Growing your ecommerce using search engine optimization (SEO), requires understanding the basics. Thankfully, with a few ecommerce SEO tips, you can improve the amount of search traffic your website gets.
Sadly, most blogs on the topic are written by content writers and not ecommerce marketers with real hands-on experience. As a former online store owner who now works exclusively with ecommerce brands, I know what you need to know.
Growth doesn’t just happen. It requires a robust plan. You need an ecommerce marketing plan and strategy that aligns with your goals and is measurable.
Over the last few posts, I’ve laid out the building blocks you need in place to be able to scale quickly. This post is a little different as we’re going to jump into a marketing tactic rather than strategy.
Here are 6 easy-to-apply ecommerce SEO tips. These all work with Shopify, Magento, or WooCommerce etc. And you should see results within 60 days.
#1 Watch Your URL Length
Most SEO blogs talk about keeping URLs short, but it’s not something that many in ecommerce consider. There are a few reasons to use short URLs, including making it easy for customers to remember the page.
Ideally, you would only use the keyword in the URL with no category information or conjunctions (such as and, or, with, plus).
Let me explain with a few examples.
Example 1: Fashion watch
If you sell watches, you’ll know it can be a nightmare to keep URLs short and easy to remember.
Consider this item: Mens Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Watch with brown leather strap and stainless steel case SPB311J1
It’s a mouthful! And at 95 characters (spaces included), it’s well over the 75 Google recommends.
You could use: Mens Seiko Presage Sharp Edged Watch SPB311J1. Both for the product title and URL. It clearly states what the item is, the product category, and the manufacturer’s SKU.
So we’ve gone from www.bestwatchesonline.com/mens-seiko-presage-sharp-edged-watch-with-brown-leather-strap-and-stainless-steel-case-SPB311J1 – or a massive 95 characters.
To: www.bestwatchesonline.com/mens-seiko-presage-sharp-edged-watch-SPB311J1 – A healthy 45 characters.
Example 2: Light switch
It might be that I’m currently adding a home automation system to my property, but again the same principles apply.
Let’s take this light switch: Axiom 10A Switch 1 Gang Retractive Press
Even with its SKU (51663), the character count is 46. Not bad, but hardly easy to remember.
For the URL, we could use: www.bestonlinelightstore.com/axiom-retractive-press-switch-51663 – Which at 35 characters is ideal.
Example 3: Candle
So far, I slightly cheated! I’ve used branded goods that are easy to pair down into short URLs. So for this last example, I’ve picked a generic candle!
Current title: Dust Yellow LED Candles (various sizes)
Current URL: https://www.generalgiftsstore.com/all-collections/led-light-up-candles/new-products/dust-yellow-led-candles-various-sizes
The URL is a MASSIVE 87 characters. Google will not show the complete URL in search results (minor issue). The end user is likely to end up on a 404 page or lost in pages of internal search results as it’s impossible to remember if they come back to view it again.
So, we need to change the URL!
The simplest fix here is to remove the categories. So /all-collections/, /led-light-up-candles/, and /new-products/ need to be removed.
The result https://www.generalgiftsstore.com/dust-yellow-led-candles-various-sizes – is a nice, 35 characters. Much better.
You can always put the product category in the title tag, but it doesn’t need to be in the URL. Let’s look at how to edit the product URL on the popular ecommerce platforms.
Editing product URLs on WooCommerce
As a WordPress plug-in, WooCommerce product pages mirror the layout you’d expect with WordPress pages and posts, just with a few modifications.
If you’re using WooCommerce and want to edit the URL, you’ll find it under the product page’s title labelled “Permalink“. You can also edit it if you’re using Rath Math or Yoast SEO plug-ins using the metabox in the right-hand-side.
Editing product URLs on Shopify
For some unknown reason Shopify has place the SEO information at the bottom of the page. So you’ll need to scroll down and look for the box labelled “Search engine listing preview“. Once you’ve found this box, click Edit website SEO and update your URL.
Editing product URLs on Magento
On the General tab when creating/editing a product, about half way down the screen, you’ll see the label URL Key. Like with Shopify and WooCommerce, Magento will automatically populate this field. However, you can easily edit it.
#2 Write Exciting Ecommerce Product Descriptions
A reason visitors fail to convert into customers is poor ecommerce product descriptions. Many ecommerce brand owners forget to optimize product pages for conversions and not just for traffic.
