18 Crucial eCommerce SEO Tips to Better Optimize Your Site

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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The SERPs are an incredibly challenging place for online retailers. With Amazon dominating nearly 50 percent of the U.S. eCommerce market, getting to the top of the search engine results pages can seem like an arduous task.

However, those who religiously study and apply eCommerce SEO optimization tips can still compete as many online retail websites are still woefully under-optimized. This means that, with the right program in place, merchants can overtake many of their competitors and rise to prominence on Google.

That said, a robust and comprehensive SEO strategy combines a variety of tactics such as an ideal website structure, technical SEO, contemporary keyword research tactics, implementing on-page SEO optimization tips, cohesive content marketing efforts, a link building blueprint and other crucial components to SERP success.

Given the scope of what it takes to earn visibility in today’s digital landscape, we thought we could lend a helping hand by laying out 18 crucial eCommerce SEO optimization tips to produce a more refined and search-friendly site.

With that, let’s get started.

1. Leverage the Right Keywords

Even as Google aims to move further away from keywords with moves like the BERT algorithm update, keyword research and implementation are still vital to surfacing for relevant queries.

Conducting keyword research for a seller’s website, merchants will quickly notice that some visitors are seeking information, while others are looking to make a purchase. “Informational” and “transactional” are two of the different types of search queries that sellers should optimize their site to target.

Keyword Magic Tool

It is recommended that retailers first optimize their site for keywords that indicate an intent to purchase by integrating keywords related to products throughout key pages such as landing pages, product pages and the like.

After that, merchants can begin to produce informational content that will help the site develop authority within its niche.

2. Write Search-Optimized Product Descriptions

One of the most valuable SEO optimization tips for retailers is to learn to write product descriptions that sell and improve search rankings.

Search-Optimized Product Description

The fact is that scores of eCommerce sites feature bland, generic, uninspired product descriptions, or even ones that are copied and pasted directly from the manufacturer’s website. Not only is this terrible for conversions, but it also significantly harms a site’s search potential.

Therefore, it is critical for sellers to write high-quality, original, search-optimized product descriptions that help products to surface and sell.

3. Optimize Category Pages

Category pages are one of a retail site’s most important destinations. However, most merchants completely neglect these pages in terms of search visibility.

Optimized Category Page

In reality, optimizing and ranking category pages is a critical SEO optimization tip for sellers to understand. These pages are not only one of the most authoritative on-site listings which allow merchants to target top-of-funnel queries, but they also serve to enable shoppers to drill deeper into the site with links to products, content and other valuable pages.

4. Conduct a Technical Audit

Technical SEO is a vital component to the overall health and visibility of a site. Additionally, there are a variety of problems and commonly missed technical SEO issues with eCommerce sites. Therefore, conducting a technical audit is a necessity.

Conduct a Technical Audit

During this process, retailers are likely to uncover issues related to:

  • Duplicate content due to improper canonicalization
  • Performance issues caused by redirect chains
  • Poor load times resulting from un-optimized images
  • Out-of-date XML sitemaps
  • Lousy URL structures
  • A lack of schema markup

While we are on the topic of schema markup:

5. Implement Structured Data

Structured data has become an increasingly important SEO optimization tip for sellers to leverage in the past several years.

Through the implementation of structured data, retailers can enhance their SERP listings by highlighting on-site details that are important to potential customers. These include a product’s price, ratings, availability and the like.

The reason why structured data is so important to online merchants is that this information helps Google and other search engines to better understand a page, thereby potentially increasing its rankings over destinations that Google has a harder time comprehending.

Additionally, when consumers know more about the details contained on a page, they are more likely to click it (assuming it is relevant to their search).

6. Eliminate Duplicate Content

Fixing duplicate content for eCommerce SEO is an essential optimization task, given how prevalent this issue is for retail sites.

This problem usually arises as a result of retailers having identical products that come in different colors, improperly implemented filters or navigation, multiple sites for different languages, possessing a separate mobile site and similar scenarios.

Such issues tend to create duplicate content and confuse search engines, thereby diluting a site’s SEO effectiveness.

During the technical audit of the site, any duplicate content that is uncovered should be removed, consolidated or deemed void through the proper implementation of canonical tags.

