Ecommerce SEO relies upon many of the same tactics as conventional search engine optimization, with a few wrinkles added for the demands of running an online store. Unfortunately, that means Ecommerce SEO requires some things that are not commonly found in ‘general’ SEO best practices. For example, “category” pages can be overlooked without issue for most websites – but neglecting these pages on an ecommerce website would be a massive mistake.
“Little things” such as product descriptions, backlinks, metatags, site load time, and Google shopping feed can slip through the cracks when taking on the challenge of building out your online store. Yet from an ecommerce SEO perspective, they are some of the most critical facets of a high-ranking shop. Failure to optimize these elements of your website could be the difference between ranking on page 1 for your most valuable keywords (where 75% of users stop their search)… and slipping through the cracks into online obscurity.
Though it takes time to get ‘up to speed’ and see results – when done properly – ecommerce SEO will provide your store with a steady stream of organic, free traffic. Rather than relying upon paid ads that stop working once you stop paying, Ecomm SEO makes sure your shop can attract visitors on its own without the help of external factors. This type of SEO specific to online shops is the most long-term friendly, sustainable and highest-ROI form of traffic generation available for Ecomm shops today. More traffic, higher conversions, more sales, and a more prominent bottom line all come with the territory when your Ecommerce shop’s SEO is dialed incorrectly (and properly maintained).
Is SEO important for Ecommerce businesses?
The lifeblood of any business (online or brick and mortar) is traffic. Businesses have two ways to drive traffic to their online storefront – paid and organic. Both of these options are valid ways to drive new business toward your Ecommerce store, but only one of them offers exponential ROI. For example, properly performing Search Engine Optimization is a slower process than spending money for clicks to your store and isn’t as quantifiable in a cost-per-click analysis. But over time, Ecommerce SEO drives organic traffic by way of natural search engine usage – for most shops, this is a much more sustainable way to generate business. It’s equivalent to word of mouth advertising vs. taking out radio/TV ads and putting up billboards – one is a self-fulfilling feedback loop that can sustain itself without additional investment. At the same time, the other relies upon continued exposure (which carries an ongoing cost).
Online commerce businesses need proper SEO more than most other websites do, for a few reasons. First, helpful content that is consistently relevant to the end-user is one of the primary considerations for how websites are ranked on search engines. Second, ecomm shops have a relatively limited window of opportunity to maximize their ‘customer relevancy.’ Easily overlooked details such as site load time, product descriptions, Google shopping feed, and other similar factors can make or break their customers’ experience.
Regular “brochure” websites can just throw a bunch of content stuffed with keywords into a few blog posts and benefit the search engine rankings. This is not the case with Ecommerce SEO. Ecomm shops play by a different set of rules, demanding technically challenging methods of optimizing the search algorithms. In addition, the demands for shops to rank highly are not static – much like customer desires shift and iterate over time, so must the Ecomm shop’s SEO strategy for those who want to rank highly in search engines consistently.
What are some Ecommerce SEO best practices?
Best practices for Ecommerce Search Engine Optimization are constantly evolving to keep up with the changing desires of consumers in the information age. That being said, there are a few best practices that weigh heavily on an online store’s search engine ranking, including:
- Google Shopping feed optimization (Global Trade Item Numbers, proper product titles, product descriptions, dynamic repricing, color attributes, choosing the right images, etc.)
- Product descriptions (making them as relevant to the end-user as possible, being accurate and honest)
- Optimizing site load time (today’s instant-gratification-seeking customers will not tolerate a slow site load time)
- Meta Tags (miniature content descriptors that tell a search engine what a specific page is all about)
- Backlinking (a link from one website to another that serves as a source of verification, it is essentially a citation proving the validity of your online store to the search engine algorithms)
Addressing the above factors is absolutely essential for driving long-term, sustainable and organic search engine traffic throughout the life of your web factors. Each one of these best practices builds upon the others for a compound effect that cannot be replicated when there are missing pieces to the SEO puzzle left unfulfilled.
For that reason, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to Ecommerce SEO. Each store is unique, tailor-made to serve its own unique customer base – that’s why each shop’s SEO demands a strategy specific to its ideal shopper. Still, ‘little things’ like site load time and relevant content can make or break the user experience for your customers, and the search engines value them very highly as a result.
Should I try boosting my store’s organic search traffic by myself?
This question is a complicated one. Is it possible to boost your shop’s organic search traffic without the help of an expert Ecomm SEO agency? Yes, absolutely. But that isn’t to say that the “do it myself” strategy is a fail-proof way of going about this. Search Engine Optimization is a nuanced process that requires precise actions being taken in exact ‘dosages’ because the search engines are very good at catching people in the act of trying to ‘game the system.’ An online retailers’ team could take free information listed on the Digital Authority Partners website and across the web, implement the advice and do everything ‘by the book’… and get penalized by Google or other search engines for trying to do too much at once.
Proper Ecommerce SEO is not unlike a complicated recipe. You can have all of the right ingredients and follow the rules to a T, and still end up with a mess. The reason for this is that the subtleties and nuances of proper communication SEO extend beyond simple instructions online. Now, let us be clear – shop owners CAN use this information on their own and experience great success in moving up the search engine rankings with their home-baked SEO plan.
That being said, there is a good deal of risk associated with this DIY approach for the reasons mentioned above. In the cookbook of long-term, sustainable SEO best practices, it’s often the handwriting in the side margins of the page that can make or break a recipe from turning out properly. The same is true online.
