SEO for e-commerce continues to increase in complexity, even as it remains one of the most important tools to enhance product listings and boost sales. It’s extremely important to ensure the consumer finds not just your website, but your brand’s product pages as well.
While brand awareness is important, product pages are responsible for closed sales. Especially in light of increased e-commerce traffic due to the COVID-19 pandemic, product pages need to be optimized for search.
Define the E-Commerce Experience
When developing your brand, you first need to define what experience you hope customers will have as they interact with your site. You’ll also need to consider the strategy you use to create content. In turn, this will drive SEO.
Consider the company’s online presence. Some e-commerce companies offer bold sales positions; others use a bit of humor or even a tongue-in-cheek message to add personality to their products. The language you choose for product pages will define your brand, so use it intentionally.
You’ll need to extend this intention when building your product pages. Consider the use of content hubs (groups of SEO-friendly, keyword-rich and topic-specific content spread across a website and social media accounts) and product hubs (the point of sale) to ensure they flow logically back and forth.
Do you also list your products on external shopping sites, like Amazon? If so, be sure you understand their search functions. Amazon has its own search algorithm that you’ll need to tailor your approach to. However, you should maintain the same vibe to ensure consistent branding.
It’s also essential that you design the structure of the website in a logical way. This will drive buyers through the content hub funnel to the products you wish for them to purchase.
Select the Right SEO for E-Commerce Keywords
In order to optimize your position in search, you must understand the fundamentals of SEO for e-commerce. At the most basic, you’ll need to learn the phrases consumers use to search for your products. Market research and SEO research can come together to help you find these answers. Whatever the search terms turn out to be, these are your keywords, and they should form the center of your product listing. However, you’ll need to use them wisely.
Short phrases like “red sneakers” may seem like a good jumping off point, but it’s likely that these more generic keywords are saturated online (i.e. there are already many results, resulting in high competition and little chance your site will be found).
Long-tail keywords are longer, more specific phrases. Though these may not be used as often, those who find your site this way are more likely to be customers looking for exactly what you’re selling. Consider using phrases like “dark red wool sneakers” or “natural fiber sneakers red” to narrow down the users coming to your product listings.
Choosing the right keywords, whether long or short, requires a great deal of research. Depending on the content you are considering, you may need the help of a paid consultant. Search the phrases you’re considering on a number of platforms (Google and Amazon being the two likely to prove cost-efficient) and note what you find.
For instance, who are your competitors? Does it seem like paid affiliates win the top rankings? Is there much long-form content in the space, as well as product listings? If web space for these products already exists, which search terms bring it up first?
SEO for E-Commerce Basics
The fundamentals for SEO for e-commerce are the fundamentals for SEO. A product page’s title tag and meta description are an important first look at the item, so it’s essential to take your time selecting them. Here, you’ll want to combine the intended customer experience with the key phrases you think will attract customers.
Before publishing your listings, verify that the page title, meta, and H1 tags all include the keywords you have found in your research. The product names and description should use both short- and long-tail keywords, but they should do so in a logical way. Do not keyword stuff, and be sure to include these important phrases in a way that flows. Google increasingly favors content that mimics the way users talk and type. It’s wise to write content based on these parameters.
User Experience is Critical
The way a customer interacts with your website will play a large role in determining their impression. This also corresponds to the likelihood they’ll buy. User experience relates both to visual design and page content, as well as the programming that takes place on the back end. Make sure your site is easy to use, particularly when it comes to ordering.
Your page design needs to be simple and supportive of your brand or theme. Verify that it is mobile-responsive and accessible to users with vision issues. The purpose of the page is to call attention to the product, so use high-quality images, but don’t distract from them. Be sure to include all relevant product information. You’ll also want to include an easy, one-click method to purchase your product.
People like hearing what other people have to say. By allowing potential buyers to read reviews on your product pages, you can encourage them to purchase. In addition, continually updating reviews keeps the page content fresh for search engines. You can also use the space below your product listings to suggest similar items a buyer might like.
Whenever possible, use internal linking, both to content and product pages. This aids in branding and also helps to drive sales. In your content, answer questions your customers might have about your products, as well. Search engines reward sites that speak to the search queries users have. If you can answer a question that many people are asking, you might even win a coveted “featured snippet” listing, which appears ahead of other Google search results.
SEO is an Evolving Process
You should revisit your SEO strategy for product pages over time. Use the power of metrics to determine which keywords are bringing people to your product pages. Going forward, focus on the phrases that lead to conversions. Keywords can change frequently in e-commerce, so check in on metrics often.
Track where consumers go when they leave the website, and whether it is the site of a competitor. Your UX/UI, SEO, sales, and content management teams should work together with this information in hand in order to continually improve your searchability and user experience.
SEO should work for your brand and for your customers. Particularly in the age of COVID-19, e-commerce is taking center stage, and it is likely to do so more and more as time goes on. Your website is your virtual storefront, so make sure you’ve done all you can to bring customers to your online door.