This article is brought to you by Erin Alexander. Erin Alexander is the owner of Alexander Design Company, a design and digital marketing agency that works with shop owners and product-based businesses to design and optimize high-converting online stores. Visit her blog for more tips and tricks for shop owners, including more about SEO.
Having your products show up in search results is a game-changer for shop owners. It can mean going from a few sales a week to getting a few sales every single day. To make that happen you need to focus on SEO for your eCommerce business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) means you are optimizing your website and content so it’s search engine friendly so that your shop and products show up on Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
The most popular search engine is by far Google, so much that it’s even a verb now! How many times do you say you’ll Google something in a day?
This helps you get more traffic to your e-commerce website, and more traffic corresponds with more sales. The goal is to get your products to show up on the search results when someone is searching for the type of product you sell.
The most important part of e-commerce SEO is Keyword Research
Keywords are the actual phrases people are using to search for things. Like “Red sweater” or “How to boil an egg” Keywords can be just a single word or multiple words. Keywords made up of at least 3-4 words (called long-tail keywords) are typically better for small businesses because they are more specific and less competitive.
If you think about it, there are a lot of black shirts on the internet, but there are a lot less “women’s black shirts with scoop neck”. It’s important to be specific and accurate with your keywords.
Figuring out the right keywords for your products might take some trial and error. You might sell “purple yoga pants” but find that using “lavender yoga pants” allows you to show up in search results better. Or maybe using lavender is too specific and needs to be broader. Ubersuggest is a great free tool that can help you figure out what kinds of words to use for your products.
After you’ve determined what keywords to use, you need to put them in the right places.
Optimize the product listings in your shop
There are more product listing pages on your site than anything else. Optimizing your product listings gives you more opportunities to show up on Google.
There are four important places to put your keywords in your product listings.
- Product Title
- Product Description*
- Photo Alt-text (more on this later)
When you view the search results for a product you can see why the keywords need to be in these places. The only thing not included on the search results page is the photo alt-text which shows up when you search through Google Image Search.
*Depending on your shop platform you might need to include the keyword in the meta description for each product. On Shopify, the meta description auto-fills from your main description box.
Accurate and clear product titles and descriptions for your products are also really good for the user’s experience on your website. When you use the right words to describe your products, your customers can easily find what they are looking for when they are shopping.
Optimize product collections
You can also optimize your collection pages by using keywords in your collections. I bet you can guess where to put those keywords. Yep, in the title, description, URL and in the alt-text of any featured collection photos.
Include information like what the collection is made of, what the products have in common, who they are for, and what will people love about them. The goal is 2-3 sentences that describe the collection as clearly as possible.
Optimizing your images goes a long way in improving your search results ranking
Adding alt-text to images not only improves your SEO but is also really important for website accessibility so that screen readers for visually impaired customers are still able to understand the photos on your website. Alt-text is a little bit of text that’s attached to photos to explain the photo.
When writing alt-text for your photos aim to be really accurate and include those keywords. For example: “Woman wearing purple yoga pants on the beach.”
Compress images so they load faster
Size matters when it comes to photos. Cameras and smartphones take really big photos. This is so they turn out better when they are printed. For your website, they are way too big. Compressing your images means they load faster.
Google prioritizes sites that load quickly. They know that people don’t want to wait for a website to load.
Don’t worry you don’t have to go through and change all of your photos yourself. There are apps or plugins that can compress your images for you, depending on your shop platform.
To compress photos before you add them to your site, there’s a great web-based app called TinyPNG. It’s really easy to use.
There are a lot of things that contribute to showing up on Google but optimizing product listings and images are two of the most impactful ways to improve your SEO.
Another impactful way to improve your SEO is by “link building,” this is when other websites link to your site and you link to other sites. When other websites link to your site it builds up your authority and visibility. When you link to other websites it builds trust and authority with your own community.
Things like getting your products featured on other websites, collaborating with other shop owners, and working with influencers and bloggers to promote your products create links back to your website, called backlinks.
Make time for getting your shop out there more. It pays off big for gaining visibility and growing your organic store traffic.
Growing your shop traffic through SEO might seem complicated and time-consuming but it’s well worth the effort.