What Ecommerce Websites Need to Know About SEO

e-comerce street sign on a traffic light

Performing SEO for e-commerce websites doesn’t follow the same routine as optimizing a traditional website. For starters, e-commerce websites tend to have hundreds, if not thousands of individual product pages and specialized category pages. Optimizing every single page can seem overwhelming for many e-commerce shop owners, but Google needs access to some elements of SEO, otherwise these stores will never find an audience. If you’re not sure how to implement SEO on your e-commerce website, find out how you can use your resources more wisely without spending a lot of time optimizing every single page.

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Master Title Tags and Meta Descriptions

Instead of filling every product page with paragraphs of optimized SEO content, start by making sure that you have the basics of SEO down. That means create unique, eye-catching title tags and meta descriptions for every page, including categories and individual product pages. This shouldn’t take up too much of your time as every page will feature the same pattern. If you run a garden supplies store, you might try something like this:

Category Pages:

  • “Gardening Shears | Mr. Potter’s Gardening Supplies”
  • “Mulch and Fertilizer | Mr. Potter’s Gardening Supplies”

Product Pages:

  • “Round-Tipped Sculpting Hedge Shears | Mr. Potter’s Gardening Supplies”
  • “Deluxe Landscaping Set | Mr. Potter’s Gardening Supplies”

Make all your title tags and meta descriptions count by using all those relevant long-tail keywords that you’ve researched. Keep things concise and straight-to-the-point while still finding a way to get users excited about the products featured on your site.

Monitoring User Behavior with Website Analytics

Every e-commerce website is different. Some are filled with several main products with hundreds of small accessories, while others sell products related to every conceivable interest like Amazon or Walmart. Designing an e-commerce website and filling it with the right keywords all comes down to specific user preferences. An effective SEO strategy shouldn’t just be about one person making all these decisions in a vacuum, it should be based on user analytics.

When a customer lands on your home page or one of your product pages, they’re not going to buy anything if they’re having trouble finding the information or products they’re looking for. As an e-commerce website owner, you should be creating a meaningful experience for your users, so they’ll enjoy spending time on your website. If you don’t, Google will punish your website by driving it further down in the search results because no one is actually engaging with your products or content.

That’s where website analytics comes into play. Hopefully your web server offers some built-in user analytics, or you can use a third-party monitoring service like Clickstreamr. This will give you loads of insight into who your users are, including their age, how and where they’re accessing your website, and what they’re interested in. If the layout of your website isn’t working, website analytics will be the first one to let you know.

Try formatting your product descriptions, photos, and other product content in different ways to boost user engagement. If some products are more popular than others, you can feature them in the “Recommended Products” section or on your home page. It’s all about giving your users what they want to see.

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Making Every Product Description Unique

As easy as copying and pasting the same product description over and over again can be, your users (and Google) deserve better. Your customers will be less eager to engage with your website if they’re seeing the same content on every page. Google will also hesitate to rank your website’s individual product pages if they don’t have original content. So, that means it’s time to start writing.

Make sure you’re using the right keywords based on your keyword research and find a way to speak your users’ interest by using the right language and tone. If you’re selling office equipment to business owners, you should be using a more professional tone. While you should be using a completely different tone if you’re selling hair accessories to tweens.

Take Advantage of Customer Reviews

Google loves highlighting unique content, so why not let your users do some of the work for you? Instead of laboring away on lengthy product descriptions, you can create a customer review section for each one of your products.

This gives your customers a chance to see what other people think about the products you’re selling, but it also gives Google more content to work with. Online reviews boost e-commerce revenue per user visit by 62%, as reported by DigitalCommerce360.

Most e-commerce web hosts like Shopify give you the option to set up customer reviews, so this shouldn’t bog down your schedule too much. Hopefully, you have great products to sell, so all those user reviews will be glowing.

Don’t Neglect Your UX/UI

This goes along with the website analytics that we’ve been talking about, but it bears repeating: don’t forget to spend time optimizing your UX/UI design. Your search engine rankings will increase if you’re creating an exciting online shopping experience.

Just like brick-and-mortar retail store managers will arrange the space in a certain way, highlight the newest or most popular products upfront, design a compelling window display, and put on just the right music, you need to customize your e-commerce store so that it appeals to your customers in a truly memorable way. This leads to repeat customers, more conversions and sales, and better search rankings.

Don’t forget about mobile shoppers or what’s known as m-commerce. As Statista illustrates, mobile e-commerce spending now accounts for 24% of all digital commerce spending in the U.S. Make sure your users are accessing a mobile-version of your website when they’re logging on with a smartphone or tablet. Overall, you should experiment with your website’s layout and content until your customers are over the moon with your website, even after they check out.

**This is part one of a three part series focusing on SEO for e-commerce websites. Part 2 will be focusing on SEO Content for E-Commerce websites while Part 3 will be focusing on Link Building for E-Commerce websites.

Get in touch with Paul for a consultation to lead your e-commerce business to SEO success. He will assess your trouble areas and help you determine the best course of action for driving traffic and developing high ranking content that will bring you solid results that your business can count on for more exposure and better sales.

About the Author

Paul Teitelman - SEO Consultant

Paul is a well-respected Canadian SEO consultant and link-building expert with over 15 years of experience helping hundreds of companies rank for competitive keywords on Google. He is a Toronto-based SEO consultant who is passionate about search engine optimization and link building. Over the years, he has made a reputation for himself as a leader in the industry by consistently delivering phenomenal results to his growing client base.