Blog items tagged with "ecommerce-seo"
Ecommerce SEO and selling product online (to wider geographic market) is not limited to big retailers, warehouses, affiliates and drop shippers. There are many ways local brick-and-mortars can capture a share of the greater search market and grow their businesses.
In fact, there are many SEO strategies that local retailers can use to increase their search visibility. While some of the following ideas can be taken in different directions, each tip is designed help brick-and-mortars use ecommerce SEO in a creative and actionable manner.
It's All About Branding...
The first tip to a thriving ecommerce SEO campaign is to understand that a great deal of success hinges on brand building and cultivating a reputation. From your social media image to the content a business produces, underscoring your efforts with a brand-centric approach is the way to go.
Marco Laterza gets it. This guy built a brand around The Vegan Project and he's monetizing through product sales.
Bloggers, related brands, and other web users link to and mention brands (not just websites.) Establish a reputation for something your business offers, and offers well. And make the brand behind your store the foundation to it all.
...and Niche Targeting
Like I mentioned above, establish a reputation for something your business offers well. Think of this as your wheelhouse. Are there any products that your retail store is recognized for? Do you specialize in a select brand or exclusive line?
Take these ideas and try to niche-them-down even further. Ecommerce SEO can be a fierce battlefield, so it's critical to target and optimize for very niche keyword categories. While incubating on which direction to take with this, you may find that you're best off starting with specific products. And perhaps products you know very well.
Go Deep With Product SEO
A local health food store is going to have a difficult time competitively ranking for keywords like "vegan protein powder." However, that same store could stand a better chance with phrases like "sunwarrior warrior blend raw plant-based complete protein powder," (yes, that long-tail phrase does get searched in Google,) Or perhaps, "best plant based protein powder for weight loss."
Sure, there are tons of undefined variables that could impact this site's authority and ranking. The idea here is that it can more effective to build, optimize, and share content for specific products and long-tail keywords.
When you search for specific products, Google will often favor popular review posts, videos, and other great forms of content marketing. High-value content that gets social shares, links, and other heavy ranking signals are true assets for SEO.
Construct a Content Strategy
The nice thing about local brick-and-mortar SEO is that these businesses can practice better pacing. What do I mean by that?
The common scenario when investing in an expensive ecommerce SEO program is targeting 1,000+ keywords and swimming in many different seas. This can be effective for authoritative domains and big brands (or retailers who work with the best-rated Atlanta SEO companies. However, for local brick-and-mortars, it's often best to start smaller, and invest quality efforts over volume.
In short, you don't want to spread yourself to thin. Focus on actualizing (a handful of) high-value content strategies (i.e. in-depth product reviews, videos, blogs, etc.) that yield high levels of engagement. Long-form content often wins when it comes to SEO and high page rankings, especially when infused with subtle keyword targeting and social media.
Infusing Keywords & Social Media
The last tip I am going to offer is the icing on the cake. So much so that you might find yourself confidently investing in social media advertising (i.e. promoted Tweets and boosted/sponsored Facebook posts.)
Here's an example: let's say the local health food store writes a great product review for Amazing Grass Protein Superfood (a fine product if I might say so myself.) The store tags @Amazing Grass when sharing the review on Facebook. The folks over Amazing Grass love the review so much, they decide to share it with their 98,895 followers.
In just a couple weeks, the review post earns 392 likes, 12 comments, and 25 shares, as well as a few backlinks from other bloggers. And because the health food store's web marketer was SEO-savvy and infused the blog post with keywords around Amazing Grass Protein Superfood Review, the page ranked in the top 3 for that keyword phrase.
Again, this is just an example, but a realistic one that sheds light on the possibility of infusing your content strategies keywords (for SEO) and social media (by earning social signals and backlinks.)
For more information about this topic, check out an article I wrote titled Infusing SEO Into Your Content Marketing Strategies. For best practices on ecommerce SEO, local SEO, and search marketing, check me out on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.
Here at Click Centric SEO, we're focused on shaping what defines the "best ecommerce SEO company". That query is actually a popular keyword phrase that is searched in Google (most likely from ecommerce stores and other ecommerce SEO companies checking their rankings.) Let us be honest: we're really interested being the best SEO company for ecommerce sites.
In actualization of our core competencies here at Click Centric SEO, we've defined the ideal SEO program for ecommerce sites. It's a cohesive blend of technical SEO, website optimization, backlink building, and social media marketing.
Technical SEO centers on the nuts and bolts of your ecommerce site - HTML coding, scripts, Schema, etc. While there are many approaches to technical SEO for ecommerce sites, there are a few primary areas worth mentioning.
