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How to Grow Organic Traffic to Your Ecommerce Website Using SEO

Despite having a great product and an appealing ecommerce site design, you still need to gain traffic. Learn the main components that impact SEO rankings, strategies for growing your organic traffic, the main metrics to track and measure, and then put what you've learned into action to gain traction with your audience.

 

Growing organic traffic, while valuable, is a very difficult task. It requires weighing a number of different aspects, such as your ecommerce site niche, your industry, and your individual performance. To help you gain the most traction and grow your traffic, we’ll cover some of the best organic SEO strategies.

Once done, you’ll have a better understanding of how SEO works, as well as how to carry out research, plan your content strategy, and make meaningful improvements. We’ll also detail what ecommerce metrics to track and measure to improve organic traffic.

Components of ecommerce SEO

To start, we’re going to cover the main components of search engine optimization (SEO) to help you grow organic traffic.  Each component of SEO indicates whether it’s most closely related to on-site or off-site SEO, helping you make the right changes. Learn what each element is, how they affect your site’s SEO ranking, and best practices to follow.

Page titles and headings

Category: On-site

Your page titles and headers organize and structure on-page content for your users and search engines, which crawl your pages and index your site’s layout. The main page title and headers are components of your page and outline topics your page will cover.

Both users and search engines will use page titles and headers to determine what your page is about, and whether it answers their search query. Search engines will use these indexed headers to recall your page based on relevance to the users’ search intent.

URL structure

URL elements with labels

Category: On-site

The URL structure, which is the actual website address, is important for organic SEO. Customers will see optimized URLs as legitimate, as they avoid strange characters that signal inauthentic pages. More than that, search engines will factor the domain path when ranking your page.

Ensuring that you label your URL according to the topic and contents of your webpage will help it rank organically.

Page load speeds

Category: On-site

Page performance and speed doesn’t immediately come to mind when you think of on-page SEO, but it’s a main component of how the page loads, its responsiveness, and how it’s received by customers.

Make sure you reduce the number of images on your webpages, as they slow your site down. Always compress image files before loading them onto your page. Consistently update your platform and hosting to make sure you offer good load speeds, and do what you can on-page to reduce performance issues.

On-page links

Example of on-page links using anchor text

Category: On-site

On-page links include any hyperlinks on your webpage, but in most cases these are integrated into the content of your webpage using anchor text. Choose the webpages you link to carefully, as you want to link your customers to valuable resources that bring them value and build reliability and trust in your site. Search engines will also use on-page links – and the webpages they link to – when determining the validity, relevance, and authority of your webpage.

Choose internal and external links wisely, and spread them throughout the article. Link naturally in anchor text and connect to more of your own content and other, high-authority sites that add value for your users.

Meta data (tags, titles, and descriptions)

Category: On-site

We often think of on-page SEO as the content and images customers see, but there is much more going on in the background. Meta data, such as h-tags, titles, and descriptions, forms a major component of on-page SEO. These all dictate the structure and layout of your page for users and search engines, and in turn, they affect your ranking results.

When a search engine crawls your page, it uses meta data to understand the organization, structure, and content of your page, determining if it meets the user’s search intent. Despite most of these being invisible to the customer, they help you rank in SERPs.

Content

Category: On-site

Obviously, the page content is part of on-page SEO. Copy text, images, infographics, and other content elements are all components of on-page SEO, affecting how well you rank. You should develop content that will not only help your customers, but that is optimized to rank high in the SERPs.

Content should always be designed for customers first, but still optimized for search engines. Integrate keywords for your target topics, name images with SEO in mind, and avoid keyword stuffing, as you will be penalized.

Backlinks

Multiple external pages linking to our webpage

Category: Off-site

Backlinking is a main element of off-site SEO, affecting the domain authority of your webpages. Links pointing towards your web pages add value to your website, increasing domain authority. The number and value of the links are important, as reliable, related links will carry more value and domain authority than usual.

Do your best to create content that others will naturally want to link to, as this will create value. You should also develop a link-building strategy to develop backlinks, increasing your domain authority. Reach out to others in your industry and niche market, offering to feature guest blog posts in exchange for the same on their site. Be careful not to engage in black hat SEO strategies when backlinking, as these will be penalized and can hurt your SEO score and rankings greatly.

Guest blog posts

Category: Off-site

Guest blog posts, while they are web page content, are considered off-site SEO, as they don’t appear on your own webpages. These are featured on other web page domains, and typically link back to your web page(s).

