When you mention E-Commerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to most business owners, it’s like you’ve just told a high school kid to do their math homework.
“Yeah, I know. I know! I’ll get to it. Eventually.”
Everyone who sells online has a general idea that yes, e-commerce SEO is indeed important to get right, but they’re selling well enough without giving it much attention. So why do they need to bother? Is SEO really that important to get right?
Consider this: in 2016, HubSpot graded over one million sites to benchmark how well websites are generally doing at SEO. The result:
D- is technically a passing grade, sure, but this shows that most websites do SEO poorly. And this is your advantage: getting your SEO even slightly better than your competition will be a significant boost for your business. Let’s dive deeper into four reasons why e-commerce SEO is so important to the success and growth of your company.
Get more traffic from the right customers.
For business owners who want to sell directly from their online store, Amazon is competition but Google is the marketplace; and the way to get noticed in this marketplace is to rank as high as possible via SEO.
Keep in mind, having good SEO doesn’t simply bring in a higher percentage of general searchers on Google overall; rather, it brings in a higher percentage of quality searchers. Good eCommerce SEO means your product pages rank high for queries that are directly related, and not for the queries that aren’t. Meaning, if you have a well-optimized page for “red tennis shoes for women,” you’re going to get more clicks from shoppers looking for exactly that, instead of those looking for loafers or Crocs.
Good SEO means your organic traffic is made up of potential customers instead of those that have no interest in what you’re offering.
Compete for silver and bronze.
Investing time and effort into your eCommerce SEO can be frustrating to many companies when they see that no matter what they do, they can’t get ranked #1 on Google. In many cases, the big brands take up that slot. However, there’s a lot to be said for second, third, fourth, and fifth place. Take a look at this graph of click-through-rates (CTRs) at each position on Google:
The drop-off is steep between each rank, but you can see the large differences between even position three and four, the CTR being 10% and 6% respectively. That’s potentially a difference of thousands of clicks, depending on your monthly traffic. Even in the lower positions on Google’s first page, ranking just one spot higher can hugely impact your bottom line.
Does that mean that smaller brands can’t ever reach the top position? Not at all. It happens all the time. For example, here’s a search for “shoe inserts athletic” and a site ranks above Amazon for the top spot, not to mention the featured snippet:
So your business should always aim for the top spot, but even if you take second or third, that’s still a big win for your online presence. And here’s more good news: as online shoppers get more internet savvy, we are seeing more specific Google searches that are four or more words long. Instead of “shoes” people are searching for “Adidas women’s running shoes in red.” More specific search queries give niche businesses an advantage over the big brands because while they need to optimize for tens of millions of terms for all of their products, you only need to focus on these long tail search terms that relate directly to your line of products.
Save money on marketing and sales.
This is probably the most important reason why you should take your e-commerce SEO seriously: the potential to save money across the board. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that your SEO efforts should produce the highest ROI of all your marketing efforts.
The reason for this is that SEO is relatively cheap to implement. While you can hire an agency to improve your SEO, you can actually do most of the optimization in-house if you are willing to put in the time. Here are a few examples of no- or low-cost SEO actions you can take:
- Content-Filled Product Description Pages - Many e-commerce sites will spend time writing thousands of words on their blog posts, but their individual product pages get a short blurb at best. It’s best practice to treat each product page like a blog: write at least 1,000+ words and optimize for your keyword phrase by using it three to five times.
- Unique Meta Fields - The meta title tags and description tags are still important to tell the Googlebots what each e-commerce page is about. Each product page should have unique tags with compelling modifiers like “cheap” or “buy now” included.
- Simple Site Architecture - e-commerce sites that are a mess to navigate can ruin SEO by confusing Googlebots and customers alike, who will both get fed up with your site. Redesigning your site with flat architecture in mind can be a dramatic boost to usability, speed, and can increase shopping duration.
This type of thoughtful SEO is necessary to get the jump on your competition. This can eat up more of your time than you’d like, but there are great e-commerce page builders like Shogun that can take care of the SEO for you by generating SEO-friendly code on the fly and helping you create content-heavy product pages with drag-and-drop tools. For small-to-medium-sized businesses for which time is in even more limited supply than cash, this type of page-builder tool can make the SEO process simple and quick.
Remember, the higher up on Google your pages rank, the less you will need to spend on marketing channels like AdWords. Considering how expensive it can be to bid on a single keyword, e-commerce SEO can save you thousands of marketing dollars.
And of course, if your organic traffic picks up, you won’t have to spend resources shoring up your sales team either. Think about it this way: does Amazon have a sales team for their millions of individual products? You can strive to be the Amazon of your niche and rely on great SEO to bring in your shoppers.
Need an easy and inexpensive way to build a unique, SEO-friendly storefront for your e-commerce shop? Shogun has you covered with our powerful drag and drop visual editor, page templates, responsive design elements, and more.