There’s no doubt about it: if e-commerce is the industry you are in, then ranking highly on Google is a must. When was the last time you performed a Google search and clicked on the second page of the search results?
In fact, when it comes to online shopping, many people don’t even scroll right down to the bottom of the first page of the search results, which means that in order to remain competitive, you need to be as high up on the search engine rankings as you possibly can get – or at least, rank higher than your competitors.
This being said, it’s one thing to know what you need to do, and quite another to figure out how to do it. When it comes to improving your site’s ranking on Google, there are three letters you need to know: SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
Whether you are new to the whole e-commerce thing or simply want to improve how your online store is doing (read: get more sales), read on for some valuable tips on improving your site’s SEO, which will translate to better Google search rankings, which hopefully will translate to more clicks on your website, and more sales for your business!
1. Do you know the keywords you should be targeting?
What are people typing into Google to find services and products just like yours? Do some research to identify the keywords that are highly relevant to your products, services or brand, making sure not to choose keywords that are too broad or too competitive where possible.
You can achieve this by targeting long-tail keywords, which are unique terms that people enter into search engines to find what they need. They are called long-tail keywords because they consist of more than one word, and might look something like “buy smoke alarms online”, for instance.
Also, avoid keyword cannibalisation, which is when multiple pages of your website are all trying to rank for the same keywords.
Once you’ve established the keywords that you want to target, you need to optimise the web pages for those keywords. To do that, you need to make sure that each page has its targeted keyword in the following locations:
- Page title
- Paragraph copy
- Product descriptions
- Image file names
- Image alt tags
- Meta title and description
An important thing to remember when inserting keywords is to make sure that they sound as natural and authentic as possible. Adding strings of keywords might be an easy way to incorporate them into your web page, but they will also not make sense, and they certainly won’t appear attractive to potential customers browsing the web.
2. Are you maximising your onsite blog?
Your onsite blog is a great place and opportunity for you to generate quality content that will drive traffic to your e-commerce site – which is why more and more online retailers are publishing onsite blogs alongside their products and services.
Blogs are also a fantastic way of inserting keywords into the content of your e-commerce site, particularly those that you might not be able to fit into your homepage or products/services pages.
Just be careful not to stuff your blog posts – or any of your web pages, for that matter – with strings of keywords. Your focus should always be on creating quality content that your readers will want to read and share, because, believe it or not, Google is smart enough to tell the difference between meaningless strings of keywords and proper content.
Not a writer? Hire an experienced, professional writer, preferably someone with a basic knowledge of SEO and who understands your industry and what you do. With onsite content, your aim should always be quality, quality, quality!
3. Is your e-commerce site working the way it should?
One of the easiest things to fix that will improve your SEO is your existing website. Go through your website to find issues such as link errors, redirects, duplicate pages, etc. They might not seem like a big deal, but they will impact on your SEO and, as a consequence, your Google search rankings.
Once you’ve done that, you need to also look at your e-commerce site’s speed. How long does it take to load? Did you know research has shown that 40% of people abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load? If your website is taking longer than 3 seconds to load up, how many potential customers are you losing each day?
Luckily, if that’s you and your website’s speed leaves much to be desired, there are easy solutions. Increase the speed by buying more web server space, and reduce image and file sizes on your web pages. Alternatively, you could even consider switching to a different CMS (Content Management System) – WooCommerce is known for being fast, for example, whereas Magento is much slower.
At the end of the day, one of the most important things to remember with performing well on Google is this: consistency. You won’t see dramatic improvements overnight, but with good SEO practices and by regularly producing and sharing quality content, you will reap the benefits.
The other thing you need to realise is that Google and other major search engines are constantly changing and updating their algorithms as well. Unfortunately, improving your e-commerce site’s SEO will not be a once-off thing, because as those algorithms change, so will you need to adapt and adjust accordingly. And while this list is by no means definitive, it will give you a good start towards achieving better Google search engine rankings for your e-commerce site. Good luck!
About the Author
Michelle Chau is the Director of Home Safety Store, an online business that aims to place the decision-making process in the hands of consumers rather than electricians when it comes to fire safety and home security products.