If you’re the owner of an online store, or in fact, have anything to do with one, there is a good chance you’re familiar with these three little letters: SEO.
Whether you’ve had some experience with e-commerce SEO, or don’t even know what it stands for, it is always good to gain (or refresh!) some knowledge on the subject.
If you’re ready to submerge yourself into the world of SEO, this guide will give you what you need to get started.
What is E-Commerce SEO?
The best place to start when talking about SEO, is the basics. SEO stands for search engine optimisation which, in short, means making your website as search-engine-friendly as possible.
If you’re wondering why you would need to care about how your online shop looks to search engines – and not just customers – the answer is pretty simple. According to imFORZA, 93% of online experiences start with some form of search engine.
Of all the search engines, Google holds the crown, with a pretty considerable amount of the market share belonging to them.
Those statistics alone are a pretty good reason to get search engines recognising your site, but if you still need a bit of a boost, then there’s more.
Potential customers tend to stick to the first few search results, and certainly tend not to stray from the first page of results. As shown in the graph below, produced by AdvancedWebRanking, the higher your search position, the more people will be clicking on your site – increasing the click through rate (or CTR) and therefore – sales!
But What About Paid Search?
It’s true that paid search can give you a little boost in getting to the top, as paid search results often tend to appear first.
However, it is not advisable to rely solely on paid search, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it can get very costly.
If you’re just starting out as a business, then it isn’t highly likely they will click a paid ad from you. And that’s mainly because you’re unknown and you haven’t establish a strong customer relationship. As a result, your conversion rate will remain low.
Additionally, people prefer natural, organic content over adverts. According to search engine watch, 94% of people preferred organic results. So it would be a good idea to get your organic search in order!
The Best Practices for SEO
There are some key pointers that should be kept in mind for all e-commerce sites, which can be done fairly easily, once you know what they are, read on to find them out.
If you’ve ever worked with SEO in the past, or have done even the slightest amount of research into it, chances are you know that keywords are critical.
Keywords refer to the single words, or phrases, that the public will type into their search engine, in order to bring up the relevant results. This is of course, incredibly important to e-Commerce sites, as you need to be using relevant keywords on your site to ensure people can easily find you
It is a good idea to use high search volume keywords on your category pages, to get them ranking highly for whatever it is that is on them. For example, if you are selling gold chain necklaces, doing some keyword research around these terms will help you find relevant keywords to use in the copy.
How Do You Do This?
There are a huge variety of keyword research tools available on the internet, and which one will work for you will depend on personal preference. Some examples of these tools are free to use, such as Google AdWords, which has its own Keyword Planner tool, AhREFs which has a variety of different premium packages, or SEMrush.
No, we don’t mean a tasty snack!
Breadcrumbs are a term which relate to your site’s permalinks. As permalinks are crawled by search engines, to help them understand what is on each page, it is important that your site’s permalinks are easy to understand. This is where breadcrumbs come in.
Breadcrumbs work like a trail of, well, breadcrumbs, letting the search engine (and customer) understand how they got to the page they are on, and how to get back. This is best explained when using category pages.
If you are a clothing store your breadcrumbs will probably work something like this.
This makes sense, as the breadcrumbs slowly work down from the pages that will have the most traffic, until they reach the more specific pages. This is especially useful for product pages, as it will mean users always understand whereabouts they are on your site.
A good example of this is seen on the Debenhams website.
Not only are the well organised breadcrumbs seen in the site’s permalinks, but they are displayed under the top navigation bar, meaning a user can easily click back to where they came from if needed. This carries a benefit for both user and search engine, which is a bonus!
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise to you, but due to an increase of people scouring the internet on mobile devices, Google has recently changed the way it indexes the web to a ‘mobile first’ approach.
This means that priority is now given to sites which are optimised for mobile use, and those that aren’t will be penalised.
A few easy ways to ensure that this isn’t the case with your e-commerce store are as follows:
- Avoid any Flash. While it was fun back in the day, Flash isn’t supported by mobile devices and ruin the user experience for anyone using one. Static images or videos are a better way to go and will help your site look as professional as possible.
- Enlarge text and buttons. Sites that have yet to have a mobile version suffer greatly when switched to a smaller screen. Having to zoom in to read important information, or checkout your basket, can really put customers off and have them looking elsewhere.
- Compress images. Having to wait for far-too-large file sizes to load is a great way to increase your bounce rate (which means people will be clicking off of your site straight away!) As the modern internet user is leads a busy lifestyle, it is more likely they will find another page rather than wait around for yours. Ensure this doesn’t happen by using mobile-friendly image sizes.
SEO? Some of it is Common Sense
While there is more to SEO than what we have stated above, chances are you could’ve guessed a few of these!
Take into consideration of how you use the internet yourself; what you type in to find the pages you visit, what would annoy when using a website that makes you want to click away (whether this is a difficult navigation system, or a slow loading time) and fix these faults on your own site.
Doing this, will not only benefit the user, but could have a good effect on your SEO rankings too, meaning more visits and hopefully – more profit.
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