I’m going to be straight with you:
Without a consistent flow of search engine traffic, your ecommerce store could go out of business in the next 12-18 months.
Because reaching ecommerce success has nothing to do with having; the best product, branding, service or website.
Instead your store will live and die by one factor:
Your ability to drive potential customers to your website.
Do it consistently and your store will thrive-
Fail to do it and you’ll be stuck fighting for conversion rate, sales, and survival, taking what scraps you can get from your competitors.
There are a lot of elements that can affect your sales but learning SEO for ecommerce is the most powerful (and underused) way to grow your website’s traffic and revenues.
But I won’t lie to you:
Search engine optimization isn’t easy. This isn’t the path of least resistance. It takes a lot of work to make your website stand out in Google searches & reaches top pages.
But if you use the lessons, techniques and seo tips I’m going to share with you in this free guide, it will be the path of profit and seo success.
Plus I’m going to be sharing some awesome case studies & SEO best practices with you in a moment!
An Important Note
While other guides focus on the theory, I am going to tell you everything you need to know about search engine optimization for ecommerce and how to do it – the right way.
This means I will show you only what matters.
There will be no fluff in this guide or topics that do not relate to ecommerce SEO, only applicable, 100% field-tested tactics that work.
These are the same tactics my team and I have personally implemented for my ecommerce clients and I’m going to guide you through them
What Will I Learn?
- Why SEO Is Critical For Ecommerce Success
- 3x E-commerce Store Case Studies
- How To Do Ecommerce SEO The Right Way
- SEO Audit For Your Ecommerce Store: A Step by Step Guide
- Keyword Research – Everything You MUST Know
- On Page SEO: How To Beat Your Competitors
- Your Title Tags
- Meta Descriptions
- Headings and Subheadings (H1, H2, etc.)
- Schema Data
- Internal Links
- How to Add Content that Converts to Your Product Pages
- Show Your Value Proposition
- Use As Many High Quality Pictures As Possible
- Write Amazing Product Descriptions
- Use Testimonials (or customer reviews)
- 9 Simple Link Building Strategies
Why SEO Is Critical For Ecommerce Success
I have heard people say that search engine optimization (SEO) doesn’t apply to e commerce business and that Google will naturally pick them up and bring in new traffic.
This simply isn’t true.
Because if your competition is optimizing their websites and you’re not – the result?
They’re taking ALL your traffic and customers and having put a number of my client’s competitors out of business – you ignore SEO efforts at your own peril.
Simply put if you’re not taking SEO for ecommerce seriously- you’re losing money. Period.
However, It’s not just the site traffic you should care about. Traffic on its own doesn’t necessarily translate into sales – I’m sure many of you can vouch for this.
It’s the money that people spend with you that makes high search rankings so important.
Let’s think about that for a second.
Say you wanted to rank #1 for the keyword “gymnastic rings” According to Ahrefs, that keyword has 3,700 searches a month in the United States.
Ranking #1 would result in an extra 2,100 site visitors per month.
Assuming that 5% of that traffic converted, you’d make 105 sales a month. If each sale was worth $25 to you, you could generate $2,625.
That’d represent $31,500 worth of sales a year for one keyword and one product alone!
The keyword “gymnastic rings” is a short-tail word, however. If you sold many types of gymnastic rings, you could use that keyword as your category.
If you targeted a more long-tail version of that keyword for specific products, like:
- “wooden gymnastic rings”
- “best gymnastic rings”
- “metal gymnastic rings”
One keyword can be life changing!
SEO is a machine that pushes qualified traffic into your store. Traffic that converts. Traffic that puts money in your pocket.
Your aim should always be to increase the authority of your store, so you can rank all your pages better. But knowing where to start is a huge help!
Focus on your category pages first, and this is why:
Customers love to have the freedom to choose and explore their purchase. They want to see multiple products at different prices, with some good options.
This can also help increase your AOV (average order value) across your website.
So setting up category pages with a high ranking keyword is something that will work well for the optimization and the authority of your store.
3x E-commerce Store Case Studies
Let’s face it, we all getting a peek behind the closed doors of other ecommerce sites right?
Whether it be a sneak peek of their data or a look at the ways they create their blog posts, seeing the practices and process of people in the same industry can be very valuable.
So I wanted to share just 3x long term case studies from my fully managed ecommerce SEO clients.
You’ll get a look at-
- Their organic traffic history
- Their sales history
Take a look at our full library of SEO case studies if you are into that kind of thing.
