37x More Organic Traffic: Our Secret E-Commerce SEO Formula Revealed!

A long time ago, the e-commerce business was mainly limited to the giants like eBay and Amazon. Today that situation is totally different because there are so many options, like Shopify and BigCommerce, that enable anyone with basic computer knowledge to build their e-commerce website.

E-commerce is a huge business. For example, in the US alone, e-commerce sales were over $341 billion back in 2015. It saw growth by 310% in the last 10 years and there are approximately 191 million online shoppers in the US alone. With this comes a lot of competition, and to illustrate it, data shows that there are over 110,000 English language e-commerce websites in Alexa’s top 1 million, and all of these websites are competing for the top positions in search engines. Good news is that SEO for a majority of these e-commerce websites is terrible so with the right information from this article and hard work, you can use that to your advantage and increase your search position and traffic.

If you are running an e-commerce business, then you know that getting new customers can be really hard. Statistics show that 44% of online shoppers begin their search for a product with a search engine, so that should another reason why you should focus on improving your search position and traffic. You should keep in mind that if you want to rank your website for some of the really competitive searches that it’ll be difficult and take some time. SEO is a long-term strategy and is not a quick win. If you put in some time and be patient, then SEO can pay off extremely. Also, ranking on the first page is not where it ends. You need to be ranked in the top 3 positions if you want to receive any considerable traffic. This is because the first three positions get around 60% of all traffic for that search.

Keyword Research Done Right

Keyword research is the starting point for any SEO campaign so make sure to kick things off with it. Without proper and targeted keywords, is impossible to optimize your product pages, URL’s, and any other part of the SEO. So, to reach your ideal customer, you must start with a targeted list of keywords. If you’ve read other keyword research tutorials, then you noticed that they mainly focus on finding information keywords such as ones that people use to find “how-to” content. While these keywords have their own place, a big chunk of keywords that you need to find should be related to your product pages.

Research has been done on thousands of keywords to show that only 7% of total keywords were head terms, and 93% were long-tail keywords.

head terms

Head terms are short keywords (usually up to 26 characters), e.g. “dog food”. They can certainly drive a lot of traffic to your website but is not necessarily the traffic that has the best chance to convert.

Long-tail keywords are longer versions of head terms and are more specific, e.g. “organic dog food small breed”. They usually have lower monthly search volume, but can convert better than the shorter terms. You should be focusing on commercial intent long-tail keywords.

Leveraging Amazon Search Suggestions

Amazon is the largest e-commerce website which makes it a goldmine for finding product based keywords. Simply head to Amazon and enter a keyword that you think best describes your product (in this example we’ll use organic dog food):

amazon search

These keywords are very targeted and are long-tail which means that they convert better and that there is less competition around them. Go ahead and do this for all products on your store.

There is a cool tool that scrapes Amazon’s search suggestions called Keyword Tool Dominator. Just enter your main keyword in the search box and it will give you dozens of keyword suggestions. This tool allows you to do keyword research on Amazon much faster but also gives you a lot more keywords than if you were to do it manually.

amazon keyword tool

Is also important that you do the proper keyword research for your categories, and this is where most store owners go wrong and just use random keywords. One of the best ways to do this is to look at the categories that websites like Amazon use. Just click on “Shop by Department” and you’ll see a list of Amazon’s main categories. These might be too broad for you to use, so just hover on any of those and you’ll see the subcategories.

amazon suggestions

Besides Amazon and eBay, you should take a look at the stores that your industry competitors have and take ideas from them as well. Tip: you can also utilize Google’s autosuggest feature to find keyword ideas; just start typing your keyword in Google search box and it’ll suggest long-tail keywords that you can use to generate more ideas!

Google Keyword Planner

This should be your main resource for keyword research. First, write a list of your main keywords that bets describe your products. Next, head over to Google Keyword Planner and enter one of the main keywords (like “organic dog food”) in “Get Ideas” tab.

keyword planner

You can then scroll through the list or download the .csv file on your computer and take a look there. You should be looking for long-tail keywords with commercial intent that have four or more words. If you are optimizing product description too, then go deeper and look for many variations that Keyword Planner gave you and try to find hidden gems.

keyword ideas

You should sort out keywords by ones that are informational and the ones that have purchase intent. You can then use informational keywords on your blog and purchase intent keywords in your product titles and descriptions. An example of purchase intent keyword would be “buy puppy organic dog food”. Note how some keywords scream “I’m ready to buy!”, that’s because people searching for that keyword have a wallet in their hand. These are the gold nuggets that you should focus on!

Search volume is the most important metric that you should be looking at. Search volume will depend on the industry that you are in and you’ll get a feel for what is a high volume and what is low volume after you spend some time examining that list. You can see the average monthly search volume in the second column. The competition column doesn’t apply to SEO and organic traffic, that is the level of competition for AdWords PPC so you can ignore it.

Also, don’t pick any random keyword that you think might be related to your product because your conversion rate will suck. Double-check that the keyword you plan to use fits like a glove with the product you are selling, otherwise the searchers intent won’t be congruent with what you selling.

On-Page Optimization

On-page optimization is one of the most important parts of any SEO campaign. Here are some of the things that you should focus on improving and tweaking.

