When looking for new products or goods online, 36% of people start with a search engine like Google.
That number has increased 8% in the last year alone, and it’s continually trending upwards.
Meanwhile, fewer and fewer people are heading directly to a brand website as their first stop.
Optimizing your E-commerce store for search engines is critical to landing new customers and loyal buyers.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the best practices of E-commerce SEO in 2020 to help you rank your products on SERPs and get your brand in front of the customers you want.
Let’s jump in!
What is E-commerce SEO?
E-commerce SEO — is it any different than traditional SEO?
Yes and no.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the marketing practice by which you use tacticmagentos to increase your visibility on organic search results.
The goal of SEO is to generate more organic traffic and sales for your business.
In e-commerce specifically, it’s simply doing the same thing (focusing on organic visits) with the following goals:
- Driving more traffic to your product pages and online store
- Building organic sales that you don’t have to spend ad money to get
- Creating better organic brand awareness on keywords/products
You might be thinking something like this: “My sales are fine, and many people find me organically already. Why do I need to put time and effort into e-commerce SEO?”
Well, it’s extremely important to focus on because ranking your product pages or store content on the first page of Google takes work. Lots of it.
If you rank on the second, third, or even fourth page of Google, you won’t generate much traffic (if any at all).
Meaning you have to nail the best practices for many e-commerce SEO factors.
If you aren’t doing any SEO but you’re driving organic traffic, then you are likely shooting far below your potential.
Now, let’s discuss the best practices to guarantee more sales for your store.
E-commerce Title Tags
Your title tag on a given product or category page on your website looks like this in organic search results:
Title tags for e-commerce are the HTML codes that develop clickable titles/headlines for organic search results.
Title tags serve a few key functions when it comes to SEO impact. Title tags are great for providing relevance and increasing your organic click-through rate by appealing to customers searching for products.
For instance, the title tag above came up after a search for red basketball shoes.
The closer that your title tag relates to the keyword searched, the more likely users are to click.
One company was able to generate a 62% increase in organic traffic by updating their title tags for SEO.
Title tags are a critical piece of on-page SEO for e-commerce.
Depending on what e-commerce platform you use, you should be able to easily edit your title tag for products, category pages, and more.
E-commerce Meta Description Tags
Like your title tags, a meta description tag is an HTML code that helps explain the content of your page to users on a search engine. Unlike the title tag, you can’t click on the meta description text.
This appears on organic search results as a paragraph description just below the title tag.
While inserting keywords and context into your meta description is great, it doesn’t directly boost SEO.
So, why is it important? Because it creates the context for the user and helps dramatically increase CTR.
In fact, one brand found a 48% increase in organic clicks by improving their metadata.
Optimizing your meta description to improve CTR takes testing and great copywriting.
Here are some best practices to follow:
- Always include your main keyword or keyword variations. They show up highlighted in bold to attract more attention.
- Focus on compelling descriptions that generate clicks.
- Avoid clickbait since it can increase your bounce rate. A high bounce rate is a bad signal that could harm your ranking potential.
Like your title tag, you should be able to edit your meta description where you edit on-page data. The exact location will depend on your platform.
Search Engine Friendly URLs
If you search for anything on Google, you’ll likely notice URL strings immediately.
Why? Because they display a company’s brand name. And since they’re highlighted in green, they draw your attention.
Do they actually make an impact for e-commerce sites? Absolutely.
A poor URL structure is confusing for searchers who are looking for your products and for search engines that are scanning your pages.
For example, when you analyze the following two SERP results, which product category page URL looks more appealing to click?
Are you drawn to the first one that’s simple and contains just the keyword, or do you like the long-string URL with dozens of random number combinations?
Probably the first one.
Absolute URLs like the first SERP page are what Google prefers.
When optimizing URL structure, platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce even pack tools to streamline the process.
Here are some best practices to follow when creating your URL structure:
- Place your target keyword in the URL.
- Keep URLs as short and clean as possible.
- Stick with absolute URLs rather than dynamic or date-based URLs.
- Consistency is key. Stick with the same format on your entire store.
Category / Product Content
Content is king, right? Absolutely.
According to HubSpot, the more content you produce in both B2B and B2C (e-commerce, too), the more sales leads you to drive.
It’s no secret that producing great content can help you build everything from brand awareness to real sales for your products.
But when it comes to category pages or product pages, what do you do?
Do you write a long-form blog post? Not necessarily.
Category and product pages are tricky. You don’t want to have thin content and struggle to rank organically, but you don’t want to bombard buyers with tons of writing just for the sake of search engines.
This factor is potentially the most important aspect of optimization on your product pages. According to one study, “Detailed product information ranks above reviews, price in a decision to buy.”
Great product information not only educates the user and fulfills their number-one need, but it also gives search engines context on your page.
Keeping the product description short and sweet allows the potential buyer to understand what the product is without reading a full article.
LSI keywords are sprinkled in the description and among the side panel, too, which provides extra context on related searches.
SEO is a huge factor in E-commerce success.
Ranking your website, product pages, and content on the first page of Google will help you secure more organic traffic.
Beyond that, it helps you build brand awareness, which is a big factor in driving sales from organic search results.
Instead of only paying for ads to drive traffic and sales, you can do it organically through powerful SEO.
Turn your efforts to the following key areas of E-commerce SEO that can give you the most bang for your buck:
- Title tags
- Meta description tags
- Category / product content optimization
- Mobile optimization
- 301 redirects for expired products
- CRO for your E-commerce store
- Picking the right E-commerce platform for your goals
Focus on these best practices, and you’ll drive more organic sales than ever before.
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