SEO for ecommerce websites is about improving your website’s search engine presence and ranking positions in organic search results. Selling products online isn’t new, but is becoming more and more popular and a leading way of selling products in 2022 and beyond.
It’s estimated that global ecommerce sales for 2021 are 4.9 trillion USD. 2020 saw the biggest global annual increase in ecommerce sales, with an approximate rise of 25%. This is in part due to the Coronavirus pandemic, with many consumers working and shopping from home. Even without this additional factor, ecommerce sales are growing year-on-year, as a convenient alternative to shopping on the high street.
It goes without saying, that if you sell products as part of your business, it’s essential to have an online presence and harness the growth of ecommerce retail.
There are two ways to appear on search engines for relevant searches; through paid ads (clearly marked, and usually at the top or bottom of search pages), or in organic search. Organic search listing positions cannot be bought, and improving ranking positions can only be achieved by attention to website quality. The way to this, is through ecommerce SEO.
While SEO or search engine optimisation has been around as long as search engines, the way websites are assessed and ranked by major search engines including Google, has changed significantly.
Ecommerce Website Ranking Factors
Where website ranking was mainly focused on relevant keywords in the website written content 20 years ago, today there are over 200 factors that go into the assessment of where a website should rank. These are calculated by a series of complex ranking algorithms, which look at factors including page meta tags, website content and referring domains (backlinks).
Your website’s title tag, or the text title displayed in search results, tells search engines what heading to display in the SERPs (search engine results pages). This is also used to assess the relevance of the page for ranking purposes.
Website content is a huge factor, and determines how relevant, useful and trustworthy the business and website pages are. Google use their ‘E-A-T’ formula as key pillars of website ranking. This stands for; Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. If you are able to demonstrate these within your website, you are halfway to a quality website, capable of ranking high for relevant searches.
The other major factor in ranking today, is backlinks; links from other websites to yours, and act as a kind of business referral, or a vote or relevance.
How Ecommerce SEO is Different
Ecommerce SEO isn’t hugely different to SEO on a regular informational or portfolio style website. The main difference being the listing of products and inclusion of product categories. Both products and category pages can rank independently in search results, which is hugely convenient in finding products quickly as a consumer, but involves a considerable increase in SEO work for ecommerce website owners, over more basic service style websites.
While learning the fundamentals of ecommerce SEO is plausible for many website owners, the sheer volume of knowledge and skills required to make significant ranking gains leads many business owners to use the services of a professional ecommerce seo agency. Agencies with experience in ranking ecommerce websites, or online stores as they are commonly know, are in touch with the latest best practices for SEO and can often achieve results in a much shorter time.
As with all SEO practices, it is important to keep in mind that ecommerce SEO takes time and patience. Search engines deliberately disallow fast and significant increases in ranking positions to avoid website owners cheating the system. If it is not done correctly, the chances are, you will see little or no ranking position increases. Which in turn will result in no increase in traffic or sales.
A Quality SEO Strategy
Having a regularly updated website is essential, demonstrating to search engines that content is up-to-date and accurate for your users. A good ecommerce SEO strategy will also improve the user experience on the website, which is important for Google and other search engines.
A good ecommerce SEO strategy should include keyword research that targets key terms that are relevant to your customer’s searches. They should also receive regular monthly searches. It doesn’t matter how relevant a keyword, or search term is; if nobody searches for it, you won’t receive any website traffic. Deciding on a keyword list is the starting point of any ecommerce SEO strategy. There are various excellent SEO tools that will provide this information for you.
Overall it is vital that your ecommerce website is easy to navigate, find information, including contact details, and make the user experience as hassle-free as possible. Search engine users don’t want to spend time visiting multiple sites, so it’s important to get the website quality right from the start, and convert your website traffic to enquires and sales.