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E-commerce SEO: the ultimate guide to optimizing your website's organic ranking

SEO is an essential acquisition channel for e-retailers, who are by nature very dependent on their online visibility. But by what means to take it, what are the important criteria to take into account, the good practices to implement?

Inspired by the very good article of backlinko on this subject, we will summarize in 6 chapters the key steps to properly optimize your e-commerce site for a good organic ranking. SEO.

Contents

E-commerce, SEO and keyword research

The first step to develop an effective SEO strategy for an e-commerce site is to research relevant and effective keywords in order to ensure ranking in the best spots.
By determining the keywords on which you want to rank, you begin optimizing your site, structuring your content and your pages in the process. Without previously defining target keywords, you will not know what actions to take to optimize your pages or your product pages. Keywords must be taken into account at each step, from building URLs, to choosing title tags, categories, and content structure. That's why defining relevant keywords for your activity upstream saves time on your site design.
As keyword research is an essential and very important step, we explain below how to structure your research and how to choose the most profitable keywords for your business.

Find relevant keywords for your product pages

Most keyword research tutorials focus on informative keywords, i.e. the keywords that people type in the search bar to answer informative questions such as "how to...?".
These keywords are relevant for an e-commerce site, but the majority of your keywords will revolve around the products you sell which means that you need to approach your keyword research with your product pages in mind.

To do so, we will look at the following options.

Amazon Suggest

As an e-merchant, Amazon may be your competitor. However, it is also the largest e-commerce site, which makes it valuable when it comes to searching for keywords related to product listings.
To search for a keyword, simply enter a keyword in the Amazon search bar that describes one of your products.

e-commerce seo amazon smartkeyword

The keywords used by Amazon tend to be very targeted and rely on the long tail. Why? Not only do long tail keywords have better conversion rates, but they also face less competition. Repeat this action for all your products.

KEYWORD TOOL DOMINATOR

Keyword Tool Dominator is a pretty clever tool that scrapes Amazon search suggestions, Google, Ebay, Etsy...

amazon keywords e-commerce seo
When we got 9 suggestions of keywords related to our search with Amazon Suggest, this tool provided a much longer and more complete list so that we can have more ideas and inspiration than with the old techniques.

amazon keywords e-commerce seo

 Select the keywords you are interested in and download them from the tool.

Competitor Categories

Many e-commerce sites have categories optimized for rather basic keywords. Of course, these answer customer queries in one way or another, but they do not contribute to efficient and precise targeting. Although category pages convert less than product pages, they should not be neglected.

Amazon is an incredible source of inspiration for finding keywords for your category pages, but we recommend that you take a look at your competitors who will surely teach you a lot. Go online and look at some of your competitors, and you'll find their menu structure, categories and how they organize their products.

Let's say you're an online department store, you can type "mens watches" on Google to look at an example of the category structure from one of your competitors.

Instead, see below:

amazon shows keywords e-commerce seo
amazon shows keywords e-commerce seo

If you click on "show more criteria", you can access the exhaustive list of all the categories that this site uses, which allows you to have a rather large number of combinations to test.

amazon shows keywords e-commerce seo

MERGEWORDS

Once you've been digging up lists of keywords inspired from your competitors, this free online tool will combine them to generate categories and subcategories for your site.

e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

WIKIPEDIA

Wikipedia, much like Amazon, is an endless source of keywords to help you build category pages. Why? Wikipedia organizes its content by keywords and categories, simplifying the headache of organizing and ranking keywords.
Let's take a closer look at their model and look at how they organize their content.

Wikipedia is one of my all-time favorite sites for finding keywords for product and category pages.
Enter a keyword to describe a product or a category related to your activity, for example “sweater”. The description offers variants of the term and even category variations.

sweater-wikipedia

The content of the description, as seen above, suggests interesting variations of the term or even variations of categories. Looking at the table of contents can also give you ideas about categories for a theme.

contents

AHREFS: content gap

On Ahrefs, go to the "content gap" tab and choose 3 domains to find related keywords and get inspired. You can even set the tool so that it shows you the keywords on which your competitors are ranking.
To access it: Site Explorer > Organic search > Content gap > Enter domains > Show keywords

content e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

If you do not choose any filter, the tool will propose a very large number of keywords. If you just want to find interesting keywords on which to rank, you can set the following filters:

  • Volume: 1,000 to max
  • Difficulty: 0 to 10
  • Words: 4-10

By setting the word parameters to more than 4, you will be able to get relevant hyper specialized long tail keywords that will most likely be more attainable.

e-commerce seo keywords smartkeyword

All you have to do now is make your choice.

SMARTKEYWORD: keyword search

SmartKeyword allows you to search for your keywords by url, by site intersection and even to retrieve their volumes!

screen-search-words-key

Each tab allows you to search for keywords according to what you are interested in:

  • By similar keywords: allows you to search for keywords that contain or are similar to those you have entered from a semantic point of view

  • By site: allows you to search for keywords on which a site of your choice is positioned

  • By site intersections: same principle as above, but to obtain the common keywords of several sites

  • Retrieve volumes: allows you to retrieve the monthly search volume of keywords you have thought of

I. Searching by similar keywords

Let's start with similar keyword research.
You can add a keyword that interests you in your theme and for which you want to find secondary keywords and/or the long tail. Here we are interested in the keyword "paracetamol".

