When it comes to getting your eCommerce store ranked high in organic search results, there is no magic bullet. Many people think that by opening an online store the traffic will automatically come and sales with soar overnight.
If that were only true!
In a time when you pretty much have to rely on pay-per-click advertising to drive sales, new and seasoned store owners can’t rest on their SEO laurels. Search engine optimization is still alive and well and over the years very few things have changed as far as what search engines are looking for.
While Google is constantly tweaking the algorithm and ranking factors, there are five “constants” that are tried and true signals that Google looks for and ones that every store owner should concentrate on:
It seems like I’ve been using the phrase “content is king” for over a quarter-century… and I have been! Well-written copy on product and section pages is key. Using your page’s targeted keywords in the title, meta description and page copy are just as important today as it was 25 years ago.
As a side note, let’s talk about page titles for just a moment. In August 2021, Google started rewriting page titles on certain pages. Why? They found that site owners were often times writing titles that were too long or too short, stuffing them with keywords (that’s a no-no, by the way), or having the page title differ from the page’s H1 tag.
In cases where Google rewrote the page title, they simply used the H1 tag. So, it’s recommended you write your page title just like you would your H1 tag.
Believe it or not, link building isn’t dead yet. In fact, having a good amount of quality backlinks pointing to your site is one of the most important ranking factors. But quality is key. Having hundreds of backlinks from poor-quality websites means nothing. Strive for links from sites with authority that are a perfect match for your targeted keywords.
Focus on the Niche
Quiz time! What site do you think is going to rank better for a user searching for “iPhone 13 Charger?”
A) A store selling cell phone chargers, portable battery packs, and cables;
B) A store selling portable game devices, cell phone cases, car GPS devices, used cell phones, refurbished computers, cell phone accessories, computer accessories
If you said, “A” give yourself a pat on the back!
Sites that focus on a specific line or niche of products historically rank better than those that take on the “superstore” mentality of merchandising.
You may not think that Google considers the shopper’s experience into ranking, but it does. Statistics such as bounce rate, time on site, and pages per visit, are all factors that are taken into consideration – so look at your analytics and see if you can improve any of those metrics.
Be the Authority
You obviously chose the products you’re selling for a reason and chances are you’re pretty passionate about them. So passionate you consider yourself an expert, right? Of course! Google wants to see the expert in you SHINE!
Show your authority in well-written content and blog pages, provide informative “how-to” articles about your products, and create a FAQ page with plenty of questions and answers about your products that search engines AND customers can use.
Scott Sanfilippo began his eCommerce journey in 1994 by co-founding one of the Internet’s first online retailers, TheFerretStore.com, which was acquired by PetCo in 2006. In 2001, he co-founded the eCommerce design and marketing firm Solid Cactus, which was acquired by web.com in 2009. Today, Scott is the General Manager of Your Store Wizards and lives in Delray Beach, FL. Scott can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.