An illustration of a lady shopping on her phone.

E-commerce SEO: Strategy, Best Practices, Tools, Solutions

E-commerce SEO increases the visibility of your products in search engines and results in more customers viewing your online store. When done right, e-commerce SEO results in more qualified traffic, conversions, and profits.

Key takeaways:

  • Effective e-commerce SEO helps your online store rank higher in search engine results, increasing traffic, sales and visibility.
  • Targeted keyword research and an easy-to-navigate site are crucial for SEO. 
  • With e-commerce SEO, you can gain a dedicated, organic audience without spending money on paid campaigns.
  • E-commerce link acquisition is quite different when compared to other industries.

What is e-commerce SEO? 

E-commerce SEO helps e-commerce companies get better rankings on the search engine results for their e-store, which increases traffic and visibility. 

Let’s say you sell cakes. You can do well with paid ads for keywords like ‘birthday cakes’ or ‘chocolate fudge’, but that costs more. On the other hand, search keywords like these are popular because people want to buy birthday cakes and chocolate fudge.

Optimising your site to rank highly in results for popular search terms will likely cost you less than investing in ads and perhaps even help counteract ad blockers. There are also other benefits of optimising this type of traffic, such as potentially higher conversion and sales rates plus increasing the value of your business.

How is e-commerce link building different?

Generally speaking, in most industries, SEO agencies will build links to blog content and linkable assets, providing links juice to service pages. An excellent way to think of it is this — for a link to be a good fit, it should provide value. An e-commerce link building strategy is different.

In the case of e-commerce, we’ve found that building links to product pages is perfectly ok. That’s because bloggers (especially in the fashion industry) will often create listicle-style articles that mention many fabulous products in a list — and they’ll link to products because their readers will want to view the products in the online stores.

It is also important to point out one caveat. Some affiliate marketing news sites will strip and remove links and instead point these towards Amazon to earn an affiliate commission fee. 

So, on the one hand, it is much easier to build links in the e-commerce space. But on the other hand, if a site is an affiliate, they’ll remove your links if they’re also listed on Amazon.

E-commerce SEO statistics

  • 81% of shoppers research their products online before purchasing them. It is easier for customers to decide which goods to buy; therefore, if your site ranks, you can get organic traffic. 
  • Nearly 44% of users use Amazon for product searches; the other 66% use search engines like Google. 
  • 43% of all e-commerce traffic comes from Google’s organic traffic. 
  • Only 25% of people will check the second page of Google. So it is essential to rank on the first page to gain organic traffic. 
  • 67.6% of the clicks on page one of Google come from the first five organic results.
  • 23.6 per cent of all e-commerce orders were directly tied to organic traffic. 

The importance of e-commerce SEO 

E-commerce SEO is an integral part of growing a business online. It is more than just optimising your website; you also need to optimise your product pages for search engines. Here are some of the ways e-commerce SEO can help grow your business.

1. Enhances brand’s visibility 

Whether you’re creating a new brand or running an online business for a while, SEO should be on your radar. It’s affordable and won’t take up too much of your time. It’s also precious.

E-commerce SEO can help your website rank higher, getting you more visibility to potential customers, leading to more website traffic and sales. When a potential customer performs a product search on Google, the top five pages get the maximum click rate. So, of course, you want your business to be there.

2. Helps people find your products 

People will search for all the different products your e-commerce business offers, so you want to ensure you rank above your competitors. If you have a solid SEO strategy, you will get more visibility on your products and brand. Investing in e-commerce SEO can help consumers find what they’re looking for and build brand recognition for your store.

3. Expands your audience base 

You can rank among the top search engine results pages (SERP) with your SEO efforts. When you rank higher, you can reach people you have never interacted with, gaining a new organic and loyal audience. You can expand your audience without spending money on paid campaigns with organic traffic. 

4. Offers a better user experience 

A solid user experience is critical for online buyers, resulting in higher conversion and lower bounce rates. You can improve the user experience by optimising the content on the page and ensuring that visitors can quickly discover what they need. It is also critical to ensure that the page is responsive and easy to navigate.

5. Improves organic sales 

SEO is one of the most critical factors driving organic traffic to an e-commerce site. It’s easy for prospects to find you if they already know what they’re looking for, and you will get more conversions if you rank among search results. 

