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Ecommerce SEO in 2023


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Ecommerce SEO is one of the most important factors that affect online sales and how your website ranks in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

It’s a complicated and in-depth process, but to put things simply – optimising for organic sales is basically any strategy that’s used to boost your stores visibility on the SERP.

From technical SEO to content, internal links to faceted navigation – there’s a lot to consider, so let’s dive into SEO for ecommerce in 2023.

What is Ecommerce SEO?

Put simply, Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimising your website so that it ranks higher in search engines.

A lot of people overlook Ecommerce SEO because they think it’s only about getting traffic to their site, but there’s more to it than that. The best way to get more customers is by building trust with them through organic rankings in Google and other search engines.

If your website is not optimised for search engines, you’ll need to rely on paid traffic from Google ads to make any sales. Both routes cause problems for many small businesses because they don’t have the resources or experience to do either SEO or PPC themselves.

Find out more about our SEO and PPC services here.

Why is Ecommerce SEO Important in 2023?

Digital ecommerce is one of the most diverse and quickly-developing industries online. Consumers are spending more on online purchases than ever before, and there’s no sign of this slowing down anytime soon.

As consumers spend more money online, competition for their attention has increased significantly as well. With more businesses than ever vying for customers’ attention, it’s crucial that you stand out from your competitors by optimising your site for search engines and providing users with an excellent customer experience.

There are many reasons why Ecommerce SEO is important in 2023:

  • Improve your rankings in search engines
  • Gain visibility for commercial terms
  • Increase your website traffic
  • Improve the shopping experience
  • Increase revenue from organic traffic
  • Improve customer lifetime value

Ecommerce SEO vs. PPC Advertising

A primary difference between PPC advertising and Ecommerce SEO is the level of control you have over what your snippet or result will say, where it will appear and for how long. With PPC ads, you can choose to bid on specific keywords or phrases and you control what your result says. Google then decides which ads are shown based on factors like relevance and quality score, but you have a chance of showing at the top of the page (if you have enough budget).

When it comes to Ecommerce SEO, you can present additional information with your result using schema (like reviews and star ratings), but gaining a top-spot position is a competitive business. As with anything, there are pros and cons for both types of marketing strategies, ultimately only one will be best suited to your business depending on its needs and goals.

Ecommerce SEO Pros

  • You have more control over what your result will say, where it will appear and for how long than you do with PPC ads
  • You can build links to your site manually or use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to find the best linking opportunities.
  • You can track your results using Google Analytics and other tools.
  • You can build up your organic rankings over time, which is great for long-term campaigns.

Ecommerce SEO Cons

  • It can be difficult to measure the ROI of SEO campaigns (especially if you don’t have a lot of experience).
  • If your product isn’t competitively priced or offers something unique, it can be hard to rank for high-volume keywords.
  • It can take a lot of time and effort to build up an effective SEO presence.
  • If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you might not show up in search results for mobile users.

How Does Ecommerce SEO Work?

If you want to get more customers from organic search, then Ecommerce SEO is something you’ll want to learn how to do well.

Ecommerce SEO, much like any form of SEO, is all about optimising your website for search engines. This means making sure that your site performs well from a technical perspective, and that your content on-site is relevant to what people are searching for.

The first step in any Ecommerce SEO strategy is to set your site up properly, ensuring that Google can find and index your content. This means making sure that your product pages are optimised for conversions (there’s ample opportunity for someone to click, add to cart or checkout quickly) and that you’re using Schema Markup to tell search engines all about who you are and what you sell.

When designing or having your site developed, it really pays to make considered choices in those early stages. That way when you launch, your site has the best chance it can to start making you money right away.

Responsive site design

Responsive design refers to building a website that displays correctly on any device, and is based on the concept that the same content should be accessible to all users, regardless of their device or platform. Responsive sites automatically change their layout based on how they’re accessed, whether on desktop, mobile or tablets.

Why is responsive design so important? It’s because of the ever-increasing number of devices and platforms that people use to access the Internet. For example, according to Statista, in 2015 there were over 1 billion mobile phone users worldwide. By 2020, that number will grow by another 57%, reaching 1.8 billion mobile phone users globally.

A mobile-first approach

Mobile-first approach is a web design approach that focuses on the mobile version of a website before the desktop version. It’s more than just responsive design; it’s about creating a better user experience for mobile users and should have been a priority for online retailers since 2019.

Mobile-first SEO means optimising your content for Google searches from smartphones and tablets, rather than computers. In other words, you need to make sure that your site works well on small screens before thinking about how it will look on large monitors or TVs. That’s if your target audience is primarily a mobile one, that information needs to be factored into your overall SEO strategy, as well as your site design.

A mobile-first approach is integral to SEO for ecommerce in 2023, especially if you’re trying to reach people on their smartphones. In 2021 Google’s ‘core web vitals’ were elevated to a core ranking factor for mobile sites, desktop wasn’t rolled out until 2022, further emphasising the importance of mobile in search.

You haven’t been able to just create a site and expect it to rank well for a very long time: Google wants sites that are user-friendly and easy to navigate with the least amount of effort possible.

Faceted navigation

Faceted navigation is a really common practice in ecommerce site design, and for good reason, but it’s also feared by SEOs the world over (probably unreasonably). Faceted nav essentially acts as a filtering system on category pages, allowing users to drill down into various product features, making it easier for them to find what they’re looking for. This can be implemented in many ways, in a side menu or drop down menu, using javascript or through URL parameters – but is usually governed by the CMS your site uses.