How To Do Ecommerce SEO The Right Way
From an seo perspective, to optimize your ecommerce site right, you must learn all the basics of it first and make sure you’re turning as many things in your favor as possible.
The best ecommerce SEO strategy includes:
- Keyword research to discover all of the keywords your customers are using.
- Site architecture & structure based on your keyword research.
- On-Page SEO elements such as title, meta tags and content optimization.
- Technical SEO review to make sure spiders can crawl your site.
- Local SEO signals to build trust with Google & increase visibility.
- Content marketing to help capture organic traffic.
- Link building to improve the overall authority of your store.
- Measuring success such as increases in search traffic, customers & revenue.
Or if you are serious about increasing your ecommerce site’s search traffic, you should take a look at my 7 day ecommerce SEO strategy.
SEO Audit For Your Ecommerce Store: A Step by Step Guide
Nearly every new client we work with has made the same mistake.
They want to get straight into executing a link building strategy without taking care of the on site SEO foundations.
You can do it, but it probably won’t work out. You need to make sure your store doesn’t have any on-site problems before doing anything else.
Need help? Check out my detailed SEO audit tutorial.
Common problems include having a site that:
- Is difficult for Google to crawl
- Has next to no content pages (or tons of duplicate content)
- Or a range of other technical issues like site structure or cannibilization
Here’s how you do your e commerce audit step by step.
Accelerate Your Success With Website speed
Before moving on, I want to touch on two important aspects of your store’s on-site SEO campaign. The first one is how quickly your website loads.
We’ve all done it before, been searching on ecommerce websites that took too long to load so we just leave.
In other words, if your ecommerce business is too slow you:
- Will have high bounce rates
- Won’t be getting paid
- Won’t receive any positive user experience reviews
In my personal experience, I have been able to increase earnings by $30,000 in 6 hours by increasing my website’s speed.
You can expect to find similar results in your sales by improving your page load speed.
To check your ecommerce site speed, go to the seo tool GTMetrix.
Add your store and run the test analysis.
As you can see in the results above there is HUGE room for improvement for this website.
When a site is taking nearly 5 seconds to load we can assume that 40% of people are abandoning the site – what effect do you think that is having on conversions and annual revenue?
GTMetrix will also make a range of suggestions of things that you could improve on to increase website speed and reduce bounce rates-
Or the other option is to have a developer target and work through these issues and please…
You might also want to consider upgrading your web host to someone like Kinsta (read the full Kinsta review) or WPX Hosting (read my full WPX Hosting review) if you are running WooCommerce or other ecommerce platforms.
Another important element that affects the user experience and Google’s search engine crawl is your store architecture.
You want to have a simple, user-friendly site hierarchy and structure, which separates your homepage from your product categories and your products listed within them.
A good rule of thumb is to make a structure where it is easy for your visitors to reach your product pages from your homepage within three clicks.
If you can build your store that way, navigation will be easier for humans (improving their user experience) and the structure better for search engines to crawl.
A bad user-experience can considerably increase the bounce rates.
This can be seen in the Screaming Frog tool really easily, in two different ways.
The first is to change from List View to Tree View. Now instead of seeing a long list of URLs, you’ll be viewing the overall site architecture:
Notice how Shopify neatly puts everything into /pages/, /collections/ and /products/, this makes it easy for Google to understand the website structure.
The other thing you should check is in the List View.
It’s called crawl depth, and it shows the shortest route to that product page, based on which page you started from.
Let me explain:
If you start from your homepage, this is ground zero – your starting point.
Every page you link to from your homepage is now assigned a crawl depth of 1, because that’s how many clicks it would take your visitors.
Then Screaming Frog reviews every page that your crawl depth 1 pages link towards, and these are all assigned a value of 2. This goes on until the crawl is completed.
On the right-hand side, you’ll notice a window that shows the overview, site structure, response time, and API.
If you change this from overview to site structure, you’ll get a super useful graph to show you how many clicks your pages take.
Notice with Chubbies nearly everything is only two – three clicks from the homepage – this is a good website structure.
If yours has a lot more pages towards level 7 – 10, well then you’ve got some work to do with your site structure in order to optimize for your visitors and Google.
overlooked SEO tactics
Keyword Research – Everything You MUST Know
Even though Google has hundreds of ranking factors that drive its algorithm, a successful SEO campaign still comes down to one major aspect: keyword optimization.
