Selling products online is big business. Whether you’re taking advantage of drop shipping methods or you sell your own products on a company website, Amazon or Etsy, there are dozens of selling opportunities available to you.
To drive traffic to your E-Commerce product listings though you need to harness the power of search engine optimization (SEO). SEO and E-Commerce work hand in hand. To be successful selling products online you need to have strong SEO.
Although there are a number of key variables at play for developing SEO for your product listings, these are the five most important factors you need to consider.
1) Always Research Your Keywords
Driving up search engine rankings isn’t all about keywords. In fact, in recent years keywords no longer play as big of a role. During the early years of search engines, sites like Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves and others relied almost completely on the number of times a particular keyword appeared on a page.
As you would imagine, this quickly grew out of control as website creators would type in keywords hundreds of times at the bottom of a page in order to boost the search engine ranking.
From those early days moving forward, search engines created extensive algorithms to generate more accurate search results not based on doctored content. However, keywords do still play an important role in connecting consumers with product listings.
Due to this, it is critical for you to put in keyword research and identify the best keywords for your E-Commerce material.
There are a number of keyword analytical services available for assisting you with this, although Google’s own AdWords remains one of the best options out there.
Other helpful tools allow you to see which websites receive the most amount of traffic based on keywords you’re interested in. AHrefs is an SEO analytics service provider that allows you to enter the desired keyword. It then showcases the top traffic generators for the keywords.
How does this information help? You instantly see who your competition is for the keywords. You can also follow links to your competition and look at how the website is formatted and what goes into a product listing. Obtaining this kind of information makes it easier to duplicate and even improve upon what the competition is doing.
2) Include the Meta Description
In some instances, the meta description no longer proves necessary. This is the short blurb that appears under the website link on search engines. For blogs and other published material, this meta description is the first few lines of the written content. With a blog post, a solid introduction to the blog may suffice as the meta description.
This is not the case when it comes to your product listing.
The product listing needs a crafted meta description as this will indicate exactly what the product is. Often times, a picture does not load along with the product link, which is why you need to have a solid description of the product.
The meta description needs to be short and to the point, indicating exactly what the product is and any other kind of important information (such as colors, material and what it is used for).
The meta description needs to begin with an actionable word. This helps motivate the individual to click on the provided link. This includes words like click, shop, discover, find and others.
According to SEOPressor, having a properly formatted meta description that fits within the 155-characters and provides an apt, description rich introduction to a product, can increase traffic to the product page by 286 percent.
Meta descriptions have a cutoff of 155-characters. Anything longer is cutoff. You don’t want important information cutoff from the description, so make sure you fit in everything into this number of characters. According to Brandon Gaille (2018), 28 percent of websites don’t have any meta description, while 30 percent have a description that is too long and won’t fit. This means just 32 percent of websites have serviceable meta descriptions, which will instantly give you an improvement in SEO.
3) Design For Mobile
More and more individuals are performing Internet searches over their mobile device instead of through a traditional computer. In fact, according to The Web Master (2017), nearly 60 percent of all Internet searches now are done with a smartphone or tablet instead of a computer.
The numbers provided by The Web Master are broken down even further. Internet searches for food and beverage are performed 72 percent of the time with a mobile device, while health and sports searches are made 68 percent of the time on a smartphone or tablet.
If you sell general retail material, this is at 56 percent. In fact, the only categories where people are more likely to perform Internet searches on their computer instead of a portable device (currently) are real estate, entertainment, and banking.
This indicates the importance of having a mobile based website design. If your website is not formatted properly for a mobile search, you’re handcuffing your business down and preventing a number of interested customers from reaching your page.
Google ranks mobile-friendly websites ahead of the non-mobile friendly website for Internet searches conducted on mobile devices. So if you sell a retail product you instantly fall behind all the other sites that do. This is a fast way to derail your entire E-Commerce platform.
When first starting out, knowing which meta descriptions work the best for your particular product may prove difficult. Due to this, split test different title and meta descriptions. This allows you to monitor what generates the most interest, brings in the most visitors and helps produce the most sales.
4) URL Optimization
The URL is the product link. When creating product listings on your website builder, it doesn’t matter if you’re creating the website in WordPress or through a service provider like SquareSpace, a URL is generated automatically for the product.
The problem with this self-generating URL is the information is a jumble of words and letters that, if you were only looking at the URL slug, it would make no sense at all.
This even happens if you upload products to larger E-Commerce platforms like WooCommerce or Shopify. This can hinder your search engine optimization. It also doesn’t help you at all if you want to share the link. That is why you need to optimize the URL of the page.
Every website builder and E-Commerce platform allows you to produce your own URLs. For a retail product, it needs to have an optimized URL similar to the following:
This keeps the URL concise, organized and makes it easier to track down. It also looks better when the URL is shared on other pages. When someone clicks on the shared URL they will know exactly what they will find on the other end of the link.
Additionally, now is the time to begin implementing the secure HTTPS URL over the older HTTP. This is especially important with regards to E-Commerce. The security features of HTTPS help reduce snooping and eavesdropping.
Some have dragged their feet implementing HTTPS because it does reduce load time. The extra security measures put in place require additional time to scan over a website. However, according to Let’s Encrypt,” Google now ranks HTTPS higher than the older HTTP. Plus, with improving load time speed, it is important for a website to take advantage of the added security features.
5) Use Backlinks To Improve SEO
Quality backlinks help improve your search engine optimization. However, not just any backlink will do. Sharing products on social media sites will not improve search engine optimization. So instead, you need to find ways to connect with quality websites to share your link.
The first step in this process is to see where your competition has hosted links. Through the Ahrefs website, there is a way to bring up the “Link Intersect” feature, which will show you what other websites send traffic to a particular URL.
With this information, you have the ability to contact some of these other websites and showcase your products.
This is one way to look for ways to boost link building. Another is to connect with the manufacturer of a product you sell. If some of the material sold through your E-Commerce website is manufactured by another service provider it is beneficial to connect with the manufacturer and have the company list your website on its “Where to Buy” page.
The “Where to Buy” is common for products not commonly distributed throughout all areas of the country. Having a link included here helps boost your SEO as it comes from a recognized, respected website.
Another way is to connect with a competitor in a different market. For example, your business may sell products in a specified area of the country. When this is the case, reach out to a competitor that does the same, but in a different area of the country. While the two businesses are technical “competitors,” the two do not cross paths. Sharing links on these sites offers benefits to consumers who may stumble on the page while outside of the service area. It also mutually helps both websites increase quality, organic backlinks.
As MOZ points out, there is a dramatic connection between Google Rankings and backlinks. Of the top 50 results for an Internet search, 99.2 percent had at least one external link directing traffic to the website. For individual pages, 77.8 percent had at least one external link pointing to the page.
The more quality backlinks an E-Commerce page has, the easier it becomes to bring in traffic and to rise up search engine rankings. These are just a few of the ways to quickly increase these backlinks.
It is important to never purchase backlinks though. Search engines can identify websites attempting to manipulate the search algorithms in this way. Should it flag a website the website will receive a penalty and drop down the search results. Continued problems may result in the complete removal from a search engine (which is a death sentence for any website).
When selling products online you likely have hundreds, if not tens of thousands of competing retailers and service providers offering similar goods. In order to push ahead of these alternative retail outlets, you need to harness the power of search engine optimization.
By implementing these five critical steps, you’ll boost product visibility, draw in more customers and dramatically increase your E-Commerce company’s bottom line. From improving the URL of the website to generating new meta descriptions, most of these improvements take very little in way of time, and yet will instantly boost the overall search engine optimization of the E-Commerce listing.