E-commerce entrepreneurs and marketers: listen up!
If you’re trying to drive more traffic to your e-commerce site, it’s important to optimize your website structure and content for search engines, so that you can increase organic traffic, attract more customers, and generate more sales.
To help you optimize your e-commerce site and get that traffic, we’ve created this comprehensive, step-by-step e-commerce SEO checklist that you can use to get started right away.
This e-commerce SEO checklist can be applied to any e-commerce store to increase your traffic from search engines as quickly as possible.
Ecommerce SEO Basics
First, let’s go over the mandatory tools and plugins you’ll need to optimize your e-commerce sites.
Set Up Google Search Console
Search Console is the free tool provided by Google to website owners.
It provides useful data about your website’s performance in Google’s search results. For example:
- Which keywords are generating the most clicks
- What’s the click-through rate of your page in the search results
- How your keyword rankings have changed over time
Plus, Search Console is useful to perform technical SEO tasks like:
- Request crawling and indexing of your website’s pages
- Submit your website’s sitemap to Google
- Check your robots.txt file for errors
Search Console is a must-have tool for your e-commerce store. Here’s a resource to help you set up Google Search Console:
Install Google Analytics
If you haven’t installed Google Analytics yet—stop everything else you’re doing and do this instead.
With Google Analytics you’ll be able to link your SEO efforts to the sales of your e-commerce store.
You can use Google Analytics to learn things like:
- How much revenue you’re getting from SEO
- What’s the conversion rate of your organic traffic
- Which pages or products are generating the most revenue through organic search
Plus, you can connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics and perform analysis that mixes both data sources.
Here are some resources to help you set up Google Analytics:
- How to Add Google Analytics to Your e-commerce Site
- Configuring Search Console data in Google Analytics
Perform Keyword Research
The first step of SEO optimization is keyword research. By doing keyword research, you find out keywords and search terms that you want to rank for. When you are choosing your keywords, you want to look at keyword search volume, search intent, and competition.
Those keywords are easier to rank, have fewer competitors, and a good chunk of people are searching for them.
You can use SEO tools such as KW Finder & Ahrefs to do keyword research and competitor analysis, link building and backlink analysis, SEO audits, and more.
Optimizing the Content of Your Ecommerce Business
Google can’t understand content as easily as humans. On-page optimization is the process of helping search engines understand what your content is about to get higher rankings.
Optimize Your Titles and Meta Descriptions
Title tags are still one of the most powerful important elements of on-page SEO. The title tag is what people will see on Google’s search results page.
The meta description is the snippet of text that appears in search results below the page title. Even though the meta description is no longer a ranking factor, it can indirectly help you get higher rankings by increasing your CTR.
You should optimize the title and meta description of the following pages of your e-commerce website:
- Blog posts
Optimize Your URLs
URLs give search engines and users an indication of what a certain page is about.
Google has started to give more relevance to URLs by moving them to the top of each search result.
Here’s an example of bad, good, and better URLs for a product page optimized for“boxing gloves”:
- Bad URL: https://www.boxingfire.com/products/product-109398 —this is hard to remember and not descriptive at all
- Good URL: https://www.boxingfire.com/products/the-worlds-lightest-boxing-gloves —this includes the target keyword but it’s very long.
- Better URL: https://www.boxingfire.com/products/boxing-gloves —this is short, descriptive, and includes the target keyword.
Optimize Your Pages for Higher Engagement
Google’s entire business model relies on being able to provide relevant results to people’s searches.
That’s why a lot of SEOs believe that Google has started to use engagement metrics to help determine whether a piece of content is relevant to a searcher or not.
It’s simple: if a searcher spends time on your page and interacts with it, Google can assume that the information shown to that user was relevant.
In eCommerce, a few things you can do to increase engagement include:
- Writing detailed product descriptions on your product pages
- Adding high-quality images and videos of your products
- Highlighting rating and reviews
- Linking to related products
Optimize Your Images
Search engines “see” images by reading the ALT tag and looking at file names, among other factors.
Optimizing the images in your e-commerce store is a 2-step process.
First, use a descriptive name for the image file before you upload it to your site.
- Bad filename: IMG-190303.png
- Good filename: women-white-shirt.png
Second, edit the alt text of your image inside the admin panel—the best practice is to write a short description of the image.
Add Internal Links
When you add a link from “page A” to another on your site, “page B”, that’s called an internal link. Internal linking is helpful for SEO for 3 reasons:
- They can pass some of the SEO value from one web page to the other
- They can help Google understand the content of a page
- They can help users find other relevant content on your site (increasing engagement)
In your eCommerce store, you can manually add internal links when they are relevant. However, a quick and easy way to add internal links is to add a “related products” section to your product pages.
Link Building For Ecommerce
Link building is one of the most powerful things you can do to increase your rankings. This is one of the hardest parts of SEO, but there are a few tactics that work great for e-commerce.
To determine which pages to rank above all others, search engines rely heavily on the authority of pages and websites.
In SEO, authority is mainly determined by links—more specifically, links from other sites to yours.
- More links > fewer links
- Links from sites relevant to the topic of your site > links from completely irrelevant sites
- Links from sites with high authority > links from sites with low authority
- Links from several sites > several links from a single site
- Links in the body > site-wide links (e.g. header, footer, or sidebar)
Below are some tactics you can use to build links to your e-commerce site:
- Fix Broken links
- Find unlinked mentions
- Get your products reviewed
- Guest post on relevant sites
- Get interviewed on podcasts
- Get media mentions with HARO
Technical SEO for Ecommerce
Technical SEO is everything you do to make it easier for search engines to find and crawl your website. Technical issues can prevent your site from ranking and getting organic traffic.
Speed Up Your Ecommerce Site
Search engines value sites that provide a good user experience and the speed of your site is a huge factor.
A slow loading site will increase your bounce rate, as visitors lose patience and leave. If you are deciding between Shopify and WooCommerce, Shopify generally has better speeds, but there are a variety of different plugins you can use to speed up your site.
Many tools offer speed tests along with suggestions on how to make your page load faster—some of the ones we like are Google’s PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix, Pingdom.
Submit Your Sitemap to Google Search Console
An XML sitemap helps search engines understand the structure of your site and find all the pages that you want to be indexed.
Shopify and WooCommerce both make it easy to create and update your website’s sitemap. Shopify generates this automatically and you can find it at www.yourdomain.com/sitemap.xml
If you use WooCommerce, it won’t generate for you automatically, but it is easy with the Yoast SEO plugin or Sitemap Generator.
Some more tactics you can use to optimize your technical SEO are:
- Fix crawl errors
- Use to HTTPSUse a Responsive Theme
- Fix Broken Links
There you have it! Hope you found our steps helpful.
If you want to go through the steps of the e-commerce SEO checklist, you’ll be able to generate more traffic, customers, and sales.
Our e-commerce SEO checklist is packed full of tips on SEO strategy and includes clear guidelines and walkthroughs to figure out all of these.
Don’t forget to download it below!