Examples of e-commerce SEO 

Keep in mind that people are already in the mindset of buying something when they go to an e-commerce site, so if your product is at the top of the page, they are more likely to convert it into a sale. This is why e-commerce SEO is so important. Here are some examples of successful e-commerce SEO campaigns by top brands.

Example 1: Inbound Pursuit’s 211% increase in organic revenue 

Inbound has worked with the e-commerce site to scale its organic revenue. Before Inbound began its e-commerce SEO strategy, the website’s primary traffic source was Google ads. When they started using SEO strategies on their e-commerce website, their organic revenue doubled to 211%

Before the implementation of e-commerce SEO, their traffic surfed between 500-1000. After implementing e-commerce SEO, their traffic grew and reached 2000+ visitors a month.

Source: Inbound Pursuit 

Here is what they did to get these great results:

  • Using a detailed SEO analysis, identified mistakes and gaps.
  • Optimised their content with relevant keywords.
  • Optimised their off-page SEO and built high-quality links.

The website generated over $20,000 without spending a cent on ads. That’s the power of proper e-commerce SEO. 

Example 2: Filter King generated half a million dollars in traffic

Filter King has zero referring domains and low organic traffic at their initial stage. When they tied up with e-commerce SEO, their traffic increased and generated organic sales. Here is what they did:

  • Keyword research backed by keyword mapping. 
  • Internal linking. 
  • Content optimisation.
  • Backlink building. 
  • Guest posting and digital PR.

As a result, they generated over $460K in revenue. 

Source: On The Map 

Example 3: How Renogy outranked Home Depot

Renogy, a US-based e-commerce website, had to compete with giant sites like Home Depot to gain traction among the target audiences. They started their SEO strategy with an SEO audit.

Source: Tuff Growth

Renogy had numerous errors that hindered its website performance. They analysed all the components and began framing their SEO strategy. In the end, they outranked Home Depot and Amazon. They climbed their ranking from nowhere to the top position as shown below:

Source

This is what they did to get these results:

  • Fixed their technical SEO and resolved broken link problems. 
  • Made internal link and anchor text modifications. 
  • Keyword research. 
  • Optimised their content. 
  • Used a content cluster strategy, which is powerful for internal linking and showing Google that your content is topically relevant. 

The advantages of e-commerce SEO 

  • An increase in brand awareness. 
  • Reach buyers at every stage of the sales journey. 
  • Expands remarketing audiences. 
  • Enhances user experience. 
  • Boosts organic growth without spending on ads. 
  • Generates higher ROI. 
  • Produces quality traffic.

The disadvantages of e-commerce SEO 

  • Requires an ongoing investment.
  • The ROI takes time to yield results.

How to plan an e-commerce SEO campaign? 

E-commerce SEO is a complex process that requires a lot of different tools and strategies to get the best results. Here are some of the essential steps to map out an e-commerce SEO campaign:

Step 1: Perform keyword research 

About 3.8 million Google searches occur every minute, and an average of 100,500 digital words are processed daily. So, with all this information about search engine optimisation, how do you ensure that customers find your brand in the search engines? That’s where keyword targeting comes in. You can do keyword research using a multitude of online tools.

Google 

Start with the usual Google search. Then, collect all the keywords displayed on the Google search autosuggestion.  

You can also collect more keyword from the ‘people also ask’ section. 

Then, you can mine keywords from Google. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and collect the related search queries. 

Amazon suggest 

Amazon is a competitive marketplace for both sellers and buyers, and you can easily use the site to create a list of keywords related to the product through Amazon Suggest.

These keywords are highly targeted long-tail keywords. Long-tail keyword phrases are like a magic elixir and will do more for your SEO than short keywords and convert much better. They’re also usually less competitive, which is even better for ranking organically. 

Wikipedia 

Wikipedia is not only great for information but also great for mining keywords. While researching your product or category on your e-commerce site, Wikipedia can help you find specific keywords. 

They’ve already done much of the heavy lifting for you because they organise content by keywords and categories, just like most retailers do. Collect all possible phrases for the product and fill your keyword bucket list. 

Quora

Quora has topics on practically everything you could think of and has a handy ‘related questions’ section on their web application. SEOs can use this section to find more keywords.

