SOURCE: SEO SHARK

It is unde­ni­able that these days, E-com­merce web­sites are essen­tial to a busi­ness’ suc­cess. With many online pur­chas­es begin­ning with a google search, and even more peo­ple uti­liz­ing mobile phones to pur­chase, your busi­ness must be on the ball or out of the game.

Yes, there are very low bar­ri­ers to enter­ing the E-com­merce mar­ket. How­ev­er, with the inter­net becom­ing more sat­u­rat­ed than ever, how do you opti­mize your site to get the max­i­mum amount of cus­tomers, with­out pay­ing extrav­a­gant­ly for adver­tis­ing cam­paigns?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)!

SEO allows you to rank high­er than com­peti­tors so that ide­al­ly, you appear on the first page of Google, as the very first result. Appear­ing at this opti­mal posi­tion gives your busi­ness a high brand impres­sion – turn­ing into more clicks, more trac­tion, and more cus­tomer sales!

To rank #1 is not easy. It takes a com­bi­na­tion of research, effort and patience – but with the right SEO, your Ecom­merce web­site can expo­nen­tial­ly prof­it and grow from online cus­tomers stream­ing in.

Here are five SEO tips to accel­er­ate your Ecom­merce web­site on the gold­en path of suc­cess.

Research your customer and their keywords

In order to attract cus­tomers, you must think like the cus­tomer. What are they typ­ing into Google? Remem­ber that they don’t have the ‘insid­er’ knowl­edge of your prod­uct or ser­vice – so it is impor­tant to look at your brand objec­tive­ly, from the lens of an out­sider. Research­ing the spe­cif­ic phras­es they are search­ing up is para­mount to what you need to be writ­ing on your web­site.

Once you brain­storm a list of key­words that peo­ple could be search­ing, find out which key­words peo­ple are using the most. Google’s key­word tool – Google AdWords – can iden­ti­fy which search terms are used with the high­est fre­quen­cy. Com­pare the traf­fic and com­pe­ti­tion lev­els of all the dif­fer­ent key­words you can use, to find the most pop­u­lar ones. Anoth­er pop­u­lar web­site to use is Moz Key­word Explor­er, which pro­vides detailed infor­ma­tion on key­words to pri­or­i­tize.

Impor­tant note: don’t be too gener­ic. Although gener­ic words are searched fre­quent­ly, you can risk a high click, low con­ver­sion kind of effect, where cus­tomers are flick­ing through your site but not find­ing what they’re after. You want the right cus­tomers, not just any­one.

Here is where long-tail key­words will become your SEO sav­ior. Essen­tial­ly, they are unique phras­es that cus­tomers are specif­i­cal­ly search­ing for, but are rel­e­vant in a niche mar­ket. They are cru­cial for two main rea­sons.

First­ly, their unique phras­ing makes it eas­i­er to rank high­er as there is less com­pe­ti­tion. This trans­lates to more traf­fic and more cus­tomers.

Sec­ond­ly, peo­ple who are search­ing long-tail key­words are more like­ly to know what they want – because they’ve already browsed through the gener­ic terms. For exam­ple, a cus­tomer may start off by search­ing ‘jack­et’ to begin explor­ing the mar­ket. How­ev­er, when they search ‘vin­tage Adi­das bomber jack­et’, they def­i­nite­ly more ready to make a pur­chase.

On-page optimization

Once you have a com­pre­hen­sive idea of what cus­tomers are search­ing, you now have to place them strate­gi­cal­ly with­in your web­site.

An impor­tant mis­take to avoid: key­word stuff­ing. This is an out­dat­ed method of SEO where peo­ple repeat­ed­ly insert key­words into their E-com­merce web­site with­out them being rel­e­vant. Qual­i­ty over quan­ti­ty is a cru­cial prin­ci­ple in SEO, as Google’s lat­est Latent Seman­tic Index­ing sys­tem actu­al­ly pun­ish­es web­sites which sat­u­rate their con­tent with key­words.

On-page optimization

Below are vital posi­tions to place your researched key­words, in order to gain the max­i­mum amount of HTML rel­e­vance in SEO.

  • URL – this should always sum­marise and reflect the con­tent of your page, incor­po­rat­ing your key­word with the high­est rel­e­vance
  • Title – should also clear­ly com­mu­ni­cate what your infor­ma­tion is about
  • Head­ings – also impor­tant for mak­ing it more user-friend­ly, sum­marise dif­fer­ent points and struc­ture your infor­ma­tion
  • Meta descrip­tion – this is the teas­er text below the blue link on Google’s search results, which intro­duces the website’s infor­ma­tion
  • Image titles – also pro­vides infor­ma­tion on the image for the read­er
  • Image alt tags – anoth­er place in the web page’s HTML, which allows search engines to rec­og­nize what the web­site is about

Besides such, images make your Ecom­merce web­site more visu­al­ly appeal­ing, as well as improve your website’s rank­ing. How­ev­er, make sure your images are high qual­i­ty with a small file size (to avoid long load­ing times), oth­er­wise, it may be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive.

On-site opti­miza­tion is an extreme­ly valu­able SEO tip to help your Ecom­merce web­site grow in cus­tomer trac­tion, and is one of the eas­i­est ways to increase your rank­ing.

