Ecommerce SEO guide for the 2022 holiday season
An 'Oct'agon strategy to win your share of this $260 billion ecommerce sales pie
An 'Oct'agon strategy to win your share of this $260 billion ecommerce sales pie
Holiday season brings with it many things. One of them being ecommerce revenue. Despite the global recession and cost of living crisis, the 2022 holiday season will see people spending. Economists at Deloitte forecast ecommerce revenue of around $262 billion which is a 13.5 percent growth.
The question here is, how do you get a share of this $260 billion ecommerce pie? By working on improving your ecommerce SEO.
Search engines push 37.5 percent of all traffic to ecommerce sites, and a whopping 95 percent of these searchers stick to the first SERP. Having an early enough start to your ecommerce seo strategy helps you earn visibility in top SERPs, measure effectiveness, test, and scale practices as the peak season approaches.
Ecommerce SEO can help your store rank higher and offer a better user experience by making sure your website aligns with search engine ranking factors.
However, Google, the most used search engine, updates its ranking factors several times a year according to its users’ changing behavior. So, you need to upgrade your marketing toolkit with the latest SEO techniques before the holiday season.
In this article, you’ll find some of the latest and proven-to-work ecommerce SEO strategies to hopefully point you in the right direction as you prepare to dip your hands into the holiday season.
Let’s dive right in!
Ranking an ecommerce store is critical to winning those holiday sales. Why? Because people turn to Google whenever they are looking to shop for holiday essentials or presents.
In this situation, an ecommerce website that fails to rank higher may miss out on interacting with holiday shoppers out with their money.
So, here are some key ecommerce SEO techniques to help you to help your website rank higher and possibly interact with holiday shoppers:
Holiday shopping begins with keywords. People type in search phrases when they are looking to buy something. And that’s where your opportunity to rank lies.
44 percent of people start their online shopping journey with a Google search. Keyword research might help you find words to help Google and other search engines connect these shoppers with your web page.
ecommerce keyword research differs slightly from regular keyword research. In this case, your focus is to identify and include search phrases with commercial or transactional intent.
There could be keywords that appear commercial but could have an informational intent and hence may prove detrimental to your SEO.
The phrase “best winter shoes for women US” may seem like a transactional keyword. But as it appears from the top search result, it has a dominant informational intent.
Let’s talk about finding these keywords.
Your keyword research should start with brainstorming keyword ideas. Make a list of all the products you sell, and then jump in your customer’s shoes to see how they would search for what you are selling.
Say that you have a shoe store and sell running and other types of shoes. Your customers may search for your product with keywords like “running shoes” or “buy best running shoes.”
Think of all such keywords.
Backlinko also recommends diving into amazon and typing these root words into the search bar to find more keyword ideas.
All of the phrases in the image above can be used as root keywords for shoe store SEO.
You can also check out your competitor’s websites to uncover the keywords that they are ranking for.
From the image above, we can see that “Buy best winter shoes for women” might be a good alternative to the “best winter shoes for women” keyphrase.
Also, scroll to the end of the SERPs to check out the related searches section for more keyword ideas.
Make a list of keywords during this brainstorming session.
Make sure to corroborate the search intent before shortlisting a keyword. Sometimes a keyword may appear to have commercial intent, but in reality, it may be informational.
Finally, run your keyword ideas through a keyword research tool like Google Adwords to determine the search volume and competition.
Low search volume and high-competition keywords are usually recommended. But when trying to rank an ecommerce store, you might benefit from long-tail keywords with low search volume and competition. But these keywords are touted to convert better and may help your website rank sooner.
Google now prioritizes websites with descriptive and valuable content. You cannot achieve results with your e-commerce SEO campaign while ignoring content.
Find out what’s trending in the holiday season. What are people talking about? And then create content around topics or products that are trending.
Focus on optimizing all the content present on your website, along with creating new, informational, and valuable content.
Optimize your product descriptions with relevant keywords. Avoid keyword stuffing, though. Instead, create product descriptions that give users all the information they may need before buying a product.
This may include product details and reviews.
Besides product pages, consider creating a separate blog to post top-of-the-funnel content like blogs, case studies, product reviews, etc. Not only will this enrich your website’s content, it may also help rank your site quicker, drive more web traffic, and generate better leads.
Long-form content, especially blogs, gets around 77% more backlinks than short-form content. Therefore, pumping out informative, unique articles may also help build your backlink profile.
Since we have touched on the topic of backlinks…
Many people believe backlinks have gone down the hierarchy of ranking factors. That’s not true, though.
Backlinks are as important as ever. When determining your website’s authority, Google relies on the number, quality, and relevance of your backlinks. So, don’t slack off on acquiring links from other relevant sites on the internet.