One of which is renaming URLs to be keyword relevant (and 301 redirecting the old URLs to the new). Instead of sloppy URLs like /product-id=321/, it would be more advantageous for SEO to have URLs that read something like vintage-cycling-jerseys (or whatever the keyword targets for each page page.)
Schema is also vital component of technical SEO that's becoming increasingly important, especially for competitive ecommerce SEO landscapes. Schema is dedicated sub-set of HTML markup that is used to define certain pieces of content on a page.
There are various tags that tell search engines what a
page is all about (i.e. Brand, Product, etc.) as well as what specific parts of content are on those pages (i.e. Price, Units in Stock, etc.)
Schema can give your ecommerce SEO program a significant advantage over your competitors. Although Schema has been active for a couple years now, most ecommerce SEO's have yet to leverage Schema. In an effort to be the best one of the best SEO providers in the business, we value Schema and technical SEO a key components to our ecommerce SEO services.
Website optimization is similar to technical SEO in that the central focus is to improve the performance of your site from a technical and usability perspective. Website optimization is best defined as strategic mix of techniques to:
- "optimize" the content of your website to ensure it's unique, keyword relevant, compelling and speaks the voice of your brand
- improve site load speed and how fast your pages render (load speed can actually correlate to better rankings)
- enhance the usability and blueprints to your site's navigation
- integrate a conversion rate optimization (CRO) strategy and intelligent use of call-to-actions (CTA's)
In short, website optimization is the foundation to actualize the fullest potential investing with ecommerce SEO. Without the latter pillars deeply rooted into your website, the other SEO components will have limited potential.
As the powerhouse to any SEO program, links that come from social profiles, blogs, websites, directories, etc. (and direct to your website) are like votes of credibility and popularity. Earning and building links from authoritative and relevant sources can drastically increase your domain's authority. In other words, domain authority and backlinks improve your ecommerce site's potential to rank in Google.)
Additionally, the link anchor text can also impact keyword relevancy. See the example above of a "keyword-optimized backlink" that intentionally use keywords in the anchor text. While some keyword-optimized anchor text is good for ecommerce SEO and improving rankings, it's vital to ensure a natural balance of links - in terms of the source and the anchor text of those links.
A natural looking backlink profile for ecommerce website would include links from various sources (i.e. articles, review sites, blogs, press releases, web directories, etc.) Further, creating a natural backlink profile uses variety of anchor text (i.e. www.DomainName.com, (Brand Name), Click Here, (Product Name), Website, etc.)
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing has profound influence on SEO, and as a result, it's an integral component to us becoming the best ecommerce SEO company. Social signals (shares, likes, tweets, pins, +1's, etc.) are like backlinks in how they function to attribute quality content that may be worthy of increased search engine rankings.
The social media marketing of our SEO company focuses on the following action items.
1. Optimize your brand's social profiles - establishing, claiming, and/or verifying your Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest is the starting place to organizing your social media presence.
2. Follow influencers - sharing great content ultimately contributes to your popularity and growth. We can help by fully managing or consulting your team with strategies on how to go about connecting with other influential people, brands, and organizations.
3. Establish various content sources - pinpoint several websites and blogs to pick great articles worth sharing. Ideally, the blog on your ecommerce site will the strongest asset for an SEO-driven social media strategy.
4. Create a social media posting schedule - In addition to defining how many posts to do in a week, try to cap your daily posts at 2-3. At minimum, shoot for 2-3 per week on each social platform.
The best ecommerce site SEO company can help your business achieve these objectives by providing done-for-you ecommerce SEO services or consulting programs. At Click Centric SEO, we offer both of these options to improve your social media and ecommerce SEO efforts.
Actualize Your Ecommerce SEO Strategy
If you're interested in help increasing your brand's search engine exposure, then learn more about working with our experts at Click Centric SEO and contact us. We can help you actualize your ecommerce SEO strategy for sustainable rankings that generate results.
With 2016 soon approaching, many ecommerce sites are restructuring their approach to SEO. With SEO strategies and best practices continuously evolving to the new standards of Google's search algorithm, there is no better time to revamp and optimize an ecommerce SEO program.
To help shed light on the vital areas that could use attention, below is a brief 10-step SEO checklist for ecommerce sites entering 2016.