Note that for all the searches you perform, you can decide to exclude terms that do not suit you: brand names or product names, for example, that come up frequently and do not interest you.

tool-smartkeyword-search-similar-words

A search seasonality graph for the keyword is displayed at the top of the screen. Below this you will find the keywords classified by search volume. However, you can decide to classify them differently, by opportunity score for example, as shown in the screenshot below.

tool-smartkeyword-graph-seasonal

In addition, you will find 3 sections: strict search (contains the term entered, in this case paracetamol), broad search (all queries related to paracetamol) and the questions typed in the search engine related to this theme.

II. Searching by site

Let's move on to the site search.
The principle remains the same but this time the tool will crawl the site you have entered. We will take the example of sarenza.com. You can decide to crawl the whole Sarenza domain but you can also, depending on the URL you enter, crawl a sub-domain, a folder (directory) or just a specific URL.

The maximum rank corresponds to the maximum position on which the URL is positioned. By default the maximum rank is 30 but you can refine this filter more or less depending on the level of requirement you are looking for.

tool-smartkeyword-search-by-site

III. Intersecting site searches

Here you can add up to 10 URLs. You can then crawl all these sites at the same time and find recurring keywords. This function is very useful if you want to estimate on which keywords your competitors are positioned for example.

tool-smartkeyword-search-intersection-site

How to choose your keywords?

Once your keyword lists for your categories, subcategories and product pages are established, you will have to start sorting them out. You need to focus on those that could really bring you profit. Indeed, some keywords will probably have a very high competitiveness, which will make the optimization of your ranking complicated: you will spend a lot of time and energy for uncertain results. On the other hand, other long tail keywords could be less competitive and bring traffic, and therefore conversions.
How?
Four important metrics to take into account to determine the important keywords for your business:

  • Search volume
  • Adwords bid (i.e. commercial intent)
  • Adwords bid (i.e. commercial intent)
  • Competition

Let's take an example of a keyword list from which you would like to choose only a few keywords to work on.

e-commerce seo guide keywords analysis smartkeyword

Here you have the indication of the monthly search volume per keyword, and the degree of ease to improve your positions. If you decide to choose the keyword "restaurant versailles", which has a very high search volume, you notice that its opportunity score is rather low, because it is a very competitive keyword.
However, if you choose a keyword like "Japanese restaurant all you can eat in Paris", you can observe that it has a lower search volume but an opportunity score much easier to reach. Tempting, isn't it?
The advantage of this system is that it helps you prioritize SEO actions on your target keywords, to start only with those that have the most chances to bring you sales. And in this case, the long tail keywords prove that they are often more accessible and profitable for SEO.

e-commerce seo difficult difficulty smartkeywordopportunity e-commerce seo difficult difficulty smartkeyword

To get a better idea of how competitive a keyword is and how easy it would be to rank in the top Google results, you can look at the competitors ranked in the top Google results and their Domain Authority and Page Authority to get an idea (if you are not familiar with these terms, you can check out our specialist documentation on Domain Authority and Page Authority).
We have taken two examples here.
The first, a fairly simple and straightforward keyword compared to a more long tail, very specific keyword. We have taken for example the same keywords as above, "all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurant Paris" and "restaurant Versailles".

versailles e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

By looking at the DA and the PA of the first 10 Google results for the most competitive keywords "restaurant versailles", you observe that the sites positioned in the first results have a very strong reputation, indicating that it will be less difficult to position yourselves on the first page of Google for this keyword, if our site does not yet have a very high reputation.

Now that you know all about keyword research and the sources you can use to build your list, you need to know how to integrate them intelligently and efficiently into your site's architecture to correctly rank on your pages.

E-commerce and site architecture

Your site’s architecture, or more precisely how your pages are organized and structured, is very important in SEO, even more so for an e-commerce site. Why? Because an e-commerce site has a significantly higher number of pages than a standard website or blog.

If we choose the example of Darty, we observe that the site has several hundred thousand pages indexed.

know_number_of_google_indexed_pages

With so many pages, a site structure should be intuitive and customer navigation from search engines to the site pages should be easy and fluid. How?
Two golden rules of an e-commerce site’s architecture.

  • Keep it simple
  • Make your product pages accessible from your homepage in 3 clicks or less.

What not to do

Here is an example of site architecture not to be reproduced:

bad e-commerce tree structure seo guide smartkeyword

Why not?

First of all, it is not simple or intuitive. The logic is not apparent at first glance.
Secondly, it is difficult to replicate. Every time you want to add a new category, you will have to create a new level and reorganize your existing categories and subcategories.
Last but not least, it's too complex for SEO. For most e-commerce sites, the majority of the site's PageRank is for the homepage. When your site structure is complex and has too many levels, this notoriety is diluted the deeper you have to click into the site to reach product or category pages.

