The rise of the digital economy has made search engine optimization (SEO) one of the most prevalent and useful tools for all advertisers and marketers. Optimizing a website and its content to make it reach the first page of many search engines is the most important thing that SEO can do for businesses.
Why is this important, you may ask. Reaching the top means more impressions, more clicks, more visitors, and more leads. But now, with Google’s ever-changing algorithm, people are starting to ask: Is SEO still a good marketing approach?
ELK Marketing breaks down everything you need to know about eCommerce SEO and why it’s vital for your business’s long-term organic growth.
What is SEO?
SEO is a process that helps a website, a video or any piece of content reach the top ranks of search engines like Google and Bing. This ranking is very important as many studies about consumer online behavior reveal that consumers are more likely to use results from the top of the search results.
SEO relies on the use of relevant keywords in a website that is directly related to a search query. The more a website’s keywords match the query, the higher it reaches in the search engine’s ranking. Optimization makes it possible to balance the incorporation of relevant keywords in a website, while still giving informative and useful content to consumers.
Using SEO strategies can drive website traffic and increase the number of visitors that are potential customers. The people who find you using specific keywords will not be random visitors, but valuable leads and prospects that could become customers. SEO, therefore, not only improves website traffic but can also increase a company’s revenue.
How Professional SEO Companies Can Help
You can be forgiven for thinking that SEO is just about interesting and informative content. Surely anyone can do a good job of creating a website or a blog that would promote a company’s goods and services?
There are tons of websites and online businesses offering similar products or services, and it is more likely that a website that is not optimized or only uses basic keywords, will not reach a competitive ranking position on a search engine’s results page. As we already stated above, the majority of your target consumers will choose the search result which appears at the top. If your business is not up there, they, unfortunately, won’t see you!
Agencies offering SEO services do more than just help your website find the right and relevant keywords. They also offer services such as content creation, link building, website auditing, and competitor research. All of this ensures that a website will have the domain-specific, relevant, and trending information required by the target audience.
But do the same basics apply to eCommerce SEO?
eCommerce SEO | What Is It?
eCommerce SEO is a specific set of strategies for online, eCommerce businesses, to help more shoppers find their products. eCommerce SEO helps an online store gain more visibility and better ranking in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Businesses often optimize their product descriptions, headlines, metadata, and structures for internal linking and navigation. Many businesses often dedicate one page to a product that is designed to attract traffic directly from search engine queries.
Companies are also encouraged to optimize other pages on their website, such as their home page, their FAQ page, as well as contact and about pages. These pages may appear trivial to the key focus of selling a product, but the more keywords you can incorporate onto your page, the better ranking your business gets on search engines.
SEO for eCommerce | Why It’s Important
eCommerce is any transaction that is conducted online whether it is through an online shopping website such as Amazon or eBay, or a company’s online eCommerce shop. The pandemic increased the number of people using eCommerce sites, and the industry will continue to grow in the coming years.
SEO is vital for eCommerce for the same reasons it is important for other industries: online visibility and ranking. SEO helps eCommerce sites increase their revenue with a continuous stream of new buyers and repeat customers. SEO strategies, along with lead nurturing and customer service strategies, help companies funnel in new prospects and buyers.
It Attracts Leads
SEO is more effective than social media to drive leads to an eCommerce website. Consumers are more likely to use a search engine to look for products and services, which makes optimizing your website a very valuable step in lead generation.
Lead Quality Increases
SEO also increases the quality of an eCommerce company’s leads because they are all generated from keyword-related searches for services and products. SEO also makes leads easier to identify since it is their keyword search that led them to the website. It also helps businesses identify which products are generating the most interest and leads.
SEO helps eCommerce websites build authority in their industry or field. If your content is relevant, informative, and provides useful information to your target market, general denizens, or anyone in your domain, you are effectively building up your authority as a reliable information source.
SEO can also help businesses build a website that has content with trustworthy information. This creates more trust in people when they read the content on your website, especially when it is correct, timely, and reliable.
Reduces Marketing Expenses
Even if your eCommerce business is still relatively small, you can still use SEO marketing strategies to help reduce your marketing and advertising expenses. SEO has the highest ROI of any marketing strategy.
Most people are now focused on using online search engines to look for products, find viable suppliers, and communicate through mobile apps or an eCommerce shopping site. Many businesses find that as long as they have the right keywords and content that reaches their audience, revenue will increase.
