There’s no question that most SEO endeavors in an ecommerce context are challenging, long-term battles. Trying to outrank the Amazon’s, eBay’s, and big box retailers in the organic search space is no easy effort.
This requires more ecommerce stores to use an integrative approach. That is, leveraging outlets like social media advertising, creative content marketing, paid search advertising (or Pay Per Click), and of course, SEO. The trick is to leverage this integrative approach by keeping SEO on the forefront. Below I share a five strategies on how you can actualize this.
Get Your Site Right
Because SEO for ecommerce sites is often very deep with hundreds if not thousands of pages, they are common culprits for technical issues. These technical issues can plague SEO and hinder the site’s ability to rank.
For this reason, auditing and optimizing an ecommerce site is the vital first step to maximizing SEO potential. It’s the foundation to a successful ecommerce site. In essence, ensuring your ecommerce site is 100% SEO friendly will make other forms of optimization (i.e. link building) more effective in the long run.
Dial-in Your Product Page SEO
Ecommerce product pages are the bread and butter to your SEO strategy. When optimized properly, they can rank well for related keywords, and thus help generate greater sales.
There are a few specific ways to dial-in your product page SEO strategy. This includes:
- Using product keywords in the page’s Title and Meta description
- Naming and optimizing product images in accordance to keywords
- Writing unique product description copy (and not using manufacturer produced, duplicated content)
- Include social media sharing icons on the product pages
- Enabling users to make reviews
- Leveraging Schema, or structured data markup, to increase SEO value (i.e. Product, AggregateRating, and Review markup.)
It’s best to devise an SEO-friendly product page template that address the latter elements and clearly presents the content. Lastly, make sure to have a very clear “Add to Cart” button or related call to action to help promote sales.
Respect the SEO Power of Sitemaps
The next most important type of page for ecommerce SEO is the sitemap. In essence, the sitemap is like an index page that withholds links to all pages of the site. While the sitemap isn’t always intended with users in mind, it does serve a vital function for SEO and increasing the level of efficiency for which a site gets crawled and indexed.
Because ecommerce sites can often times be so large, and having one sitemap with thousands of pages might seem overkill, it may be best to experiment with segmented sitemaps. These are various sitemaps that are categorized around specific themes or topics, such as product types, brands, etc. Segmented sitemaps can the same degree of SEO value as just one sitemap, if not more value.
Having segmented sitemaps is an easy SEO win that can dramatically accelerate the rate at which deep ecommerce sites get crawled, indexed and ranked.
Set up your sitemap, or segmented sitemaps, in a logical and organized fashion. It’s best to link your primary sitemap page (whether you have just one sitemap, or perhaps the “hub” sitemap that links to dedicated segmented sitemaps) in the header or footer of the site. In other words, you want your sitemap linked site-wide, or on all pages. This way search engine spiders can access these pages more efficiently.
Leverage Content Marketing
There are many ways to leverage content marketing for your ecommerce site. Not only is producing great content that resonates with your target audience a work of creativity, but it can greatly help support your SEO efforts.
Come up with content schedule that defines the subject matter of certain pieces you wish to create and how often. For instance, you could write a featured product review every week and publish it on your site’s blog. Or you can take an integrative approach by shooting an inspiration video every quarter, a monthly article, and a weekly blog posts with your own photography.
Producing amazing content can help you connect with your audience on an emotional level that lends to greater trust, credibility, and loyalty. It’s also the fuel that brands need to stoke their social media presence. It’s also essential to actualize a 100% white hat SEO strategy.
Stay Active on Social Media
Lastly, embracing an active social media presence will help your ecommerce brand in more ways than one. Here you can share (or even promote/boost/advertise) your best content to get more exposure and generate more traffic to your site.
Social media can also help support your SEO efforts. For instance, let’s say you wrote an amazing review article on a popular product that you sell. In stealth fashion, you optimized the article review with keyword associated with that product.
Once shared on social media, you earned several hundred social signals (i.e. Twitter Tweets, Facebook Likes, Pinterest Pins, and Google +1’s). Further, a few bloggers linked to your article because it was so good, helping to boost authority. As a result, your article got crawled, indexed, and ranked in Google search with greater efficacy.
Using an integrated ecommerce marketing approach is vital to the success of your brand online. You can do this by keeping SEO on the forefront, but still leveraging many channels to help increase the visibility of your brand. Be creative, be unique, and stay diligent on crafting quality content all while carving your niche in your particular online market space.