In this example, you need to make 6 clicks before reaching the first product page. As mentioned earlier, your product pages must be within three clicks of your home page.

Example of an SEO and user friendly site architecture

We have seen what you should not do. Now, let’s look at an e-commerce site with an architecture optimized for SEO.
As you may have noticed earlier, the reputation of e-commerce sites should rely on product and category pages, as they are the most important pages for their activity. By giving them good visibility, you can increase your PageRank and thus ranking on Google SERPs.
Here is an optimal structure if you are an e-merchant who sells watches:

home page home page e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

watch category women e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

watch category women e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

watch product page category women e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

In 3 clicks, you go from the homepage to the sub-category "watch band" for "women's watch". And at any time, the menu in the horizontal bar allows you to go back to the homepage and modify your search. This is very useful from an SEO point of view, but it is also very practical for the user who can hardly get lost despite the thousands of references on the site.

Here is an optimal structure if you are an e-merchant who sells watches:

e-commerce tree structure seo guide smartkeyword

How to design a good category page?

The category pages, as we have seen, are the intermediate pages between the homepage and the product pages. They are therefore essential to the proper navigation of Internet users on your site, and to their proper orientation towards the desired product page.
The objectives of a category page are to direct the visitor to the right product, but also to position yourself on long tail keywords on Google. Thus, your category page must be designed to allow the user to find the right products, by the right path, while highlighting key phrases that will be useful for your SEO.
Category pages should not be neglected because they play a very important role in the navigation of Internet users. Without a well thought out and followed structure, the constant addition of product pages can be detrimental to the navigation of Internet users and give them a poor experience on your site.
First of all, it is necessary to optimize the ranking of category pages like any other page, that is to say, work on the H1 tag, the meta-description tag and the secondary tags.

On this example of a Zalando category page, you can filter your results by brand, price, size, color ... and you have a summary of categories on the left to facilitate navigation if the user wants to go to other types of products.

Boots Boots Women Zalando e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

How to organize the information on a product page?

If a user has reached a product page, it is because he is sufficiently informed and that is in the last phase of the buying cycle. He will therefore try to make sure that the product is what he wants. He will look for signs of trust on the site where he intends to purchase the product. Hence, your product page must answer all of the user's questions.
Questions to address may vary depending on the product. The important thing is to put yourself in the user’s shoes to anticipate his needs and the information needed for him to place an order.
There are 6 essential questions:

  • How much does it cost? How many products can I get for that price?
  • What am I buying? Is this product of good quality? Does it correspond to my criteria?
  • Who is selling the product? Is the seller trustworthy? Is the site secure?
  • Where is this product manufactured?
  • How is this product manufactured?
  • Why do I buy this product? Do I really need it?

The structure of your product page

The ideal product page answers all the questions that an Internet user may have. The easiest way is to order information so that the user can access it as he browses the page. Make sure to create anchor links at the top of the page for the user to go directly to the section of interest.
Example below:

structure e-commerce product sheet seo guide smartkeyword

In this example from the Aroma Zone website, you can see that the top part of the product page has anchors link below the essential “add to cart” and customer reviews sections.
Your main keywords should be inserted at the top of your product page. Titles should follow the h1, h2, h3 (etc.) structure in order to be efficient for your SEO. Don't forget to always optimize your pages long tail keywords related to your main strategic keyword.

aroma zone product sheet e-sommerce seo guide smartkeyword

A product page should always provide information that will help the Internet user decide on his purchase, such as origin, quality, manufacturing...

aroma zone product sheet e-sommerce seo guide smartkeyword

Now you’ve got all the tips to review your site’s architecture, and optimize your pages so that they are as efficient as possible and convert better.

Now let's move on to a fundamental subject: on-page SEO, i.e. optimizing the content of each of your pages!

E-commerce and On-page SEO

Now that you have your keywords and that your site’s architecture is correctly designed, you can start optimizing your product and category pages. For most e-commerce sites, they bring in the most traffic and conversions. They are therefore not to be neglected in terms of SEO optimization.

Tags

When you think about it, it's quite logical. An Internet user who searches for "ballerinas 39" is much closer to a purchase than an Internet user who searches for "buy shoes".

Let's look at an example of a page of an e-commerce site perfectly optimized:

tag title description e-commerce content seo guide smartkeyword

Title tag tip #1:

For the Title tag of your page, you will use your main keyword, but don't forget to add some long tail keywords which will help you increase your CTR and your conversions by attracting qualified traffic.
Some examples of terms often used by Internet users during a search:

  • Cheap
  • Offer
  • Review
  • Best
  • Online
  • Free Shipping
Title tag tip #2 :

Google uses CTR as a measure to rate a site. Note, even if it wasn't the case, it is still interesting to optimize your title tag with keywords that have a high CTR. Why? Keywords with a high CTR generate more clicks on your page which in turn generates more traffic and so more CONVERSIONS.
Some examples of keywords with high CTR that you can use in your Title tag:

  • X%
  • Guarantee
  • Best price
  • Free Shipping
  • Express delivery
  • Sale

H1 tag

Optimization of the H1 tag, is much like optimizing the title tag. Include your main keyword and its related long tail keywords to increase your chances of ranking on secondary keywords.

