E-commerce refers to a shop or service that operates exclusively online, so this means that there is no physical shop that customers can visit. Running an online-only business has many advantages over a business with a physical location. You are not geographically restricted, don't have opening hours, and can reach a wider customer base. Best of all, you save on many costs, such as rental fees.
Promoting an online store’s SEO is, of course, inevitable. But when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) for online stores, there are a few things to consider, and optimization looks a little different than for a brick-and-mortar store. In the following article, we explain which steps you should consider if you want to make your e-commerce fit for your online presence.
What structure should an online store have?
The main focus of your online store should be on the product and category pages. The structure should roughly follow the graphic below. This means that the site should have a home page and from there it should fan out to category and product pages.
It could look like this:
Following this structure has a great advantage because the store becomes easy to navigate, and thus particularly user-friendly. User-friendliness is an important criterion for search engines, so a good structure has a direct positive effect on the ranking.
Should you have already created a store and want to restructure it, one important thing to pay attention to is using the correct redirection links from the old to the new pages.
If you want to learn more about building and organizing a website in general, you can learn more here.
Things to look out for when creating content for e-commerce
When writing content for your e-commerce website keep in mind that Google is a full-text search engine, so it's fair to say that Google values written content. It’s therefore obvious that not only do you need to create a lot of content but you also need to make sure that you deliver the best possible quality in the process. But what exactly does this mean? Mainly, making sure that you're not only trying to please the search engines, by over-optimizing your content and stuffing it with keywords. Instead, try to write for your potential readers and deliver real value with your writing. Google will acknowledge that because it can tell if a text is user-friendly, informative, and well written.
Of course, your goal is to sell but refrain from an aggressive approach that may scare your readers away. Rather than desperately trying to sell something, think about the value you can provide: Inform first, sell later! As mentioned earlier, information is valued by search engines.
When writing, take a step back and adjust your writing perspective to be more aware of what stage of the customer journey your reader is on.
For example, are you informing customers who are still researching, or are you writing for customers who are already ready to buy?
Content for Category sites
That content is extremely important should be clear by now. In the following section, we will go into what the content for the most important types of e-commerce pages should look like. Let's start with the category pages.
A category page is the main page for a specific product group. For example, for clothing, it would be a page showing women's clothing, men's clothing, etc. Besides a clear organization of the store, these pages have other important functions. They are usually very long-lived, even if the product is constantly changing, and thus have a higher chance of gaining traffic.
Category pages are an important means to increase the visibility of your online store. In contrast to product pages, they usually exist longer and therefore have a particularly great potential to achieve good SERPs in the long term. In terms of content, category pages allow you to work with more general keywords because SEO is a longer-term affair and search engines usually reward consistency.
Write your category pages carefully and make sure not to keep the texts too long. A few sentences are more than enough. You can always place longer texts in the product section. To surmise, try not to distract from the product itself with too much text.
Specifically, the text should give the visitor an overview of what to expect on the site with the inclusion of a link to the product with a CTA text e.g. learn more. Even if the category text may seem a little less relevant than the more exciting product pages, you should not underestimate the power of the category page. It may very well be that your customers come across this page first instead of the product page, so it should be executed in a smart and compelling way to spark the customer's interest.
Content for product sites
Unlike category pages, product pages allow you to be more creative with your products and write longer texts. Creating good content for products is vital because it is proven that customers are likely to read it. Therefore, it strongly influences the purchase decision. Especially when it comes to higher-value products or more expensive services, customers are particularly interested in these texts. This means you should definitely invest time in these texts! Explain exactly what your product is about and why the customer needs it. If you do this well, you can show off your expert knowledge, which is a good thing because customers will trust you more and an actual purchase will be more likely. Unlike the categories, you should not use keywords that are too general. Instead, use long-tail keywords that answer a question. Generally, it is a good idea to use question words such as (where, what, how), because millions of people enter questions into the Google search engine every day to which they hope to find an answer. If you answer their potential questions they might wind up on your site. As an example, say you sell a special tool to cut avocados. You could use the keyword "How to cut an avocado correctly".
Regarding the text, the body text should be around 1000+ words and should be kept as individual as possible. Establish a certain structure, and adapt it to the other product sites.
