E-Commerce SEO and the importance it holds for sales in 2019
Before working on an E-Commerce SEO strategy, understanding your business is vital.
To begin the process of E-Commerce SEO you must have a deep understanding of what your products, target audience and USP are. The first step would be to conduct an SEO audit to understand existing metrics of your website such as site errors and loading speed. After an audit has been conducted a correlated SEO strategy is developed which involves keyword and competitor analysis to optimise your own page.
Only after extensive research can you begin to do On-Page and Off-Page SEO for your website. Follow the blog till the end to gain a deeper understanding of how each element of SEO works.
Keyword & Competitor Research
The most important part of E-Commerce SEO is the research behind it. Identifying what search terms/keywords your potential customers use is half the battle won. These keywords must have an acceptable search volume, low competition and most crucially they must generate traffic and sales as they are to be used in your category and product pages.
Keywords can be segregated into 4 categories with each category representing a different funnel in the AIDA model.
Informational (Awareness) : Starts with “how to”, “what is” or contains “definition”
Commercial (Interest) : Product vs product or reviews
Navigational (Desire) : Must have intent to visit specific website
Transactional (Action) : Includes keywords like “Buy shampoo online” as well as product focused keywords like “Apple iPhone Xs”
After Identifying your Keywords the next step would be competitor analysis. Competitor analysis is important to understand what your competition is doing differently and what you can do to one up them. To begin with you must identify at least 4 competitors that are related to your business in size, reach and have at least 1 similar product. Once you have identified your competitors, there are 4 important questions you should ask yourself.
What’s their selection of keywords?
What’s the source of their Links?
How can you identify the differences between your websites?
Does their page have a higher Domain & Page Authority score than yours?
Site Errors & Loading Speed
Your websites speed and health makes the first impression about your business. Before proceeding any further conduct an in depth seo analysis to find site errors such as 404 pages or 302 redirects. Once your website is clear of any technical errors it’s time to focus on its performance and speed.
In 2019 where impatience is a part of everyone, nobody will wait around for your website to load, they’ll simply open another site. The research to support this shows that 40% of people will click off your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Website optimisation directly affects your Conversion, Visibility and Usability. There are several tools available to identify your websites speed and health.
You can increase your websites speed by buying more server space, using a different CMS (WooCommerce is known to be fast) or reducing media sizes.
On-Page Technical SEO
E-Commerce SEO in theory can be divided into 2 major segments, on-page and off-page. On-page SEO involves both the HTML source code and the content, while off-page SEO refers to elements like blogs and link building. Together on-page and off-page SEO covers all the ground required to boost your ranking in the search results.
On page SEO optimizes your site for indexing and crawling and can also include technical processes meant to improve search visibility.
There are 4 major elements to on-page SEO. The first one being :
Your webpage must have keywords in appropriate locations to ensure that it’s optimised. These locations include :
The page title
Image file names
Image alt tags
Meta title and description
Brands are known to have issues with the mobile version of their sites, as sometimes they don’t quite understand how important it is. A web page that’s not optimised for your phone is not really a good idea as most consumers browse the internet on their phones these days. This is especially an issue for E-Commerce platforms as the larger chunk of consumers shop on their phones these days as opposed to a few years ago where the majority was still shopping through their PC. The final thing to consider is customer expectation as most customers assume that a mobile site should load faster than the actual website.
Add Site Map
A sitemap is a file where you provide information about the hierarchy of webpages and other files on your website. It results in making life easier for both users and search engine crawlers as well as providing valuable information like when the page was last updated, how often the page is changed, and any alternate language versions of a page.
Any and all activities you conduct off your website that have the end goal of raising your ranking on Google is referred to as off-page SEO.
Off-page SEO is not limited to only link building as some people might think. Some activities might not directly result in a standard link but are still a necessity for off-page optimisation. Very simply put anything that happens on your website is referred to as on-page SEO, while any activity conducted off your site is considered off-page SEO.
The 2 key areas of off-page SEO this article will be focusing on are Blog Content and Link Building.
Your blog content is a very important aspect for the efficiency of your off-page SEO. Many people believe that stuffing your blog with keywords seems to boost your ranking on Google, however on the contrary Google will actually penalise you for this which ranks you even lower. The thumb rule to keywords in your blog would be quality > quantity.
Aside from just keywords there are various elements that must be included in your blog such as :
Getting 100 links from low authority sites is not even half as effective as getting 5 links from good, high authority sites. To obtain a link you must provide something of value to these high authority sites like a high quality guest post or providing a quote.
Even after considering all of the above, SEO is not a lifelong process. SEO should be your priority for only the first 6-8 months. If a digital agency insists on doing SEO for your brand even after the first year they are clearly not efficient enough. Read this article to avoid scams similar to this.