Ecommerce SEO: The New Guide for Small Businesses (2021)

by Nikita Shevchenko

When it comes to ecommerce SEO, there are quite a few major things to consider.

In this beginner-friendly guide, I am gonna show you how to optimize your small business e-commerce website in order to:

So if that sounds like something you want to achieve, let’s jump right in!

E-commerce SEO Basics

In this chapter, you will find out the answers to the most common questions related to local businesses’ ecommerce SEO.

Specifically, you will learn what ecommerce SEO is, the major factors to consider when optimizing a website, and the reason why optimization plays such a big role in online shop ranking positions.

Let’s begin.

What is Local Ecommerce SEO?

Local Ecommerce SEO is the process of optimizing one’s e-commerce website to attract organic traffic, improve brand awareness, and increase quality leads from local search.

The common local ecommerce SEO practices include:

  • Keyword research focused on commercial intent
  • On-Site optimization for “local ecommerce signals”
  • Publishing high-quality content that relates to the products a business sells
  • Strategic link building
  • And more
four major practices involved in ecommerce seo

Why Is SEO Important for E-Commerce Websites?

As mentioned earlier, search engine optimization can help your ecommerce website improve search ranking positions, increase brand awareness, and sales.

The following ecommerce statistics prove this statement:

  • 44% of online shoppers begin by using a search engine. (Source)
  • 54% would consider ending their relationship with a retailer if they are not given tailor-made, relevant content, and offers. (Source)
  • 73% of consumers prefer to do business with brands that personalize shopping experiences. (Source)
Ecommerce SEO Marketing Stats ecommerce seo

What are the Main Principles of small Business Ecommerce Websites’ Optimization?

  • Search Analysis. This practice helps you rank for certain keywords in certain categories that closely relate to your niche. It consists of thorough keyword research and deep competition analysis.
  • Technical SEO Audit. As with any credible resource on the web, a local e-commerce website should work properly and smoothly. All the necessary pages should be easily accessible by customers and search engines. It is very important to avoid technical SEO common issues that I will cover later in this guide.
  • Content Marketing. This practice will allow you to get the best possible exposure and increase your business revenue.
  • On-Page SEO. It will help certain pages rank higher in Google thus increasing your brand awareness and income.
  • Link-Building. It will establish your credibility around the web and improve your online store’s rankings positions.
  • Credibility and Reputation Establishment. The number of returned customers and loyal fans will elevate dramatically with the help of these practices.
The Main Tasks For Small Business Ecommerce SEO ecommerce seo

Which brings us to the next chapter that describes the foundation of all ecommerce marketing campaigns – Keyword Research.

Keyword Research for E-commerce websites

The whole optimization process begins with keyword research and search analysis in general.

Needless to say, finding the right types of keywords will make a big change in your local online business success.

Let’s take a look how you can approach this task step by step.

Focus on Commercial intent

If you want to get more sales, you need to optimize website pages with commerical intent in mind.

In other words, it is necessary to rank high for terms that convert well and attract real customers but not window shoppers.

So make sure you upgrade the keyword variations with the following terms:

  • Buy
  • Review
  • Best
  • Coupon
  • Cheap
  • Deals
  • Purchase
  • Free shipping
  • Save
keyword with commercial intent in the product headline ecommerce seo

Hack Amazon and ebay For Instant Keyword Ideas

When it comes to keyword research for e-commerce website there are probably no other tool that work greater than Amazon and eBay search bars.

They can hook you up with instant keywords ideas that you can use not only on the product pages but also for the category pages as well.

This is how the process looks in action:

Step #1: Type in the target keyword into the search bar

keyword in amazon search bar ecommerce seo

Step #2: Check the suggested terms

amazon keyword suggestions ecommerce seo

Step #3: Prepare an excel sheet for your hit list ideas

Now, you are ready to move to the next step.

Perform a Quick Competition Analysis

Never skip competition analysis. It will help you determine your chances on success and the path you should follow.