This is the most important thing to keep in mind when it comes to ecommerce on-page SEO.
Finding relevant keywords – with high search volume – that bring qualified organic search traffic to your store is one of the most important boxes to check when you conduct your audit.
So I am going to show you how to dodge the common pitfalls of ecommerce keyword research to make sure you’re focused on keywords that bring qualified buyers and not tyre kicker visitors.
The Four Things Ecommerce Keywords Must Have
Keyword research is an art form in itself and this is especially true when it comes to ecommerce SEO.
Unlike normal keyword research, there are some additional factors you need to consider when selecting keywords to drive organic search traffic to your products.
I am going to show you the best practices of how to find, analyse and optimize keywords in a moment, but for now let’s take a look at the 4 factors you need to pay attention to when generating keyword list for your online store.
#1 – Search Volume
You can target a keyword with the best intent, low competition, and highest relevance, but if no one searches for it, your store and sales won’t benefit from it.
The first factor to consider when looking for keyword ideas is search volume.
In some niches, an average high-traffic keyword has over 10k searches for that keyword per month, whereas in other niches 1k monthly searches is a lot.
Therefore, the best way to determine the best volume for a keyword is to take other high-traffic keywords as a benchmark.
Also, you’ll need to consider the other three factors below before selecting a keyword. It can be tempting to select a keyword with the highest search volume, but that can end up doing more damage than good.
#2 – Intent
A common mistake SEO beginners make is that they try to target the keyword with the most amount of traffic possible.
Not only do they forget that one of the other factors (i.e. competition) makes it difficult to rank for, they also forget that it doesn’t matter how highly you rank or how much site traffic you have if it doesn’t convert into sales.
When you optimise a page with a keyword, your goal shouldn’t be to acquire organic search traffic; your goal should be to attract qualified traffic.
Meaning you want keywords to drive visitors to your site from the right stage of the sales funnel.
A sales funnel has four steps-
You want to draw the attention of searchers at the early stage of the funnel as well as the people who are at the end.
Generally speaking, the lower stages are smaller because there are fewer people in them.
This isn’t bad at all; it means those fewer people have money ready to spend on your products.
Using Google analytics you can see if you attracted 10,000 people with a 0.5% conversion rate whose average order value is $20, you’d bring $1,000 in revenue.
On the other hand, if you attracted 2,000 visitors that convert at 5% with an average order value of $20, your revenue would go up to $2,000.
Building more traffic does not equal more sales for your business. Only increasing qualified traffic will equal more sales.
People at the awareness stage of the funnel tend to search websites or a blog for high quality content that explains a problem. They use keywords that include-
- List of
- What is
People who already are looking for a solution to their problem, tend to use keywords that include words like-
- How to
- Guide (e.g., this article)
- Product category (i.e., if you sell “diet dog food for bulldogs,” they will search for that particular keyword)
- Brand name /company name
Once a user starts to evaluate different products, they make searches with keywords related to a specific product, like:
- Product features
- Top 10
Finally, the people at the end of the funnel look for the best place to buy. They want a good offer, that’s why they use keywords like-
- Free shipping
- Buy now
#3 – Relevance
Every seo professionals would tell you that to acquire the right audience you don’t only need to attract people with the right intent, but you also need to make it relevant to your store’s offerings.
This will increase the site’s conversion rates.
Picking relevant keywords during your keyword research is simply a matter of thinking what you can offer that matches the given keyword.
Let’s say you worked for Chubbies, the company shown before, and you found the keyword “sports shoes” has over 10k searches per month in the United States.
If you take into consideration what they sell, you’d know it wouldn’t make sense to optimise their pages for that keyword as they don’t sell sports shoes.
The same logic should apply to your own store.
I have found it’s super useful to look at the top 10 results for a keyword. This step takes longer, but it’s worth it!
If the pages that rank in the top 10 organic positions are similar to yours, then you have a good chance to make the first page in the rankings.
Even better, if there are lots of adverts – it’s probably very profitable. That’s two birds with one stone and informs your entire ecommerce seo strategies.
#4 – Competition
Keyword competition can be defined as the average authority a given page should have to achieve a top position in the rankings for a particular keyword.
You must pick keywords for which you can realistically rank.
Let’s say you wanted to position for the keyword “cheap laptops.” If you take a look at Google’s results, you will see this:
To rank in Google search results for that keyword, you’d need to compete with companies like Amazon, Ebay, and Walmart. As you know, these big brands have a level of authority you likely can’t compete against – yet.