In some industries, you might struggle to organically rank product pages in search engines. The competition is too high. So, you turn to social media, paid channels, and PR.
And while all of these ecommerce SEO tactics have great potential to drive buyers to your store, you still need to give the visitor an enticing reason to buy and an enjoyable user experience.
What’s a bad description?
Let’s start by defining what a poor description looks like. It’s something like: Blue LED candle, 11 cm high by 11 cm in diameter. Comes in a presentation box. Free shipping.
The underlying problem is this. You’re asking the visitor to make a logical purchase rather than an emotional one. If logic is involved, they will look for a cheap product, fast delivery, etc. It becomes a race to the bottom.
Creating excellent product descriptions
Here is a template that will allow you to write good product copy at scale in less time.
Start with Features, Benefits, and the Sweetener.
Features are what the product is.
Benefits are what you’ll use the product for and why someone should buy the item.
Sweetener is a reason they should purchase now. It can be as simple as Free Delivery or Free Gift wrapping. It’s something extra that tips the visitor over the edge!
The best product descriptions create a story that includes the item’s features, benefits, and closes with the sweetener.
Putting it together
We started with: Blue LED candle, 11 cm high by 11 cm in diameter. Comes in a presentation box. Free shipping.
Most of this covers features. But we do have two sweeteners at the end. Here’s a basic rewrite:
Nothing is as relaxing or romantic as lighting candles. If you’re looking for a candle without needing to use a lighter or clean up after it, you need our blue LED candle. It’s ideal for using inside and outdoors.
At 11 cm high and with a diameter of 11 cm, it’s ideal by itself or paired in groups of two and three. As this blue LED candle uses 2 x AA batteries, there’s nothing to clean up after, and no lighter is required. Plus, it has a long battery life!
Order today for free shipping. All our products arrive in a presentation box, making them the ideal gifts, even if yourself is the recipient!
While only a first take, this is far more enticing than our starting point. You could even turn it into a template that you slightly adapt for each product in your candle collections, making it easy to write several descriptions quickly.
Don’t forget the meta description!
Yes meta descriptions are still worth writing, even if Google rewrites them. You only have a 160 characters, so ensure you include your keyword and a benefit of shopping with you.
#3 Add Category Descriptions
Without good clear category descriptions, you miss out on the chance to rank well in organic search. Sure, you might rank for random brand names, especially if the competition is low, but you won’t for general terms.
I see category pages as one step in the buying process. The visitor might have a brand or a type of item in mind but haven’t yet chosen a specific product. By using SEO to capture these visitors, you can use retargeting/remarketing to convert them into customers.
Of course, if someone is brand aware and has not decided on a product, they are further away from actually purchasing. But all hope is not lost. You have the chance to build a solid relationship that will help them to convert at some point soon.
Just like with product descriptions, focus on making an emotional connection with the visitor. Explain why they should care about the brand or product range. And again, finish with a sweetener (free shipping/gift wrapping available/free video consultation) that inspires them to take action now.
#4 Start Blogging (With A Keyword Map)
Next in our ecommerce SEO tips is start a blog. For some people, regularly writing blog posts is so 2004. It’s now all about TikTok! However, your potential customers still use search engines and read online articles.
The main reason blogs fail to work for ecommerce stores is they don’t have a robust plan, including a keyword mapping document and publishing calendar. Instead, they take a post-and-pray approach that doesn’t work out too well!
We’ll cover how to build a blog that matters and content marketing in more detail in upcoming articles. But here are 4 tips to get you started.
#1 Set a manageable publishing schedule
If you can only publish once a month, make it a superb article and stick to that frequency. Don’t start out believing you can magically create time to write, edit, and publish a daily article when you’re already short on time.
Many forget the promotional part of content marketing. So you want to create a checklist of how you’ll promote the articles you write to ensure you get visitors now and before organic search traffic kicks in.
#3 Work with a Keyword Map
Being found using search engines means understanding how keywords work and creating articles that can drive organic search traffic. Many wrongly write content about things that either no one is searching for or are highly competitive topics.
If you don’t have a keyword map, invest in my keyword mapping course as you’ll learn how to drive revenue using blogging and how to find plenty of long tail keyword ideas using free tools such as Google Search Console.
