I don’t need to tell you that SEO for an Ecommerce site is really, really hard.
First off, you have literally hundreds — and sometimes thousands — of pages on your site that you need to optimize. In fact, Google Panda — a Google update that specifically targets sites with thin or duplicate content — is a particular pain point for Ecommerce site owners.
I know that, after Google Panda first rolled out in 2011, Ecommerce site owners were scratching their heads and wondering: “how can I possibly make a product page that sells pajamas interesting and compelling?.”
Next, you have the issue of link building. As you’re probably aware, the number of one-way links pointing to your site (also known as “link popularity“) are the major determinant of where your site ranks in search engines. And Ecommerce sites have a particularly hard time building because most pages are simply product and category pages…not the type of content that tends to generate natural backlinks.
Fortunately, even though it may not be easy, your Ecommerce competitors are in the same boat.
And if you tap into even one of these 11 SEO strategies specifically for Ecommerce sites, you’ll zoom by them on Google’s first page.
#1: Identify Duplicate Content On Your Site
The first thing I do with every new client I take on is look for duplicate content on their site. It’s common for all sites — but especially large sites — to have archive and category pages with content that’s found elsewhere on their site.
The best way to identify any duplicate content issues you may be having is to install Google Webmaster Tools on your site. When you login, go to “HTML Improvements”. If you have duplicate title or description tags on your site, Webmaster Tools will show you where they are so you can make each one unique.
#2: Optimize On-Page SEO for Priority Pages
Google loves to show it’s users pages with lots of unique, value-packed content.
That’s a challenge for Ecommerce sites due to the sheer number of pages that you have on your site.
To get over that hurdle, identify 10-20 “priority pages” on your site that you’d like to boost up in the Google. It could be a product that converts well or a page that’s sitting at result #20.
Then add unique text and multimedia to those pages to make them compelling and worthy of backlinks.
#3: Create an Awesome Blog
An awesome blog can do so many things for an Ecommerce website: brand awareness, customer acquisition and (most importantly) generate high-quality organic search engine traffic.
To take advantage of your blog, choose keywords that potential customers use to search when they’re not shopping.
For example, if you sold tennis rackets, you might want to write blog content optimized around keywords like, “tennis elbow pain”. While these won’t convert as well as product-specific searches, they can generate a significant amount of buzz around your brand. And if the content is truly epic, it can even acquire natural backinks, which will increase the rank of all the pages on your site (even category and product pages).
#4: Crank Up Your Site Speed
Site loading speed is one of a handful of ranking signals that Google has officially confirmed as important. If your site loads slowly, Google will notice and adjust your rank accordingly.
You can easily test your site’s loading speed (and get specific suggestions on how you can improve it) by using Google’s free PageSpeed test tool:
#5: Focus on User Experience Metrics
If you have a lot of users visiting — and then quickly leaving — your site, you may have a bounce rate issue. Not only does this hurt conversions, but it can hurt your search engine rankings as well (no search engine wants to send their users to pages with poor user experience metrics0.
If bounce rate is an issue for you, take a cold, hard look at your top landing pages and ask yourself: “Why are people in a hurry to leave?”. Does your design need tweaking? Too many ads above the fold?
Whatever the issue is, it’s important to address it quickly so that Google continues to send traffic your way.
#6: Build Links from Manufacturer Sites
If you’re like most Ecommerce sites, you don’t make your own products. You may not realize it but manufacturer websites are potential gold mines for high quality backlinks.
Just make a list in Excel of all the manufacturers that you work with. Then, visit each site to see if they have an authorized retailers page. If so, reach out to them and ask if they’ll add your business to the list. Simple but effective.
#7: Guest Post on Targeted Blogs
Guest posting is a powerful content marketing one-two punch. First, you can get your site in front of a targeted audience without having to pay for clicks.
Second, you’re building high quality links back to your website.
You can easily find guest posting opportunities by using these search strings in Google:
“your keyword” + “write for us”
“your keyword” + “this is a guest post by”
“your keyword” + “contribute to”
That’s all there is to getting more search engine traffic to your Ecommerce website. Yes, it takes some work to put these strategies into practice. But when you do, you’ll leave your competitors — and all of their duplicate content and thin pages — in the dust.