So it’s better to attack the longer tail, lower competition search keywords first.
How To Find Keywords For Your Online Store
But how do we find the right keywords to target?
Both of these tools make it easy to find keyword ideas to target with your ecommerce store-
How To Steal Your Competitors Best Keywords
A simple and effective way to tap a huge amount of keywords is by analyzing your competition’s top pages and stealing all of their best keywords.
To find keyword opportunites through competitor research, I highly suggest you use my free keyword research template tool-
That will output a complete keyword research strategy based on what is working for your competitors right now!
Overall, keyword research & keyword optimization are crucial if you want to:
- Get keyword opportunities
- Be visible in search engine rankings
- Find the exact words/search queries your target audience is typing to find products/services your business can offer
On Page SEO: How To Beat Your Competitors
On page SEO for ecommerce offers some unique challenges that you don’t face when you optimize a traditional website.
So I am going to show you the right way to build a foundation by optimizing your store from the ground up for your target keywords.
I already explained some of these Google ranking factors in another article, so here I want to show you how they apply to an e-commerce store.
Let’s get started.
Your Title Tags
The title tag is one of the strongest signals you can optimize. Adding your target keyword (or primary keyword) in the title tag will help you increase the rankings of your pages.
The type of keywords you use will really depend on the type of page you want to optimize for.
You also want to consider that the title tag will be shown in search results so you’ll need to write your title in a way that not only includes the keyword but will also drive people to click on your result.
For example, on a category page you might use-
- The Best Long Boards For 2018
- Cheap Skateboards For Kids
- Longboard Pro 2000 – The Best Longboard For Tricks
- Amazon Kindle – The New Way To Read Books
Meta descriptions are a great way to include some additional keywords, action words and really drive home your message to attract clicks from the search results.
Whenever someone makes a search and they found results that seem equally interesting, people will likely click on the result with the most attractive description.
That’s why you want to make your meta description relevant and click-worthy.
Take a look at these results for example-
The first and last results are garbage, whereas the second result includes the target keyword (or primary keyword) but also attracts attention from people.
Recently Google increased the limit from 156 characters to 320, this makes it easy to get the most out of your meta description.
To get the best results, you must use a technique copywriters use all the time.
This is how it works:
First, you mention the problem the customer has. You describe it so the customer can relate to you and your products.
Then, you explain your solution and, if possible, one of its features. In other words, you talk about your product. This works as a way to close the loop opened before.
Finally, if there’s enough space left, you insert a CTA that motivates people to click. This could be a “Click here,” “10% off,” “Free Shipping!,” and so on.
If you sold protein powder to bodybuilders, a meta description could look like this:
Looking to buff up for your next competition? The Protein Max Pro comes with 35 grams of pure isolated whey protein to accelerate your results. FREE shipping included!
When combined with a catchy title tag, you could end up with something like this-
With this structure, you can develop meta descriptions on scale. You only need to start with the problem, continue with your product and close it with a specific CTA.
Headings and Subheadings (H1, H2, etc.)
Every page should have one H1 that works as the main heading. Using headings breaks down the structure of a page and makes it easier for the users to scan and consume.
In the headings, you should always try to add both your main keywords as well as your LSI keywords – here’s a great example:
Instead of just focusing on the term ‘beard trimmers’, this UK supermarket has included ‘stubble’ as a relevant term in their title.
However, this is an example of a category page, what about product pages?
A typical e-commerce product page starts with the product’s name, which usually works as the H1. In most cases, you’d want to keep the H1 as your product name for relevancy and usability reasons.
If you use the same keyword across all your site, you create cannibalisation issues. This is bad, so try to stick to using the product name as the heading.
Then, the other headings (H2’s and H3’s) are commonly used to explain the features, return and refund policy, sizing, and shipping times.
If you have LSI keywords that include other words next to your product’s name, like “comparison,” or “reviews,” then make sure to add them as headings too.
People often use Google Images to find products. For this reason, you must take your product image optimization seriously if you want to be found on Google Images.
To start, make the file name fit the product name. Instead of adding images with the filename IMG0010.jpg, use the product name and main keyword.
Continue with the examples used before, a filename could be:
After optimizing the filename, make sure to add a relevant alt-tag.
The same principle used in the filenames applies to the alt-tags. Add LSI keywords to each alt-tag and other variations to hit as many long-tail keywords as possible.
