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A marketer's checklist: SEO for eCommerce

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Navigating SEO for eCommerce success

In eCommerce, staying ahead of the competition requires continuous effort and adaptation, in particular to succeed with search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies.

Regular tweaks and improvements to your eCommerce website are essential for achieving the best results in SEO for eCommerce. 

In this guide, we’ll explore the value of ongoing SEO updates and share actionable tips for senior marketers in the eCommerce space.

Here’s what to expect:

  • Getting your SEO foundations right
  • Understanding the unique challenges of eCommerce SEO
  • Innovation: The fuel for your eCommerce SEO strategy

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Getting your foundations right: SEO for eCommerce

Strong foundations are your recipe for success

Before diving into the world of continuous SEO tweaks and innovation, it’s essential to ensure your website’s foundational elements are strong. 

Intuitive website navigation is the cornerstone of an SEO-friendly site. A well-structured, easy-to-navigate website not only keeps visitors engaged but also helps search engine crawlers index your pages effectively. Make sure your categories, product listings, and internal links are organised logically, allowing users to find what they’re looking for with ease.

Website speed is another critical factor. Search engines favour fast-loading websites, as they provide a better user experience. Slow-loading pages can lead to high bounce rates and lower rankings (as well as poorer conversion rates). Optimise your images, minimise unnecessary or bloated code, and invest in reliable hosting to maintain a fast website.

Lastly, ensure your analytics are set up correctly. Having accurate data is essential for making informed decisions about your SEO strategy. Use tools like Google Analytics to monitor traffic, conversions, and user behaviour on your site. By tracking and analysing this data, you can identify areas that require improvement, leading to more effective tweaks and innovations.

By establishing a strong foundation with intuitive navigation, a high-speed website, and accurate analytics, you create the ideal environment for ongoing SEO enhancements and innovation to thrive. These foundational elements are the bedrock upon which your eCommerce success is built.

Illustration depicting a user moving through the consumer journey to making an eCommerce purchase to depict the customer experience

User experience and accessibility 

Search engines can’t crawl a website properly unless it is accessible to all users. And a user-friendly website also converts more visitors into customers.

Regular updates to improve navigation, page load speed, and mobile responsiveness can significantly enhance your SEO. Here are some ways to do this:

Improve site navigation: 

A women’s clothing retailer could include categories relating to product type like clothing, shoes, and accessories. Another option is to categorise by context, for example weddings, holidays, workwear or fitness, creating a seamless and intuitive journey to desired products.

Page load speed: 

Google’s PageSpeed Insights will help you identify areas for improvement. A web page dedicated to product listings should load in seconds, ensuring users stay engaged and search engines rank your site higher.

Mobile responsiveness: 

Check your eCommerce product images scale appropriately, and that your menus and navigation are still providing the optimal experience for mobile users.

Keyword research and optimisation

Effective keyword research and optimisation are essential for maintaining a strong online presence. Keep your keyword strategies updated to reflect the latest trends and changes in your industry. As consumer behaviour and search trends evolve, so should your keywords. 

Stay informed about the latest keyword opportunities in your niche and adapt your content and product descriptions accordingly. Utilise keyword research tools and competitor analysis to identify high-potential keywords that align with your audience’s intent. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMRush are great for identifying new, relevant keywords to target.

Avoid keyword stuffing, a practice where keywords are unnaturally repeated in content, harming the user experience and violating search engine guidelines. Instead, focus on providing valuable, informative content that naturally integrates relevant keywords. 

Keep your audience’s needs in mind and create content that genuinely addresses their concerns. By maintaining a healthy balance between keyword optimisation and user value, you’ll ensure that your SEO strategy remains effective and user-friendly.

When it comes to SEO for eCommerce, consistency yields results

Your competitors are also working to enhance their SEO strategies. Failing to make regular improvements to your website means falling behind in the search results. 

Being proactive and tweaking your site helps you stay competitive and maintain or improve your rankings.

