Web traffic refers to users or potential customers who visit your website and is vital for any e-commerce store hoping to generate transactions and sell their products. However, not all traffic is created equal and some traffic is generated by bots rather than through an organic process. We believe the best traffic to your e-commerce website comes from reliable search engine traffic as it takes in the ‘intent of the user’ in consideration as the visitor is already looking for what you have to sell and are already at a stage of the buying process.
This makes being found for keywords that have ‘buying intent’ priceless, and the competition is often very fierce. In this SEO guide, we’ll run through all the processes that we undertake when starting an e-commerce SEO campaign:
- Keyword Research
- Site Structure
- On-Page SEO
- Content Marketing
- Link Building
Keyword Research Guide
In any SEO campaign, the importance of keyword research cannot be stressed enough. Knowing which keywords you’re targeting will allow you to comprehensively plan your website structure as well as guide you with decisions regarding page titles and content. Make sure you’ve read our keyword research guide before continuing with the rest of this article.
The Structure of your E-commerce Website
The structure or architecture of your website refers to how the pages and products on your site are arranged and organised. It is a seriously important SEO consideration for almost any website, but probably twice as so when it comes to an e-commerce store. There are two golden rules to follow when it comes to e-commerce site structure:
- Keep things simple.
- Ensure every page is no more than 3 clicks deep from your home page.
More often than not, the authority of an e-commerce website will be concentrated in its product categories and product pages which are the most important pages of an e-commerce store. You’ll want to use your menu to directly link to your categories, as well as a large call to action and links on your home page that go to these categories. What you should be left with is a site structure that looks similar to the image on the right.
Now that your website architecture is on point, the next thing is making sure that all of the product and category pages on your site are properly optimised (on-page SEO). Below is Backlinko‘s guide to a ‘perfectly optimised e-commerce page’:
Site Speed & HTTPS – Two fundamental aspects of your e-commerce website. Ensure your pages load in under 2 seconds and that the checkout process is https secure.
URL Structure – Use short permalinks with your keyword in them (Be aware of keyword stuffing though).
Title Tag – You need to add your primary keyword in your title. Be sure to add modifiers such as “buy”, “best”, “cheap” etc. to potentially rank for keyword variations (longtail). You can also use ‘magnet words’ such as “lowest price’ and ‘X% off’ in order to boost your click-through rate.
Description Tag – Your description tag should include your primary keyword, as well as any unique selling points of your store (free shipping, summer sale, free X with your order etc.).
Product & Category Page Content – Product and category pages should have at least 1000 words on them in the form of product descriptions, reviews, and FAQ section. Be sure to use your primary keyword between 3-5 times, as well as a decent amount of LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords.
Schema Markup – Be sure to add schema markup to both your product pages and categories. This will ensure that your pages will appear alongside ‘rich snippets’. Rich snippets are things such as reviews, prices and product images that may appear next to your link in the search results.
Content marketing involves creating a piece of content that answers a searchers question by leading them to your product. It can have a huge impact on your e-commerce traffic and potential for making sales. An example of this would be writing and ranking the content piece ‘best salmon recipes’ if you are an online fishmonger. It stands to reason that someone looking for those recipes would also be interested in buying fish online.
Quality, original content can set your website or e-commerce apart from the competition and allows you to share your industry knowledge with your customers. If you suffer from writer’s block it may help to look through forums and communities to see what questions people are asking within your industry.
Building Links to an E-commerce Store
We cover a few link building methods that are applicable to e-commerce in our link building guide. However, there is one method not mentioned in there which is highly effective and mainly applicable to e-commerce; which is the ‘Moving Man Method’ (credit again to Brian Dean for this one).
The Moving Man Method involves finding outdated, expired or simply moved resources. The first place to look is your online competitors who have gone out of business. It is almost guaranteed that there will be thousands of expired domains which once tried to sell something similar to you. The best place to find these is on domain marketplaces such as GoDaddy.
You can then run these websites through Majestic and Ahrefs to find out who was linking to them. You should then inform the webmaster about the broken link and see if it is possible for it to now link to your webpage. With some hard work and luck, you have now found thousands of linking opportunities that your competitors are completely unaware of!