Optimize Your eCommerce Site For The Search Engines
Did you know? Nearly 8 out of 10 Americans are now shopping online.
About 79% of U.S. consumers find what they want and order them via the Internet.
With these staggering statistics on how modern technology has now affected shoppers’ behavior, it’s not surprising to see that more and more people want to launch an online business.
You might be someone who wants to start selling on the Internet. Or perhaps, you already have a store but are looking for ways to increase its visibility and popularity.
One of the most effective ways to do that? Optimize your online store for the search engines.
Let’s explore the different methods on how you can up your rankings for search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Part I: Optimize High-Impact Pages
The high-impact pages are the most visited pages on your website. They are the ones that attract more visitors and stimulate more engagement from your users.
In most cases, these high-impact pages include homepage, product pages, category pages, blog posts and trending pages. Here are some tips for you:
Tip #1: Determine your target keywords. You need to know the most common words (or keywords) that your target audience are using. From there, insert those keywords on your high-impact pages and of course, your meta data. Include textual information that is helpful, descriptive and relevant.
When selecting keywords, you need to consider its search volume, relevance, location-based popularity, and ranking difficulty. So how can you find the best keywords for you?
- Use keyword tools. Use Keyword tools to find out which keywords you should use on your high-impact pages. If you are on a budget, you can opt to use free tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner. If you’d like to save time and generate more effective keywords, you can go for paid SEO tools like SEMrush.
- Refine your keyword list. Targeting all keywords will be a waste of time. Generate traffic faster by starting with low competition keywords. The faster you generate traffic, the faster your website becomes established and improve your chances of getting high search rankings.
- Stalk your competitors’ strategy. In most cases, your competitors have already made a significant stride in their SEO campaigns. Check out their website and study how they use keywords, then focus on how they present their overall brand. Take note of their popular products and homepage. By doing so, you get an idea which keywords are most profitable.
Tip #2: Use long–tail keywords. In the simplest sense, long-tail keywords generally include at least three words. Most searchers don’t just use a single word when looking for something. Long-tail keywords are more specific, and they play a significant role in search engine configuration. Here’s an example:
See how specific are those keywords in the auto complete search bar? That’s what you want to do. Be as specific as possible such as inserting color(s), size or type of your product.
Remember, people who use long-tail keywords have a higher conversion rate because they know exactly what they are looking for.
Also, there is a lesser competition in targeting long-tail keywords since they aim for niche demographics rather than mass audiences, so they have a better chance of allowing you to rank higher for popular topics.
Once you figure out the keywords you need to use, do the following:
Tip #3: Write unique & compelling metadata for each page. Keep your meta title under 60 characters while 160 characters for your meta description.
Tip #4: Use ALT tags on your images. Insert keywords and descriptive ALT tags.
Tip #5: Use search–engine friendly URLs. Use URLs that are readable by both humans and search engines. Make sure that your URLs are simple, and straightforward. Avoid strange symbols, numbers, and character combinations that don’t make sense.
Tip #6: Optimize Your Homepage. Structure your navigation bar. Add visuals (set descriptive ALT tags) of your main products/services that are inviting with textual information. Add links to your most popular products/services. Add a great tagline with your main keywords. If you’re local, be sure to put your location. Here’s a good example (see how it has the “Toronto” keyword):
Tip #7: Optimize product pages
- Create unique product descriptions. Exert the effort to write an in-depth content of up to 1,000 words for each product. You can include the size, features, colors, customer’s F.A.Q. and reviews. Check out some products on Amazon for ideas!
- Incorporate customer reviews: Reviews naturally generate keywords for your content (including long-tail keywords). Every review keeps your content fresh and updated. The reviews also help with increasing the amount of words per page. Remember, search engines love active & thick content. Also, reviews can make your users spend more time on your page which can decrease your site’s bounce rate.
- Keep out–of–stock product pages live. You don’t want to frustrate users with a 404 page, and search engines can consider those as broken links. Just leave page as is and specify its status. You can use that page to introduce other related products. PRO TIP: Adding “email me when back in stock” message is the best approach.
- Set up rich snippets. Increase your CTR with rich snippets. Include relevant information such as stock data, reviews, ratings, the name of sellers, the condition of products, and others. Here’s an example:
Tip #7: Optimize Categories & Tag Pages
- Link to related categories. Sometimes, your products share a common theme. In this case, it’s best that you do cross-linking. For example, if you have products for helmets, try to add a link for gloves or boots. These items fall under personal protective equipment.
- Top products. Highlight your top products and most viewed items in each category & tag pages.
Part II: Use Strategic Internal Linking
Internal linking is an important way to lead your customers from one page to another. The more link juice that a page receives, the better for SEO.
Tip #8: Link to high priority pages. Link your main categories or products/services in your navigation bar and/or your footer. For example, if you have a blog post that has generated a lot of visitors, make sure you add links on that page that leads to your best products or category pages.
Tip #9: Use breadcrumbs. In the SEO perspective, breadcrumbs help robots and spiders to find their way back to your homepage. For humans, it helps them track where they are on your website and gives them a sense of direction when navigating from one page to another. The breadcrumbs shows a string of webpages, from your homepage to the current page you are currently viewing. They’re normally found on top of a website’s page.
Tip #10: Link to related products. Add a section that recommends related products to your customers. Not only it helps generate backlinks, it can also boost your sales.
PRO TIP: Limit the number of links you add per page, you don’t want to look like a “link farm” website to the search engines. Here’s a useful video for you.
Part III: Improve Usability
Remember, you build your website for your customers and not the other way around. It’s always customers first. So make your website as user-friendly as possible. You don’t want your customers to leave your website the minute they land on your page.
Tip #11: Organize your website’s structure. Your customers should be able to go from one page to another with ease.
- Your site’s navigation must be easy to understand, scan & follow. Use your target audience’s language.
- Place your search bar somewhere visible. Enable predictive searches and incorporate product typographic errors on your search bar.
- Make your checkout process as quick as possible. The lesser steps, the better.
- Use a live chat widget. It doesn’t just reduce your site’s bounce rate, but it gives you the opportunity to sell to them first-hand.
- Lastly, place your contact details somewhere visible (usually at the header) so customers can easily reach you.