This article was first published on September 1st, 2020, it was last updated September 2022.
The best ecommerce SEO strategy would include some very traditional tactics but there are some differences that you should consider. A basic ecommerce SEO strategy would involve technical SEO to help ensure search engines can crawl your site efficiently. It would also include local SEO to help drive local organic traffic and physical traffic (if you have a brick and mortar).
If you are a business or an SEO beginner who is looking for a free way to improve your website’s rankings, consider using these free tools provided by Google:
In this article, we will explore common ecommerce SEO website strategies and dive into Google’s 6 SEO tips for ecommerce websites.
Ecommerce SEO Website Key Strategies
When considering what type of keywords to target for your ecommerce website you should always proceed cautiously as the two biggest pitfalls of poor keyword research are:
- You’ll target keywords that are too difficult to rank for and you won’t make it to the front page.
- You’ll rank for keywords that don’t get a lot of traffic or don’t lead to conversions.
Target keywords that are high-intent and have “sales speech” included within. When you rank for “buy pest services near me” or “best plumber in Lehi, UT” you will have better, more qualified traffic reaching your ecommerce site. This type of keyword research will lead to more conversions.
Think of this as search query optimization rather than just simple keywords. Too often just short, non-branded terms are too difficult to rank for and bring in general traffic that is not ready to buy.
Strategic Keyword Optimization in Content
A fantastic ecommerce keyword research tactic is to target Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords. These are keywords that are conceptually related terms that search engines use to more fully understand content on a webpage. You should consider targeting your product pages with LSI keyword terms that surround your main keyword.
Because ecommerce sites have to service a wide variety of audiences that want to research your products or simply purchase right away it can be difficult to fit in keywords. Have quality descriptions that include your keywords and LSI terms as well. You need to resolve the intent of users who are not convinced to buy and those that are somewhat ready and totally ready to purchase.
Ecommerce websites have the necessity of being simple and extremely scalable. Think of Amazon, they have so many product pages that they need to have their own search engine that serves up the best results for those products. Similarly, your ecommerce site should have a simple structure that is scalable and easily navigable. No page should take more than three clicks to get to from any other page.
Because of the conversion points that need to be reachable by search engines and users alike there should be consistency in the execution.
Ecommerce Category and Product Pages
Category pages for an ecommerce website should use keywords to create highly relevant page URLs and subdirectories. They should also include things like:
- Simple URLs with keywords to help
- Title tags (H1, H2 and H3)
- Body copy
- Image alt text
- Meta data
While all these things are very common in every SEO campaign, there is a need to implement them differently on category and product pages for ecommerce sites. You should take extra care to include each of these actions on each and every product page/image as it helps search engines know what the products are.
Google’s 6 SEO Tips for Ecommerce Websites
Google combines six SEO tips that combine structured data and Merchant Center to get the most out of your ecommerce website’s presence in search results. Utilizing Merchant Center can help allow retailers to upload product data through structured feeds and are designed to be read by computers. This can help make things more reliable when Google crawls your site.
However, that doesn’t mean you should forgo using structured data on product pages and rely on Merchant Center alone. Product structured data remains essential even if you provide product data directly to Google with a Merchant Center feed. Let’s get into the 6 SEO recommendations for ecommerce websites:
1) Ensure Products are Indexed
When Google crawls a website, it can sometimes miss pages if they’re not linked to other pages. On ecommerce sites, some product pages are only reachable from on-site search results. You can ensure Google crawls all your product pages by utilizing tools such as an XML sitemap and Google Merchant Center.
Building a Merchant Center product feed will help Google discover all the products on your website. From there, the product page URLs can be shared with the Google crawler to use as starting points for crawls of additional pages potentially.
2) Check Accuracy Of Product Prices Search Results
If Google doesn’t extract the correct pricing data from your product pages, it could result in your pages listing the original price in search results, instead of the discounted price. To make sure your product information (such as list price, discounts, net prices, etc.) are listed correctly, you can add structured data to your product pages. As well as provide Google Merchant Center with structured feeds of your product data. This results in Google extracting the correct prices from your product pages in an easier, less complicated manner.
3) Minimize Price & Availability Lag
When you make a change to your website, sometimes a Google crawler may not notice or catch the change until the next time they crawl your website. Crawlers tend to have their own agenda and time on when they do it. With this in mind, these delays can lead to search results lagging behind site changes. Especially in cases when your products are out of stock.
The best solution is to aim to minimize the inconsistencies in pricing and availability data between your website and Google’s understanding of your site due to timing lags. Google recommends utilizing Merchant Center product feeds to keep pages updated on a more consistent schedule.
4) Ensure Products Are Eligible For Rich Product Results
To be eligible for rich product results requires the use of product structured data. To get the special rich product presentation format, Google recommends providing structured data on your product pages and a product feed in the Merchant Center. This helps Google understand how to extract product data to display rich results. However, even with the correct structured data in place, rich results are displayed at Google’s discretion.
5) Share Local Product Inventory Data
Be sure your in-store products are being found by people entering search queries with the phrase “near me.” First, you can register your physical store location in your Google Business Profile. From there, provide a local inventory feed to the Merchant Center. The local inventory feed includes product identifiers and store codes, so Google knows where your inventory is physically located.
As an additional step, Google recommends using a tool called Pointy. Pointy is a device from Google that connects to your in-store point-of-sale system and automatically informs Google of inventory data from your physical store. The data is used to keep search results updated.
6) Sign Up For Google Shopping Tab
You may find your products are available in search results but do not appear in the Shopping tab. If you’re unsure whether your products are surfacing in the Shopping tab, the easiest way to find out is to search for them. Structured data and product feeds alone aren’t sufficient to be included in the Shopping tab. To be eligible for the Shopping tab, provide product data feeds via Merchant Center and opt-in to ‘surfaces across Google.’
For additional details you can watch Google Search Central walk through these steps:
Building Strong SEO with Boostability
With the basic (and free) Google tools and tips that were mentioned above, you can get your ecommerce site on the right track to becoming more SEO-friendly. However, there’s a lot that goes into SEO and it’s constantly evolving with the hundreds of updates Google releases each year.
At Boostability, we stay on top of best practices, algorithm updates, keyword trends, and so much more to give businesses an advantage in competing online and leveling the playing field against larger competitors. Learn more about our SEO partner program today!