Search engine optimization (SEO) is important to help websites outperform their competition in search engines like Google. This is especially important for ecommerce sites, where low SEO rankings can lead to low traffic and lost conversion opportunities.
In this tutorial, we will discuss the importance of eCommerce SEO for beginners and first-time businesses. You’ll also find some ecommerce marketing best practices to grow your online business without hiring an ecommerce SEO agency.
What Is eCommerce SEO?
Ecommerce SEO is a set of strategies and techniques to optimize your online store’s visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). When implemented properly, it helps attract more traffic to your product pages and ultimately boost conversions.
Why Is eCommerce SEO Important?
When building an online store from scratch, no one knows about your brand yet. Having your site appear at the top of search engine results pages will increase brand awareness and drive traffic to your ecommerce site.
This is why a well-defined eCommerce search engine optimization strategy is important to build an SEO-friendly website. Apart from helping you get more traffic and sales, on-page SEO also enables you to provide an impeccable user experience.
Boost Organic Traffic
Ecommerce is a competitive industry filled with globally recognized online stores like Amazon, eBay, and Craigslist – not to mention niche marketplaces that dominate local search engine rankings.
Thus, implementing effective ecommerce SEO strategies can help your online store rank higher on SERPs. This increased visibility brings more organic traffic to your ecommerce website.
Increase Conversion Rates
Having relevant keywords appear in search results helps your website attract visitors who are actively looking for the products or services you offer. It is easier to convert them into paying customers, resulting in higher conversion rates and increased sales.
Enhance User Experience
SEO goes far beyond keyword optimization. This includes fast page loading times, mobile-friendliness, and easy navigation, all of which contribute to a positive user experience.
A well-optimized eCommerce site keeps visitors engaged. This encourages them to explore your products further, giving you more chances to convert.
How to Build an eCommerce SEO Strategy
From researching target keywords to performing on-page SEO, this section provides a step-by-step guide on how to create a successful eCommerce SEO campaign.
1. Set the Foundation With eCommerce Keyword Research
Whether you’re starting an online business or looking to optimize an existing business, knowing what potential customers are searching for online is key to successful SEO efforts. This enables you to create content that answers their questions or meets their needs.
Types of Keywords
Before getting to the research part, you need to understand the different types of keywords:
- Main keywords. Short and generic keywords that describe your products or services. A main keyword contains one or two words with a high search volume. For example: “shoes” or “digital camera.”
- Secondary keywords. Longer and specific phrases that are less competitive and more geared toward a certain audience. For example: “the best running shoes for beginners” or “Canon EOS digital camera reviews.”
- Informational keywords. Used to look for answers or solutions to a problem. For example: “how to shoot videos using a phone” or “benefits of drinking green tea.”
- Transactional keywords. Terms indicating the user is ready to make a purchase or take a specific action. They often contain words like “buy,” “order,” “discount,” or “coupon.”
- Navigational keywords. Used to look for a specific website or web page. They usually include the name of a company, website, or product, such as “Amazon,” “Facebook login,” or “iPhone support.”
- LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords. Terms that help search engines understand the full context of a web page. Incorporating them can improve your content’s relevance and boost your eCommerce website ranking. For example: the LSI keywords for “software” can be “mobile app” or “computer programming.”
Keyword Research Using Google Keyword Planner
Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to brainstorm keyword ideas and find relevant ones for your ecommerce site. Although initially designed to help marketers find the right keywords for paid ads, this free tool serves as a budget-friendly solution to keyword research:
- Go to Google Keyword Planner.
- Create a Google account or log in to your existing one.
- Go to Tools → Keyword Planner → Discover new keywords.
- Under Start with keywords, enter several products or services related to your business. For example, if you’re selling sports shoes, use keywords like “athletic footwear” and “running sneakers.”
- Type in your domain name to filter out irrelevant keywords.
- Click Get results.
- This tool will provide lots of keyword ideas and their search volume. Select all the keywords you want to target, click Copy, and paste them onto your spreadsheet or document.
Competitor Analysis Using Ahrefs
Good keyword research involves checking the terms that drive traffic to your competitors’ sites and incorporating them into your ecommerce store. However, to conduct competitive analysis you need a paid tool like Ahrefs or SEMrush.
