What is e-commerce SEO?
E-commerce SEO is the process of making web shops rank higher in the search results of search engines.
Through e-commerce SEO, web shops receive more visitors and orders. This is how a webshop grows. All large and well-known web shops invest in search engine optimization to achieve more turnover and awareness sustainably. Thanks to e-commerce SEO, web shops do not only depend on advertisements, there are multiple marketing channels from which orders can be obtained.
How does e-commerce SEO work?
Search engine optimization allows you to improve your webshop to make it easier to find relevant search terms. To make your web shop easy to find, it is of importance that you optimize your web shop for the three pillars of SEO:
You must answer any questions visitors may have and provide them with the needs (products) they want to buy. You do this by, among other things:
- Answering questions about the products, problems and needs a visitor has within your industry.
- Improve the user experience on the product page, by using quality images, product videos, product features, a product description and naming pros and cons of your product.
- Providing a fast webshop that is also easy to use on mobile devices so that the user can place an order regardless of the device used.
- Writing and distributing relevant content so that this content is shared on forums and blogs.
- Selling products or offering services where there is a need.
- Providing a trustworthy environment, in which the target group can make a safe purchase.
By offering your visitor the best experience with the best possible content in the best possible e-commerce environment, you will be rewarded with a higher ranking in the search results.
What is the difference with ‘normal’ SEO?
Although search engine optimization is used for both websites and web shops, there is a difference between search engine optimization for websites and search engine optimization for web shops. The most considerable differences are:
- A webshop generally contains thousands of products and therefore at least thousands of pages. Optimizing and maintaining all these pages requires a different SEO strategy than an SEO strategy for a website with dozens or a few hundred pages.
- The time between having a need and making a purchase is generally short. When someone wants a product, he or she immediately goes looking for the product or for information about that product. Often, the product is ordered within a short time after starting the search. This makes it important to be findable in different decision phases and to offer a good experience so that the product will be ordered from your webshop.
- Different pages should be designed properly (category page, product page, shopping cart, checkout), to provide the best experience. In normal websites, often one or two types of pages are visited during conversion.
- The layout and URL structure of a web shop is often thoroughly different from that of a normal website.
- Because a webshop often contains thousands of products, carrying out a keyword research is more challenging. There are thousands of search terms that may be relevant in the various decision phases of a user.
- To provide your users with a positive experience, the product pages require additional information, such as specifications and a unique description. From here, it is possible to use product filters and provide your visitors with their needs.
Why is e-commerce SEO important?
The majority of online transactions take place after a search via Google. Visitors enter a webshop in different ways:
- Through text ads and Google Shopping ads (Google Ads).
- Through the normal non-paid search results (search engine optimization).
- Via Google Images (search engine optimization).
- Via the free Google Shopping results (search engine optimization).
- Via Google Videos and YouTube videos.
There are no fewer than four different ways in which search engine optimization can generate relevant visitors and orders. Are you not actively optimizing your website for your visitors and search engines? A missed opportunity for sure.
In addition, to ensure a viable business model, it is important not to be dependent on a single marketing channel. Suppose Facebook suddenly blocks your advertising account or Google rejects your ads, this has an enormous impact on your business operations. Using multiple marketing channels (paid and unpaid) is important for the healthy growth of your webshop.
Search engine optimization is also important for supporting your other paid campaigns. E-commerce SEO not only ensures organic conversions, but also makes sure that visitors who can be retargeted in advertising campaigns, among other things. The objectives of e-commerce SEO are:
- Increasing brand awareness and visibility among your target group.
- Informing visitors in the different decision phases.
- Obtaining more sales.
What is important in e-commerce SEO?
As with any website, the three pillars of search engine optimization are important for a webshop as well. How you optimize your webshop for this purpose differs from optimizing for normal websites. The 3 pillars for the findability of your webshop are: technique, content and authority.Do you also want to achieve SEO results?
Technical SEO for your webshop goes beyond improving the loading speed, although this is still a crucial component. Important optimizations for the technical SEO of your webshop are:
- The optimization of the loading speed, by applying lazy loading, moving blocking resources, using caching, reducing and compressing images and applying critical CSS, among others. By implementing the right techniques, the loading of your website will be instantaneous, which will improve the conversion rate.
- Implementing structured data. You will obtain more visibility in the normal search results and the search results within Google Images thanks to structured data. In the search results, prices, stock status and reviews of rich snippets prices, stock status and reviews of products. Structured data also ensures that Google understands your webshop better.
- Creating an XML Sitemap, so that Google gains a clear overview of all the pages on your website. Google crawls your website in different ways, visiting pages in the XML Sitemap is an important way. Moreover, with an XML Sitemap, you can also easily see within Google Search Console which pages Google does and does not index.
