I have owned a couple of ecommerce stores in the past. I’ve also partnered with an ecommerce company where I served as Director of Marketing and handled all of our SEO.
And of course, clients, I’ve helped ecommerce clients with their SEO.
I have built and/or optimized a number of ecommerce websites using the major ecommerce platforms: Shopify, WordPress with Woocommerce, and Magento.
And let me just say, ecommerce is a completely different beast when it comes to SEO.
The tips shared by ecommerce seo companies and experts on this page will help you tackle the beast, jump straight to what you’re looking for with this menu:
Comparing Ecommerce Platforms by SEO
B2B Ecommerce SEO Tips
Definitive Guide to Ecommerce SEO
Marketing Strategy & SEO
Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist
Intro to Ecommerce SEO
SEO for ecommerce is a bit more challenging than SEO for a blog or local business and in some cases more competitive. However, according to the Annual Retail Trade Survey, annual ecommerce sales in 2015 equaled $340,415,000 or $340 Million. Clearly, as challenging as ecommerce may be, it can also be very rewarding.
Both the challenge and the reward are what drove me to build one of the best ecommerce SEO companies and to become one of the best ecommerce SEO experts that you will find.
Unlike a simple blog or even a business website used primarily for marketing, ecommerce stores are full fledged businesses, where in addition to marketing, all business functions are occurring through the website.
From sales, to operations, to administration and management, everything is baked into an ecommerce platform.
Additionally, from a user perspective, an ecommerce site is designed to offer users specific functionality. Just about all ecommerce stores should have things like:
- A search function
- Product categories
- Sortable and Filterable product listing views
And then you also have case by case requirements for different types of ecommerce stores, things like:
- One product in multiple categories
- Upsells and cross promotion of products
- Promotional offers like free shipping and discounts
- Rewards and incentives programs to build community, engagement, and increase sales
- Multiple sizes or colors of a product
There are more components that can go into an ecommerce site but these are some of the common examples you see. The point is, these sites quickly get complex with their requirements.
And the complexity required of an ecommerce site brings up issues pertaining to SEO.
More Complexity, More Technical SEO | More Pages, More On-Page SEO
It only makes sense that the added complexity ecommerce sites require will bring about more technical SEO tasks. Additionally, large ecommerce sites with many pages will require more investment in on-page SEO.
With an ecommerce site you have quite a bit more technical SEO to make sure:
- the right pages are indexed by google,
- that duplicate content is optimized,
- UX is optimized to keep and convert visitors,
- social sharing and schema data are optimized to provide social proof and reviews
- Your store is mobile accessible and friendly,
- Your server and website files are optimized for fast PageSpeeds,
and often times even more technical SEO. That list doesn’t include standard on-page SEO, you still need to optimize:
- Navigation Links
- Page Titles
- Page URLs
- Image Alt Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Canonical URLs
- H1 Headings
- An Integrated Blogging platform
And guess what? There is more. Too many for me to list in this roundup post but we will cover them in our free ecommerce seo audit checklist.
That list is really just the tip of the iceberg in an ecommerce SEO audit, there are at least a dozen more SEO factors you need to consider in most ecommerce platforms.
And depending on the space you are in, B2C or B2B, 100% online or partially offline and product niche be it apparel, books, or electonics – you may be optimizing hundreds or thousands or hundreds OF thousands of product pages!
You Need an Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist
Ecommerce SEO audits are often times daunting tasks due to the complexity of the site requirements. I recommend using a comprehensive ecommerce SEO checklist to stay organized.
I recently began a new ecommerce project for a new client and so I have been doing research on ecommerce platforms to see which is currently the best for this particular client’s needs.
My ecommerce SEO company has been hired alongside another team of developers and designers to help implement the ecommerce SEO strategy we develop. My main focus as their ecommerce SEO consultant will be ensuring the new ecommerce site performs well in organic search.
Since my team is updating our ecommerce SEO audit process, I thought I’d share an easy to follow version of our ecommerce SEO checklist and put together this resource of ecommerce SEO companies and experts sharing their best tips.
I hope our free checklist, this post, and the resources in it help you in understanding ecommerce SEO, how each ecommerce platform stacks up from an SEO perspective, and some actionable ecommerce SEO tips you should implement.
