SEO for e-commerce: how to optimize an online shop for search engines

Index

Optimizing an ecommerce from an SEO perspective is a key step in enabling the online store to gain visibility among Google results: by taking care of onsite and offsite optimization, it is possible to maximize the chances that products will be found-and thus purchased-by potential customers searching the Web.

Investing in the proper implementation of an ecommerce organic positioning strategy enables the achievement of important goals including:

  • Increase domain visibility without resorting to advertising campaigns;
  • Strengthen brand reputation;
  • Increase ‘natural’ traffic to the site;
  • increase sales.

SEO strategy to position an online shop: key points

The process of SEO optimization of an online store requires expertise, time and patience: there are many steps to follow, and the first results may not appear until months later. Let’s look at the technical aspects that most influence the success of an SEO strategy for ecommerce:

  • Performance and responsiveness: fast page loading speed and adaptability to all devices (primarily smartphones) make for a smooth browsing experience, reducing site abandonment rates. Let’s not forget that performance optimization (e.g., code and image compression, caching, server response time) and mobile friendliness have long been considered key elements that contribute to SERP ranking. As of 2021, Google has also officially included User Experience among its ranking factors, introducing Core Web Vitals, new metrics that evaluate the responsiveness, speed and stability of a page.
  • SEO-friendly tree: a simple, hierarchical “silo” structure-which organizes the site into macro-sections, which in turn are divided into additional linked micro-sections-makes it easier for bots to crawl the pages and helps users find the products they are looking for without difficulty. Categories and subcategories must be optimally arranged, collecting products in a consistent and intuitive manner, targeting different keywords so as not to confuse the search engine and thus avoid keyword cannibalization phenomena.
  • Original content: effective categories and product sheets possess detailed, clear, unique and appealing descriptions that drive users to convert more easily. Texts, images and tags properly optimized and customized for each page facilitate the process of organic indexing and ranking, while the implementation of some technical tricks (e.g., the Rel=Canonical attribute) avoid annoying penalties resulting from the presence of duplicate content.
  • Authoritativeness and credibility: a virtual shop-especially one with little history-must build a solid reputation before it can record the sales it would like to. Brand awareness requires a substantial investment but allows you to instill trust in potential customers, establishing a brand as authoritative in its target industry. Content marketing, blogging, link building and digital PR, and synergy between SEO and social media are just some of the activities to strengthen an ecommerce’s digital identity and notoriety. Finally, let’s not overlook the enormous potential of adding reviews that can act as a driver to purchase: through optimization of structured data and activation of Rich Snippets (the rating stars) it is possible to increase the visibility of the ecommerce among search results, increasing the click-through rate.

SEO optimization for e-commerce: the role of keyword research

The constant evolution of the search engine algorithm requires professionals to relentlessly refine their study of keywords and users’ search intent.

The basis of technical SEO optimization of an e-commerce site is a thorough analysis of the product categories in order to identify the keywords that best describe the business we want to promote, without forgetting the most popular trends and queries inherent in a topic.

Here are the main aspects that need to be evaluated when searching for the most relevant, relevant and suitable queries to rank an online store among the top organic results:

  • Search volume: search volumes measure how much a term is searched for on a monthly basis (typically one of the primary metrics offered by tools such as Google Keyword Planner Tool or SEMrush);
  • Competition: the competitiveness of a keyword is calculated based on the number of results returned by a specific keyword and the type of websites competing to win a prominent place in the organic SERP;
  • User intent: search intent identifies the goal – more or less explicit – that the user expresses when performing a Google search (finding information on an unfamiliar topic, reading opinions/reviews, comparing product features and prices, making a purchase). From the analysis of search intent, it is then possible to derive informational, navigational, or transactional keywords that describe the user’s purpose and place the user in one of the steps of the decision funnel (furthest or closest to making a conversion and thus proceeding with an online transaction).

Blog in an ecommerce: why open it?

A good SEO strategy for ecommerce cannot fail to include a blog to go along with the virtual shop: the editorial area in fact helps to publicize the store, creating a privileged channel of communication between the company and prospects. Through blogging, it is possible to carve out a space on the site where you speak directly to your audience, using a tone-of-voice capable of triggering user trust and emotion.

In addition, updating the portal-through weekly or monthly publication of news and insights on products and brands sold-increases the site’s desirability in the eyes of the search engine and allows SEO professionals to Positioning blog content for ‘long-tail’ keywords related to informational searches on a given topic or product.

Expand your online business through SEO

Search Engine Optimization techniques for an e-commerce website do not differ much from those designed to optimize any other type of website, although attention must be paid to some specificities that are typical and exclusive to online stores.

When done well, SEO for ecommerce allows you to consistently increase the number of visitors and potential customers, making the results – in terms of organic visibility and conversions – lasting over time. For this reason, it is essential to rely on experienced SEO specialists to make optimizations that will give the e-shop a medium- to long-term competitive advantage over its competitors.

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