During the last year companies needed to adjust their business to the current situation with COVID-19. This has made many companies invent new ways to make business such as offer products and services online. Because of the growing number of online shops and globalisation the competition is harder than ever, and optimisation is becoming even more important.
In order to attract new visitors and customers, the webshop needs to have a structure that is easy and fast to use as well as content and products that answer the customer needs. The same rules apply for the search engine visibility. Search engine optimisation requires technical and content actions, but it is more about understanding user behaviour and helping bots to understand your pages better.
Keywords and content are vital factors for ranking and visibility in search engines so crawlers can understand what the page is about. When you are working on a keyword and content strategy, search intent is something to keep in mind. Search intent means that you need to understand what your potential customers are searching and try to answer those queries.
Which keywords should be focused on keyword research and strategy
I think keywords on the eCommerce keyword strategy should be categorised under three different topics.
- Purchase – User wants to buy a product such as “Price for iPhone 11 case”
- Navigate – User wants to find more options by navigating to relevant pages with brand, category or location terms such as “Men’s basketball shoes Nike”
- Service – User wants to know more about products or needs some help with buying it such as “Which shoes to use for hiking”
Most of the eCommerce sites focus on keywords for product and category related queries, but I think the most underused keyword strategy is to focus on queries where the user tries to find information about the products or needs service and information. Users need help to buy also on eCommerce and the content should offer them relevant information that answers their questions. Answers to this kind of informational queries could be guides of how to buy and maintain the product, comparisons and reviews.
Let’s take “cross-country skis” for an example now when we had a lot of snow during this winter. When users who are not that used to cross-country skiing are buying skis there are a lot of informative questions they might ask:
- What length of cross-country skis do I need?
- Which cross-country skis are for a beginner?
- What kind of wax do I need for my cross-country skis?
These are the perfect topics for eCommerce content and answers to search intent. Besides product and category pages, offer the potential customers informational pages with easy-to-read content that answers their questions and helps them to buy your products.
Google offers different keyword tools that can help to find out the volume and trend for the specific keywords. These tools can be utilised to find out which queries the users are actually using and how your eCommerce site is performing:
- Google Keyword Planner – Search Volume and competition
- Google Trends – Trend and development for the search volume and behavior
- Google Search Console – Keywords that the site/page ranks and indexes with
Google Ads also gives relevant data on how the users convert with the specific keywords. I recommend utilising that data if doing search engine marketing since Google provides more keyword-specific data and possibilities to follow how the users behave on the website after they land from the ads.
Once you know the relevant queries which you need to answer, utilise that data to create content and metadata strategy.
Taxonomy helps to answer product category related queries
Taxonomy is basically the organised hierarchical structure of the product categories. This helps search engines to understand the relations of the products, but also well-organised categorisation helps users to navigate and find relevant products.
To answer for most important product category queries, eCommerce sites must have a good and well-planned way to build taxonomy and categorisation. When you have a good and automated way to tag products and build category pages of the tags that help to answer queries for specific brands and categories. Even if those categories would not be in the navigation, you are able to build a landing page for the products under a specific tag. This kind of category might be for example seasonal products (such as “valentine’s day presents”) or brand-related queries.
Those “tag categories” will need unique content, a good user experience, and clean URLs since they might be one of the most important landing pages.
Use unique content on eCommerce product page SEO
Optimised product pages help to drive traffic to the webshop, but they also help users to convert when they offer relevant information to users.
Product pages should not use only the default description from the manufacturers that everyone uses. Use the time to write unique descriptions since copied content will not be indexed in Google. Basically, the better and more relevant content webshop has, the better rankings it will have as well and the user will engage more with it. In addition, unique product descriptions offer users reviews, payment details, unique selling points, guides, etc. that help them to finalise the purchase.
Product page metadata should also be search engine optimised and unique. The title should include at least brand, product name and model. Meta descriptions have no direct impact on rankings but those influence indirectly by increasing click-through rates and meeting the needs of the user (Search intent). Besides product data, I suggest adding unique selling points to meta descriptions to make the description more attractive.
Make eCommerce site visible also in image search
Use also other content such as images. Depending on your business, potential customers might use an image search to find suitable products. At least when I’m trying to find clothes, shoes, or even electronic devices, I might first do a Google image search.
Also Google’s John Mueller tweeted about the topic last April. When people are using image search, they are not necessarily looking for an image, but the content and product around it. This is one way to answer the user’s search intent.
This is what you should consider when optimising your images:
- Optimising images will bring diversity to content and enables ranking also in the image search
- Include the main keyword to the file name (DSC4536.jpg vs. Search-engine-optimized-product.jpg)
- Add a relevant keyword to Alt-text
- Image file size should be as small as possible without harming the quality
- Image must not harm the user experience on responsiveness
I hope you find this info useful. Feel free to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss more about these topics or if you need any help on building the keyword and content strategy or improving the search engine visibility.