Guest blog posts function much like backlinks, helping increase the authority of your domain by having other relevant, high-quality sites linking back. This also directs customers back to your page, and helps you gain traction with a related audience. Choose where your guest blog posts should go to reach a target audience that is more likely to convert on your platform.

Infographics, eBooks, and downloadable assets

Category: Off-site

Infographics, eBooks, and other downloadable assets will appear on your pages, but don’t actually count towards your on-page ranking. For this reason, it’s important to separate these from your on-page SEO strategy. These documents can (and should) be SEO optimized themselves, but don’t count towards the page ranking, as the content is not part of the webpage content.

Ensure that anywhere you include a downloadable asset, you feature on-page content that helps that landing page rank based on the topic of the resource.

Social media marketing

Category: Off-site

Social media is not a direct component of your on-site SEO, as this content doesn’t exist on your webpage. It is best to think of social media as an extension of your on-site SEO initiatives, as it can improve your SEO ranking and garner you more traction.

Social media will use customer loyalty and engagement to funnel traffic to your website pages, allowing you to drive conversions. Always SEO optimize your social media content, so that it ranks well and so that the content topics are clear. You can then use your social media marketing efforts to direct traffic to your website and bolster on-page SEO.

How to pick the best organic traffic SEO opportunities

Growing traffic organically is challenging, but it creates greater value over time, as it increases your domain authority within your industry, market, and topic. When trying to develop your organic traffic, it’s difficult to identify the best opportunities. However, it’s important to choose good opportunities so you make the best use of your resources, as you’ll be creating content, social media posts, and more to boost the SEO rankings of your page.

Below are methods for getting the most of your SEO initiatives, driving traffic and ensuring your page will develop authority over time.

Pick low hanging fruit

Despite knowing the basics, it’s difficult to put this information to use effectively. Choosing the best opportunities for SEO can be challenging. We recommend starting with low hanging fruit. These will present immediate ranking opportunities and be the easiest web pages to rank.

Use top organic keywords and organic position distribution data to find target keywords based on what is already performing well. Any webpages ranking in the top 4 – 10 of SERPs are great opportunities for SEO optimization, as the top 3 positions generate the most traffic.

Identify the target keywords for the content that you have ranking in the top 4 – 10, and consider the volume and competition for these keywords to determine how easily you can compete for rankings. Do keyword research to identify long-tail keyword phrases that may be easier to rank for. You can also target non-branded keywords if you have focused on a specific brand, potential expanding your reach.

Once you’ve identified these opportunities, you’ll want to use keywords with high-volume and low competition, as a standard rule. Focus content around this and redesign your pages to rank for these keywords specifically.

How to make the right changes

When repurposing old content, be sure to integrate the target keywords naturally into the content of the page. In many cases, you will be adding or rewriting page content. Integrate the target keywords into your content naturally, and never stuff keywords. Refocus the page around these topics, using appropriate language. Never compromise the user experience for the sake of SEO, as the content should still always bring your users value.

You should also revisit SEO elements on the page, such as the h-tags, page title, URL structure, and meta descriptions, ensuring they are optimized. Follow best practices for each, ensuring you use the best format and number of characters for page titles, meta descriptions, and headings.

Metrics to measure organic traffic growth

To grow organic traffic efficiently, you will need to rely on accurate analytics. Be sure to track and measure metrics that give you information about organic traffic growth. Below are some of the main metrics to measure and analyze to grow your organic traffic substantially.

Organic and paid search traffic

Two images representing organic and paid traffic; one of a dollar bill and one with a plant growing

Examining organic and paid sources of traffic allows you to get a clear view of ecommerce site traffic. You can use this data to understand the cost per click and customer acquisition costs, which will allow you to increase your conversion rate and optimize revenue. This is a great baseline for traffic on your platform, helping you view where traffic has dipped, spiked, and plateaued.

You can then use this data to make changes to your site, improving for better performance and greater returns. Identify trends and learn where to make the most substantial changes. If possible, visualize organic and paid traffic together to compare how each impacts your traffic growth and conversions.

Backlinks

Backlinks pointing to your ecommerce site are extremely valuable for your page scores. The quantity and the quality of these links are both important. Having a large number of backlinks of low value is typically not as useful as a few high-value backlinks. Compare the quantity of backlinks with paid and organic search trends to determine which backlinks are bringing you the most value. This will help you target similar, valuable backlinks when carrying out your backlink strategy.

Top organic keywords

You should track the keywords that you have used in your content and that you have developed focused content around. You should track all keywords, but be sure to monitor your top performing keywords closely. These give you an idea of where you’ve been able to succeed, areas to compete in, and areas for improvement.