But remember these are used for visually impaired users in screen reader software. So keep the alt text natural sounding.
Lots of useful verbs, nouns and adjectives can really help.
Finally, optimize the size of the pictures to lower its size and make your pages faster to load. If you have a Shopify store, you can install an app like Image Optimizer which automatically optimizes your images.
If you are running on WooCommerce (or other ecommerce platforms) you could use WPSmush.
Nowadays it has become increasingly harder to stand out on the search engines, especially in niches where you compete with SEO-wise competitors that optimize their titles and descriptions.
The solution to this problem is by using an HTML5 language called microdata. In its simplest form, microdata can help you add snippets of information to your product pages’ descriptions.
Integrating Schema.org microdata for your ecommerce site can help you include data to your description like-
- Delivery time
- Review data
As you can see above, a huge company like Samsung isn’t taking advantage of rich snippets and this is true for many ecommerce stores.
Integrating microdata and rich snippets can not only help you stand out against the big boys but also help you draw more qualified traffic and increase your CTR even further.
In 2011, Google partnered with its main competitors (Yahoo and Bing) to create Schema.org, an initiative to “create and support a common set of schemas for structured data markup on web pages.”
In other words, if you want to use microdata in your store, use Schema.org. This list shows you the different kind of information you can use in your ecommerce site.
To integrate Schema into your store, there are two main ways you can follow:
- The manual way. This is the worst way to do it but if for some reason you have to – you can follow the advice laid out in this article.
- If you use Shopify, you can use the app JSON-LD, which automatically adds schema data to your product pages.
- If you use WooCommerce, it actually happens automatically but if you want more control you can use this plugin.
Not sure if this applies to you?
Google created this awesome seo tool that will allow you to put your website in and find the structured data for that page. It’s called the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Let’s return to Chubbies shorts and see how they’re looking for their product pages:
On the left-hand side we can see their source code, but on the right Google has translated this into all the structured data they found.
This includes their product name, url parameters, price, sku, mpn, and gtin details. This is super useful information for Google to understand your website, and will help with Adwords too.
As I explained in a recent article, internal linking is one of the most powerful and most commonly overlooked tactics in a SEO campaign. It consists to guide the user from one page to another within your website.
Internal link building allows you to establish your own anchor text, which can help you with ranking for your top keywords.
Even though there’s not a lot of space in your product’s descriptions for a link, you can still develop a strong internal linking strategy by using: product recommendations.
Let’s take a look at what the kings of ecommerce do with product recommendations:
After looking at a backpack, Amazon recommends me another product as a bundle, which not only works great to increase the average order value, it also adds a powerful internal link to this product with great user experience.
If you keep scrolling down, you’ll see the famous “Customers who bought this item also bought” section, which shows dozens of product recommendations.
But wait, there’s more! If you scroll down to the bottom of the page, you will see two further product recommendation sections:
The first, called “Customers who viewed this item also viewed”, shares a few dozen more related products to the one I saw.
Finally, they recommend me to check out previously seen products.
If you want to repeat what Amazon does, you can with the help of a few tools.
Shopify has a few apps that allow you to add product recommendations:
How to Add Content that Converts to Your Product Pages
Product pages are the most important part of any ecommerce site; they are the equivalent of a retail store’s sales clerk.
After you have spent all the time and money to ensure your ecommerce store brings in qualified traffic, you need to make sure your product pages have content that converts.
You can do this by providing the right tools to motivate your visitors to become a customer of your company.
Keep reading to find out how you do it.
Note: A big problem many online stores make is they copy and paste category and product copy in multiple pages.
I don’t recommend this at all, as it causes duplicate content and bad user experience.
Always create original content in every category and product page; it’s one of the best investments you will make.
Show Your Value Proposition
Most visitors that arrive on a product page, they see the product and they likely think:
“Why should I buy this product from this company?“
The answer to this question is your value proposition.
The value proposition is what makes your company stand out from the rest; it’s what makes a visitor want to buy from you.
With the challenge Amazon represents to any ecommerce store, your store needs to make its value proposition shine.
To develop your value proposition, think about your company and your brand.
- What does your company offer that no one else does?
- What do you do better than anyone else?
Make it clear what benefits your visitors will get from your products.
Let’s see some examples:
Amazon provides convenience thanks to their Prime program and wide product selection.
Chubbies is a company famous for their men’s shorts. Their value proposition, however, doesn’t focus on the products they sell, but on the lifestyle they offer to their customers.