- The use of a canonical URL tag. This implementation prevents Google from seeing filter pages, pages with UTM parameters or other pages that are similar, duplicate content pages, for instance. Duplicate content is generally of great negative impact on your findability.
- Optimization of your crawl budget using the robots.txt file. Google visits your website every day; you don’t want the Google crawler to visit pages that don't matter. When it comes to web shops, this often involves filter pages, whereby (tens of) thousands of URLs are created by your filters. By excluding these via the robots.txt file, you can make better use of your crawl budget.
- A correct URL structure and a proper hierarchy in your webshop. To guide your visitors and Google through your webshop in the best possible way, you need a good URL structure. The URLs themselves are of importance for your findability as well. Ensure that they are not too long, do not contain unnecessary words, and preferably contain at least one relevant search term for the page in question.
On-page optimization of webshops
A webshop has many different pages. It is important to optimize these pages in the right way, so that your webshop is ranked on the right search terms. Important on-page optimizations for your webshop are:
- Avoiding duplicate content. Avoid using the same texts or that products resemble each other. By writing unique texts for each page on your website, you ensure that you inform your visitors with unique and relevant content.
- Writing complete product descriptions. By using product descriptions, you provide your visitor with information about the specifications or contents of a product, so that they place the right order. In addition, a good product description prevents the percentage of returns. In addition, answer frequently asked questions on the product page and, where possible, mention the pros and cons of a product.
- Adding relevant content to your category pages. On your category pages, you answer questions your users have about a topic, among other things, you do so to provide the right information to decide.
- A correct internal link structure. By implementing the proper internal links on your webshop, you send the visitors to relevant pages and pass on authority to the right pages through link juice. Make sure that you use the correct anchor texts.
- Provide the categories in your webshop with correct names. By using the right categorization, a visitor will find the right product easier, which means that you can count on increased conversion. Moreover, it is easier to be found for the proper search terms when you use the correct categories in your webshop.
- Optimization of your meta title and meta description. A well optimized meta title and meta description will increase the CTR (Click-Through Rate) to your web shop. Mention the USPs of your web shop in the meta description, and make sure that the meta title and meta description match the search query of your target audience.
- Optimization of images. By using search engine optimization for images, you can make your images findable in Google Images. This will result in extra visitors and conversions. Pay attention to the image name, image alt tag and image title tag.
- The use of content marketing. In blogs, you provide explanations based on the needs of your target group. By answering the questions of your target group, you remove their doubts and help them choose the right product. Good and relevant blogs are also shared via social media channels, forums and blogs. This provides you with backlinks and brand awareness.
The authority of your webshop
Besides the optimization of all the technical points and the on-page optimizations, the authority of your shop is important as well. The more prestige your shop has, the easier it ranks in Google.
You can increase the authority of your website through link building. With link building, you get relevant and qualitative backlinks to your webshop. This will increase your authority, and you will rank better for important search terms.
Link building must be done in the right and permitted way. Are your methods different? Then you run the risk of a penalty, which causes your pages to drop significantly. Do you have a penalty? Then you can solve this problem by submitting a disavow of harmful backlinks.
106.47% organic growth
256.14% sales growth
122.99% more conversions
121 number-one positions
A keyword research for your webshop
Besides the optimizations mentioned above, a solid e-commerce SEO strategy is of great importance to make your webshop findable. An SEO strategy starts with a keyword research. If you do not know what your target group is searching for, you won’t be able to:
- Write good content, answering the questions of your target audience.
- Buy the right products so that you have a range of products that your target group is looking for.
- Create the correct categorization, based on the search terms your target audience is looking for.
- Create correct meta titles and meta descriptions based on the search requirements.
- Create a content strategy that provides visitors with information in all decision-making phases.
A keyword research for a webshop is often very extensive, due to the large number of products, categories and questions your target audience has. You’ll get a complete picture of your market, and you set priorities for writing content and optimizing pages based on a keyword research.
Important to know: YMYL and E-A-T
YMYL (Your Money Your Life) websites are websites that may have an impact on someone’s life. They also include web shops. Are you deceiving your buyers? If so, this can have unpleasant financial consequences for them.
The Google algorithm therefore pays extra attention to YMYL websites through the E-A-T algorithm. This algorithm assesses whether a website or webshop is reliable. Do you comply with Google’s guidelines? This means you will rank higher in the search results.
Google looks at, among other things:
- A good about us page.
- General terms and conditions.
- A privacy statement.
- The structure and texts on a product page.
- The use of an SSL certificate.
- The mention of your Chamber of Commerce and VAT number.