Meta Description tag

Your meta description tag is important to maximize your CTR and improve your PageRank. The high CTR keywords mentioned above can of course be used in the meta description tag. The benefit of this tag is that you have more characters available to describe your offer with longer sentences.
Some examples of phrases that could help you increase your CTR:

  • Get the best prices today at ____ .
  • Save 30% today on ____.
  • All our ____ on sale now.
  • Get FREE shipping on ____ today.
  • Click here to see all our discounts on _____.
  • Great selection of ____ at the best prices.

In practical terms, using the example of optimizing a page for a keyword on SmartKeyword, this is what it looks like:

tool-smartkeyword-ecran-serp

You can view your main tags and see the feedback to improve them. You can also see the impact of changes on your ratings. Thus, you can test several titles, several H1 etc... in order to know in advance which one will allow you to have the most optimised tags, in order to change them "for real" on your site.

tool-smartkeyword-simulator-serp

You can do the same for the optimization of your open-graph tags, and this ultimate guide tells you all about how to optimize them!

Product and category page content

Optimizing your product and category page is the most important part of your marketing strategy. You want quality content, but you also need to think about conversions, because you're not a purely informational blog.
Below we give you some SEO tips for your e-commerce pages.

Make your product description at least 1,000 words long

Studies have shown that the longer your content, the better your ranking on Google. And this applies to e-commerce sites too! Why? Google wants to know your page’s theme. The more content you provide, the easier you will make his task. In addition to helping Google in its understanding, you also allow your customers to have a better knowledge of your product and your offer.
1,000 words is not a small thing, and you may not be able to afford to place such a rich content on ALL your pages. In this case, focus your efforts on your top 50-100 products and categories.
Let's take the example of this Darty product page for the KitchenAid food processor:

product sheet description e-commerce content seo guide smartkeyword

product sheet description e-commerce content seo guide smartkeyword

For this page, it seems important to specify that the total number of words on the page is 2,752 while the number of useful words is 1,467. This makes it possible to realize the content that is really valued by the Internet user, the one that has a real added value.

To get a better idea of the content length needed, you can go to SmartKeyword and look at the average number of words used for the first page results. The average number of words will quickly tell you what type of pages are ranked in the top 10 results: Product pages contain around 300 words, whereas inspirational articles will contain between 1,000 and sometimes even 3,000 words.

tool-smartkeyword-size-content

Spread out your keywords

Once you have written a detailed description, make sure you have included your main keyword 3 to 5 times, simply so that Google can determine the subject of your page. For example, if your main keyword is "multi-functional food processor", make sure that this keyword appears in the exact same form in your description.

Keywords and semantic fields

Keywords from the same semantic are keywords that are close to the main keyword’s theme. If, for example, you are writing a page about a food processing product, the terms belonging to the same semantic are :

  • Pressure cooker
  • Pressure cooker
  • Manual
  • Recipes
  • Steam cooker
  • Soup
  • Programmable

Now here are some tips to easily find words that are close to your main keyword’s semantics.

#1 The Amazon Test

First, search for your main keyword on Amazon. Then, observe the terms that appear several times on the category page.

keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

#2 Google Keyword Planner

Enter your main keyword in the Google Keyword Planner, and observe the keywords that Google suggests for your ad groups. Here we have entered the keyword "crockpot".

keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

also by keywords.

keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

#3 SmartKeyword

You can find inspiration on your SmartKeyword account. These keywords are inspired by the first 20 Google results on a given keyword which means that you get suggestions from sites already ranking on these keywords.

tool-smartkeyword-recommendation-semantics

URLs: use short URLs and insert important keywords

Backlinko has conducted an analysis on the correlation between the length of a URL and the ranking of a site, on a sample of one million results on Google. The result? The shortest URLs tend to be better referenced.

url google position keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

When running a site, URLs are usually a little longer than the norm because they include categories and subcategories. We therefore often find URLs of this type:

https://exemple.fr/categorie/souscategorie/produit.html

url e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Here is an example of a particularly long and badly structured URL. Not only is it unnecessarily long but it also contains terms that are not at all SEO and user friendly. "prod-504726383".
To properly optimize your URL, include relevant keywords. For a category page, include a 1-2 word that describe the category:
https://example.fr/furniture

Then follow the same process for the subcategories:
https://example.fr/furniture/table

Then, for the product page include the product keyword, separated by dashes ("-")
https://example.fr/furniture/table/four-seater-living-room

Internal links: link to your most important pages

One of the advantages of SEO for e-commerce is that its structure and navigation builds internal links almost by itself because it lists similar products, related brands, etc. on each product page.

Also, product descriptions are the ideal spot to add contextual links with nice anchors, like below.