10-Steps to Better SEO for Ecommerce Sites
While you could hire a SEO expert to conduct an ecommerce SEO site audit to address most of these elements, most of the following aspects can be handled with basic knowledge and access to the right tools. They include:
1. Pinpoint HTML Errors
Ecommerce sites are deep and highly technical. Any issues negatively impacting search engine crawling and indexing can plague SEO. Check Google Webmaster Tools to pinpoint any obvious HTML errors. Further, use tools like W3C Markup Validation Service to ensure the ecommerce site is error free.
2. Check for Broken Links
Similar to the latter process of pinpointing HTML, make sure all broken links and 404 errors are corrected. These can hinder SEO and should be fixed with proper redirects.
3. Scan the Site's Backlink Profile
Using tools like A href's, Majestic, or SEO SpyGlass, get a full picture of the backlinks pointing to the ecommerce site. Audit both the sources and anchor text of the links. Spammy links can be disavowed. Further, too much optimized anchor text (keyword-stuffed anchor text) can indicate that any future link building should be done in natural fashion (using anchor text like "domain.com," "click here," or "learn more.")
4. Are You Using Schema Markup?
If you're not using any form of Schema markup (i.e. Product Schema for product pages,) then this is the year to get on board. While Google has yet to admit any correlation of using Schema and seeing better rankings, many ecommerce SEO's claim to experience dramatic improvement in search engine visibility.
5. Enhance Titles & Meta Data
Writing new page titles and meta descriptions for each page might be a bit much for an ecommerce site. But take a look at your top 10-20 pages generating the most organic search traffic and assess the page titles and meta data.
Are your titles keyword-relevant and under 63 characters? Are you meta descriptions creative, compelling, and under 154 characters. Writing great copy for these small yet significant page attributes has been shown to increase click-through rates, as well as uplift rankings.
6. Audit Your Page Copy
Similar to auditing the page titles and meta descriptions (which are visible in Google's search results), read over the copy populating your top pages. Does the copy reflect the voice of your ecommerce brand? Is it accurate, grammatically correct, and unique? Do you have at least 200 or so words on your key money pages?
7. Evaluate Your Ecommerce Site's Footer
Because footers are site-wide, or on all pages of your site, any links in the footer get special search engine attention.
Not all footers are created equal. For this reason, make sure your site's footer is aligned with your ecommerce SEO strategies. For example, having a section labeled "Most Popular Posts" is a great place to link a few of your best, traffic-generated blog posts. Further, you can link to "Top Products," "Video Reviews," and other linkable SEO assets in your footer.
8. Expand Your Sitemaps
Using a sitemap, or many segmented sitemaps, is essential for ecommerce SEO and ensuring proper crawling and indexing of your key money pages. If you current sitemap only contains a few major pages in your site's navigation, then it's time to expand. Because ecommerce sites often have thousands of pages, try developing segmented sitemaps based on various product categories or brands. There are no rules, but do apply a layer of logic and organization to constructing your sitemaps.
9. Assess Your Social Media Status
If you've been slow to embrace social media in 2015, now is the time to establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn (at very least.) These social media platforms can greatly help fuel your ecommerce SEO efforts.
10. Craft a Content Strategy
In addition to being powerful channel for inbound marketing, content marketing is one of the best supplements to ecommerce SEO. First, determine the various types of content that you're capable of creating (i.e. articles, blog posts, video, graphics, etc.) Next, make a list of questions, problems, solutions, and topics that you want to convey in your content. Lastly, create the content and get it published, whether on your ecommerce site, or on another relevant sources (preferably one that gets a lot of traffic.)
Ecommerce SEO is a battle that many retailers fight (often times for years) and lose within time. Achieving sustainable search engine placement and out-ranking the Amazon's and eBay's of the web is incredibly tough. But it's not impossible.
What does it take to be atop these heavy hitters and hold high search rankings for the long-haul? Below we delve into some of the primary pillars that are vital to cultivate a sustainable ecommerce SEO strategy that delivers results for years (not just a few weeks.)
The On-site SEO Basics
There's on-page SEO and there's on-site SEO. Although many in the industry find these terms synonymous, they are actually a slightly different.
You can think of on-site SEO as the all-encompassing effort of ensuring your ecommerce site is properly optimized across all pages (i.e. sitemaps, schema markup, internal linking, etc.) While on-page SEO focuses more on the specific details and intricacies of optimizing a page (i.e. keyword-relevant titles, Meta data, copy, etc.)
To cover the on-site SEO basics, follow our Ultimate SEO Checklist for Ecommerce Sites. Here you find a quick run-down on the basic necessities of on-page and on-site SEO for ecommerce sites.
