Whether you have just started out with your e-commerce shop or you have been selling online for years, you’ll know that getting the website built, entering your stock and going live is only the first step. Attracting valuable, loyal customers to your website is of course, key to the success of any business and especially when you are selling your products online.
This where the SEO (search engine optimisation) process becomes an invaluable tool to getting your e-commerce shop off the ground. If you haven't already been optimising your E-commerce shop, or you are just looking for some extra tips, use our handy guide to help boost your SEO and get your products seen.
Keyword research provides us with the actual words and phrases that your target audience is actually searching for on Google. There are lots of tools to conduct keyword research such as ahrefs or SEMrush. For an e-commerce website, it's going to be useful to break down your keyword research into stages. Firstly find more general terms for the whole shop (for example, "Golf Equipment") and use this to optimise your homepage. Then do the same for each individual category (for example, Clubs, Bags, Clothing etc). Then break this further down into the keywords that are really going to help people find your individual products. Makes sure each page category contains at least a few paragraphs of text.
Using SEO friendly descriptive text in your product name is essential to allowing your individual products to rank. Use your keyword research. Think carefully about the order of the words and make sure it sounds natural. Search engines will like this but also will your customers. Don't overstuff keywords into your title, but choose your most valuable ones.
Try and come up with a consistent naming strategy for your product names and (where possible) stick to this. For example Brand > Product Name > Colour is a good place to start. Describing colours can be tricky and manufacturers and brands often come up with interesting names for their products which may sound appealing but just aren't that search engine friendly. For example "Slouch Pullover in Cloud" doesn't give a lot for a search engine to work with, plus if you are selling in the UK your keyword research may have told you that a lot more people search for the word "jumper" over the word "sweater". In cases such as this, consider rewording your title to something along the lines of "Women's Slouchy Wool Jumper in Pale Blue." Try and strike the right balance between using the correct product name with some descriptive text. If you are selling popular brands, make sure the brand name is in the product name as brand names are always good for SEO.
Google and other search engines like to see websites that are well structured and easy to navigate. One key indicator to search engines that you have a good website structure is to use internal linking throughout your e-commerce site. For example, on a category page, use your main description to talk about the different products within that category and link to these subcategories or individual pages using descriptive text for the link. For example, "We have a large collection of blue leather shoes" is more valuable for your internal linking strategy and your overall SEO than "shop our collection of blue leather shoes here."
Anyone that inputs content into an e-commerce website will know that duplicating products and categories can save you a lot of time and is a very useful tactic. The only problem here is that duplicating content can create issues with search engines as they like to see unique content on every page. Make sure that when making duplicates of products in your e-commerce shop, you change the meta titles, meta descriptions and that the product description is appropriately altered. If you have two very similar products or variations of the same product, then it is OK to keep some go this the same. Just make sure you have made some tweaks and are making sure each product page is unique.
Using a proper naming convention for your images is especially important for e-commerce websites. If your images are names are descriptive names and include your keywords, this vastly improves your chance of getting your products to be seen in a Google image search and will make a big difference to your SEO in general. For example, calling your picture DC556679.jpg gives Google no clues about what the image is about. Calling an image "Disney-Cinderella-Lunchbox-with-flask.jpg" tells Google exactly what the image shows and will do a great deal to help to rank your products accordingly. Don't forget to add an alt tag and again use descriptive terms which match the format of your image name. You can read more about how best to name your images for SEO here.
Make sure to add and verify your e-commerce website with Google Search Console and take a look at the coverage report to check that all pages you would expect are actually appearing in the search index. If you see crawl issues, it means that a page has problems and Google cannot index it. You'll need to troubleshoot to find out what exactly is the issue, fix it and resubmit the page to Google. If you are registered as a webmaster you should receive email reports and updates of any problems and errors. Google search console is a great place to start troubleshooting if you have received a sudden drop in search traffic.
Every e-commerce website should include a regularly updated blog in order to add additional and supportive content to your products. 'Top picks', 'How to guides' and 'FAQs' are all great ways to add extra relevant content to your blog and boost your SEO. Always include a call to action, and add links to relevant products. Do your keyword research when writing blog posts for your e-commerce website and, above all make the blog content useful and engaging. If you just don't feel like blogging is for you, there are lots of expert content creators in the UK who can help.
Similarly, if you are struggling to find the time to optimise your e-commerce shop for search engines or if you are just looking for some expert SEO help then please get in touch with Midwinter Web Design. We are an experienced, friendly web design studio based in Swindon Wiltshire and would be more than happy to talk to you about your e-commerce website and help with your SEO.