If you’re looking to keep your eCommerce site in business, it all comes down to:

Keeping organic traffic coming to your website!

Without traffic, your business will fail but bring a steady stream of traffic to your site, and you’ll start to thrive.

Ecommerce SEO is the most powerful tactic you can use to grow your business. So why aren’t more people using it?

Well, because it’s not an easy task. There are likely to be thousands of eCommerce sites in the same niche as you, which means you need to stand out.

And this isn’t easy!

Which is why I want to share with you the four stages of building a successful eCommerce SEO strategy. 

Stage #1 – Complete A Full Site Audit

Most eCommerce site owners tend to run before they can walk. What this means is they don’t have solid foundations built before they start things like link building.

This is a HUGE mistake!

To know if your site’s ready, you’ll need to perform a site audit; it’s the best way to know how your website operates. In my experience of running Ecommerce audits, I’ve noticed several mistakes, but the most common are:

  • Site cannibalization
  • Hard to crawl
  • Duplicate content 

These three things alone are enough to kill your business, which is the main reason for performing regular audits.

You have many tools at your disposal, including SEMrush, Ahrefs, and Screaming Frog. 

But today, we are going to focus on SEMrush and how you perform a site audit. The great thing about SEMrush is it gives you an overview report and shows you the most commonly found issues.

Like site speed:

But wait, there’s more…

You’ll also be able to take a more thorough look into the problem and find the solution to fix it. You can even group the issues by URL so you can go page by page and fix them.

Running the site audit is simple; all you have to do is follow these easy steps:

  1. Use the menu located on the left-hand side of the screen
  2. Hover your mouse over the Management Tab and click ‘Projects’
  3. If you haven’t already added your eCommerce site, then you’ll need to do so now
  4. To do this click on the blue “Add New Project” button located at the top right 
  5. Finish by clicking Site Audit

It will then come up with a list of problems associated with that site. From there, it’s a case of clicking through each one, checking what they recommend, and then fixing it!  

Stage #2 – Carry Out Keyword Research

No matter what part of the SEO world you’re in, keywords play a crucial role in your success. Your job is to find relevant keywords that will bring traffic to your store, which isn’t always an easy task.

Before you start your research, you need to think about four things:

  • The relevance of the keyword
  • How much competition there is
  • How much search volume it brings
  • The intent of the keyword

There are two tools I use for searching for keywords, SEMrush and Ahrefs. Again I’m going to talk you through the process with SEMrush.

One of the benefits of using SEMrush to search for keywords is the feature, Keyword Difficulty. What this feature does is give you a percentage outlying the competitiveness of the keyword.

To search for keywords, follow these simple steps:

  1. Enter the keyword you want to rank for in the search bar
  2. It will then show you an overview, go to the left-hand menu, and click “Keyword Difficulty.”  
  3. It will give you a percentage showing you how competitive the keyword is.
  4. If you click the percentage, it will display a list of the top ten sites ranking for that keyword. If the domain strength is higher than yours, it will be hard to rank for that keyword.
  5. Try ranking for a less competitive keyword by going back to the Overview Page.
  6. Use the Phrase Match Keywords or Related Keywords feature to find less competitive keywords
  7. Make a spreadsheet with a list of keywords you can rank for.

Once you have your list of keywords, it’s a case of putting some work in, creating and optimizing your content.

Stage #3 – Optimise On-Page SEO Tactics 

On-page SEO is a great way to give your site a push in the right direction. But with eCommerce, it poses new challenges. 

By building the right foundations for your business, you have every chance of succeeding. Here are some of the essential on-page SEO tactics that ecommerce websites need to focus on:

Optimizing Images – You need to make your images stand out above the rest. Try using LSI keywords as well as your main keyword within the file names. Also, make sure you do the same with the alt-tags, but make them sound natural and exciting.

Product Descriptions – You need to write descriptions that wow your customers. You need to think about what information will benefit your customers or solve a problem. 

Title Tags – They are a great way of increasing search volume, but you need to find the right tag. It needs to include the keyword and drive people to click on the page.

Internal Links – Placing internal links pose a different challenge with eCommerce stores. But when used correctly they can be very powerful. To help you out, use Shopify apps like Linkcious or Personalized Recommendations.

Meta Descriptions – Like the title tag, a well-crafted meta description can bring traffic to your site. Make sure it tells users how your product solves their problem and include your keyword.

High-Quality Pictures – When online shopping, people buy with their eyes so a low-quality image can be a costly mistake. You have two options here, hire a professional or learn to take good quality pictures yourself.

Schema Data – This little piece of code lets you stand out above your competitors. It allows you to add little snippets of information to your meta description, like the price, stock levels, number of reviews etc.

Testimonials – Displaying customer testimonials/reviews can help lower potential customers’ reservations about buying from you. It’s a very powerful method that can be implemented on your site.

Headings – You need to follow the standard coding structure for a site. Which means one h1 per page, which then leads into h2, h3, and so on. Make sure you sprinkle some keywords for maximum effect.

Stage #4 – Build Powerful Backlinks

Link building for your eCommerce store works the same as any other link building campaign. The most significant difference is you need links pointing to every corner of your site.

Here are a few ways I like to score links:

Guest Posting

This method allows you to gain an authentic relationship with bloggers and their guests; more importantly, you gain extra exposure. To increase your rankings, you’ll need to win high-quality backlinks:

The idea is to find sites that would qualify as a worthy link to your site. Run domain checks to see what their domain authority looks like. If any look exemplary, outreach to them asking if you could write them a guest post in exchange for a link.

Backlink Analysis 

This is one of my favourite ways of scoring a backlink to your page. It’s all about checking out what your competitors are doing and copying them. You need to start by finding the top ten sites in the search results for your keyword.

Then take a look at their backlink profile:

From there, it’s all about working out how you can win the same links. You can use tools Ahrefs to reverse engineer their backlinks.

Rounding Up

Ecommerce SEO is extremely powerful when each stage is done correctly and can bring a healthy amount of traffic to your site. You need to start with the site audit, so you can fix anything that’s broken. From there, it’s all about optimization.

Follow the guide above as a checklist for your on-page SEO. The most important thing here is not to move on to link building until your pages and website are set up perfectly. 

Mathew Woodward
Matthew Woodward left the corporate world of marketing in 2012 to pursue his own projects which is how his blog began. He publishes detailed case studies and tutorials on anything and everything related to digital marketing and SEO and has been able to help thousands of business owners build and grow their websites.