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Ecommerce SEO (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Ecommerce SEO (A Step-By-Step Guide)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts focus on driving traffic to your blog or business website. However, SEO is also important for ecommerce stores. If you’re lagging behind in Google’s search results, then you could also be missing out on sales.

What Is Ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce SEO is the process of improving your online store’s visibility in search engine results pages and generating more organic (free) traffic to your ecommerce website. The Ecommerce SEO process typically involves on-page optimization, technical improvements, and fine-tuning your website’s structure.

There are multiple acquisition channels for ecommerce sites, but SEO is crucial to long-term success. Fortunately, there are plenty of techniques that can help your store climb the search engine rankings. By performing thorough, product-focused keyword research and learning from your competitors, you can get your ecommerce SEO strategy off to the best possible start.

How does e-commerce SEO work?

E-commerce SEO is a free way of getting more traffic to your website by making it more visible on search engine result pages (SERPs). A well-ranked page will receive more traffic, so you want your page to rank as high as possible.


For your web pages to rank higher in SERPs, you need to ensure your website is optimized for search engines — from the keywords you use, to the technical setup of your web store, and whether your web store is mobile friendly all have a huge impact on SEO optimization.

A Step-by-Step Guide To Ecommerce SEO

As we’ve seen, SEO is critical for driving traffic, boosting leads, and generating sales. If your ecommerce site is going to thrive, then it’s essential that you climb the search engine results, and get the virtual foot traffic your store deserves.

With that in mind, let’s look at 13 ways you can perform ecommerce SEO.

Step 1: Conduct Keyword Research

Keyword research is where you identify words and phrases that people use when searching for content that’s relevant to your ecommerce store. This includes your services and products.

Keyword research is essential for any successful SEO strategy. The phrases you identify during this step will inform all of your subsequent optimization efforts. 

There are two basic categories of keywords:

  • Informational: These are terms that people use to discover informative content, such as how-tos and tutorials. If your ecommerce store has a blog, then these are the terms you’ll be looking to target.
  • Product/Transactional: These are terms used by people looking for a certain product. For an ecommerce website, these terms will form the core of your keyword strategy.

Keyword Research Tools

Amazon is a great place to start, but it isn’t the only place where you can perform keyword research. There are a lot of top-quality solutions out there that can help you out. Some excellent tools to get started with include , Ahrefs, and Keyword Explorer.

The SEMrush visibility management platform also provides keyword research solutions. You can perform a quick analysis using Keyword Overview, while Keyword Magic is perfect for identifying long-tail keywords:

Step 2: Research Your Competitors

The world of ecommerce is highly competitive. However, this can be a good thing, as you can learn from similar businesses. Competitor research involves analyzing your competitors’ SEO strategies. You can then identify the tactics that are working, and reverse-engineer them to use for your own store. 

Step 3: Optimize Your Product Pages

Once you’ve performed your keyword and competitor research, you can start to use this information to optimize your on-page SEO. This is where you improve your homepage and inner pages to help them rank higher in search engines such as Google. 

Product Descriptions

Chances are that your ecommerce site features a large number of product pages. The typical product page contains many elements, but the description tends to be the most text-heavy element. This means it offers the most opportunities to optimize on-page SEO.

If you’re using the popular WooCommerece ecommerce platform, then you can define two separate product descriptions:

  • A short description. Most WooCommerce themes display this description immediately after the product title, and alongside its images.
  • A long description. This usually appears beneath the short description.

While these texts should provide relevant information to shoppers, they’re also a great place to include keywords. Wherever possible, try to use your target keywords at least once in both your short description and long description (but make sure to incorporate them organically).

H1-Tags

When it comes to headings, it’s important to ensure that each product page features a single primary title, marked with an H1 tag. Search engine bots will use heading tags to identify your product page’s most important content. Placing multiple H1s on the same page can confuse these bots, and negatively impact your SEO.

Images

Most product pages will also feature at least one image. For an extra SEO boost, it’s important to optimize the alt text and file names associated with each image. 

