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If you Google “SEO techniques” you’ll see over one hundred million results. There are lots of choices, but by wading through the results, there is a lot of consistency from one link to the next. While no one knows exactly what it takes to get to number one in the search results, the SEO experts seem to agree on the techniques that should be employed. But search engine optimization is not a one-size-fits-all world and optimizing eCommerce websites requires a very different approach.
Most of the top eCommerce SEO strategies can be summarized as “optimize for keywords that can drive the most traffic,” but that’s not the best eCommerce search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. eCommerce websites think organic traffic is nice, but eCommerce websites consistently care about one thing much more than organic traffic and that’s incremental organic orders and sales.
In this article we’ll discuss both why and how to optimize eCommerce websites for organic searches.
Want to learn more about how our eCommerce seo optimization strategies can help you to gain better visibility on the web?
Everything changed for eCommerce websites in April 2020 when Google changed the product listing ads strategy to include both paid and organic results. This had the impact of creating 40 brand new page-one organic listings for hundreds of millions of shopping searches every day.
This has created a new competition at the product detail page (PDP) level. Today most PDPs are populated with content coming directly or indirectly from the manufacturer. This content when duplicated across the web offers little if any benefit to eCommerce websites trying to raise the visibility of its products. Search engines reward unique content and there is relatively little of it today at the PDP level. This has thus created an enormous new opportunity to drive SEO services for eCommerce websites.
This change to Google Shopping will ultimately create the world’s largest product database. It will certainly be larger than any one marketplace and over time it is likely to change the way people navigate their buying journey. SEO services for eCommerce websites increasingly needs to emphasize product and category level content in order to take advantage of this new search opportunity.
By definition eCommerce SEO content optimization is the approach that optimizes for sales over just traffic. In fact, if an eCommerce website can’t convert a visitor into a customer, the effort to acquire that visitor has no payback. When eCommerce websites optimize for sales and it’s really about optimizing the website for four unique objectives:
Here’s an exercise to help understand the difference in optimizing for search volume vs. search value.
1, From the keyword data in the paid product listing ads, identify the highest value keywords. Use the cost-per-click (CPC) metric as the measure of value. This is a competitively bid number that characterizes what a click is worth.
2, Next use an SEO research tool to collect the keywords relevant to your site with the highest average monthly search volume (AMS). Rank tracking software services provide these total volume estimates.
3, Compare the top 50 paid terms that your team has spent money on with the top 50 keyword terms that have the potential to bring the most traffic to your website.
In most cases these two approaches produce very different results. Paid listings are optimized for profitability (just like eCommerce sites). No eCommerce website would knowingly spend more on a click than it was worth in terms of its conversion value. Companies use measures like return on ad spend (ROAS) to measure just how profitable a given keyword might be.
Now go look at the organic keywords with the most search volume and determine the level of overlap. See if these volume-optimized terms are also terms that convert. Focus on the conversion rate (Conversion Rate = Orders / Traffic). If they have a high search volume AND they convert then these are great organic candidates. Are these conversion rates above or below the average for the website? High search volume terms are not typically the same as those that convert the best and ultimately drive eCommerce sales.
eZdia has the data to prove the importance of using “value” measures to optimize organic traffic. In 2019 the company conducted a test that randomly split client pages into three segments.
1) Those that were optimized for keywords with the highest search volume.
2) Those that were optimized for keywords with the highest search value (CPC)
3) Those that used a blended approach of both high volume and high value.
After a year of measuring traffic patterns, the results were stunning. The product pages that employed a blend of both high-volume and high-value keywords ultimately generated more revenue than either of the other two strategies. There may be numerous reasons why this strategy won, but it makes sense that by combining both volume and value strategies can bring visitors early and late in their purchase process.
The SEO Sales Funnel is the concept that when a buyer first searches for a purchase they begin with broad searches (top-of-funnel) and as they gather information they increasingly narrow those search phrases (mid-funnel) before they are finally ready to buy (bottom-of-funnel).
In eCommerce, the most common broad to top-of-funnel searches go to product buyer’s guides. These are designed to teach people what’s important to make the best purchase possible, but doesn’t necessarily have product-specific information. These broad searches then narrow as the buyer reaches the mid-funnel and can be targeted with category-level pages. Finally the buyer narrows even more to a specific product as things like price and availability increase in importance for a conversion.
It’s a mistake to think that people search just once. Just because they land on a site early in search, doesn’t mean they’ll demonstrate any loyalty to that same website. Once a searcher, always a searcher. It’s more common that as they narrow and repeat the search process.
Optimizing an eCommerce website for search engines is much more complex than simply driving more organic traffic. Successful websites will develop eCommerce content strategies that are designed to maximize visibility and relevance to buyers. While organic traffic is always nice, most eCommerce teams benefit by building eCommerce SEO strategies that include a focus on keyword convertibility and value in order to optimize an eCommerce website for organic results.
Need help building an eCommerce SEO optimization strategy? eZdia would be happy to start by generating a eCommerce Share of Commerce report or an Organic eCommerce competitive analysis.
eCommerce SEO optimization is not significantly different from search engine optimization for other websites, but since eCommerce is focused on product sales and improving the visibility of online stores in the search engine results pages (SERPs) and optimizing for search traffic that converts into orders.
Every eCommerce business would like to rank higher in the search results. The higher the result the more click throughs from searchers, the more visibility and ultimately the eCommerce transactions a site can expect.
The following are the steps to consider to improve the organic search visibility of an eCommerce website:
Keyword Targeting: Do a comprehensive keyword research and identify those keywords that can both drive search volume but also those words that tend to convert into sales. Inject the keywords into different parts of the website like Meta Title, Meta Description, H1, Body Content, Image Alt, Anchor Text etc.
Website’s Navigational Improvement: The breadcrumb navigation elements on eCommerce websites are critical to helping search engines understand how a given product fits into a site’s overall taxonomy. A user-friendly navigation can improve the user experience on the website and search engines have learned how to appreciate this structure.
Technical eCommerce SEO Optimization: Technical eCommerce SEO is about making sure the site is fully visible to search engines. Technical SEO goes well beyond just optimizing the meta tags, robots and xml sitemap files. In addition websites should optimize the URL structure, internal linking, 4xx & 5xx errors, keyword placement and targeting, server issues, schema markup, canonicalization, cross linking, and site speed to name a few.
Onpage SEO Optimization: The core areas to focus on to optimize a specific eCommerce page are the meta title, meta description, product title, h1, body content, product images, product videos, breadcrumbs, and social sharing options.
Optimizing an eCommerce website to improve the conversion rate and increase the revenue is called revenue-based eCommerce SEO. Revenue-based eCommerce SEO is not just about keywords ranking and website traffic. The best revenue-based eCommerce SEO focuses on attracting, engaging and ultimately converting visitors into customers.
SEO is competitive. The best approach requires having a better result for a given search query. Creating the best content begins with understanding who the search engines are ranking on page one today and then building a eCommerce SEO content strategy that provides a better result.
Here’s a checklist of all the things to consider when designing an eCommerce SEO content strategy:
Although, there are many eCommerce SEO strategies which are required for a successful eCommerce SEO campaign, a few of the most important strategies includes:
Research indicates that most used and SEO-friendly eCommerce platforms are:
Technical SEO helps eCommerce websites to increase web traffic and generate more conversions. The following are the most important technical eCommerce SEO activities:
A successful SEO campaign outcomes in more traffic, conversions and revenue. To measure the SEO ROI calculate the return on content spend (ROCS).
eZdia’s eCommerce SEO optimization strategies are featured in a new book that is available for free while supplies last.