Here are the most important things you should care about:

#1 Search Intent

The idea behind it is simple, you need to make sure your business provides the exact same match for what your potential customers are looking for on the web.

In other words, if I am looking for a weightlifting bar thickener and you try to sell me thick weightlifting bars we have a problem here.

So start by analyzing the products your company is currently offering.

  • Make an extensive list of keywords that best describe your merch.
  • Add up some closely related terms and phrases.
  • Find out the exact search queries real customers use. (Refer to Amazon and eBay)

#2 Search Volume

This one is a little bit tricky.

The thing is that the tool that will show you the exact search volume for one particular keyword does not exist.

Sure, there are a couple of popular tools on the market like Google Keyword Planner (GKP), Ahrefs, and SEMrush. However, even the data from those two giants is not enough to come up with the exact number.

And don’t even get me started on synonyms and LSI keywords.

The solution?

Use all major tools available at the moment and a bit of common sense.

  • GKP
  • Ahrefs
  • SEMrush
  • Moz

Another cool tool that you might consider using is Google Trends.

It analyzes the popularity of certain queries across different regions and countries.

google trends interest over time graph ecommerce seo

#3 The Level of Competition

There are lots of factors to consider when determining the level of competition in you niche within your local area.

Again, there are quite a few good tools you can use to do a quick competition analysis.

The aforementioned Ahrefs and SEMrush have one very similar feature called – “Keyword Difficulty“.

It shows how hard it will be to crack the Google’s first page with a certain keyword.

ahrefs keyword difficulty tool ecommerce seo

But there is ONE major problem.

The data is not even close to Google’s data. Which makes this process rather referential and not fully dependable.

The solution?

Do the manual research!

Step 1: Type in your target keyword in search

montessori toys in brooklyn location specific search ecommerce seo

Step 2: Check the best performing pages

top performing competitor in local search ecommerce seo

Step 3: Calculate the chance of your success

There are a few principle factors to consider:

  • The size of the company
  • The number of positive reviews
  • The amount of content
  • On-Page SEO signals
  • And others
acorn shop featured in section ecommerce seo

Note: the website that I found is featured in multiple huge publications. It also has an extensive list of high-quality materials for early development. It would be really hard to compete with this e-commerce store for certain keywords unless you are able to offer a much better price&quality ratio.

When you have gathered a long list of different keywords that will help you rank high on Google and done deep competition analysis, it is important to make sure that your e-commerce website works flawlessly and delivers a great user experience.

Let’s get to the technical side.

Technical SEO for E-commerce websites

One of the surest things you can do to bring your online store success is to constantly monitor its technical SEO health.

In this chapter, I will show some of the most common technical SEO problems e-commerce website owners encounter and the easiest ways to fix them.

Let’s take a look.

Use Very Simple Website Architecture

There are lots of sound reasons behind this practice.

  • Clean website architecture improves website user experience (UX).
  • It allows users to find the necessary items effortlessly and within a couple of clicks.
  • The number of returned visitors will likely rise because of their positive experience.
  • The website looks more professional and your business looks more legit.

And there are basically two things you need to focus on:

  • Content
  • Website Design

It takes a lot of time and effort to master the first one however we can improve out website design in a matter of minutes nowadays.

As you can see my blog is very clean and minimalistic.

I use GeneratePress WordPress theme.

generatepress themes Website User Experience

The reasons?

  • It is ultra-fast and secure.
  • It is visually simple and therefore good for user experience.
  • You don’t have to be a programmer to make your site look great.
  • It is very affordable.
  • 24/7 support team is very helpful.

You can use this link to get a 10% discount.

Now, when your website looks great it is time to upgrade it with high-quality content.

Optimize Website for Mobile Users

More and more users use smartphones for web browsing and online shopping.

A mobile-optimized website is no longer an option.