Take a look at their product copy:
The copy they use is in line with their brand and their value proposition:
Fun and relaxation.
While Toms (the shoe company) value proposition is the way they give back to those in need. You buy their products because you want to help other people, and they show it on their product pages.
You should think about your value proposition and how to integrate it smartly within your product pages.
Use As Many High Quality Pictures As Possible
One of the main challenges customers face online is the inability to touch, try, and feel the products they shop. Many people have made a purchase online and when they received it they were not happy with the quality of the design.
This then leads people to start being more cautious.
For this reason, ecommerce stores must show the highest-quality pictures they can.
Some ecommerce site owners that sell wholesale products may just show the retailer’s photos, which in many cases aren’t high-quality.
The lack of high-quality product photography represents a costly mistake. Successful ecommerce companies feature high-quality product photography in their stores to provide great user experience.
Mr. Porter, the luxury clothing retailer, lets you zoom in and see the detail.
ASOS.com, the famous British online clothing retailer, shows you how their products look in real life with the help of a model and great lighting.
WatchShop lets you see a 360-degree view of their watches, which proves to be useful on a luxurious product like a watch.
To take high-quality product photos, hire a professional photographer.
Unless you have a big product turnover (which means you’ll be changing your product’s images every few months), you need to think of photography as one of the most important investments you can make.
Take a look at the setup I use-
Heck you could even take things to another level and also invest in a small turntable to create simple product videos to display alongside your images.
Write Amazing Product Descriptions
Along with great product photography, having great product descriptions allow customers to understand what a product is and what it does.
Despite its importance, most ecommerce stores commit three serious mistakes when they write their product descriptions:
- They copy/paste manufactuer product information (guaranteed to get you penalised)
- They focus on the features of the products, not on their benefits
- They leave out key information that aids purchase decisions
Think how the customer will benefit from using your products and how it will help them solve their problems.
If you have a list of features, take each one and think about the benefit it brings to your customers.
On the other hand, if you sell technical products, leave the features for the most technical-savvy people who understand and want to read the technical details.
DeLonghi, the famous Italian house appliances company, shows five tabs-
- Overview – Including images, video, pricing and short bullet points of features
- Key Features – Each feature is described in detail with supporting imagery
- Detail – A bullet point list of every single feature (including the boring ones)
- Specifications – A table of technical specifications like container capacity
- Manuals/FAQ/Support – The ability to download and read the manual BEFORE you buy and how to get help
Sephora focuses both on their features (the “what you get”) and the benefits women get from using their products (the “why should you care”) while also providing tutorials on how to use the product.
Writing a compelling product description will not only help lead your customer into the sale, but will also send all of the right signals to Google when it comes to ranking your product pages in the search engines.
If you take a shortcut here and copy/paste the manufacturer provided description – you will never see any significant rankings in Google period.
So as well as being cautious about a product because of a poor quality image, if you don’t include all the information they need, people will also be hesitant to buy.
Use Testimonials (or customer reviews)
Showing your visitors what previous customers have said about your products is one of the most effective ways to lower their fears and doubts about shopping with you.
Testimonials work because people want to see what other people think. Psychologists call this “social proof,” and it’s an easy way for you to increase your conversion rate and trust.
According to Reevoo, 50 or more reviews per product can help you get a 4.6% increase in conversion rates.
Best Buy shows a long list of customer product reviews, including their TVs as shown below:
And not only that but they give other customers the chance to reply to those product reviews to ask any follow-up questions they might have about the product.
In fact, Amazon even go a step further by sending emails out to people that have previously bought a product when someone has a question-
This is a great social strategy from Amazon that keeps a fresh supply of user generated content coming in while previous customers help potential customers convert into sales.
If you use Shopify, adding testimonials to your store is easy with the help of these plugins:
You can also see a list of the best Woocommerce plugins.
9 Simple Link Building Strategies
Ecommerce link building works like any other type of link building.
The more high-quality links you get pointing to your store with a favourable anchor text, the more it will help you increase your store’s positioning in the search engine results page.
What makes link building for e-commerce different than, say, link building for a local store or a media site, is that an ecommerce business needs links pointing to every section of its store, including the category and product pages.
My team has used this approach with great success to achieve incredible results like–
- Took a furniture store to just over $26,000,000 in ecommerce revenue
- Attracted over 300,000 visitors from Google and turned them into nearly $1,000,000 in the tshirt niche
- Generated nearly $2,000,000 in the highly competitive fashion niche
Feel free to browse all of the case studies here.