Growing Social Media Presence
Growing your social media presence should be equally as important as growing your keyword rankings in Google. A strong social media presence on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other relevant channels is a powerful asset that can have a profound impact on your store's bottom line.
Not only does social media fuel direct traffic and sales for your ecommerce site, but it also helps to ignite your SEO efforts and content strategy (below). There's also an emerging buzzword called "social authority," and it makes a lot of sense from an SEO perspective.
In short, an ecommerce brand with loads of Facebook page likes, Google +1's, Twitter and Pinterest followers, etc. is attributed with great social authority. And what better mechanism for Google to determine ecommerce sites worthy of higher rankings?
Invest some marketing dollars in social media advertising and build your audience. Naturally growing a social media presence (via a content strategy) is pretty challenging, but not impossible. Your team can accelerate this process by getting new followers on-board to help share and spread awareness of all things awesome about your brand.
Fresh, Audience-Focused Content (On The Reg)
The next primary pillar to a sustainably-performing ecommerce SEO strategy is devise and implement a content strategy (or "content marketing strategy"). There are many possibilities to create audience-focused content, but ultimately, originality (evergreen content) and value are vital aspects to keep top of mind.
Product review videos are always a great approach, as evergreen videos (produced by your ecommerce store) placed on key product pages or rank-worthy money pages brings SEO value to those pages.
Focusing on long-form content is also a great content strategy, particularly if you're selling high-dollar items that require deep customer research and contemplation. Long-form content is comprised of in-depth articles that focus on specific topics, products, and applications.
Get your ecommerce marketing team together and brainstorm some stellar ideas to cultivate a content strategy. Just make sure to create a schedule and keep pushing out brilliant content on the reg (regular, that is ;).
Authoritative, Relevant Backlinks
While your awesome content should hopefully earn the likes of your social media audience (and thus earn some backlinks as a result,) this practice is often much easier said than done. Earning links requires an exceptional content strategy that's executed to perfection.
In most cases, manual link generation is need to produce results. And while we don't always recommend link building, when we do, it's absolutely important to take a very natural approach and build links mindfully using relevant sources and a very balanced anchor text profile.
While the best links are earned naturally via brilliant content that people link to, it can be beneficial to jump-start an ecommerce SEO strategy by manually publishing content on quality sources to direct links back to your site. Although this a consider "gray-hat" SEO, there's really no other option to be a strong contender in a competitive search market. In short, authoritative, relevant backlinks will help to build domain authority all while helping to establish keyword relevancy (two key drivers to sustainable rankings.)
Last but most certainly not least, the nuts and bolts behind the ecommerce site (the HTML backend) needs to be fluid and free of HTML errors and warnings. In essence, a technically fluid website enable search engine spiders to seamlessly crawl and index a site without getting choked up on broken code, flash media, or other roadblocks negatively impacting performance.
A good place to check the technical fluidity of your ecommerce site is the W3C Markup Validator which will highlight HTML errors and warning present throughout your site. Another good place to look as your site's Google Webmaster Tools account. Both of these sources can help you pinpoint problem areas that are hindering the technical performance of your ecommerce site (and thus its ability to rank as hard as possible.)
Local SEO is in a different ballpark compared to ecommerce SEO. Sure there are commonalities in handling on-page optimization and link generation, but more times often than not, the core strategy concepts are different.
One highly effective local SEO strategy is to target very niche and selective keywords that are less competitive and easier to rank. Also known as hyper-local SEO, or niche-targeted SEO, this concept goes after the low hanging fruit, while progressively working toward larger keyword targets.
This hyper-targeted approach can easily be applied to an ecommerce site. Because the ecommerce search landscape is often saturated with authoritative competitors, it's vital to pick niche and go after it hard.
Example: Local SEO for Surgeons
Click Centric SEO (which is a branch of the OIC Group, Inc. family) has sister company that focus on local SEO. But more than just local SEO, this company has finely-tuned its SEO practice to provide local SEO for surgeons.
The company is called Optimized Surgeons. As you may predicted, Optimized Surgeons has tailored its off-site SEO resources (link gen sites) to be highly relevant on surgery, particularly breast surgery. Additionally, the team's copywriters freshened-up on their medical jargon to incorporate phrases like "our surgery practice" and "satisfied patient outcomes".
By crafting a niche business model in local SEO for breast surgeons, Optimized Surgeons can get equally targeted with thier own advertising and lead generation. By leveraging Facebook's demographic targeting capabilities, ads can be exposed to numerous professionals with breast surgery credentials.