Google Shopping SEO
As of October 2020, Google has rolled out the free Google Shopping results. You can now also display products in the Shopping tab, without paying per click. However, within the normal search results, only paid results are shown, the top row in the Shopping tab is also composed of paid results.
The free Google Shopping results, which are available in all countries of the world, quickly generate dozens of extra visitors per day. The chances of conversion for these visitors are high. They know the stock status, name and price of the product. By ranking your products higher in the Shopping tab, you get extra traffic and therefore extra orders.
E-commerce systems and their advantages and disadvantages
Nowadays, there are numerous e-commerce systems with which you can set up a webshop. The most popular e-commerce systems are:
Each of these systems has its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages and disadvantages of the various e-commerce systems are explained below.
Shopify is the most popular e-commerce system in the world. There are more than 500,000 Shopify web shops worldwide. Shopify is easy to use, with Shopify, it’s possible to quickly set up a webshop in an affordable way. You can set up a Shopify webshop for as little as $29 per month.
Pros of Shopify
The hosting is included, Shopify lets you benefit from fast web hosting and a good webshop architecture.
Several Shopify themes have been optimized for a quick loading speed so that you have largely optimized your webshop technically.
Within Shopify, it is possible to install apps, with which you can further optimize your webshop.
The most important optimizations are built in by default, such as an XML sitemap, heading structure, the possibility to use filters et cetera.
Changes in the URLs (e.g., by changing a product name) are automatically tracked, and 301 redirects are created for the old URLs.
Shopify makes it easy to sell your products internationally.
Shopify’s URL structure is clear and well-designed, with all URLs being readable URLs by default.
Cons of Shopify
Since Shopify is a closed platform, not everything can be adjusted or customized.
You are very limited in determining the URL structure.
It is not always possible to adjust the code of your template, and not every template is optimized in terms of loading speed.
Shopify does not have a trailing slash redirect set, and it is not possible to customize canonical implementations yourself.
Just like Shopify, Magento is a popular webshop system too. Approximately 12% of all web shops worldwide run on Magento, a total of about 250,000 web shops. Magento is now part of Adobe and offers a paid solution as well as a free (open-source) solution for you to host yourself.
Pros of Magento
Magento is an open-source solution, which makes it very flexible. You can determine a lot within Magento, which is certainly handy for large web shops.
In contrast to Shopify, Magento lets you determine and adjust the URL structure yourself.
There are several good Magento plug-ins available that can help you optimize your webshop. Think of Mageworkx or Yoast.
Magento allows you to automate a lot, which is handy with large numbers of products. Is there anything you want which isn’t possible on Magento yet? A solution will be developed for it. This is often not the case with SaaS solutions.
Cons of Magento
Magento is a heavy system, so you also need good customized hosting. Otherwise, your webshop will load very slowly.
The development of a Magento webshop is expensive compared to Shopify (or another SaaS solution). A good Magento shop can easily cost you more than $15,000. This is worth it for large web shops with many products, a SaaS solution is better for (relatively) small web shops.
Magento is particularly recommended for large web shops with many products and complex issues.
Looking to outsource your e-commerce SEO?
We would like to help you improve your webshop to gain rankings in Google. Our SEO specialists help dozens of web shops to grow through an e-commerce SEO process every day. Contact us, free of obligation, and together we will find out how we can make your webshop easier to find.Contact us
Shopware is not as widely known as Magento and Shopify, but it is growing rapidly. This e-commerce platform has been developed in Germany and is being used by an increasing number of web shops. In Germany, Shopware is the most frequently used e-commerce platform. More than 100,000 web shops around the world operate on Shopware software. Just like Magento, Shopware is available in 2 variants: as an online paid SaaS solution and as a free open-source solution.
Pros of Shopware
You can adjust a lot of data by default within Shopware. For example, it is possible to determine the URL structure, but also to fill in a meta title and meta description. These functions are built into Shopware by default. Images are also easily optimized with Shopware.
There are many additional SEO extensions available for Shopware, which are also developed by the community.
Shopware is easier to use than Magento, and developing a Shopware webshop is also cheaper than developing a Magento webshop.
Cons of Shopware
By default, the URL structure of Shopware is inconsistent. You must therefore set this correctly yourself.
Many other SEO settings (such as an XML sitemap and pagination) must also be implemented correctly. With SaaS solutions, this is already taken care of, which means that you have to figure out and set up much less.
It is important to take a good look at your template because your template can cause a considerable delay in loading.
Just like Shopify, BigCommerce is a SaaS platform, making it is possible to set up a webshop. This includes hosting and a monthly payment for the use of the BigCommerce software. The monthly subscriptions start at $29.95 per month. The worldwide number of BigCommerce web shops is estimated to be around 150,000.
