11th May 2016 Ecommerce SEO 0 comments

Running an online store? Selling products online can be rewarding (and lucrative), and there are plenty of ways to optimise your shop for online search traffic. Here's some of our favourite ecommerce SEO techniques and tips to help you make more money online. From creating the right product categories, to reviews- these actionable tips should form part of your long-term SEO strategy.

Rank the home page

A good way to get traffic to your site is to make sure that you are ranking the home page for general ecommerce search words. This means including relevant keywords for your niche on the home page like "[niche] buy online", "[niche] online store", "[niche] boutique", "[niche] buy now", "[niche] online shopping" etc. Make sure you mention a wide variety of relevant search terms, but make sure the content is still unique and user-focused. Link out to your most relevant product categories from the home page to help the shopper. This will also pass link authority from the home page down to the product categories. Consider including relevant product category paragraphs on the home page to provide context for the link.

Craft keyword-rich product categories

Make sure your product categories are led by keyword research and that they follow a logical segmentation pattern. If you create product categories that match the words people are using online, you are much more likely to get relevant search traffic to your product category pages. When you are designing your pages don't forget about copy either: make sure you have space for unique text on the product category page. Even one paragraph is better than none!

Create category landing pages

As well as getting really granular with your product categories, it's a good idea to create some broader category landing pages with good, relevant copy and images. These pages could explain to the user why this particular type of product is useful, or showcase the range of designs and colours available. The difference between a product category and a category landing page is the difference between "blue t-shirts" and "men's clothing".

Implement a best practice link architecture 

When planning a successful link architecture for your site, the main thing to think about is how the user experience can be improved. A basic link architecture can be as simple as ‘categories’ and ‘products’. This helps to keep the site organised and easy to navigate. When creating the product pages it is a great idea to use breadcrumb links, these help users and google to pinpoint their location on your site. Breadcrumblinks also allow users and google to travel back a level to either first level or secondary level menus which increases time spent on your site and potentially lowers your bounce rate. 

Get reviewed on your store & beyond

Reviews are an ecommerce lifeline and help conversions, SEO and user-experience. By asking people to leave reviews on your site you are enabling users to craft their own unique copy about your product. This is great for capturing longtail keyword traffic. People are also likely to search "[your website] + reviews", so make sure you are signed up on external review sites. Incentivise leaving a review for your customers, like offering them an extra 10% off their next purchase.

Customer service tip: Address a negative online review as soon as you can. Even if you reach a resolution in private, make sure there is an online footprint of you dealing with the problem effectively.

Minimise duplicate & boring content

Ecommerce stores often make the error of utilising bland and boring manufacturer's product descriptions. This is not great for users or search engines. Take your time to write unique and engaging product descriptions, or get a writer to do it. Make sure the descriptions offer real user value.

Optimise URLs for search engines

Sometimes a CMS will create a whole mass of URLs for one single page, creating a canonicalisation issue. Ecommerce sites often suffer from canonicalisation issues due to on-site search functions. The way to check whether this is an issue, is to run your site through Screaming Frog to see how many pages search engines are potentially indexing from your site. Over-indexing will flag you up for thin and duplicate content in search engines. Fix your over-indexing issue with the rel= "canonical" command to point search engines back to the most relevant category page. Read more on canonicalisation from Google here.

Opt for a store blog to create brand loyalty

A blog attached to your store can be a great way to build brand loyalty and engage with your customers. It's a place to talk about your products and services in a natural and engaging way, as well as anything else that is of interest to your customers. A blog can also be a great link resource, as writing good user-oriented content is a great way to achieve backlinks.

Approach bloggers for reviews and features

One way to get backlinks is to ask bloggers to feature your products on their blogs. Often bloggers feature product roundup posts or in-depth reviews on their blogs. Busy bloggers are likely inundated with similar requests from brands, so make sure your outreach email and product offering are strong.

Optimise product images for keywords & social shares

Visual content is great for ecommerce sites. Make sure all your image alt texts are optimised and that sharing product pictures and purchases on social media is easy. Consider whether an Instagram or a Pinterest strategy is worth it; they can be great places to find new customers.

Implement these as part of your ecommerce SEO strategy to make sure your shop is optimised for shoppers and search engines.