There’s a lot of advice online about what you should and shouldn’t do to optimize your content for SEO. A lot of that advice speaks about SEO quite broadly, so the advice given is the same if you’re optimizing a website for a local lawyer, an ecommerce store, or a doggy daycare. However, every kind of website has its own SEO needs - especially when it comes to ecommerce.
Today, we’re going to look at specifically what factors into good SEO content for ecommerce stores. We’ll be looking at why ecommerce SEO is unique, how to optimize your product pages and blogs, other content you should consider, and optimizations you should make across your whole website.
Let’s get started!
What makes ecommerce SEO different?
In SEO, we’re always thinking about search intent and what content will be useful for the user. Depending on the type of search intent and the topic, that content will look very different. For example, if a user is looking for a recipe they’ll be looking for a very specific type of content. They want an article that contains a recipe, with ingredients, images or video, and also reviews and comments to determine if it’s worth trying. They likely won’t be looking for product pages for ingredients, unless that’s what they’ve actually searched for. In ecommerce, the user is most often researching brands and products, or already has the intent to make a purchase. That means the content that will be most relevant and useful will be unique to their intent. They want product pages, reviews, buying guides, comparisons and so on.
This means when we’re optimizing content for ecommerce SEO, we want to think through the lens of that search intent and what the user will need to satisfy their query. It’s also important to think about how that search plays into wider customer experience, which is what makes ecommerce SEO so unique. This isn’t something you need to consider in search queries for news, recipes, or other topics. The content that the user finds should factor into their wider customer experience, from the moment they see a blue link on a SERP.
And of course part of how Google ranks content is by the experience the page gives the user. The better the experience, the better chance at ranking higher in SERPs. This means when we’re optimizing ecommerce SEO, we’re blending customer experience best practices along with optimizations for search. The two combined will create a great page experience full of relevant, useful content that will delight the customer and make it more likely that the page will rank in search results.
What matters most for product page SEO?
Creating a well optimized product page doesn’t have to be difficult. The easiest way is to take each element of a product page, and work through SEO best practices along with what you know about your target audience. What information will they find useful? What content will help them make a decision about your products? Consider SEO opportunities also - where can you place keywords, and how can you naturally incorporate long-tail keywords?
Assessing your existing content through this lens will help you find optimization opportunities that will enhance your product page content.
High quality images are essential for a good product page. Without them, the customer won’t know what the product looks like and they’ll leave the page. This will mean the page won’t rank in SERPs as it doesn’t provide the user with a satisfying experience.
There is a knack to having the right imagery on a product page. You need to have the right amount of images, and the right kind of images. This will vary depending on your product, and what your customers need. For example, if the page is for a pair of sneakers - if you only show one angle, the customer won’t know what the entire shoe looks like. They’ll want to see what it looks like from the side, and top down, as well as on a model. Whereas with something like a bag of coffee beans, a single image of the bag may be enough as the customer doesn’t need to see every angle of the bag to understand what they’re buying.
The product description is one of the most important elements of any product page. This is where a customer will get an immediate understanding of the product - what it is, and its key features.
That being said, the first product description that appears close to the top of the page should act as a summary. Content length is a widely debated topic in SEO, and many advocate that long-form is always better. As mentioned earlier, a lot of advice around SEO is typically broad, and ecommerce does require a tailored approach. In the case of a product description, longer isn’t always better.
The product description should aim to be succinct, avoid lengthy sentences, and use easily understandable vocabulary. A customer with no knowledge of your products should be able to comprehend what the product is. You can include more content that expands on specific features elsewhere on the product page, if that kind of content is worthwhile to your target customer.
Aim to include your primary keywords in the body of the product description. This should feel natural, so it doesn’t come across like keyword stuffing.
There are far more opportunities for keyword placement on a product page than just the product description. Adding your keyword strategically throughout your product page helps improve its ranking opportunities. In this case, we’re talking more about technical SEO. These are elements of a page that aren’t necessarily visible immediately on the page itself. This includes:
By adding keywords in these spaces, you will better ensure your page stands the best chance of ranking.
There’s more to buying a product than just the product itself. Customers will want to know other information about your brand and store experience to see if everything is a good fit for their needs. For example, they might want a brand that has express shipping as they need a product fast. The more info you can give them on the product page the better.