Putting These Ideas to Work
Putting these ideas in motion will depend on the way in which you approach ecommerce SEO. That is, do you provide ecommerce SEO services, or are you optimizing your own ecommerce site or affiliate site?
Hyper-Targeted SEO for Ecommerce Sites
If your optimizing your own ecommerce site, you need to get super targeted as to what your website is all about. Okay, so you offer shoes. What style of shoes? What brands of shoes? Who wears these shoes? Men? Women? Athletes?
Don't try to optimize your ecommerce site for "men's shoes" because you'll be insanely challenged to realize profitable rankings. Instead, think of a specialty ecommerce store that's optimized for "triathlon running shoes for men" or "women's wide toe box shoes".
Hyper-Targeted SEO for Ecommerce Sites
If you're an ecommerce SEO service provider, than you can apply this hyper-targeted framework to the types of ecommerce stores that you serve. For instance, perhaps you could carve a niche in ecommerce SEO services for footwear retailers. Or maybe men and women's clothing. It might sound a bit ridiculous to narrow the focus of your SEO business in such a way.
But when it comes to providing a quality Traverse City SEO service, it only makes sense. Not to mention, the growth and expansion of the web is only make generic market segments even more saturated. So adopt some of these hyper-targeted SEO strategies into your ecommerce practice.
Optimizing product pages is an integral aspect of ecommerce SEO. But many search marketers are stuck in rut as to which elements of a product page need to be optimized.
Most of us know the basic tags for SEO: page title tag, Meta description tag, etc. So in this article, I highlight 5 HTML tags that you might not be including in your on-page optimization.
Schema Product Markup
If you're new to Schema, then I highly suggest you visit Schema.org and freshen up. Using Schema's structured data markup enables you to better communicate a page's content to search engines. In short, it's a game changer for ecommerce SEO.
There are specific schemas for products. These can not only help your product pages rank harder, but also display rich snippets in Google's search results.
Think of the Rel=Canonical tag as means to tell search engines the most important pages on your site. In some cases, particularly on ecommerce sites with 1000's of pages, duplicate content (or very similar pages) can exist. Often times, this can discount SEO value to the page your really want getting all the love and attention from Google.
Tell Google "this is the page to crawl, index, and rank" and implement the Rel=Canonical tag on your optimized product pages. It's super easy and potentially an SEO game-changer depending on your website.
Image ALT Tag
The image ALT tag is intended to be alternative text for those viewing a page that doesn't render an image. The ALT tag should reflect what the image is, but it's constantly abused by SEO's and keyword stuffers. Just don't leave it blank. Write at least something in for your ALT tags.
The nice thing about product pages is that the images being used are typically very keyword relevant. For this reason, it's legit to use keywords in the image ALT tag for these pages. If you have multiple images, vary your ALT tags with keyword variations. You can take the practice of image optimization even further by using these strategies.
Header 2's, 3's and 4's
Introduce some depth to you product pages by including more elaborate descriptions. Not only are unique, creatively-written product descriptions essential for SEO, but they also sell and can inspire visitors to make a purchase.
When separating ideas and paragraphs, use H2, H3, and H4 tags where appropriate. This is good practice incorporate in all aspects of on-page SEO.
Strong, Italics, Underline Tags
Text styling tags, like the strong (bold), italics, and underline tags, are some of the most under-used HTML tags that can help with both SEO and CRO. Wrapping keywords and phrases in these tags can help to emphasize greater meaning and value in certain words on your product pages. Not only does this practice help signify keywords of value for SEO, but creatively using text styling makes for a better user experience.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is an ecommerce SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link generation, content strategy, and social media marketing.
Finding link opportunities for ecommerce SEO is one of the most essential yet challenging endeavors that search marketers face.
To compete with the big dogs (Amazon, eBay, etc.), you need to generate quality links that will last (and not drift away like the links found in guest blog post.)
In this article, I will share some simple techniques that I learned from Eric Ward for purposeful link outreach.
These highly effective techniques center on Google's advanced search operators to find relevant pages and websites that are worth reaching out to for links. So let's dive right in.
Leverage "inurl:" to find "Links" and "Resources"
Many websites create pages dedicated to relevant and informative links and resources for their visitors. These types of sites can range from directories, infomediaries, and ecommerce sites. When the domain is keyword relevant and authoritative, these "links" and "resources" pages offer incredible SEO value for the sites receiving the link.
Using the inurl: advanced search operator enables you to efficiently find these golden pages in Google.
For example, lets say we're doing SEO for an ecommerce site that sells natural wooden toys for babies and toddlers. Our objective is to find links and resources pages that offer opportunities to reach out and inquire about being included on their list.
