Making your e-shop appear in search results isn’t hard but it’s a long-term activity that should be handled by a professional. I’ve been working with SEO and with e-commerce for many years now. During this time, I’ve seen many users experience problems with a lack of availability of products or information while searching through search engines.
The main goal of every e-shop is to be visible and allow users to easily find what they need through an organic search. Then the user needs to be guided through the process of buying (or any other process aimed towards achieving their goal on the website), which leads to the satisfaction of both parties. UX, UI, and the clarity of the web page are all factors that affect search results, the position of the web, as well as the number of users’ goals achieved by the web page and many other things.
The goal of every web should be to get the best possible position in the organic search of search engines such as Google or Bing. Why is it good to care about SEO? From the huge number of searches, the majority of clicks are aimed toward organic search results. Organic search results are the results that are not paid to appear in searches. They make up almost 95% of clicks. Only 5% of all clicks are aimed at advertisements. Google is trying many different ways to make advertisements look like organic search results. The number of searches will only increase in the future.
In this article, I’ll attempt to write down an e-commerce checklist for search engine optimization (SEO), which could help your new or already established e-shop succeed in the hard fight against competition. It should be interesting for every marketer in charge of the marketing for an e-shop or for small business owners running their own e-shops.
Every e-commerce owner has products or services that they are trying to sell. When planning our marketing activities, it isn’t our goal to get the entire world or an entire country to visit our web. It would be costly and ineffective. Instead, the key is to aim at a target group which would be interested in our products. We can easily achieve this by defining who is within our target group. For example, if we’re selling toys, the definition of a woman between 25 and 34 years of age from Slovakia won’t be enough.
We also need to know:
- where our target group is located,
- what they do,
- where they live,
- what they buy,
- their salary, etc.
We need to adapt our activities to the type of product we sell. Based on the previous criteria, we can divide a large client pool into several different types of potential customers with unique needs and interests.
Now we know the profile of our ideal customer. If we sell doll houses, we can now adjust our activities to fit our product and narrow down our customer pool. For example, our ideal customer type may be a woman between 25 and 34 years of age with two children who lives in a house near a larger town with a higher than average income. She drives a car, watches movies and television and knows what interests children. We can define more than one customer type like this and it’s good to have several different types of customers that are of interest to us.
We can base our marketing activities, our SEO, and the content of our web on this information. We must also try and connect our customer with our products. What we’ll need are topics that will include the interests and hobbies of our potential customer. For example, if we market to a mother of a child, we can include topics such as protecting children from the sun.
Topics which the user may be interested in or which are directly linked to our products, for example, products which allow people to hide from the sun in one’s garden and have a UV filter. The topic can then be defined by keywords, summary, advertisement campaigns, visuals and other formats that would help it reach our web.
Product texts and pictures
None of us would buy a house without a foundation. In the world of internet business, product texts are the foundation of a marketing campaign. Many e-shops in Slovakia don’t have any product texts or have ones that are very basic. This is a big mistake. Why? If we invest into marketing but don’t have top products or pictures, our activities won’t have the intended effect and the number of successful client transactions will be lower. We tested this in a case study which can be found here.
This is why any e-shop that wants to be successful needs quality product photos (such as, for example, our client who sells Kbas handbags) or well-written texts that are optimized for search engines. Both of these factors have a big influence on search results and also on the amount of successful client transactions, which is why quality texts and pictures are necessary for e-commerce.
Technical details of online business
Before you start pouring money into marketing which may not bring you any positive results, it’s a good idea to sort out your own web page. Don’t know how? It’s possible to perform a web audit which will show all of the web’s large flaws.
If you remove these flaws, marketing activities have a better return of investments, which will lead to a rise in sales. A bad web page has a small chance of succeeding against the competition on search engines such as Google. The technical details of an e-shop are truly very important. Don’t hesitate to consult a professional who can judge the current state of your web and give you tips on how to improve it.
A fast web is one of the factors which affect how the web page is displayed in search results. E-shops that plan on making a larger profit should always have their own server with an optimal configuration. Another key to a fast e-shop is a quality e-commerce platform, such as Midasto, which can be used as a ”tailored” e-shop” or you can get an e-shop in two clicks from us.
Responsive design and capability with mobile devices
Support of mobile devices is another key factor. Choose solutions which support mobile device screens or those which are responsive (their content adapts to the device it’s viewed on).
Basic web content optimization
The main aspect of a web page is its contents. It is the thing that can make or break the entire thing. When creating a web page, we can’t forget the basics of web content creation.
- Correct titles that show exactly what is the product or article.
