E-Commerce Tips & Tricks

5 Ways to Improve SEO for Your Online Store

Fri 02 Oct 2015
By Shan Lian

We announced our partnership with Weebly on Oct. 1st, bringing our simply shipping tool to 200,000 Weebly e-commerce merchants via a one-click app integration. Read about our partnership. This post is brought to you by Adam on Weebly's Organic Growth team.

Your business needs a strong digital storefront that can turn visitors into customers and make your products shine. So, how do you get people to actually find your online store? How can you stand out from a world of competing websites? Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best ways to acquire quality traffic without burning through your budget on paid acquisition channels like Facebook ads.

You may have already played around with some basic SEO practices; you performed  initial keyword research to see what terms are important for your e-commerce niche or added custom title tags for each web page. The top 5 results in search account for nearly 70% of the clicks, so there’s always room for improvement to better your e-commerce store’s search engine rankings. Here are 5 more ways you can improve SEO for your online store:

1. Create Content Rich Product Pages

Product pages can be some of your most valuable SEO assets, but you need to create unique product content to make the most of this opportunity.

The easiest way to create a content rich product page that search engines will love is remarkably simple in theory - write a detailed product description. In practice, this can be a bit harder. So, try to think outside the basics. This is your business, your passion. Unwrap the reasons why your products are unique and then tell the story behind them. Look at the wonderfully rich product page from Ledge Pants, above. It’s full of unique content that sets the page apart from competitors in the eyes of both visitors and search engines.

As you tell your product story, you can also think about the pure descriptive aspects that can address long-tail keywords. Define the product dimensions, colors, weight, and other descriptors because these will often be a part of a long-tail query. You can see how Ready Desk lists product specs in product pages to take advantage of this tactic. Content-rich product pages will help your products rank better in search and drive engaged traffic to your e-commerce website.

2. Rich Snippet Reviews with Structured Data

Rich snippet reviews display review counts and ratings directly on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) using structured data markup. This helps improve click-through rates from search and brings any content you’ve exposed in search even more traffic. Also, it’s possible that structured data will be used as a ranking factor in the future.

You can see an example of rich snippets on the SERP for the query “salomon hiking shoes” which surfaces a result from Amazon featuring a review-count, rating, and stars.

You can enable these rich snippet reviews on your site with basic structured data markup. Implementing structured data is relatively easy and can be done directly through HTML. You can learn more about applying structured data for reviews with this guide from Google.

3. Implement HTTPS

Upgrading your site to HTTPS not only provides better security and important trust signals for your visitors, but also a ranking signal for Google. HTTPS as an SEO factor is relatively new, so the overall strength is relatively untested, however, a Google representative recently confirmed that HTTPS implementation would break a tie in search results, putting your site above the competition when all other factors are equal.

4. Embrace Responsive Design

More people visit e-commerce sites on mobile than desktop, so you need to make sure your store is mobile-friendly or the majority of your visitors will leave before buying anything. Google made a big push toward mobile adoption with Mobilegeddon, which means your mobile search traffic is going to drop if you don’t have a quality mobile site.

As the preferred mobile method for many search engines, responsive design is the best choice for SEO. Responsive design basically means your website layout adjusts based on the size of the screen being used to visit. Responsive is great because it’s lets you serve the same content to everyone, and use modern design to display it differently.

You can run your online store through Google’s mobile checker to see if you pass the mobile test. If you need to upgrade, this responsive design documentation can help walk you through implementation.

5. Build Links with Product Reviews

Direct links to your product pages are still an essential SEO factor. These are even more important in a competitive industry because it’s hard to build quality product page links; so if you do it well, this strategy can help you outrank the competition.

One of the best ways to build quality links is through product reviews. To get started, do a search for your niche to find bloggers, writers, or industry fans with an online presence who might be interested in talking about your product. Use the inurl search operator in Google to find a targeted list. For example, if you sell socks, search for “socks inurl:review” in Google to find all sites with “review” in the URL that are are also talking about socks.

Once you get a list of these websites, visit each one and find contact information; when possible, find a personal email address versus a generic one like “support@sitename.com.” Then, send an email seeing if they want to review your product. Be concise and authentic and make sure you have an enticing subject line.

After the reviewer agrees and you send your product, don’t just ask for a link. Asking for a link can turn someone off before a review. Wait until the review is published because most product reviews naturally contain a link to the product itself. You can help this along by sending the reviewer an “official” link to your product to help with research. If the review comes out without a link, you can always follow up and politely ask them to link to your page post-review.

These are just a few SEO strategies that can help your online store perform better in search results. Successful e-commerce SEO requires you to stay up to snuff on the latest trends, constantly reassessing your current tactics, so be sure to track these efforts to find out what works best for your store.


Author Bio: Adam Tanguay leads Organic Growth at Weebly, which lets anyone quickly build a responsive and SEO-friendly website or online store. Adam also created Weebly's Inspiration Center, which collects advice and articles from experts around the world to help entrepreneurs bring their business ideas to life.

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