WordPress Bonus – checkout our list of the 25 Best SEO Plugins for WordPress
As always, if you want help optimizing your store, then hire one of the best ecommerce SEO companies around.
Ok that was my shameless plug and without further ado, let’s see what the other ecommerce seo experts have to say.
How to Choose the Best Ecommerce Platform for SEO
Danny Richman published research on the best ecommerce platforms for SEO and did a great job compiling a lot of information and data into an easily digestible format.
This research is great for anyone comparing ecommerce platforms with SEO in mind. It will explain the most important SEO factors for ecommerce sites and how each of the main ecommerce platforms addresses each SEO factor.
Highlights from Danny’s post:
- In depth comparison of the SEO performance of every major ecommerce platform
- Article high lights many of the SEO factors that are specifically important for ecommerce and explains how you can optimize these factors with examples.
- Also included for each SEO factor discussed are their platform “findings” which note platforms abilities to optimize these SEO factors or notes for platforms that do not have the ability to optimize that SEO factor.
- Nice easy to digest comparison chart that attributes an SEO score to 16 of the top ecommerce platforms
Most Important SEO Factors for Ecommerce Platforms
- Optimization of Navigation Links
- Optimization of Page Titles
- An Integrated Blog
- Use of Your Own Domain Name
Key Takeaways on Ecommerce Platform SEO Performance Scores
- Magento scored the highest at 100
- Shopify was a close second at 98
- Woocommerce tied Shopify at 98
- Next were BigCommerce & Squarespace tied at 91
- Then Volusion and 3DCart tied at 88
- The remaining 9 platforms scored between a 10 – 78
If you are in the decision making process and researching various ecommerce platforms then you need to take time to determine your ecommerce site’s requirements and match them with the ideal ecommerce platform.
B2B SEO: Grow Your Traffic with These 10 Tips for Ecommerce Sites
Dear Systems put together this resource specifically for B2B folks running ecommerce platforms.
This is a great resource for ecommerce store owners because it provides ecommerce specific tutorials for each SEO topic discussed.
So, if you are in a B2B space then you will definitely want to read this post. But it is also great for any ecommerce store owner because all of the links to SEO resources in the article are SEO resources specifically for ecommerce store owners.
This post links out to some helpful resources provided by ecommerce platforms as well, like the team over at Shopify.
Here are a few of the B2B SEO topics from Dear System’s post:
- B2B Keyword Research
- On-Site SEO for B2B Ecommerce
- Ecommerce Link Building
Ecommerce Linkbuilding Takeaway from Article
The advice is good for ANY ecommerce store on this one and it is simple: list your products in online markets that link back to your site!
Pick the best online marketplace(s) for your product and niche and start listing your products with links back to your site. Not only does this create a backlink but you’re opening new sales channels and reaching new markets.
List Products on These Online Markets for Links, Traffic, & Sales
- Amazon – Any niche
- Etsy – Handmade, vintage, crafts
- Ebay – Any niche
- Alibaba – Goods & services
- Jet – Branded products
- Ebid – Free, any niche
- Bonanza – Any niche
- Depop – Simple mobile shop
- Folksy – Artistic, creative
- Rakuten – Electronics
- Vide Dressing – High end fashion
- Move Loot – Furniture
- Flipkart – Largest ecommerce in India
- Sears – Electronics, home, appliances
- eCRATER – Any niche
- Craigslist – Any niche, products & services
- Big Cartel – Artists, designers, services
- Style Lend – Designer dresses
- CustomMade – Jewelry, woodwork, anything custom made
This is a great free linkbuilding tactic that earns high quality links, great referral traffic and sales as well. And it is only 1 of 10 tips for B2B ecommerce SEO sites, read Dear System’s post for all 10. See post
Ecommerce SEO the Definitive Guide
This wouldn’t be a good roundup of resources without an implementation guide on ecommerce SEO. This is by far the best guide to ecommerce SEO that I have found online and it is published by a very well respected SEO who focuses on linkbuilding, Brian Dean.
Aside from choosing the best ecommerce platform for SEO, actually implementing your SEO strategy still needs to happen.
This guide is extremely well organized and covers all the steps you need to take to implement advanced SEO for your ecommerce store.
