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eCommerce SEO Best Practices: How to Rank Your Online Store Higher in 2024

By Аivаrаs Rаmoškа
Opt for your online store's long-term, sustainable growth with the eCommerce SEO best practices in 2024. Sure, paid ads are a proven way to increase traffic to your eCommerce site. However, relying on this strategy is difficult to sustain, especially if you're just starting to build your website. Naturally, ranking on search results is still the best way to increase the visibility of your eCommerce website. A successful SEO strategy is your gateway towards making a name in the eCommerce industry.
eCommerce SEO Best Practices How to Rank Your Online Store Higher in 2024

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What is eCommerce SEO?

In its most fundamental sense, eCommerce SEO refers to optimizing your online store to rank higher in search engines.

However, the entirety of eCommerce Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is more than just a single definition.

Boosting your eCommerce store in search engine results involves different aspects working together to create a strong SEO foundation. These SEO elements include keyword research, content strategy, technical SEO, link-building tactics, and User Experience (UX).

Even the biggest online stores invest in eCommerce SEO audits to maintain their position in search results. They want to keep up with a continuously growing eCommerce market, expected to show a 9.79% annual growth rate in the next five years.

Your SEO performance is a barometer of success, whether you’re just starting this journey or have already built a large-scale eCommerce business.

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Benefits of doing SEO for eCommerce sites

If you do it right, your eCommerce site’s SEO performance could be your main income.

The statement above is not an exaggeration. MVMT Watches is one example of an eCommerce site that thrives primarily on search engine revenue. Their SEO strategy includes target keyword research, mobile-first UX, and a quality blog section showcasing their watch industry authority.

SEO may take time — it’s never a quick fix. The growth is slow but steady and sustainable. Take a look at these benefits that SEO presents to your eCommerce site:

  • Organic advantage: SEO drives free traffic to your web pages, unlike paid ads
  • Increased brand authority: Users view organic search results as more reliable than sponsored results
  • Improved UX: Optimizing your site structure leads to longer session durations and lower bounce rates
  • Adaptable content: Doing an SEO site audit helps eCommerce sites stay on top of search engines evolving algorithms

Drive organic traffic, enhance brand credibility, and increase revenue with the eCommerce SEO best practices.

Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see. SEO benefits

eCommerce SEO vs other types of SEO

With a primary focus on attracting customers for a potential purchase, eCommerce SEO sets itself apart from other types of SEO.

SEO comes in many platform-specific forms, several of which we listed below:

  • eCommerce SEO
  • News SEO
  • Social media SEO
  • YouTube SEO
  • App Store SEO
  • Google Discover SEO
  • WordPress SEO

An eCommerce site runs an SEO campaign differently from regular websites, mainly for these reasons:

  • Focuses on improving the performance of category pages and product pages rather than just informative content
  • Targets transactional keywords that include specific brand names and product types
  • Places higher priority on image optimization within product pages and category pages

Focusing your efforts on these key SEO areas will boost your eCommerce website’s rankings on search results.

Our 14 Best Tips for eCommerce SEO Strategy

Follow these tested and proven SEO tactics that have helped catapult successful eCommerce stores to the first page of Google.

1. Take your time with keyword research

When you rush keyword research, your eCommerce site might miss out on key target keywords.

You must find relevant keywords and explore the search intent behind user queries. With trends and user behavior changing over time, you must recognize patterns that could lay a long-term foundation for your eCommerce keyword research.

For instance, creating a blog post around the keyword “fitness clothes” may not bring many benefits to your eCommerce store. Taking your time to study seasonal trends and specific user intent could lead you to the long-tail keyword “men’s plus-size jogging pants,” which will help attract more users with purchase intent.

You can use free tools like Google Keyword Planner and Google Search Console to uncover keyword ideas and estimate search volume. In addition, you can take advantage of free trials or demos offered by paid tools like Moz Keyword Explorer, Ahrefs Keyword Explorer, Answer The Public, and Semrush Keyword Magic Tool.

Keyword research. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see

2. Focus on long-tail keywords

Purchase intent is at the heart of an eCommerce SEO campaign and can only be unraveled through long-tail keywords.

When you go to Google to potentially purchase a laptop, you don’t just type in the words “best laptops in 2024” in the search bar. Instead, you go for a longer keyword like “best affordable laptops for gaming in 2024”, which will provide you with more suitable options.

