Ecommerce Branding: How to Attract Shoppers and Build Loyalty
Rank higher and increase the amount of quality traffic to your site with these 12 SEO best practices.
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Looking to increase search engine traffic to your online store? You’re not alone. With countless merchants competing for searcher attention, it can be tough to lock down the search engine real estate you need to keep visitors coming to your site. That’s why, in this article, we’ll take a deep dive into 12 SEO best practices for ecommerce.
A great user experience does more than just make visitors happy—it keeps them on your site long enough to form a positive opinion of your brand, discover more products, and decide to make a purchase. This reduces your bounce rate and increases your dwell time, improving your site’s search rankings. On the other hand, a poor user experience can frustrate visitors and cause them to leave quickly—one study showed 90% of users will leave a site solely because of bad design.
Put your user experience to the test by assuming the role of a prospective customer. Is key information readily available when you land on your site? Does your website have easy-to-follow top navigation? Is your checkout process streamlined? Discovering and eliminating points of friction in your ecommerce site’s user experience is essential to improving its searchability and reputation.
Proper category page organization is another SEO best practice for ecommerce stores, especially those that sell a wide variety of products. If you don’t optimize your category pages, you could end up with competing pages that sabotage your SEO strategy.
To ensure that your category pages are using SEO best practices, create a scalable keyword and linking model that you can use across all categories and product types. Don’t forget to work whatever keywords you want to rank for into each category page’s H1 tag, page description, page title, and image alt text.
Creating a detailed FAQ for your most important products can set your brand apart as an authoritative source of information. FAQ pages also give you the opportunity to target important keywords in a non-promotional, searcher-friendly way, which can help drive traffic to your site. Finally, having detailed product FAQs available on your website helps shoppers find the answers they’re looking for and may encourage them to stay on your site longer to read your useful content.
Your customers are mobile…what about your site? Between 2016 and 2021, the share of mobile sales in ecommerce increased by 39.1%, and Google has been officially ranking based on responsiveness since 2015—meaning any site not optimized for mobile usage is losing out on both traffic and sales. And with digital natives aging into purchasing roles, mobile responsiveness is as critical for B2B sites as it is for retail.
If you want to rank competitively and stay relevant, you will need a flexible ecommerce platform that can adapt to use on mobile devices.
Positive user-generated content comes with a myriad of benefits for your ecommerce store, including building trust, driving sales, and boosting your SEO. The power of user-generated content in ecommerce comes with a myriad benefits, including building trust, driving sales, and boosting your SEO. Moreover, a Salesforce study found that visitors spent 90% more time on websites that included user-generated content galleries than they did on websites without them—and longer dwell times can help your site climb search engine rankings.
One relatively simple way to boost your ecommerce SEO through user-generated content is to encourage unbiased third-party reviews. One study found that 30,000 businesses saw a major increase in their search engine traffic after adding customer reviews to their sites. You might consider launching an incentive program to persuade your best customers to leave reviews that signal to both search engines and new shoppers that your brand is authoritative and trustworthy.
Things move quickly in the world of ecommerce. Between new product launches, temporary promotions, and catalog restructuring, ecommerce sites are subject to almost constant change. While this can be great for agility—a key characteristic of successful ecommerce businesses— it can also lead to a pileup of old, dead-end, and outdated pages. These pages can take up valuable search engine real estate, inflate bounce rates, and damage site reputation.
Fortunately, cleaning these up is as simple as implementing a 301 redirect to another page. If you have any expired or unused product pages clogging up your site, redirecting users to a newer and more consistently updated page is probably the best method of adhering to SEO best practices.
Faceted search is an ecommerce site feature that allows shoppers to filter and sort products based on attributes like size, color, and price. When done well, a faceted search tool can be a game-changer for ecommerce stores. Unfortunately, a poorly executed faceted search feature can cause duplicate content and decreased link equity, spelling disaster for your SEO.
Experts have come up with several SEO best practices for setting up faceted search, but not all of these will work for every ecommerce site. You’ll want to consider your store’s unique needs and the development resources at your disposal before adopting any particular faceted search strategy.
Even if you have quality products, spectacular customer service, and other compelling features, a slower website can cost you a huge amount of sales. 53% of online shoppers expect ecommerce pages to load in under 3 seconds, and nearly the same amount of shoppers will abandon their carts if pages don’t load quickly enough. In addition to losing a loyal customer base, your site will also lose visibility with search engines, since site speed is one of the factors used in ranking algorithms.
The faster your site loads, the better your chances are of ranking for relevant keywords. You can use a page speed tool to regularly keep track of your site speed. If your pages are loading slowly, consider the following to improve page speed:
Product pages are often overlooked when it comes to ecommerce SEO. By keeping your product pages in top shape, you can improve your rankings, keep a steady flow of traffic, and engage site visitors.
To optimize your products for both shoppers and search engines, make sure product details like size, color, price, and other attributes are easy to find and understand. Product images or videos should accurately reflect your physical products, and product descriptions should be detail-rich, up-to-date, and unique. You can even go the extra mile and implement product visualizers into your product pages, giving your shoppers a customized experience that will keep them on your site for longer to further strengthen your SEO.
Backlinks are another signal that search engines use to rank your pages for the right keywords. The more high-quality backlinks your site has, the more authoritative your site becomes, which helps to generate more traffic to your website.
One genuine way to build backlinks is to contribute guest blog posts on sites that are related to your niche. Keep in mind that in order to adhere to SEO best practices, your links need to placed authentically and naturally and be beneficial to other visitors.
As an online merchant conducting daily transactions, you will handle an enormous amount of user data. It is important to maintain the security of your site not only to protect your customers against increasing data breaches but also to protect your online reputation and integrity.
One of the most important things you can do to keep your ecommerce site secure is to ensure your website has Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certifications. Both these certifications work to encrypt data and protect sensitive customer information. Having an SSL certificate shows users your site is trustworthy, encouraging further exploration of your online store and longer dwell times.
A strong and secure website experience and excellent content should be your top priorities when improving your ecommerce site’s SEO. However, you’ll also want to ensure you have a strong technical foundation for SEO to boost your site’s chances of being crawled by search engines and increase its rankings for high-value keywords.
To maintain strong on-site SEO and increase visibility, you’ll want to do the following:
By implementing these SEO best practices for ecommerce, your business can eliminate points of friction, win key search results, stay in touch with consumer needs, increase revenue, and seize opportunities as they arise.
To optimize your online store for search traffic, you need a combination of SEO best practices and robust website tools that help you manage all aspects of your site, build the ideal user and shopping experience, and maintain effective site architecture.
Start optimizing today! Use our 3-minute ecommerce website assessment to find out what you can do to improve your site and drive more traffic:
This blog was originally published on April 29, 2019 and updated on May 24, 2022.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.