10 Crucial SEO Tips for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs


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.


41 comments

  • Shawn Graham
    Shawn Graham
    March 21 2012, 11:00AM

    Great post. Rewriting product descriptions also gives you a chance to add a little of your very own personal flair to the content. When done right, that can help differentiate you from others who might be offering similar products. Think PERSONALITY.

  • Giorgi
    Giorgi
    March 21 2012, 02:31PM

    Meh, nothing new.

  • Dan Auns
    Dan Auns
    March 21 2012, 03:29PM
    is important, and so often overlooked. Duplicate content that is not properly tagged (canonical) will dilute your rankings, or worse confuse your shoppers when they land in a deep forgotten corner of your site – and miss the focused landing page.

    Worse, duplicate content across domains (See #4, retailers). Google is already on the record that this tactic will have a negative impact on your search ranking. Often blog posts and product descriptions are guilty of this (i.e. poaching blocks of text from across the internets), and your time saving good intentions are rewarded with sewered search rankings.

    The most important point above, is #3. Have a content strategy and stick to it, use it as a performance indicator across your org, get everyone pitching in. Reward top performers like sales people.

  • Rick Davies
    Rick Davies
    March 21 2012, 03:36PM

    @Giorgi – meh, you’re an ass!

  • Laney
    Laney
    March 21 2012, 04:37PM

    Thank you for this very helpful information.

  • Michelle
    Michelle
    March 21 2012, 05:01PM

    Trolls will be trolls.

    This is a great article. I would love to see more helpful SEO articiles here.

  • Emma
    Emma
    March 21 2012, 09:05PM

    Thanks for this it’s great. This may be a very basic question, but how do you create a company profile on Amazon?

    Thanks

  • Grant
    Grant
    March 23 2012, 06:50AM

    @Michelle & Rick Davies…

    Sorry, but I have to side with Giorgi – if you’re going to push something in an industry forum as ‘10 crucial tips’, you need to say something that isn’t just paraphrasing… otherwise your wasting peoples time.

    But I guess this post is just an SEO exercise in itself.

  • Janelle Pierce
    Janelle Pierce
    March 23 2012, 01:35PM

    http://www.icanhasinternets.com/2010/05/haters-gonna-hate/

    :)

  • Jude
    Jude
    April 12 2012, 02:36PM

    I second that question, Emma – I tried using Amazon for ads, and basically, because we’re UK bases, we can’t make use of the free $100 Amazon Ads credit (be nice if they’d mentioned that somewhere…)

    But, if there’s a way of using Amazon somehow, please let me know!

  • Martin Armstrong
    Martin Armstrong
    May 04 2012, 12:34AM

    I believe with the effectiveness of these tips. When you engage in online entrepreneurship, you really have to learn the updated branding mechanisms. Don’t stick on the basic and the traditional marketing methods.

    http://www.digitalsynergy.com/search-engine-marketing/pay-per-click-marketing

  • carlo
    carlo
    September 23 2012, 10:56PM

    Nothing new.

  • Anne-Marie Watson
    Anne-Marie Watson
    October 05 2012, 09:52AM

    Hi Johnny,
    My first time visiting your blog. Congratulations on a lucid and clear wrap up of SEO basics that online sellers should grasp. Ignore the negative comments above, as many small businesses still do not entirely grasp SEO as a concept, and this is a very solid starting base!

  • Sai Kumar
    Sai Kumar
    October 06 2012, 05:47AM

    Nice post very helpful information…

  • Clare
    Clare
    October 25 2012, 05:29PM

    Hi Mark,

    Can you extrapolate on point number 10 – landing pages? I’m about to purchase Shopify, but wonder how landing pages work as there does not seem to be a template in the themes.

  • Chris
    Chris
    November 05 2012, 04:02AM

    The duplicate content issue is the crucial one.
    Have to admit we fell into the product descriptions trap in the early days. It comes as a bit of a shock the day you learn that your product descriptions are duplicated on over 10,000 other websites.

  • Brad Fitzpatrick
    Brad Fitzpatrick
    January 18 2013, 08:13AM

    In regards to the canonical tag and duplicate content…

    By implementing this tag, doesn’t it render interlinking products (via the related products and collections sections) useless from an SEO standpoint?

    Wouldn’t it be ideal to have related links between related products pass link juice to each other? SEO 101 right there.

    Shouldn’t there be a rewrite mechanism built into the cart that directs all versions of the page to the products main page? No matter how many places or sections it appears on the site, the links should all go to one single page.

