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5 Stellar but Overlooked Ecommerce SEO Techniques

Christian Sculthorp
Christian Sculthorp

SEO is vital for ecommerce sites. Here are some little-known SEO strategy tips.

Starting an ecommerce business has become accessible now that companies like Shopify have made it as easy as uploading a few images.

Everybody has the opportunity now to sell their own products or start a drop-shipping empire.

Whether you're new to ecommerce or run a multimillion dollar online shop, there's one universal truth: SEO is vital for the majority of ecommerce websites.

With a few exceptions (like fashion), for an ecommerce business to be successful, they need to drive organic traffic to the website.

If you're not familiar, read up on some SEO tutorials before you continue.

I've grown my own ecommerce business to $500,000 in revenue in under a year using five SEO techniques.

Related Article: SEO Friendly vs. SEO Strategy: Why They Both Matter to Business


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1. Get SEO friendly reviews

Yeah, yeah everybody knows reviews are important for ecommerce websites. Sixty-one percent of customers read online reviews before making a purchasing decision.

That's not what I’m getting at here. There's another SEO-driven reason to generate reviews for your ecommerce store. User reviews are a great way to generate user-generated content on product pages (with inline html).

These reviews are fantastic for SEO. Here's why:

  • It provides you with free content that's constantly being added to. A product page with no content can turn in to a 2,000 keyword-rich page with user reviews.

  • It gives you the opportunity to rank for long tail keywords that weren't originally intended. Users may compare your product to competitors, bring up new questions or a number of other issues.

  • These reviews also enable rich snippets that increase your click-through rate.

Many ecommerce sites already have user reviews enabled, but many of them don't have the HTML inline. For example, unless you're on the Powerhouse ($699/month) package of the popular Yotpo plugin, it's not a possibility.

Having HTML inline means that when you search in the page source, the reviews are there in plain HTML. It's vital for the top two SEO benefits above. When considering user-generated reviews, ensure that they're available in inline HTML.

2. Create landing pages from your top search terms

User search queries are one of an ecommerce site's best sources of data. They tell you exactly what users are looking for, which is vital information to see what users are interested in.

If users are searching like crazy for a product that you don't carry, it's probably a good idea to get it in stock.

These search queries are also a fantastic way to build out search landing pages. There are two reasons why:

  1. You can serve these new pages to those search queries. By building out a landing page, you can customize and A/B the pages to suit your needs. While this isn't necessarily an SEO tactic, these are some of your most valuable keywords, and optimizing them can have a big impact on revenue.

  2. These search queries give you a good idea of what people will be searching on Google. It may give you keyword ideas that you missed. The keyword planner is also notorious for leaving out longer tail keywords with low search volume. These keywords may not be competitive and could be easy SEO wins.

3. Go multinational

Do you ship worldwide? If so, you have an opportunity to appear as a multinational company to the search engines.

For example, if your website is example.com you can: purchase example.ca to target Canada, example.com.au to target Australia, example.co.uk to target the U.K., and the list goes on.

Using fulfillment centers, anybody with an ecommerce store can have a physical location in (almost) any country and ship quickly. Shipwire alone has nine warehouse locations around the world with another seven on the way. All searches on Google are now personalized based on many factors, with the main one being your location (or country).

Related Article: Get the Word Out: The SEO Advantages of a Local, Niche Content Strategy

If you have an international domain extension and are targeting a specific country, there's a better chance of your website coming up versus a global competitor with all other things being equal.

One company doing this very well is Pearls Only. They have websites for the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and Denmark.

They use the correct rel="alternate" tags as well to indicate to search engines that there is another version of the website:

  • <link rel="alternate" href="https://www.pearlsonly.com/" hreflang="en-us"/>
  • <link rel="alternate" href="https://www.pearlsonly.ca/" hreflang="en-ca"/>

Google has a thorough guide of regional URLs if you need an explanation.

4. Go multilingual

This can go hand in hand with going multinational, or it can be another consideration altogether.

Adding another language gives you the ability to target other keywords. Languages other than English are also less competitive, which can work to your advantage.

Another example could be healthy.co.id:

  • https://healthy.co.id/id/nordic-omega-369-lemon-soft-gels.html
  • https://healthy.co.id/en/nordic-omega-369-lemon-soft-gels.html

Here, there are Indonesian and English versions of each product page. This allows the business to target terms in both languages, which is important in a country where either may be spoken.

Like going multinational, ensure that your pages have the proper rel="alternate” tags to tell search engines that there is another version.

Related Article: Search In the New Year: Understand the Scope of Search Engine Optimization in 2016

5. Leverage internal linking

While off-site ranking factors, like backlinks, are always a hot topic, internal links are often overlooked.

According to Brian Dean's Google ranking factors: "Quality of Internal Links Pointing to Page: Internal links from authoritative pages on the domain have a stronger effect than pages with no or low PR."

This means that you can impact the rankings of specific pages on your website by adding links from authoritative pages within your own website.

You can also customize the anchor text which is known to be a ranking factor. Narrow down a number of valuable product pages and add links from the homepage, category pages, blog posts or any other applicable pages.

Image Credit: Light and Dark Studio/Shutterstock
Christian Sculthorp
Christian Sculthorp
business.com Member
I'm a marketing director at Agency Analytics with six years of experience in web advertising, specializing in SEO. I have worked for a number of marketing agencies with clients including Infiniti, WestJet and Rona. Until recently, I founded and ran an ecommerce website and grew revenue to $500,000 CAD through only organic traffic (SEO) and word of mouth