As this is a practical SEO guide, I’m not going to promise that your site will reach the first position on Google after taking just 5 simple actions. I can, however, make a different claim: Your site and all your pages will rank up!
And, in the end, that’s what you want. You want people to be able to find you and look at your products. Converting them into buyers is something that your own site will have to focus on.
What search engines offer you is a way in for the customers. Therefore, it’s important that your future buyers find you in Search, first and foremost.
If you want to be the first on Google for specific terms, there is a very long road ahead of you. It’s not impossible, but it’s also not the goal of this SEO guide.
We know that most online shop-owners have numerous tasks they need to take care of, from product stocks, transport, and packaging to dealing with unhappy clients. If you have enough on your plate and just want to make sure that your site is present on Google, this SEO guide is for you.
The First Important Ingredient: Keywords
Keywords are the terms or phrases people use to do searches on different internet platforms. If the visitor’s words match the keywords on your product page, then your site will most likely show up in the results.
This is the main reason why keywords are the first and most important part of SEO.
Focusing on general keywords like “shirt” or “jewellery” is not a great strategy. Why? First of all, you don’t know if people are:
- searching for jewellery to buy
- researching the latest fashion trends or
- just want an image depicting the object.
The intent is unclear. So instead of just using these generic terms, try adding actionable or specific keywords, for example, “Buy red T-shirts” or “handmade silver jewellery”.
But how to find the best key phrases to use?
One great option is to use a keyword research plugin directly on your site. I’ll show you an example of using the Squirrly plugin for this task.
I will consider “handmade jewellery” as the keyword I will start my research with. As I want to address UK customers, I will choose Google.co.uk from the country list.
All I have to do is type in the keyword, choose the country and complexity, and click on “Do the research”. In a few minutes or less, I have the full list of possible keywords.
Choose the ones that:
- Make sense for your site and products. The suggestions might vary for the terms you put in.
- Have low competition. Good for ranking, easy to rank and very easy to rank is what you want to find.
- Keywords with SEO Search Volumes above 1000. These will be highly-searched terms that get on average that number of searches per month.
Most of the results in the images are longer keywords that are made up of multiple words and are called long-tail keywords. The advantage of using them is that even if there are fewer people searching for them, the audience is more targeted, which makes converting them easier.
- Focus on a portfolio of keywords for your site. Having a variety of keywords within the same niche will help your site rank better overall.
- Always do your Research. Whether you’re using Squirrly’s keyword research feature just before writing a product description or Answer the public, you need to constantly know what people are searching for online.
- Measure your conversions. When you change – even slightly – the keywords on your pages, keep an eye on the conversions from your organic search. If they go up, it means that people who are searching for those particular keywords are closer to buying products.
Make Navigation Easy
As this is part of an SEO guide, you should first understand how Google searches pages within your site. They use an automatic crawling technology called “spiders” to check and index pages in search results. When your shop has simple navigation, it is more likely for it to show up among the results.
To ensure your own online store has this part covered, you need to take these actions:
- Make sure your sitemap is set up. A plugin can easily solve this for your site. It’s a sure way for Google to find all your pages in a structured way and ensure your pages are properly connected.
- Add “breadcrumb” links to your pages. This is a secondary navigation option where visitors can see the previous sections of your site they came from and return there. It is usually located at the top of the page.
- The navigation experience should be flawless. Even if search engines will eventually crawl all the pages linked to your site, visitors won’t do the same. Searching for products and moving from page to page within your site should be easy and pleasant in order for your visitors to become clients. Take how the navigation works from mobile devices into consideration as well.
Another important part of a good navigation is also the structure of your links (URL). Make sure you use words and even keywords in your URLs rather than numbers. There should be a clear connection between the URL and the product featured on that page.
For example, a new necklace in your jewellery store should have a link like this:
rather than one that looks like this:
Here at ChiefContent, we use Squirrly to take care of our Sitemap and canonical links. You can try the plugin for free fully featured for 14 days. After that, it’s only $29.99/mo.
- Label categories appropriately. You might want to name a category page from your site that only features watches, collection. This is not clear enough for the user coming to your site. Second, it’s not Google-friendly either. Try to use Keywords or at least descriptive phrases for your categories.
- Don’t overuse long-tail keywords in the URL structure. Having a product URL www.yourshop.com/watch_selection/waterproof_watch_for_man/ is a good option if you want to rank for “waterproof watch for man” or “watch for man,” but don’t go any further than this in your URL optimisation. The extra work will be more detrimental than helpful.
