A Beginner’s Guide to Effective SEO Marketing for E-Commerce

By Japs Buidon

A missed click is equivalent to a missed sale. To avoid that, you must, at least, learn the basics of SEO for E-Commerce. You can’t lose a potential sale!

Entering the world of e-commerce needs a lot of research and preparation. You, at least, need to know even the basics – of e-commerce, payment gateways, shipping options, digital marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO).

The success of your online business does not automatically come after the tedious creation of your e-commerce site. The launch of your e-commerce site is just the beginning. You now have to make it visible to your target market and across different search engines. That is where SEO enters. SEO is a mandatory marketing strategy for your e-commerce site to be found through search engines such as Google.

To help you get more equipped, we’ll guide you through the basics of SEO for e-commerce.

About Search Engine Optimization

Have you ever wondered how websites move up their rankings on search engines like Google? Search engine rankings are results of SEO – may it be high or low. Leveraging SEO can help you attract traffic, leads, sales, and revenue for your e-commerce business.

Search engine optimization is the process of employing a variety of techniques and strategies to boost a website’s visibility and search engine rank. Although different from each other, SEO techniques are united by one common goal which is to enhance a website’s online authority and promote a connection between potential customers and merchants.

Included in the SEO scope are techniques such as keyword research, competitor research, on-page optimization, content creation, guest posting, and social media marketing. However, failure to do SEO right can lead to improperly indexed sites, low search engine ranking, and penalties.

How does search engines work? Search engine crawlers or spiders crawl and look at a lot of pages over the Web to index these pages, store the information they can get from them, and reserve these pieces of information for future use. So, to make your website appear on a search results page, its contents must be crawled by such web crawlers or spiders.

Every second, millions of different persons across the world are searching for something through the Web. And, for sure, you want to appear on top of the search results when people are searching for the products or services you’ve got. Your e-commerce site has to be found by your potential buyers and consumers. And, the right SEO strategy will help you top the search.

In SEO, Your Keywords Matter

To top the search results list in queries related to your brand, product, or services, you need to make sure that your website has the right ingredients search engine crawlers are looking for. Search engines index every single word they crawl in the Web. So, your website needs to have the keywords your leads will most likely search for.

Keyword Research

Research is one of the essential parts of SEO. If you target the wrong keywords, it can result in wasted efforts, low-quality traffic, and hardly any conversions. With keyword research, you’ll be able to determine the right keywords to target.

  • Search and go for keywords that are highly relevant to the products or services you are selling and with high local monthly searches. To determine the keyword figures and scores, you can use Google’s free AdWords and Moz’s keyword tool. However, you must not choose keywords that are too broad or too competitive. If you sell shoes, capitalizing on a broad “shoes” keyword will just lead to top shoe stores such as Nike.
  • Identify keywords you can use for blog posts. Blog posts can assist your ranking for additional keywords. Besides blog posts, you can also capitalize on long-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are longer keyword phrases that are more specific to the products or services you are selling. For example, if you’re selling plants, you can use a keyword phrase such as “tropical plants Florida”. Most likely, if a customer uses a specific search phrase, they’ll be able to find your e-commerce site better.
  • Beware of keyword cannibalization. Keyword cannibalization happens when certain pages in your website are competing against each other or outranking each other to gain rankings. For example, finding out that a non-optimal page us ranking over your optimal page, such as when your category page (‘foam mattress’) is outranking your product page ‘gel memory foam mattress’). It will be very confusing for search engines.

Competitor Research

In keyword research, you also have to consider your competitors. You need to figure out how your website is different from them. Through competitor research, you can employ actionable steps to ensure that your website is much better than them.

  • You have to figure what keywords your close competitors are rooting for. Determine the list of keywords that are being used by your competitors in their SEO strategies. You can use Moz’s free toolbar to check and compare their domain authority (DA) and page authority (PA) with yours. If your competitor’s DA and PA are higher than that of your website, just focus on other keywords instead of competing.
  • Find out the sources of your competitors’ inbound links with a tool like Open Site Explorer. You can use the inbound links you’ll find for your blogger, media, and press outreaches. However, before you do your outreach, check resource links that have a low DA. Links from a website with a low DA score can negatively affect your Google rankings.
  • Check and evaluate your competitor sites’ architecture – their navigation, depth of their links, etc. For, e-commerce merchants like you, you also have to pay attention to the architecture of the specific pages:
  1. Recently viewed products
  2. Popular products in specific categories
  3. Top-rated products
  4. Related products

Checking your competitors’ site architecture can help you in your decisions regarding your SEO marketing strategy.

Google Penalties to Look Out For

As you plan your SEO strategies to make your e-commerce site rank on different search engines, you also have to be aware of the Google penalties your website may receive if you become too aggressive with your SEO.

No matter how many links you create to your website, if they are not of high-quality and relevance, they won’t bring your website any good. Quality links are more important than just mere quantity. Here are different Google penalties you should be wary of and the different ways on how to avoid being hit by them:

  • Penguin Penalty. A website gets hit by Penguin penalty when thousands of links go back to your website all using the same anchor text of the keyword you are trying to rank for. An anchor text is the actual word being clicked to link back to your website.

Aggressive link building is not helpful for searchers on Google. When you get hit with this penalty, your website will stop ranking for those keywords which have too many links for. When building links, make sure that you won’t go overboard because an aggressive SEO strategy may attract spam.

To avoid being hit by the Penguin, the majority of links you are building should either be going to your brand name or your URL. Also, avoid getting links from websites that do not have anything to do with your site aka irrelevant links. You also need to avoid spamming other blogs with comments that link back to your website.

For monitoring your website’s traffic or determining whether your website has been hit by Penguin, you can use the Panguin Tool by Barracuda.

 

  • The Panda Update. The other penalty to avoid deals with duplicate contents. Duplicate content is a piece of text or content copied to a number of different websites. Copying content from other websites, putting it on your own, and ranking your website with the stolen content encourages spam.

Because Google does not promote spam, you might get hit by the Panda Update. With this penalty, your website will find it difficult to rank for some searches because of too much duplicate content found on your website. Make sure to always publish unique content to avoid this Google penalty.

With your e-commerce site, make sure that you write unique product descriptions solely for your store. Avoid copying content. It is also not encouraged to use duplicate content even when it has permission from the source because Google would not know about it.

The Plagiarism Checker and Grammarly tools can be of great help in making sure that every content you published is not plagiarized.

Joining an Online SEO Community

To help you make your way through the SEO processes and strategies much convenient, joining an online SEO community will be a great idea. There are different SEO forums, discussions, and communities you can join to get SEO insights from. More than that, you can also build networks and relationships you can use for later.

SEO communities from LinkedIn, Google, and Moz are only a few of the various SEO online groups you can find.

Learning SEO for e-commerce does not come easy. It is a continuous process you should invest your time and resources in. Learn continuously. Keep reading different SEO resources. Learn from SEO experts. Arm yourself with the SEO basics enumerated above and face the e-commerce world with an increased confidence!



Author Bio: Japs Buidon is a Social Media Specialist and SEO from alwaysopencommerce.com. He loves hiking as well as electronics.

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Andre Bourque (SocialMarketingFella) is Editor Emeritus of Technorati.

He covers emerging trends and news in social, mobile, cloud, and related technologies.

Based in San Francisco, he can be contacted via his social channels and at: andrefbourque@gmail.com

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