So how to optimize your online store to attract more customers and traffic? The success of any store depends on consistently attracting shoppers. One of the best ways to do that online is through eCommerce SEO. Requiring a relatively low investment and yielding excellent results, search engine optimization is one the most cost-effective ways to market your business online. Despite this, many online stores are set up without much thought given to optimization. But this is a big mistake and one you would do well to avoid. Instead, you should optimize your online store – it’s a surefire way to attract more customers and thus increase sales.
What is search engine optimization?
Search engine optimization or SEO is a term that encompasses a wide variety of practices intended to drive quality traffic to your website. It does so by helping you land at the top of search engine results pages in your particular niche. That way, when potential customers search for products you’re selling, they’ll find you instead of your competition. In recent years, SEO has become one of the most important ways to promote businesses online. In part, this is because of the sheer importance of search engines (Google especially) in the modern digital world. But it is also in part because SEO is a very high return-on-investment strategy.
Why is it important to optimize your online store?
Typically, when talking about SEO, people think of blogs. It makes sense: optimized content is the driving force behind SEO, and most of it comes from blogs. But virtually any website can employ SEO tactics. Blogs, business websites, even image depositories will see an increase in organic traffic after optimizing their content. In fact, SEO is so beneficial that expert help is worth considering even for small businesses with limited budgets – it simply pays off to work with SEO professionals. This payoff is quite literal for online stores: by attracting more visitors, SEO will help you increase sales even at low conversion rates. And ultimately, that is what running an online store is all about.
Optimize your online store step-by-step using eCommerce SEO
The importance of SEO is dependent upon good practices. So if you want to take full advantage of optimization, you need to do it right. In this, eCommerce SEO does not differ from other types of SEO. But it does require that you pay attention to some things unique to webshops and adjust specific techniques. So what do you need to do to optimize a webshop?
Step 1: Keyword research
Keywords are one of the basic building blocks of SEO. They’re words or phrases people search for on Google. Some are vague and generic, like “hiking equipment”. Others are as specific as “orange waterproof hiking backpack for children 8-12”. It is up to you to decide which keywords are the most important for your landing pages, product pages, and blog posts. Then, you should optimize whatever content you do have in your online store, whether it be blurbs on your home page or product descriptions, for the keywords for which you want to rank.
Step 2: Site structure
One of the hardest things to get right when setting up a webshop, especially one with many products, is the website’s architecture itself. You want to create a flat structure that’s simple and scalable. It should never take more than three clicks to get from one page to any other page. This makes the website easier for bots to crawl and for users to navigate. The best way to achieve this kind of structure is by using categories and subcategories for your products.
Step 3: Site speed and mobile optimization
It’s hard to maintain high loading speeds if you have many product pages, each with its own image and other media. But that is precisely why you need to speed up your website in every way you can. Try using caching plugins, upgrading to a better server, and optimizing images. Whatever you do, make sure it also makes your website as accessible to mobile devices as possible. With half your visitors coming from phones and tablets, mobile optimization is a must.
Step 4: On-page SEO optimize your online eCommerce store
On-page SEO refers to all the SEO techniques you employ to optimize your own content on your website. In addition to keywords, which we’ve already covered, you’ll need to pay attention to external and internal linking, image optimization, text formatting, URL optimization, and more.
Step 5: Content marketing
Content marketing is one of the basics of SEO, but content typically comes from publishing pages and blog posts. This will help you optimize online store traffic. However, most online stores don’t do that; they add new product pages only when they add new products. This makes content marketing difficult. But nothing is stopping you from running a blog about your products or your niche. You can publish posts about how people can make the most of your products or all the different uses for them. Or you can simply write about other things that your audiences might find interesting. All this will regularly provide more content on your website, which will attract more potential customers. So it’s worth the effort!
Step 6: Off-page SEO
Off-page SEO refers to all the practices you do on other websites to market your business online. Mostly, this means backlinks – links on other websites that lead back to yours, adding authority to your page, and directing traffic to it. To get backlinks, you’ll need to get in touch with other web administrators and convince them to host your links. This will, of course, be easier if you have some quality content to link to, but in the meantime, you can also focus on other off-page SEO tactics like citations, comments, brand mentions, working with influencers, and more.
Step 7: Measure your success after you optimize your online store – eCommerce SEO
Like all other types of SEO, eCommerce SEO is not a one-and-done thing. There’s work to be done even after you optimize your online store. You must start analyzing your rankings, statistics, customers, and conversions, which will help you track how successful your SEO strategies are. It will also help you discover any potential problems and fix them before they become serious. So, develop specific metrics that you want to focus on, keep an eye on them, and adjust your tactics accordingly.