eCommerce SEO Frequently Asked Questions

Many marketers make SEO out to be some mythical creature that only the best of the best can conquer, and without certain levels of “voodoo”, you stand no chance at tapping into the major search engines as a viable traffic source.

We’re here to tell you, though, that you don’t have to be some master magician to tap into the search engines. With the right strategy, bringing search traffic into your eCommerce store can be one of the easiest things you’ve done.

If you haven’t already, make sure to enter your email below to get our comprehensive guide on optimizing your eCommerce store to rank higher in the search engines.

In this post, we’re going to address some of the most common asked questions that eCommerce store owners will find themselves asking when they are implementing an SEO strategy into their business.

SEO Performance

But, first, here’s why you need to focus on SEO.

Keep in mind as you’re reading this that SEO is simply one source of traffic you should be tapping into for your business. It’s not a replacement for paid traffic or other organic traffic strategies, but it’s simply an extension of your business that helps you grow your revenue.

Without SEO, You’re Leaving Money On The Table

Search engine traffic is, without a doubt, some of the most profitable, highest converting traffic to you drive to your site.

It does take work to bring in, but once you’ve figured out how to tap into the coveted search traffic, you’re setting the stage for building a long-term, sustainable eCommerce business.

Here are 3 major reasons you need to focus on SEO traffic if you want your business to succeed.

It’s Some Of The Highest Converting Traffic You’ll Find

When it comes to marketing your store, your conversion rates are going to vary wildly depending on the traffic source you’re using.

For instance, some paid traffic sources, like Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads, typically convert lower but are going to cost less than some other higher converting traffic sources, like Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Google Shopping, for instance.

When it comes to free, organic traffic sources, though, you’re going to have a hard time finding one that converts better than search engine traffic.

80% of people use search engines to make purchasing decisions, which means that when people find your store through Google or Bing they have a substantially higher probability of looking for exactly what it is you’re selling.

You’re going to be hard-pressed to find another traffic source that can bring in as much revenue as SEO traffic, especially when you consider that it’s primarily free.

It’s A Cost-Effective Way To Grow Your Business

Paid advertising sources can give you an instant return on your advertising dollars, but when it comes to being cost-effective, many of them substantially lower your ROI.

With search engine traffic, though, once you are ranked near the top of the search results, your sales are 100% profit. This helps offset any paid advertising campaigns you’re running so your revenue increases while your ad spend decreases.

Grow your business.

In other words, implementing SEO marketing into your strategy is one of the most cost-effective ways you can grow your business.

The Effects Of SEO Are Long Lasting

When you’re running a paid advertising campaign, you could find out that you’ve tapped into your target audience and they are seeing your ads more often than they want to.

When that happens, your reach is going to drop, your cost per click is going to increase, and your ads aren’t going to have the same effectiveness that they had when you first started the campaign.

With SEO traffic, though, you’re tapping into a constant stream of new traffic that (typically) hasn’t already seen your advertisements before, so an SEO campaign can run for years without losing any momentum.

In fact, when you rank for more keywords, you are going to have consistent traffic levels that deliver sales month, after month, without having to micromanage the campaign like you do when you’re running paid advertisements.

eCommerce SEO Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes time to optimize your store to rank higher in the search engines, we’ve found that many people have questions about the best practices they should follow, and end up letting those questions get in the way of them actually implementing the campaign.

To ensure you don’t find yourself getting bogged down in the details, below are some of the most commonly asked questions we see store owners having.

Follow the tips below and your store will have an easier time ranking in the search results and you won’t face some of the many different penalties that the algorithms implement, or find yourself falling behind the competition because you forgot some unwritten rule.

#1 - How Do I Deal With My Store’s Security

When it comes to purchasing online, security is one of your customer’s biggest concerns. It’s also one of the factors that influence rankings for sites at the top of the search results.

Major search engines do not want sites that are insecure appearing at the top of their search results because it’s not only harmful to their visitors, but it reflects poorly on their brand and causes internet users to lose trust in the results they’re being served.

If your site is insecure, or you’re not showing visitors that the sensitive information they enter into your site is well protected and encrypted, you could be harming your search rankings.

Store’s security

The best way to do this is to use images and logos from major, trusted security standards like SSL, credit card and PayPal logos, and site scanning services like McAfee and Norton.

Don’t take this information for granted because failing to include it in your pages can dramatically hurt your conversion rates, while also harming your search engine rankings at the same time.

