In this chapter, you will learn the fundamentals of eCommerce SEO, including why it's important and how it doesn't just apply to online stores.
What is eCommerce SEO?
Simply put, eCommerce SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your online store in the search engine results pages so that people searching for products or services that you offer, land on your page as opposed to that of a competitor.
eCommerce SEO brings its own unique set of issues and opportunities – from content and site architecture to schema markup and link building.
However, you don’t have to have an online store to be seen as one by Google, we’ll explain.
Why eCommerce SEO Isn’t Just For Online Stores
As a starting point it’s important to define what exactly constitutes as eCommerce. The first thing that comes to mind is an online store – where a company or brand sells their products from their website and sends them out from their own warehouse. This is of course, the most common eCommerce set up.
However, eCommerce is much broader than this narrow definition, and should be seen more as an umbrella term that accounts for a wider range of websites than you might first imagine.
You do not need to be an online shop for the principles of eCommerce SEO to apply.
Some affiliate websites masquerade as traditional eCommerce sites by presenting affiliate links as their own products.
An example of such a site is LUXED, which on the surface, appears to be a standard eCommerce website.
However, if you click on one of the products, you are actually redirected to the actual website that sells the item.
Likewise, sites that sell software or downloadable products often have only a small number of items on their site, but would very much count as eCommerce. Other sites that look more like traditional online stores such as vendor based sites (Etsy and Ebay) or dropshipping sites are also included in this category.
Why eCommerce SEO Matters
So why is SEO important for an eCommerce site?
Over 20% of all retail sales are carried out online in the UK, with this number increasing steadily year on year. There are plenty of ways to drive traffic to your online store, from pay per click advertising to email campaigns and influencer marketing, which can require a large investment. However, by following SEO best practises you can build sustainable traffic increases without the up front costs.
Establishing a strong presence in organic search opens up another avenue, not only for sales, but for building your brand’s trust and visibility – it helps complement other marketing strategies, both digital and physical.
In addition to this, an understanding of how your customers find you, what search terms they use and what products they are looking for can help you understand customer behaviour and give you insights into what your audience is really looking for.
Analysing search patterns within your niche can help you find data on demand for products and improve your understanding of your industry. Such data can be used not only to optimise your site but as a basis for expanding your product range or services offered, ensuring that your business strategy reflects a deeper understanding of your target audience.
Google continues to strive to make it easier for users to find the products and services that they’re looking for, this is reflected in changes to its SERP features. On January 15th 2020, Google announced a “new way to find clothes, shoes and more on Search”. With this change, Google now allows the user to “browse lots of different stores and brands at once” by indexing and organising “products from over a million online shops”. Therefore, as a business owner, you want to make it as easy as possible for your products to appear in these results so as to maximise your online presence and ultimately convert visitors to customers.