feature

How can you sell anything if customers can't find you? SEO, which is short for Search Engine Optimization, is really important for your ecommerce store. In a nut shell, SEO is the process of improving the visibility of a website or online store in search engines. Why is that important? Because the higher you rank in search engines, the more traffic and potential customers get driven to your store.

There is no one size fits all strategy for SEO, and online store owners need to carefully assess their site to develop a customized SEO strategy and action plan to improve their search engine presence and traffic to their online store.

Here are 10 crucial SEO tips for ecommerce stores:

1. Don’t Rely Only on Pay Per Click (But Also Don't Forget it)

While many ecommerce sites fall back on a pay per click (PPC) strategy to create visibility for their store, the truth is that PPC costs continue to go up and once you stop paying for placement, your online presence disappears.

Also, some customers have an inherent distrust of sponsored links, banners, and other online ads. Ecommerce stores cannot solely rely on a PPC strategy and need to also implement organic SEO practices to help with their online visibility.

That said, recent Google research shows that when some web sites stopped using AdWords, 89% of the paid clicks did not shift over to organic, SEO clicks. So make sure you do use pay per click in addition to SEO.

2. Avoid Duplicate Content

Duplicate content is the enemy for search engines. However, since many ecommerce stores have a large amount of duplicate content as a result of product descriptions and lists, ecommerce sites tend to get penalized by search engines.

Therefore, online store owners need to assess their website and look for ways to reduce the amount of redundant and duplicate content that is present on their website. Careful usage of the rel="canonical" tag can help avoid these problems as well.

Shopify themes can automatically insert the rel="canonical" tag on all pages using one line of code. Learn how to use canonical URLs with Shopify.

3. Have a Content Strategy

Consistently adding unique and high quality content on a regular basis to your ecommerce site will not only add additional value for users, it will also help with your search engine ranking. Consider using your and add content that's related to the products and services that you sell.

All Shopify stores automatically include a fully functioning blogging platform that you can use to publish such content.

4. Don’t use the Manufacturer Product Descriptions

Building your product database can be a time consuming process, and in an attempt to save time, many online store owners simply copy and paste the manufacturer’s product descriptions onto their website.

This is an SEO no-no! Always re-write every single product description to ensure that it is unique and search engine friendly. Remember to use several words that people are most likely to search for.

5. Optimize Product Images

Image search has become a very popular function that internet users are increasingly using to find products online. Therefore, ecommerce websites need to add related keywords into the ALT tags of every image on their website. Here's a blog post on how to setup ALT tags on Shopify.

For optimal effect, make sure that every keyword used for an image is directly relevant and avoid stuffing keywords into the alt tags.

6. Have Unique Meta Descriptions for Every Webpage

When it comes to onsite optimization, many ecommerce stores think that it's enough to use the same meta descriptions for each page. However, this is another SEO faux-pas! The meta description should be written for humans with the goal of helping your store get clicked once it shows up in search engines.

Shopify themes can automatically generate meta descriptions for each page. Click here to learn more.

7. Include Product Reviews

Since unique content is extremely important when it comes to SEO, having a field for users to add their product reviews is a great passive way to generate unique content for your ecommerce store.

The Shopify App Store includes several great product review apps for your store.

8. Link to your Products from the Home Page

A common error made by many ecommerce sites is burying their product pages deep within their link structure. This will not only make it more difficult for users to find products, it will also impact the product pages PageRank score, making those pages less likely to appear high in search.

Having product content only a link away from your home page will make them easier for both the search engines as well as your customers.

9. Optimize the Anchor Text

Adding keywords to the internal links on your website will help to enhance your stores visibility in search engines. Rather than using the typical “click here” link, link from text that includes the keywords the page you are linking to is trying to rank for. For example, instead of writing "click here to visit Shopify, the best ecommerce platform," write "visit Shopify, the best ecommerce platform."

Also, consider adding keyword rich links within the product descriptions to link to other similar products on your website.

10. Organize your Online Store for SEO

The way that you structure your store will impact its visibility. Consider structuring your ecommerce store so that it includes a number of landing pages. These pages can be specific to a brand or product type. Doing this gives you the opportunity to optimize for multiple pages and keyword groups, which will increase your site's visibilty in search.

Shopify includes content management (CMS) functionality, such as the ability for you to create such pages.

Bonus Tips

If you offer coupon codes for your customers, consider promoting them on coupon web sites and coupon forums. This should also help with creating free links to your store and can also help you get sales.

Also take the time to create a company profile on review sites such as Amazon, ConsumerSearch, Yelp, and Epinions. This will help easily build inbound links to you site and will help build legitimacy when people search for "yourstorename review".

Have any SEO suggestions that worked well for you in the past? Share them with other reader by leaving a comment below.