Technical SEO tweaks

Regularly reviewing and improving your website’s technical SEO is crucial. This includes ensuring that your site is well-structured, free of errors, and mobile-friendly. 

Regularly check for broken links, optimise image sizes, and improve website speed. Some good tools to use include Screaming Frog for checking links, ShortPixel for compressing images, and Google PageSpeed Insights for checking site speed.

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Take the first step

Need a technical SEO audit? We’re here to help.

Content audit

Search engines, especially Google, favour websites that consistently provide high-quality, fresh content. Plus, regularly adding and updating content on your site not only helps improve SEO but also keeps your audience engaged and informed.

You could conduct a content audit to identify and update outdated or underperforming content. Start with a list of all the content on the website, and gather the data on each piece of content (page views, bounce rate, conversion rate, etc).

Then set goals for the content, check the relevance and accuracy of each piece, and identify gaps based on their keyword research.

Periodically revise product descriptions, blog posts, and any other content to ensure it remains relevant and informative.

Link building

An essential aspect of SEO is building high-quality, relevant backlinks, which is one from a trusted or “high-quality” website. 

You can build valuable connections by reaching out to authoritative websites in your niche and collaborating. 

Keep your backlink profile updated, removing any toxic or irrelevant links that may harm your rankings. You can use a tool such as Majestic SEO to check these.

The dynamic nature of SEO

Search engine algorithms are constantly evolving, and what worked yesterday might not be as effective tomorrow. But this isn’t something to worry too much about. Typically, the algorithm updates daily with no impact on SEO, but there are a few big algorithm updates per year that do have an impact.

The best thing you can do is make regular website tweaks, improvements and maintenance, along with a steady flow of optimised content.

Analysis and adaptation

Use analytics tools like Screaming Frog, SEMRush, Google Analytics, and Google Search Console to monitor your website’s performance. 

Regularly review the data to identify areas that need improvement. You can adjust your SEO strategy based on the insights you gain from this data.

Work with experts 

Sometimes, managing ongoing SEO improvements can be overwhelming. 

You can hire an experienced digital agency to assist with your eCommerce SEO strategy. Their expertise will provide valuable insights and save you time and effort. Considering Atomic Smash? Get in touch.

Understanding the unique challenges of eCommerce SEO

SEO for eCommerce, while sharing common principles with other types of SEO, presents its own set of distinct challenges. Unlike informational or service-oriented websites, eCommerce sites deal with product listings, pricing, inventory, and online transactions.

In eCommerce, it’s not just about ranking high in search results; it’s about driving sales and conversions for specific products.

Product pages often dominate the content landscape, requiring an emphasis on product-specific keywords and optimisation. Additionally, eCommerce websites need to address issues such as duplicate content (common with similar product descriptions), structured data (for rich snippets and product listings), and ensuring a smooth user experience throughout the purchase process. 

The competitive landscape can also be more intense, with numerous online retailers vying for the same audience – and battling against marketplaces. 

Therefore, while the core principles of SEO apply to eCommerce, the approach must be tailored to address these distinct challenges and focus on maximising revenue and user experience, making ongoing tweaks and improvements all the more crucial.

Illustration of funnel and recurring pound sign to demonstrate conversion optimisation

Expanding your horizons: SEO beyond traditional search engines

Opportunities beyond traditional search engines exist, and these are playgrounds that are ripe for innovation.

While Google remains the primary search platform for most, other platforms like Pinterest and TikTok have gained significant traction. The latter is especially popular among younger audiences, and these platforms offer unique opportunities for eCommerce businesses.

Pinterest

With its visually-oriented nature, Pinterest is a goldmine for eCommerce. Users often turn to the platform for product discovery and inspiration. 

To harness its potential, ensure your product images are visually appealing and well-optimised for Pinterest’s search algorithms. Regularly post engaging pins and incorporate relevant keywords into descriptions and image titles.

TikTok

TikTok has rapidly become a billion-user platform, and the new home of short-form video content and influencer marketing. eCommerce brands can take advantage of TikTok’s growing user base by creating engaging, short videos showcasing products in a creative and entertaining way. 