- Keep your site mobile-friendly. Most buyers nowadays will probably do at least one mobile check-up of their future purchase from their smartphones. So, your store needs to look good on mobile as well. There is no way around it.
Focus on Content
You already know that content is one of the most important parts of any online marketing strategy. It’s what lets crawlers know more about your site, and what can make buyers finish their purchase.
But on your own site, you might currently have a limited amount of content, coming from few products and no blog posts. Ideally, you’d want to have a coherent site that publishes at least an article per week and educates its audience.
For this purpose, our SEO guide will focus on how you can maximize the content you already have and streamline the one you really need to create.
That means you have to focus on product descriptions. Best-case scenario; you craft them on your own from scratch. That way, you know you only have original content on your site that resonates with your brand and can convince people to buy from you.
An alternative for resellers is to take the product description from the main producer and reinterpret it. This means you can keep the same ideas they present but in the voice and words of your brand.
These pieces of content bear a far larger importance for human buyers and robot crawlers than generic copied ones.
Your main pages should also include Original Copy. Even if you don’t craft a unique product description for each page, your main landing pages should be unique to your site. These pages include:
- About us
- Transport and Packaging
Make sure to optimize the pages for the keywords that you’ve previously researched. At the same time, make sure not to overstuff your content with keywords, as neither humans or crawlers will be impressed. The Squirrly plugin can help you with this aspect as well.
It’s all about writing the product description with the keyword in the Live Assistant and following its guidance until everything turns green.
Also, make sure your meta information is original as well. This is the first piece of content your audience will see in regards to your page whenever they find your link. This is what will make them click on it or not.
- Avoid Duplicate Content. Sometimes, this happens because eCommerce platforms duplicate pages when accessed in different ways. For example, accessing a product page from a search result or from a category page on the site. Fortunately, if you are a Woocommerce user, you don’t need to worry about that. But you still need to be mindful of the fact that having a very similar product with almost the same description is no good.
- Have longer descriptions. Most shop owners have an average of 300 words in the description. Most of the time, this just isn’t enough. Visitors need to learn enough about the product to feel confident about it, which then leads to conversions.
- Optimize your images as well. Quality pictures of your products is a must, but you need to make sure that the meta information connected to them is also optimized. Make your image title as relevant to the product as possible. Also, include a keyword in the ALT text of your images.
Site Speed Is Still Important
Have you ever reached a shop and waited 2 minutes for a page to fully load? Probably not, cause after a few seconds, you left to find a better option. The speed of your site is something that not only search engines care about but also your visitors.
Which means it’s something that can drastically affect your conversion rates.
79% of web shoppers who have trouble with web site performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again.
Google will also penalize your site and rank you lower if your site takes too long to load.
So, don’t let potential customers just walk away! There are a few things you can do today:
- Add a cache plugin to your site. The way these plugins work is that they save an HTML version of your page in the visitor’s computer. When they access your site, they will see the version saved on their computer much faster than the live website.
- Compress images. Having high-quality pictures of your products usually means large files. These elements take longer to load when present in pages and will make your pages slower. A solution is to use sites like Tiny png or Compress Jpeg before uploading images to your site.
- Switch from shared hosting service to a managed WordPress Hosting. It’s true that it will be more expensive than the first option, but your site will be safer and faster. We’ve talked more about the benefits of making this change in a different article on our site.
Most Important Things You Need to Remember from this SEO Guide
Having proper SEO for your online shop is a complicated task. Especially when this is not your main job. However, there are a few aspects that you need to ensure are properly taken care of.
They might not put you in the first position of Google, but they will help you show up in Search. Remember that you can always:
- Add Plugins to your site that will make your SEO tasks take less time. Squirrly is just one of them, you can also consider WP Fastest Cache to make your site faster.
- Create original content for your site. Writing fresh content constantly and posting it on your blog is what you should aspire to. But the first step is to have at least unique product descriptions. Tailor them to fit your particular audience and brand.
- Have a clear keyword strategy. Good key-phrases are the core elements of a successful SEO strategy. You need to know which ones you are focusing on with your site in order to take the right actions. Also, make sure you periodically update your keyword list.
- Optimization has many aspects. You can optimize the content on your page, or meta description, and even your images. It’s all about making sure your site is closer to showcasing your products in the best way possible.
Take time out of your busy week to put all these actions into practice. Try out one or two new tools this week. You might be amazed by the time they save you.