Internal link keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

That being said, the internal link structure of an e-commerce site is based on a strategic logic, so do not neglect this aspect. You should link from pages that benefit from a high level of notoriety to important product and category pages using contextual links with beautiful anchors, as shown below:

notoriety keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

For example, let's say you have a blog post that has generated a lot of backlinks for you, and you have a product page that is 5th on Google on a high converting keyword. You should add a link in this article to the product page. And you can use this method for all your high converting pages.

For example, e-commerce sites often highlight from the homepage to top category pages and product pages as in the example below:

category product page keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Rich snippets and customer reviews

An easy way to stand out on the first page of Google results is to add rich snippets. For e-commerce sites, customer reviews are the best way to attract users’ attention and encourage clicks.

rich snippet customer reviews keyword e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

How do these "snippets" appear on Google? By installing the Schema.org tag on your product pages. Schema.org is a piece of code that you add to your pages, and that allows search engines to have a better understanding of your content. However, adding Schema to your pages does not guarantee that your rich snippets will appear on Google, but without it they won’t ever be shown.

Now that you know all about on-page SEO, tag structure and keyword usage. In the next chapter, we will show you how to deal with technical problems that can plague your SEO but that you can solve very easily.

E-commerce and technical SEO

Technical SEO is one of the aspects that is important for all sites, regardless of the type of business you run. E-commerce sites tend to have a lot of pages to manage. Even sites that are considered "small" can have up to 5,000 pages, which increases the risk of technical problems impacting your SEO.
Most product pages on e-commerce sites don't have many backlinks pointing to them, which means that being perfectly optimized on the technical aspects of SEO often makes the difference when it comes to reaching the first page on Google. If you and your competitor are close on the SERPs, a technical problem SEO could relegate a site to the 5th place and propel another site to the 1st place!
That's why performing regular audits on your site is considered a basic good SEO practice.

How to fix basic SEO bugs of an e-commerce site

The problem: too many pages

When your site has several thousands of pages, it can quickly become a nightmare when it comes to managing the technical aspects of SEO. Writing original content for each page becomes a full-time task, and the more pages you have, the more you will be confronted with a possible problem of duplicate content.

Why does it happen?

Some e-commerce sites have a lot of products in their catalog. As each product requires a separate page, the site quickly reaches thousands of pages. Moreover, depending on the product, if it has variations in size or color for example, it may require a separate URL for each of these variations, so even more pages.
Below, an example of the Ikea website which proposes a single product page per color for the same chair.
product page e-commerce seo guide smartkeywordproduct page e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

How to solve it?

First of all, you need to identify pages that are not necessary and that can be deleted or deindexed. From experience, the 80/20 rule also applies to e-commerce sites. That is to say that 80% of the sales of an e-commerce site come from 20% of the products, and 60% of the products offered have generated absolutely no sales during the past year.
Rather than wasting time optimizing the SEO of these pages, you should delete, deindex or group them into a "master page".
To know which pages you can "sacrifice", find on your CMS which products have not generated any revenue.

If a page is not attracting any visits or conversions, you should question the purpose of that page.

Once the problematic pages are removed, you can focus on improving the remaining pages.

 The problem: duplication content

Duplicate content is one of the most common issues when it comes to SEO problems for e-commerce websites and one of the most feared because it can drag your site to the bottom of the SERPs.
Fortunately, by working on original and unique content for each page of your site, duplicate content will be a thing of the past.

Why does it happen?

There are many reasons why duplicate content can happen, we’ll take a look at the 3 most common ones.

  1. The site creates unique URLs for each version of a product category. For example, if you have a menu by category like this, it can create a unique URL for each category.

url product page e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

If these URLs are indexed by Google, it will create a lot of duplicate content. This can also happen, when a product has variations in color or size and that creates a unique URL for each variation; as mentioned above.

2. The boilerplate content, or rather the small summary or presentation text that you add to several pages of the same type (to save time…)
Example:

seo guide e-commerce product page smartkeyworde-commerce product sheet seo guide smartkeyword

Of course, it's fine to have one or two similar sentences repeated on each of your pages. But if your boilerplate content is more than 100 words, and it appears on multiple pages, Google will consider it as duplicate content.
3. Finally, duplicate descriptions. This happens whenever you have the same description (or very similar) appearing on multiple product or category pages.

description product page e-commerce seo guide smartkeyworddescription product page e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword
As you can see, the content is almost similar for both products. Not good.
How to solve it?

Your first option is to not index pages that don't bring you any traffic via organic searches and that cause duplicate content problems. For example, if for a category your similar products each have a URL, you can decide not to index those URLs.
Simple but effective solution.
Once you have deindexed all unnecessary URLs, it is time to tackle the canonical tags.
The canonical tag allows you to tell Google your favorite version of a set of pages on your site with equivalent or even duplicate content. The principle with the canonical tag is to indicate to Google that you know you have several duplicated versions of a page, but that you ask Google to take into account only the one containing the said tag.
Here is an example of the Zalando site which suggests a visual of the different existing colors for a pair of shoes, without creating a single page for each:

description product page e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Finally, it's time to write unique content for each of your indexed pages that do not depend on a page with a canonical tag. This takes time, but you can't really escape it given the competition that exists in the e-commerce sector.

