Owning an ecommerce site can be a tough job. Building a site like this can be quite costly, and doesn’t happen overnight.
Even when the site is done being built, there is still a TON you have to do to make sure your store is fit for success.
One of the biggest things you have to deal with from the early days all the way to the sites golden years is: Search Engine Optimization.
Search Engine Optimization (or better known as SEO) is used to rank websites on search engine results pages like Google or Bing!. This is important for online stores because you definitely want your product to come up when someone searches for it.
So how do you properly optimize your ecommerce store for search engines? Well it isn’t quite that simple… so let me walk you through some tips & tricks to get started with SEO on your site.
Making sure your website’s loading speeds aren’t incredibly slow is one of the most important things you can do while it’s being built, and after its been completed. A website’s load speed can greatly decrease a users chance of coming to your store by an insane amount!
Talk to your developers and check the file sizes of the assets on your website. Any extremely large images (bigger than 350kb) should be reduced in size.
You can use a plugin like Smush to compress your image sizes if you are using WordPress, or you can use a photo editing software like PhotoShop to reduce the file size yourself. Large images are notorious for slowing down ecommerce sites so make sure you keep an eye on this.
You can also minify your .CSS and .JS files. This decreases the overall size of the file by quite a bit, and helps browsers process the script faster.
Another thing you can do is make sure the site isn’t bloated by a bunch of plugins. This is especially important for WordPress sites using WooCommerce. Avoid any unnecessary plugins and remove them right away if they aren’t being used.
On-Page SEO for Ecommerce
Your content is everything when it comes to an ecommerce store. How you format your information, and display it to the rest of the internet, is crucial to your success. Your meta titles, meta description, and page content are your first steps towards the #1 spot on Google.
Your meta title will be the first thing customers will see when they search for your product if they come across your site.
Determining how to write content for your titles, comes down to your product and industry.
One thing to always remember is to keep your titles below 65 characters. Anything more, and it will be truncated/cut off by Google.
If you are selling something like branded t-shirts, you would format your titles something like this –
(Brand) (Size) (Color) (Product) with (Additional Attributes)
Gucci Medium White T-shirt with Floral Patterns
But there is a key difference for products like tools or sunglasses. For these types of items, you would format them like this –
(Company/Brand) (Model Number) (Series) (Sizing/Color) (Product) with (Additional Attributes)
Milwaukee 001234 M4 Series 2 in Hex Screwdriver 175 lbs/Torque
Oakley 123400 Latch Series Prizm Grey Alpha Sunglasses
If this type of formatting doesn’t work for you – try to think of how your customer would Google your product if they found it sitting on a shelf somewhere and wanted more information about it.
Your meta description is what is displayed below your page title in search engines when someone comes across your product.
You want to properly describe the product and include as many attributes of the product as possible in this short little section. Page descriptions should be no longer than 160 characters. I know it can seem tough but don’t worry! Let me show you what I mean using the same examples as above:
Gucci size medium white t-shirt with floral patterns. Created by Italian designer Alessandro Michele. Made from 98% cotton/2% spandex. Free shipping available.
Character Count = 159
Milwaukee 001234 M4 Series 2” hex screwdriver with 175 lbs of torque. Features ergonomic grip, variable speed trigger, 15+1 clutch setting and 0-500 RPM.
Character Count = 153
You will be able to line up with customer searches (or search intent) by using this style of formatting. Most customers will be searching by company, model number, or size, so make sure you include these in your descriptions.
Your page content is what is really going to make a difference for your ecommerce site. The more high-quality content you have – the better. Just make sure your content is actually valuable and viewed as high-quality content/
Now, this is very subjective. Some products you can’t simply write up 1000 words of content for. But any bit of extra effort can be taken a long way here.
Make sure all your content is unique and not copied from any other websites, and that it’s different than your page description. Include any and all attributes the product may have. Describe the benefits to owning the product, and how it can benefit the buyer’s life. Try to avoid tons of marketing fluff as well.
If you are running out of ideas use site features like a sizing graph to help garner more content.
Basically, show your products some love and do their pages right.
Optimizing your images is just as important as optimizing your page content. Like we said previously in this article, you have to watch your image file sizes and make sure their alt tags are filled out.
Your alt tags tell Google what they image is about. At the moment, Google can’t see images, so it depends on us to tell its bots what the image is related to.
You would fill out your alt tags with something similar to your page title. Make sure to include important attributes about the product like color, sizing, its series, and model number.
For more information on On-Page SEO techniques – check out our SEO guide.
Off-Page SEO for Ecommerce
SEO isn’t just about the content on your page. An enormous part of SEO has to do with backlinking or getting other sites to link back to your website in other words.
Google gauges your sites “authority” by measuring the amount of links coming back to your site from around the web. So I bet you can guess this can be a little daunting when you first start your site. It can be tough to come up with a backlinking strategy! So here’s a few tips to help you get started.
Product Reviews – Try reaching out to blogs, influencers, or YouTube channels to give your product a review with a link back to your website. Unique products have a huge advantage over just reselling average items when it comes to this strategy. No one wants to review a product that has already been reviewed a thousand times.
Most of the time they will just ask for the product to be sent to them and that’s it! The added bonus of exposing yourself to their audiences is a great added bonus as well.
Listing on other Marketplaces – Another great way to get links back is to search for similar marketplaces to your niche, and post your products on their site. Make sure they allow you to link back to your original site, and don’t post your entire catalog on their either. This is a great way to build relevant links quickly but isn’t the best long term strategy.
Make a Blog – Making a blog is one of the best ways to help build links back to your website. Create your own product review or comparison articles, make tutorial videos, and editorial articles to help bolster your content and allow your followers to share your stuff. Blogging can be one of the most rewarding investments for a company, and is one of the best long term backlinking strategies out there. So what are you waiting for? Go start your blog ASAP!
In the article we talked about the different factors involved when you get started optimizing your ecommerce store. From on-page & off-page SEO factors to backlinking and technical SEO – this article has it all! We hope you were able to improve your store’s SEO using our list of proven tips & tricks.
One more thing to remember… even after you reach #1 on Google, you still need to keep it. That means always remaining relevant, and creating content on the regular to stay ahead of competitors. Complacency can kill your rankings just as much as bad content.
Still need help optimizing your ecommerce store? Go Top Shelf has a great track record for providing results to clients from a variety of different industries so give us a shout today to see if were the right fit for your store.