    Isn’t this what wordpress does? I know Pinnacle Cart does this because that’s what I’m currently using (but am unhappy with it for many other reasons). I was hoping with Shopify being so advanced in many other ares this would be one of the things they could fix.

    Can you let us know if this is an improvement Shopify will be implementing in future releases?

    I was really hopeful of making the switch from Pinnacle Cart to Shopify, but this might be the deal breaker.

  • yogesh
    yogesh
    March 17 2013, 06:42AM

    very nice n most of the things are too good in this artical
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    SEO Company UK
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  • Thiago daLuz
    Thiago daLuz
    April 01 2013, 05:30PM

    It’s nothing new…if you’ve done any SEO before. If you just started a business, and are just discovering the need for it, there are great for getting off to the right start. And a folding recumbent exercise bike helps out a lot, too, because we all know what’s really going on here.

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    SEO Services Gurgaon
    April 23 2013, 08:59AM

    I agree with your post because every entrepreneur wants to see their website at the top rank in search engine and want more sales of their products. SEO is a best technique for them to increase visibility of their products. Thanks for sharing these all SEO tips for Ecommerce entrepreneurs.

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  • ajay
    ajay
    April 25 2013, 05:20AM

    its simple and easy way to learn seo tips for ecommerce enterpreneurs..thanks

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    arsgradior
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  • Simon Nguyen
    Simon Nguyen
    June 09 2013, 06:49AM

    Wonderful tips. Actually, this was a great piece of information when you posted it. However, the new update to Google’s ranking process, I mean Penguin 2.0, has decreased the importance of some of the points you made under this article. In this regard, when you say, “Adding keywords to the internal links on your website will help to enhance your store’s 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.” I think better will be to invest the most around putting helpful content on a website, using high-quality comments for supporting the acceptability of back links, etc. Why Google will be high rank you high unless it does not fall that you have put high-quality content on your blog and website. And, finally yet the most importantly, why blog owners will accept your comments and back links until they do not find your content and comments interesting? Think about it. On Media has established itself among the best SEO Providers in Sydney only because of its ethical SEO strategies. We are making perfect solutions to our clients in the department of SEO. You can learn more about us by visiting this website. www.onmedia.com

  • Sam Taylor
    Sam Taylor
    July 15 2013, 08:08AM

    Pay Per Click is still a good tool to gain visitors for your E-commerce activity. Before adopting it, you should know how to convert a visitor into a customer.

  • Sandeep pattanaik
    Sandeep pattanaik
    January 10 2014, 05:32AM

    H! Mark,

    I think you forget to mention the below factors to your blog.

    Related product, Proper url structure, Product variations, Related product, Remove Out of stock items etc.

    Thanks,
    Sandeep

  • Max Wegner
    Max Wegner
    May 21 2014, 02:01AM

    Pay per Click could be a huge sink of money.

    If you know enough about your products yourself and can write about it I’d suggest sticking to creating content and give it time to flourish.

    PPC is not rocket science, but has enough caveats to distract you from your business. Better hire a pro.

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  • Soical media optimization
    Soical media optimization
    July 16 2014, 01:26AM

    Great post very helpful information…
    Pay Per Click is still a good tool to gain visitors for your E-commerce activity

  • Phil Caines
    Phil Caines
    July 18 2014, 01:37PM

    Similar to what Brad Fitzpatrick mentioned, your understanding of Canonical tags is flawed. The intention of the canonical tag is to direct all duplicate content’s SEO value at the original/main content on the site.

    So for example, if you were to have multiple versions of a product with minor differences, the copy would be mostly duplicate. In this case only one page should be self referring in the rel canonical (the main product), and all of the minor variations would point the rel canonical at the main products URL.

    Your description of “careful usage” of rel canonical tags followed up with the fact that they are automatic does not make any sense, if you can’t customize where the tag points, how can there be careful usage? You really need to fix this, as duplicate content is becoming increasingly more of a focus of search engines, and the SEO penalties are costing your users real money.

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    October 06 2014, 05:58AM

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  • That Guy
    That Guy
    December 07 2014, 02:18AM

    This is a good post for beginners but there are more crucial tips and tricks that one needs to consider with an online store.

    What if you a product with multiple colours or sizes? Most create a new product with the same content. The fix is to either use variations and have one product or use canonical tags to ensure that the variations point to the main product.

    Just my two cents but you need to ensure that your own site doesnt have duplicate versions.

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