When we speak about driving sales for an e-commerce store, different means can help. But one of the major conditions is that consumers that search for the same products that you offer could easily find you.
Google is undoubtedly the most popular search engine among consumers globally. So it can be a powerful instrument of driving relevant traffic to your online store (read potential customers). All you need is to appear at the top of the search result pages. And it’s exactly where SEO can help.
In a nutshell, SEO stands for search engine optimization – a set of certain activities both on-page and off-page, that help your website rank higher in search results.
Below, I’m sharing a 7-point SEO checklist that will help you increase sales in your e-commerce store by making it more visible in search.
1. Efficiently handle SEO for new products
What is critical for ranking each of your pages well? Good information architecture and website structure, as well as internal link architecture.
Make sure to give a link to categories from your home page, as well as links to your product pages from the category pages. It will help Google find, crawl, and index your content fast. For that, you have to set priorities in sitemap.xml.
The sitemap.xml file enables Google and other search engines to crawl and index a website easily without any problems. You can also use it to assign priority to pages on your site. The priority that you assign will decide the order or sequence in which the pages will be crawled, as well as timing. Thus, some of your pages can be crawled every 2 days, while others weekly. Check if some of the pages on your website are more important than others to assign priority to them.
2. Deal With products pages with little or no unique content
Very often, businesses don’t care about having unique content on product pages. Many of them pull product information from a database. However, it leads to duplicate content problems: search engines may not show duplicate pages in search results at all.
Another “popular” error is to provide no more information than a product photo on a product page. In this case, search engines will have no way to understand and rank the information on your page, how relevant it is for a user who searches. Here’s what you can do to improve your situation:
- Add content for your most popular products.
Identify your most popular product pages and best-selling product. Analyze data from Google Analytics, Search Console, and your Web analytics, and then update product pages with new content.
- Improve your product categories.
We agree that you can’t produce unique text for over 20,000 different product pages. Thus, the smart decision will be to focus your SEO on strengthening the products’ parent category. Improve your internal links architecture, breadcrumbs, and add relevant products to feed the search bots and teach them what your site is about. Also, improving your user experience while browsing your site, will improve your bounce rate and page visited during a session.
- Leverage endorsements and reviews from your users
Content generated by customers can effectively differentiate your product pages from that on other sites. Endorsements and reviews from your happy client or customers will enhance your SEO campaign, as well as will boost sales conversions, as people tend to rely on reviews making a final decision on buying a product. Here’s how you can enable user-generated content:
- Build a “community” of happy users. Publish buyer testimonials and reviews. Share blog posts from your happy customers. Use excerpts from a positive review to convince visitors that they can trust you — trust is king and social media helps you showcase it effectively.
- Use independent marketplaces or websites to gather reviews from your customers.
- Integrate social media on product pages. Instagram, Facebook comments, Pinterest pins can be integrated into your site to present social proof. Post photos of happy customers using your product.
3. Handle category pages correctly
Besides the home page, category pages are the most powerful and popular ones. Make sure to follow these rules to help them rank better in search engines:
- Treat each category page as an individual home page. You can add more content to your category pages to differentiate one from another, so that each page will stand out.
- Use search-friendly URLs. Giving the search engines strong and helpful hints at what this URL is about, you help them to guide visitors to your valuable information. According to the experience of many SEO specialists, here are some examples of the effective URL structure for the category, sub-category, and product pages:
|Category page: Website.com/category/|
Sub-category page: Website.com/category/sub-category/Product
4. Manage Internal Link Building & Architecture
Internal link building helps improve your SEO and overall rankings. However, creating a solid internal link architecture has to be planned and takes time. Make sure to follow these rules to rank better for search engines:
- Offer category level navigation to make it easier for your users to get an overview of what they will find in the subcategories and pages.
- Link to category-level relevant products. Look at this from a human perspective by taking desires and needs into consideration, as well as optimize for the right keywords.
- Use breadcrumbs on all pages and category pages. This ensures that users and Google can navigate up one level to a parent category.
5. Organize related products on the site
It is important to present related items on product pages. I can play in favor of user experience and boost sales. How can you do this?
- Be relevant. If visitors arrive on a product page for the latest updates, you should also suggest other relevant products, based on the cost, type, price, quality, and persona of this buyer. Measure and optimize product suggestions.
- Leverage placement. Let the product featured on the page stand out and shine. Use your best location on products only for best-selling products.
6. Leverage your site search
It is crucial to optimize your internal search engine, do not forget about that. An underestimation of its role can lead to losing sales. Thus, you should be able to track your site search, count popular inquiries, as well as always test and optimize your site search. Make sure to follow these rules to take full advantage of internal search:
- Enable tracking of your site search. Use tools that allow you to see keywords people are searching for within your site, and calculate the revenue they generate.
- Count popular searches. They can mean not only that your product is popular, but also it can be an indicator that people are not finding what they are looking for.
- Think of your site search results pages as “landing pages.” The search results should be relevant and help users solve their problems. Make sure you “noindex” your search results.
- Use site search inquiries in your keyword research. Analyze what your visitors are searching for. You can find new product ideas, find potential areas for improvements, as well as fulfill your inventory with popular products.
- Test your site search and fix errors. Type some of the keywords you’ve uncovered into your internal search and see what they find as a result. When you fix whatever is broken, sales will definitely increase.
- Optimize internal search. Make sure every internal search finds the right product. To improve it you can improve your meta-data and product description. By correcting this through correct and suitable meta-data, you will not create pages loaded with incorrect or misspelled words.
7. Optimize product pictures and videos
The quality of your pictures, photos, and videos can increase the conversion rates by directly affecting your visitors’ feelings about your product. With the help of display content, you create value for your buyers and make them get a better idea of your product. It can also improve behavioral SEO factors: bounce rate, page sessions, average session duration, etc.
Social factors also play a big role. Share interesting pictures on Pinterest and social networks. Ask users to tag and comment on photos. Word of mouth always works!
The following SEO recommendation will help you to bring in more traffic from Google image search.
- Use high-quality pictures. Use pictures and photos that create an atmosphere, spend time to make it look professional. It takes some time, but it’s a good investment for your best products. Nice videos work even better.
- Optimize your images. File name, alt text, caption, etc., keep it short but highly descriptive. These will provide search engines with understanding of what your image content is.
- A/B-test options. Test one picture against another to see which gives better conversion rates.
- Use personalized product videos. Add value to your e-commerce store by providing customers with all they can get and feel online. For example, make a video that guides the customer on how to take care of the product, or show a video on how a product can be used in real life. Moreover, a video testimonial from an existing client would also be a great example to have on your website.
A successful e-commerce business has to always work on improving its search engine optimization strategy, and the techniques have to be deployed effectively and consistently. Not all the aspects of SEO for e-commerce sites can be covered in only one article. However, the tactics that I mentioned above have helped many e-commerce websites increase sales and proved its efficiency.
If you have any more tips or advice you think our other readers should know about, please add them as a comment to this post. We are looking forward to hearing from you.