In June 2022, Google released a video entitled “How to SEO optimize your ecommerce website (8 Tips)” as part of the Ecommerce Essentials series on YouTube. In this video, Google’s Alan Kent gives some good, basic SEO tips to ecommerce site owners including some new recommendations also published in the Google Search Console documentation in June 2022.
If you own an ecommerce site or are thinking of launching one, you should be interested in watching the the video to help you understand how you can improve SEO, increase traffic and increase sales.
Alan’s 8 SEO tips for ecommerce sites are:
1. Get the technical basics right
This means ensuring that Google can crawl your website and can understand content through titles, URLs and structured data. He suggests using Google Search Console to discover issues that need fixing.
2. Check the breadth of your content
Writing unique product descriptions is important for SEO. But it is also worth thinking about different stages of the buyer journey in order to provide other types of content. Shoppers may need help deciding which product to buy and this could be a focus for your home page or specific buyer guides published by your site.
Google Search Console is recommended again for spotting new keyword ideas.
3. Ensure that you markup product variants correctly
Also detailed in the guidelines Designing a URL structure for ecommerce websites, Google now recommends giving each product variant (colors or sizes for example) a unique URL as well as providing a canonical page that describes all the product variants.
It is important to provide images for every color variant and include the name of the color in ALT text.
4. Preserve deal page URLs
Google recommends using the same URL for promotions every year. So rather than creating a new Mother’s Day or Black Friday page every year, use the same permalink (for example /mothers-day/) and keep the page published and relevant all year. So once Mother’s Day has past, indicate that the promotion is over and invite shoppers to come back to the page next year.
5. Performance matters
Slow sites can be abandoned by users and ecommerce site owners should be particularly attentive to page speed. Performance has also been made a ranking signal by Google and this single factor could be the tiebreaker for two very similar product pages on two different sites. The fastest page would be shown higher in search results – getting more traffic and sales than the slower page.
Alan recommends using Page Speed Insights to measure and improve performance.
6. Be patient
Alan warns that SEO optimization is a “long game” and that some ranking signals considered by Google take months to change.
Again, he suggests using Google Search Console to follow progress in rankings and traffic. For WordPress users, we suggest using SEOPress Insights to measure progress in ranking for specific, targeted keywords.
While waiting for ranking to improve, you can also look at ways to diversify traffic sources. For example marketing campaigns, social media, email marketing, third party reviewers, printed pamphlets with QR codes, and links from other sites. He underlines that links from other sites can improve ranking (but he warns later that these links need to be natural).
7. Consider expert help
Ecommerce site owners may feel daunted by SEO optimization work and can seek help from an SEO professional. There are many specialized SEO agencies, but Alan warns against those offering schemes to improve ranking by buying links. Unnatural links may lead to a negative effect on ranking.
8. It’s all about users
As a concluding, ultimate tip, Alan provides the classic Google SEO advice: think about the users not about ranking. For example, Google Analytics could indicate pages that have a high bounce rate. You can improve those pages so that visitors don’t “bounce” away from the site.
He also suggests that users want high-quality images of product and that ecommerce owners should pay particular attention to this. See An introduction to Image SEO to get started on optimizing your images.
If you use WooCommerce and WordPress to manage your ecommerce site, you may also be interested in our ebook WooCommerce SEO: the ultimate guide. This helps you get the most out of your WooCommerce site with step-by-step tutorials, real-life case studies, and more to help you maximize its full potential.