The Best Practices for eCommerce SEO
Here are some of the best practices that top eCommerce SEO agencies suggest using, especially if you are just starting on your online business journey. Ensuring the implementation of these best practices will make any tactic more effective.
The Right Keywords
Your content should use the right and relevant keywords when it comes to your product titles, headlines, descriptions, and product copy. The primary keyword for your product or service should also be in the metadata, images, and subheadlines. You could also use related keywords called latent semantic index (LSI) keywords throughout your pages to help them rank higher.
Conduct Competitor Research
Many eCommerce businesses may not have any idea of where to start when it comes to building their website. The best thing to do is conduct some research on what your direct competitors are putting out there in the market. Review the keywords they use, check their website for some ideas on their design, content, and approach.
You should especially focus on the kinds of keywords they use on their homepage and product pages. Check their SEO titles in their title tags and descriptions so you can understand the kinds of keywords they are trying to rank.
Use Simple Site Design & Architecture
The design and architecture of a site matters quite a bit in SEO. Your navigation should follow a certain hierarchy, starting from the homepage to the product or service categories, to the specific products.
Search engines will also check the keywords on your product pages and descriptions, so ensure that the internal linking architecture is simple and easy to follow. Some designers suggest that site visitors should ideally find what they are looking for in three clicks, starting from the homepage. This means that the navigation of your site has to be user-friendly.
Optimize Product Pages
An eCommerce site relies very much on its product pages. Optimizing the product pages means ensuring that all essential and relevant information on the product is contained in the product description so that a search engine finds its information valuable enough to rank. Here are ways you can optimize your product pages.
The product name should be part of the title (SEO and URL) of the specific product page. You could add generic terms and specific terms for the product; for example, you can use “skirt”, “skater skirt”, “A-line skirt”, or “casual skirt” for the same product.
You need to have an image of your product on the page which also needs to be optimized. The file name of the image should also use the product name and primary keyword. For all other images of the same product, you could use the other keywords that people would use while searching for it. You should also make sure that the ALT text of the image should include the product name and keyword. This is vital if you want your images to rank in an image search that uses the keywords.
Adding a video to a product page adds more information and content to your product page. It also provides an opportunity to add keywords to the filenames. The video could also be another way to provide additional information on a product, such as how-to videos, testimonials, FAQs, and even more background information about the product’s creation or origin.
Adding reviews on the product page is another way to boost a product page’s ranking. Customer testimonials help sell a product, especially since a large number of people rely on customer reviews to make their buying decision.
Focus on the Homepage
A homepage often requires the focus of any SEO strategy because it’s the first page that visitors see when they visit a site. The following should be included to optimize a homepage.
Homepage title tag
Must include the business name and the main keywords
The meta description should describe your business in a few words. This description appears when people search for a product or service and should entice people to visit the website
The content of the homepage should give visitors brief detailing of the company’s business, and a description of their bestselling products. Use many of your main keywords, but don’t put too much information when it comes to your products. Reserve product details for the specific product pages.
Provide an FAQ Page
Adding an FAQ page will help customers and search engines find your page. Potential customers could look to a website for authoritative information, especially if a company has established itself as a knowledge leader. A company can build up its authority through its FAQ page, and this could further lead to conversions.
Have a Responsive Design
Make sure that your website has a responsive design, which means that it should be easy to use across all devices and gadgets. Giving potential customers and visitors such accessibility will encourage them to visit and use an eCommerce website more often. And of course, improve your ranking in the process. For example, Google’s mobile-first index ranks websites according to how accessible they are on mobiles.
Improve Website Loading Speed
Google also considers how fast a website loads once a user clicks on the website link. The loading speeds for desktops and mobiles are also considered, and this affects a website’s ranking. Once a website goes beyond three seconds, it is more likely to drop in ranking.
There are several ways a website could reduce its loading speed. Your website designer could reduce the number of elements on a page or remove any add-ons or plugins which do not contribute to a company’s eCommerce objectives.
But what works most effectively is reducing the size and dimensions of images being used on the website. Your designer can lower the resolution of an image or use a lower quality file type such as JPG, which retains clarity but does not require much time to load.
Google also uses backlinks as another signal to rank websites. Backlinking means that an eCommerce website has links to third-party sites, such as reviews and guest blogs, that are related to the product or service. The more backlinks a website has, the higher Google considers its ranking, when a particular keyword is queried
Ecommerce SEO Companies Bring Finesse to New Ecommerce SEO Strategies
SEO agencies can of course do all of the above for you, and can also help with keyword research and analysis. But the most important thing they bring to the table is eCommerce expertise. eCommerce SEO agencies will help your business develop an SEO strategy that is specifically focused on the nuances of eCommerce. This includes understanding user intent, keyword search volume, the cost of advertising space through cost-per-click (CPC), and which SEO tactics will work best for a target audience. Let us look at these in some detail.
