Why Do Ecommerce Websites Need SEO?
Search engine optimization has several purposes for most websites, but it's arguably more important for ecommerce than for any other industry. This is because ecommerce customers typically are ready to buy, when they're making a search, as opposed to simply doing research or browsing for fun. Your potential customers are ready to hand over their hard-earned cash—but without SEO, they may never even know your store exists. SEO for ecommerce makes sure your store is visible so you can maximize your profits.
SEO is the online equivalent of placing a huge sign in front of a brick-and-mortar storefront that says "we carry dog toys!" or "we sell cat supplies!" Without optimizing your website for these key phrases, your chance at showing up in searches for keywords with high buying intent is slim to none. And because you probably sell a lot of products, you have a lot of products to optimize your site for—and a lot of keyword variations to target.
Keep reading to learn more about our ecommerce SEO process, and how we approach the task of optimizing an online store for our customers.
What Process Does Think IT Loud Use for Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization?
Ecommerce SEO is a multi-faceted process. When you start selling online, you want to be sure that you are directing the right type of customers to your site. You can accomplish this by making sure that you have the right kind of content that contains the right keywords.
Search engines rely on matching the words that people are searching for to the words that are found on your website, meaning SEO for an ecommerce website includes informative, descriptive text. If you have the words on your site that shoppers will be typing into a search engine, you stand a better chance at being found. However, it can be difficult to figure out which words to add to your site, and secondly, how to make sure that you have room for all of the different phrases you need. To start the ecommerce search engine optimization process, you should first know what keywords or phrases you want to target.
Here's how we start our ecommerce SEO process for our customers, and what you can expect when you work with us.
Before making any changes to your website, we first do research to identify the words and phrases you need to include in your content. These are often called keywords or keyphrases. By researching online using free tools, asking your customers how they describe your products, or working with you to find the keywords you already know are successful, we'll find out how you should be describing your store or products to rank highly in searches.
Keywords most often pertain to your products or their central theme. For example, if your ecommerce store sells dog supplies, you would expect to show up in a search for “dog supplies.” So when you develop content for your website, this phrase should be included. This is a critical ecommerce SEO service to establishing an effective strategy for your business.
The next step in our process is to implement the keywords we've found to be most relevant to your website. These keywords will likely be implemented in a number of places, including in your store's homepage, page titles, meta descriptions, product descriptions, and so on. This step is essential to e commerce SEO, ensuring you show up in search results when potential customers need your services.
You can do your own copywriting to implement these recommended keywords, or Think IT Loud can help you with some of it. Some copywriting is included as part of our ecommerce SEO pricing, which you can see above.
OPTIMIZING YOUR PRODUCT PAGES
Every page on your website should be optimized for search engines. When it comes to ecommerce stores, it’s hard to find anything more important to optimize than product pages. Product pages are extremely important because they are most likely to rank for very specific search phrases, also known as “long-tail keywords.” If someone searches for “green rubber dog bone,” you’re probably not going to have this long-tail keyword on your homepage. but it will appear on the product page for this item.
To ensure that your product pages are best optimized for high rankings, we'll make sure that each page has a title, as well as a paragraph or two of keyword-rich copy that describes the item. It may also be a good idea to include the model number (if there is one) so you show up in searches for that, too.
Your product pages should also include images of the items you are selling. Although images themselves have little impact on SEO, including alt text that describes each image is another way that you can get keywords on a page.
CREATING SMARTER WEBSITE NAVIGATION
Ecommerce SEO includes making your site user-friendly. Your website should be easy for users to navigate, even if you carry a wide variety of products. We'll make sure that everything is sorted into sections or categories, and that there is a link to each top level page from somewhere in your menu.
Your navigation needs to be easy to use and understand. If it’s not, you may find that users are getting confused and leaving your site almost as soon as they arrive. Why stay if they can’t find what they want? This quick departure, also called a “bounce,” can lead to a higher bounce rate. High bounce rates tell search engines that your website is not as relevant as you claim for specific terms or keywords, and can lead to your ranking dropping. So avoid confusing your visitors at all costs!
One of the best ways we've found to improve SEO for ecommerce is to use breadcrumb navigation. Breadcrumbs are small links that appear at the top of menu, category, or product pages. Like the story of Hansel and Gretel, a trail of breadcrumbs on a website leads you back where you were previously. We'll use this method to add links and keywords to your pages and give your users a chance to find their way when they are lost.
WRITING GREAT CONTENT FOR SHOPPERS
Since it’s difficult to compete online, one of the best ways you can both add SEO value and draw in shoppers is to add some original content to your ecommerce store. Content can come in the form of a blog, articles, press releases, and even whitepapers or ebooks. Acontent marketing strategy serves two purposes: one, to give search engines even more content to crawl for keywords and phrases, and two, to tell your potential customers that you are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Establishing yourself in these ways is a bonus to both your ecommerce search engine optimization and customer assurance.
Most ecommerce websites choose to set up a blog for this purpose. Blogs come in many shapes and sizes, and can have one post a month or multiple posts a day. For your online store, you may find it easiest to focus on one or two posts a week. You can write about anything your customers might find relevant, like trends in your industry or new products. If you sell pet supplies, you could even post photos of cute animals or run a “cutest pet” contest.
Additional content may take the form of press releases about important company events, articles about industry topics you are knowledgeable about, or even long-form content like an ebook. As long as this content contains a few keywords (or even links to your site), it will be seen as relevant and may help your rankings.
As you can see above, Think IT Loud includes quarterly content as part of your ecommerce SEO plan. What form this content takes is up to you, and we'll work together to decide what kind of content is best for your website, then create it for you and implement it on your site. SEO for ecommerce sites includes all of these factors and more to make your website rank as highly as possible.
Ready to Make Your Store More Visible Online?
Contact Think IT Loud today to find out how a custom ecommerce SEO plan can make your store more visible and turn more of your visitors into real, paying customers. We'll work with you to create a plan completely customized to your unique needs. Just pick up the phone or use our convenient contact form to get in touch with one of our ecommerce experts to let us know!