How to improve eCommerce SEO
SEO is a seemingly straight forward equation, with the occasional changes, companies need to get right to do well on organic search results: keywords, backlinks, structure, readability, relevant content, and fast page speed, etc. Everyone always heavily pushes content and keywords for improving SEO and climbing the ranks and this works well for some industries. However, for eCommerce SEO, stocking their websites with content and keywords doesn’t make sense and is not possible.
But SEO is still vital to capturing customers and driving sales. Consumers are doing most of their research and a big part of their shopping online. Ranking well is growing increasingly important as more retail moves online.
So how do eCommerce companies improve SEO? Here are a few key areas to cover to move up the search ranks:
Present personalized products and suggestions:
For eCommerce SEO, the technical aspects hold even more weight since content and keywords are not primary. Bounce rate and keeping customer engagement high is important for proving ‘relevance’ to search engines. The more you can engage and entice customers as soon as they land on your page no matter what page they land on, the better. Even if customers come in to the homepage or another product page, they should always find something else to continue on to that is interesting to them. Customers should be met with personalized product suggestions as the next step wherever they are on your site. Tools like Contently allow you to present dynamic content anywhere based on users’ demographic, location, and past behavior on your site to better engage users.
Drop bounce rate with engaging app-like features:
Again, dropping bounce rate is imperative for building domain authority for eCommerce sites – as well as driving conversions. You want to get customers exploring as many of your products as possible. Since the onset of social media and retail apps, customers’ expectations for an online and mobile shopping experience have completely changed. They expect an intuitive, app-like experience even from a mobile site. Many of your customers will be coming in through mobile and social media and this will continue to be the norm. They will expect your site to be just as interesting, intuitive, and dynamic as an app. Including features like intuitive, responsive navigation, product sliders, and highly visual product pages and views help to keep customers engaged in the shopping experience. The more seamless the transition from search engine or social app to online shopping experience, the more likely customers are to be engaged in your interface and not bounce off.
Use keywords strategically throughout:
Keywords are harder with eCommerce sites. You can’t rely on pages and pages of blog content, you have to make sure you are getting them included in headings, descriptions, meta data, and alt text on photos. Alt text on images is a great keyword strategy because for eCommerce sites there are usually a lot of images where you can provide “hidden” keyword-focused text to help with indexing. It’s a formality as most of the work done with keywords for eCommerce is not seen.
Always have a next step:
To boost engagement and decrease bounce rate, always be guiding users to the next step within the shopping experience. Once they come in, you should be prompting them towards products and content that is suited for them. Beyond that, there should be more personalized suggestions and clear steps to take action: add to cart, add to wish list, checkout, back to shopping, etc. with various options so no one gets stuck and frustrated. As soon as customers enter the homepage, they should be presented with targeted products. If they come in through a product page, there should be more suggested products. If they come in from an ad, the page they land on should fit their demographics and interests ahead of time. Adding to cart should take customers back to a browsing and shopping experience easily or directly to check out. Little details like this make a huge difference in whether a customer gets frustrated and bounces out or stays on shopping for an hour.
Incorporate social media:
Social media is having a greater impact on SEO than before. Strong social pages and social traffic build authority and relevance. Customers also react to social content positively as social is a more integral part of their buying decision making process. 86% of women look to social media for purchasing advice. Incorporating social into your site helps build credibility with users and engages them so they spend more time on your page. There are several ways top eCommerce sites are incorporating social into their shopping experience. Some are showing social media images within product image galleries of users or influencers. Some are including “seen on Instagram” sections of products where users can see how products are used by real people. Some sites heavily push for sharing or sending products via social media to boost their reach to other potential customers. Others are including their company feed with product information as a part of the site. All of these are great ways to increase engagement, drop bounce rate, and boost credibility.
“It’s kind of like this ripple effect. The more people shout us out, the more their fans shout us out. Kind of like a viral Youtube video. We’re a viral store.”
Richard Saghian, CEO of Fashion Nova, $400m+ revenue eCommerce store
Provide engaging content strategically:
It also matters where you suggest content and products. Sometimes it’s hard to engage customers if they come in on different pages. If customers come in through a single product page, they may not see your recent deals, other products, etc. and bounce more readily. To engage customers right away no matter where they come from, use a “What’s New” feed in a discreet side bar with Beamer. By clicking “What’s New” in your navigation or an icon in your interface, customers can open up a feed of targeted content and new products on any page of your website. You can include videos and photos for engaging updates with CTA buttons to keep customers clicking through your site. Learn more about getting more engagement out of your Beamer posts. You can segment updates so that when users come in one any page they see updates that are tailored for their demographics, language, location, and past behavior on the site. You can also enable targeted push notifications which alert users when you post a new update so they come back to your site – boosting return visitors and multiple sessions. Push notifications get better engagement because they are more direct and actionable than an update email which normally gets very low engagement rates.
PR is powerful:
Backlinks are huge for eCommerce SEO again become you are not able to rely on pages of content to gain authority. Backlinks from credible sites and sources can not only quickly increase targeted traffic but also boost domain authority. This is really powerful for eCommerce because many customers rely on other sources for purchasing advice and product discovery such as blogs, influencers, larger publications, etc. It does take a lot of work but one strong, well-positioned backlinks can be very valuable in terms of bringing long term traffic. Some ways eCommerce companies can backlinks is by pitching to niche micro publications and blogs that are highly relevant to their target audience. eCommerce companies can also work with influencers and bloggers that are influential for their audiences. For example, Snowe home products, a mostly online retailer geared towards millennials, worked with smaller home, lifestyle, and design influencers to get links to their products and website on their blogs to build backlinks and drive relevant traffic. eCommerce sites can offer guest posts themselves with expert content to other sites to speed up the process and build backlinks from sites that do have blog content up. Thought it takes time and work, building up backlinks is really vital to building and maintaining traffic and increasing authority over time in Google’s eyes.
SEO is always a process of balancing an equation to be favorable by Google but for eCommerce customers there’s even more weight put on the technicalities and design that drive real engagement. Increase engagement, bring customers back to your site, and better target customers with Beamer on all pages your site.