SEO is essential to ecommerce — it gets you the visibility you need on search engines so that your future customers can find you right when they need you. If you’re not utilizing an SEO strategy in some form, then you’re missing out on a huge portion of your potential revenue, and that kind of loss will add up over time.
To make sure you capture the traffic and customers that you want, you can start implementing an SEO strategy by using these basic steps.
1. List your NAP
NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. This information is vital to search engines like Google since it shows them where you’re located and how to contact you, which they can show to their users. When you have that information laid out in an obvious, easy-to-read location, Google can start showing your business in results for keywords that are relevant to your industry.
The best part about adding your NAP to your website is that Google feature you in local results that are listed higher on search engine results pages than organic listings. That means you can get a leg up on your competition by appealing to your town or city, and that helps you build a loyal, local customer base.
2. Research keywords
When you’re running a business for a niche demographic, you need to make sure you’re on the same page as your potential customers. That means using the same words and phrasing on your website that your customers are using to research your industry. The more you speak like your customers, the easier it’ll be for them to find you — and buy from you!
You can use Google’s Keyword Planner to research keywords. The idea is that you want to find the keywords that are relevant to your industry, even if they don’t have a monthly search volume. The reason for this is because keywords with high monthly search volume are almost always general keywords that don’t reflect a user’s intent to buy. Specificity, on the other hand, implies an intent to buy, which you can use to your advantage.
So, for example, if your ecommerce website sells men’s running shoes, you want to target keywords like “size 9 men’s running shoes” or “men’s distance running shoes.” Those keywords are highly specific, and they may not get a lot of traffic, but you can more easily rank for them and your visitors will be more likely to buy.
Terms like “shoes” or “running shoes” in general will be dominated by high-profile, high-income corporations that will keep your website from getting listed. Once you’ve grown your business, you can start shooting for more general keywords if you want — but the real money-makers are the long, specific keywords.
The best way to stay organized is to make a spreadsheet of the keywords that you want to target with their search volume and level of specificity. The more specific a keyword is, the higher it should be on your priority list!
3. Create category pages based on keywords
Now that you have your keywords ready, it’s time to make them work for you.
The best way to do this is to create pages that act as categories for your different products. These category pages should show images of the products you offer along with the brand, price, and a unique description of each product. This helps customers navigate your site to find what they want, and it also shows Google how extensive and relevant your inventory is to certain keywords.
That list makes up the majority of your category page, but there’s still some awesome SEO potential at the top and bottom of the page.
4. Write unique descriptions for the categories
Near the top and bottom of each category page, you should write a few paragraphs that go into detail about what customers can expect to find there. While this may not get a ton of readers, your text will send positive signals to Google and other search engines showing that you know your stuff and you’re dedicated to giving customers as much information as possible.
With the text written, you can seize another SEO opportunity and link to category pages on your website. This helps your SEO by providing a better user experience, ensuring customers can find products related to what they already want while helping Google navigate your site more easily. Each link you create acts like a “bridge” to a new page, and those bridges help Google understand the structure and nature of your website.
And when Google understands your website, they can recommend you in search results more often!
5. Write unique descriptions for your products
Writing different descriptions for your products takes a lot of time, especially for companies with larger inventories, but the potential results are worth it.
Google likes to see that the text on a page is unique to that page only, so when you write a paragraph or two about each product, Google can list the product independently in search results. Plus, because it has a unique and informative description, you have a better chance of your products ranking above your competitors’ products.
That ranking is important since Google users who find the listings for your products will most likely be using very specific keywords, which imply that they’re ready to buy. When they see your products before your competitors’, you have the advantage of making an impression on that customer first. And when they click, those Google users can become your newest customers!
6. Add and optimize images
While text descriptions are great for your website, photos can say so much more in much less space. Photos of products get your customers as close as possible to interacting with their potential purchase, which encourages them to spend.
In addition, posting photos of your products gives you more credibility as a business since it shows that you have a clear connection with the brand that you’re selling. If a customer sees that a brand trusts you with its photos and products, then they’ll probably be more likely to trust you too. After all, why wouldn’t they when you’re carrying their favorite brand?