An SEO agency will research user intent. This means that they will review what users want when they type in certain keywords. They will also add additional keyword information to make a website rank higher, so the search engine will know intuitively what the user is looking for.
Higher search volumes for a keyword indicate its popularity, so using it would imply that a website will become more active when it is extensively used.
CPC lets businesses know if their paid advertising on search engines such as Google, is working, especially for a specific keyword. The higher the CPC, the higher the competition, and so an eCommerce SEO agency will consider other keywords or a long-tail alternative that the business could use.
Developing an eCommerce SEO Strategy
Developing an eCommerce SEO strategy can be a huge task, and any business with a variety of products and services could easily drown in website updates, Google algorithm updates, and the continuous creation of content. But SEO marketing agencies can help eCommerce companies with their SEO strategy. Here is how.
An agency will consider which pages on a website need to be prioritized, and often those are the ones that receive more traffic. If a company has a bestselling product or service, or a product that is considered the trademark of the brand, then the product pages should be optimized first.
Plan a Workflow
SEO requires a website to meet very specific requirements, from keywords to image names. Planning a workflow ensures that updates, incorporating new keywords, and adding image alternate tributes would be done regularly at a set schedule. These are tasks eCommerce SEO agencies excel in.
Check the Competition
Since competitor research is part of SEO’s best practices, an important component of SEO strategy will be to always do more than what the competition offers. Review their sites, products, and SEO efforts, to identify which areas in your website could do with some improvements to overtake the competition.
Always Follow Through
An SEO agency will always make sure to follow through once all SEO tactics are in place and review a website’s conversion rate. The conversion rate optimization considers all elements of a website so they could increase lead conversions. The eCommerce SEO agency will use different kinds of testing to identify which elements need improvement.
Services eCommerce SEO Companies Offer
Here are the most popular SEO tactics and services that eCommerce SEO agencies offer to their eCommerce clients.
This is also called “on-site SEO” because it focuses on a company’s website. It involves keyword use in the SEO titles, meta titles, headings, and meta description, and also interlinking, or creating links to other pages within the website.
SEO Site Audit
An SEO site audit checks all the elements of a site to assess a website’s SEO performance. These include keywords, page speed, links, and metadata. An audit provides insights to a business on how to improve its SEO performance.
SEO keyword research is a process of looking for a combination of words and terms that are connected to an eCommerce industry’s products and services. Agencies use a keyword research tool to help a website focus on a company’s brand. This tool will help companies see the search volume for specific keywords and identify which ones are working for them.
This service covers content creation and uploading product descriptions, blogs, long-form articles, and all other content on a website. Content is where search engines mainly look for keywords, and so the right placement and use of the keywords greatly matter. Relevancy and quality of information are also taken into account when ranking a website.
Content is what brings visitors and leads to a website. The content should therefore be able to provide trustworthy and reliable information. These nuances are vital if your content is to be integral to your SEO strategy and not just part of product marketing. eCommerce SEO agencies have the expertise needed to create the right content for your business.
This service helps an eCommerce website have relevant and reliable links to other sites, connecting to its pages. It also gives any site more authority, relevance, and makes it a more trusted source of industry information.
Does SEO Still Matter?
Given all the great things that SEO strategies can do for eCommerce companies, why is the importance of SEO still questioned? In fact, with Google regularly updating its algorithm, some even ask if SEO matters at all. Here’s what we think.
SEO strategies will not work for every business, especially if they only use one or two strategies. For instance, increasing web traffic would be pointless if you were not reviewing user intent alongside. Increased traffic will not translate into increased sales if you don’t know what visitors to your site have come to buy! It is best to use all SEO best practices to ensure that these marketing tactics translate to an increased ROI.
That said, SEO remains one of the best tactics for eCommerce websites, especially when it comes to optimizing pages for search engine ranking. eCommerce relies heavily on search engine results, and the better optimized a website is, the more high-quality the leads that reach and visit a website.
A business will of course have to audit and review SEO strategies to find out which one works for them, but it is best to use SEO analysts who can develop an eCommerce SEO strategy that is specific to your business.