Image credit: Quora

Semrush

Semrush is an excellent SEO tool for marketers to track keywords, quickly discover inbound marketing opportunities, identify long-tail keyword phrases, run SEO audits, etc. Semrush has a nifty feature called the ‘keyword magic tool,’ making it a piece of cake to do keyword research and check for search volumes and keyword competitiveness.

You can also use the questions feature to find long-tail keywords, identify cluster topics, and use it for SEO copywriting.

Step 2: Filter your keywords 

Now it’s time to filter the keyword according to the search intent. Then, once you’ve filtered out your keywords, start categorising them. Separate them based on the different types of information you could create, such as blog posts containing how-to guides or informative articles that help customers buy products they may be interested in.

For example, the term’ coffee machine’ has purchase intent, so users will generally check the products rather than blog posts. On the other hand, if a user searches for ‘best coffee machines’, they intend to find information about coffee machines, which means that they’re considering making a purchase.

Create content accordingly if your keywords list has a mix of purchase and information intent keywords. For example:

  • Create blogs, whitepapers, YouTube videos, and guides for informational intent.
  • Optimise product pages with keywords for purchasing intent.

Step 3: Make your e-commerce store easy to navigate 

Once you know which keywords are most likely to bring in customers, it’s time to put that information into action on your pages. 

First, ensure your site architecture helps people find the content they want. For example, if a visitor wants to buy something on your site, they shouldn’t have to click three times to find the shopping pages; instead, map them out ahead of time so shoppers can easily navigate the website and see what’s available.

There are three golden rules to good navigation. 

  • Keep it clean, and keep it simple. 
  • Users should be able to access any website page within less than three clicks from the homepage or any primary landing pages. 
  • Use keywords in URLs.

A simple example is Amazon. Amazon has a clear structure. You can reach products with simple navigation from categories sub-categories to products. 

Source: Amazon

A defined structure is crucial as your home page is typically considered the most authoritative page on your site. Also, internal links from one page to another, such as those on a menu, can positively affect the rank position of that destination page in SERPs by passing page authority to another destination on the website. 

For example, your home page passes authority to the category or product pages. This full authority will give Google a clear indication of what type of content is essential for users and help these pages rank in Google. It provides Google with a quick way to find and index all of the different pages on your site. 

Step 4: Start optimising 

By optimising the pages with keywords and writing top-quality original content such as product descriptions or reviews, your website will rank higher than those that don’t have quality or engagement. Some publications may cite your brand depending on the type of content (e.g. unique statistics).

Product descriptions 

A product page is jam-packed with features that need attention. While you want a few things to stand out, you also want everything to make sense, and your product description must be engaging and effective enough to entice visitors to reach out and click through. 

Source: The Oodie

To begin optimising your e-commerce website’s product pages, here are the three central aspects to keep in mind:

  • What are the essential things on the page? 
  • How can you enhance the visibility of those elements?
  • How can you use this to enhance the product descriptions?

Images 

Images are a beautiful way to attract people’s attention. Of course, your images must be high quality to show your products at their best. However, you don’t want to include too many, or you’ll draw your visitor’s attention away from the other content. 

Optimising images can increase search rankings and help you generate traffic from potential customers by showing off your goods at their finest. 

To optimise your images: 

  • Use optimal image size and with other guidelines. 
  • Use captions and alt tags for images. 
  • Add keywords on the file name. 

Reviews 

Customer reviews build trust between the brand and the customer. Reviews are a great way to provide consumers with a taste of your products and can play a massive role in driving conversion rates. To ensure quality reviews online, ask customers to leave a review after purchasing to increase brand recognition and trust. 

Step 5: Use Schema markup 

Schema markup is a way to utilise the HTML code on your website by adding particular types of tags. As an e-commerce site owner, these tags can help people find your products and allow search engines to provide you with more traffic or popularity. 

For example, the image above offers visitors a better user experience by seeing price information, ratings and reviews, and brand names in the search results.

Step 6: Optimise pages for fast loading 

A website’s page speed loading time is a key performance indicator of e-businesses and is another important ranking factor. Users want their content delivered quickly and efficiently, without any downtime. 

To check how long your WordPress website is taking to load, you can use tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, Yslow (a Firefox extension), or GTmetrix. 

To manage your loading speed:

  • Include limited images.
  • Compress images.
  • Add fewer social media widgets.
  • Avoid using plenty of white spaces.
  • Limit the redirects and HTTP requests. 

