Shopping online has become a new normal. Even if the world is opening up now, most consumers prefer buying stuff online as it provides a lot of ease. But, for founders who want to start up an eCommerce business, this has only made things difficult.
Platform updates like the new iOS 14 update and many others to Google and Facebook’s algorithm updates are changing the way people approached online marketing. As more and more people prefer fewer advertisements, the emphasis on organic growth channels for startups has skyrocketed.
One of the most important ‘organic growth channels’ for any business is SEO. Just imagine you want to buy a product, and you do not know much about the brands that offer such a product. The first thing you would do is to search on Google about the ‘Best products’ in that category. Since most of the consumers have little or no knowledge about small growing brands, ranking higher in search results will mean guaranteed leads for such businesses.
If you wish to grow as an eCommerce business and wish to publish your own app like Amazon; you would have to start small. Even Amazon itself started as a site, and it became a giant because of the organic growth. The app development timeline is a long process, and you should focus on getting your first few loyal customers as soon as possible. Remember, perfection will never let you grow at the initial stages.
In this guide, you will learn how to start an eCommerce business with SEO. You’ll learn the basics of SEO, and how to implement it so that you get your business up and running – all organically without using black hat SEO techniques!
What is eCommerce SEO and why does it matter?
eCommerce SEO is all about ranking your online store higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs) for relevant keywords. This means, when done accurately, your store’s site should pop up in the first few organic results on the results page of Google (or any other search engine for that matter).
When the consumer is looking for products they don’t know much about, they tend to follow the first few results on the search engine results page. They are more likely to buy from these sites as well. So, for eCommerce stores, proper SEO is as important as all other marketing strategies. In fact, it is more effective than digital advertising because SEO is Free and Organic!
5 Main Steps for Successful Ecommerce SEO Strategy
After establishing the importance of SEO for an eCommerce business, let’s talk about the strategy you should opt for if you want to succeed at it. Here are 5 main steps for a successful e-commerce SEO strategy:
1. Keyword Research
It all starts from doing solid keyword research. Keyword research is a term given to the process of searching/hunting for search phrases that most of your customers are searching for. After hunting such keywords, you will optimize your sites using different on-page SEO and link-building techniques so that your store ranks higher for them. If you own a shoe store, it can be ‘best shoes for men’, ‘best shoes under $100’ etc. Here, the aim should be to find keywords that are high in search volume and there are fewer websites/stores targeting these keywords. There are many keyword research tools available in the market that make the process seamless. Ahrefs and Ubersuggest are some of the most used keyword research tools out there in the market.
There are different types of keywords, such as informative and purchase-intent keywords. You need to target the right type of keyword for your business, and for that, you need a deep understanding of the user search intent.
2. Content Marketing
Identifying keywords is not enough. Creating content around your keywords that attract users to your site is the main strategy that will help your business establish authority in your category.
Content marketing is about creating helpful and informative content around your niche that helps the users in their queries. It will ultimately help you achieve great results because the customers will assume you as a knowledgeable entity in the market. You’ll also incorporate the keywords into your content in an organic way that doesn’t sound like machine language. This way, you’ll tell the search engine what your content is about, and for what search queries it should be ranked.
For a successful content marketing strategy, you should plan out and create content that helps your customers at every stage of their buyer journey. You also need to identify who your ideal customer is; it will help you create content that is targeted to your audience.
3. On-Page SEO
On-page SEO has many aspects. Creating a ‘robots.xml’ and ‘sitemap.xml’ file also comes under this consideration. Using appropriate canonical tags, social media sharing buttons, alt tags for images, and using keywords at the most appropriate places in your product descriptions and pages are the key factors that determine the health of your on-page SEO.
In simple words, enhancing the user experience and giving a feel that looks relevant to your niche are the two factors that comprise the on-page SEO of your eCommerce store.
4. Link building
Backlinks are the old-age method to build the authority of your eCommerce site. If the number of sites referring/linking to your sites is higher, it is considered to be of higher authority.
But, after some updates to the Google Search’s algorithm, bad quality sites linking to your site will only damage your rankings. So, you need to be careful of who links to your site.
5. Site Architecture
Last but not least, site architecture. The way your eCommerce site is structured also plays a significant role in your search engine rankings. For better ranking, you should make the structure of your site more fluid and smooth. Site Architecture has to deal with your internal links – how your pages link to each other. The product categories you create, and the overall user experience of navigating your site also play a crucial role in improving your site architecture.
8 Reasons Why E-commerce Businesses Need To Invest In SEO
Till now, SEO seems quite a good idea. But, you must have a question. Why do you need to invest in SEO in the first place? What is the main advantage that it will bring to your business?
Here are the 8 reasons why your e-commerce business needs a solid SEO strategy:
- Driving brand awareness.
Search engine optimization of your eCommerce site will help you drive brand awareness. When people do not know much about your brand, and you’re just starting out, it is hard to drive brand awareness. But, ranking higher on the search engine results page will help you get into the heads of your customers quicker than usual.
And, as you create helpful content for your SEO campaigns, you will also establish authority in your niche – helping you drive brand awareness.
- Filling the marketing funnel
As you start your eCommerce venture, you will face difficulties at the start. Filling the sales/marketing funnel at the start is undoubtedly the most challenging task for any business. Search Engine Optimization helps you fill that marketing funnel without even having to spend a single penny on paid channels. This means organic growth for your business that will last forever!
- Improving the user experience
If you’ve implemented proper SEO strategies for your eCommerce business, your customers will have a much better experience interacting with your business.
Also, if you have worked hard on your SEO, you must have improved the overall UX of your website as well. The page load speed, the number of advertisements, and the quality of the content all will be automatically improved after implementing a solid SEO strategy. It means that investing in SEO also means investing in the overall user experience of your customers.
- Lower paid search costs
If you rank higher on the search engine results page, you may not even need to spend a ton of money on search engine marketing. This will lower your paid search costs, and you can use that money in a more efficient fashion.
- Creating lasting value
Growing your eCommerce business with the help of SEO means establishing it as the authority in your industry. It means the value that lasts!
If you’ve been looked up to by your customers as an authority on gaming headphones, nobody can take it back from you except you.
- Operation Convenience for eCommerce websites
Implementing a proper SEO strategy for your eCommerce website means establishing a long-term source of sales/revenue for your businesses for as long as the demand for your products exists.
- SEO Gives You A Competitive Edge
As your eCommerce store is ranking number one on Google, you will automatically get a competitive edge over your competitors. Imagine this as your physical store being the largest of your competitors, and it is the only one that more than 90% of the customers are used to visiting whenever they need a product like yours.
- SEO Allows Customers To Find You
While in other strategies such as social media ads and search engine ads, you find customers and target them; in SEO, customers find you.
Growth without ads is the new way to do business. The success rates of digital advertising campaigns are decreasing with each passing day. Privacy laws by governments and policies by companies such as Apple and Google have led to a decreased efficiency of digital ads. Therefore, SEO is the only way out for businesses that want sustainable growth.