Decreasing Website Load Time

The people’s attention span is very short, around 8 seconds. So decreasing the load time of your website will give you a huge edge. People are not patient and won’t wait for the page to load for too long and will likely leave without even checking out your product page. 2 seconds or less seems to be the sweet spot that you should try to achieve. An easy to check your load time is to head to Pingdom speed test, type your URL and click “Test Now”. You may want to compare the speed of your website to that of your competitors.

pingdom

There are a few ways to make your store website load faster. One of the ways is to compress your images. Depending on the platform you use, there’s a solution for each. If you are using Shopify, there are apps like Image Optimizer that will compress all the images in your store for a small fee. You’ll see a compression range from 40-60%.

Another way is to invest some money in a decent CDN (content delivery network), and you might see a hefty decrease in your store load time.

Switch To HTTPs

Is very important to implement HTTPs if you are still using just HTTP since e-commerce stores are websites where transactions go through and where private information like passwords and home addresses are exchanged. HTTPS helps to avoid any damage by third parties and keeps all data encrypted and secured. Back in 2014, Google announced that HTTPS is also a ranking factor, so that is one reason more to use it!

Mobile Optimization

Google looks at mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal so if your store is not fully mobile optimized, this should be one of your top priorities. Not just because of the SEO benefits, but for the overall user experience. Yotpo collected a huge amount of information from 120,000 e-commerce stores and found that search made up 34%! You can check if your website is mobile optimized with Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Optimizing Product Pages

If you properly optimize your product pages, you’ll make it so much easier for Google to crawl and index your pages, but also enable potential customers to find your products in search engines.

Unique product descriptions – You shouldn’t just copy and paste descriptions from other stores, even if you are selling the exact same product. Google really dislikes duplicate content and is known for penalizing websites that rely on it. Also, avoid keyword stuffing due for the same reason. Thin content is another issue, so descriptions shouldn’t be shorter than 50 words, and ideally 150 words if you want to be on the safe side.

Sprinkle your keywords a few times (depending on how long your content is), usually 2-4 times, throughout the product description so Google can know what your page is about.

Product titles – You’d want to use your main keyword in your title. But even better, you should use a long-tail version of that keyword so you show up for more searches. For example, instead of using “Organic dog food”, use something like “The best organic dog food for puppies”. Some of the common words people use when searching include: best, online, cheap, deals, etc. You can also include click magnet phrases like “lowest price” to boost your CTR.

Description tag – Make sure to use some of the keywords in your description as well. Also, use description to your advantage to get high CTR and more visitors from search engines. Here are some of the examples that you can use:

  • Get free shipping on _______, today only.
  • Save X% off on our best-selling _______.
  • Get the lowest prices on limited edition ________ right now.

Keyword-friendly URLs – Make your URLs concise and put the name of the product in it. Completely avoid having a really long URL that has a dozen words in it. Here’s an example of a good URL:

secret wood

Homepage – You should work on your homepage so it creates an impactful and lasting impression on customers. The homepage should provide an easy way for customers to navigate to other parts of your store, including important pages like FAQ, contact us page, etc. Linking to your internal pages, especially category and product pages, is a good idea. So, you should on making sure that the homepage is optimized not only for search engines but also for users (which is even more important).

Having a big headline above the fold will captivate the customers and create a value proposition so they can have a good idea of what you are offering. Make that headline clickable so they can find more about what you are offering.

Another very important thing is to include a clear call to action so you can guide the customers to the pages or products that you want.

Link Building & Off-Page SEO

Your main focus in off-page SEO should be earning really quality backlinks and avoiding having a lot of low-quality websites linking to you. You can usually tell if the website is low quality simply by looking at it because they tend to be poorly written, have content that is stuffed with keywords and have ads all over it. To confirm it, check stats of that website with something like Ahrefs, Majestic, or Moz (just install Moz toolbar to see the authority level of that website).

Broken Link Building

This is one of the safest techniques for getting backlinks. All you have to do is to find links that are broken (i.e. linking to the URL that doesn’t exist anymore for some reason) and get your own link there instead. You do this by finding broken links, usually on blogs, and contacting the website owner about the dead links and offering your own URL. To get your link placed there, your URL has to be relevant.

Getting .edu And .gov Backlinks

These types of links are highly valued by Google because they are usually really tough to get. Most educational websites have their own resource pages where they link to other websites.

resource links

To find these resource pages, go to Google and search with some of these queries:

  • site:.edu “your keyword” + “resources”
  • site:.edu “your keyword”
  • site:.edu: “your keyword” + “other sites”
  • site:.edu: “your keyword” + inurl:links

As opposed to broken link building, you can’t just contact the website and ask for a link. The way to go is to create very useful content that they would link to. When you create content like that, simply contact the administrator and ask them to include your page.

Here are some of other good ideas that you can try to implement to get more quality backlinks for your e-commerce store:

  • Product reviews
  • Guest posting on quality websites
  • Press mentions (press releases and services to find press opportunities)
  • Donating to non-profit sites to get links

CONCLUSION

Your website is set to start ranking once you go through all the steps that we discussed here. There are many reasons why you should optimize your website for search engines, but the main one is to increase sales. Once you do the SEO right, you should see an increase in quality traffic to your website because people who are coming to your website from search engine have strong buying intent.

Keep in mind that SEO is not a one-time thing. Algorithms are being updated all the time and because of that, you’ll need to keep up with the latest trends and continue working on your SEO. SEO requires dedication and patience, but the benefits and results are worth it. Implement these e-commerce SEO strategies and watch your store flourish.