On top of that, 57% will not recommend a retailer with a poorly designed mobile site. (Source)

The simplest thing you can do to assure that your ecommerce website is mobile-friendly is to install a responsive WordPress theme.

Fortunately, there are lots of options on the market.

And when you install one of them on your website. Don’t forget to run a test on Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

If you see the following message you are good to go.

page is mobile friendly report ecommerce seo

Perform a Deep Technical SEO Audit

It is important to make sure that every single page on your ecommerce website works properly.

The real problem pops up when you have thousands of pages (which is not uncommon for online stores).

Fortunately, there is a big number of professional SEO tools that can help you conduct a deep analysis.

Some of the best tools I recommend you are:

  1. RankMath
  2. Seobility
  3. SEO Report Card
  4. Seoptimer
  5. Website Grader

And if you really want to dig to the bones of your website I suggest you trying Ahrefs Site Audit Tool.

It will analyze your entire site, give you a score based on its performance, and hook you up with detailed improvement suggestions.

ahrefs site health score ecommerce seo

Note: The perfectionist voice inside my head keeps telling me to make it to 100 so I might share an update in one of my next articles. 😉

Now, your website score may not be as high as you see above.

In order to improve it, you need to take care of the problems your online store might possess.

Let’s see the most common of them.

Most Common Technical SEO Issues and How to Solve Them

Let’s begin with the most popular one:

The absence of SSL Encryption

The problem

The lack of SSL encryption is harmful to your website security. It is also one of the most important ranking factors, especially for e-commerce sites.

The solution

Use a reputable web hosting provider that offers free and dependable SSL certificates.

I run almost all my websites on SiteGround. (And recommend it to all of my readers.)

Not only is it an affordable solution for all webmasters but it also comes with amazing support, high-level security, and impeccable performance.

It is also officially recommended by I host this website on SiteGround.

Price: Plans start at 3.95$/month

siteground webhosting main page ecommerce seo

The absence of an XML Sitemap

The problem

E-commerce websites are usually packed with hundreds and even thousands of pages. While certain optimization tricks may help search engines crawl a lot of them effortlessly, there might be some of them that will stay unreachable for Google bot.

The solution

It is recommended to create an XML Sitemap that will allow Google spiders see the entire picture.

One of the easiest ways to do that is by using an SEO plugin called RankMath.

nikita shevchenko website xml sitemaps ecommerce seo

This article shows exactly how to set up the XML sitemap with RankMath.

Slow Site Speed

The problem

One second delay in page load can result in a 7% loss in conversions, 11% fewer page views, and a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. (Source)

It means that your site brings you 100000$ each day, this year you could lose 2.5 million $ in sales!

I know that these kinds of numbers are a little bit overwhelming for most local e-commerce sites but you get the point.

The solution

The highest ROI practices for website speed improvement might be:

  • Switching to a faster web hosting provider
  • Installing fast and clutter-free WordPress theme
  • Optimizing website multimedia
  • Using caching plugins gtmetrix speed score ecommerce seo

Which brings us to the next common technical SEO issue:

Too Many Pages

The problem

The more pages website has the more potential problems it can cause to its owner. It is much easier to control fewer pages in general. Additionally, the extra pages might not be as valuable in terms of user experience which makes it really bad for SEO.

The solution

The easiest way to follow is deleting the dead-weight pages.

Among them might be:

  • Archive pages
  • Outdated services pages and content
  • Empty category and tag pages
  • Search pages
  • Confirmation or Thank you pages
  • Thin content (<200 words)
  • Boilerplate content

And if you really want to get your hands dirty, go through some of the pages you consider important and improve or redirect them.

Which leads us to the next step:

Duplicate Content

The problem:

Duplicate content confuses the heck out of Google and other search engines. They simply are not sure which page should rank higher. Needless to say, it signals about poor quality of a website and leads to poor user experience.

The solution

Use all-in-one SEO solutions like Ahrefs, Moz, and SEMRush to analyze your website for duplicate content issues.