Pros of BigCommerce
BigCommerce has taken SEO into account when they built their platform. Several important functions are built into the platform.
BigCommerce makes it easy to edit meta titles and meta descriptions of your pages.
There are several BigCommerce apps available that improve your loading speed, automatically compressing images and applying lazy loading.
It is possible to modify alt tags and title tags of images.
Changes in your permalinks are automatically tracked, and 301 redirects are created for the old URLs.
Cons of BigCommerce
Because it is a SaaS solution, there may be limitations for your webshop.
There are limited possibilities for advanced SEO adjustments and automation.
Many of the themes are not optimized for loading speed, so you will have to make adjustments yourself.
Lightspeed is a cash register system and an ecommerce solution in one. The Lightspeed webshop software can be integrated with the cash register system, which is a pleasant solution for many entrepreneurs. Previously, Lightspeed was known as SEOshop. After the takeover by Canadian company Lightspeed, the name was changed to Lightspeed in 2015. Worldwide, approximately 60,000 web shops use Lightspeed’s webshop software. Lightspeed is very popular in Europe and Canada.
Pros of Lightspeed
You can adjust the meta title and meta description for each page yourself via Lightspeed’s built-in editor.
Lightspeed is well-built, making it a fast platform.
Lightspeed is straightforward to use and offers almost all the possibilities you need to build a webshop.
The robots.txt file is easy to modify yourself.
There are various themes available that are (largely) optimized for a good loading speed.
Lightspeed makes it easy to sell your products internationally.
Changes in the URLs (e.g. by changing a product name) are automatically tracked, and 301 redirects are created for the old URLs.
Cons of Lightspeed
Adapting product URLs is difficult.
Lightspeed offers the possibility of product tags, but in general, you get a lot of internal cannibalization by using these tags. So don’t use them without consideration.
Some beautiful themes are not optimized for a high loading speed, meaning you can’t just change a theme yourself.
Lightspeed’s blog function has a strange structure, with “blogs” within the blog. This is superfluous for almost all web shops and creates a strange URL structure.
Blog URLs are unfortunately not customizable, they are defaulted to based on your blog title, giving you a very long blog URL.
Images do not get an image alt-tag and an image title-tag by default, and not every template builder has built this properly.
Practically, everyone has heard of WordPress. WordPress is the most commonly used CMS in the world. These WordPress is more than just a CMS for posting blogs, WordPress is also used as an e-commerce system. The WordPress plugin Woocommerce makes it possible to create your own webshop in a simple and accessible way. More than 3.8 million websites run the Woocommerce plugin. This makes Woocommerce the most popular ecommerce system in the world.
Pros of Woocommerce
You have a lot of freedom in how to set up your webshop. With WordPress plugins With plugins like Rank Math or Yoast, you can easily set meta titles and meta descriptions. It is also possible to easily adjust the URLs of your category or product pages.
WordPress is straightforward to use. You can easily set up a WooCommerce webshop yourself and partly optimize it.
WordPress is a free open-source CMS and so is the WooCommerce plug-in. With a paid template of about $50 you can build a beautiful webshop right away. The required investment is low.
Cons of Woocommerce
WordPress itself is not an e-commerce platform. WooCommerce is a plug-in developed for WordPress and has many limitations when your webshop is growing fast.
Do you want a lot of customized links and automation? WooCommerce is less suitable as an e-commerce platform. In that case, it is better to choose a SaaS or other open-source solution, such as Shopware or Magento.
Optimizing your WooCommerce shop is not always easy and logical.
Using SEO for product procurement
Something that many webshop entrepreneurs do not realize, is that it is also possible to use your SEO data for purchasing your products. Based on data from various sources, such as Google Search Console, SEO tools and keyword research, you can see what your customers’ needs are. Based on data for popular products or brands, it is possible to purchase more products and to focus on them with your SEO strategy. In this way, you steer towards the needs of your customer and maximize the return on your SEO campaigns.
E-commerce SEO and SEO for marketplaces
Did you know that a large part of the SEO strategy that you apply to your webshop can also be applied to marketplaces? As a webshop, marketplaces are often an important source of income and offer many opportunities for further growth. Marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay contain algorithms that determine the search terms for which your products can be found and the position in their search results.
Outsourcing E-commerce SEO
Do you want to outsource your e-commerce SEO? We would love to help you make your webshop rank higher in the search engines! We work for dozens of web shops, from web shops in highly competitive markets to web shops that are operating in a niche market. Furthermore, we usually work for existing web shops with a turnover of $500,000 to $50,000,000 per year. We make a customized proposal based on your target group, competition, products and proposition. Please contact us without any obligations.