#4 Internal linking
An easy to get new posts indexed by search engines and build a strong site architecture is to add links from articles that already rank. By linking pages together, you keeping visitors on your website as you can provide more information.
Adding internal links are an underused SEO tactic that can have a massive impact on getting new pages indexed, increasing keyword ranking, and keeping visitors on a site.
#5 Bonus Tip! Tracking
You should be tracking the number of visitor you get daily, weekly, and month using Google Analytics. It’s also worth investing in a few SEO tools as they’ll help you with keyword research and tracking, link building, and more.
#5 Encourage Purchases With Internal Links And Customers Also Bought
If you’re not directing customers to additional products, you’ll lose easy money. It’s easy to add 3 or 4 products under the main product description they might also consider buying. Use the subtitle “Customers Also Bought” or something to that effect.
Depending on your ecommerce platform, you should be either able to show products from the same category or customize what’s shown. I prefer the second option as you can display products that complement what they’re looking at and drive more sales.
You can also use internal links within the product copy to entice them to look at other products in your range. These two ideas can help you boost sales overnight with a little bit of work.
#6 Use Digital PR To Earn Backlinks
There are so many digital PR tactics I could show you that would drive sales. Yet I don’t see many brands using them. Yes, getting press is difficult, and time-consuming, but it will increase awareness of your brand.
The goal is to earn backlinks, not just press mentions. So you need to track your outreach and ask for links. Here are a few tips to get you started with digital PR.
#1 Using customer data and insights
You probably have a ton of insights at your fingertips that could be gold for magazines that love to publish data-driven articles. In the UK, the master of this tactic is Love Honey (who sell adult toys). It’s well worth researching and analyzing their approach.
#2 Survey customers
If you don’t have a lot of data or discover an interesting angle that requires some data, use your existing customer base! Simply use an email survey to gather the information you need and turn it into something newsworthy.
Can you find an angle that combines your products with a current trend to create newsworthy material? With a bit of thought, you should be able to!
#4 Unique product testing
If you sell shoes, can you wear a pair for 72 hours straight without removing them? Could you wear the shoes to walk between 4 countries? Think about ways you can uniquely test your products that are also newsworthy.
The master of this is Blendtec. To market his food blender, Tom Dickson started a YouTube channel where he tries to destroy his product by testing how it blends various items. He’s tried keyfobs, iPads, golf balls, and more!
It’s a fantastic yet funny approach that’s gained Tom and Blendtec miles of press coverage. Plus, it’s a simple idea!
#7 Bonus: Page Speed
My first ecommerce store was on WooCommerce but I quickly rebuilt it on Magento 1.8 (now called Adobe Commerce), which is a lengthy story for another day! Both weren’t amazing for speed or for technical SEO.
Shopify has worked hard on its server speed and database management so that businesses using its platform have fast-loading websites out of the box.
Website speed matters because no one will hang around for a page to load. They’ll return to Google and try the next result. So, running regular speed tests using a service like GTmetrix is a must.
The biggest issue most ecommerce websites encounter is poorly optimized images that slow the website down massively. Ensure you save your images as JPGs and in a suitable size for the space. For most websites, an image size of 1000 px by 1000 px is more than plenty.
If you can, use Photoshop or Gimp to resize your images for the main photo and also create a thumbnail version. This way, your ecommerce CMS can load the right-sized image for the space. And don’t forget to get alt text for each image.
Another element that slows a website down is having multiple CSS files and JS files. You should combine them into one CSS file and one JS file.
Various free WordPress plug-ins do this, including Autoptimize. Shopify automatically does it while minifying the files at the same time. But it is worth looking at your source code to double-check this from time to time.
Trying These Ecommerce SEO Tips
Having a robust marketing plan will enable you to scale your revenue and reach your goals. Without a solid SEO plan, you’re leaving plenty of money on the table. These ecommerce SEO tips will help you get on the right path.
Even if your digital marketing plan doesn’t involve focusing on SEO as your market is too competitive, you still need to invest time, effort, and money in enticing product descriptions that create an emotional response.
I hope this guide has given you lots to think about and some ecommerce SEO tips you can apply now that will help improve the amount of organic search traffic to your ecommerce store.
Next time, we’ll dive into the topic of keyword research, which is another important area of ecommerce SEO.
Last month Izabela saw her search traffic from Google increase by 400% using 3 SEO tips we taught her.
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