- Use of CTA elements (texts or pictures that would persuade the user to act).
- Correct use of meta-elements and elements meant for easier sharing on social networks.
- Optimized pictures that load quickly and have an accurate description.
- Clear and helpful navigation on the site.
- Correct structure of content – blogs, static sites divided by H1, H2, etc.
- Correct structure and realization of internal links.
- Products and categories created for the user.
- Ratings of products, if they benefit the user.
- Schematic markers.
- Correct use of keywords throughout the website.
Use of keywords for the content on the site
If we have defined themes and also keywords to go along with them, we need to be able to use them correctly throughout all content formats that we use with an online marketing strategy. They can be reviewed through keyword analysis, which should contain the basic keywords and long expressions divided into categories based on the target group’s interest, themes, and use – B2B or B2C.
Suitable architecture for URL e-commerce solutions
During the start of their business, many e-shops underestimate the initial analyses and proposals for ULR structure. This may lead to an unpleasant surprise later down the line if the structure of the already established e-shop will need to be changed. Such a change may then cost a lot more than a quality initial proposal.
The aforementioned keyword analysis should become a starting point of creating the best possible structure for you, your users, and better search results. Having subdomains or folders is not always an optimal site structure. The depth of the structure itself is also important because it affects the availability of information.
A blog as part of your e-commerce solution
For SEO it is important to have quality and interesting content which could potentially be found on your blog. This can help you gain not only regular readers, which then helps build the brand of your e-shop, but also gain organic clicks from search engines such as Google or Bing.
Quality content and quality articles are often spread around on social media if the site’s social media profile marketing is done correctly.
Community or magazine
If a blog isn’t enough, interactions with the public (potential buyers) may be established through various kinds of communities. We only need to find what connects our target group and create an online space which can be improved upon. Do they look for and exchange information or sell used merchandise? Create an external or internal magazine, a bazaar, forum or some other form of channel.
Be cautious, though. As I’ve already mentioned, it’s always important to consider the return value of your investment. The above advice is better for already established e-shops which have a decent client base and also have enough income to be able to fund such a community. It’s important to make an analysis of your competition, an analysis of the market, etc. You can read more about helpful analyses in our article.
How will this help organic clicks from search results? External websites have a certain domain authority that allows the establishment of different marketing strategies.
Having a good strategy can help not only with getting better SEO, but it can also be used to completely push out the competition from search engine results when searching for certain key products or categories. A micropage can contain not only advertisements but also content. Users should find what they are looking for, helpful tips, information, a certain product or service, etc. The goal is to make it easier for the users to search and navigate towards what they want to do on our website.
Promotion of useful content
If an e-shop has useful and interesting content, it also has the potential to be shared in such online spaces where its customer base groups are located. This may bring not only the potential for viral sharing but also the chance to gain organic links. However, achieving this sort of promotion is not easy for an e-shop, especially if it doesn’t have a blog. A good tactic here is to make use of backlinks on other pages.
If you want to become recognized from the beginning and have your web indexed in a search engine, you should direct some external links.
- Register your profile on public pages and include links to these profiles. However, first, make sure they’re not untrustworthy or spam sites.
- Import your sitemap to Google Webmasters Tools.
- Create social profiles and fill in your web address and your correct information.
- Visit the Facebook social network, share a viral status with your link and pay for a small advertisement for your web.
Monitoring web performance as part of SEO
Every activity can be monitored, measured and evaluated. When we start out, it’s important to install a few tools that will help us with our work. I recommend the tools below.
Helps monitor the visits to your website coming from various channels and organic search result. It can be used to segment web content into topics, goals in e-commerce and events which we can define. You can register directly on the Google Analytics web.
Google Webmasters Tools
It helps identify web errors and shows an overview of organic search results via the so-called web console. It shows a lot of useful information, such as how Google sees your web or what your web’s speed is. All of these are very important tools to help you improve your position in the web search. You can register at the Google Webmasters Tools web.
You can use one of the products of a company called Moz to keep track of results for your competition, web errors, faulty URLs and other metrics. We use their tools and we’re quite satisfied. Every client we cooperate with has access to this tool as part of our long-term cooperation.
SEO is a long-term activity that can’t only be done whenever we feel like it. The key to success in the e-commerce business is constant care for your web and the realization of your strategy meant to reach your long-term goals. Your plans shouldn’t be realized as a separate activity but as a part of a complex online marketing strategy, whether it’s performance marketing, inbound marketing or a complex strategy. All of this is a necessary part of the strategy for every e-shop that wants to succeed in the online world.