Search Engine Optimization (SEO) isn’t just for blogs. Proper e-commerce SEO can help customers find your products and reduce your advertising costs. However, you can’t tackle SEO for an online store the same way that you would for a blog, a portfolio, or a community website.
In this article, we’ll discuss how SEO can impact your bottom line. We’ll then look at four ways to optimize your store to help drive more traffic and increase sales. Let’s get to it!
How SEO Impacts Your Bottom Line
It’s difficult to understate the importance of SEO. For starters, it makes it easier for users to find your products. This can result in high volumes of organic traffic, and in turn, more sales.
Optimizing your online store is not only about using the right keywords, but also ensuring a smooth User Experience (UX). Having a fast website can help you rank higher in search engines. It can also encourage users to spend longer browsing through your store, and potentially add more items to their carts.
Moreover, an SEO strategy can be more cost efficient than digital advertising. You don’t need to fork out any money for it, unless you wish to hire an expert or purchase an SEO tool. Even then, many plugins can be more affordable than online advertising. This means you can work on driving more traffic to your store and increasing your sales without spending a lot of money.
1. Make Reviews Accessible to Search Engines
A staggering 97% of consumers read multiple reviews before they make an online purchase. If your store doesn’t include user reviews, then you’re shooting yourself in the foot. By making it harder for users to find customer feedback, you increase the chances that they’ll make a purchase elsewhere.
On top of enabling customer reviews, you also need to make sure that search engines understand that data is available. For example, if you look for a specific shoe model online, you might find that some results include direct product ratings and the number of reviews available:
Customers are more likely to click on results that directly show customer rating information. Many e-commerce sites are aware of this, which is why they add schema markup to their product pages.
Schema markup is code that tells search engines what type of pages they’re dealing with. By adding product schema to item pages on an online store, search engines will know to display data such as:
- Product pictures
- Information on ratings and reviews
In many cases, users make snap judgments on which search results to click on. By ensuring that your products stand out as much as possible in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) you can increase the chances of getting those valuable clicks.
2. Write Unique Product Meta Descriptions
Meta descriptions are essential for any type of webpage. However, they become even more important when it comes to online sales.
If a customer is looking for a specific product and they find multiple stores that sell it, they might be more likely to choose the result that actually describes the product:
As a rule of thumb, you should be setting custom and unique meta descriptions for each page in your store. If you don’t, search engines will automatically generate those meta descriptions using the first lines of text on that page. Sometimes, those automated descriptions turn out to be a random assortment of information that doesn’t tell users anything about the actual products.
If you take a look at e-commerce search results, you’ll notice that several product pages also include information about materials, styles, models, and manufacturers. All of that data is available thanks to schema markup, just as with information about ratings and reviews.
Once more, schema markup can make a huge difference in how users perceive your pages when they appear in the SERPs. Combine that with a meta description that provides factual and useful information, and you should see your clickthrough rate go up.
3. Optimize for Long-Tail and Related Keywords
One of the biggest difficulties in launching an online store is trying to sell products that are also available in other stores. If multiple stores sell the same product, the top spots in the search results are likely to go to more established stores and e-commerce giants.
There can be specific products where relying on search traffic alone won’t get you any noticeable results due to how competitive they are. In those cases, you may need to rely on paid advertising.
You can boost your chances of appearing in search results by being smart about the way that you use keywords. For example, if you’re selling white sneakers, some related long-tail keywords that you can use include:
- Best white sneakers for men/women
- Classic white sneakers
- Leather white sneakers
- Fashionable/cool white sneakers
By optimizing for long-tail keywords, you can increase the chances that customers will find your products if they’re doing more specific searches. “Optimizing” means adding related keywords to meta descriptions, reworking product titles where appropriate, and adding image alt-text.
If you’re running a new store, it’ll take time before you can compete head to head with larger operations for tough keywords. While you build up your store, focusing on long-tail keywords will still enable you to get traffic for competitive products.
4. Reduce Your Store’s Loading Times
For a while now, user experience has been an important component when it comes to SEO. Search engines measure a positive user experience using a broad range of ranking factors, which include:
- Loading times
- Core Web Vitals
- Bounce rate
- Time on site
Out of those factors, your loading time is perhaps the most essential. If the pages in your store take too long to load, users will grow frustrated and decide to look elsewhere. Studies show that once loading times cross the three-second line, you start bleeding users.
There are a lot of ways to improve your website’s performance and reduce loading times. However, before you start tinkering with your website, you need accurate measurements to know where you stand.
Some services, such as GTMetrix, enable you to enter any URL and check how long it takes to load. Running those tests multiple times can give you a decent idea of overall loading times and website performance:
There are several other free tools that you can use to measure website performance. For example, PageSpeed Insights is a Google tool that helps you measure Core Web Vitals. The platform also provides you with direct advice on how to optimize site performance and improve your scores.
If you’ve done SEO for multiple types of websites, you might be confident that you know what you’re doing when working on an online store. However, e-commerce has a unique set of considerations when it comes to SEO. Optimizing products and shop pages works differently than other types of content, and understanding that difference is key to your store’s success.
Do you have any questions about e-commerce SEO? Let us know in the comments section below!
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