An e commerce shopping cart button showing as a blue button a keyboard

Unlocking the Secrets of E-commerce SEO

October 9, 2023

E-commerce SEO is a process of optimizing your online store to improve its visibility and rankings in search engines. It focuses heavily on improving the performance of your category and product pages. E-commerce SEO is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach customers.

Technical SEO

While technical SEO may seem daunting, it’s critical for e-commerce sites. Let’s look at the different things to keep in mind for technical SEO.

Secure Your Site With HTTPS

HTTPS is a secure protocol for transferring data between websites and visitors. When you use HTTPS, you prevent hackers from stealing sensitive information commonly shared with online stores. It’s also been a minor Google ranking factor since 2014.

You can tell if a store uses HTTPS when they have a “padlock” icon in the address bar. Most popular e-commerce platforms use HTTPS, meaning it isn’t a common concern. If it is, address it immediately.

free needs assessment shaking hands sit greeting

Make Your Site Structure Easy To Navigate

Site structure is how your website’s pages are organized and interlinked. Take the time to get your site structure right from the beginning to save yourself the time and cost of having to redesign it later

Implement Faceted Navigation Correctly To Give Your Pages The Best Chance Of Ranking

Faceted navigation is an essential part of e-commerce websites. This type of navigation is a fancy way of saying it allows visitors to filter store products on category and subcategory pages. If done incorrectly, this navigation can cause serious SEO issues for e-commerce websites because filter combinations often create new parameterized URLs. If you want to learn more about navigation facets, we suggest checking out this handy post.

Keyword Research

You research keywords to understand better how people search for what you sell. This knowledge allows you to create subcategories and product pages catered to search demand. It’s best to keep your subcategories to a minimum, such as between three and ten.

On-page SEO

On-page SEO is the process that allows you to optimize the content on your page. These optimizations happen to the content you see and the code ‘under the hood’. Plenty of e-commerce stores use templates for their title tags and meta descriptions. It is easier, less time-consuming, and more fun than spending countless hours writing unique copy for thousands of category pages and products.

Help Visitors And Google By Adding Unique Descriptions For Products And Categories

Product and category pages often have little to no content, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. By adding unique descriptions to your content pages, it can improve your placement on search engine results pages (SERP).

  • Here are a few tips for doing this:
  • Keep them short and sweet
  • Ensure they’re descriptive and helpful
  • Mention long-tail keywords

Link building

Link building is one of the most challenging aspects for e-commerce stores, as there’s usually no value in someone else linking to a product or category page. If you have products that only you sell, the “product feedback” technique can help you get featured on lists of the best products in that category. Consider:

  1. Find popular lists of the best products
  2. Offer the author your product in return for feedback
  3. Ask them to consider including it on their list (if they like the product)

Directly linking to product pages is an easy way to build links since most authors will link to the products they feature.

Claim Unlinked Brand Mentions In Reviews

Take the time to review pages mentioning your products or services and ask them to add the link where it makes sense. Even if only a few reviewers do this, that’s a few easy links to product pages.

Content Marketing

The only way to capture your audience’s attention is through vital e-commerce. You must create valuable, relevant, and engaging content. Take the time to enhance your online store’s visibility, build customer relationships, and drive more conversions.

Create Product-led Content To Attract More Customers

Product-led content helps readers solve their problems using the products you sell. Creating this content around keywords people search for can attract more potential customers from organic searches.

Optimize Your Product Images For Search To Get More Clicks

Google Images is responsible for over 20% of all online searches and is the world’s second-largest search engine. You should optimize the images on your e-commerce site to appear at the top of the search results. Remember to add a descriptive filename separated by hyphens. Always try to keep your filename concise and remember to include primary target keywords and alt tags.

Advanced E-commerce SEO Tips

If you follow the steps outlined above, you will get off to the right start with your e-commerce SEO. Now, we want to take a minute to make you aware of other things you can do to attract attention to your site.

Index Faceted URLs With Search Demand To Get More Clicks

Everyone performs online searches differently, and this can lead to keywords that don’t necessarily make sense for subcategories. If you employ faceted navigation in your store, you likely already have parameterized URLs targeting many of these terms. Check out this helpful cheat sheet from Aleyda Solis to help you learn how to index.

Add Schema Markup To Product Pages To Win Rich Snippets

Schema markup is code designed to help search engines understand and showcase your pages in the search results. Added to product pages, it can help them win important rich snippets.

Link To Important Subcategories To Highlight Them For Visitors (and Google)

You can prioritize the links visitors are most likely interested in, making navigation easier through your store.

Monitor For Technical SEO Issues To Avoid Unexpected Traffic Drops

A solid technical foundation will help avoid common issues plaguing e-commerce stores. Technical SEO isn’t a once-and-done thing. You should continually monitor for future problems.

E-commerce SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Here are a few examples of common issues that can affect e-commerce websites and hurt rankings.

  • Blocking key pages of your website – It’s possible a noindex tag or “Disallow” directive in your robots.txt file can happen by mistake, meaning pages don’t show in Google.
  • Keyword stuffing – Repeatedly mentioning your keywords on your website.
  • Not including breadcrumbs – Visitors (and search engines) find breadcrumbs on e-commerce websites useful for inner-page navigation.
  • Forgetting to add schema markup – Adding schema can help you win rich snippets.
  • Indexing low-quality pages – Indexing e-commerce filters or search pages that don’t add any value.

The Future of E-commerce SEO

We don’t have a crystal ball to predict what the future will look like for e-commerce SEO. But as Google and others start incorporating generative AI into searching, it’s probable that search and e-commerce SEO will have a completely different future. That future shouldn’t seem daunting. The successful e-commerce site you have been dreaming of is just a call away. Contact us today for your Free Needs Assessment and learn how the Alley Kat Web Consulting professionals can help you master everything SEO-related, develop your marketing plan, and much more!