eCommerce is a highly competitive industry, so a strong marketing strategy is critical to your success. One of the best ways to expand your audience and increase your sales is to utilize SEO, or search engine optimization. SEO includes all of the techniques and practices that help your website appeal to Google’s algorithm. It helps you boost your ranking for specific search terms related to your business, which gets your brand noticed by people who are looking for your product or service.

Some eCommerce business owners hire SEO experts to design their website and create content that performs well on search engines. As a small eCommerce retailer, though, this might not be in your budget. Fortunately, anyone can learn and implement the basics of SEO for their website. Optimizing your site may take a lot of work, but the results are worth the effort. Here are seven eCommerce SEO tips that will give your site a competitive edge:

1. Choose your keywords carefully.

Identifying your target keywords is the most important step in creating your SEO strategy. Most eCommerce retailers have more success working with highly specific, long-tail phrases rather than broad or vague terms. You’re competing against countless other websites, so focusing on more unique and specific phrases will increase your chances of ranking on the first page of results.

There are a number of online tools that you can use to research and identify keywords for your brand. For example, Google Keyword Planner can give you a list of words or phrases related to your niche, which helps you brainstorm possible target keywords. The service also provides information on search volumes for these phrases, so you can see how often people search for the terms.

You could also analyze your competitors to discover possible target keywords. Choose three or four eCommerce sites that are in direct competition with yours, and use a keyword research tool to identify their top-ranking keywords. This can give you an idea of which words or phrases perform well on Google searches.

2. Optimize your meta descriptions.

The meta description is the short description of a page that appears under the page title in Google search results. This informs the searcher of what they can expect to see on the page, but it also is an opportunity to utilize your target keywords. A strong meta description can improve your click-through rate, so even if your website doesn’t appear at the top of the Google results page, you may see a significant increase in site traffic.

Google usually cuts off meta descriptions after about 160 characters, so you should keep your description short and succinct. Give a brief overview of what users will find on the page and how they can benefit from clicking through. If you have space, include a call to action to encourage searchers to click on your result.

3. Optimize your product pages.

As an eCommerce website, your product pages probably make up the bulk of your content. Your product listings provide a valuable opportunity to include your target keywords and optimize your site for search engines. Make sure you include keywords in your title tags, meta descriptions, and your image alt tags. However, your keywords should always appear naturally in your site content as Google penalizes sites that practice “keyword-stuffing.”

If your store sells a large volume of products, be careful not to include duplicate content throughout your site. It’s easy to reuse product descriptions when you’re selling dozens or hundreds of different items, but duplicate content can confuse Google’s algorithm and hurt your search rankings.

4. Create quality content.

Although your primary focus is eCommerce sales, including a blog on your website can be a great way to improve your search rankings. Blog content creates so many opportunities to utilize your keywords naturally. Additionally, many people conduct Google searches looking for information, not looking for products. By writing helpful, informative blog content, you can help these searchers find your website.

5. Build links.

Links are a critical component of SEO for a few reasons. Search engine algorithms follow links to discover new pages, so a clear and practical linking structure on your website will ensure that Google can explore and analyze the entire site.

Google also prefers pages that have been linked to from other websites. When your eCommerce store receives these backlinks from other sites, it demonstrates to Google that your content is high-quality, helpful, and trustworthy. You can build backlinks by reaching out to websites in a similar niche and offering to write a guest blog post. Then, use that opportunity to link back to your own site.

Another way to build links is to use an online tool to find broken backlinks from other websites. If you have a page on your site that you believe would be a good replacement for this broken link, you can reach out to the site owner, inform them that they have a broken link, and offer your link as a replacement.

6. Make your site mobile-friendly.

Because so many people now use their phones as their primary browsing device, Google uses the mobile version of websites to determine rankings. Having a strong mobile site is absolutely critical to your success as an eCommerce business. It makes your content and product listings more accessible to a wider audience, and it improves your performance on search results pages.

Using responsive web design is the easiest way to make your site mobile-friendly. Responsive design automatically adjusts the layout of your site to fit any screen size, so you don’t have to worry about designing separate sites for mobile and desktop browsing.

Responsive design is now a must but some ecommerce solutions are still late on this subject and do not think to optimize the user experience on all media. It’s important to choose a platform that offers the creation of websites adapted to mobiles and tablets. WiziShop is an excellent choice to benefit from a technically optimized website.

7. Use HTTPS.

Security is an important consideration for any website, but it’s especially necessary for eCommerce sites. When users are providing their credit card or banking information, you need to assure them that their data is safe. You can accomplish this by using HTTPS, which is a secure version of HTTP that encrypts the information that your customers provide.

For the last several years, HTTPS has been a minor ranking factor for Google. Adding an HTTPS protocol to your website is one of the easiest ways to make your site more secure, and it has the additional benefit of boosting your search ranking.

Search engine optimization is a key strategy to strengthen your online presence, expand your audience, and improve your brand image. By ranking highly for the key words or phrases that are relevant to your business, you allow potential customers to discover your eCommerce store. These highly qualified leads are very likely to result in conversions, so SEO is an effective and reliable marketing strategy. What’s most important is that you use all of the available data to inform your approach. Research your keywords, track your progress, and analyze your results to fine-tune your SEO campaign and boost your traffic and sales.

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