Gaining backlinks for an ecommerce store may not be as straightforward as building some random blog’s backlink profile.
There are many bloggers that create seasonal content and it could be an opportunity in your ecommerce SEO strategy to get backlinks on holiday season offers and discount pages. Consider reaching out to them and asking them if they could write a holiday season piece on your product and link back to your site, or offer to write a guest post for them to earn a backlink.
Additionally, there are many product review websites. You can reach out to them, send your product, and ask them to write a review of the product and link back to the product’s page on your website.
Brand mentions like these may help uplift your SEO scores since 52 percent of marketers believe brand mentions impact organic rankings.
Website user experience is an important ranking factor. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
There are various ways you can improve your website’s user experience. The first one is through site structure.
Your website needs to be easy to navigate for the users and crawl for the search engines. And for that, you will have to make sure all your web pages are arranged so that every page within the website is accessible through three or fewer clicks. This is what backlinko calls the golden rule of website structure.
Here’s a representation of what a good website structure may look like:
And here’s an example:
Once you have improved the site structure, look at the URLs of the web pages you’ve just sorted. Your website URL should tell the user what the page is about with a short but descriptive keyword.
Here’s an example of what good URLs may look like:
Furthermore, 73 percent of web designers believe a non-responsive web design is one of the top reasons visitors leave a website. I know these are hard words but I should say all your ecommerce SEO efforts could be wasted, if your e-commerce store is not mobile-friendly and responsive web design happens to be a critical ranking factor. So make sure your website is mobile optimized so the design can adjust according to the screen it appears on.
An example of responsive web design:
Another factor that shapes your website’s user experience is its security. Google, too, prioritizes website security and works to make sure the websites it drives its users to are secure.
Make sure you have a TLS certificate, so “HTTPS” and a little lock appear in the URL bar for the users to know your website is safe.
Page load speed is a part of the website’s user experience. But because it is so important, especially for an ecommerce store, it deserves its own space.
A drop in page load speed decreases the conversion rates, with almost 75 percent of people tending to change their mind during the checkout process if the website is too slow or taking time to load during checkout.
Since the holiday season usually adds to the website load, your website can slow down. Be proactive and make sure you have enough website resources to handle the holiday rush.
Google counts a page’s load speed as an important ranking factor and so make sure to remove unnecessary ad blockers, scripts, or optimize everything that can drag your website down in terms of speed.
On-page optimization includes fine-tuning the relatively smaller website elements contained within the web page.
36 percent of SEO experts believe the title tag is the most important SEO element. Therefore, optimize your title tag so it is descriptive, short, and keyword-optimized.
You can use Moz’s Title Tag checker to see how your title would look on the SERP and optimize it accordingly.
Meta descriptions are critical as well. While they do not influence SEO directly, meta descriptions play a vital role in shaping your CTR. So, take the time to write crips and compelling descriptions.
Also, make sure to include keyword-optimized H2s and H3s wherever possible. And don’t forget to optimize the images on every web page.
Schema Markup is a set of codes you can embed in your web page’s HTML to help Google understand the page. It also enables the search engine to return more informative and descriptive results, otherwise known as snippets.
This is particularly important for an ecommerce site because users want to ensure the website they click on contains what they are looking for. And optimized snippets give them that and hence contribute to improved CTRs.
While Google decides what it wants to display in the snippets section, including what you want to be displayed as a snippet through Schema may increase the chances of Google going with what you have chosen.
RankBrain is one of Google’s most historical updates and is now among the top three ranking factors. This algorithm helps Google rank sites that are contextually relevant to the search queries.
Therefore, prioritize understanding your audience and creating the content THEY need alongside working on the technical aspects of e-commerce SEO.
Additionally, work on increasing your website’s engagement rates since Backlinko believes dwell time is an important ranking factor with RankBrain. And as mentioned above, look for any authoritative backlinking opportunity you get and capitalize on it.
Finding visibility in the search engine space during the holiday season is critical to help drive business revenue. However, winning with ecommerce SEO is tough but not impossible. You might compete with big sharks like Amazon, who dominate the first page. Therefore, you may have to be smart about your strategies.
Building a content-first SEO strategy can help here as these pages may rank more easily and help channel traffic to product pages that may struggle to rank when Amazon reigns over the SERPs.
So, focus on creating optimized, informative, and user-focused content. Work on the technical aspects of SEO, and continue tracking the latest search engine updates to adapt your SEO tool kit accordingly.
Atul Jindal is a web design and marketing specialist. He has worked on website/app optimization for SEO with a core focus on conversion optimization. He creates web experiences that bring conversations and transform web traffic into paying customers or leads.
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