Ecommerce SEO tips: Drive Organic Traffic To Your Online Store

February 7, 2022

Marin Perez

Ecommerce SEO tip visualization

In Ecommerce, success hinges on your ability to drive traffic. While most merchants turn to pay-per-click, social media marketing, and digital advertising, nothing beats search engine optimization (SEO) for organic traffic.

In this guide, we’ll explore how SEO can help your business. There’s also a 6-step SEO strategy that you can implement today for your Ecommerce store.

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What is Ecommerce SEO and how can it help your business?

Ecommerce SEO is a strategy for attracting organic traffic to your online store by optimizing your site page to rank well in search engines. But it’s more than content creation and optimization. It’s an ongoing effort to make your site better for what search engines are optimizing for.

In recent years, SEO has become one of the most important traffic drivers to Ecommerce sites. A 2017 study, SEMrush found that 38% of traffic generated by Ecommerce sites came from organic traffic. That compares to only 1.9% from paid traffic. 

And SEO can give you long-term benefits that aren’t available through paid advertising. That’s because when you stop paying for advertising, traffic stops. With SEO, once you’ve optimized your Ecommerce site, it can continue to perform for months and even years. 

Why SEO is vital for Ecommerce?

It’s important to remember that SEO captures the explicit preferences of your customers. Nobody forced them to put that search term into Google—they are actively looking for something.

For store owners, that means traffic coming from SEO often converts better because it has buying intent. But don’t forget to maximize on that high-intent traffic by creating an amazing shopping experience that includes a great checkout experience.

The perfect 6-step Ecommerce SEO strategy 

Google shows 130 million results for the search term “SEO strategies.” But to generate traffic for your Ecommerce website, you only need this two-pronged approach:

  1. Elevate your website’s authority through long-form content designed to attract backlinks from high-authority sites
  2. Target purchase-intent keywords for your products and services.

You can effectively achieve these outcomes in just six steps. Here’s how. 

1. Build your strategy: keyword research

Before writing content or optimizing your website for search, you need a strategy. And the key to that strategy is keyword research.

Keyword research is the process of identifying the search terms your target customers are using to find products like the ones you sell. These are the terms you’ll use to guide your content creation and ranking efforts. 

You need to use a keywords research tool such as SEMRush, Moz, Ahrefs, or Ubersuggest

There are two types of keywords you should identify:

  • Keywords that will attract links from high authority websites 
  • Keywords with high purchase intent

The Keywords that attract links from high authority websites

Though not a perfect proxy for Google’s PageRank, a website’s domain authority, or domain rating (the term depends on what keyword tool you use), can be increased by attracting links from high-authority sites.

Sites with high authority like The New York Times or Forbes, are sites that Google sees as trustworthy. When a site like these links to one of your pages or articles, Google considers this a vote of confidence.

To identify these keywords, look for the keywords that your most authoritative competitors rank highly on. For example, if you sell avocados, one of your biggest competitors on the web is Avocados from Mexico

According to Ahrefs, Avocados from Mexico has a lot of authority, with a domain rating (DR) of 69 and a URL rating (UR) of 57. Let’s identify what their top keywords are:

Evaluating this list, you may feel that “avocado tequila” sounds interesting. But the top keyword is “avocado nutrition,” which garners 60,000 searches per month in the U.S. “Avocado nutrition” is a competitive keyword that you could target with a piece of long-form content (more on that below). 

After you gather this information, here are your next steps: 

  • Identify 8–10 keywords that could attract your ideal customers and allow you to share industry research and other linkable bits of information. 
  • Write a long-form article that targets these keywords with an eye on attracting backlinks from authoritative sites.

High-purchase-intent keywords

Your next task is to identify the keywords related to your products with a high purchase intent. These are the keywords people use when looking for a website to buy your product.

Returning to our avocado example, the obvious keywords in this category are “avocados near me” or “where to buy avocados.” But other keywords can also indicate a customer’s purchase intent.

For example, in this list of related keywords, “baby avocados” stands out.  Type it into Google, and you get a Trader Joe’s listing: 

Now you do it: Make a list of 25–50 high-purchase-intent keywords, depending on how many products you sell in your online store. For strategies on how to rank for these two keywords, read on.

The top-10 listings in search engines for any keyword tend to be long-form content. The average length of pages that rank on page 1 of Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) is more than 2,000 words, according to a study by SerpIQ.

Is it necessary to create long-form content to rank well? Not always. It depends on your industry and the quality of content your competitors are publishing. 

But most content directors and bloggers want to link to the most thorough, authoritative article on whatever topic they’re covering. These tend to be longer, filled with original research, case studies, and graphics that are clickable and worth sharing.

Keep in mind, you can’t rank a 2,000-plus-word article that isn’t authoritative. Fluffy content (focusing on word count and not substance) won’t rank. So let’s look at the most popular structures for writing long-form authority content.

Advanced guides

Ultimate guides are highly authoritative articles or pages about a given topic. They are often the A-to-Z of that topic and follow an outline similar to this: 

  1. Definition of the term/topic
  2. Brief history of the item in question
  3. Why it’s important and for whom
  4. What are the X steps to achieve success in this topic area
  5. What are examples that illustrate each step
  6. Conclusion

For this strategy, start by choosing a keyword or cluster or keywords that you’d like to target in the guide. Then develop an outline similar to this one. Write the article. Optimize for your keywords, and make it as authoritative as possible.