Step 7: Add a sitemap 

A sitemap is a list of all the pages on your website. It gives search engines an overview of your website and lets them explore different sections, products and category pages. 

You can create a sitemap manually or use Google Search Central (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) to generate one. Sitemaps are predominantly HTML and XML, but some may include JavaScript for advanced functionality.

Source: Ahrefs

Step 8: Make social sharing simple

Sharing your content on social media is the best way to increase your brand’s exposure. Your brand can expand its reach by customers sharing your content on social media.

E-commerce SEO tools

Here are some e-commerce tools that will help you conduct keyword research, analyse backlinks, run site audits to find technical issues, and follow Google’s webmaster guidelines. 

Google PageSpeed Insights 

Google PageSpeed Insights measures the performance of web pages and provides suggestions to help improve their speed. In addition, it includes lab data by third-party tools, which helps debug performance issues and capture an actual real-world user experience. Here’s an example using Catch.

It will show a performance breakdown of the core web vitals:

And provide opportunities and diagnostics:

SEO Minion 

SEO Minion is an SEO tool that will analyse on-page SEO for your website, including redirects and broken links. This crome extension also provides a SERP preview tool that will give you an accurate view of your website’s ranking potential. 

Source: Chrome Web Store

Screaming Frog SEO spider 

Screaming Frog helps you find errors with your onsite SEO by analysing your sitemap and performing a crawl through all of the links. You can also analyse page titles and meta descriptions, ensuring they are not too long, too short, missing, or duplicated. 

The product is excellent for small and large-scale website evaluation; it even allows you to search based on specific parameters and filter data.

Source: Screaming Frog

Ahrefs 

Ahrefs has a series of tools to help with your SEO. Its best-known tools are site explorer, keywords explorer, site audit, rank tracker, and content explorer. You can conduct keyword research for Google, YouTube and Amazon with keyword explorer. 

You can also use Ahrefs to find your competitor’s most valuable pages and keywords by clicking on the estimated organic monthly traffic value function and target.

Click on ‘traffic value’, and Ahrefs will show the estimated organic monthly traffic value for a site’s top pages.

Other keyword tools include WordStream, Moz, GetKeywords, Google Trends, Keyword Surfer, Soovle, and BrightEdge.

Summing up 

When done right, SEO for e-commerce websites has the potential to supercharge organic rankings, website traffic, and revenue. Search engine optimisation is a long process, and it takes time to start receiving dividends from your investment. It is a long-term approach. Set realistic expectations and invest extensively to achieve the best organic search results.

Earned Media e-commerce SEO solutions

At Earned Media, we provide quality e-commerce SEO services to boost your website’s search traffic. We can also work with several e-commerce platforms, including Shopify and custom builds.

  • E-commerce technical SEO audits to identify SEO issues.
  • E-commerce link building and digital PR.
  • Enterprise SEO for large e-commerce companies.
  • SEO copywriting for product pages and blog content.
  • Local SEO.
  • On-page SEO for e-commerce.
  • LSI keyword research based on keyword intent.
  • URL structure suggestions.
  • Content marketing.
  • Structured data markup.
  • Solve duplicate content issues.
  • Title tags and canonical tags.
  • Core web vitals checks that use SEO best practices.

Want to know more? We’ve helped plenty of businesses, and we can help your business too. Schedule a quick 15-minute call with Nick Brogden, the founder of Earned Media, by clicking on the blue button in the right-hand corner. It takes just 30 seconds to set up a meeting.


Frequently asked questions 

Is SEO important for e-commerce? 

SEO is essential for e-commerce websites. The products need to rank higher than your competitors, and they must show up in the right way so potential customers can find the products they need in the SERPs, choose your site, and be able to place an order.

What is SEO for e-commerce? 

E-commerce SEO involves increasing the number of visitors to your website, mainly through search engines, by making changes that influence your SERPs ranking. This includes creating quality content, adding relevant keywords, acquiring links, improving site speed, implementing technical SEO fixes, etc.

How much does e-commerce SEO cost?

Search engine optimisation quotes vary based on the number of keywords you target, the competitive landscape, and the effort needed to optimise each page. Depending on the size and the amount of work required, e-commerce SEO ranges between $5,000 to $30,000 per month.