Starting with the advanced search wooden toys inurl:resources, Google will render search results consisting of pages that include the word "resources" in the URL and are relevant to "wooden toys."
Now it's time to sift through the results and do some digging on sites we might find potential link opportunities. One notable opportunity is the #5 ranking page for BrianWoodenToys.com. Although the site name and brand looks like a possible competitor, the links on this page are diverse (although still relevant) and the site seems open to link exchanges.
Even though this is probably a reciprocal link opportunity, it will still offer some SEO value when done right. There's a contact email near the bottom of the page, so we'll inquire and see what kind of relationship we can build.
Try "site:" to Pinpoint Powerhouse Domains
In moving forward with this approach of using Google's advanced search operators, keep in mind that some of the search results shown are going to be competing sites. Ideally, you'll want to find .edu's, .org's, and other neutral websites that offer information, not so much products for sale.
Another great search operator is the more popular "site:". With this operator, we can narrow down the search results to specific domain types, like those mentioned above.
For instance, in our next round we try the search natural toys inurl:links site:org". The results shown are all .org's relevant to links for natural toys.
The first listing looks very promising, as the example client site offers Waldorf toys, which is a form of homeschooling and education (mentioned in the Meta description.) Sure enough, upon clicking into this listing, there's section of links dedicated to toys.
We hit golden opportunity with this high authority .org. It looks like we have a great chance at getting inclusion on this page, so we'll definitely inquire.
Start Searching and Start Reaching Out
By now, you should have a general idea on how to leverage these creative link outreach techniques. If you'd like to learn more Google advanced search operators, visit GoogleGuide.com for a nice list.
Do you have additional ideas to share? Please, let me know in the comments section below!
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is an ecommerce SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link generation, content strategy, and social media marketing.
There's no doubt that the SEO playing field is drastically evolving. This stems into many facets of SEO, spanning from local SEO to ecommerce SEO.
As a result, here at Click Centric SEO we are mindful of these changes, and we set out to ensure our ecommerce SEO services adapt to the changing standards of organic search.
So how exactly do we redefine our ecommerce SEO services?
In short, our ecommerce SEO programs run parallel to what Google wants in quality, high ranking websites. That is natural authority that derives from the following elements:
- a quality ecommerce site that offers valuable content, intuitive structure, and rich user engagement.
- a socially active brand that is present on primary social media networks like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
- a natural backlink portfolio composed of diverse and relevant links from various sources.
While the first element focuses on on-page SEO, web design and development, the latter two elements are primarily off-page focused. And that balance of 1/3 on-page, 2/3 off-page is quite similar to how Google and other search engines value websites and their rankings.
On-Page Ecommerce SEO Services: Laying the Foundation
More than 'keyword optimizing' the content of a website, thorough on-page SEO for ecommerce sites must focus on offering a rich user experience. This includes:
- presenting a clean, attractive, and well-branded design.
- providing an intuitive and easy-to-use navigation.
- showcasing rich content like hi-res product images and videos.
- scribing unique and awesome page copy that's both keyword relevant and resonates the brand's tone.
In essence, the objective behind the on-page element of an ecommerce SEO campaign is what gives users what they want. So beyond SEO, much of the on-page element centers on CRO (or "Conversion Rate Optimization.") This entails ongoing testing and optimization of the latter components that make up on-page SEO for ecommerce sites.
Off-Page Ecommerce SEO Services: Getting Social
Social media is an up-and-coming element that's growing in importance for SEO. This is particularly the case for ecommerce SEO, because online stores must focus their efforts on branding and establishing a good reputation on the web.
A strong and authoritative reputation is often earned via social media, and such online recognition and social credibility can transcribe to greater performance in Google search. More shares on Facebook, re-tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, and +1's on Google+ - all of these social signals empower a brand's SEO potential.
So when it comes to offering ecommerce SEO services, getting social is a must. Here at Click Centric SEO, we go through a basic checklist to determine if an ecommerce client (or prospect if they're still in the assessment phase of our process) has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. We then assess the strength of their following and how to best leverage their social media presence to benefit SEO.
Off-Page Ecommerce SEO Services: Building Authority
If you know a thing or two about SEO, then you probably understand the importance of backlinks (that is, the links pointing to a website from external sources.) In short, backlinks are the bee's knees to building authority and growing a website's ranking in search.