Alt text can provide Google with valuable information about an image’s content. This increases your chances of ranking product images in Google Image Searches. You can set your image alt text by editing the image and using the Alt Text box:

Step 4: Optimize Your Snippets

The snippet is the text that represents your web page in Google’s search results. To optimize a page’s snippet, we recommend using a dedicated SEO plugin to optimize the following:

Meta Title

The meta title, also known as the title tag, is a key indicator to Google about the page’s content. The perfect title is informative and attention-grabbing, encouraging people to click on your link in the search results. The meta title doesn’t necessarily have to be the same as the product or page title.

Meta Description

The meta description should be short, succinct, and compelling. There’s no need to include keywords here, but the few sentences used for the description should be relevant to the search. To encourage people to click on your search results, you may want to highlight incentives such as low prices or free shipping.

URL Slug

This is another way to feed search engines important contextual information about a page’s contents. For ecommerce sites, the auto-generated URL slugs can be complex, particularly when products are nested in multiple sub-categories. It’s a good idea to shorten your URLs, to make them as concise as possible.

Structured Data

It’s also a good idea to explore the worlds of rich snippets. These snippets are used to present richer search results on a Google results page. They can appear as reviews, star ratings, opening times, recipes, events, etc.

Rich snippets use schema markup – HTML code which site operations can add to the page’s existing code. If you’re already using Elementor, you can use the star rating widget, which comes with pre-built rich snippets and Google structured mark-up capabilities. 

Step 5: Optimize Your Category and Tag Archives

Optimizing your single product pages is a great start. However, it’s also a good idea to take a close look at your category pages and tags. Creating unique SEO descriptions for both your category and tag pages helps Google to understand what each page is all about, so it can rank that page appropriately. 

You can write a unique SEO title and description for each category or tag using a plugin such as Yoast SEO. In the WordPress dashboard, navigate to either Products > Categoriesor Products > Tags:

Step 6: Consider Modifying Your Breadcrumbs

A breadcrumb or breadcrumb trail is a line of text, often located at the top of a page. This indicates the user’s location within your store

Many different kinds of websites use breadcrumbs as a navigational aid. However, they are particularly useful for ecommerce stores, where products are often nested inside a hierarchy of categories and sub-categories.

Step 7: Test Your robots.txt File

Your website’s robots.txt file provides instructions to the crawlers that are responsible for searching the web and recording information about its content. You can use this file to specify which parts of your site these crawlers can access, and which parts they should ignore.

If your robots.txt file is configured incorrectly, then it can prevent Google from crawling and indexing specific product pages, or even your entire ecommerce store. Even simple formatting errors can prevent some of your pages from being indexed correctly, having a disastrous impact on your SEO.

Step 8: Switch to HTTPS

Since you’ll likely be handling payments through your ecommerce site, it’s crucial to provide a secure connection using Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS). HTTPS is a protocol that encrypts the data sent between your web server and the customer’s browser. 

Switching to HTTPS can help keep your customers safe. It can also improve your SEO, as Google uses HTTPS as a ranking signal: “For now it’s only a very lightweight signal….But over time, we may decide to strengthen it, because we’d like to encourage all website owners to switch from HTTP to HTTPS to keep everyone safe on the web.”

After analyzing one million Google search results, SEO specialist and founder of Backlinko Brian Dean confirmed that switching to HTTPS does have a positive impact on search engine rankings. The 2019 Ranking Factors Study conducted by SEMrush also concluded that HTTPS is now a very strong ranking factor. 

Step 9: Test Your Store’s Performance

It’s also a good idea to explore the worlds of rich snippets. These snippets are used to present richer search results on a Google results page. They can appear as reviews, star ratings, opening times, recipes, events, etc.

Rich snippets use schema markup – HTML code which site operations can add to the page’s existing code. If you’re already using Elementor, you can use the star rating widget, which comes with pre-built rich snippets and Google structured mark-up capabilities. 

Rich snippets are not a direct SEO ranking factor. However, they can help your ecommerce site stand out in Google’s search results, which can boost your CTRs. If you’re using WooCommerce, this widget will automatically add some structured data for products.

To keep your WooCommerce site running fast, you can follow the tips in our guide to speeding up WordPress. You can also improve performance using the WP Rocket plugin, which even has built-in integration for WooCommerce.

