On-Page SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions
by Ron Dod
Home | Blog | On-Page SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Conversions
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Search engine optimization has always been an essential practice for eCommerce retailers. This discipline is what allows merchants to rank vital pages and earn the visibility necessary to generate the traffic and sales required forscaling an eCommerce business.
However, under the paradigm that COVID-19 is bringing to bear, understanding how to optimize SEO components for a retail store is growing exponentially more important.
“Asked ‘Will SEO be more or less important during this time?’ 63 percent said SEO would gain in importance either slightly (34 percent) or steeply (29 percent). Only 5 percent responded that SEO would decrease in importance… Investing in SEO now…will pay significant dividends when the crisis is over.”
Plainly put, SEO is one of those strategies that constantly bears fruit. Crisis or not, optimizingSEO strategies for eCommerce is vital for online success.
Speaking specifically to on-page SEO, this subset of the practice enables merchants to rank higher, earn more traffic, build a more engaging on-site experience and convert more consumers into customers.
Given the constant (yet growing) importance of search engine optimization efforts, today, we will explore some of the most significant aspects ofon-page SEO for eCommerce visibility and profitability.
With that, let’s get started.
What Is On-Page SEO?
To lay the foundation for everything that follows, it is crucial to have a solid understanding of what constitutes on-page SEO and how it differs from other forms of the discipline.
While technical SEO deals with much of the backend, non-content related elements of a site andoff-page SEO strategies revolve around what another site says about a particular store or digital destination, on-page SEO is essentially what a given site says to a search engine.
In other words, off-page SEO deals with external ranking signals such as links, while on-page efforts deal with how to optimize SEO elements on individual web pages so that they can rank higher in the SERPs. Therefore, on-page SEO encompasses both content and the HTML source code as both can be optimized for search engine success.
Because on-page SEO deals in the components of individual pages, this practice can significantly enhance a store’s inbound marketing efforts through increased visibility for targeted searches, thereby helping retailers todrive quality clicks to their online store.
Therefore, when establishing how to optimize SEO elements, the goal is to help search engines and their users to understand who a retailer is, what they sell, what specific content pages are about and the like. Awareness of a page’s contents is largely what merchants are aiming to communicate.
To get started with on-page SEO efforts, it is vital first to establish a store’s existing optimization implementations and opportunities.
Begin with an SEO Audit
When aiming to increase a store’s on-page optimization levels, it is necessary to begin with an audit to understand which content is already well-optimized, which pages can be improved, where opportunities exist and so forth.
Throughconducting an SEO audit, retailers can also uncover potential issues their site might have, such as duplicate content. By addressing existing problems and figuring out how to optimize SEO elements on various pages, sellers can enhance their performance in the SERPs.
While conducting a search engine optimization audit can be a rather in-depth process and cover a wide range of tasks and require someSEO tools that retailers should invest in, the broad strokes of this process include:
Conducting a website crawl and exporting a list of all webpages
Checking for indexation issues
Ensuring that all pages have title tags and meta descriptions
Verify H1 tags are present and only used once
Check that subheaders (H2, H3, etc.) are also utilized correctly
Investigate potential occurrences of duplicate content
Analyze backlink profiles
However, this is a quick overview of most of the process. For now, all merchants really need is to compile a list of their site’s pages, keywords for which they are ranking and on-page details such as title tags and headers.
From this point, merchants can begin to optimize various pages for specific terms and phrases.
Conduct Keyword Research
When it comes to how to optimize SEO elements on site, utilizing the right keywords is a prerequisite for success.
The fact is that sellers must optimize keyword utilization for both searchers and search engines. While theBERT algorithm update is a massive step toward a future in which keywords are less relevant than the intent of the search, targeted terms and phrases are still vital.
Thankfully, there are tons ofexcellent keyword research tools for SEO that merchants can leverage. For instance, Ahrefs Keywords Explorer supplies sellers with in-depth details on whom the competition is for a given phrase, the keyword difficulty, the number of backlinks required to hit the first page of Google and other awesome particulars.
