Learn about keyword research, site structure, and on-page optimization in this guide to ecommerce SEO. Follow this straightforward advice to help your store rank higher in search engine results.

Increasing traffic is a priority for any ecommerce business. But how do you attract visitors without spending heavily on ads? The answer lies in harnessing ecommerce SEO.

Ecommerce search engine optimization (SEO) involves fine-tuning your website to meet search engine best practices and updating your content to reflect what your customers are searching for. The benefits of SEO for store owners include increased visitors, brand awareness, and sales. However, with constant search engine algorithm updates, knowing how to approach search optimization can be challenging.

This guide covers the basics of ecommerce SEO, including keyword research, site structure, and content creation for product pages. With this SEO checklist, you’ll be set up to rank higher and enjoy the benefits of increased traffic.

What is Ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce SEO is the process of increasing the visibility of an online store in search engine results pages (SERPs). The tasks involved in ecommerce SEO vary, including creating content that satisfies keyword queries typed into search engines. For example, an ecommerce store like True Classic, which sells t-shirts, can improve its SEO by creating content on "how to fold t-shirts without wrinkles." Ranking for this keyword attracts additional visitors to True Classic’s website, some of whom will become customers.

Other ecommerce SEO activities involve increasing page loading speed, writing detailed product descriptions, and acquiring links from authoritative websites. Ecommerce websites use SEO to generate more traffic by attracting visitors who input queries related to their products and brand.

Why Ecommerce Websites Care About SEO

When you search for something on Google, you’re taken to a search engine results page (SERP). There, you’ll find approximately 10 organic results. These organic results appear below paid ads and Google Shopping ads.

Ecommerce SEO ensures your product pages appear among the top organic search results on the first page of Google. Websites that don’t rank within the top 10 are rarely visited, and even those in positions three to five receive far less traffic than the top results. SEO company Backlinko found that only 0.63% of searchers click on websites listed on page two of Google search results. It also reported that the first result on a Google SERP gets 27.6% of all clicks.

The goal is to rank as high on the first page of search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo as possible—both for search terms related to your products and searches within your ecommerce area of expertise.

How to Create an Ecommerce SEO Strategy

If you’re new to search engine optimization and want to increase your store’s ranking on Google, follow these six steps. They provide actionable tips for setting up effective ecommerce SEO on your website.

1. Ecommerce Keyword Research

The first step in any ecommerce SEO strategy is identifying high-value search terms that your potential customers use. Ecommerce keyword research can be conducted in several ways. Unlike traditional keyword research, which focuses mainly on informational keywords, ecommerce keyword research targets a mix of informational and commercial keywords.

Using Google and Amazon Autocomplete Predictions: When you start typing a search query into Google, its autocomplete feature suggests relevant queries. These autocomplete suggestions can be a gold mine for keyword ideas, especially when you already have a few basic keywords in mind.

Similarly, you can use Amazon’s autocomplete predictions. Unlike Google, Amazon’s suggestions are product-focused and can include filterable details such as price.

Using Keyword Research Tools: For more advanced keyword research, use tools like Ahrefs. These tools allow you to research and analyze keywords in bulk. For example, if you compete with BustedTees, a geeky t-shirt ecommerce store, enter its domain into Ahrefs and click on Organic keywords to see all the keywords BustedTees ranks for.

Choosing the Right Keywords: No ecommerce website can target every keyword. Based on your customers and products, decide which keywords to try to rank for. Consider factors such as search volume, competition, relevancy, and intent.

2. Site Architecture for Ecommerce

How the pages on your site are organized and structured affects your search engine rankings and user experience (UX). Ensure your site structure is simple and easy to scale as your store grows, and every page is reachable within a few clicks.

Page Indexing: As you implement SEO, strategically choose which webpages to index and rank. Indexing means adding a page to a search engine’s database. Not every page on your site is worth indexing and optimizing, so be strategic.

Adding Breadcrumbs: Add breadcrumbs to your product pages to improve navigation for customers and search engines. Breadcrumbs tell Google how your site is structured and help users understand where they are within your store.

3. Technical SEO

Technical SEO ensures your website is optimized for crawlers, has ideal site speed, and works on mobile. Technical SEO leads to better website engagement and more organic traffic.

Improving Technical SEO:

  • Create logical internal linking with your menus.
  • Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console.
  • Optimize images to load quickly.

Consider hiring a technical SEO expert to run a site audit and optimize your store.

4. On-Page SEO for Ecommerce

Once you’ve done your keyword research and set up your site structure, optimize the content on your two highest-value page types: product category pages and product pages.

Ecommerce Content Basics: Shopify stores include several automatic SEO features, such as canonical tags and generated sitemaps. However, you’ll need to manually optimize title tags, meta tags, meta descriptions, alt text, and file names.

Optimizing Product Descriptions: Write unique, comprehensive descriptions that capture readers’ interest and contain lots of details about your items. Avoid duplicate content by not copying descriptions from manufacturers. Use relevant keywords and subheadings to help Google understand your content.

Using Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) Keywords: LSI keywords are closely related to your main keyword. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to find related terms and phrases. Incorporate LSI keywords into your content whenever they make sense.

Creating Internal Links: Use internal links to drive customers to relevant product pages, category pages, and educational content. Include the target keyword in the anchor text.

5. Blogging

Blogging is a form of content marketing that increases your website’s search visibility. Each blog post can build your reputation, improve your site’s authority, and increase visibility in organic search.

Starting a Blog:

  • Research keywords to rank for and publish content that targets those keywords.
  • Optimize blog posts for SEO by targeting specific keywords.
  • Present your products as solutions to problems, linking to product pages when appropriate.

6. Link Building

Link building is one of the oldest components of the Google algorithm. Google uses the number, quality, and relevancy of a page’s links to judge its trustworthiness. Building quality backlinks can help Google recognize your authority faster.

Building Links:

  • Focus on partnerships and create content that provides value to other websites.
  • Guest post on relevant sites in your niche.
  • Use press mentions by signing up for Help A Reporter Out or Help a B2B Writer.

Best Ecommerce SEO Tools

Avada SEO & Image Optimizer: Helps ecommerce stores with image compression, site speed optimization, schema markup, and more.

SEOAnt: A free tool for running SEO checkup reports, fixing broken links, and optimizing image sizes.

Google Analytics: Tracks and reports website traffic, helping you optimize your store for SEO.

Ahrefs: Analyzes a website’s link profile, keyword rank, and overall SEO performance. Useful for conducting keyword research.

Getting Started with Ecommerce SEO

Ecommerce SEO is an ongoing process. The steps outlined in this guide should help you build a solid foundation. Keep your content original and in-depth, regularly audit your site for technical issues, explore backlinking opportunities, and continually look for new keywords that match your brand and products.