sponsored content that highlights your brand and products. Many influencers have their own blogs or websites where they can publish in-depth content about your products, generating additional backlinks.
3. Broken Link Building
Broken links are amazing opportunities to gain backlinks to your website. Start by finding websites that have mentioned products like yours and linked them to the original website. Some of these links might be broken or inactive.
If you find such links, reach out to the website owner and share your webpage as an alternative option. They will be happy to replace a broken link with a working one. You can use tools like Brokenlinkchecker to identify broken links in a particular URL.
4. Stealing Competitor’s Links
Though this strategy might sound highly dubious, this is a legitimate and very common way to build backlinks. You need to first analyze your competitor’s backlink profile and identify high-quality backlinks that your competitors have earned over the years. Now, see if there’s a chance for you to obtain similar links.
Platforms like Ahrefs and SEMRush offer backlink analysis tools to help you identify opportunities in competitors’ links. While reaching out to websites that link to your competitors, be honest and showcase how your products or brand can add value to their audience beyond what your competitors offer.
5. Guest Posting
Guest posting involves creating valuable content for other websites within your niche. In exchange, you can get valuable backlinks to your E-commerce site. The key is to identify reputable websites that accept guest posts, have good domain authority, and have an audience that matches your target market.
The good thing about guest posting is that it not only generates valuable backlinks to your website but also improves your brand visibility and showcases your brand as an authoritative name in the industry.
Keep Track Of E-commerce SEO Success
Your responsibility is not over once you have implemented all the above strategies and optimized your E-commerce store for search engines. It is equally important to understand the impact of your strategies so that you can identify areas for improvement and finetune your strategies to improve the outcomes. Let us now understand how to track your E-commerce SEO success.
Key Metrics To Track For E-commerce SEO Success
- Conversion Rate: It is the percentage of visitors who complete a desired action on your website. In an E-commerce environment, the action is usually making a purchase. A high conversion rate indicates that the keywords you are targeting in your SEO strategy are highly relevant to your target audience.
- Bounce Rate: It is the percentage of visitors who leave your website after viewing only one page. A high bounce rate indicates that the products or your website’s content may not be meeting the search intent of the users. In other words, you need to tweak your keyword selection.
- Click-through Rate: It is the percentage of visitors you are attracting to your E-commerce website after they see your page in the search engine results pages. A high CTR indicates that your title tag, meta description, and content are appealing and are capable of attracting clicks from search engine users.
- Core Web Vitals: These are specific website performance metrics that measure different aspects of user experience. It predominantly includes Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS). These metrics help assess website loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability respectively.
- Keyword Ranking Changes: The changes in positions of specific keywords that you are targeting in search engine results pages over time. If a keyword improves its ranking, it indicates that your SEO efforts for that keyword are bearing fruits. On the other hand, if a keyword’s ranking drops, you may need to investigate the possible reasons, such as algorithm updates, changes to your website, or increased competition.
- Non-branded Keywords: Non-branded keywords are generic keywords that do not include any specific brand names. By analyzing these keywords, you can identify new market opportunities and potential product categories that might be in demand. This can help in fine-tuning your SEO strategies to capitalize on emerging trends.
How to Track Your SEO Success?
The easiest and most effective way to track your SEO success is by using tools like Google Analytics, SEMRush, and Ahrefs. For instance, Google Analytics offers comprehensive insights into your website’s performance and captures metrics such as organic traffic, user behavior, conversions, and bounce rates. And it is quite easy to set up Google Analytics on most E-commerce platforms.
Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush also help in keyword analysis. For instance, they can track the rankings of your target keywords in search engine results and even highlight how your rankings have changed over time. They can even track your performance against competitors.
Choose The Right E-commerce Platform For The Best SEO
As we wrap up our blog, you would have realized that the strategies you use to optimize your website’s SEO impacts your online success. The intricacies of search engine optimization can’t be underestimated, and your chosen platform plays a pivotal role in how well your website ranks and performs.
Kartify – E-commerce Platform is the best choice for most businesses because it is the only platform you would need to handle the entire lifecycle of an E-commerce order. Right from inventory tracking to payment processing, Kartify takes care of everything you need to manage your store.
Some of the key features of Kartify include:
- Search-engine-optimized product listings
- Advanced analytics covering sales, traffic, and products
- Native integrations with 80+ relevant platforms
- Site speed optimization with super-fast smart search capability
- Optimized checkouts to reduce cart abandonment
- Seamless selling across platforms with Omni-enabled capabilities
To know more about Kartify and how it can help in driving organic traffic to your online store, contact us now.