The short answer is that yes, you can try this all on your own – but when you start tinkering with what makes your shop tick in the eyes of a search engine, it’s easy to make mistakes and do more harm than good when trying to optimize your shop for SEO.
There are three instances in which we highly recommend you do NOT tinker with SEO on your own, and instead seek out expert help:
- If your shop is in a highly competitive space (when all of your strongest competitors pay for expert SEO help, how can you expect to beat them yourself?)
- If you’re trying to make your shop less reliant on big-box sites such as Amazon or Walmart
- If you simply lack the time to try and figure all of this out on your own (if working with thousands of shop owners has taught us anything, it’s that they’re very busy people)
SEO for Ecommerce can be confusing, even when it’s explained step-by-step in layman’s terms. It’s constantly evolving to keep pace with search engine algorithms that change frequently, so what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. It IS possible to handle your shop’s SEO on your own, but it also carries a much higher level of risk than many shop owners are comfortable taking on.
How much will an Ecommerce SEO project cost me?
Simply put, there is no standard answer to this question. Pricing for Ecommerce SEO varies upon a number of factors, including but not limited to:
- Age of your website/store
- Which niche your business is in
- What SEO strategies you have (or have not) tried before
- Which iteration of Google’s search engine algorithm do you have to appease
- How much competition is out there trying to take your shop’s customers
- Whether or not you’ve relied upon sites like Amazon to drive traffic in the past
- Whether or not you’re relying upon paid traffic sources
Many factors come into play when assessing cost, and as such, there is no ‘right’ answer to this. It ultimately depends on your specific situation and how quickly you’re looking to accomplish your goals. The best way to estimate pricing for our turnkey Ecommerce SEO services would be to contact us here.
Is working with an Ecommerce SEO agency worth it?
As with the above question, there is no single answer that will be right for every store in every situation. Tens of thousands of Ecommerce stores have hired paid experts to optimize their shop websites for search. Some have made their money back many times over with the influx of organic traffic and new customers.
Still, the overwhelming majority <link to testimonials or reviews> of online stores who work with us are thrilled to have done so, and many of our customers end up being long-term relationships because they continue to derive massive benefits from working with us. These shop owners all have one thing in common- they are good clients. They listen to feedback and advice, they implement it quickly, they don’t try to bring their experience as entrepreneurs to the surface as reasons why something “won’t work”… simply put, they are open to new information, and they are quick to act on the advice they’ve paid for. For this reason, they see tremendous results from our working relationship, and they strongly feel that working with an Ecomm SEO agency was worth the investment.
If you’re going to push back against advice, drag your feet on implementing feedback and actionable changes to your store, or are otherwise going to be a source of conflict – no, working with an E-commerce SEO Agency won’t be worth it to you. But if you’ve read this far into our FAQ, you probably don’t fall under that category.
The best clients are those who seek to understand ‘why’ certain strategies work or don’t work without doubting the validity of the advice they’re paying to receive. It has been our experience that “the better the client is at implementing feedback, the better results their store sees with SEO and the more money they tend to make”.
Who will be involved in an Ecommerce SEO engagement?
When undergoing an Ecommerce SEO engagement, there will be numerous people involved ‘working on your case. This is because SEO in and of itself is a multifaceted discipline with several layers of engagement, which means that there will be a bunch of different folks working on improving your shop’s search engine ranking.
The crew of Ecommerce SEO experts at Digital Authority Partners varies across numerous disciplines and areas of expertise. Our agency has content writers, data analysts, consultants, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) professionals, link builders, marketers, engineers, designers, and more. They all collaborate with intentional synergy to move your online store up the search engine rankings past that of your competitors.
Each of these various roles is vital to the holistic process of long-term sustainable eComm SEO. We’ve got a long list of friendly faces that help our clients win the SEO game – if you’d like to meet ‘em, you can click on over to this link here.
Why is Ecommerce SEO better than buying traffic with paid ads?
A: Paid traffic – or pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is undoubtedly a proper way to drive new visitors to your Ecommerce website. There are a multitude of factors that go into optimizing this form of paid customer acquisition. However, it’s not as simple as throwing money at something and automatically (and immediately) making that investment back with new business. Similar to learning the subtleties and methodologies necessary to make organic SEO work for your online store, PPC ads are more complicated than most store owners assume. But it’s much easier to blow a bunch of cash without seeing any tangible results when buying traffic compared to investing in organic search engine optimization.
When relying upon paid traffic to feed your shop with new customers, that influx of new business stops when you stop putting money into the ads. With SEO, the results take a bit longer to come to fruition, but they also last a lot longer. Essentially, PPC ads are an instant gratification approach, whereas eComm SEO is a longer-term game with delayed benefits that will stand the test of time. Essential factors such as your shop’s authority and relevance in the eyes of search engines cannot be replicated or duplicated by paid advertising or by buying traffic from any source online.
Simply put, SEO demands that your Ecommerce website becomes a trusted authority figure in the eyes of your digital visitors. There are no shortcuts to accomplishing this, and once you’ve accomplished this, you can “ease off the gas” a little bit. Remember, the minute you stop feeding money into paid advertising platforms is the minute that segment of customers will dry up. Online stores that invest properly in the slow and steady organic search engine optimization approach do not have this problem (though ongoing site maintenance is recommended to ensure continuity of results). For this reason, hiring an experienced Ecommerce SEO agency is recommended over-relying upon paid traffic to your site.