Taking the avocado example, you could write the Ultimate Guide to Use Avocados to Live a Healthy Lifestyle.

Long-form listicles

Another type of long-form article is the listicle. A listicle is an article that provides a list of items, solutions, or ideas related to the keyword or topic. It typically contains 20 or more items. But to rank on page 1 in search engines, aim for a list of 50–100 items. 

For our example, we could write a long listicle on 101 Ways to Use an Avocado.

Ebooks 

One format that deepens your reader’s knowledge of your products is an ebook. Electronic books are published in chapters rather than a single blog post or page. Since ince every “chapter” is a stand-alone page, optimized for a specific keyword, each of them gives you another opportunity to rank in search engines.

For the avocado example, you might publish the Avocado Guide Book, with chapters on nutrition, recipes, how to grow an avocado at home, and medicinal uses for avocados. To know the type of article that will work for you: 

  • Study the top 10 articles ranking for your chosen keyword. 
  • Study the formats they use. 
  • Then select a format that will help you provide even better information for your readers. 

3. Optimize your product pages

Your next step is to optimize your Ecommerce site for high-purchase-intent keywords. Optimization will help your product pages rank higher in search results, so your customers can find you in organic searches.

You should have identified the top keywords for each of your products. Your product pages need to be optimized to rank for these keywords.

Begin by reviewing your product description. Write clear, straightforward descriptions that are at least 400 words long. Go into as much detail as you can. Then optimize the page for search by including your keywords in your:

  • Title Tags
  • H2, H3, and H4 tags
  • Product description
  • Alt text of your product images
  • Meta description (the 120-158 character-length description that appears in the Google SERPS)

A word of warning: Try to avoid keyword stuffing. The practice of inserting your keyword everywhere on the page, whether it makes sense or not, can be detected by algorithms. Search engines today are smart. They aren’t just scanning for the keyword. They’re also evaluating whether the term is being used naturally.

That’s why it’s important to write in a style that’s clear and conversational. You want both your customers and search engines to read and understand your page. 

4. Implement proper site architecture

One of the best ways to let Google know that your site is worth indexing is to create an internal linking structure that:

  1. Communicate what your topics and subtopics are
  2. Shows Google’s search bots where all the pages are

Authority Hacker defines site architecture as:

…the structure you use to organize your website. The structure refers to the website hierarchy of pages, categories, and sections and how the users and search crawlers navigate between your pages.

Think of site architecture as a pyramid-like structure, with your site’s topic at the top of the pyramid and sub-topics forming ever more specific blocks underneath it.

John Mueller of Google explains that site architecture “helps Google understand the context of different categories and pages.”

5. Publish high-purchase-intent articles

High-purchase-intent articles are blog posts that help potential buyers make a good buying decision. Buyers typically look for these articles when they’re almost ready to buy but want more information to feel confident they’re choosing the best option for their needs. 

These articles should target some of the high-purchase-intent keywords you uncovered in section 1 above. That might include:

“Us vs. them” articles

When buyers are in the final stages of the customer journey, they often want to compare their top choices. If they’re looking for running shoes, they might search for “brooks beast vs. asics kayano” to compare stability running shoes. Or if somebody is looking for speakers, they might use the search query, “klipsch vs. sonos.”

In “vs.” articles, try to be as objective as possible. Your goal is not to disparage the competition. It’s to give your customers the information they need to make a good decision. 

If you sell multiple product brands, you might write an honest comparison of the two brands. Either way, you get the sale. 

If you sell only one brand, be honest about the strengths and weaknesses of both products. In many cases, the site that provides the best overview is the one that earns the customer’s trust.

In both cases, provide a link directly to the product page to enable buyers to purchase your product.

Review articles

Like the “vs.”’ articles, review articles require you to provide an honest review of the product in question. It’s better to get a client to write a review instead of one of your product managers. 

“Best of” articles

These articles are often listicles. They list the best options in a specific product category. Think “best running shoes for flat feet” or “best running shoes for bad knees.”

For these articles, it’s a good idea to include competitor products in the list. This highlights other brands and adds credibility that builds trust with your audience. Not only can it help you sell more of your products, but it can also help you rank better in search engines.

Link-building should be incorporated into your strategy to ensure strong SEO results. Here’s how to add link building to your outreach strategy: 

  • Identify authoritative websites that already talk about the topics related to the products you sell.
  • Reach out and ask them to include a link back to a specific page on your website.

When high-authority websites link to your content, Google sees that as a vote of confidence. And it transfers authority to your website. Many SEO experts believe that link-building is the key to achieving a top-3 ranking in search engines. 

To find the most linked-to articles of your competitors and the websites linking to them: 

  • Use your SEO tool.
  • Review the websites linking to your competitor’s articles.
  • Look for websites that do a lot of backlinking and reach out to them

There’s a good chance they’ll be open to linking to your article as well.

Using SEO to boost your business 

Ecommerce SEO is an effective strategy for driving traffic to your online store. The key is to fill your website with high-quality, relevant content that attracts your best customers.  

Then, you’ll be able to turn your focus to creating a smooth checkout experience. Together with SEO, this will provide a memorable customer experience that turns one-time visitors into repeat customers. 

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