40 Tips for E-Commerce SEO, Part 2: Optimizing On-Site Content and Building Your Site’s Authority
In part one of this two-part series, I covered how e-commerce businesses can implement specific tactics for technical search engine optimization as well as for understanding their audiences, competitors, and optimal keyword targets — and why those factor into e-commerce SEO success.
Next, you’ll want to look at optimizing each page on your e-commerce site, as well as develop overall site authority from a search indexing perspective. I’ll also explain how to perform an e-commerce SEO analysis to make sure that your efforts are free of issues, and that you aren’t overlooking any opportunities.
Tactics for Optimizing On-Site Content
14. Target one primary keyword per page.
Each page on your site should be optimized around a single keyword so that search engines know exactly what term the page pertains to (and should rank for).
15. Use three to four LSI keywords per page.
You’ll also want to assign several latent semantic indexing (LSI) keywords — terms closely related to a page’s primary keyword — to help search engines better understand the context of each page.
16. Make sure each page includes 300-plus words of high-quality content.
This quantity of content enables search engines to really recognize the nature of the page’s subject matter (while the quality is, of course, important to turning site visitors into e-commerce customers).
17. On each page, use the primary keyword two to three times per 100 words.
Maintaining a primary keyword density of 2 percent to 3 percent ensures that keyword stuffing — keyword overuse that search engines now penalize — won’t be an issue.
18. Use each LSI keyword at least once.
One appearance of each LSI keyword for the page can provide needed context.
19. Include the primary keyword in the page and meta title.
For the best SEO results, use the primary keyword near the beginning of the title.
20. Include the primary keyword in the meta description.
This copy sometimes appears on search engine results pages (SERPs), and helps both searchers and search engines better understand your page. Again, placing the keyword near the beginning of the description is a best practice.
21. Include the primary keyword in at least one subhead.
Subheads will help you organize content, and you’ll want to use the primary keyword in at least one of them.
22. Include the primary keyword in an image alt tag.
Search engines prefer pages with images; include at least one and use the primary keyword in the alt tag.
23. Include the primary keyword in the image file name as well.
This adds to the association search engines make between your page and its primary keyword.
24. Include the primary keyword in the page URL.
If possible, use just the keyword as the ending of the URL. Both search engines and site visitors favor a brief and direct URL format.
25. Optimize all URLs.
Use a consistent and readable URL structure. Do use categories when helpful, but don’t include codes or numbers that have no meaning to users.
26. Produce content for product pages.
As an e-commerce business, optimizing your product pages to appeal to search engines is a smart strategy. Implement the above tactics for as many product pages as possible, including creating 300-plus words of content that describe the product and its benefits.
27. Produce content for category pages.
Give category pages the same treatment, with content highlighting useful information for consumers across each product category on your e-commerce site.
28. Develop a blog content calendar.
Blog posts contribute to e-commerce SEO while creating engagement with potential customers. They are usually worth the effort. Use a blog calendar to organize your content efforts, and be sure to offer posts that serve as buyer’s guides or evergreen content with long-term value.
29. Add internal site links to your pages.
Linking to other pages on your own site — and using the target page’s primary keyword as the anchor text — helps search engines and visitors understand the context and what topics your content is about.
30. Use Schema Markup on your pages.
Schema Markup adds rich details to your page code that can appear in SERPs, including images, reviews and product prices.
Tactics to Build the Authority of Your Site and Brand
31. Create social media accounts.
Establishing a social media presence bolsters the credibility of your e-commerce site and your brand, while also allowing you to post links to your own site and communicate with customers.
32. Create business directory listings.
Adding business directory profiles for your site and brand offers another opportunity to post links to your site, and raises your digital storefront’s profile in the eyes of search engines.
33. Research where competitors earn their links.
Find sites that link to your competitors, and you’ll often find opportunities to earn backlinks to your own site as well.
34. Pursue guest blogging opportunities.
Earn links to your own site — and cultivate your reputation with potential customers and search engines — by taking opportunities to guest post on other sites.
35. Ask for customer reviews.
Solicit reviews and ratings from your customers. Product pages with high quantities of reviews can earn higher search engine rankings.
Performing an E-Commerce SEO Audit
36. Check for keyword cannibalization.
Keyword cannibalization happens when your site has two pages focused on the same keyword, causing search engines to view them as competing, and rank neither highly. Audit your site to ensure that each page has a single primary keyword not targeted by any others.
37. Check for duplicated content.
Make sure that content is unique to each page. Repeating content can confuse search engines, and even lead to penalties.
38. Check for missed on-page SEO opportunities.
As part of your audit, make sure each of your site pages leverages the full on-page SEO tactics available to you. This SEO checklist can help you be methodical in verifying that your site pursues every opportunity.
39. Make sure that all important pages are within three clicks of your homepage.
A simpler, flatter sitemap is easier for search engines to understand. No important page should be more than three clicks away from your homepage.
40. Address any crawler errors.
Finally, make sure that search engine crawlers are able to properly access all relevant pages on your site by addressing any meta tag SEO errors.
Whew. It may seem like a lot, but employing these 40 tactics will help increase your chances that your site will rank highly in search engine results, while helping you nurture your brand’s reputation, earn new traffic from a larger audience, and increase online sales.
Kim Kosaka is director of marketing at Alexa.com, whose tools provide insight into digital behavior that marketers use to better understand and win over their audience.