7. Improve or Remove Thin Content

Any page that features a sparse amount of content is harming a site’s performance in the SERPs.

Therefore, retailers should seek to minimize the amount of thin content on their site through either removing it entirely (in the case of outdated, relatively useless blogs) or by beefing up the word count (in the case of product pages, landing pages, etc.).

8. Craft Quality Content

As far as SEO optimization tips are concerned, producing high-quality content that speaks to the search’s intent is of paramount importance. 

As mentioned earlier, when conducting keyword research, retailers are likely to find a fair amount of data that shows site visitors looking for information. Creating content that speaks to those questions, concerns or interests is a merchant’s opportunity to capitalize on that traffic.

Quality Content written on Park Seed

Therefore, building a library of blogs and video content that addresses the types of searches that consumers come to a merchant’s site looking to resolve can help retailers to rise in rankings. Moreover, those who understand how to drive revenue with content can also score sales in the process of educating consumers, thereby earning authority and revenue.

However, merchants shouldn’t limit their content optimization efforts to articles, videos and the like. Sellers should also optimize category and product pages to be as informative and enticing as possible.

9. Consider E-A-T Guidelines

Given that Google has published search quality guidelines that help retailers to understand what is necessary to rank, following the E-A-T guidelines contained therein is a vital SEO optimization tip.

E-A-T google rules

E-A-T (which stands for expertise, authority, trust) is applied to all sites that Google designates as YMYL (Your Money, Your Life) sites, which retail falls under since it accepts credit card information.

Therefore, cultivating expertise, authority and trust is of critical importance for sellers to rank well. Some of the things that retailers can do to achieve this aim include:

  • Prominently display and optimize “About Us” and the site’s contact information
  • Have content written by an industry expert and include an author bio
  • Page metadata should reflect E-A-T values, not an urgency to push products
  • Create robust and comprehensive content using the skyscraper technique, which covers a topic thoroughly and authoritatively
  • Employ proper on-site security measures like HTTPS protocols

10. Optimize Internal Link Structures

A site’s internal linking strategy is another SEO optimization tip that is often overlooked to the detriment of a site’s performance.

Internal linking not only aids users in moving through a site fluidly and encourages them to spend more time on-site, but it also assists search engines in understanding which pages are a site’s most important. Additionally, while it is not impossible, it is more difficult to build links to category and product pages than landing pages or blogs.

Therefore, internally linking to such destinations can help to pass link juice to these vital pages.

The guiding principle for sellers to follow with internal linking is to ensure relevance. Each link created should help shoppers find what they are looking for, be it more information about a specific subject or items mentioned elsewhere on a site.

Moreover, retailers should aim to build link funnels that guide site visitors who are reading a piece of content to product pages where they might convert. Additionally, those product pages should feature related items, thereby potentially boosting average order values.

All this said, don’t go overboard with internal links. Otherwise, retailers can end up harming the user experience. Only place links where they logically make sense and can improve the experience for the visitor.

11. Create an XML Sitemap

The importance of XML sitemaps for eCommerce stores is something that cannot be overstated. These documents are essentially cheat sheets for Google to understand and index a site.

Create an XML Sitemap

XML sitemaps can be optimized by:

  • Prioritizing a site’s most important, high-quality pages
  • Organizing the document into sub-sitemaps like pages, posts, etc.
  • Not including gated pages, 404s and other “junk” pages

12. Use Robots Meta Directives

Back in September 2019, Google stopped supporting the noindex directive in robots.txt. As a result, if merchants want to keep specific pages out of Google’s index, they will have to utilize the robots meta tags instead.

Robots meta tags are page-level instructions for Google bots that can be used to direct an engine to follow a link on a page, show a URL in the SERPs or not.

Additionally, robots meta directives can be utilized to provide sellers more significant control over image previews and snippets.

13. Enhance Site Speeds

As far as SEO optimization tips go, improving eCommerce site speed is one of the most frequently mentioned of the bunch. The reason for this is that page load times are not only a ranking factor, but they have a considerable impact on the user experience and bounce rates. If consumers find a site to be dissatisfactory and keep bouncing from its pages, Google will pick up on this and promote other sites above a merchant’s.

