When you consider which method of bringing people to your eCommerce business can net you the greatest ROI, which sounds like the most likely champion? Conducting a digital marketing campaign may seem like the obvious answer. After all, the whole purpose is to get your business’s name out there and hammer random users with the benefits.
However, there is another method that requires even less investment and can bring even greater returns: ecommerce search engine optimization, or SEO for ecommerce. With the right tools and the skills to use them, you can boost the number of visitors to your site, experience serious growth, and leap over your competitors. Any entrepreneur, whether new or experienced, can only benefit from an education on this practice. Here is some information on eCommerce SEO services.
What is eCommerce SEO?
SEO is the process of elevating the presence of your website’s positions on the results pages for search engines. This does not refer to paid search engine results placements, such as Google AdWords. Rather, it refers to the results that the search engine organically generates for any given search terms.
Indulge us for a moment as we state the obvious. When online shoppers look for unfamiliar websites, they do not punch in random URLs until they find a hit. Otherwise, they would be there all day. That is why we have websites like Google and Yahoo and all the other digital directories, capable of instantly combing through millions of websites. When online shoppers want to explore, they visit these sites and request a listing of the ones best suited to specific search terms. The search engine’s algorithm then takes a myriad of factors into account and generates the sites it deems most relevant.
This lengthy explanation of what is likely already a common part of your life serves to provide two key pieces of information. First, people who have never visited or even heard of your website are capable of finding it with search engines. Second, search results are not random: these engines are sophisticated, and there is a rhyme and reason for why certain sites appear at certain spots on certain results pages.
SEO is not just the process mentioned above. It is the art of persuading algorithms that your website belongs at the top of results pages for the most popular search terms related to your field.
How SEO Works
Search engine algorithms are not persuaded easily. They have no desires of their own that you can exploit — only the purpose for which they were designed, a mission that they will execute without regard for anything else. If you want them to favor your website, you need to give them something worth favoring. You need to retool your own website so that it not only complies with the algorithm’s standards, but complies better than the potential millions of websites vying for first-page status.
(On that note, there is no other page to vie for than the first, because few users move on to the next. Think about it: how often do you check Page 2 instead of rephrasing your search terms? If your website first appears on the third page, you are only a teeny bit better off than if it were on the thirtieth.)
These changes may be major, such as simplifying your site layout for easier navigation or bumping up your security. Of course, as you can see from the given examples, those changes typically provide plenty of benefits beyond SEO. What you really need to know for your strategy are the subtler changes you can make: alterations to meta data, tweaks to website copy, and more. These may not seem all that visible, but the search engines take notice, and they reward or punish as they see fit.
If you can identify these details and optimize them to the algorithms’ liking, they will reward your pages with higher rankings. Do well enough and they might even get the highest. Make full use of your eCommerce platform’s SEO and marketing features.
Popular Ecommerce SEO Services
SEO Site Audit
What it is: An SEO site audit is a process in which a person or a program analyzes a website for any issues that may bring down its SEO value.
How it works: An audit may look at dozens of different elements to assess many different aspects of a website’s SEO. These include technical details (page speed, crawlability, canonical tags), as well as the contents of the pages themselves (use of keywords, inbound links, meta data).
Why you need it: You cannot even begin to solve a problem until you know what exactly the problem is in the first place. SEO site audits provide greater insights into what already works and what could use more work. You also need to conduct audits with some regularity because performance can change over time, especially as you implement other SEO services.
How to do it right: These sites are supposed to be experts on why websites have the search engine rankings they have. It stands to reason that the best ones should be able to apply their findings to their own site. Simply look up “seo site audit” or “seo audit” on Google and make use of the first non-advertisement results on the first page. As for what they should actually be like, make sure that the report is not just comprehensive, but clear. It should tell you exactly what the issues are so you can start fixing them without any confusion.
What it is: Keyword research is the practice of discerning which combination of terms for a specific subject are the most popularly used terms from search engine users.
How it works: When you use a keyword research tool, you have to input some words related to the focus of your business and the types of items in your inventory (this may take a few tries). The tool will then analyze and present you with the monthly search volume not just for those exact words, but for phrases containing those words. For a hypothetical example, looking up “eCommerce SEO services” may also bring up “what are eCommerce SEO services” and “best eCommerce SEO services companies.”
Why you need it: Keywords are the key to SEO. It is not enough just to incorporate any keywords you can find into your copy, headings, and meta data. What you truly need to do is incorporate the ones that are being searched up more frequently than any of the rest. Targeting them with your SEO strategy translates to targeting a wider audience that may just visit your site.
How to do it right: Before you can use the tool to identify what words your audience uses to find sites like yours, you need to think of what exactly your site does. Simply writing “beauty products” might not cut it in terms of competitiveness — get creative and try something more specific, like “beauty products for short healthy hair.” As we said earlier, try multiple search terms relevant to your business. More knowledge is always better. Finally, put that research into good use and incorporate these keywords where you can.