Here is the step-by-step process of finding the right keywords through Ahrefs:
- Go to Ahrefs and sign up or log in to your existing account.
- On the dashboard, head to Site Explorer.
- Enter your competitor’s site address and select Domain from the dropdown menu to analyze the whole site.
- Click the search icon.
- On the left sidebar, go to Organic Search → Organic Keywords. Here, you will find all the keywords for which your competitor ranks in the search engines.
Before choosing keywords for your site, assess their difficulty. Short-tail keywords like “running shoe store” are highly competitive.
To increase your chances of ranking, find and use long-tail keywords. They usually have high keyword search volume but low keyword difficulty (KD) numbers.
Here’s a good example of a long-tail keyword: “best shoes for standing all day.”
The monthly search volume of this particular phrase is around 25,000, while its KD value is only 34. You’ll have a good chance of ranking for this keyword depending on how you optimize your pages and content.
After doing research, divide your keywords into several categories. This approach will help you create a clear site structure and develop a content strategy based on user intent.
For example, you could use “best shoes for standing all day” as a blog topic for a list. On the other hand, a transactional keyword like “buy running shoes” is more appropriate for a landing page.
2. Make Your Pages Search-Friendly With On-Page Optimization
On-page optimization focuses on fine-tuning individual pages on your site to respond to user search intent. It can improve your website’s search visibility and browsing experience.
Here are some key elements of on-page optimization:
Make sure your URL structure reflects the content of each page. Include keywords in the URL when applicable, but keep it short and clean.
Avoid long, complex URLs with unnecessary parameters as they can hurt your search engine rankings and user experience.
Here’s an example of a good URL:
Your metadata includes a title tag and meta description. Title tags are the headlines of your web pages, while meta descriptions are short snippets of text that appear below the title tag in search results.
For maximum visibility on the SERPs, keep your title tag under 60 characters and meta description under 160 characters. Use a tool like ToTheWeb to check the length of your metadata.
It is essential to create clear, concise, and keyword-rich title tags that accurately reflect the purpose of each page. This helps both search engines and users understand your content quickly.
Similarly, although they don’t directly impact rankings, attractive meta descriptions can entice users to visit your pages. A well-crafted meta description should summarize the page’s content and include the target keyword.
Take a look at the following title tags and meta description of Road Runner Sports.
When writing product descriptions, explain the unique features of each item and fit relevant keywords naturally to improve the search visibility of your product page.
Avoid keyword stuffing and duplicate content on your product and category pages, as they can negatively impact SEO and user experience.
High quality images enable potential customers to examine your products from different angles. This removes any uncertainty and encourages them to make a purchase.
Images can also appear as rich snippets, which are advanced search results that provide more information about a product, service, or brand. To optimize your product images, use descriptive file names and alt text that contain the target keywords you want to rank for.
Having image alt text is also important for website accessibility, as it can help visually impaired users navigate your product pages.
3. Use Technical SEO to Improve the Structure of Your Website
Technical SEO ensures that your website is well-organized and technically sound. It includes various website optimization aspects that are not immediately visible to visitors but have a significant impact on search engine rankings and user experience, such as:
- Site structure. A well-organized eCommerce site architecture helps search engines understand the hierarchy and relationship between different pages. Users can also find the content they’re looking for quickly.
- Page speed. Faster-loading pages provide a better user experience and contribute positively to SEO. This is because search engines prefer websites that load quickly when determining SERP rankings.
- Mobile-friendliness. As 58% of Google searches originate from mobile devices, having a responsive design that adapts to smartphones and tablets is vital. A mobile-friendly website is favored by both users and search engines.
Choosing a reliable hosting provider like Hostinger can significantly increase your website performance, which is vital for SEO success.
Our business web hosting plans are powered by a well-maintained infrastructure and advanced hosting technologies. These include industry-leading lightspeed web servers, NVMe SSD storage for fast data transfers, and a global content delivery network (CDN).
We also offer automatic backups, free SSL certificates, and DDoS protection to secure sensitive data on your ecommerce site. Plus, with a 30-day money-back guarantee, you can explore our services without risk.
4. Add Value to Your Audience by Creating a Content Strategy
Content marketing is a tried and tested SEO strategy to improve brand awareness, drive organic traffic, and build a loyal community around your niche.