The problem: too little content

Pages with too little content are another recurring problem in SEO, and not the least of all, because it can totally derail an entire e-commerce site. For example, Ebay lost 33% of its organic traffic due to Google Panda penalties for weak content.

Why does it happen?

One of the main reasons why an e-commerce site suffers from weak content is that it is time-consuming to write original and unique content for each of your pages, especially when these pages are about similar products. However, even if it takes time, you should still focus on writing at least 500 words, or better 1,000 words per page, for your most important categories and products.

How to solve it?

First of all, you can start by analyzing the pages on your site that have too little content.

tool-smartkeyword-size-low-content

tool-smartkeyword-size-content-serp

On the SmartKeyword tool, by clicking on 'see more' you can analyse the number of words per page, and compare with the top 10 Google results. This will give you an idea of where you stand, and how much content to add.

The problem: loading speed

The loading speed of your site's pages is another criterion taken into account by Google to rate your site. Beyond your online visibility, it has been proven by a Radware study that a long loading time increases cart abandonment by 29.8%.

Why does it happen?

There are 3 main reasons for excessive loading time:

  • Images that are too heavy
  • A server that is too slow
How to solve it?
  • Change server: it may be time to upgrade or change your server. It may cost a little money but if you want to be efficient in solving your loading speed, you should not nitpick.
  • Install a CDN: A CDN (content display network) is one of the fastest and cheapest ways to significantly reduce your loading speed significantly.
  • Optimize the weight of your images by compressing them.

On SmartKeyword, you can access the list of elements to optimize to improve the loading speed of a particular page, as shown below:

e-commerce keyword optimization seo guide smartkeyword

e-commerce keyword optimization seo guide smartkeyword

Now that you know how to deal with technical problems that occur when managing an e-commerce site, we will show you in the next chapter how to design your content. Indeed, even if you have hundreds or thousands of product pages, content marketing is not really a step you can skip. It is very important to create unique product pages that will make the difference against competitors.

E-commerce and content marketing

Prepare the topics of your content

Like any other website, e-commerce websites can increase their traffic and sales through content marketing.

La Redoute has a blog in which they post articles to highlight products they sell on their site.

blog content content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Tip #1: Find out what offline channels your target audience reads on

Start by observing your target's habits: what do they read? on which sites? And how? Getting as close as possible to your target will help you discover what they’re interested in and what they need.

Tip #2: Look at the words and phrases used

Now that you've found your target, it's time to study their behavior a little. Let's explain. You'll want to keep an eye on the words and phrases your target uses to describe a need or a problem.

 keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

These phrases contain the keywords that your target uses on Google when they are looking for information (as opposed to looking to purchase). These keywords should be used when writing your blog posts.

Tip #3: Create quality content around this keyword

Next step: write content in your blog, using these keywords, that is unique and brings an obvious added value to the reader. By developing a signature or a tone, you can federate a community of readers more easily and, above all, create a recognizable brand image.

Write quality content

Now that you have the keywords that match your customers' searches, you already have a good start to start writing inspiring articles.
As for the content, you have to work on it so that it is of quality, that it makes people want to read you and especially, to stay on your site to read another one, then another one, then another one... As we were telling you, your content has to be unique, because it will allow you to stand out from your competitors. If you offer the best possible customer experience through your articles in the information you provide and the topics you cover, you have a great chance to convert them.

So let's take a look at some examples of e-commerce sites whose content marketing strategy is worth a look:

Example 1: Evaneos

Here, the travel site Evaneos almost succeeds in making us forget that we are on an e-commerce site, as the content is so rich and varied and the inspiration proposals are numerous.

 content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

First of all, Evaneos proposes first of all inspirational articles for the Internet users who would not have necessarily a precise idea on the type of trip they are looking for, which also allows to list in a disguised and more attractive way the list of the offers proposed by Evaneos, from the family trip to the original trek while passing by unusual trips, they can propose you a broad panel according to your desires.

content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword photo

photo content content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

The site also offers informational content on their activity, their commitments, and the history of the countries included in their offers. Evaneos has also managed to diversify the media, thanks to videos of customer testimonials, which contribute to the richness of the content and its specificity.

e-commerce seo guide site content guide smartkeyword

Example 2: Birchbox

Birchbox, the leader in home delivery of beauty boxes, understood that offering support with dozens of articles to explain how to use the cosmetic products their customers receive every month was the recipe for success.
That's why their blog is the perfect example of informational content, which answers the "how", "what", "why" questions of the Internet users, while allowing them to communicate and highlight the products they sell on their e-shop.

blog content content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

blog content content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

blog content content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Birchbox also plays on the diversity of content formats, by proposing video tutorial within articles to liven them up.

social network instagram content content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Whatever your industry, online visibility is essential to all e-merchant. So make sure you stand out from the competition and increase your chances that users will come across your site and buy your products thanks to an effective content marketing strategy. Keep it relevant and of high quality standard. Users need to feel that you have understood their needs and answered their questions. The result will be greater notoriety, shares on social networks and opportunities for netlinking (publishing quality articles is a good way to get other sites linking to yours).

