By Alice Cleret, Transact eCommerce Director
The online retail industry has been growing at an exponential rate, especially in the last three years. The general public is now completely comfortable with doing business online, so any retail business without an online presence is missing out on revenue.
Making a success out of online retail isn’t just about having a great website – it’s about having a great website backed up with an effective eCommerce SEO strategy.
The eCommerce market in Australia alone is set to be worth USD $32.3 billion by 2024. Brands online can be doing much more with their direct to consumer (D2C) strategy and product offerings, using SEO to their advantage for a competitive edge.
Leading eCommerce Agency, Transact eCommerce Director, Alice Cleret shares all you need to know about an eCommerce SEO strategy, to increase organic traffic to your website.
What is eCommerce SEO?
eCommerce SEO is essentially the search engine optimisation of an online store. It’s the process of improving the content of your website with relevant keywords to boost its ranking in search engine results.
The higher you rank with Google, the sooner potential customers will see your website and the more likely they are to convert
It’s possible to jump the queue by paying for an ad listing, but an organic listing is cheaper long-term and doesn’t come with an “advert” tag on Google. Plus, paid ads aren’t always cheap for generic terms, which can have a lot of competition to bid for.
Using a tool such as Resolution Digital’s integrated search service, OneSearch will help you to improve your search performance and get more bang for your buck.
Why do you need eCommerce SEO?
If you’ve bought things through the internet before, you’ll know from experience that you rarely venture beyond the second page of search results.
If your site doesn’t appear on that first page, you’re missing out on customers. The quality of your products is irrelevant if nobody can see them – it’s that simple!
You might have the most attractive website and the most interesting products or content within your industry, but if that isn’t backed up with a strategy for getting people to your site in the first place, you’re missing out. A recent study by Outbrain shows that search engines are still the biggest drivers of traffic to retail websites, beating out social media by over three hundred percent.
“eCommerce SEO isn’t just a “nice to have” idea, it’s a necessity.”
Getting started: How to optimise your website
Developing an effective website can be broken down into stages and starts with keyword research. You need to know which queries your potential customers type into Google when looking for products like yours. A good way to do this is to search for similar terms on Google.
The key is to find terms that are used often (volume) but aren’t being targeted by too many of your competitors (competition). There are software programmes that can help, such as Resolution Digital’s Flightdeck tool, which helps to understand what users are searching for. Because the focus of eCommerce is now all about contextual search, we focus on keywords contextually related to core business terms.
For example, keywords with strong commercial intent should be mapped to product pages, whilst keywords with informational intent can be linked to an engaging piece of content, such as a blog.
High-volume, low-competition keywords are key. These words need to be seeded throughout your site and should be especially prevalent on your static pages. For reference, those pages are likely to be your homepage, about us page or contact us page.
From there, your ideal SEO eCommerce process should look like this:
• Create specific category pages for top-of-the-funnel keywords – if your site doesn’t already have a page to attract searches for a specific term, you should create one.
• Optimise existing product pages with individual meta page titles and descriptions for each page.
• Optimise images. Image size, quality, and loading speed are all considered when Google ranks pages. Keywords within alt text for images should be included, too.
• Internal linking is important, for example from your product pages to your FAQ to improve UX, and the importance of a good navigation menu.
What are the hallmarks of a good eCommerce website?
There are some key staples to be considered, such as a “Similar products” carousel and “People also bought carousel” on all product pages. These will also help with SEO rankings as they’re great internal links to help with product discovery for your customers.
A good eCommerce website is easy to discover, with optimised website indexation on Google and full XML sitemap submissions with schema markups. This involves regular technical audits. Errors should be fixed as soon as they’re discovered. 404 errors shouldn’t exist at all.
Your site should also be easy to access – pages should load quickly on both desktop and mobile devices and should be optimised for your chosen eCommerce platform.
The core principles of SEO still apply to an eCommerce D2C website. Core Web Vitals and Page speed Insights, for example, will help you stay on top of this and identify any issues. Being easy to access comes hand in hand with being easy to navigate, with a user-friendly experience and well-placed upselling or cross-selling links. Examples include, “you might also like,” or “people also bought,”.
A content strategy is encouraged; most eCommerce websites will have a Blog section that they leverage to target long-tail keywords to balance out the commercial-intent keywords.
Lastly reviewing the presence of your digital brand with Google My Business to boost local SEO results, taking advantage of free shopping listings on Google Merchant Centre, and improving outreach via the likes of link building are also key for a good eCommerce strategy.
Alice Cleret has been with Transact since its launch in 2022, and has been an eCommerce director for Omnicom Media Group for over 5 and a half years prior. Alice has built up an exceptional reputation within the agency, working closely with some of Australia’s most renowned brands such as PepsiCo, SCJohnson & Vida Glow.
Top image: Alice Cleret