Internal site layout and content

Hav­ing fresh, engag­ing and easy to under­stand the con­tent is also an essen­tial part of build­ing your Ecom­merce web­site. This SEO tip comes as no sur­prise – even if peo­ple are click­ing on your link, if the con­tent is dis­or­ga­nized, unin­for­ma­tive and irrel­e­vant, they will quick­ly switch over to a com­peti­tor.

First­ly, it is impor­tant to cre­ate a log­i­cal E-com­merce site struc­ture. Think of a fam­i­ly tree with a few branch­es lead­ing to many more sub­cat­e­gories. You want your site cat­e­gories to be log­i­cal. Typ­i­cal­ly, a web­site has a home­page, an ‘about us’ page, a con­tact and loca­tion page, and a page of cat­e­gories for your prod­ucts or ser­vices.

Sec­ond­ly, rel­e­vant and detailed con­tent is extreme­ly impor­tant for search engine rank­ing. A page which has been updat­ed recent­ly will rank com­pa­ra­bly high­er than one updat­ed last in 2010. When describ­ing your prod­uct or ser­vice, be com­pre­hen­sive more than just a name or one line of descrip­tion. Details such as its fea­tures and uses will also assist Google in asso­ci­at­ing key­words with your page.

Third­ly, hav­ing a sub­stan­tial amount of con­tent on your page also pro­motes search rank­ing. Blogs are espe­cial­ly uti­lized by com­pa­nies to attract cus­tomers, espe­cial­ly because the long con­tent allows for a large selec­tion of words rel­e­vant to your indus­try, which means rank­ings for dif­fer­ent types of key­words. In addi­tion, long-term key­words should def­i­nite­ly be uti­lized here in order to improve your rank­ing.

Anoth­er essen­tial SEO prac­tice is to con­sid­er what your cus­tomer wants! Think about your expe­ri­ence when nav­i­gat­ing your E-com­merce web­site, and what you would like to read if you were a poten­tial cus­tomer brows­ing your busi­ness for the first time.

Are your ter­mi­nolo­gies user-friend­ly, and does your web­site give off a legit­i­mate, rep­utable impres­sion?

External link building

Hav­ing exter­nal web­sites link to your web­site demon­strates high stand­ing and author­i­ty, and has been found to be one of the high­est fac­tors affect­ing Google rank­ings. This is called ‘back­link­ing’ and can be done in sev­er­al ways in SEO.

  • Guest blog­ging – where you post your links and rel­e­vant con­tent on oth­er domains. How­ev­er, it is impor­tant to remem­ber that it is a priv­i­lege, not a right, and be polite yet infor­ma­tive so that the con­tent becomes worth­while.
  • Direc­to­ries – if you are a local busi­ness, sub­mit­ting your busi­ness to major and niche direc­to­ries is a smart idea so that you can be found across a wide range of sources. Uti­liz­ing loca­tion-based key­words in your descrip­tions will also improve rank­ings.

Again, there is an unequiv­o­cal empha­sis in SEO to remain rel­e­vant and gen­uine instead of spam­ming online web­sites. A non-legit­i­mate method of SEO called ‘link farm­ing’, where­by you spam low author­i­ty web­sites with your links, will be penal­ized by Google.

This is one of the most time-con­sum­ing tasks in SEO, but the most reward­ing. The abil­i­ty to devel­op high-qual­i­ty back­links to your web­site is a task that is usu­al­ly left to pro­fes­sion­als, as they would know how to build rep­utable back­links with­out the risk of penal­iza­tion by Google.

Avoid any dodgy practices

Last­ly, an impor­tant aspect of SEO and opti­miz­ing your Ecom­merce web­site is to increase the rep­utable impres­sion of your site by avoid­ing intru­sive pop-ups or slow load­ing times. Espe­cial­ly with an increas­ing num­ber of cus­tomers shop­ping on their mobile phones, sites with intru­sive pop-ups that cov­er a major­i­ty of the screen are penal­ized.

Your host­ing domain should also be of high qual­i­ty, such that the site speed should be fast. Things that can slow the site down include image sizes – but keep in mind that when you com­press images, you should not com­pro­mise on res­o­lu­tion and qual­i­ty. Clear images will engage your cus­tomer, but grainy or out of place images will do the oppo­site.

Summary

In sum, qual­i­ty SEO prac­tices are exten­sive, time-con­sum­ing and quite com­pli­cat­ed. You might con­sid­er whether it is tru­ly nec­es­sary. How­ev­er, espe­cial­ly with the inter­net market’s demands shift­ing con­stant­ly, it has become more and more cru­cial to stay ahead of E-com­merce com­peti­tors.

Sole­ly rely­ing on dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing tools such as social media is sim­ply not enough to gain trac­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly if your busi­ness is just enter­ing a mar­ket filled with com­peti­tors hold­ing an exist­ing cus­tomer base. In addi­tion, your Ecom­merce web­site can eas­i­ly become lost and swal­lowed in the 10+ pages of Google results – and to be frankly hon­est, no one goes past the first page of Google.

Ensur­ing your web­site under­goes SEO is cru­cial for appear­ing as the first result on the first page of Google. This is tru­ly some­thing that can­not be achieved overnight – it takes months of con­tin­u­ous work and adap­ta­tion to the shift­ing mar­ket for results to appear.

Nonethe­less, with the prin­ci­ple that more clicks equals more busi­ness in mind, every busi­ness should find it indis­pens­able to find an SEO ser­vice that will trans­late into results.