No matter if you’re a tiny store catering to a micro niche or an up-and-coming eCommerce company with huge growth rates, having an SEO-optimized store is a key to achieving and maintaining success.
Commerce companies in specific industries can still achieve success thanks to the location of their store, but those examples are becoming rarer. In eCommerce, that golden mine location is equivalent to your search engine ranking. Being number 1 in search results for a popular keyword is equivalent to having a physical store in Times Square or Trafalgar Square.
Since every eCommerce company is aiming for that very spot, competition is getting fiercer by the day. Small and mid-sized eCommerce companies have to compete with top international corporations with huge marketing budgets at their disposal. One of the smartest ways to go about that challenging competition is investing time and resources into SEO writing.
As a small to medium eCommerce company, optimized content for search engines is your best chance to compete with other players in the market with bigger marketing budgets. Here are some of the most important things to take care of as you’re building your SEO strategy:
- Write High-Quality Product Descriptions
Even though it may seem obvious and straightforward, many eCommerce sites don’t actually pay that much attention to what their product descriptions are doing for their SEO. Some ignore product descriptions altogether and just post the most basic facts about the product, hoping that the image or video will be the ones to sell it.
In general, eCommerce marketers post product descriptions that are too general or too short. Google, for example, prefers product descriptions that are at least 300 words long, so it’s better to produce a longer description.
You definitely should not underestimate the importance and value of a good product description. Your online store visitors need to know a lot about your products in order to choose them over another product. The same goes for content. Accentuate the special features only your product has. Think about the facts your ideal shopper should need to make a purchase decision.
Also, you should never use generic descriptions provided by your manufacturer or supplier. Some of your competition is probably using them, so you’ll actually be posting duplicated content. To avoid this, focus on creating unique and high-quality descriptions for your eCommerce products. You can use services such as Studyker (a professional writing service) or WriteScout (a platform of writing experts and freelancers) to do that for you.
- Optimize Images
High-quality, professional photos are a must-have. Regardless of whether they are images of your products, photos of people using your products or promotional images, they have to be top-notch because they are there to impress shoppers.
However, the stuff behind those very images is just as important when it comes to search engine optimization. As such, search engine crawlers are not (yet) able to interpret images and what a photo shows. So, you have to use words in your description, titles and alt-tags to describe what they image portrays to a search engine.
Make sure your image titles are extremely relevant to the product that you are showing. Also, don’t forget to use image alt-tags on all the images you have in your online store.
- Pay Attention to Your Internal Links
When you create product links on your website (online store), the anchor text should be unique and keyword-rich. Avoid using frequent phrases that you can always find in other stores, such as “check out” or “buy”. Rather, try putting yourself in the shoes of your shopper – what are the exact words that you would type into a search engine if you were looking for your product?
If you are connecting one product page to several links in your online store, use different keywords as an anchor text. Too many links with the same anchor can negatively impact your website performance.
- Reject Duplicated Content
Duplicating or plagiarizing content in your online store can be dangerous, and you might not even be aware that you’re doing it. For Google and other search engines, duplicated content is one of the biggest no-nos and the fastest way to get your online store blacklisted in search engine results. At the same time, duplicated product descriptions are a common phenomenon in online stores, especially in those which feature hundreds of products.
Make sure that you (or other writers) fully understand the features of your products. After you get to know your products inside and out, you can easily write creative descriptions and avoid repetition.
Use Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner to find ideas for relevant and popular keywords which you can later use in your new descriptions. If your analytics show that some of your products are low-performing in search engine traffic, you can also optimize them retroactively.
- Leverage Backlinks
Creating connections is key for succeeding as an online store. To do this, you can use the possibility of writing a blog, where you can promote the special features of your product, talk about the industry you’re selling in and establish your brand as an expert and authority.
Consider using positive comments from your users. You can create a blog post from some of these positive comments and have a great recommendation board for your business.
“In recent years, marketers have shifted their focus to off-site SEO, because Google and other search engines have changed their algorithms. It’s not a question of what you are saying about your website, it’s what other websites are saying about you. Make sure you take control over that and work on building high-quality backlinks”, says Melanie Sovann, a writer at Subjecto.
- Simplify Navigation and Menus
UX/UI is an indispensable part of search engine optimization. If your online store is not user-friendly or mobile-friendly, visitors will not hang around that long. This will not only have a direct impact on your sales, but that high bounce rate will signal to search engines that your online store is actually not all that and that they shouldn’t recommend it as a top result to users. It’s as simple as that.
So, make sure that your visitors can find their way around your online store very simply and easily. Don’t over-do it with menus, sub-menus and categories and make sure that the shopping cart is accessible from all pages of your website.
- Track Broken Links
Just like plagiarized or duplicated content, broken links are another huge minus-point in the eyes of search engine crawlers. Visitors don’t like them any more than search engines either. There’s nothing worse than clicking on a product you like and want to buy and being hit with a 404 error telling you that the page “could not be found”.
If you want to make sure neither visitors nor search engines come across those pesky 404 pages, use some of the following methods:
- Use plugins, tools or apps such as Broken Link Checker that will check and notify you in case your website contains any broken pages
- For non-existing backlinks, use Google’s Search Console to see the complete list; then set up the necessary redirects
- Use useful 404 pages that will tone down the user’s disappointment for not getting to the page they were looking for
Your 404 pages don’t have to be boring! Provide additional options to your users, such as search, related items, navigation menus or something else.
In summary, you have to be aware that investing in SEO as a small to mid-sized eCommerce brand is a long game, and you’ll only start seeing its benefits after some time. However, when you start ranking well, you’ll immediately feel the positive results on your sales and profit numbers. That’s why search engine optimization is definitely a smart choice for eCommerce companies and sites.
Start by crafting and writing a complete SEO strategy using the tips we have outlined above. It can simply be in the form of a checklist, where you can list all the tasks that will help your site rank better or prevent it from getting negative SEO points.
About the author: Dorian Martin is a professional writer working with some of the world’s best content companies such as TopEssayWriting and ClassyEssay. His field of expertise is academic and technical writing, but he’s also passionate about writing for and about the web. Dorian also runs a personal blog in his spare time.