As Shopify Experts, we’re often asked if search engine optimisation for eCommerce sites is somehow special? Does it require a different approach from SEO for other website types? While it’s true that experts in search engine optimisation for ecommerce consider it to be more difficult than traditional SEO, this is primarily due to the sheer number of pages that need to be optimised. This makes it largely a question of effort rather than special requirements. Since it’s common for eCommerce sites to have hundreds or even thousands of product pages it is definitely advisable to take a methodical, step-by-step approach. Making a technical mistake on a few article pages in a non-ecommece site is one thing – extending a mistake to hundreds or thousands of products may be far harder to rectify. Here are some search optimisation tips tailored to ecommerce store owners to help increase traffic to your eCommerce site keyword rankings and improve conversion rates at the same time.
Every SEO campaign must begin with proper keyword research. One of the biggest takeaways when learning eCommerce SEO is that you need to understand buyer intent. As you may already know, targeting high search volume keywords might prove useless if the traffic you receive does not convert. When researching keywords, find ones that have high buyer intent. These are keywords that indicate an interest on the part of the user in buying a product or service.
For instance, keywords with the words “best” and “cheap” have high buyer intent. These are the keywords that you want to include in your content. You can use your keyword tool of choice to get a list of relevant keywords. It only takes a little common sense and some trial and error to choose which ones you should target.
Check For Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is the bane of all eCommerce sites. It is so easy to trigger duplicate content detectors due to the number of product and category pages. The first thing to keep in mind is to avoid using the manufacturers description. Simply copying and pasting all the technical details would make your site appear spammy in the eyes of search engines. It is tedious to write unique product descriptions, but this is an important step if you want to improve your search visibility.
Shopify includes a fairly robust auto sitemap generator (it does this for you without you needing to do anything) which creates a sitemap readable just by search engines. This is useful for everyone but a big benefit to sites with loads of collection pages that feature largely identical product content. Why? Because it ensures that those search engines find their way through to your primary collections without getting overwhelmed (or confused!) by the vast number of possible collection pages. You should learn how to submit your shopify sitemap to Google Search Console to harness the significant benefits of your auto-generated sitemap.
Improve Your On Page SEO
Make it a point that you are employing effective on page SEO tactics. Internal links are very underrated in terms of helping boost rankings, but they are a great way to improve the usability and functionality of your site. Navigation and breadcrumb links must also be used to help search engine crawlers and online visitors jump from one page to another.
Your URL structure must be organised, as well. You don’t want URLs that look like http://ecommercesite.com/123321=product1. It should show the category page and the name of the product. Similarly, you want your entire site structure to make sense to search engine spiders. Make sure that subcategories are placed under their respective parent categories.
Shopify store owners will find this largely handled automatically. Shopify will automatically set page titles and meta descriptions, and it forces a logical url structure. Your collections are organised like so: youstore.com/collection/collection-name and your products like this: yourstore.com/products/product-title.
Use Responsive Web Design
If your eCommerce site still is not optimised for mobile devices, then you are probably missing out on a ton of sales. Plenty of studies show that more and more people use mobile devices when purchasing products online. What’s more, Google released an update last year that pushed websites with a responsive design higher in their search index.
By using responsive web design, you can guarantee that your site can be viewed and used without any problems regardless of the device used by your visitors. Google offers a mobile-friendly test to help webmasters identify potential problems with regards to their responsive website.
Craft Content That Converts
When creating the content for your eCommerce websites, be sure that it compels readers to follow through with a purchase without appearing forceful. A genuine review of a product is an effective way to earn the trust of customers and buy your products. In addition, it pays to add a “Reviews” section in which visitors can see what others have to say about the product. Other elements, such as, star ratings and call-to-action buttons can also make a measurable difference for your conversion rates.
Off Page SEO
Off page SEO primarily involves building high quality links. This can be a difficult process, but by building connections with other webmasters in your niche, you can get relevant and contextual links to your eCommerce website. While guest posts usually come in the form of an informative article, you can offer other kinds of content as well such as an educational infographic, an entertaining video or in-depth case studies.
There are plenty of things to do in order to make an eCommerce SEO campaign successful. It might take a significant time commitment, but it is a worthwhile investment once you see your eCommerce site dominating the competition in the results pages.
Jonathan Leger has been a successful Internet Marketer for over 11 years. He owns an SEO Tools suite at KeywordCanine.com