Siteliner is another great tool that might help you with this task.

siteliner duplicate content analysis ecommerce seo

Thin Content

The problem

Google considers thin content low-quality and does not grant it with high rankings positions. Thin content is also a sign of poor optimization and not a reliable resource on the web.

The solution

Make sure to juice up every important page on your e-commerce website with a least 1000 words of descriptive content. Give every product a unique and extended description.

Speaking of which, the next chapter is devoted to the type of content you should be using on your local ecommerce website.

Let’s dive in!

How to create content for E-commerce

Creating high-quality content is one of the most important actions you can perform to help your online store drive more visitors and increase sales.

In this chapter, I am gonna share with you my favorite 3-step formula that I use to help my clients get the best possible exposure and increase their revenue.

Here are the exact steps:

Step 1: Find Out What Your Target Audience Cares Most

There are two prominent places where your target audience might gather:

  1. Quora
  2. Reddit

You may use both of them to find the untapped keyword ideas and learn what your audience really needs.

Quora will demonstrate a lot of niche-relevant questions from real users that are looking for answers, services, and products.

product related quora question ecommerce seo

Reddit might be especially helpful if you are patient enough to browse through your industry-related subreddits.

Sometimes you might find hidden gems there even at the beginning of you search.

product related reddit subreddit question ecommerce seo

Step 2: Create the Highest-Quality content

These are the basic rules I follow to produce high-quality content:

  • Rule #1: A Compelling Headline

It must look click-worthy. Avoid generic headlines everyone uses. Add emotional words, numbers and signs.

  • Rule #2: Write an Introduction

Make it catchy and straight to the point. Avoid fluff and false promises.

  • Rule #3: Craft an Awesome Post

Make it as helpful and practical as you can. Include subheadings, bullet lists, tables and HQ images.

Step 3: Promote the heck out of it

Last but not the least.

If you want to increase your website’s chances for success you need to give your content a little nudge

  • Share it on social media
  • Send it to your email list
  • Use email outreach
  • Participate in Q&A forums

On-Page SEO will also increase chances for higher rankings.

Let’s check some of the most important on-site optimization tricks you should use on e-commerce websites.

Ecommerce On-Page SEO

On-Page SEO is one of the foundational areas of search engine optimization.

As a matter of fact, it plays a significant role in ecommerce website optimization as well.

That said, there are a few crucial page elements you should pay your biggest attention to.

They are:

The Title And Description Tags for Maximized CTR

Enticing product titles and descriptions are certainly helpful in terms of bringing additional traffic to your pages and increasing sales.

Here is how you can make them optimized for highest organic click-through-rate:

First, include your target keyword.

Example: Buy Beats by Dr. Dre With a Discount

Second, include click magnet words. The words that drive attention, trigger emotions, and stimulate action.

Example: Buy Beats by Dr. Dre at 15% off (Free Delivery)

Now if you thought that this step was easy, let’s see the next one.

Short and Descriptive URLs

Most people and search engines prefer simplicity over chaos.

Short and sweet URLs will help them easily navigate through your website.

Now, I usually suggest using a “Post Name” for the majority of the websites.

However, since we are talking about ecommerce SEO, I would highly recommend going with “Custom Structure” and making it category + post name.

Go to Settings – Permalinks and create the following structure:

wordpress permalinks custom structure ecommerce seo

Note: Change permalink structure only if your website is brand new.

Meaty and Informative Product Descriptions

Descriptive and informative content on the product pages will help them rank higher in local search.

People will more likely find it on the web and enticing descriptions will nudge them to make a purchase.

Additionally, you will be able to rank for lots of keywords variations.

Long And Informative Product Description helps ecommerce seo ecommerce seo

Pro Tip: Create interlinks that point to your business’s most popular products. Do not forget about relevance as well.

Implement Schema Markup

Rich snippets are arguable the best way to stand out in Google search page.