That being said, you don’t want the page to become overwhelming, so you need to be smart about how you add this information. You can do this by adding small details to the page such as a “Free shipping” subtitle top of the fold. You could also create an accordion menu with other details customers need to know such as shipping and delivery information, gifting, returns policy, and how to contact customer support.
This information may be what a customer is looking for during their search journey. For example they may be looking for a brand that sells your products and offers free shipping - if you include this on the page, then it’ll be more likely to rank. Equally this info is useful for search users, so it provides a better experience.
You’ve given them the pitch, but now they need the details. Technical details are important to customers in making their decisions, to ensure the product is suitable. If they’re buying furniture, they need to know the dimensions, what it’s made of, and if assembly is required. If they’re buying apparel, they want to know size guides, materials, and care instructions.
These technical details give the customer the info they’d typically get if they were shopping in-store, making it easier for them to make a decision. Again this can be helpful if a potential customer is searching for a product that contains a specific ingredient, or is of a certain size. This helps with SEO also, as it gives more information to search engines to determine if your content is worth ranking over a competitor with less technical information.
Having an FAQ page is always valuable, but how about an on-page FAQ? Some products raise questions for your customers, and by providing an on-page FAQ section you can immediately answer the most common questions. Additionally, this can prove useful for including long-tail question-based keywords on your pages.
Social proof is one of the strongest assets you have both for customer acquisition and for building your product page SEO. Firstly, they help indicate to Google and other search engines the quality of your product - lots of glowing reviews can show that your product is worth ranking.
Of course, this is best backed up by trusted third-party review sites such as Trustpilot as on-site reviews can be hidden or manipulated. They also help to add additional keywords to your page, as your customers will be using the language of other potential customers.
What matters most for ecommerce blog SEO?
Blogging is a great strategy for boosting your store’s SEO. It gives you an accessible avenue for producing and publishing regular content, which is great for SEO. It also gives you the opportunity to add high value, keyword rich content to your store, without stuffing your product pages. You can target different audiences, unique keywords, long-tail keywords, and more.
Here’s what matters most in optimizing your ecommerce blogs.
Keywords and Placement
As mentioned, one of main benefits of blogging is being able to add new keywords to your store. This opens your store to new topics related to your products. You provide useful, engaging content, and it exposes your store to potential customers even if they weren’t searching with purchasing intent.
For example, here’s a blog article from Casper about getting dog pee out of a mattress - this is helpful content, that will be useful to their customers and is relevant to their products.
It isn’t directly about their products, but more thinking about the kind of queries their potential customers may have around their products. They’re providing genuinely useful content, while also speaking directly to their target audience.
As with product pages, make use of all keyword placement opportunities to expand your potential with the URL, alt tags, and header tags (we’ll come back to that later!).
Not every blog has to be several thousand words long - in fact, in many cases this would have a negative impact. Content length should be appropriate to the content itself. For example, if it’s a quick guide on how to brew coffee with an aeropress, it would make sense to be shorter in length with more visual content. If it’s an in-depth look at the production process of coffee and you’re targeting users who want to know more about that process, longer makes sense.
If you try to pad out an article to meet a certain word count, you risk adding in content that isn’t worthwhile and users will pick up on this and leave. Search engines in turn will take notice of this, and that word count soon won’t matter.
As with product pages, it’s all about show as well as tell with blogs. Adding visual content to your blog articles will better engage readers, and can make your content even more useful.
Include images to illustrate what is being written about - for example if you mention a product you sell, add its image to the body of the article. Or if you’re giving a how-to guide, include images that demonstrate the instructions given. Graphs and diagrams can also enrich your blog content, given a more visual representation of your article. These are also highly shareable, so may have a higher chance of expanding your content’s reach. They also offer opportunities for keyword placement in alt tags. Video is also a very engaging type of visual content to add to a blog, especially if it’s a how-to guide.
Header tags help denote the structure and layout of your articles, and this is valuable both for users and search engines. H1 is the title, H2 denotes subheaders within the article, H3 acts as subheadings within H2 and so on. These tags serve a couple of purposes in optimizing your content for SEO.