In an effort to ensure the quality of its results, Google has severely cracked-down on the practices of link building. Now, having a very natural looking backlink portfolio is crucial to minimize risks of over-optimization penalties. In short, a natural backlink portfolio consists of link sources that are highly relevant to the topic or ecommerce brand. Additionally, link diversity is key. In addition to a balanced blend of text-based links that use a different form of anchor text, image links, blogroll links, directory listing links, and social links all ensure that a backlink portfolio appears perfectly natural through the eyes of Google.
At Click Centric SEO, we stay well abreast Google crack-down efforts and algorithm updates, and we tailor our ecommerce SEO services accordingly. We understand that achieving SEO goals (and sustaining them) center on building a strong brand, not just a handful of links. So when you work with us in creating an ecommerce SEO strategy, we mindfully tailor our services to achieve sustainable results for your online store.
Receive a free SEO assessment, and contact us today to learn more.
Whether you're unveiling a new ecommerce website or have been trying your hand at ecommerce SEO for some time, a thorough audit can reveal help get you on the right track to success.
Here at ClickCentric SEO, we conduct ecommerce SEO audits on the reg. Whether for new prospects or existing clients, providing SEO audits is an integral aspect to the service programs that we offer.
In this article, I will share three essential resources that we use to conduct ecommerce SEO audits. These resources are available to anyone and should be well-respect assets in your SEO arsenal.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Ttools is one of the best resources for a number of SEO-related insights. Below are a few key places to look when conducting a SEO audit for your ecommerce site.
Optimization -> HTML Improvements
Ecommerce sites are often common culprits of duplicate content. Under the HTML Improvements section, check for duplicate and/or missing Page Title and Meta description tags.
Health -> Crawl Errors
Page errors can hinder the crawling and indexing process of your ecommerce site. Take a look at the Crawl Errors section to pinpoint any ailments that might be diminishing the SEO-value and crawl-ability of your pages.
Traffic -> Search Queries
Take a look at the types of queries (keyword phrases) that are generating organic search traffic to your website. Keep in mind that this data is a bit loose and not the most accurate (queries account for phrase matches - which are difficult to define.) Nonetheless, you'll be able to understand which keywords your site is most relevant about.
Traffic -> Links to Your Site
Get an idea of who is linking to your ecommerce site. Backlinks are huge factor for SEO, so the more quality links you can earn, the better SEO potential your ecommerce site will have.
Optimization -> Sitemaps
Under the Sitemaps section, check to see if any XML sitemaps have been submitted. If not, this is a good opportunity to take advantage of. An XML sitemap submission tells Google of the pages on your ecommerce site that are ready to be crawled and indexed. The submission, which is simply a notification to Google, accelerates the process.
2. W3C Markup Validation Service
Ecommerce sites are often very deep domains with hundreds and thousands of pages. This makes it difficult to ensure that no code errors and warnings are present on the website.
The Crawl Errors section of Google Webmaster Tools is sometimes not enough. This when the help of W3C Markup Validation Service can help you pinpoint HTML code errors and warnings present on your ecommerce site.
After you submit your domain at validator.w3.org, the service will tell exactly which lines of code are problematic to your site's health. You can then work with your webmaster see that these errors and warnings get fixed.
3. Pingdom for Site Speed Testing
Parallel to minimizing HTML code errors is ensuring the load speed of your ecommerce website is fast and fluid. A slow loading website can hinder both SEO and user engagement.
Test the speed of your ecommerce site using a free tool like tools.Pingdom.com. If your site takes longer than one second to load, then it probably can be optimized.
There can be a number of reasons for a slow loading website. Often times it's the HTML coding structure of the site that correlates to load speed. So if your using an ancient CMS software platform to run your ecommerce site, then chances are it's inhibiting SEO performance and usability.
Diagnosing a slow ecommerce site is best when done with tech-savvy individual who can troubleshoot why things are slow going. The remedy can range from a simple website optimization tune-up or complete overhaul onto a new CMS platform.
Bonus: Tools for Backlink Portfolio Audits
Assessing a site's backlink portfolio takes ecommerce SEO auditing one step further. The tools needed to conduct a backlink scan of a website (as well as provide data about the sources' anchor text, Google PageRank, etc.) typically require payment to use.
A backlink portfolio audit is essential if your ecommerce site has been penalized by Google Penguin (which targets over-optimized backlinks with too much exact keyword match anchor text.) Two tools that I personally favor are:
- Open Site Explorer - Created by SEOmoz, Open Site Explorer is web-based tool that offers a wealth of data regarding a website's backlink portfolio. Test it out for free by visiting OpenSiteExplorer.org.