While there are many types of them available at the moment, the one that I am talking about is reviews.

schema markup in serp ecommerce seo

Schema markup will help Google and other search engines better understand the structure of your content and the chances of getting a rich snippet in search will be increased drammaticaly.

One of the simplest ways to implement schema on your website is by using RankMath.

rankmath schema markup settings ecommerce seo

Now, since while we are mostly talking about ecommerce SEO for local businesses it is important to understand a couple of basic principles that relate to Local SEO.

They are all outlined in the following chapter.

Local SEO for E-commerce Retailers

Local e-commerce retailers must not overlook the local SEO ranking signals I am about to share in this chapter.

In fact, they are so important that may easily determine your business’s success.

Let’s check them out.

Ranking Factor #1: Google My Business (GMB)

If you are working with local customers you need to have your GMB account setup.

Adding your business to Google will be your first step.

add to your business to google ecommerce seo

Note: Ideally, your company should have an official physical address.

The next step, should be GMP optimization.

You need to make sure that it is 100% complete.

Add the following information.

  • Your company website address. If you haven’t claimed a domain name, you can do it on NameCheap.
  • Your company email address. 
  • Opening hours.
  • Payment methods.
  • A full description of your business.
  • Photos and videos.
  • Appropriate categories.
  • Keyword placement.

Keep the information you put in GMP consistent. It should match the information on your website.

Regularly update it if there are any changes.

Encourage leaving positive reviews.

Ranking Factor #2: On-Page Signals

Element #1: NAP citations are huge in local SEO.

NAP citations are your business Name, Address, and Phone Number which are all listed out in one place.

It is critical for SEO to make sure that this information is consistent across the web.

Element #2: Internal and External links

They help spread the PageRank equally throughout your website. They also strongly correlate with positive user experience and increase entire website SEO.

Element #3: Site speed and Responsiveness

These are two major on-site signals that improve your website search visibility and deliver a great user experience.

We’ve already taken care of these two factors by installing a responsive WP theme on our website and increasing its speed.

These task are really important for SEO in general but what really matters in ecommerce SEO is the number of positive reviews.

Ranking Factor #3: Positive Reviews

One study found that even a one-star increase can help boost your business revenues by 10%. (Source)

How to get positive reviews?

As I’ve already mentioned above, you should:

  • Provide high-quality service to your customers and clients
  • Deliver excellent results
  • Aways try to underpromise and overdeliver

The next chapter covers a huge topic – Link building.

The more high-quality links point to your website the higher it will be able to rank in Google search.

Let’s see how you get acquire them

There are very few things that can improve your rankings as fast as high-quality backlinks.

The good news is that if you are the owner of a local e-commerce website you can utilize some unique link-building strategies that work ONLY for local businesses.

Let’s take a close look at them.

Personal Network

It can probably be the fastest and easiest way to build some quick backlinks for your local website.

You may start from:

  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Licensing bureaus
  • Vendors
  • Resellers
  • Trade associations
  • And other affiliates

Sponsorships And Partnerships

Does your business provide help for other businesses?

Make sure the guys that represent those businesses put backlinks to your website on their pages.

Do you partner with other local businesses?

Ask them to mention your services and put a couple of links that point to your website.

Guest Blog Posting

This techniques works great with local and non-local websites.

First, find local websites that accept guest posts.

Use this search string:

“Keyword” + Guest Post + “Your City Name”

Next, check the writer’s guidelines and write your article.

Finally, send it to the editor and make sure you include a couple of backlinks to your site.

Contribute to Local Events

They will appreciate your help, you will get new powerful backlinks, brand mentions, positive reviews, and new customers.

Now you know exactly how to do ecommerce SEO for local businesses.

You can start implementing the steps from this guide right now.

Let me ask you a quick question:

Which Tip From This Guide Are You Gonna Try Out First?

Leave your thoughts and questions in the comment section below.

Also, add me on LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram, I share some useful stuff there 😉

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