And TikTok brings not just search opportunities, but social commerce. There are multiple ways to sell directly through the platform, including tagged products, live shopping, and TikTok Shop.

Use relevant hashtags and trends to increase your visibility, and collaborate with popular TikTok influencers to reach a broader audience.

Social media

Don’t forget the power of social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Regularly posting high-quality visuals, engaging content, and relevant hashtags can help improve your SEO indirectly by driving more traffic and engagement to your eCommerce website.

Make sure to include links to all your social media pages from your website and vice versa. This helps to give search engines a much clearer idea of who you are to build up the trust signals.

Online marketplaces

Platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy can complement your online selling strategies and support your reach. 

These marketplaces have their search algorithms, and optimising product listings, descriptions, and images for them can significantly impact your visibility and sales.

Incorporating these alternative search platforms into your SEO strategy can diversify your online presence and help you reach a broader audience, making ongoing website tweaks and improvements even more critical for eCommerce success.

Katie, Sales Strategist, stood in front of exterior wall

Connected product inventories

Pro tip: Make sure your product inventories align so that your stock is automatically synced and updated when products are purchased across different platforms. Need help with that? Get in touch.

Innovation: The fuel for your eCommerce SEO strategy

Maintaining strong SEO rankings requires not only regular tweaks and improvements but also a constant commitment to innovation. 

Therefore, as technology, consumer behaviour, and search engine algorithms evolve, embracing change becomes an integral part of your SEO strategy. 

It’s about staying ahead of the curve.

Innovative SEO strategies involve exploring new tactics and emerging technologies, such as voice search optimisation, AI-driven content generation, and the application of machine learning to better understand customer intent. 

However, it’s also about adapting to shifting consumer preferences, like the rise of visual and mobile search. 

By being at the forefront of these changes, eCommerce marketers can seize opportunities, differentiate their brands, and connect with their audiences in novel and meaningful ways.

Furthermore, keeping a close eye on industry trends and competitors allows you to identify opportunities for innovation and improvement. 

Think augmented reality for product visualisation, leveraging chatbots for customer support, or embracing eco-friendly eCommerce practices. In terms of your SEO strategies and beyond, innovation isn’t just an option; it’s fundamental for achieving the best results and amplifying growth.

Illustration depicting person using virtual reality for eCommerce transaction

Takeaways

Successful eCommerce SEO strategies require a commitment to continuous improvement, adaptability, and innovation. The journey to success is marked by ongoing tweaks and enhancements that ensure your website remains competitive.

Here are the key takeaways to keep in mind:

  1. Stay informed and adaptive:
    SEO algorithms evolve, and user preferences change. Regularly update your SEO strategy to adapt to these shifts and stay competitive.
  2. Content is king:
    Fresh, high-quality content not only improves SEO but also keeps your audience engaged. Regularly update your product listings, blog posts, and other content to maintain relevance.
  3. User experience matters:
    User-friendly websites not only rank better but also convert more visitors into customers. Ensure your site is well-structured, free of errors, accessible, and mobile-friendly.
  4. Explore beyond search engines:
    Don’t limit your SEO efforts to traditional search engines. Platforms like Pinterest, TikTok, and social media can be invaluable for eCommerce marketing.
  5. Embrace innovation:
    Your SEO strategy must adapt to emerging technologies and changing consumer behaviours. Being at the forefront of industry trends can set you apart from the competition.

The world of online retail is dynamic and highly competitive. By adhering to these principles and making ongoing tweaks and improvements to your eCommerce website, you can position your brand for sustained success. 

Remember, in eCommerce, it’s not about reaching the finish line; it’s about mastering changes and embracing the ongoing journey.

Elevate your eCommerce SEO

Work with us to harness the power of continuous website tweaks and innovation.

Tess looking at camera in front of a metal backdrop

Tess Coughlan-Allen Marketing Lead

Wednesday 18th October 2023