Chapters covered in this ecommerce SEO guide:
- Keyword Research – He will show you exactly how to use tools like Keyword Tool Dominator , SEMRush, and Google Keyword Planner. If you can’t pay for the tools Brian uses, try our keyword research tutorial using free tools.
- Site Architecture – You will learn how to best structure your site for users and search engines with nice examples of real site structures.
- On-Page SEO – On-page SEO is so crucial for ecommerce stores and Brian goes into depth showing you the exact steps you need to take to perfect your ecommerce on-page SEO.
- Technical SEO – As I mentioned in the intro, there is a lot more technical SEO with an ecommerce site versus a blog or business’ marketing site. Brian covers most of the major areas in ecommerce technical SEO that you need to optimize.
- Content Marketing for Ecommerce Sites – A lot of ecommerce sites do not do this part well enough and it can really boost traffic and sales. Brian has some great tips for ecommerce stores on content marketing.
- Link Building for Ecommerce Websites – Finally, essential to any SEO campaign is linkbuilding. Brian is a well known SEO specifically because of his linkbuilding tactics, I recommend all ecommerce store owners read the chapter he wrote on ecommerce linkbuilding.
Brian’s definitive guide to ecommerce SEO goes in depth and provides tutorials on implementing his recommendations. That said, it is a bit advanced so I don’t recommend this to newbies unless they are looking for ideas and plan to pay a professional to implement them. Read guide
How to Craft the Best Damn E-commerce Page on the Web
In this video Rand Fishkin, from Moz, shares his insights into crafting the best damn ecommerce page on the web. You will learn how to make perfect ecommerce product pages.
If you can make a webpage ‘perfect’ then users take notice and when users take notice so does Google.
In other words, the perfect webpage gets users more engaged which leads to:
- Longer page visits
- More social shares
- More backlinks
And each of the above sends strong signals to Google to rank your webpage higher in search engines.
But let’s be honest here, perfecting your product pages should be done for higher conversion rates and more sales regardless of whether or not it helps your SEO.
Investing time and resources into your product pages is a win-win for ecommerce SEO and increased sales. You will be killing two birds with one stone when you implement Rand’s advice to optimize your product pages. Below are some of the topics that Rand will go into detail on in his video.
Elements of a Great Ecommerce Product Page
In general the top navigation needs to be useful to users and offer them help navigating your site. It should be branded and should offer information on the user’s cart.
Main Product Info
This content should be above the fold and should primarily be visuals such as images, video or animation. Some text should include information on product details that are important as well as price.
Clear Purchase Option
Also above the fold, should be a clear option for purchasing the product, such as a buy now button.
Finally you move down below the fold where your more detailed product description is, this can go beyond the main features that you described above the fold.
Finally you should really attempt to squash any hesitancy or concern by including some trust building content such as reviews of your product.
Top SEO Factors of an Ecommerce Product Page
It is fine to use what branded name you have for your product but also important to include the most common keyword that your customer would search to find your product. Think of what someone would search who doesn’t know your brand yet. As an example, if you are branded “Crazy Socks” you should also included keywords like “Stylish socks” “socks for men” “trendy socks” “fashionable socks” “wild socks”. You can make this sound natural by combining the two, for example “Crazy socks for men” includes your brand and a keyword.
If you skimp on content then you won’t rank near as well as if you are using multiple forms of content such as text, image, video, and or animations. Not only will using these additional types of media increase your search rankings and traffic but they will help increase your conversions and sales as well.
There are many ways to increase engagement on your site. For example, I implemented a rewards program on an ecommerce site and promoted it on each product page by showing users what the price would be if they claimed their first reward by joining the rewards program. They could see that they would pay $5 less than the list price if they just registered an account. After implementing this our bounce rate reduced and registrations increased. And guess what? Sales also went up, specifically from the users claiming their first reward.
Get creative here, these links could be from the press, partners, suppliers, charities or organizations you donate too, affiliate marketers and product review bloggers. Anyone who will publish some content about your product in a positive light is a big win already. The link is really just a bonus that will significantly help your site’s ranking. When possible try to get the links to include anchor text of your product name/keyword and point the link to your product pages. Not every single link, but when possible these links will be the most powerful.