You can refine other content to more directly focus on specific keywords. In general, your best opportunities for organic traffic will be keywords currently ranking the top 4 – 10 of SERPs.

Organic position distribution

Bar graph showing organic position distribution statistics

Organic position distribution data displays the number of keywords that are organically ranking in the top 100 SERP positions, divided by 1 – 3, 4 – 10, 11 – 20, 21 – 50, and 51 – 100. These help give you an idea of how your content is ranking in SERPs, which in turn gives you an idea of traffic. The majority of organic traffic comes from the top 3 SERP results, so you will need to do your best to get webpages in the top 3.

Overall, this data gives you an idea of how well your webpages are ranking in SERPs, and a general idea of the traffic you can expect to get.

Best SEO tools to grow organic traffic

Search engine optimization done right will require a number of tools to help you manage and enhance your efforts. Below are some of the best SEO tools available to help you plan and carry out your SEO strategy for best results.

SEMRush: Monitor page position rankings

SEMRush is a comprehensive digital marketing toolkit, specializing in SEO, paid traffic, social media, content and PR, and market research services. It’s great for monitoring current and historical rankings so you know how your webpages are performing, where you’ve improved, and where you can still make changes.

SEMRush has a number of SEO services that are essential for optimizing your ecommerce site (and keeping it that way):

  • Technical SEO audits
  • Position tracking for webpages
  • Organic traffic lead generation insights
  • Backlink audits and analytics

It also has an easy-to-use, intuitively designed keyword research tool that helps you do competitor research and traffic analytics. With all these tools, you can plan and manage your SEO strategy.

Sitebulb: Crawl your webpages

With the aim of making site audits thorough and insights accessible, Sitebulb specializes in website crawls and audits. Their tool is intuitively designed to give hints based on what needs to be prioritized. Audit scores also help give you a clear overview of SEO on your page so that you can more easily identify the best places to improve. A reliable, accurate SEO audit is a great starting point for revisiting your content to optimize it for higher ranks.

Moz: Measure domain authority

Moz is one of the leading SEO resources, trusted by beginners and experts alike for SEO best practices and tips. They offer services that measure domain authority, rank and position tracking, backlink analysis, and more. Whether you use their software or need advice and tips on SEO best practices, Moz is a great resource to add to your toolkit.

One of the greatest things about Moz is that it’s designed for SEO specialists, but content is structured and written to be accessible for beginners.

Ahrefs: Manage backlinks

Ahrefs is another comprehensive SEO tool featuring a suite of services that help you manage SEO on your website. They offer a site explorer, keyword explorer, site audit, rank tracker, content explorer, and SEO so you can track your rankings and identify new opportunities.

Ahrefs also lets you track and monitor backlinks pointing to your site. This can help you understand what traffic is helping to build your site authority and develop your link-building strategy more efficiently.

Chrome Extensions

Search engine optimization can be made easier by using convenient tools, such as Google Chrome extensions, plugins, and other add-ons. The best part about these plugins is that they integrate with your browser, so they are easier to access than different applications. You can often access a few while being in the same window where you are conducting research.

Below are two top extensions to use for perfecting SEO on your ecommerce site:

SEO Minion

SEO Minion is free, and simple to use so that it’s accessible. It provides data on the HTML of your site, and gives you alerts that help you optimize parts of your site that require SEO optimization. It monitors internal and external links on your webpage, notifying you of broken links. This makes it extremely simple to find these and then remove or replace them. Better still, SEO Minion lets you preview how your site will display the SERP, such as the page title, meta description, and URL.

Keyword Surfer

Keyword Surfer is another free extension for Google Chrome, and it doesn’t require you to purchase or sign into an app. Get search volumes, keyword suggestions, and related terms all within your browser. This lets you draw insights as you do your research, so you can react faster. Get backlink and rankings data to inform your keyword target choices. Overall, this tool is ideal for assessing keyword targets and competition, helping you form your strategy.

 

Now that you know the basics, strategies for growing organic traffic, and the best tools to help you do the job, you’re ready to get to work. For more on growing your organic traffic using SEO, check out our guide on growing organic traffic using search engine optimization. To listen along, you can also check out the webinar this content is based on, presented by Bolt and Logical Position.

Once you’ve optimized your ecommerce site for SEO, be sure to give customers the best checkout experience possible. Bolt’s modal checkout platform integrates seamlessly with your ecommerce store to give customers a fast, efficient checkout.

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