E-commerce and Netlinking

It is no longer a secret that netlinking is one of the most important factors in SEO. In fact, all actions previously taken aim to get your content shared.
So working on your netlinking is a must.

When you publish quality content on the blog of your e-commerce site you have a wide choice to establish your netlinking strategy.
By creating links in your content linking to your product or category pages, it can help you to better rank them on Google. This system has a much stronger influence than simple backlinks to your articles or your site. Why would you link directly to a product page?

Internal linking

When we talk about netlinking, there are really two types of netlinking. The Internal and external netlinking. When we talk about internal linking, it concerns the links from one page of your site to another. Thus, you ensure a good distribution of traffic to all your pages, by strategically placing certain important pages in first position, and making the other less important pages benefit from their notoriety.

On this example of the La Redoute site, the homepage, which benefits from a very high level of notoriety, proposes internal links to different pages of the site, current offers or even selected product pages that the brand wishes to highlight during the end-of-year holiday promotions.

internal e-commerce network seo guide smartkeyword

At Birchbox, blog posts are the perfect allies for linking to product pages, and vice versa, as we can see in this example below.
The link below is a typical example of a perfect contextualized link that is very effective and will ensure you get the favor of Google.

content keywords e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

On the product page, there are direct links to the articles mentioning the product, while each article has direct links to the e-shop pages of the recommended products. Clever.

internal e-commerce network seo guide smartkeyword

External Netlinking

Once your internal linking strategy is optimized and your articles are linked to your product pages and vice versa, you can turn your attention to netlinking, that is make other sites want to talk about you and link to you.
For this, there are several options:

Content

To develop its external netlinking, the fatal weapon is to work on its content. Simply writing and publishing it will not be enough to bring you quality links. On the other hand, it has been proven that certain types of content work well for harvesting external links, and there are 4 of them:

Visual content

Visual content such as:

  • images
  • diagrams
  • infographics
  • graphics

These types of content work very well because they are easy to understand, give the important information directly to the reader without having to read everything and most importantly, they are very easy to share on networks.
Netlinking for e-commerce sites is not the easiest task, but with a little creativity, it can be done. For example, this e-commerce site managed by Matt Lawry had, like all e-commerce sites, difficulties in obtaining backlinks for certain products, as his site specialises in selling gifts online. Matt then thought of creating an infographic on the history of Australian Gin to generate backlinks, such an infographic not yet existing elsewhere.

Of course, once the infographic was published, it wasn't enough and Matt had to promote his content with a mailing strategy, but with a little effort and the right contacts, his mails paid off and he got backlinks for his infographic on the history of Australian Gin, allowing him to increase his sales on the keyword "Australian Gin".
First of all, you have to find the right people to send an email to, i.e. people who might be interested in posting his infographic on their website, because their activity is related to Gin for example. Here is an example of an email exchange between Matt and a contact to subtly request a backlink.

backlink external netlinking e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

backlinking external netlinking e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

This technique paid off as Matt is now #2 on Google Australia for the keyword "Australian Gin", with no less than 50 backlinks to his credit.

backlinking external netlinking e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

List content

Articles in the form of lists, reasoning techniques or urban legends.... in short, top 10 lists... work very well. Why does this work? Similarly to visual content, they give information in a structured way. That way, Internet users have an overview of the content first without having to read everything.
Like Privateaser and their article on the TOP 10 of the best bars of January:

backlinking external netlinking e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

Original content from research or data analysis

Articles on market research with accurate and original data, interviews and original research easily collect backlinks simply because these types of articles are unique. Statistics and data are good for sharing, and since you’re publishing an original study, the links will point to your site.
The Digital Corsaire agency has published a guide of its online acquisition practices with the AARRR method.

growth-hacking external netlinking e-commerce seo guide smartkeyword

The offbeat content

By publishing content with a humorous, offbeat or brand-specific tone of voice, you make it easier for yourself to get backlinks. Indeed your content will be very personal and therefore difficult to duplicate by another site.
Like the shower gel brand Old Spice whose promotional videos have gone viral. See here.

Mailing strategy

Mailing is another way to get backlinks. Simply, the question is to know how to contact influencers, bloggers or journalists without getting trapped into spam filters.
First of all, address targets most likely to share your content: the "likely linkers". How?
On your SmartKeyword account, you have access to your competitors’ best backlinks.

tool-smartkeyword-backlinks-competitors

From the "Work on this keyword" tab, here the keyword "casio watches", you can have access to the top 10 Google results on this keyword and see their best backlinks to get inspired. Typically, if backlinks are in common on at least two of the top ten results, there is a chance that you can get a link from this page too.

Netlinking and SEO

Once the sources are found, the contact established and the links made, you must make sure that the links are correctly optimized and that your sources are of quality so that Google will not penalize you.
On your SmartKeyword account, in the "action plan" tab, you will see at a glance if your internal and external links are correctly optimized and do not lead to 404 pages.

tool-smartkeyword-links-optimization-internal-links-external

Quality of backlinks

What is a good link?