Alternatively, merchants might opt to use tools like Google Search Console, Keyword Tool, Moz Keyword Explorer or a variety of other valuable platforms to inform them on how to optimize SEO components for a given page.
After finding and compiling a list of relevant, targeted keywords for various pages of the store, it is time to begin optimization efforts.
Optimize All On-Page Content
When it comes to optimizing a site’s content, retailers should really take the time to comb through their website to ensure that all of the copy on the homepage is relevant, targeted and compelling. Moreover, it is necessary to do the same to ensure that landing pages, FAQ pages and other important destinations are all optimized for their purposes.
However, for eCommerce websites, there are three main content categories that retailers will want to focus on optimizing. Those include:
When aiming tobuild better product pages, it is critical to remember that people purchase a store’s products, not Google. Therefore, while including keywords and phrases is essential, it is more pressing to satisfy user intentions and create item listings that convert.
A wise place to start when optimizing product pages is to evaluate those of the competition as doing so can shed some light on defining factors such as:
Colors used in designing the product page
The number, appearance and phrasing of CTAs
When optimizing product listings, it is essential to focus first onwriting product descriptions that sell. That said, keywords should be naturally woven throughout the page. Namely, in the description, bullet points (if they are used), URLs and similarly important real estate.
Additionally, it is also vital for retailers to establish a plan fordealing with discontinued or out-of-stock product pages. The fact is that such destinations could potentially harm a seller’s SEO performance. Therefore, understanding how to handle such pages is critical to achieving optimal outcomes.
One of the most valuable yet woefully under-optimized destinations on eCommerce sites across the web are category pages.
The fact is that eCommerce website owners typically pay the most attention to their product pages, landing pages and homepage (for good reasons), but completely neglect category pages.
This is a tragic mistake given that these destinations directly influence conversions and search rankings.
When it comes tooptimizing and ranking category pages, there are a variety of tactics that sellers can use to elevate the rankings of these massively essential pages. Such strategies include:
Implement the right keywords: Feature relevant short-head and long-tail keywords on specific category pages to align with user search patterns.
Feature content blocks: By adding blocks of introductory text or text at the bottom of category pages, retailers can implement various keywords, build a rapport with shoppers and communicate the brand’s identity. Additionally, this space can be used for linking to other related categories, thereby elevating a seller’s internal linking strategy.
Link to relevant content: Much in the same way that merchants can link to related category pages from the aforementioned content blocks, sellers can also create category-level content to link in category pages. This will help pass the authority of the category pages to deeper blog pages within the site.
Content creation and optimization are some of the most vital activities in which eCommerce sellers can participate.
Blog content not only allows sellers to communicate valuable information to consumers, build trust and loyalty and develop industry authority, but content serves as a powerful tool in SEO optimization as content tends to be rich in keywords.
For retailers to maximize the value they receive from their blog content, it is necessary to meet several criteria, including:
Integrating valuable keywords in the title, throughout the body, in headers and subheaders, meta descriptions, URLs and other vital places (this should be done for all of a site’s pages).
Answer common, pointed questions with concise answers to land in Google’s answer box.
While providing a closed, concise answer, the content should provide a comprehensive exploration of the topic at hand.
Include captivating visuals to keep readers’ attention and increase time-on-site.
Incorporate links to other relevant blogs, category and product pages within the site.
Link to related, authoritative pages from other websites.
Ensure copy is free from grammatical errors and misleading or obsolete information.
During the audit, retailers ensure that header tags were used correctly. Now is the time to optimize them for SEO performance.
Header tags are crucial for structuring blogs, product pages and the like as users will often skim these and decide if the material on the page is what they are seeking. Similarly, Google uses this information to help determine the relevance of a page in relation to a given search. In fact, Google weights this on-page element more heavily than the body text.
Therefore, when looking at how to optimize SEO components on a given page, H tags should be optimized to include targeted keywords while still accurately reflecting the content that follows.