An ecommerce content marketing strategy typically includes:
Publishing High-Quality Articles
Start by creating informative content to engage users and establish your brand as an authority figure in your industry.
Follow this step-by-step guide to publish high-quality and SEO-friendly blog posts:
- Research the target audience to understand their interests and problems. Visit review sites like Trustpilot or discussion forums like Reddit and Quora to brainstorm topic ideas based on the audience’s pain points.
- Create a compelling and concise title that includes your primary keyword. It should immediately convey what your content is about and entice readers to click.
- Use headings to break up content into sections and guide readers through your article. Make your blog post easy to read by incorporating short paragraphs, bullet points, and numbered lists.
- Insert your primary and secondary keywords naturally in the title, headings, body text, metadata, and image alt text. Leverage the best AI tools for writing SEO-friendly content, such as Surfer SEO and Frase.
- Include internal links to relevant pages on your website so visitors can explore further. You can also add external links to authoritative sources when appropriate to boost credibility.
- Thoroughly proofread your draft for spelling and grammar errors. Use online grammar tools like Grammarly for assistance.
- After making the necessary edits, publish your content. Share it on social media, email newsletters, and other marketing channels to generate traffic.
- Regularly monitor your content’s performance using tools like Google Analytics. Update and refresh your content as needed to keep it relevant.
Remember that getting organic traffic through content marketing is a long-term process. If your content doesn’t bring immediate results, keep publishing more blog posts.
Ultimately, when you have enough articles on a certain topic, search engines will recognize your site as an industry expert. They usually reward reliable sources with higher rankings so that users can more easily find useful content.
If you have the budget, consider hiring the best SEO agency to speed up the process.
Optimizing Product Descriptions
Apart from blog posts, product descriptions are also an integral part of your content marketing strategy.
When adding items to a product or category page, describe each product’s features, benefits, specifications, and uses. This will enable buyers to take informed purchasing decisions.
More importantly, optimizing your descriptions with relevant keywords helps Google understand the content of your product pages.
This way, when a potential customer enters the name of a product offered by your eCommerce store, the search engine will show your page as one of the search results.
Incorporating User-Generated Content
User-generated content comes in many shapes and forms, including product reviews, ratings, comments, and even social media posts.
If you’re running a one-person business, this strategy may mean less workload on content creation. This allows you to focus on implementing other SEO strategies for your ecommerce business.
Additionally, encouraging users to share their testimonials is important to:
- Trust and credibility. Positive reviews and comments from real customers can build trust in your brand and products. Potential buyers often rely on the experiences of others when making decisions.
- Engagement and community. Online discussions foster a sense of community around your brand, resulting in higher customer engagement and loyalty.
- Product insights. Testimonials provide valuable insights into your products’ strengths and weaknesses. You can use this feedback to make improvements and tailor your marketing strategies.
5. Build Trust and Authority Through Backlink Building
After publishing several blog posts, the next step is to attract more readers to your content through link building. This method involves getting backlinks or inbound links to your own site from other publications.
Quality links from reputable and authoritative sources signal to search engines that your website is trustworthy and valuable to users. This can improve your site’s domain authority and increase its ranking on SERPs.
In addition to SEO benefits, backlinks can also generate referral traffic to your ecommerce website, resulting in increased visitors and more opportunities for conversion.
Here’s how to implement a link-building strategy:
- Identify authoritative websites, blogs, and influencers in your industry. Simply type in your niche on search engines and list all top-ranking sites.
- Reach out to them with personalized emails or messages. Introduce yourself and explain why your content would be valuable to their audience.
- Alternatively, offer to write guest posts in exchange for backlinks. Besides increasing your traffic, guest blogging provides an opportunity to establish yourself as an expert.
- Use tools like Ahrefs to find websites that have outdated links. Then, contact the site owners, inform them of the broken links, and suggest replacing them with your relevant content.
- Partner with influencers in your niche for product reviews or endorsements. They often have a substantial following and can provide valuable exposure to your brand.
Building backlinks and establishing trust takes time. Be consistent in your outreach efforts and continue producing valuable content to attract organic inbound links.
eCommerce SEO and Marketing Best Practices
Now that you understand the fundamentals of creating an ecommerce SEO strategy, let’s discuss other useful search optimization and marketing best practices for your ecommerce business.
