If you’ve ever wondered how brands such as Bulletproof Coffee or Perfect Keto are everywhere, thank their search engine optimization (SEO).
SEO is fundamental to your eCommerce brand being seen, talked about, clicked, and purchased from. If you implement SEO right, you generate significant compounding returns.
In this guide, we’re covering the top SEO best practices for eCommerce brands to get to the top of the search results as quickly and sustainably as possible.
What is SEO and why is it important for eCommerce brands
SEO is optimizing your website and content so it ranks high in the organic search results (those appearing under the paid ads) for specific keywords.
Optimizing your eCommerce website for search engines is crucial for:
- Driving traffic to your website – More than 25% of people click the first organic result when they search keywords on Google.
- Qualifying search engine traffic – SEO ensures you appear in relevant search results, increasing CTR and conversions.
- Generating ROI – SEO has the highest ROI of all eCommerce marketing campaigns since, unlike ads, you don’t pay for visibility.
- Competing – Someone has to be at the top of the search results, and if it’s not you, it’s your competitors.
SEO best practices for eCommerce brands
SEO is much more than simple keyword stuffing (in fact, keyword stuffing reduces your search engine visibility).
The most successful eCommerce brands perform SEO across five key areas.
1. Technical SEO
Technical SEO ensures that search engines can find and analyze your website efficiently, so it can determine your keywords and rank you properly.
Technical SEO is a complex art, but there are three best practices you can perform now:
Make your eCommerce website easily discoverable by search engines by:
- Creating an XML sitemap, using a plugin such as Screaming Frog or Yoast.
- Submitting your sitemap to Google, using Google Search Console.
- Crawling your site to find and amend any broken links or redirects, using a tool such as Ahrefs.
- Creating a business profile on Google My Business.
Increasing site speed
Make your eCommerce website quick to load and easy to scan, increasing customer satisfaction. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights to analyze your website’s current speed and get free recommendations for improvement.
The benchmark for eCommerce websites is under two seconds, but the faster your website loads, the more likely search engines will recommend your website in their results.
Enhancing user experience
Ensure your website is easy and enjoyable for everyone to use by:
- Improving navigation by using clear headers and navigation menus.
- Enhancing accessibility by adding alt text to images and using easy-to-read colors and resizable text.
- Ensuring mobile compatibility by using tools such as AMP.
Related reading: 8 ways to optimize your website for mobile
Keywords help search engines understand what you sell so they can return your website in relevant search results. Keyword optimization is a two-step process:
Finding the right keywords
There are two types of keywords:
- Short-tail keywords are general words, such as “coffee”
- Long-tail keywords are more specific phrases, such as “keto coffee”
Your website will naturally contain many short-tail keywords; however, it’s important to target long-tail keywords, too, because the latter is easier to rank for and they help generate more qualified traffic.
For example, Bulletproof Coffee targets specific keywords such as “keto coffee” and “butter coffee” so it becomes the go-to website for anyone searching those terms.
Use a combination of keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Google, Amazon, and competitor websites to identify long-tail keywords that are relevant, generate a decent volume of traffic, and are easy to rank for.
If you sell locally, don’t forget to include location-based keywords too, such as “keto coffee in Manhattan.”
Implement your keywords across your eCommerce copy in a way that sounds natural and conversational (Google will penalize you for keyword stuffing). The principal places to focus on are your homepage, listings, and blogs, not forgetting your URL handles, meta descriptions, and headings.
Remember to focus on conversions over volume, too. Ranking for 100 different keywords is only good if they’re generating significant sales. Always consider the buyer intent behind keywords.
3. Content marketing
Content marketing is the creation and distribution of online content, and it’s ideal for SEO because it gives you more opportunities to implement your keywords while telling search engines you’re an expert in your field.
Perfect Keto and Bulletproof Coffee are two brands exceptionally good at content marketing. Their key focuses are…
Long-form, fact-driven articles
Rather than churning out hundreds of short-form articles, Perfect Keto focuses on fewer, long-form articles that are scientifically backed.
Not only do 3,000+ word articles give Perfect Keto more opportunity to implement its long-tail keywords, but they also show Perfect Keto’s extensive knowledge about its subject matter. Search engines attribute more value to these blogs, pushing them higher up the search results.
Rather than sticking to blogs, Bulletproof Coffee spreads its keywords over content including blogs, recipes, e-books, guides, and physical books. Again, this shows the breadth and extent of its knowledge to search engines, while also providing people with the option to consume content in a way that suits them. This generates better engagement, which search engines view positively.
Prioritize engagement over backlinks
While backlinks are great for improving your eCommerce SEO (we’ll cover that next), both articles prioritize engagement over links. They write about topics in which their audience is genuinely interested (e.g. how to strengthen your immune system naturally) and promote this content across social media.
Backlinks to your website from another website is a way of validating your content, expertise, and business.
However, the days of bulk buying backlinks and reaching #1 on the search results overnight are long gone. Search engines are clever at detecting black hat tactics, so it’s important to generate quality, well-earned backlinks for websites with high domain authority. Approach reputable brands in complementary verticals and don’t forget industry bloggers and vloggers too.
The higher you can rank in your customers’ search results, the better your visibility and click-through rate, which leads to more sales. It’s also beneficial to your budget to capture a high ranking search result organically, rather than through advertising.
SEO is a complex topic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t master the basics yourself. The key takeaway from this article is that hard work always wins. Put in the effort to research keywords, generate content, earn links now, and reap the rewards later.