#2 - How Do I Design My Store For Mobile Devices

With mobile usage increasing and more people primarily accessing the internet using a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone, you could cost yourself sales and search rankings by failing to provide a properly optimized experience for those users.

Mobile internet use is expected to have 2 to 3 times higher growth rate than desktop use over the next 10 years so it’s worth it for you to invest in a mobile optimized, responsive design for your store.

The search engine algorithms will test both versions of your site -- desktop and mobile -- and if your mobile version isn’t displaying properly your search rankings could be negatively impacted.

To ensure you stand the highest chances of claiming the top spots, you need to serve desktop versions for every URL on your website, while also having a mobile optimized and responsive version that automatically displays for mobile users.

Also keep in mind that some mobile users actually prefer the full desktop version, so do not hard-force mobile versions on them. Instead, serve different versions of pages to your users based on their device’s screen resolution.

#3 - How Do I Optimize My Images And Videos?

The images and videos you use has a huge impact on how your visitors feel about your brand and the products you’re selling, and Google will use this information to determine how trustworthy your store and brand is.

It’s also worth noting that high quality images and videos tend to get shared more. Search engine algorithms will utilize “social signals” to help them figure out how well visitors are receiving your content.

Optimizing your images and videos not only helps you rank higher in the search results but also gives you higher conversion rates, so it’s worth devoting time or a portion of your budget to improving them.

Optimizing images and videos.

To optimize your images for the search results you will want to include keywords in your image or video file name, the alt text you use to describe the image or video, as well as the caption and text near the image or video.

For more in-depth image and product optimization details, make sure you enter your email below to receive our comprehensive eCommerce SEO guide.

#4 - How Do I Utilize Site Search

If you’re already optimizing your site to rank higher in major search engines you would be making a huge mistake to not focus on your store’s internal search, too.

Using simple product tags isn’t enough when you’re trying to optimize your store’s site search for visitors to find the products they’re looking for.

When those visitors type in misspelled keywords, synonyms, or spacing errors on major search engines, for instance, the search engines will still return the results they were looking for.

On many eCommerce stores, though, these common misspellings, synonyms, and other errors are often overlooked, which leads visitors down a rabbit hole trying to find the products they were looking for and costs the store precious sales

To ensure you’re capturing these sales, here’s how to optimize your internal site search:

  • Track the searches your visitors are performing and how they find your site.
  • Actively target the most popular searches your visitors are performing.
  • ​Use tools like Crazy Egg to track clicks and user behavior.
  • ​Turn your search results pages into landing pages to showcase products.
  • Use your internal search tracking to identify usability errors and find new keywords to target in the major search engines.

Your own internal site search can be a beneficial tool in your marketing arsenal, if you use it properly and compare your own data to the data you’re receiving from major search engines.

#5 - How Should I Organize The Products In My Store

The content on your site -- your products and product category pages -- need to be organized by relevancy.

Proper internal link architecture goes a long way toward helping the search engines figure out how to “section” your site and can improve your rankings without links from external sites.

When you’re thinking about how to organize your site’s categories, think about how your visitor would react when they land on your store, for a second.

If they land on a page while they’re looking for an Apple iPhone, is it going to make more sense to show them products related to Google’s Nexus device, or accessories related to the iPhone they were looking for?

Products in store

You’re also going to want to make sure that only your best-selling, most popular products are featured in the most prominent spots on your site. Don’t waste space by featuring products that don’t sell well.

#6 - How Can I Bake SEO Into My Store’s Design

Web design doesn’t just encompass what your store looks like. While a good designer is going to ensure that your design is appealing and easy to navigate, your design needs to include key elements that will help your store rank higher in the search results.

When you’re working with a designer or developer, you’re going to want to make sure they’re including the key features that the search engines are looking for.

You can get the latest best practices by entering your email below and downloading our comprehensive guide to ranking higher in the search results and double check to make sure your designer is making your SEO job easier.

#7 - How Can I Utilize UGC

UGC, or user generated content, is a great way to work new keywords into your page and get critical feedback from your customers -- both good and bad -- so you can improve your business.

Allowing, and even encouraging, users to give you feedback helps increase your conversion rates and gives the search engine algorithms the “freshness” signals they’re looking for.

There are a few ways you can work UGC into your store:

  • You can build a community of users on social media, connecting your customers together.
  • You can use Schema.org markup to help your store separate itself in the search results and increase your clickthrough rates from the SERPs.
  • You can integrate social media onto your product pages so customers can easily find you and you can use the likes and shares as social proof to future customers.