Retailers can check their site’s performance and acquire actionable tips by utilizing tools such as Google’s PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom and similar platforms.

Fast Site Speed

14. Prevent Keyword Cannibalization

This is another massive issue for eCommerce retailers.

Keyword cannibalization occurs when more than one page on a seller’s site targets the same keyword. As a result, multiple pages within a store are vying for the same opportunities instead of targeting additional search queries.

A couple of the most common keyword cannibalization issues are a result of improperly applied faceted navigation elements and un-optimized content strategies that treat SEO as a secondary component to content production.

Given how damaging this phenomenon can be to a retailer’s site, finding and fixing keyword cannibalization issues is critical for SEO optimization.

15. Apply Image Alt Text

SEO optimization tips dictate that merchants should produce descriptive, keyword-rich alt texts for their images as this helps to aid both the visually-impaired and Google.

Given that search engines are incapable of “seeing” images, they rely on the alt text to inform them of what an image is about and how it relates to the contents of a page.

By including relevant keywords in this field, sellers can boost the relevance of a page in relation to a user query, as well as help optimize the image for visual search.

16. Optimize for Voice Search

When discussing SEO optimization tips, many only think of the standard methods of search, completely neglecting the increasingly important modality of voice search.

Voice search on phone

Voice search has been on the rise for quite some time. The fact is that voice search is ballooning, thanks to the growing prevalence of smartphone devices worldwide, smart speakers and digital assistance.

Moreover, voice search is becoming so ubiquitous that voice-based shopping is expected to become a $40 billion industry by 2022.

Given the trend toward screenless searches, merchants should take the time now and prepare their eCommerce sites for voice search. A few ways that this can be achieved include:

  • Providing clear and concise answers within comprehensive content
  • Drafting great-sounding product descriptions
  • Implementing on-site voice functionality
  • Answering questions directly
  • Utilizing long-tail keywords

17. Create a Streamlined Site Structure and Navigation Menu

When it comes to SEO optimization tips for higher rankings, a streamlined site navigation scheme is vital to visibility. Plainly put, Google bots utilize the navigational structure of the site to help understand the website and the importance of its various pages.

Gerbers Streamlined Site Structure and Navigation Menu

When structuring an eCommerce site, sellers should aim for users to be able to reach all of the store’s most important pages in three clicks or less. An easy way to do this is to implement a “silo” site structure wherein the homepage links to category pages, which then link to either subcategories or product pages.

Another tool for facilitating smooth site movement is the use of breadcrumb navigation. Through this tool, each page will show the “breadcrumb trail” that users took to get to a specific destination, allowing them to get back to other pages quickly.

18. Improve Product Pages with Images and Reviews

A site’s product pages are its bread and butter. Therefore, establishing how to build better product pages is vital for SEO performance.

Concerning SEO optimization tips for enhanced product listings, there are three simple elements that merchants can include to cultivate higher-ranking product pages: customer reviews, high-quality images and video content.

As far as eCommerce is concerned, customer reviews are a powerhouse as they provide other shoppers with the social proof needed to convince them to convert, while also adding fresh, relevant, targeted content to the page.

Product Page with Images and Review

However, to get the initial purchases necessary for earning customer reviews, retailers will have to generate stunning product images that sell if they want to move their merchandise. The fact is that retailers who feature a few, low-quality images for their goods are earning a few, low-quality customers in the process.

Final Thoughts

SEO optimization tips for eCommerce websites are of vital importance in the age of Amazon. To compete with such massive online entities (let alone all of the other competition) effectively, merchants must optimize their site to the fullest.

While SEO is a long-term strategy that rarely generates immediate results, planting the seeds now will help retailers to earn exponentially more traffic and sales as they continue to work on their search optimization efforts.

That said, if merchants find this to all be a bit overwhelming or lack the technical acumen to optimize their site effectively, help is available.

Visiture’s eCommerce SEO and content marketing experts have the experience, skills and knowledge necessary to get under the hood of your site, pinpoint optimization opportunities and put together a plan that will help your website reach the top of the SERPs.

Request a consultation today and receive a free end-to-end SEO and content audit to see how we can help your company reach greater heights of success!

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