Adding filters or ‘facets’ to the your product category pages enables users to quickly access variations of what they’re looking at without searching or heading to the main navigation. Different sites are built and function differently, but once a user clicks, usually one of the following things happens:

  1. The content updates with no URL change
  2. The site appends parameters to the URL like ‘?colour=blue&brand=levis’
  3. The site appends a hash to the URL identifying the facets applied, e.g., #colour=blue
  4. A new static URL is created like /levis/jeans/blue/

Whilst this adds real value to the user, adding faceted nav isn’t without its quirks, and when implemented incorrectly can cause real issues from an SEO perspective. Depending on how yours is implemented will govern what issues you see, but because faceted navigation has the potential to create a near-infinite number of facet combinations and indexable URLs, you’re likely to see issues around one of the following:

High-quality content

To increase your organic search visibility, you need to create content that’s engaging, relevant and high-quality. Google’s algorithms are constantly evolving and they’re capable of understanding complicated queries and requests, so if you want your site to be found in your customers’ searches, quality content should be a priority. Here’s some things to consider when planning your content:

  • Content should be original, relevant and valuable – Be influenced, take inspiration, but never copy, Google knows when you’ve taken content from someone else, so be original!
  • Use keywords in a natural way – ‘Cramming’ keywords in always looks bad, but Google will penalise you for content that isn’t semantic, or content that’s thin and just aims to rank a page for a term
  • Use images, videos and infographics – Content isn’t just the written word, Google’s worked hard to provide users with a mix of content types to suit different searches, expand your visibility by expanding your content types
  • Care about internal linking – Links help search engines understand how content is related to other content, that adds relevance between content on your own site, and relevancy is never a bad thing

You need to work on your SEO strategy for the long term. Short-term tactics can be effective in getting traffic from Google but they won’t necessarily help you build a loyal audience that keeps coming back over time. Search engine optimisation is about creating websites that people want to visit, not just ones that show up at the top of search results for certain keywords.

The solution? Try to understand what your audience wants and how they want it. You can’t just create content that looks good on Google; you need to make sure it’s relevant, high-quality and provides real value to users in order for them to keep coming back. If people don’t find your content valuable, then what’s the point?

What about sites using multiple languages?

Many ecommerce sites have multiple versions of their sites in different languages, this could be a blog post in its own right as the potential implications of poorly executed multilingual SEO are plentiful! In the spirit of keeping things moving, here are the big hitters when trying to do things right:

That’s a lot to take in without much explanation, but the thing to try and remember is to avoid duplicating content. If you don’t have the resources to pay for rewrites in other languages, hreflang and canonical tags are your friend – but they can be implemented incorrectly, so be careful.

Use Hreflang to get the right content to the right person

Hreflang is an HTML attribute used to indicate to search engines which language and/or region version of a web page to display to users based on their language preference and location. Any page that has been translated or will be needs to follow these steps:

  1. Place the hreflang attributes in the <head> section of each page
  2. Use the correct ISO language code for each translated page
  3. Use them on all pages that have been translated into multiple languages
  4. Include a self-referencing hreflang on every page (pointing back to itself)

So if you want to add a hreflang attributes between an English page and the translated German version, both pages should have the following hreflang tags:

<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”de” href=”” />
<link rel=”alternate” hreflang=”en” href=”” />

The first tag specifies the URL of the alternate German version of the page, the second is a self-referencing tag that points back to the original English language version.

Use canonical tags to tell search engines which language is the most important

Canonical tags are HTML elements that help search engines understand which version of a webpage is the primary or preferred version when there are multiple versions of the same webpage available. This is important for sites with content in multiple languages, as it helps to prevent duplicate content issues and ensures that the correct version of the webpage is shown to users based on their language preferences.

The main thing to remember here is that your hreflang links must point to the canonical version of each URL, don’t be sending traffic in other languages to a non-canonical page (like a less important category page).

Leverage product reviews and schema markup

Product reviews and schema markup walk hand in hand where SEO is concerned. Whether you’re using Feefo, Trustpilot or even Amazon, reviews help convince others to buy your products, schema markup pulls that data on to the SERP for all to see. Here are a handful of benefits gained from leveraging reviews and schema on your site:

Improved visibility on the SERP

When product reviews are displayed on a website, they can provide unique, user-generated content that search engines can use to better understand what the page is about. This can lead to improved rankings and higher visibility on SERPs.

Increased click-through rates (CTR)

Schema markup can be used to display rich snippets in search results, which can include ratings and review information. This can make the search result more visually appealing and increase the likelihood of users clicking through to the website.

Enhanced user experience

Product reviews provide valuable information for potential customers who are considering purchasing a product. By displaying reviews and ratings on the product page, users can make more informed decisions about their purchase, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Increased trust and credibility

When users see positive reviews and ratings on a product, they are more likely to trust the brand and the product. This can lead to increased sales and brand loyalty.

Implementing product schema markup correctly is essential, particularly when sites want to pull aggregate ratings and customer reviews on to the SERP from their sites. How to do that isn’t always a simple process, depending on how your site is built, the CMS and review platform you choose.

Is that everything?

Probably not. SEO is as long as a piece of string, and where sales are concerned, that string gets pretty long. We’ve put together what we think are the essential tips to succeeding in search with an ecommerce site, but if you’ve read all this and still have questions, don’t panic.

Our ecom experience branches across industries and sectors, across content management systems and bridges review platforms. If you’re selling something online and want to be seen organically, we can help.

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