- SEO Spyglass - SEO Spyglass is an advanced software platform that's apart of the SEO Powersuite by Link Assistant. For search marketers, this tool is ideal for client management and auditing.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Tyler spearheads most of the ecommerce SEO audits at Click Centric SEO. You can k0eep in touch with him by following Tyler on Twitter.
Ecommerce SEO can be a complex undertaking that demands a higher degree of effort and consideration compared to typical websites. In addition to optimizing a robust site (that may contain hundreds and thousands of pages,) ecommerce SEO is typically more keyword competitive as well.
In short, there's just a lot that goes into the SEO process for an online store. Although the best results are attained with a professional ecommerce SEO company, there are a number of on-site SEO tasks that can be handled in-house by a webmaster or tech-savvy marketing team.
In this article we share several SEO processes that are essential for ecommerce sites. Think of all of these processes as your ultimate SEO checklist for your ecommerce store.
Your Ecommerce SEO Checklist
- Define keyword optimization naming convention - This doesn't sound as technical as it may seem. A "keyword optimization naming convention" is simply the semantic structure of words that you use for essential SEO elements (namely the Meta Title.) Because ecommerce sites are often so deep with pages, it's best to write a consistent naming convention for the Title and other parts of a page. A good place to start in developing SEO-friendly naming conventions is with the brand name and then the primary keyword phrase (or product name.) So your naming convention formula might be "[Brand] [Product Name] | [Ecommerce Store Name]" (e.g. "Nike Flex Trainer 2 Shoes | EcommerceShoeStore.com.") You can also apply naming conventions for URLs, Meta Descriptions, and other important content elements with SEO value.
- Always write unique page copy - One of the biggest SEO mishaps that ecommerce stores face is duplicate content. This often stems from using generic product descriptions provided by manufacturers. The problem is that the same product descriptions are found on various other websites (perhaps even competitors'.) As a result of using generic content, the SEO value of your product pages is significantly diminished (if not entirely obsolete.) Instead, take the time to write unique and compelling product descriptions. This might demand the help of an experienced copywriter, but the investment is usually well worth it.
- Keyword optimize media files – Most individuals who know a thing or two about SEO are familiar with keyword optimizing the ALT tag for images. However only few keyword optimize the entire file before uploading it to the website. To do this, name your media files with respect to your keyword targets (which is typically logical for product page image.) Additionally, you can modify the properties of images to be more keyword relevant. Right click the image or media file, select properties, and populate the title, sub-title, tags, description, and comments of the file to reflect your keyword targets. This helps maximize the SEO value of your pages when you go to upload the files.
- Optimize for faster load speeds - Beyond the scope of SEO, optimizing your ecommerce website for fast load speed enhances user experience (which aids in conversions.) Although there is some SEO value to having a quick load times, most value is seen for conversion optimization. Faster load speed is achieved by minimizing the HTML code and optimizing robust media files. By taking the time to strip unnecessary code and reduce the file size of images and video, you can significantly improve your website load speed.
- Start content marketing (if you haven't already) – Content marketing is the glue that holds your social media marketing and SEO efforts together. In a nutshell, you can create informative, inspiring, and enlightening videos, articles/blog posts, or images/graphics, and share the goodness with your social media followers. Awesome content earns social authority and gets linked-to naturally. As a result, you can leverage content marketing to both increase your keyword rankings and grow your social media following.
- Integrate social media icons - There's no question that social media is having a game-changing impact on SEO. Tweets, shares, likes, +1's, pins, and other "social signals" are becoming stronger ranking factors. In essence, social signals tell search engines that humans are digging it, so it's worthy of higher rankings. In addition building a presence on relevant social media sites, integrating social media icons makes it more efficient for visitors to like your content, particularly product pages, the homepage, and blog posts.
- Build a HTML sitemap - The HTML sitemap serves as the index of your ecommerce site, and is considered by many SEO experts as the second most important page of the website (next to the homepage.) Although visitors rarely use the sitemap, it's very important to search engine spiders and SEO in general. The issue with ecommerce websites is that a complete sitemap can sometimes contain thousands of pages. When this is the case, you can create segmented sitemaps that focus on specific product categories. From you primary HTML sitemap, you can link to each segmented sitemap. This is a great solution for SEO and helps to keep your online store in good shape for crawling and indexing.
Although there's a lot more that goes into ecommerce SEO than the processes mentioned above, this is a solid starting place to get the ball rolling. On-page SEO is only a small piece of the puzzle, however by respecting the potential behind content marketing and social media, you'll be well on your way to executing some momentous off-page SEO strategies.