Paragraphs have a maximum length of four lines. Since users sometimes just skim the text, you need to use headings (H2, H3, or even bold sentences/keywords). Your main keywords must be included in H1! Try to set it at the beginning of the sentence.
Be careful not to create texts that are too complex. Even though it is important and useful to show its expert knowledge, you must remember your audience may not be familiar with the terminology, so write in such a way that even a non-expert understands what you are talking about.
Besides appealing texts, you should by no means neglect the visual presentation of the products.
Use media: Display good pictures of your products. Make sure they are as small as possible but still of good quality. If you use pictures don’t forget to use an alt-tag! Furthermore, a video explaining the product can have a very positive impact. Without any media, it is very difficult for a customer to understand what the product is all about and this has a very bad impact on the conversion rate, i.e. the actual purchase.
Please use CTA'S!
Not using them is unthinkable. A call to action (CTA) is an important factor if you want to sell your products or services online. It's not always about a button that says "buy now". Calls to action can also be in text form at the end of a page, so you can encourage your readers to sign up for your newsletter or leave a comment/review. When creating the content of CTA buttons, always make sure that it complies with the legal framework and that it is clear when a purchase is being made.
Top 8 SEO basics every online store should be aware of
- URL: Shorten it and add your keyword to it.
- Keywords: The goal is to identify the terms your target audience is using to search for your offer. Focus on informational keywords, these are longer and less generic than transitional keywords.
- Meta tags: The meta title and meta description are critically important because they show up in Google search results. So you should try to put the keyword at the beginning of the description or title so that the searcher knows that your description/title contains what they are looking for.
- Page speed: Make sure that the loading time of your page is not too high. For this, you can use the Google tool PageSpeed Insights. Read more about it here.
- Mobile optimized: Optimize your site for mobile devices, click here for more information.
- Backlinks: External Links - links to information sites, and asking for links, backlinks will increase your domain authority.
- Duplicate content: Removing duplicate content has a positive effect on the SEO of your e-commerce stores.
- Shopping cart: The shopping cart must be well-positioned and visible on each page.
Besides the positive effect that a large number of reviews have on SEO, the influence of a sizable number of customer reviews for conversions cannot be understated. Customer reviews are of utmost importance to create trust. Hardly any customer buys a product nowadays without checking other customer reviews. As a shop without a physical location, the Google My Business platform is rather less suitable for collecting reviews. You can register your company with review portals and ask customers to rate you there. You also have the option to present these reviews on your store homepage so that customers can find them directly. You can use platforms like Trustpilot, trusted store, and many more. If you want to know more about online reputation, you can find out more here.
Online presence on Google Merchant Center
It is important to expand your online presence, especially if you have an online business without a physical store and therefore the Google my Business platform is not ideal for you.
For example, you can register your site/shop in Google Merchant Center. This way you ensure that your site can appear in Google search results or in the sub-item Google Shopping. To sign up to Google merchant center the user only needs a google account. Then they can easily upload data and thousands of products. Here, too, it is important to keep an eye on SEO and the use of Keywords in the product title, description, etc.
Why is Amazon a great place to sell your products?
Millions of customers are on Amazon every day looking for solutions to their problems or for specific products. Unlike the search on Google, you do not have to fight against millions of websites and are already one step closer to the customer.
You can profit from Amazon's traffic and trust (that will reflect on you) and save time on intensive online marketing work to drive customers to your website. Amazon is a product search engine that is primarily used by customers who already have an intent to buy anyway, so being there you save yourself the detour via the general search engine.
But how can you make sure you are successful on Amazon?
SEO is an indispensable tool to advertise your product on Amazon! Your product page on Amazon must necessarily be SEO optimized because after all Amazon is also a search engine that analyzes your content.
Therefore, Amazon requires interesting content that is informative and contains the most important keywords. Furthermore, you should know that as for any e-commerce store, the visual representation of the products is the top priority for Amazon. Make sure you provide the best possible product images and graphics.
In summary, SEO is the key to success for your e-commerce store. For its optimization, you should therefore focus on the best possible content, do thorough keyword research, and be very aware of your target audience. If you need help from an application, you can turn to rankingCoach, an all-in-one online marketing application that will help you achieve online success.