When it comes to the quality of backlinks, the question of “dofollow” and “nofollow” arises.
When you add a rel="nofollow" tag, you tell the search engine not to count this link as a backlink to your site.Why do you do this? Because some sites may mention you for the worse and not for the better.
Those backlinks can be penalizing your SEO. This is where the tag rel="nofollow" becomes useful.

But to know what a good link is?
Let's take the example of a site around the theme of bars/restaurants that would like to recover links:

  • Quality of the source site: you can check this with SEO tools (Moz’s "domain authority” and Majestic’s "Trust Flow"). Make sure it is not a spammy site. Google is aware of these sites and is waging a war on them.
  • Source site in the same "topic" as the destination page: if you want to point to a page about a "bar", it is better if the source site talks about "going out, bars, alcohol" or other related topics. If you get a link from The Telegraph, it's great because it is a good quality site, but not great because it won’t be on the same theme.s great for the above point, but from a thematic point of view, it's not 100% ideal.
  • Source page in the same topic as the destination page: same point as above, but with a nuance. If the source page, e.g.your beautiful article on The Telegraph, is dedicated to you, or talks about the world of bars, or better yet, specifically about the bar on your page, it's great. Google understands that a great site has published a dedicated page and that it points to you (i.e. it thinks you are a great complement to this article).
  • Link anchor: it's not always hyper intuitive, but a great link has a great link "anchor", which must describe the destination page. We will therefore avoid "To book a party at the Dandy, click here", and prefer "book a superb evening at Le Dandy". There we indicate to Google that when someone types "book the dandy", it is your site that is the best answer.
  • Contextualization of the link: the ideal scenario is for the link to be integrated in the middle of a paragraph of the same semantics. On the contrary, we will avoid the link between two paragraphs that is no longer contextualized, however tempting that might be! Be careful, it's always good to have the link anyway, we are talking about optimization here. Here is an example of a link that is not at all optimized (not contextualized and with an anchor that gives little information about the content it links to):

Contextualization of the seo e-commerce anchor link

  • Size of the text in which the link is located: ideally, the page that points to you should contain at least 300 words so that Google considers it to be long enough and not just there for SEO purposes.
  • Location of the link in the page: ideally, the higher the link is in the page, the better it is! On the contrary, if your link is a comment on a blog post, at the very bottom of the page, Google understands that "it is not the most important link of the article".
  • Do-follow link: there are long debates about whether it is problematic if a link is in "no-follow", but you might as well avoid the question. If you can, it's better to have the link in "do-follow", which has the benefit of transmitting the "SEO juice" of the source page to your page.
  • Number of external links of the page: for the "juice" of the source page to be well transmitted to your page, it should be "dense", and therefore not "diluted". In an ideal world, the source page points only to you. On the contrary, if it points to 100 external links, the juice is divided by 100 and the impact of the link is therefore less strong.
  • Netlinking to deep pages: try to avoid linking to your homepage! Think about more specific articles, "category" pages, or even deep pages (a specific product page). This will do a lot of good to these pages which are generally poor in external netlinking (and usually counterbalanced by good internal linking).
Beware of sponsored articles proposals with perfect links!

Some sites live and thrive on backlink proposals. However, those are often of poor quality and lead to penalties when Google realizes it. So to avoid being a victim of bad backlinks, here is an example of a potentially toxic link.

At first glance the site looks perfectly optimized, but here is why you should not seek backlinks from that type of sites:

The link anchors are perfect but there are no shares on social networks.

If I ask about the shares, I see that there are no Facebook/Twitter/Linkedin links in the header or footer: nobody can afford that anymore! If there were links, you could have gone to those pages to see if they are managed or not.
sponsored items e-commerce seo guide
 
If you take a look at Majestic, you can check the ratings of the source site regarding their Trust Flow and Citation Flow.

For precision:

  • Trust Flow : trust of the site, ie quality of incoming links
  • Citation Flow : netlinking of the site, i.e. quantity of incoming links

This ratio allows to understand the quality of the netlinking of the site:

  • > 100: incredible!
  • > 80: it's great.
  • > 70: It's ok.
  • Otherwise: to avoid!

We see that mondandy.fr seems to be banned because the notes are very low.
trust flow citation flow majestic e-commerce seo guide
We have reached the last chapter of our series on SEO and e-commerce.
We hope that we have enlightened you with all this information and advice, and that the SEO strategy to adopt to boost the sales of your e-commerce site is a little clearer. Remember, keywords, quality content, optimized site architecture, communication strategy to get known are the keys to attract traffic and increase your sales.
Here are also some resources that could help you:
redesign-seo

Conclusion

An e-commerce site must especially pamper its SEO, and on a multitude of aspects: from the analysis of keywords, to the architecture and the mesh of its pages between them, to the pages themselves, etc... We are experts in e-commerce and marketplace for B2C. Our method has already paid off for our clients in just a few months.

Contact us