Content Marketing and Optimization
What it is: Content marketing is the art of writing and uploading product descriptions, blog posts, informational sections, and other copy to your website.
How it works (for SEO): When search engine algorithms read through your website, they will take note of the presence of any keywords in the text. If they see plenty of keywords (and plenty of instances of each keyword) in the right places, they may consider the information on the pages highly relevant to the search terms in question and rank the pages highly on their results pages.
Why you need it: In addition to providing your site visitors with additional information, each new piece of content is an opportunity to cram some more keywords into your website. If your content is good enough, it can also increase your domain authority, which can lead to even higher rankings.
How to do it right: When you add content to your site, make sure that high-ranking keywords are an integral part of its very foundation. Introduce them within the first hundred words, inject them throughout the text, incorporate them into at least one heading, and include them in the meta title and meta tags. Of course, you cannot just put them wherever you want and as many times in succession as you want (also known as “keyword stuffing”). The algorithms frown upon such shenanigans and punish offenders with lower rankings. Make sure your keywords fit within the context of your copy.
What it is: Link building is anything that involves getting other websites to include hyperlinks connecting their pages to yours.
How it works: When search engines crawl and index a page, they pay close attention to how many other pages provide hyperlinks to that page. This shows that the page in question is a trusted resource: people find it so helpful that they go out of their way to direct their own visitors to it. Cultivating this “authority” is a major factor in breaking through to the highest rankings on results pages.
Why you need it: Search engines do not give the highest rankings to just any website with keywords. Rank largely depends on authority, and the more authority you build, the higher your rank. If websites with high authority start linking to your website, the algorithms will start viewing you as having authority and increase your standing accordingly.
How to do it right: Firstly, produce high-quality content that readers will find informative, engaging, and trustworthy. If you want other websites to link to you, you must give them a reason. On that note, reach out to people who run the kinds of websites that would want to link to yours. They may be your colleagues, but they do not need to do anything for you. While communicating with them, make them care about your website and your content by showing how they relate to their own website and content. Lastly, have patience and faith. Crawling pages can take time, and you might not see results for quite a while.
What it is: Website optimization, also known as “on-site SEO,” is anything that involves making changes to your website in ways that can improve SEO. Examples include interlinking (link building for pages within your website); adding keywords to headings, meta tags, and meta titles; and inserting robots.txt files (text files that direct search engines on how to crawl a website).
How it works: As we said near the start, there are plenty of tweaks and changes you can make to your website that can boost its SEO value. The effects of these alterations are incremental, and each change is a change for the better.
Why you need it: When it comes to SEO, every little bit helps. Even the most minor tweaks, when applied consistently across all your pages as needed, can make the difference between showing up on Page 1 and being relegated to Page 2.
How to do it right: You can find programs, such as Yoast for WordPress, that help you identify where you can make these improvements. Better still, as you use these programs, you can learn over time how to identify them on your own.
Why All eCommerce SEO Services are Important to Do Together
You will want to make the most out of your SEO strategy — or at least you should, if you want the most ROI from it. If so, then your approach should integrate all of the different SEO services mentioned above. Sure, each one can make a difference in your site’s standing if you use even just one of them. However, one alone may not be enough to give you all the resources and information you need to make that difference significant. Your chances of getting to the top will skyrocket if you use all of them together with a systemic and cohesive approach to SEO.
If that seems unnecessary to you, just consider: how can you optimize your metatags and content if you do not know which keywords to insert? How would you know that your link-building needs work without a comprehensive audit? Think of the different services less as complete solutions to the problem and more as integral pieces of a larger approach to the issue. All of these eCommerce SEO services feed into one another, working together to organically boost your website’s rankings on results pages and the number of visitors coming from those pages.
DIY vs Hiring
You could try to improve your SEO on your own. There are plenty of programs and resources out there that can show you what you should do, and many of them are available for free or at low prices. However, while you may be able to accomplish much without assistance from anyone else, your effort might still not be enough to land your site where it needs to be on the results pages. This is especially true for those who do not have much knowledge on the finer details of coding and programming, which is where the more sophisticated SEO work needs to be done.
Hiring a team of SEO experts to comb through and spruce up your website can seriously improve your standing on the search engines. These professionals know precisely where to find room for improvement and how to optimize your website to its fullest potential. They can solve problems you did not know you had, as well as problems you did not even know you did not know you had. As you might expect, signing up for their services can set you back a bit. With that said, the ROI potential is enormous, and if they accomplish their tasks, you may find yourself with more visitors, better conversions, and a stronger reputation than ever before.
Your website’s SEO value can be an albatross or an asset, and anything you can do to increase it will only help your business grow. Hopefully you have a better understanding of how it works and how using multiple eCommerce SEO services can benefit you. Start incorporating this knowledge and these practices into your overall strategy as soon as you can. If you do it right, or get some professionals to do it right on your behalf, you might be surprised by the ROI and the impact it has on the future of your store.