Revamp Meta Titles and Descriptions
Meta titles and descriptions are short yet meaningful on-page SEO elements.
As far as titles are concerned, these are the blue links that appear in the Google search results pages. These should include one or two of the primary keywords targeted for the page. At the same time, titles should be compelling enough for users to want to click-through, while remaining between 50 and 60 characters.
Meta descriptions–the short blurb that lives beneath the page titles on Google–do not have any bearing on SEO performance. However, meta descriptions do influence user clicks, and the amount of traffic a page receives does impact rankings.
To optimize meta descriptions, retailers should include the targeted keyword (to let users know the page contains the info they are looking for) within an enticing and accurate description of the page’s contents. The goal here is to provide an alluring enough description to garner clicks.
Include Image Alt-Text
Image alt-text informs Google and other search engines about the contents of an image. Given the rise of image-based results,optimizing images for visual search through the inclusion of alt-text is vital for SEO performance.
When aiming to produce optimized alt-text for images (be they product pictures or images included in a blog), it is necessary for retailers to:
Make the text specific and descriptive
Utilize keywords, but do not keyword stuff
Ensure the description is contextually relevant to the page’s content
Keep the text to 125 characters or less
Use a logical structure
Earn Customer Reviews
The fact is that customerreviews are a powerful weapon for SEO. Not only do these assessments help to increase conversions by showcasing social proof, but they also aid in earning visibility.
User reviews are a solid source of new content that continually brings Google back to a site to crawl its pages. Sites that feature fresh content are likely to rank higher than those with older information. Moreover, a brand’s reputation and rankings are taken into consideration when Google arranges the SERPs, meaning that product reviews can have a substantial impact on visibility.
Structured markup, or structured data, is the process of “marking up” the source code of various pages to further inform Google about its contents and on-page elements.
It is through the implementation of this language that retailers can enhance their SERP listings by featuring product prices, ratings, reviews, availability and other information that is more likely to inspire a click from consumers.
Moreover, through the use of this on-page element, retailers can get their pages to display neatly when shared via social media.
Structured data is vital to SEO because it helps Google to better understand a page, thereby potentially ranking it higher. Additionally, the enhanced SERP listings are more likely to increase clicks and traffic, also aiding the site’s performance.
While structured data does not directly impact SEO performance, it does influence it and is quickly becoming an essential element for succeeding in the SERPs.
Create a Strong Internal Linking Strategy
Internal linking, the process of connecting relevant pages within a website, is not just a necessity for SEO performance as it passes link juice throughout the site, but it is also critical to increasing conversions.
Internal links aid in heightening sales in a variety of ways.
Firstly, by linking to other relevant pages, users are more likely to stay on a site longer, thereby increasing the chances of a conversion. Additionally, internal links take users to deeper pages that they may not have discovered from the SERPs.
Moreover, by linking to related products on item listings, consumers are incentivized to shop around and see what a store has to offer. If shoppers are interested in purchasing one product, there is a good chance that they will be responsive to similar or related items, thereby increasing their order value.
Therefore, it is essential for retailers tocreate an internal linking structure that shows shoppers items that they are likely to find appealing while simultaneously pulling them deeper into the store.
When considering how to optimize SEO components on-site to increase conversions, sellers must view everything through the lens of the consumers. After all, this is whom merchants want to entice.
When targeting keywords, optimizing various content offerings, including structured data and the like, sellers should always keep what buyers want top-of-mind.
While simultaneously serving consumer desires and Google’s demands might be a challenging endeavor, retailers who require help can reach out toVisiture’s SEO content marketing team. We can optimize your site’s copy, content offerings and other on-page elements to earn the visibility necessary to transform first-time visitors into lifelong customers.
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Ronald Dod is the Chief Marketing Officer and Co-founder of Visiture, an end-to-end eCommerce marketing agency focused on helping online merchants acquire more customers through the use of search engines, social media platforms, marketplaces, and their online storefronts. His passion is helping leading brands use data to make more effective decisions in order to drive new traffic and conversions.
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