Listing your products on your online shop, or eBay and Amazon isn’t enough to guarantee a successful ecommerce business, you also have to attract customers to buy from you. One of the best ways to draw in potential customers is to make sure you’re one of the highest results when they search for something you’re selling on Google, you can do this by following some simple SEO tips.
If you have your own online shop then take a look at these tips for some simple ways to improve your search engine ranking, for eBay and Amazon many of the techniques are the same but we’ve covered them in more detail later on.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a process that improves the position that your website appears in search results on search engines such as Google. Software is used to assess your website’s content and use of keywords and phrases to determine the relevance of your site when someone types a keyword or phrase into the search engine.
Why is SEO important for your online shop?
Ensuring your website appears as high up the list of search results as possible is important because it makes you more visible to potential customers and encourages people to visit your online shop.
How to use SEO to make your shop website more visible
One of the key ways to improve your SEO is to include keywords and phrases on your website. These will be the words or phrases that someone would type into a search engine to find the item that you’re selling. To start with you need to research the keywords for your shop, and for your individual products - try using a tool like Google Adwords free Keyword Tool to search for popular terms.
When you have a good idea of what words people are using to describe the product they're looking for, pick some to target and then make sure they’re included on your website's product pages. Your SEO keywords and phrases don’t just have to be a couple of words long, longer search terms will improve your search ranking and make you more visible to potential customers searching for the specific item you sell. Use relevant keywords on your homepage, in product descriptions, and your blog (if you have one) but avoid overusing them, as this will have a negative effect on your SEO. It’s also important to make sure your content still reads well and makes sense, so you don’t put off buyers when they find your products. Find out more about how to research and use SEO keywords here.
Avoid duplicating content in product descriptions
As an online shop it’s easy to copy and paste descriptions for similar items to save time, unfortunately having the same content in more than one place on your website, or the exact same as another website, will lower your ranking. Wherever possible try to write unique and individual descriptions for each item, or anywhere you have text on your shop, and definitely don’t use manufacturer product descriptions.
Adding a review widget that enables customers to leave reviews for specific products is a great way to get unique content that helps differentiate product pages that might otherwise look very similar to search engines.
Use the ALT text for your images
When you add an image to your website you can also include ALT text, which describes the picture and will help it appear in image searches - this is another chance to use your relevant keywords. If you use a content management system (CMS), then you’ll have a chance to add ALT text when you upload the image, or if you’re using HTML then take a look at this article for how to add ALT text.
Meta descriptions (the short description below your link in search results) don’t directly move your shop up search results, however, a good description with useful information will make potential customers more likely to click on your link. Search engines list 140 characters of your description below the title link, so use this to show what you’re selling, and convince buyers to click on your shop. You can edit the meta description for your pages either through your CMS or if you’re using HTML this article shows you how.
Using links on your website, and linking to your site from others, can improve your PageRank, which is a rating of your site based on inbound and outbound links, and affects your position in search results. Links from other pages, especially pages with a good PageRank will improve your sites score. It also helps to include links on your shop’s homepage to certain products, and include links in product descriptions to other relevant items.
Update your site frequently
Consistently adding content is another way to improve your search engine ranking. If you’re updating your shop regularly, you’ll be adding more and more content with keywords and more value to your potential to customers.
SEO for eBay and Amazon
SEO doesn’t just apply to your own online shop, you can also improve your ranking in search results for your eBay and Amazon listings, within in the marketplaces themselves and on search engines like Google.
- Listing titles: Include all the important keywords and phrases that someone might use to search for your product in the listing’s title.
- Product descriptions: While your product description needs to include all the details to accurately describe your item, you can also include keywords to ensure your listing will rank well in search results. Like with your own shop, you’ll need to avoid stuffing into many keywords - keyword spamming is a specific violation of eBay policy and it won’t do you any favours.
- Unique Identifiers: Include Universal Product Codes (UPCs), European Article Numbers (EANSs), or International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs) so that if someone searches for the specific item you're selling within eBay or using a search engine you're listing will come up.
Find out more about SEO for eBay listings here.