Paid search engine marketing helps drive traffic to your eCommerce website. However, complementing SEM efforts with search engine optimization (SEO) can take your website’s reach to the next level.
Before you launch a new site or update an existing one, it’s critical to optimize your content and website structure. To help with your eCommerce SEO efforts, we’ve created a concise checklist. Continue reading to discover important elements of an SEO strategy and what may be affecting your search engine rankings.
eCommerce SEO Checklist
1. Perform Keyword Research
This is the first crucial step in improving your organic search rankings. We conduct keyword research to uncover top-searched keywords and terms related to specific industries
You can use this information to understand search queries and include popular keywords in your eCommerce website. As a result, your optimized content will reach more people.
To get started, research keyword search volumes and competition. Ideal keywords have high-volume and low-competition, meaning the average monthly searches for a keyword are high while the competition to rank for those keywords remains low. One of our favorite tools to use for keyword research is Ahrefs.
You can use Ahrefs to conduct SEO and competitor research, keyword research and topic analysis, link building and backlink analysis, SEO audits and much more.
Although we are huge fans, Ahrefs is not the only tool available for keyword research. You can reference our other favorite eCommerce SEO tools in our related blog.
2. Use Unique Title Tags eCommerce Website Page
No matter your eCommerce vertical, you should include unique title tags on every page of your website. Furthermore, the exact term that users search for should be in your title tag.
When users click on your links, they should be directed to the specific website pages that include the products/services they originally searched for.
For example, your title tag should look something like this:
Primary Keyword, Secondary Keyword | Your Brand’s Name
Overall, relevant title tags can increase your website’s visibility click-through-rate in organic search results.
3. Include Keywords in Heading Tags
An H1 heading is the highest priority content on a website page. As a result, be sure to optimize the H1 on each page of your website so that each is unique to the page’s topic.
We recommend using keywords in the H1, H2s and a few times throughout the body copy of a page. Keywords in headings beyond that are unnecessary and may actually hurt your rankings. So, remember to not overuse keywords because you want to keep your content readable.
4. Reference Keywords in Your URLs
Your URL is the first thing Google, and oftentimes users, notice. An easy-to-read URL helps people and search engines understand a page’s context.
Incorporating keywords in your URL can help your eCommerce website rank higher in organic search results. However, it’s important to note that overusing keywords can hurt your ranking.
Avoid using repetitive keywords in URLs. Also, stay clear of superfluous words like “the” and “and” in URLs. If a person can understand what the website is about without using these words, then Google can understand, too.
5. Optimize Alt Text and Image File Names
This one is easy to overlook but is essential. Alt text is Google’s way of understanding an image’s context. Also, it can help visually-impaired readers by describing the image.
Although there’s no silver bullet, using alt text can help search engines better understand how your images and content relate.
Furthermore, image file names are crucial to SEO ranking. If you’re incorporating images that you took yourself, avoid default file names from your camera (like “IMG_9398.jpg).” Instead, consider using a detailed and human-friendly title.
Let’s pretend you’re selling a store brand of sparkling water in two flavors: Black Cherry and Raspberry. Renaming the images to describe each photo in a unique way allows Google and other search engines to differentiate between two different flavors of sparkling water and can increase online visibility.
6. Use Rich Snippets
Normally the title tag, meta description and URL are displayed when your website shows up on a search engine results page. With rich snippets, search engines are able to display more information about the web page, including 0-5 star ratings, reviews, price, product availability and more.
Although rich snippets can improve your ranking in organic search results, it’s important to note that they are not always guaranteed and that they are temporary. Google uses an algorithm to display the most relevant results for users - and this algorithm is constantly changing/updating.
7. Run Your Page Through Moz Page Grader
Moz Page Grader provides instant analysis and reports to help improve your on-page SEO. It allows you to see how competitors rank for targeted keywords and helps you improve your own content.
It's on-page grader helps you understand how well optimized your page is for target keyword and where you can improve. This tool is a great way to quickly see what may be helping (or hurting) your on-page SEO efforts.
8. Resolve 404 Errors and Warnings
Errors like “Error 404 - Page Not Found” create an obviously negative user experience. 404 errors occur when you change your permalink, remove content from your website, or when your website is linked to another website with a misspelled/incorrect link.
To resolve a 404 error on your website, use a 301 redirect. In most cases, a 301 redirect is the best method for implementing redirects on your website. If a user types in your website’s old URL, for example, a 301 redirect will automatically redirect the user to your website’s new URL.
Be sure to move the website permanently so that there is no trouble with the link later. And lastly, don’t sweat it if errors pop up from time to time.. when r URLs that are consistent with your brand are unavailable.
9. Optimize Off-Site SEO with Backlinks
The #1 way to optimize for your off-site SEO is to use backlinks. Backlinks from other websites essentially show Google that your website can be trusted because it is “backed” by another website.
However, your website should be backed by high-authority and trusted sites. Be sure to avoid untrusted, spam websites from linking to your website.
When used correctly, backlinks can increase your ranking on a search engine results page.
10. Avoid “Keyword Stuffing”
Keyword stuffing occurs when brands add in as many keywords as possible on a webpage. Although this previously was common practice to boost website rank, Google and other search engines will now penalize you for this..
When writing for search engines, keep things natural. Selected keywords should be relevant to your webpage content to provide users with the best experience.
And there you have it! We hope you’ve found 10-step SEO checklist helpful and informative.
If you have any questions or need help implementing an SEO plan for your eCommerce business, don’t hesitate to reach out through the form below.
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