But for now I want to show you a few ecommerce link building strategies so let’s get started.
Start With Competitor Analysis
Backlink analysis is one of the most powerful ways to find what’s working with your competitors and replicate it.
Start by gathering the first 10 organic results for the main keyword you want to rank for. Make a list with each URL you find on an Excel sheet.
Then use Ahrefs to find all the backlinks that are pointing to each of your competitors.
For example the top 3 results for Swim Trunks are-
We would just lookup all of the backlinks pointing to each of these URLS in Ahrefs–
As you can see above, we could easily acquire links from Wopular.com, Yaelp.com and Usseek.com – and that is from only looking at 1 of the top 10 results.
And by using the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer we can see that we need links from just 10 websites to break the top 10 for this keyword-
We already found 3 link building opportunities earlier so now just export all the results from each competitor and work through them.
To keep your analysis organized, create separate tabs in one master Excel sheet.
And instead of analysing every link from each competitor manually, sort them by Domain Rating and attack the more valuable links first.
As a rule of thumb, sites with a Domain Rating over 60 and pages with Page Rating over 40 are considered as high-quality. This will help you prioritize your efforts.
Then just take each link, open them in your browse and try to see how your competitor got these links so you can replicate it.
Stealing your competitors best backlinks is my all time favorite link building strategy.
Do Guest Posting (Yeah Yeah, I Know)
Guest posting is one of my favourite ecommerce link building techniques.
It can help you build authentic relationships with industry bloggers while growing your site’s exposure. An easy bit of content marketing.
Doing guest posting allows you to get high-quality links that can help you increase your rankings for branded keywords.
The guest posting process can be summed up in five steps:
- Start by prospecting your industry
- Qualify your prospects
- Create the content
- Build the relationships with the bloggers and webmasters
Create an Excel sheet with each site you find so you can qualify them later.
Then, analyze each site based on a set of qualifiers. Here the set of attributes I use to qualify my prospects:
- Domain authority (metric used by Moz)
- Trustflow (metric used by MajesticSEO)
- Number of referring link domains
- Placement of content
- Niche relevance
- Quality of content
Take each site on your list and look for the contact information (i.e. name and email address) of the person with whom you’d like to connect.
Or if you want to make things 100x quicker, you can use a tool like Ninja Outreach that will not only find great places to guest post – but also pull back all of the metrics you need to make informed decisions.
It will also automatically find all of the contact information you need and makes the entire process from finding prospects to contacting them a 3 click process.
After you connect with someone in each site, create an article outline.
Don’t forget to add a few links pointing to your site. If you don’t know if the webmaster will accept them, ask them!
With the article finished, send it and wait for a response. You are likely to get a few rounds of edits, so make the necessary changes until the article is approved.
Once the article goes live, don’t forget to promote it on your social media as well as participate in the comment section.
When you first get started with your link building efforts, you may need to guest post a couple dozen times until you have built a foundation.
Other Link Building Tactics You Can Use
Honestly I could write about link building tactics all day long.
But luckily for you I have already published a huge amount of link building strategies on the blog that you can apply to your ecommerce store.
- My Intelligent SEO Spreadsheets
- 12x Link Building Strategies To Increase Your Search Rankings
- 28 Social Media Backlinks To Increase Your Rankings
- The Fastest & Easiest Way To Get Wikipedia Backlinks
- The Ultimate Guide to Internal Link Building for Incredible Results
E-commerce Link Building Services
We all know link building is a great way to:
- Get organic search traffic to your site
- Increase your page authority
- Help you to orank.
However, people have made careers out of it so obviously the quickest and easiest way to do link building for your ecommerce store is to get someone else to do it for you.
Let someone else deal with the hard work while you take it easy.
Add it to the top of someone else’s job list, giving you more time to drive your brand, look at other ways of advertising, get involved in your social media community or simply just be able to finish reading that email.
The problem is it’s difficult to find reliable link building services especially that are suited for ecommerce stores.
Blogger Outreach / Guest Postings
If you want to outsource the hard work of guest posting then this is the solution for you.
But BUYER BEWARE!