There are two major catches to using images on your website. First, images need to be clear and crisp, but the files have to be small enough to load quickly. Second, images need to be mobile-responsive so people who are using smartphones, tablets, and other devices can see them. And while they both may sound like easy corners to cut, when you implement both of these factors, you start to see some major improvements in your SEO.
7. Make your site mobile responsive
In addition to images, your whole website should be mobile responsive. That means that when someone is checking out your site online, the borders, text, search function, buttons, and links are all adjusted to make your site easy to use on mobile devices.
The key to a successful mobile site is to include large, noticeable buttons that are easy for users to tap to get information or navigate your site. Text links can be difficult to click and hard to read on certain devices, so using buttons and other noticeable graphics provides a great user experience.
Plus, mobile-friendliness is now a direct ranking factor for Google. Unfortunately, that means if you don’t use a mobile-responsive site, then you’re behind your competition.
Last, having a mobile-friendly site just makes sense for ecommerce. If people are on your site when they’re on the go, they probably know just what they want to buy. When you make it easy for them to make a purchase, they’ll become customers, and your revenue will grow!
8. Create an HTML sitemap
An HTML sitemap is a page on your site that’s fully made of links to the other major pages on your site. Sitemaps organize different pages in an outline format, with the general pages listed up top followed by specific pages indented underneath. This makes it easy for your site visitors to navigate, and it also allows Google to get a more complete idea of how your website is laid out.
When you’re making a sitemap, it doesn’t have to be anything special — it’s more meant for function than appearance. As long as you make it according to the other design standards of your website, you should have an HTML sitemap that you can use for years.
9. Create Google profiles
Google has a lot of different resources you can use to improve your business online, and they’re all free. The basics include Google Analytics, Google My Business, and Google Plus. By using these three properties, you can get actionable data about your website, improve its visibility on Google, and post relevant content for a social media audience.
Google Analytics is a free service that you can use to learn practically everything about how customers interact with your website. You can see how many people are on your site in real time, check out traffic stats, look up certain goals, and more. It also includes helpful visuals so you can track your site’s improvement over time.
Google Analytics is probably one of the best additions to an ecommerce site you can make since you want to track who’s going to your site and who’s buying. The data they provide gives you some great insights into what you can do to improve your business’s revenue, acting as the basis for any new strategy that you want to implement.
Google My Business
Google My Business used to be called Google Local, but its function is the same — you let Google show your business’s NAP information, hours of operation, price overview, URL, and reviews. Even though you’re not a brick-and-mortar business, you can still benefit from this just because of the visibility it gives you on search engines.
Plus, when mobile users search for your business in your city, they’re more likely to see that listing pop up on their screen instead of the standard list of websites Google usually shows. And on mobile phones, the My Business listing is so big that it’s pretty much all a user can see. That’s some great visibility!
Google Plus may not be as popular as Facebook, but it’s still helpful to your SEO. By using Google Plus, you can add more information about your website so that Google can know you better, show your listings in more search results, and help you get more customers.
It also gives you a chance to interact with your customers and speak to them one-on-one, which is a great move in terms of accessibility. On top of that, you can also reply to negative reviews or customer complaints and work to make your customers happier. Not only will your kindness and professionalism be shown in a public forum, but you can also earn another happy customer.
Find agencies that can help
Believe it or not, SEO is so vast that even by using all of these factors, you’re still behind the curve. That’s why we created this list of SEO agencies, so your business and other companies like it can get the results they want without learning everything there is to know.
We’ve already done the vetting process so you don’t have to do it yourself. Our team of experienced and knowledgeable SEO experts evaluated all of the websites on our rankings list according to specific set criteria, rated them according to a scale, and then compiled them together. With their opinions all in one place, we believe we’ve created one of the best online resources for ecommerce companies looking to improve their SEO.
Do you want to grow your business? Check out our list of the top SEO agencies for ecommerce and compare the names so you can find one that you trust! The sooner you find an agency that’s right for you, the sooner you can help your ecommerce business grow and earn more revenue.