eCommerce marketers are faced with challenges that don’t plague other industries —abandoned carts, fierce competition and figuring out how to get products in front of the right consumers. Search engine optimization (SEO) has been the marketing darling of the eCommerce world for years, in large part because it helps address some of these industry-specific pain points. SEO has a relatively high return on investment that caters to the modern consumer, so it should be built into any well-oiled marketing strategy.
Why is SEO so important? Primarily, it’s because about 85 percent of shoppers start with Google before making a purchase online. If your competitor’s pages dominate the search engine results page (SERP), you’ve got almost no chance of making an impression organically. A well-designed SEO strategy has the power to help you reach your target audience without a huge out-of-pocket spend. But you have to hone your SEO skills to be successful, and we’re here to help!
- Use Alt Tags on Product Images — An alt tag is essentially a short snippet or description that describes a specific image. If a user can’t see the image —disabled by the web browser or an email account, for example — an alt tag will show. These seemingly inconsequential little tags are important because they push your images up on the SERP, especially on image search.
- Update Your Inventory Frequently — In theory, Google makes decisions about which factors should rank higher based on what consumers want. And, as you might expect, consumers want a bigger product selection. They also expect to see products listed that they can actually buy. If a product comes up on the SERP that’s out of stock, you’ll see a relatively high bounce rate. When your bounce rate is high, Google takes note and pushes that page down further on the results page.
- Say “Yes” to Meta Tags — Meta tags, specifically meta titles and meta descriptions, contain valuable information about a web page, placed within its source code. They’re crawled by search engines to properly categorize and rank sites. Meta descriptions will also show up beneath your site’s link on the SERP, so they can be used to entice users to click. Learning how to properly optimize meta tags is essential to any good SEO strategy. Here’s a great example from Shopify:
- Link SEO and Social — Social media is different from SEO, but the two must work closely together. When consumers share your website in social, Google treats it as a high-quality link and factors that in when it’s ranking pages during a search, helping your page rank higher. Springbot can help you track the ROI of social media, which will help you determine how well your social media strategy is working.
- Keep Your Blog Content Fresh — Content marketing is one of the best things you can do for your SEO efforts. It shows Google that you’re creating unique, high-quality content, which is an important contributor to a high ranking. However, static or evergreen blog content isn’t usually enough to keep the SERP engaged. You should always be writing fresh, engaging blog posts focused on new keyword research.
- Leverage Those Product Descriptions — Product descriptions are important in the same way that blog content is important. They show Google that you’re producing original, valuable and non-duplicated copy, and the search engine will reward you for it. Good product descriptions should add value for the reader. If questions aren’t answered on the product page, it’s likely that users will search for answers elsewhere, which can contribute to a high bounce rate.
- Create a Sitemap — Think of your sitemap as your listing in the phone book. It’s what Google uses to crawl and archive every single web page within your site so that it can be properly indexed. You need a well-optimized sitemap for Google to consider indexing your page. This is a relatively simple but important aspect of all SEO, especially for eCommerce sites that have a lot of unique URLs.
SEO may seem intimidating, but it’s actually just a list of best practices that every website should be implementing for a positive customer experience. It’s all about good, valuable and easy-to-find content that serves your end user as much as it serves Google. So when you calculate the ROI of your SEO efforts, make sure to account for a more positive all-around shopping experience. There’s a good chance you’ll come out on top!
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