Choose a Reliable eCommerce Platform
Choosing the best ecommerce platform can have a significant impact on the long-term success of your business. When considering your options, consider the following criteria:
- Functionality and features. The right platform should offer features that suit your business needs. For example, if you plan to sell digital products, your chosen platform should support easy downloads and file management.
- Scalability. To grow your ecommerce business, you need a platform that can accommodate increased traffic without any major disruption.
- Pricing and Fees. Apart from recurring fees, some ecommerce platforms also charge commission for each successful transaction. To maximize profits, find a platform that won’t cut into your revenue.
- Security. Protecting sensitive data such as contact details and bank information is important to maintain user trust. The ideal platform prioritizes data security, encryption, and compliance with industry standards such as PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard).
- Adaptation. Look for a platform that offers easy editing features and customizable templates. This will help you create a unique and visually appealing storefront.
- Payment process. Your chosen ecommerce platform should support various payment gateways and currencies to simplify transactions.
If you are looking for an all-inclusive eCommerce host, Hostinger Website Builder is the right choice. For just ₹239, the builder comes with fast hosting, a professional domain name, and unlimited SSL certificates.
Building an ecommerce website is easy with our 20+ premade ecommerce templates, a drag-and-drop editor, and powerful AI tools. Our services allow you to set up your online store in minutes and start selling up to 500 products with no transaction fees.
Once your eCommerce store is up and running, beat your competitors on Google and gain insight into your site’s performance with built-in SEO features and third-party marketing integrations.
Optimize Product Pages to Boost Sales
Product page optimization goes beyond using the right keywords. If you don’t have a physical store, having high-quality photos helps users visualize the product, which can influence their purchasing decisions.
To boost conversion rates, it’s also important to write persuasive copy and include a clear call-to-action (CTA) for each product.
With Hostinger Website Builder, you can automatically generate content for titles and product descriptions using the AI Writer. Our AI heatmap also enables you to predict user behavior and place CTA buttons more strategically.
Another ecommerce conversion rate optimization strategy is to display positive social proof. Encourage existing buyers to leave reviews and ratings on trusted platforms like Trustpilot, then display them on your ecommerce website.
Improve Website Loading Speed
Faster ecommerce stores provide better user experiences, which can lead to higher search engine rankings and increased user satisfaction.
Here are some tips to improve your website loading speed for a successful SEO campaign:
- Image Optimization. Visually appealing images enhance the browsing experience, but they can also slow down your pages. To make your site load faster, reduce image file sizes without compromising quality by using a tool like TinyImage.
- Software Management. If you’re running a WordPress site, remove any unused plugins and themes. Outdated software can not only slow down your site but also create security vulnerabilities.
- Code and script optimization. Clean up code and remove unnecessary elements from your script to ensure optimal performance.
More importantly, choose a reliable hosting provider known for top performance like Hostinger. WordPress site owners can benefit from LiteSpeed Object Cache, which eliminates repeated database queries and ensures up to 3x faster loading times.
Enhance Mobile Responsiveness
With the increasing use of smartphones and tablets, you can reach a larger audience by providing services to mobile users.
Having a mobile-responsive design provides an optimal viewing experience, making it easier for visitors to navigate and interact with your site on smaller screens. Furthermore, search engines like Google give priority to mobile-friendly websites in their rankings.
To increase mobile responsiveness, consider the following eCommerce SEO tips:
- Responsive design. Find mobile-responsive themes and design templates that seamlessly adapt to different screen sizes. The Hostinger blog theme is a good example of such a template.
- Mobile testing. Regularly test your website on different mobile devices and browsers to identify any issues and make necessary adjustments.
- Image and font customization. Compress images and use web-safe fonts that render well on smartphones and tablets for an optimal mobile experience.
- Mobile-friendly navigation. Simplify navigation for mobile users by adapting your site’s layout, menus, and buttons to smaller screen sizes.
Leverage Local SEO for eCommerce Businesses With a Physical Store
Local SEO enables businesses to appear in local search results and Google My Business listings with a physical presence.
