Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the ecommerce best practices for businesses of all sizes.
How many times in the last week have you found yourself searching for a product using a search engine like Google? If you’re anything like the majority of shoppers, it’s more than you can recall. Google receives at least 5.5 BILLION searches per day, according to Search Engine Land. That’s a lot of web traffic!
The best ecommerce SEO tactics look different in 2019 than just one year before — and quite dramatically different from just five years ago. The internet is processing information at a much faster rate, and there’s a growing number of things to consider as you develop the best strategy to make your content more visible.
As an agency, Coalition has been around for ten years. The amount digital marketing has evolved in a decade may feel overwhelming if you are not working with an established expert.
Getting a strong grasp of SEO fundamentals while staying up to date on the latest trends will help you to set up your marketing strategy for long-term success.
Now, let’s dig into the list of the SEO best practices and trends for ecommerce in 2019.
Best Practice #1 — Get Familiar with Voice Search
By 2020, it’s estimated that 50% of all searches will be done by voice. As smartphones are becoming more capable of acting like personal assistants — with the help of Alexa, Google, and Siri — there are going to be more and more opportunities for your products to enter into the discussion.
About 75% of the time, voice search responses are generated from the top three search engine page results.
Having a combination of primary and secondary keywords is crucial for writing SEO copy that will get your site found. With voice search, you’ll need to start thinking differently about your keywords.
Think about how a person might ask a question versus type it. Integrate those phrases into your copy to help you get noticed when consumers are asking their smart devices for ideas and recommendations.
Voice search is without a doubt an area of ecommerce best practices to keep on your radar sooner rather than later!
Best Practice #2 — Get Strategic with Amazon
Although it’s not breaking news to hear Amazon is dominating ecommerce, it is eye-opening for many ecommerce store owners to learn that Amazon is surpassing Google in terms of product searches. Amazon accounts for about 54% of product searches, whereas Google accounts for about 46%.
One example of the Amazon search effect is to look at a search term like “dog shampoo.” When we look for the monthly search volume on Google, we get approximately 18,000 searches. In comparison, the monthly search volume for “dog shampoo” on Amazon is 652,000. That’s 36x the monthly search volume for that term!
When looking at your product portfolio, the best ecommerce SEO approach could be to identify opportunities to leverage Amazon’s massive search network. If you’re not already selling on Amazon, is there an opportunity for you to offer select merchandise through Amazon to raise brand awareness? If you’re already using Amazon, are you optimizing your SEO strategy accordingly?
Now is the time to take a look at optimizing your SEO channel strategy with Amazon search behavior in mind. You might also want to consider alternative online marketplaces such as Walmart Marketplace.
Best Practice #3 — Prioritize User Experience
User experience (UX) and SEO are closely related. In 2019 and beyond, UX and SEO will become even closer.
53% of site visits are abandoned if the user waits longer than just 3 seconds! Additionally, Google AI notices if users are leaving your pages in a hurry and not engaging with them. A high bounce rate impacts how Google’s algorithm ranks your pages.
At Coalition, we look for ways to make sure website pages are “sticky.” Improving page stickiness means using ecommerce best practices for UX to evaluate the entire website, identify opportunities to keep shoppers on the site longer, and then implement changes while making improvements based on collected data.
Looking for some ideas to get your shoppers to stick?
- Ensure pages load in a timely fashion on desktops and mobile phones.
- Evaluate your site organization to ensure it is intuitive and it aligns with your primary goals.
- Review your landing pages to see if they’re optimized for the appropriate keywords given the page content and desirability to users.
- Check to make sure each page has a clear focus for shoppers.
- Include on-page UX elements such as breadcrumbs to make navigation easy.
Best Practice #4 — Write Better Copy
Gone are the days of boring calls to action like “Shop Now” and overly optimistic messages like “try XYZ’s new product to transform your entire life forever!”
The best ecommerce SEO is well written. Why? Because you need to engage your target audience so they click through on the search results page. From there, it’s essential to make them feel at home while they’re visiting your site.
Improving your copy means that your brand messaging is different from your competitors and has its own personality.
Think of your brand like you would a person. Is your brand friendly, smart, kind, sassy, or something else? Whatever your brand’s personality, make sure it’s authentic to your true identity. Written content should aim to build brand loyalty and trust.
When you write excellent copy, not only will your customers gain respect for your brand, but you’ll hold their attention for longer. Holding their attention for longer means they’re more likely to convert. It’s a win-win!
Best Practice #5 — Clean up On-Site Technical Errors
You might not immediately see many technical issues with your site, but they could be lurking just beneath the surface.
When working with new clients, we always complete a comprehensive technical site audit. Sometimes our initial audit reports are over 100 pages long with opportunities for improvement. We look at on-page element issues, such as title tags and meta descriptions that are too long and missing header tags as well as more technical errors, such as broken links, redirect errors, and duplicate pages. The list of issues can go on and on!
Technical issues are common, but they can dramatically decrease a search engine’s ability to index your pages. If you’re not tech savvy when it comes to SEO, don’t worry too much. Just make sure to work with someone who has experience and a proven track record of ecommerce best practices.
Best Practice #6 — Get Savvy with Image Search Intelligence
Image search intelligence is on the rise! It’s important to use unique product images vs stock images whenever possible to make your products stand out and get found.
High-quality photography is an investment that makes ecommerce products more shareworthy and increases their perceived value.
Make sure to create descriptive alternative text (alt text) for your images and use keywords if possible. Because search engines can’t understand images alone, the alt text provides information on how to index them properly. Never underestimate the importance of making a great first impression — visually with shoppers and descriptively with search engines!
Best Practice #7 — Look at the Analytics
Often it feels like we have more data than we know what to do with it. One solution to being overwhelmed when it comes to your analytics report is to start with the basics.
First and foremost, you’ll want to make sure your analytics tracking tool, such as Google Analytics, is correctly set up and connected to your shopping cart. You’ll also want to make sure when using Google Analytics — which we highly recommend you do — that you schedule a time to regularly look at your analytics to make sure your SEO strategy is working.
You’ll want to take a look specifically at your organic traffic growth and dig into the content that is driving the greatest portion of it.
You should review your landing pages to see which ones are bringing you the most significant amount of organic traffic. By taking a closer look at your landing pages, you can uncover important user behavior metrics such as:
- Bounce Rate
- Pages Per Session
- Average Session Duration
By analyzing this data, you can start to understand what type of content is working best and continue to build upon your goals to drive the best ecommerce SEO.
SEO Is Here to Stay
SEO is an important component of your ecommerce marketing strategy. While it does take time to yield the best results from SEO and ecommerce best practices, the investment is sure to provide exponential returns in the long run.
Remember, ecommerce SEO is always evolving, and you need to continuously cater it to your website. Search engines recognize well-maintained sites that are actively improving and maintaining fresh content across the web. If you do it right, you will build up momentum and start to see organic traffic take off.