The SEO checklist for eCommerce: best practices to boost sales and increase your eCommerce’s ranking
In our daily growth hacking agency tasks we see it all the time: users’ attention span is getting shorter and your online competitor list is getting longer. These are the facts, and now more than ever you need your eCommerce to rank on Google’s first results page.
But how to generate more traffic? If you are thinking SEA or paid social you are definitely right, but none of them will work at its best if you don’t lay the groundwork for your eCommerce first. Just like the prettiest house will not last if built on shaky foundations, so the best paid campaign will do you no good if you don’t put in some SEO work first. Look at Search Engine Optimization as the one step you need to get going before thinking of anything else. Get that one straight and build on it.
How? By ticking all the boxes on this checklist.
Let’s start with a rule that apparently is not so obvious: secure your website. Data security can be difficult to implement but you just have to make it a priority. You are an eCommerce collecting personal data: everything needs to be encrypted.
Bonus point: Google has confirmed that the Https websites are actually more likely to rank.😉
Important for every website, life or death matter for eCommerces. Did you know for every second improvement in their page speed, Walmart and Amazon increased revenue by 2%? if your page takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will drop out. Pagespeed is always important, but when talking about eCommerce, optimizing your load time, especially for mobile, gets vital.
❏ Meta description
Writing your meta descriptions is something that better be at the top of your to-do’s SEO list, It’s the first thing the user sees on the result page and a good meta can make a huge difference in terms of clickthrough rate. Write a unique meta description for each page, and let me stop you right there, I know what you are thinking. “I have so many pages, I might use one meta description for all of them, perhaps a generic one, something not so strictly related to the product”. Nope. that’s not the way to go. The time you will put into writing different meta descriptions for each and every page will be worth it, we swear. Google will reward it and your CTR will skyrocket. If you still have doubts, start by personalizing the meta for your most important pages, at the very least, and see what happens 😉 Make them as relevant to the page as possible, don’t forget to add a call to action and to mention your USPs (next day delivery or free shipping). Lastly, watch out for the 300 character limit, you don’t want the text to be cut in half.
❏ Title tags
As important as meta descriptions, your title tags needs to be compelling and clear.
Trick: look at successful eCommerces’ product pages and you’ll easily find a pattern:
- primary keyword
- secondary keyword
- brand name
- call to action / USPs
Backlinks are the other way to show your authority. Internal links happen on your website, backlinks happen externally, when someone mentions you on their website. There are multiple ways to get a backlink, you could organically get one (lucky you!), or more likely you could ask for one. Think of giving out samples to influencers in exchange for reviews, or if you are a reseller you could ask the seller if you can be featured on their page in the resellers or where you can find our products section.
Tip: a good way to start is checking where your competitors get their links from. Tools like Semrush will allow you to get a “domain overview”, run your competitor’s URL in and get information about the keywords they are using and ranking for and the list of referring domains and backlinks.
Keywords are the reason why your users can find you. They search for something and you appear, or should appear. If you don’t, you are probably using the wrong ones. Keywords are where it all starts, hence, take your time for keyword research. You will be drawn to go for terms with greater volumes, of course, but greater volume also means higher bidding costs, and higher bidding costs mean more competitors. Your niche furniture eCommerce is not going to outrank IKEA for the word furniture, the key (dad joke, got it? Keyword?) is being as specific and relevant as possible, 10 people looking for exactly what you sell have higher chances to convert than 100 people browsing for general terms.
Watch out for keywords stuffing, you don’t want to randomly overload the text with them, but sprinkle them here and there, everywhere as long as it makes sense.
A short URL containing a primary keyword is easier for google to read. Go for the classic your domain / category / sub category / product and you cannot possibly be wrong.
❏ Product reviews
It’s what we call social proof, and the easiest way to get it is by using after purchase emails to ask users for feedback and showcase it on your website (think of offering a discount in exchange for a review). Do not underestimate the importance of reviews: with the online market getting bigger and bigger, chances are you’re not the only one offering that product, so reviews can be the tiebreaker.
Here’s some data: 77% of customers read reviews before buying and a product with 20+ reviews is almost 84% times more likely to convert.
❏ On page content
The magic number of words seem to be around 1000. If it seems a lot, look at it like this: more words mean more keywords, and more keywords mean better rankings. Either ways, anything under 250 words have a chance to rank close to 0.
❏ Duplicate content
Analyze your whole website looking for duplicate content, two identical pages with different URLs. Redirect one of them or indicate your preferred URL through a canonical. Even though Google does not directly penalize duplicate content, it rewards unique pages, so it’s kind of the same thing.
Disclaimer: unique means that changing some words and use synonims will just not make the cut.
❏ Images and videos
Using multimedia is one of the major sales and traffic boosters. Add high-quality photos and videos, and do not forget to use unique alt tags for every one of them! Visually appealing images, zoom features, a 360° view, the possibility to see al the colours available, these are all things that can, and will, boost conversions. A rule of thumb is that larger images sell better, with a conversion rate 63% higher according to the CXL Institute. It has to do with the fact that the human brain responds better to visual input, it only takes it 13 milliseconds to process a image, and 60 thousands times more to process a text. The same goes for videos, research shows users who watch a video will be 85% more likely to buy.
Breadcrumbs are those quick links at the top of the page. Not only they help the users find their way around your website, they also help google crawl your pages in a more time efficient way.
✅ Does your eCommerce tick all the boxes? ✅
If you get lost and don’t know where to start, you can always get a little inspiration from some popular eCommerce platforms, look at them with a critical eye and you’ll find them having lots of things in common.
They probably have unique, captivating descriptions for their main category pages, as well as for the specific product pages. You will find all the detailed specifications (maybe in a bullet point at the end of the page), a FAQ section, and most importantly a list of benefits, because technical information is necessary but, if you want to stand out of the crowd, making it personal and interesting is a must.