The first - header tags allow search engine crawlers to scan and understand your content better. This can help them with indexing and ranking. It gives them an overview of the content and how it’s structured. This scannability is also valuable for readers, as they’ll be able to quickly understand what the article is about.
It also helps with keyword placement. Header tags within your content can reflect other related long-tail keywords you want to target. In the above example from ThirdLove, the article title or H1 tag is “How to Choose the Best Bra for Sensitive Skin”. The first subheader or H2 tag is “Why do bras irritate my skin?” which in itself is a related long-tail keyword for the primary topic. Within this subheading, they use H3 tags for different reasons such as Intertrigo, Sweat Rash, and so on.
Internal linking in blogs is essential. Say your article is a recipe for a cocktail using your liqueur product, of course you want the reader to check out and use your liqueur. If you don’t link to it, however, they may not go to that product page. If you write in an article about coffee beans that you have brewing guides on your site but you don’t link to them, the user probably won’t go hunting for them.
Internal linking provides users with an easy way to navigate to related pages on your site. It also helps demonstrate topical relevance to search engines which can help build page authority.
What other site content should I optimize?
Product pages and blogs are bulky pieces of content that are ripe for optimization and SEO, however you should really be optimizing all content, and focus efforts on pages that can either provide keyword density, useful content, or landing pages. This will give your store the best chance at ranking for a variety of search intent and journeys.
Here are some other pages that you should focus optimization efforts on:
4 things to optimize across all content
Having a lightning quick website is essential both for customers and search engines. 70% of consumers say that page speed impacts their willingness to buy from an online store, and the longer a page takes to load its conversion rate continues to fall. Many of Google’s key ranking factors such as Core Web Vitals focus on speed, given its importance for user experience. Slow loading equates to a bad experience for the user, so speed is crucial to climbing those SERPs.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your site load speed, such as optimizing images, browser caching, minifying code, and removing unnecessary apps and code from your site.
How your site is actually structured can also influence your user experience and SEO. It should be easy for any site visitors to navigate through and use your site, without having to dig through menus and submenus to find what they’re looking for. The harder it is to navigate, the worse the experience. Good site architecture also helps Google’s site crawlers to understand your site, how it’s set up, and how pages link together. This helps with indexing, and makes it more likely that Google will discover and rank your content.
Pages should be organized in a way that makes sense to anyone who lands on your site. It should be easy for them to navigate backwards and forwards, and to find pages they’ve already landed on. Shopify comes pre-built with good site architecture, which makes it easier to maintain. Merchants still need to ensure that they aren’t cluttering primary navigation and submenus with too much content, especially on mobile in order to make the most of what Shopify already provides.
Improving accessibility just makes sense - it means that as many people can find, navigate, and shop with your store as possible. And the more accessible your store is, the more Google will take notice. It doesn’t take much to make your store more accessible.
- Add alt tags to images for screen readers
- Ensure font size, color and contrast are easy for anyone to read on different screen sizes
- Create a robust sitemap that contains valuable links to key pages
- Use descriptive anchor text for links
There are other factors that are both great for SEO and contribute to accessibility such as proper use of header tags and site architecture.
People increasingly access online stores on their mobile devices. Especially with the rise in mobile commerce and payments, and social commerce, your customers will often browse your store on their smartphones and tablets. According to one study, 79% of US adults have shopped online using a mobile device, and 50% of all ecommerce purchases during the 2022 holiday season were made on mobile.
Your mobile store should provide just as good an experience as on desktop. Any themes from the Shopify Theme Store are all mobile adaptive by default, but that only gives your store a solid head start. In order to provide a truly satisfying experience, you need to think of your mobile store as a completely separate experience and design it as such. Consider what matters when browsing and shopping on mobile - it needs to be easier, faster, and more intuitive due to the smaller viewport and lack of traditional mouse and keyboard.
Some ways to improve your mobile experience include reducing and simplifying menu options, adapting your page layout for mobile, simplifying forms, and adding quick checkout options. Accessibility is important here too, so button size and layout shift should also be considered.
Ecommerce content has high SEO potential. There are so many ways you can optimize your store’s content that will be immediately valuable to your potential customers. By thinking about your product pages and blogs through the lens of SEO, you can not only improve your page ranking but also enhance the customer experience at the same time.