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Posted: 15 May

How Proper SEO Can Maximize the Effectiveness of Your eCommerce Website

How Proper SEO Can Maximize the Effectiveness of Your eCommerce Website

In the early days of search engines, back when matters were simpler, it didn’t take much to get your eCommerce website noticed and ranked relatively high on search pages. Depending on the website, keyword stuffing alone gave the site a good chance in the ranking wars. However, as with all other technologies, search engines became better with time. The algorithms powering the search engines became a lot more clever. The days of “pedestrian tactics” such as stuffing content with relevant keywords are gone.  The following are some SEO tactics that will help your website gain more respect from Google's algorithms. Contact us to learn more about how to maximize your eCommerce website.

Keywords are Still Key 

This is not to say keywords are not important. They are still very important but what’s changed is the way in which you use them. Keywords should be used more sparsely, as low as .5% and no higher than 2% of the entire word count. There was a time when as high as 6-7% or higher keyword densities was considered acceptable, but this is no longer the case. A high keyword density makes the language on your page unnatural, awkward, and aggressive in a sense. It also angers the Google algorithms. They want you to rank based on great content, not just keyword stuffing.   

The Right Words in the Right Places

Keyword placement is as important as density. When it comes to eCommerce websites, SEO power comes with how you structure your categories and product pages.  

Categories 

How many categories and subcategories you have will be entirely based on your business and numbers of products you are offering. Some subcategories may not be worth including due to a small number of items that would be within them or more subcategories may be needed to allow for easy navigation. For example, if you only have 20 different items under "Bottoms", there would be no need to separate Bottoms into "Jeans", "Chinos", "Dress Pants", "Shorts", etc. even though that may seem like a good idea for SEO. There is a balancing act when it comes to SEO between keyword optimization and giving a good user experience. 

Structuring your categories around search terms can be excellent for SEO if your catalog gives the user a good shopping and buying experience.  

Product Pages 

Keywords should be placed strategically throughout each product listing. Include them in the product title where possible (instead of "Levi's 501s", opt for a title that includes long-tail keywords to tell the user AND Google what the product is - "Men's Levi's 501 Blue Jeans". Your URL should match the title for the product which will naturally be keyword optimized. Make sure your website is set to nest pages appropriately.  

Bad examples of product URLs are: "clothingsite.com/levis-501" or "clothingsite.com/model890538" 

Good examples would be: "clothingsite.com/mens-clothing/bottoms/jeans/mens-levis-501-blue-jeans" 

Long-tail keywords should also be included in your product descriptions, especially in headings and subheadings. These elements make your content scannable and easier to read to give the reader somewhere to pause and help them decide if they want to read the main content or not. Remember, your keyword density should be between .5% and 2%. 

Behind the Scenes

Don’t forget to use keywords in key behind-the-scenes elements like: 

  • Meta titles - Your meta title is what shows in your browser tab, but for SEO this is an element that Google spiders crawl to decide where to file your website in the Google filing cabinet.  
  • Meta descriptions - Your meta description is often shown underneath the page title and gives users an idea of what is on the page.  
  • Alt tags - Alt tags are a description in your HTML coding that describes an image.  

Investigate Relevant Inquiries 

Conducting keyword research is extremely helpful in coming up with a content strategy and ensuring that you rank on the first page of Google search results. It shows you what people are searching for, and what terms they are using to search. You can use this information to create content around what your audience is looking for. Be sure not to over-use keywords, as you will end up competing with your own content in search rankings! Keyword research is also essential for blogging. Having a blog and posting on it regularly with relevant content boosts your SEO and leads. Conducting keyword research teaches you what content is relevant, so you know what to blog about to generate customer interest.  

Content is Still King

When creating content for your eCommerce website, be sure to make it useful and of good quality. This will directly affect dwell time. The number of words in the content also plays a role. By some estimates, content should have around 2000 words to keep the viewer interested. Word count means nothing if the words are not helpful to the reader. Optimizing your content is a sure-fire way to increase your traffic at very little cost. Keyword research helps you understand what consumers are searching for, and that makes it very easy to optimize your content. It’s much easier to give your customers what they want when you take the time to learn exactly what they are looking for! 

Load Speeds

Have you ever clicked on a website and watched it take its time to load? Did you just give up fairly soon and go to the next site? If you answered yes to both these questions, then you are not alone. Most people do this and have little patience to wait for it to load. This is obviously a big problem. You can control this to a certain degree by optimizing image sites, caching plug-ins, clean and streamlined coding, minimizing redirects and reducing plug-ins, to name a few. If potential customers are leaving your site frustrated with slow load speeds, you lose that sale, and your customer goes somewhere else. The same goes with broken links and page errors, so take care to avoid those. 

User Experience 

SEO is becoming more and more about user experience. If your website gives users a good experience, they are more likely to spend more time on your website and ultimately purchase from your company. The behavior users have once on your website shows Google the quality of your website which is a ranking factor. Just like a happy customer will return to the same stores again and again, users with great online experiences will return to your website and make repeat purchases from you.  

Let us Help! 

Maximizing SEO is an ongoing, but well worth it, process to get the most out of your eCommerce site. You should be frequently re-evaluating your SEO efforts and be willing to make changes to your strategies as necessary. SEO is an incredibly cost-effective way to increase traffic to your website (and in turn sales!) as long as you are willing to put in a little bit of effort. Luckily, we are! Contact our team at Smart WSI Marketing to discuss an effective SEO strategy for your eCommerce site! 

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Lynne Motkoski, Digital Marketing Consultant
Specialty: Digital Marketing Strategies
Education: BComm, MA Communications & Technology, University of Alberta

With over 10 years of digital marketing experience in the WSI global franchise, Lynne is known for her strategic approach to marketing communications, technologies, and lead generation. She leads digital transformation for Alberta based companies as they are adapting to the age of social distancing.

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