As part of our marketing efforts for both our clients and ourselves, we always keep a close eye on one of our favourite tools, Help a Reporter Out (HARO) to look for opportunities to respond to journalist requests and subsequently secure media coverage.
Whilst doing so, we recently came across somebody looking for tips for SEOs working with ecommerce websites and in the process of writing our response, we realised that this is something that we have a lot of experience and knowledge about. (Just take a look at our case studies with This Works, Vax and Fat Face.
We had enough advice that we could put together our own blog post to share with the world. It’s pretty short and sweet but full of actionable tips to take away.
So here it is, six SEO tips for your ecommerce website in 2018:
1. Understand How to Optimise for Voice Search
Voice search is becoming more and more important in everyday life and here at SiteVisibility, we think it’s really important for retailers & ecommerce sites to try and capture this traffic.
By 2020, voice will account for 50% of all searches (https://www.campaignlive.co.uk/article/just-say-it-future-search-voice-personal-digital-assistants/1392459) and 40% of adults already use voice search once a day (https://www.branded3.com/blog/locationworld-2016/).
Although Amazon have their own products like Alexa, voice search on phones, tablets and computers is much more powerful and capable of delivering much better results for the user.
To be honest, we haven’t really come across any ecommerce sites that have got this nailed yet. As such, it’s a great opportunity and worth the effort to get in early and get this right.
Regarding voice search for ecommerce sites, we think that you should be:
- Optimising your site for key terms (voice and text search often have different syntax and semantics and as such you should be considering both)
- Marking up all your products correctly. This includes things like size, type, make, model, range, price, stock levels, rating, brand, material, sku etc. to ensure the search engines have the most possible info to index them.
- Providing information for a user. We believe that all of the things required to rank for featured snippets/position zero will work for voice too. This could be listed information, answering specific questions, creating user guides, solving common queries etc.
It’s worth noting that a lot of these tactics also work very well for traditional search, so double the reward for getting it right!
You can also find a more detailed breakdown of this in a post that our Content Marketing Manager, Dave Gregory wrote here: https://www.sitevisibility.co.uk/blog/2017/10/13/top-3-challenges-facing-retailers-2018/
Mobile First Indexing
It’s been well known for a while that Google has been using the mobile version of a site as the primary version that they use to index your site.
Coupled with the fact that according to this article, over a quarter of digital sales are done so via smartphone, it’s therefore essential that ecommerce sites get their mobile versions of the site up to scratch.
To do so, there are several things that you’ll need to do. Here is our checklist for getting your ecommerce site mobile ready:
- Make sure it displays properly on mobile (using tools like the mobile-friendly test from Google)
- Make sure that it’s easily crawlable
- Ensure that it loads quickly (you can compare your site against competitors using Mobile Score Cards)
- Make sure it has all the same structured data as the desktop site
- Correctly optimise the content (including page titles etc.) for mobile
- Have a mobile sitemap verified in search console
- Ensure that social metadata is present and that all media and other assets are present too.
If you want to find out more, you can listen to our podcast on Mobile First Indexing with Murat Yatagan here, or check out my other post covering The Top Challenges Facing Hotels in 2018, where I look into how businesses can stay up to speed in a mobile first world.
3. Include Product Reviews
Product reviews and social proof are among some of the best ways to convince your customers that you and your products are worth their money. This is particularly true when it comes to more expensive products.
In some cases where reviews aren’t available on the site you’re looking at, you might then go to a marketplace like Amazon to find them. In doing so, you’ve left the original site and could now just purchase that same product from Amazon instead. The sale is lost.
It’s therefore really important as an ecommerce business to make sure that you have your own reviews of your products on your site.
This isn’t anything new but should be high on the priority list when it comes to your site.
While helping to increase conversions, product reviews can also be really useful for SEO and how people find your store. Often when leaving reviews, customers will use different language to that used by businesses when talking about products, which can have the added benefit of helping you to target more long-tail keywords and cover more keywords in general.
4. Undertake Ecommerce SEO Best Practice
It may seem like a simple or obvious one but getting the SEO fundamentals right for your products is so important and worth that’s worth double checking from time to time.
Key for any ecommerce site, you’ll want to make sure that all of your product descriptions are of high quality, well optimised and unique. Remember, you’re not just describing your service or product, you’re trying to sell it!
As well as ensuring that you have the key product details included, you’ll want to make sure that you include any extra information as well. Include any benefits, suggested times to use your product, social proof and even humour within the description itself. Just remember to be aware of who your target audience is and have that in mind when writing!
For anyone managing an online store, image optimisation is also a high priority. Well optimised images can help visitors to purchase, increase your page load times and can help you to rank in Google image searches.
Here are our top tips for image optimisation:
- Ensure any images are named correctly and describe what the image is. If your image is of a particular product, make sure that the file includes that product name. This can help you to rank
- Ensure you include relevant alt text that includes your target keywords. This is great for SEO as it can also help you to rank in the search engines
- Ensure that your image files aren’t too big. At SiteVisibility, we use WP Smush to ensure our images files are reduced and our pages load faster. You can also use free tools such as Canva to reduce image sizes.
- Submit an image sitemap to tell Google about the images on your site as well as the metadata to understand what they are about. Which brings me onto my next point…
You’ll also want to ensure that your meta descriptions and page titles are all unique and optimised.
This is particularly important for ecommerce sites as often product names and what your potential customers are actually searching for can differ. For this reason, it’s important to undertake keyword research, a fundamental part of SEO but something that can be difficult to get right. That’s why we’ve produced our free guide; Mastering Keyword Research. For top tips and practical lessons, on how to get it right, download it here.
Remember, it’s important to write with SEO in mind, but it has to be useful to the reader/customer as well.
5. Link to Major Products and Category Pages from the Home Page and the Mega Menu.
Linking to major products and category pages from the homepage is important as it signifies to the search engines that these are the most important pages that should be indexed accordingly. However, you need to be careful. Including too many of these in the mega menu will dilute the effectiveness of this internal linking strategy.
It’s important to test this regularly and make any changes accordingly. Try moving key products around and see what works for you. It’s also good to plan in advance. For example, if you owned a DIY store and sold the majority of your garden products in the spring, then you’ll want to ensure that you move all of your garden products to the mega menu before that time.
The same goes for other seasonal products… you should start to move the Christmas products to it around October time. In this case, it might be beneficial to have an internal shared calendar of when to move your seasonal products to the homepage and mega menu.
Have an On and Offsite Content Strategy
Quite simply, this involves creating content about your products that your customers will need and/or want and that’ll help you to sell them.
For your own site, you should think about creating the following:
- Reviews of your best products.
- Unboxing and assembly videos.
- Step-by-step guides.
- Create content that shows your products in use.
Once you’ve created these types of content, encourage people to share them using your products.
This can also apply offsite as well.
For FatFace and Vax, we created influencer campaigns that involved relevant popular influencers using their products and writing up about them on their own blogs. This was a great way of us improving both brands’ awareness and driving more conversions.
The campaigns attracted nearly half a million views of our content each, and in many cases we were able to attribute sales of products to our outreach work directly.
If done correctly, undertaking influencer marketing and outreach campaigns can only help to increase brand awareness and hopefully, drive more traffic and therefore sales to your site.
So there you have it, six SEO tips to help improve your ecommerce site in 2018. What do you think? Do you agree? Is there anything we’ve missed? We’d love to hear from you if so. Leave us a comment below, feel free to tweet us @SiteVisibility or send me a mail.
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If you’d like to find out how we can help with your ecommerce site, feel free to get in touch by calling us on 01273 733433 or filling out the form below: