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SEO for E-commerce Websites: Improve Your Store’s Visibility and Boost Traffic

Today, I’ll show you how to make your online shop stand out on Google – step by step.

Optimizing an online shop may take some time, but it’s worth the effort. According to SemRush, organic search is the second major source of traffic for e-commerce sites after direct traffic. Organic search results generate as much as 32% of overall monthly traffic! Oh, and did we mention that it’s free?

Ranking first on Google is definitely challenging. As of as of January 2018, there were over 1.3B websites on the Internet, all competing for user attention. However, challenging doesn’t mean impossible – all you need to know are some lesser-known SEO tricks.

Without further ado, here’s how you can optimize your Sellfy shop and boost its rankings on search engines:

1. Decide which keywords you want to rank for

You already know how Google works:

You type in a search query, hit enter, and Google finds websites and resources that (hopefully) answer your question. All results are listed in a specific order, starting with the best and most relevant one.

While there are many factors that affect the order – and we’ll get to some of them a bit later – keywords are still one of the important element of SEO. Why? Because keywords help Google understand what your website is about, and what kind of information people can find there.

So, the first step to optimizing your online store is to come up with a list of words and phrases you want to rank for.

 

What are good keywords?

While coming up with keywords may sound easy, it’s a bit more complicated than simply writing down all words related to your product and business.

Here are the rules:

On the one hand, your keywords can’t be too generic, such as ”ebook” or ”handwritten font”. There are way too many other websites and sellers that try to rank for the same keyword, which makes it extremely difficult to compete for high SERP (search engine result page) positions.

On the other hand, they can’t be too specific either, like ”ebook for parents who practice Bikram yoga”. Very specific keywords usually have low search volumes. So, even if your shop is the only one ranking for the particular phrase, it still won’t get much traffic if only 10 people a month perform the search query.

How to find popular keywords with low competition and high search volume?

There are various ways how you can find good keywords – here’s the tactic I often use:

Step 1: Come up with your main or seed keyword.

Start with writing down word combinations, phrases, and sentences that you’d use to describe your product and business. For example, if you sell mandala templates, your list may look something like this:

  • printable mandalas
  • coloring pages for adults
  • relaxing coloring pages
  • etc.

Step 2: Search your keywords on Google.

One by one, type in your keywords in Google and check the autosuggest. There, you’ll see what people are already searching for and find more phrases related to your keywords. Write them all down.

Step 3: Take your list of keywords and copy it into Google Keyword Planner

Go to Google Keyword Planner → Get search volume and trends → paste your list and click Get search volume. Then, go through the list and select 3-5 keywords that have high search volume and Low (or Medium) competition.

Bonus tip:
If there are many good keywords with low competition and high search volume, pick those that have the highest suggested bid. Other businesses are bidding on these keywords for a reason – users searching these phrases are usually most ready to convert to paying customers.

2. Use keywords strategically on your product pages

Once you have your list of keywords, the next step is to put them to use. If you’re a Sellfy user, here’s what you can do:

Include your main keyword in the headline

Keywords in headlines are important for two reasons: first, they help Google find your website and products, and two – understand what you’re selling. Your product names indicate what you’re selling, so Google pays extra attention to the keywords in them.

When writing your product headlines, make sure you include your keywords at the beginning of them. For example, if you want to rank on ”coloring mandalas”, then:

Bad: ”Printable pages with mandalas”
Good: ”Coloring mandalas for adults”

Another thing to keep in mind: when writing your headlines, keep them simple and straightforward. Some sellers make a costly mistake by trying to be overly creative, and as a result, they make it difficult for Google to find their product.

In other words, if you sell ”mandalas for coloring”, just write that, and not ”spiritual symbols to relax your mind”. Because if people will want to buy mandala coloring pages, that’s what they will type in the search.

Write unique, keyword-optimized product descriptions

A product description is a place where you can add extra keywords that didn’t have place in the headline. That being said, product descriptions IS NOT the place to simply stuff keywords.

Google won’t rank your product higher just because your product descriptions include all possible keywords and their variations. In fact, Google even penalizes websites that do keyword stuffing.

Here’s what a good product description looks like:

  • between 350 and 600 words long
  • highlights benefits and answer possible questions (eg., how many pages the ebook you’re selling has)
  • includes 3-6 keywords
  • easy to scan through and get the necessary information (use bullet points!)
  • unique and written specifically for the particular product – remember that Google doesn’t like duplicates, so write different descriptions for each of your products.

3. Optimize your images

If you can’t include all your keywords in your headlines and product descriptions, there’s another place you can use them – in the alt tags of your images.

While search engines and their algorithms are really advanced, they still can’t see pictures. By giving your images unique and keyword-optimized alt tags (image names), you’ll help Google understand their contents, and find your pictures when someone performs a relevant query.

When naming your images, think of how would people perform the search query. Compared to keywords used in headlines or anywhere else in your website copy, alt tags can be simple strings of words and don’t necessarily have to make grammatically correct phrases or sentences.

That is, if people tend to google ”wallpaper mac download” when they look for a wallpaper for their Mac, then it’s okay to use these words in this particular order as your image alt tag. Because contrary to website copy, alt tags are more for search engines than readers.

Then, once you’ve given images descriptive alt tags, another thing you can optimize is their size.

Large and heavy images (read: many megabytes to load), slow down the page speed, and neither Google or users like websites that take forever to load.

Users today expect websites to load in 2 seconds. If it takes more than 3 seconds, 40% of users will abandon the site. That’s not good for your conversion rates and is a bad sign for search engines.

Start with going to Google PageSpeed Insights and checking how your shop is doing. Then, if your page speed is unsatisfactory and the reason is heavy images, here’s what you can do:

  • Compress your images by running them through TinyPNG – this tool helps save megabytes without affecting image quality.
  • Pay attention to the recommended image size. Don’t upload a 5000x5000px image in a 1240x930px spot – resize it!

4. Add long-form content

Here’s the truth:

Google likes long-form content – the content that’s 1000+ words long, with lots of useful information and thoughtfully used keywords. Why? Because people naturally spend more time reading longer-form content, and for search engines, that’s the sign of quality content that they tend to rank higher.

Now, if you’re a Sellfy user, there’s one perfect spot for such long-form copy: your About page. You can customize it by going to Store Settings → Pages → About.

 

Use this page to tell your brand story – about yourself, your products, the idea behind them, your values and goals. Just remember to keep your story well structured, engaging and easy-to-scan-through.

Beware of big blocks of text. Long paragraphs and lack of visual material will only repel your readers and increase bounce rates.

Here’s what you can do to make readers stay:

  • use clear subheadings to help readers follow your story;
  • keep your sentences and paragraphs short and simple;
  • use images and videos to complete your story, as well as make it more appealing and more interesting read;
  • use bold to highlight interesting facts and important keywords.

Now, speaking of keywords:

Keep your keyword list at hand while writing your About page. Sprinkle them throughout the text and use them in your subheads. Just don’t go overboard – telling the story is more important than stuffing keywords.

There are tons of great examples of brands telling their stories in an engaging way, to name a few:

5. Use social sharing buttons thoughtfully

Look: to help Google understand your website’s relevance to a particular search query and quality of its content, your shop needs traffic.

Let me explain:

When users visit your shop and stay for a while, Google assumes the website is user-friendly and contains good quality content – and starts ranking it higher.

Now, if your shop doesn’t have traffic, Google can’t make such data-driven assumptions. Thus, there may be situations when your website is all perfect but still ranks lower when compared to similar pages with poorer content but higher traffic.

Luckily, this is where social share buttons may help.

By making it easy for people to share products they like with friends, you can boost your traffic, and thus – your sales and Google rankings.

How to make sharing super easy for your visitors? Here are some tips:

Include most relevant social networks.

Everyone has their favorite social network that he/she uses to share cool content with friends. But you can’t include all social media share buttons – they’re just too many!

Therefore, remember who your audience is: if you target China, you may want to skip Facebook and add WeChat instead. Or if you sell design products, you may want to include Pinterest rather than, for instance, Twitter.

Write the ”tweet”.

Some people may want to write their own comment when sharing your content, but many won’t. So, provide a pre-written message – customized for the specific social media – that will help Then do it now.
users share your content with 1 simple click.

Ready to optimize your shop? Then do it now.

Krista is a writer at Truesix.co with several years of experience in digital marketing and e-commerce. In her free time, she runs her own online store Genecie.com and travels to places far, far away.