To get started, set up a Google My Business profile. Make sure all information is accurate, including your store name, address, phone number, and business hours.
After that, add your business to online directories like Yelp, Yellow Pages, and Bing Places. To improve your brand credibility, encourage existing customers to leave positive ratings on Google and these business directory platforms.
Finally, include location-specific keywords in your website content, meta tags, and titles. For example, if you run a bakery in San Francisco, use phrases like “San Francisco bakery” or “best bakery in San Francisco” to increase your local search visibility.
Monitor and Analyze Website Performance With Analytics Tools
Regular monitoring helps you assess the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, letting you know what is working and what needs improvement.
By constantly analyzing website performance, you can easily adapt to changes in search engine algorithms, user behavior, and market trends.
Here are some recommended ecommerce SEO analytics tools and their use cases:
- Use Google Analytics to track website traffic, analyze top performing pages, and identify opportunities for higher conversion rates.
- Keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush are valuable for monitoring keyword positions over time, researching competitors, and performing site audits to find broken links.
- To check your site performance or run a website speed test, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix.
- Using Optimizely or Google Optimize, apply A/B testing to elements like headlines, CTAs, or product descriptions to determine what connects best with your audience.
Based on the data and results, adjust your SEO strategy accordingly. Allocate more resources to areas that need improvement and optimize successful campaigns for better results.
Keep Up With eCommerce SEO Trends
Google regularly updates its algorithms to provide users with the most relevant and useful information. For this reason, it is important to keep up with these updates to stay ahead of the competition. This way:
- Follow industry experts. Read blogs and subscribe to newsletters that talk about ecommerce and SEO. These sources often bring the latest news regarding algorithm updates and industry trends.
- Attend webinars and conferences. Attend SEO conferences to gain valuable insight from experts and meet industry leaders.
- Join SEO communities. Online forums, social media groups, and communities dedicated to SEO discussions can help you stay informed about what’s happening in the field.
The higher your online store ranks on Google, the more visitors and sales it will generate. This is ecommerce SEO in a nutshell.
Although SEO does not bring instant results, it is still one of the most effective and budget-friendly ways to build a high-traffic website in the long run.
If you’re not sure where to start, follow these online store SEO best practices:
- Understand user search intent by doing keyword research. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner and Ahrefs to find suitable keywords for your website.
- After gathering keywords, incorporate them into your URL structure, metadata, product descriptions, and image alt text.
- Apply technical SEO techniques, such as organizing site structure, maintaining fast loading times, and providing an impeccable experience to mobile users.
- Create a content marketing strategy to build a loyal community and establish your expertise on a given topic.
- Reach out to similar websites in your field, and offer to write guest posts in exchange for backlinks.
If you run a brick-and-mortar store, take advantage of local SEO strategies to reach nearby customers. These include including location-based keywords and adding your business to Google My Business, Yelp, and Yell Pages.
More importantly, choose a reliable ecommerce host that guarantees fast performance and offers powerful ecommerce capabilities like the Hostinger website builder.
After reading this tutorial, you can now build a successful eCommerce business from scratch or take your current business to new heights. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.
eCommerce SEO FAQ
In this section, you will find answers to commonly asked questions about eCommerce SEO.
Is SEO Worth It for eCommerce?
Yes, search engine optimization is important for ecommerce websites. It drives organic traffic, increases visibility, and improves the chances of converting visitors into customers, thereby increasing revenue.
What Is the Cost of eCommerce SEO?
The cost of ecommerce SEO can vary greatly depending on a number of factors, including the size of your online store, target keyword competition, and the scope of SEO services required. This can range from $700/month to $10,000/month for more comprehensive strategies.
How Can SEO Be Used to Promote an eCommerce Store?
SEO for ecommerce involves optimizing product pages with matching keywords and creating high-quality content to attract backlinks. This also includes creating a clear site architecture, improving site speed, and ensuring mobile responsiveness to provide a seamless user experience.
What Are the Best eCommerce SEO Tools?
SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, and Google Search Console are some of the best eCommerce SEO tools for keyword research, competitive analysis, site audits, and SEO performance tracking. To create SEO-friendly blog posts, consider Surfer SEO and Hostinger’s AI Writer, a built-in AI tool you can find inside the Hostinger website builder.