For entrepreneurs who want to start a marketing agency, SEO is still one of the most basic services you could offer your clients. SERPs still matter, and since they are the primary source of leads for eCommerce companies, SEO will also continue to matter.
What to Look For in an eCommerce SEO Company
Numerous SEO companies are offering all kinds of services to all kinds of businesses and industries. It can thus become a little complicated to find an agency that effectively provides for your specific needs. Here are some basic qualities that a business should look for in an SEO agency.
Digital Marketing Experience & Reputation
Choose an agency that has been in the digital marketing industry for a long time. Their reputation as digital marketers and SEO experts will assure clients of their understanding of SEO strategies and provide confidence in developing one that would suit their clients.
It’s also good to assess the kind of work culture an SEO company has. Find an agency that has a respectful and professional work culture, but still fosters an atmosphere of creativity and encourages out-of-the-box thinking. Given that agencies combine both technical and creative skills, find one that has the professionalism and creativity to enhance and excel in both areas.
Consider the range of services an eCommerce agency offers. They will have all essential services already outlined, but seek out additional services such as website design, social media marketing, email marketing, and any other service that could help your eCommerce business expand its reach.
Rates depend on the kind of services a business would want from an eCommerce SEO service provider. It also depends on the experience and size of the SEO agency. The higher the reputation of the agency and the greater their experience, the higher the rates one can expect.
eCommerce SEO Agency Red Flags
The growth of online business and eCommerce has made SEO services popular for many advertising and marketing agencies, but businesses have to be very careful when choosing an SEO agency for their eCommerce website.
Here are some red flags that could help you identify these questionable SEO agencies.
If an SEO agency does not have complete information on their contact page or does not have social media sites or Google site listings, it is a red flag. This SEO company might not be what it presents itself to be.
Poor Website Design or SEO
Any company that offers SEO services but does not have the best website design or custom eCommerce SEO strategy is never a good sign. A company that does not practice what it preaches can never give a client the kind of services that would be expected from a reliable SEO agency.
A website that has a slow loading speed and has too many elements on its website design is also not displaying the skills they are promising you.
Using cold calls to find clients for an SEO marketing agency is not a good sign. It might indicate a company that values quantity over quality, or it could be a sign of a company’s inexperience in the digital marketing field.
Guaranteed Exact Number of New Links
When an agency guarantees a specific number of links, it might indicate that they have paid links that could harm a website’s search engine performance. Hyperlinking is ideally done organically, with no intent to affect Google’s search ranking.
Conversion Rate Promises
Any SEO agency that promises an exact number of sales or conversion rates might seem too good to be true, and they are. SEO companies can guarantee an increase in web traffic and sales, but to give a specific number or rate that is surprisingly high is not realistic.
For many eCommerce companies, SEO is a vital element in reaching their target and increasing revenues. However, it does require a deep understanding of all the strategies and elements that contribute to a website’s ranking. If you want your eCommerce business to do well or improve its ROI, the best way is to use SEO strategies that work for your business. Sometimes, the right SEO agency can do this better for you. The key is to choose wisely and not be led by unrealistic promises.
Contact our ELK Marketing eCommerce SEO Company today for all your SEO and Digital Marketing needs!
eCommerce SEO FAQs
Here are some questions that many ask regarding eCommerce SEO marketing services.
How Much Does eCommerce SEO Services Cost?
It all depends on the kind of campaign and strategy that a business wants from the eCommerce SEO agency. SEO agencies typically charge anywhere from $2,000 – $10,000 a month for website optimization, content creation, keyword research, and audits. This price range all depends on how little or large the site is, what SEO services are needed, and so on.
What are eCommerce SEO Services?
SEO for eCommerce focuses on using specialized SEO strategies and tactics for an eCommerce website. These services are more focused on online and eCommerce activities, but the bottom line is the same: To increase lead generation, improve website traffic, and increase business revenue.
Is SEO Good for eCommerce?
Using SEO tactics for eCommerce is the best way to increase a company’s website traffic and revenue. Since SEO optimizes a website’s ranking through search engine results and keyword choices, SEO tactics are still the best choice for eCommerce companies.
Is SEO Still Profitable?
More SEO companies are formed every year, and even though other marketing tactics are now trying to take over SEO (social media for example), SEO is still one of the best ways to increase online visibility and improve a website’s authority.
If anyone wants to explore SEO services as a possible business, it is still a profitable industry but does require continuous learning in technology and digital marketing techniques. It is considered one of the most basic foundations of digital marketing and combined with other techniques, gives any SEO service provider the range that their target market expects.