Running your own eCommerce business has been one of h the most popular business models for entrepreneurs across the globe for years. Shopping online has become a standard part of our everyday lives and has become even more relevant since the pandemic started.
Not every eCommerce business is successful and not every entrepreneur reaches their goals, however, there are certain aspects of running an eCommerce business that can make all the difference. Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is one essential skill that can make or break your online business.
What is an SEO Strategy?
Executing your SEO strategy is all about ranking and being easy to find. When people say SEO, they typically mean Google SEO, which is all about being as high up in as many search results as you can possibly be. This concept is not limited to Google, and also applies to almost every eCommerce platform.
Your goal should be to find keywords that best describe what you have to offer. After that, find out what people are searching for, and then tailor the content that surrounds the items you are selling, or your brand, using that information. You can’t use every keyword on earth and rank for all of them – you must pick your battles and get the most out of the space and methods you have available.
How to Optimize your eCommerce store?
When it comes to eCommerce, there are two major routes you can take. The first route is to create your own website or platform and sell through there. The other is selling through a major platform, such as Amazon, eBay or Walmart. In the first case, there are plenty of platforms available which provide all necessary infrastructure for you to build your own store quickly like Shopify and several other alternatives to Shopify.
Do proper keyword research
Whether you have your own website or are selling on your own platform, keyword research is crucial. No matter if you are doing keyword research related to your platform or on Google, you will need to have some way of finding out what your potential customers are searching for. You need to use long-tailed keywords that are precise, and pick your best, highest volume and relevant keywords and incorporate them seamlessly into your content.
Pay attention to your images
It’s important to use images that are high quality, but not too “heavy” in terms of the amount of memory they use. For SEO purposes, it’s important to name your files properly and to use alt attributes.
If you are selling on a platform, getting reviews from customers is always going to help your ranking. When it comes to your own website, the reviews and testimonials can certainly help your conversions, but it’s the Google reviews that actually help your rankings.
Optimize product descriptions
Use the keywords from your research to write concise and compelling product descriptions that include your most impactful keywords. Be careful not to overcrowd your keywords and not to sacrifice the quality of your text.
Optimize the website
Make sure your website design is not overly complicated and has a simple URL structure. Additionally, do your best to use as few pages as you can so your website can run smoothly.
One of the greatest factors in terms of SEO is links from other reputable websites. Obtaining these links is something that requires some elbow grease, since you need to work on making connections via reaching out yourself, or using affiliate marketing etc..
Essential SEO Tools for eCommerce
SEO is all about finding resources of data you can use, and making adjustments accordingly as you go along. Optimizing your SEO is a never ending process, since there are always changes happening and different trends emerging. One of the most crucial skills for eCommerce sellers is adapting to the changes in demand and interest over time.
You need to use all the resources at your disposal to get the best results with your SEO. We are now going to go through some tools you can use to do just that. Let’s start with the free tools:
This is a tool everyone uses from time to time – sometimes as an eCommerce seller, and sometimes just to settle an argument. You can get some basic information on emerging trends and the popularity of certain searches with Google trends. It’s pretty simple to use and can give you an idea in really broad brush strokes when it comes to search trends.
This is a very useful and free tool and a must use for anyone that has their own website. With Google Analytics, you get access to crucial information about your website traffic and the behavior of your visitors. You cannot overstate how useful this information is – you can see exactly where your traffic is coming from, and how long people are staying on which page. This can help you adjust your funneling and increase your conversions. Analytics is where you can see the results of your SEO effort.
Google Search Console
This is the tool that’s all about SEO. Here, you can check your rankings and investigate individual search results. In search, you can go keyword by keyword and arrange filters to identify the best keywords by rank. You can also see the Clickthrough rakes, impressions etc.. This way, you can identify keywords that you want to rank higher and investigate individual pages. In doing this,you can strategize how to overtake competitors and add more ads or content that is relevant to those keywords. There are also a ton of reports you can use. It can take a while to get used to using this tool.
The free tools are quite decent, but there are also tools you can pay for that may be more user friendly and allow you to tailor to your specific needs.
This is an SEO tool that gives you everything you need to know. This tool is a little more on the complex side due to all the options it has, so there is a bit of a learning curve. Ahrefs allows you to investigate any website, which is useful when it comes to competitors, the pages that link to them, the percentage of organic traffic for any search, their backlinks, and pretty much everything. It gives you a ton of data, but the challenge is in prioritizing what you wish to focus on. It’s a really complex tool with a seemingly endless supply of data options and reports.
When it comes to the price, it will depend on the number of users and the duration of the subscription.
Screaming frog is a web crawler tool that gathers data from various websites and helps you organize the data so you can later use it in your own SEO optimization. This is a great tool that can keep you updated on all the shifts in ranking and the various content that shows up on many websites. This is another complex tool that allows all sorts of integrations, reports etc.. When it comes to paid and complex SEO tools, there is always a learning curve involved, and previous knowledge of SEO terminology and methods is helpful. When it comes to pricing, there is a free and paid version as well as an annual charge:
This is an excellent tool that is extremely reliable with diagnosing various issues with your SEO optimization. With MOZ, you can consistently find any sort of error or improvement to get better results – this is where it stands out. MOZ also offers an excellent user friendly keyword explorer that lets you filter and look at data in a clean and straightforward way. They have put in a lot of effort into making their tools easy to use, so the learning curve is not as steep as with other tools.
They also offer education on SEO and how to use their tools. The pricing varies depending on your needs and how advanced your SEO knowledge is.
There are many sellers that are not selling on their own websites, in fact, the large majority is selling on one platform or another. For those sellers, it’s important to be familiar with the SEO rules that apply to the platform they are selling on, as well as to find tools that are platform specific.
Amazon SEO tools
Amazon, being the largest marketplace on Earth right now, has its own unique ecosystem, and needless to say ranking is key. The same rules as Google apply when you have your own website, however, things are a bit simpler. There are search terms, organic rankings and indexing, and it’s all specific to the platform. Let’s go through a set of tools you can use on Amazon, specifically, the AMZScout tools:
Keyword explorer tools – These are very simple and straightforward tools. With this tool, you can put in any keyword and see all the long tailed keywords, along with their monthly search volumes – that’s the foundation for doing keyword research on Amazon. Here’s an example using the AMZScout Keyword Explorer:
Extensions – Extensions are tools primarily meant for Amazon sellers who wish to analyze products and niches in terms of demand, revenue etc.. Extensions tend to have some features that help you with your Amazon listing SEO. You are usually able to find the most searched keywords for any product on any page – some also have a column that gives a score on how well optimized your listing is, so you can compare it to your competitors.
Reverse ASIN search tools – This type of tool completes the entirety of your keyword research toolbox. Using this tool, you can take any product from Amazon and get a full list of all the keywords that any listing is indexed on, along with it’s monthly scratch volumes. To do this, you simply need to find competitors with good selling products, get their ASIN, and then you can get a clear idea on what contributes to their success in terms of SEO.
In conclusion, SEO is extremely important. As an online seller, you do not have the luxury of neglecting SEO and you must gain the necessary skills, knowledge and tools that enable you to master it. Think of the old saying “All roads lead to Rome” – SEO is about building and maintaining as many roads that your customers can travel on to reach you. Good luck sellers.