SEO is a topic that can be intimidating to a lot of online shop owners, especially those who are just looking to sell their goods online, but the reality is that heading into 2019 SEO will be a vital part of any online retailer’s success. SEO has several benefits to an ecommerce store but at it’s core it helps:
- Make your store more visible on search engines
- Increases traffic to your store
- Boosts conversions
But investing in SEO has some additional benefits because many of the things that help to improve SEO also improves the general usability of your website — and this is incredibly important for ecommerce companies.
That’s why this week we’re going to try to simplify the topic as much as possible and give you 3 key areas to focus on. We won’t cover everything in the SEO space but by following these 3 strategies you’ll be well on your way to an SEO optimized ecommerce store!
SEO Checklist #1: Site Speed
If pages on your site take a long time to load, the reality is they won’t rank very well.
Over the past few years site speed has become one of the key considerations when it comes to how your website ranks. The main theory as to why site speed has such a drastic impact relates to bounce rate. A high bounce rate has long been associated with poor ranking on SERPs (search engine result pages), and a slow loading page is a major reason users bounce. Basically, when your site takes too long to load, visitors bail and head elsewhere.
But slow loading times go beyond just damaging your search ranking. Around 40% of online shoppers tell their friends about a bad online shopping experience, which includes a store that took way too long to load. Over half of all online shoppers expect a website to be up and running for them within two seconds and if it hasn’t loaded within three seconds, they’re gone.
To get started with page speed optimization, you’ll want to run your website through Google’s site speed tester to see how fast (or slow) it’s loading. If it’s taking longer than 3 seconds run through the below checklist with a developer as soon as possible:
- Are my images too large?
- Is my content compressed correctly?
- Are my script references included at the top as opposed to the bottom of my page?
- Is my website making too many HTTP requests?
- Is my website using caching correctly?
- Does my website redirect users too many times before reaching their destination?
SEO Checklist #2: Understand the Wide Variety of User Intent
SEO is something that has continued to evolve over the years and one of the biggest trends that has emerged for 2018 is the concept of user intent. Search engines like Google still want website owners to use keyword research, but in 2019 they want ecommerce store owners to consider what a potential customer is planning to do when they find your ecommerce store.
Studies have shown that it can take as many as eight contact points with a shopper before they transition from a lead to a customer and finally make a purchase. If you want your ecommerce store to rank well, you need to optimize your content (and website) so that it is relevant to shoppers at every step of the buying journey. You need to have content on your website that appeals to consumers that are just starting to research right through to those that are ready to buy.
As an example, let’s imagine an ecommerce store that sells laptops online but hasn’t considered user intent in their content strategy. Some of the keywords they may be targeting in that case would be generic terms such as:
- Best laptops
To boost conversions and capture a wider range of consumers it’s critical to consider user intent and realize that consumers can be at various stages in the buying process. With this in mind, they can create more diverse content with more specific keywords such as:
- How to choose a laptop
- Affordable laptops
- Best laptops for university
- Where can I buy laptops in Dubai
By creating content that is relevant to consumers at various stages of the buying process (with different intentions), you’ll show up more often in SERPs and as a result you should see your conversions increase.
SEO Checklist #3: Title Tags
Title tags are important for all websites, but for ecommerce stores it’s crucial that you get them right. A common mistake that occurs with many stores is that they use the same titles for all their product pages. This makes it difficult for search engines to distinguish your products and as a result they are far less likely to rank them.
Best practice is to use unique tags for each product page. If your ecommerce website hasn’t done this from the beginning it will take a bit of time to redo but it’s a critical step in improving your SEO performance.
Here are tips for creating effective title tags:
- Keep the max length less than 70 characters. Any longer and you risk truncating (cutting off) your title on the results page.
- Put your keyword (or phrase) at the beginning of your tag.
- Follow a consistent template for all products.
- For Example – Brand + Model + Item + Type
SEO is a complicated science and it’s something that will continue to change as new technology is released and consumer behaviour evolves. This post is by no means the ultimate guide to SEO but by addressing the 3 areas we discussed you’ll be well on your way to better rankings on the SERPs.
Did you find these 3 strategies useful? Are you looking for more SEO tips to guide you to success in 2019? Let us know in the comments below and we can publish a part 2 with even more great strategies.