Ecommerce SEO is on an entirely different level compared to local SEO and other standard forms of organic SEO. Attaining top search rankings for product-related keywords is no easy accomplishment.
With Google Shopping Listings dominating the top listings, along with heavy-hitters like Amazon and eBay hovering just below, the competition is fierce. So wickedly fierce that many search marketers ask themselves: is it even worth it?.
The daunting challenges of ecommerce SEO are still embraced by many search marketing companies. And some SEO providers do manage to execute successful campaigns. This often hinges on three very essential components (or capabilities) that an ecommerce SEO provider can bring to the table.
Creative Keyword Researchers & Competitive Analysts
The preliminary phases are often the most critical in any SEO campaign. For ecommerce, this entails in-depth client immersions (learning what the brand is all about,) creative keyword research (pinpointing profitable keywords beyond the obvious,) and relentless competitive analyses (determining and assessing the other competing sites.)
Developing an honest and clear perspective of the playing field is critical to establish a foundation for a successful ecommerce SEO campaign. This often includes a very intensive approach to:
- Keyword Research – drilling down on long-tails and unique keyword variations that inspire creative ideas for SEO, such as building a section on the site for product reviews, promotions, or discounts.
- Competitive Analyses – assessing the domains that hold the top rankings for the latter keywords of interest. Is it realistic that the site you’re optimizing can outrank the competition?
Highly-Technical SEO Experts
Because ecommerce stores are often large websites with hundreds and thousands of pages, proficient on-site optimization plays a pivotal role. Ecommerce SEO providers typically staff at least one expert who’s adept in technical SEO, or the on-site intricacies that impact search engine crawling and indexing, as well as usability.
Technical SEO will encompass a wide range of things, such as:
- fixing broken links and mishandled page redirects
- leveraging proper markup language
- finding and correcting duplicate content issues
- optimizing cumbersome or SEO-unfriendly HTML coding
- eliminating HTML errors and warnings
- building complete, SEO-friendly sitemaps (both HTML and XML versions)
Technical SEO, although somewhat creative, is more systematic and analytical compared to other roles. Individuals adept in technical SEO generally have coding and/or web development experience. In most scenarios, they are vital to the success of an ecommerce SEO campaign.
Savvy Social Media Marketing Junkies
“Social signals” (also referred to as “social indicators,”) are an emerging ranking factor that are drastically influencing search results. Ecommerce brands that either have (or can build) a large social media following can spawn an incredible asset for SEO.
Think of it this way, the more people who share your posts on Facebook, re-tweet your tweets on Twitter, pin your images on Pinterest, or +1 your posts on Google+, the greater SEO value the posted content will have. In essence, creative and strategic use of social media can result in enhanced SEO performance.
In a previous post I highlighted Google+ as a big player in the socially-influenced search environment. Google+ is the under-rated exception in earning powerful social authority for SEO. This is due to the fact that the more people who encircle your brand on Google+, the greater influence you have over their organic search results..
This is Google’s emerging ranking mechanism based on the connections (and trust) established via Google+. Although it’s still in the early stages, the next couple of years may completely evolve Google into a socially-driven search engine.
Although there is more that goes into a successful ecommerce SEO campaign (e.g. CRO, content development, link popularity, etc.,) the latter three essentials are the foundational elements that contribute to long-term success.
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO, a full-service ecommerce SEO company that provides a wide-spectrum of Internet marketing services. Tyler offers over 5 years of experience in the search marketing profession with skill-sets in ecommerce SEO strategy, content marketing and development, social media marketing, and link building.