This will vary by industry but fashion and electronics for example will need to stay fresh. What I mean is, in industries like these consumers expect the latest and greatest so Google factors in how fresh or new your content is when ranking it. The more you can update your product pages with new information for your buyers the better. However, in certain industries this may not play as much of a role.
Rand’s advice will help you perfect your product pages so that they get shared more, linked to more, viewed longer, ranked higher, and most importantly generate the most sales. Watch Video.
How To Build Links To Your Ecommerce Site
So, now that you’ve got the perfect product pages which will drastically improve your on-page SEO for your ecommerce store, it is time to do some linkbuilding.
When it comes to ecommerce, there are some unique linkbuilding opportunities and tactics that you can take advantage of.
Quicksprout’s video is less than 8 minutes long and will give you some great ideas for ecommerce linkbuilding. After watching you will know how you can start getting more backlinks to your store that will improve your SEO.
One of my favorite takeaways from this video is building links using a search operator that finds school’s webpages offering employee discounts. Some of the most powerful backlinks you can get come from .edu domains.
And you can get these powerful links from .edu sites or any sites by using the following linkbuilding process:
Employee Discount Linkbuilding for Ecommerce
- In google type: site:.edu “employee discounts”
- Review the sites Google returns for websites listing out links to sites offering their employee’s a discount (See example)
- Find the contact information on websites you want a link from
- Contact the site and offer them an employee discount and request that they link to your site from their employee discount webpage
This is just one great unique linkbuilding opportunity for ecommerce sites. Watch Quicksprout’s video for more. Watch video.
Ecommerce SEO in 2017: Smart Marketing Strategies
John Doherty talks with Kurt Elster on the “unofficial shopify podcast” about advanced SEO strategies for ecommerce in 2017. John is an experienced SEO who’s worked for a number of big tech companies. Tech companies like Trulia and also for Distilled an SEO Learning platform – one I’ve used and been certified on.
This resource is a 50 minute podcast, so if you’re driving or simply prefer listening over reading then I definitely recommend checking this out.
The podcast does a good job discussing SEO expectations for new ecommerce stores and how to meet those expectations. An SEO results timeline and resources are discussed alongside specific SEO strategies for ecommerce.
This is a great resource for any store owners who aren’t into “technical SEO”
The podcast doesn’t get into technical details but rather discusses general ecommerce topics and how SEO applies to them. For example, how the types of products you cross-promote on your store can impact your site’s SEO.
Here are some of the key topics covered in the podcast:
- The most rewarding actions an ecommerce store can take to improve their SEO (lowest hanging fruit)
- How long you should expect to wait to see SEO results
- The right perspective and understanding of launching your ecommerce SEO campaign
- Ways you can compete with huge players like Zappos and Amazon
- Cases when you should hire an ecommerce SEO consultant
So if you’ve been finding content on SEO that is too technical for you, this will be refreshing as it is more of a practical SEO resource for ecommerce store owners. I would say it is fairly newbie friendly as almost any store owner could benefit and get ideas from the podcast. Listen to podcast.
Free Ecommerce SEO Audit Checklist
So, now that you’ve got tips from the best ecommerce seo companies and experts, it is time to put the info to good use. My team put together this easy to follow ecommerce SEO audit checklist to help you audit your ecommerce website for opportunities and issues.
Most importantly, following the checklist will ensure you create and implement a complete SEO strategy for your ecommerce site. The checklist covers technical SEO, on-page SEO, Content Marketing, and a linkbuilding plan.
An ecommerce SEO audit can be a daunting task, especially with large stores and/or stores that are being optimized for the first time.
Therefore, having a comprehensive ecommerce seo checklist will ensure you stay organized in your audit and attain the best results. Download checklist.
Alright folks, I did my part. I compiled research from the best ecommerce seo companies and experts on ecommerce platforms, strategies, resources, and implementation guides.
I even shared my team’s ecommerce SEO audit checklist for you to use for your store.
Now it is your turn to put this information to use! So, if you are working on an ecommerce project, use these resources to ramp up your SEO efforts.
Hire One of the Best Ecommerce SEO Companies
If you don’t have the time, interest, or expertise to implement SEO for your ecommerce store, then build a custom ecommerce seo package and we will handle it for you.
As always, if you have any questions pertaining to ecommerce SEO, just leave me a comment below!