Always double check your orders when you receive them and make sure you review-
- The metrics of the domain
- Your link placement
- The post/page that has your link can be navigated to from the homepage
- The post/page that has your link is indexed in Google
- That it is in fact, a genuine site
- The sites history in archive.org
With that said, here are some of the better guest posting services you can take advantage of to build quality links with next to no effort-
Infographic Creation & Distribution
You can be very creative when it comes to creating infographics for ecommerce.
There are a ton of angles you can attack that directly tie into your main goal of selling more products.
For example you can create things like:
This kind of content always attracts links and will continue to reap benefits as more and more people share it.
The problem is creating great infographics that stand out from the crowd and then getting them placed in the right places isn’t so easy.
But there are a couple of services that can help you out-
Local SEO for E-commerce
So far in this article, I’ve referred to national or international online retailers.
Many of you have local businesses that you want to take online. You will only be selling to customers in your city or region.
With that in mind we need to approach your SEO campaign in a slightly different way.
According to Google, 50% of their searches are done with a mobile device, and a third of them have local intent.
What’s even more important is that 80% of local mobile searches convert. A large chunk of the digital world use a mobile so you’ll need to check when optimizing your site that you keep this in mind.
In order to capture the local traffic, your store has to have three attributes:
- It must have a business name
- It must feature a local phone number matching your city or location
- It must have a physical street address where your business trades
Remember this acronym as you will hear about it a lot later on. As with any kind of local commerce store, they need to know where you are!
With this said, let me share some basic local SEO tips for your store.
Claim Your Profile
Your first step is to create and claim the local profile with Google, known as Google My Business.
Once you are on the website, click on “Start Now.”
Log in to your account. After you do that, you’ll be redirected to a map-
Enter all your business information.
Remember to add your store name as it should show in the Google results. Double-check to make sure you don’t make any mistakes with the address or the phone number.
Once you have finished the process…
Google will publish your store in their results which makes for a quick win.
Quick tip… a lot of people like to buy from local based business’ so if they are your target customers then show them where you are and use marketing to show them why you are the best.
Link Building for Local E-commerce SEO
The main difference between non-local and local SEO is related to the link building. In local SEO, link building is called “citation building.”
A citation refers to any website where it shows your business name, address, and phone number on the same page and in the same format as your local listing.
A citation looks something like this:
Your Company Ltd.
020 7493 8181
Unlike link building, building citations is a relatively simple process: you go to local business directories and you add your website in there.
Instead of having to manually find every local business directory, you can use a tool like Whitespark. Their software helps you find specific citation building opportunities.
You can also hire a company to build citations for your store. I personally recommend Loganix, as they provide a great service at a low price.
You can also take advantage of a special discount which gives you a 15% discount on your next manual local SEO citation building services.
Two other companies that offer a great service at a low price are:
On-Site Optimisation for Local SEO
Make sure to add your name, address, and phone numbers on every page of your store, in the same format as your Google local listing. This also makes it easy for anyone to contact you. There’s nothing more frustrating then having to search for contact details.
Also, use the name of your City and State in the different SEO elements, like the title tags, meta description, and content on your website.
Another important element to consider in SEO for ecommerce is the online reviews.
You must make sure to get the reviews on your listing because Google considers this factor important when ranking a website.
Reviews are displayed in the right corner of a local search query, under the map.
The quality and quantity of reviews are strong factors in Google and you should pay attention to them,
A good way to get reviews for your store is to ask both new and existing clients to leave a written review on your Google listing. You can set up an automated email to do this.
Your Google listing isn’t the only place where you should ask people to leave a review.
Reviews are not only useful for your rankings. Like social media, Google and other review platforms help you understand what your consumers like and don’t like.
A review is free feedback, which you can use to improve your product, answer queries and offer solutions. If you appear visible and focus on helping users you will become more and more popular, people will pay more attention to your ads and subscribe to your email list.
So make sure you learn what your customers are saying, whether it be on Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin or your Google listing.
Remember you aren’t the only person to read your reviews.
Wrapping It Up
Now, it’s time for you – online business owners & seo professionals – to implement the tactics and SEO best practices you learnt to optimize your site and boost sales.
No matter which ecommerce platform you use, when you approach SEO in the right way – it will impact and change your business forever.
Make sure that you start out with a full site audit before doing anything else.
Because it’s important that you build a solid SEO foundation first, otherwise you are going to end up wasting a lot of time and money.
Bonus: if you’re on a budget, you can use these free SEO tools to help you out with your SEO!
And if you are serious about increasing your store’s search traffic & revenue…
You might want to sign up for my free 7 day ecommerce SEO course.