When it comes to testing your website’s performance, we’d recommend the following tools:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights. This platform evaluates how well your store performs on both desktop and mobile devices. It will then offer suggestions and best practices for boosting your website’s speed and overall performance. 
  • Pingdom by SolarWinds. You can use this platform to test your website, but Pingdom also provides automated uptime monitoring. A recent study by Moz found that intermittent 500 internal server errors can cause issues with tracked keywords. If your store is offline for a significant amount of time, that could have a negative impact on SEO. Pingdom can notify you if your ecommerce store experiences any downtime. This helps you resolve the issue before it has a chance to impact your SEO. 
  • GTmetrix. This platform provides detailed, real-time performance tracking. The in-depth metrics include a visual representation of how every single asset on your website loads, including your CSS, HTML, JavaScript, images, plugins, and third-party content. GTmetrix also provides recommendations for improving your store’s performance. 

It’s a smart idea to test your store on a regular basis. This helps you identify and resolve any issues promptly before they degrade your SEO. It also means you can continuously refine your store’s performance — and by extension its rankings.

Step 10: Consider Using a Third-Party SEO Plugin

As we’ve mentioned, Yoast SEO is a great option for WooCommerce stores. Even better, there’s a dedicated Yoast WooCommerce SEO extension. This extension adds some useful features specifically designed for online stores, including rich ecommerce details for specific social media platforms. This can be useful if your products receive a lot of shares on social sites.

The WooCommerce extension also cleans up your XML sitemap. This removes irrelevant content, which is useful since the WooCommerce platform does have a reputation for creating a lot of duplicate content.

For example, all the parameters that your customers use to filter your products will create extra URLs that feature duplicate content. You don’t want Google focusing its resources on indexing these pages when it could be concentrating on the content that you actually want it to rank. 

Another popular SEO plugin is Rank Math. This tool has built-in compatibility with Elementor, which is great if you’re planning to use Elementor WooCommerce Builder to design your store. 

Alternatively, you can use the All in One SEO Pack. The free version of this plugin comes with basic support for WooCommerce. However, you’ll need to purchase the Pro version to unlock additional WooCommerce-related features, including setting SEO titles and meta descriptions for product category and tag archives.

Step 11: Create an SEO Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is the process of creating various forms of content, including blog posts, videos, and infographics. This content can attract more traffic to your store, and ultimately drive conversions.

The key to a successful content marketing strategy is to provide your readers with valuable information, especially if it helps them resolve a pertinent problem. This creates a sense of trust that first-time buyers may need before sharing their credit card details with an online store. 

By publishing useful content on a regular basis, you can build a long-term relationship with your customers. You can also inspire a sense of brand loyalty that can transform one-time purchasers into loyal repeat customers. 

Step 12: Secure Valuable Backlinks

Link building plays a vital role in SEO. When an external website links to your ecommerce store, search engines count that as an endorsement of your store’s content. Each external link will pass authority, relevancy, and trust to your site. You can measure the strength of your backlink profile by checking the Domain Authority and Page Authority in a tool such as Ahrefs – just be aware that these are private metrics that are not used by Google so they should only be used as an initial reference point.

The most valuable external links come from sources that are trusted by Google. This might include established websites that have a large following, and a long history of obeying Google’s guidelines. The source should also be topically related to your website’s content. For example, if your electronics store receives a link from a blog discussing the best smart TVs of 2020, then this is great for your SEO. 

Step 13: Don’t Forget About Internal Links

SEO experts put a lot of emphasis on external links, but internal links can also boost your SEO. While backlinks are hyperlinks between two different websites, an internal link is a hyperlink between two different pages of the same website.

Although they’re often overlooked, internal links can have a positive impact on SEO. Research suggests that session duration and the number of pages visited per session are two of the most important ranking factors. Internal links can boost both of these metrics by helping visitors find related content.

Additionally, internal links help to define your site architecture – i.e. the relationship between the pages on your site, and where they fit within the website’s overall structure. Inner pages with lots of internal links will be seen as more valuable. Likewise, pages with internal links from high-value pages, such as the homepage, are seen as focal to your website.

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Written by

William Jhonson

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