When consumers go shopping online, they’re usually looking for a specific product. Some might want it in a certain size or with certain features, while others might want it from a particular business. Whatever search criteria your customers have, you can reach them with SEO for retail sites.
Optimizing for search engines can be particularly challenging for online retailers because they have to optimize hundreds (or even thousands) of products in numerous categories. It’s a time-consuming process, but the benefits of an ongoing SEO strategy are more than worth the effort.
This page offers an overview of why you need SEO for ecommerce, along with some ideas you can put in place to generate more sales on your website. If you want to learn more, keep reading, and give us a call at 888-601-5359.
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How does SEO for retail sites work?
Search engine optimization is the process of optimizing individual elements on a site or page to improve its chances of ranking well in search engines. It is an ongoing process, and requires updating the site regularly in order to stay current with algorithm updates and searcher behavior. For retail sites with a lot of pages and constantly changing products, those updates are typically more extensive.
Your site may offer hundreds of items for sale, each with its own dedicated page. Most shoppers don’t land on these pages—instead, they search by type, size, color, price range, and sales. Every product must be optimized for these searches, as should their accompanying photos.
If you want shoppers to find your merchandise, you have to not only optimize your website for general retail searches—you have to optimize each item for searches on specific criteria.
Why are search engine rankings so important?
SEO for retail sites takes time and effort, but it’s a necessity if you want to build a successful online business. Here are some of the benefits of ranking well in search engines like Google:
The first five results of a Google search get 68% of the clicks from searchers. People don’t want to spend their time scrolling past the first few options, and if your pages aren’t among them, there’s little chance of attracting attention.
Search engines use many factors to determine their rankings, but when it comes down to it, their main goal is providing searchers with high quality results. As a result, search engine users have come to associate rankings with quality. As your site ranks higher, your authority—and credibility among prospective shoppers—increases as well.
Lower marketing costs
When your site is the top listing in a web search, your business automatically gets in front of a new potential shopper at a fraction of the cost of a marketing campaign. In fact, organic search generates more revenue than paid search, so SEO actually enables you to bring in more business for less money.
There’s just one problem with the benefits of SEO—they don’t happen overnight. If you begin optimizing your site on Monday, you won’t see higher rankings on Thursday. Results occur gradually and only after diligently following an SEO strategy. However, if you start using some of the tips listed below, you’ll see the benefits over the long term.
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5 retail SEO tips
There are lots of retail businesses on the web. Some of them don’t even have a physical store, yet they generate millions of dollars a year. Your site can do that, too—but only if web users are able to find it. Here are a few steps you can take to improve your chances of appearing at the top of search engine results.
1. Use relevant keywords
Successful SEO campaigns begin with keyword research. Think about the language search engine users use when they go to sites like Google. They’re not typing in, “clothes,” or, “housewares,”—they’re searching for, “cocktail dresses,” or, “white kitchen appliances.”
Most retail searches are specific, so your product descriptions should be specific, too. Incorporate relevant keywords into product copy, page URLs, and other searchable content, as well as details, colors, sizes, fabrics, and other information your potential customers might use as search criteria.
2. Create more pages
Websites with more pages rank tend to higher than those with fewer pages. As a retailer, you have a built-in advantage, since each product can have its own page. Those shouldn’t be your only pages, though.
Blogs, testimonials, and other interesting content can help round out your site. You can also incorporate product reviews to help keep your pages fresh. Keeping your site updated with fresh information can boost your SEO efforts and help ensure that your pages rank higher in search engine results.
However, don’t just add pages for the sake of adding them—when it comes to SEO, quality still trumps quantity.
3. Optimize images
Keywords don’t just belong in text—they should go into photo descriptions as well. When optimizing your site, don’t forget about images.
Include keywords in the file name and alt text of each photo on your site, even non-product photos. This helps search engines determine what is being shown in your photos, and can play a role in improving your rankings. It can also help your images rank in image searches for relevant keywords.
4. Make your content shareable
While social media does not directly affect rankings, having your content shared across various platforms can help drive traffic to your site. Because of this, you should make it as easy to share your content as possible.
Add widgets for your social profiles, and “Share” buttons on each page on your site. Your visitors will then have the option to share products or articles they find interesting with their friends, and if those people find the content interesting as well, you’ve just attracted potential customers with very little effort. This is especially important for pages with interesting photos, since visual content does well on social media.
5. Optimize for mobile
Mobile now accounts for more than half of all ecommerce traffic, and it exceeds desktop as the top source of Google searches. Since more shoppers are browsing and buying from their mobile devices, you need to ensure that your ecommerce site is optimized for mobile.
When optimizing for mobile, it’s important to use large, easy-to-read text, along with simple layouts and clear images. You’ll also want to incorporate large calls-to-action to encourage mobile shoppers to make a purchase.
Attract more sales with retail SEO
If you have a wide range of products for sale, every page on your site needs to be optimized for search engines. Doing so can help boost your rankings, attract traffic, and generate revenue.
However, we understand that not everyone knows how (or is willing to spend the time) to implement an extensive SEO strategy. If you need help getting started, feel free to contact us! Our dedicated team of Internet marketers is more than happy to assist you with all of your SEO needs.