New age search optimization requires you to think more about how your visitors are going to find you and interact with your store than it does the technology behind what’s actually driving your store.

#8 - How Do I Handle Product Category Pages

Your category pages are going to be some of the most powerful, most visited pages on your site, outside of your actual homepage. That means you need to treat them differently than product pages.

Here are some basic rules that you need to follow while building your category pages:

  • Treat each of your category pages as individual home pages, and funnel visitors (and link juice) into your individual product pages.
  • Include relevant content on your category pages to help pad the word count, include relevant keywords, help your visitors navigate your site, and give the search engines the content they need.
  • Build links to your product pages to help flow link equity to your individual product pages.
  • ​Share your category pages on social media to help drive visitors directly to them.
  • ​Design your category pages to help your visitors find what they’re looking for, quickly and easily.
  • Use friendly URLs and a linking structure that is not only easy to remember and easy to link to, but helps give search engine algorithms the data they’re looking for.

#9 - How Do I Deal With Different Product Specs

If you sell more than a few different products, you’re going to have times when duplicate content could become an issue because some products are so similar with the only differences being their size or color, for instance.

Rather than create individual pages for each of these variations (which can be a technical nightmare in itself), you’re going to want to use dropdown boxes and radio boxes to manage the options for each of the products being sold.

Products in store

Doing this will help eliminate any problems associated with duplicate content, reduce the amount of pages you have in your store, and make it easier for your visitors to find what they’re looking for.

#10 - How Can I Reuse Product Manufacturer’s Descriptions

In general, duplicate content penalties refer to duplicated pages and content on your own store.

However, if you are reusing product descriptions from your manufacturers, you could find yourself being outranked by a store with more authority that published the same content before you.

If you absolutely must use default product manufacturer’s descriptions (if you run a large store, for instance), you’re going to want to use UGC to help offset the amount of duplicate content you have on your site.

You can add additional content to your product pages and add psychology driven copywriting to help entice visitors to purchase or click through to your store from the SERPs.

#11 - How Can I Optimize Pages With Little-To-No Content

Countless eCommerce stores are facing this issue because it’s so hard to generate content for products, especially when you have hundreds or thousands of them in your store.

If you take the extra time to build out your product and category pages with additional content, though, you’re going to set yourself apart from the competition and give yourself the advantage in the search results.

There are multiple different ways you can help the search algorithms figure out what your pages are about and which keywords they should be appearing for:

  • Add additional content and copywriting to your most popular products, and then work backwards into your lesser selling products and pages.
  • Add content to your product category pages so they have the highest chance of showing up in the search results.
  • Enable and encourage your visitors to leave user generated content on your product pages to help them update automatically and give search engines fresh content to rank you with.

#12 - What Should I Do With Expired Or Out-Of-Stock Products

Constantly moving and deleting pages can wreak havoc on your search engine rankings, and if you do it long enough you could find it difficult to rank for any keywords you’re targeting.

To keep from being penalized or having your rankings demoted because of constant movement on seasonal and out-of-stock products, here are some guidelines you’ll want to follow:

  • Use 301 redirects to remove expired product URLs by redirecting the older page to the newer page, or redirecting traffic onto the parent category page.
  • Permanently delete the expired pages, content, and URLs and give the search engines a 410 status code to let them know that the page has been permanently removed.
  • ​If you are selling generic products, make every attempt to reuse the URLs that you already have ranking by updating the product pages with your new products.
  • If you expect to have the same products in stock later in the year or during a different season, leave these pages intact and mark them out-of-stock.

Traffic Isn’t The Only Thing You Can Automate

Hopefully, by now, you have a better understanding of what you need to be doing to not only gain search rankings but maintain them as your store grows and changes.

Automating your sales process and increasing your revenue is easy when you start ranking higher in the search results, but it’s not the only thing you can automate.

Your customer service has a huge impact on your conversion rates, and being available for your customers to ask questions without waiting around for a response is one of the easiest ways to grow your store’s revenue.

With Live Chat Ninjas, you’ll have a customer support team at the ready, 24 hours per day, 6 days per week, answering questions that your customers have within minutes, instead of hours or even days.

Live Chat Ninjas Features

The Live Chat Ninjas add another layer of human-based automation into your sales process, help increase your revenue, keep your customers happy, and will prevent them from hitting “back” and bouncing back to the search results -- which could have negative impacts on your overall search traffic in the future.

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