Long-tail keywords present one of the best chances for you to rank on the first page of Google. Although they may have lower search volume, they offer higher conversion rates and relevancy.

There are eCommerce SEO tools that can help you perform keyword research correctly. A keyword research tool like Semrush has a free version that generates a limited number of long-tail keyword suggestions.

3. Get creative with title tags and meta descriptions

Writing title tags and meta descriptions is more than just organizing your content; it’s also about grabbing your audience’s attention.

Optimizing on-page SEO elements still prioritizes getting search engines to properly crawl and index your content. However, getting creative when writing a title tag or meta description can attract attention and encourage engagement.

When crafting on-page SEO elements like a title tag or meta description, you could incorporate these creative attributes to make them more engaging:

  • Intrigue and urgency
  • Benefits and solutions
  • Numbers and unique features
  • Emotional connection

For example, you could highlight a sale event with this meta description: “Only 3 sports yoga mats left! The fitness equipment sale ends today.” Furthermore, you can also incorporate a number in the title tag, like this one here: “5-Star Rated Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats.”

To simplify this process, you can use free tools like Google Search Console and Screaming Frog SEO Spider. These tools can help identify on-page issues, allowing you to optimize the right areas.

Get creative with title tags and meta descriptions. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see

4. URLs should be user-friendly

A user-friendly URL achieves proper crawling for search engines and clear messaging to your customers.

URLs are basic in SEO, but they’re essential for search engines and customer experience. Here are several proven tips to make your eCommerce website’s URLs user-friendly:

  • Aim for URLs under 60 characters
  • Use keywords for search intent, but avoid keyword stuffing
  • Use hyphens (-) between words to improve readability
  • Organize your URLs according to website structure (Example: /shoes/performance/mens-basketball-shoes/)
  • Use modifiers to signify product variations (Example: /mens-basketball-shoes/grey-size-9.5/)

Moreover, you should consider using canonical tags to avoid errors caused by duplicate content. Canonicals will point the search engine to your main category page, particularly when you have duplicate URLs for that specific page.

Using SEO tools like Yoast SEO, Ahrefs, and Semrush can pinpoint issues in your URLs. For instance, Yoast SEO has a URL optimization feature that allows you to enhance your URL slug based on the suggestions given by the tool itself.

5. Create selling product descriptions

How well do you know your target audience’s pain points and interests?

Creating product descriptions that sell is not just about getting creative. It’s also about speaking the language of your customer base, particularly the messaging that resonates with them.

Along with the target keywords and on-page SEO elements, the product descriptions within your product pages and category pages should contain these appealing attributes:

  • Focus on user benefits rather than product features
  • Engage the reader’s senses with descriptive adjectives and sensory details
  • Create a sense of urgency and desire with action verbs and persuasive language
  • Use clear diction that your audience can easily understand

If you have a kitchen equipment website, you should focus on the benefits of your products instead of boring your audience with technical specifications. You could write the specs towards the end of a product page, but always use a benefit-driven description at the start.

Along with creativity, you should also ensure the technical aspect of your descriptions. Using tools such as Grammarly, Hemingway Editor, and CoSchedule Headline Analyzer can identify grammatical errors, readability issues, and incorrect word structure in your product descriptions and titles.

Create selling product descriptions. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see

6. Image quality matters

Balancing image quality and page speed is always a dilemma for eCommerce websites.

On the one hand, you want to enhance your product images so your website visitors can see them. On the other hand, enhanced images could slow down your eCommerce website, which is detrimental to your SEO rankings.

Thankfully, it’s a balancing act that you can manage today. There are ways to enhance the quality of your product images without sacrificing site speed.

  • Resize images to your website dimensions to reduce file size
  • Compress images and retain good quality with online tools like TinyPNG, Optimizilla, JPEG Optimizer, and Compressor.io
  • Experiment with various compression levels to strike the best balance between quality and size
  • Test site speed with tools like GTmetrix and Google PageSpeed Insights

Adapting to these image quality recommendations can get you in the good graces of search engine algorithms.

7. Improve navigation with internal linking

Internal linking serves as signposts to guide your users to the different sections of your eCommerce website.

Imagine that your internal linking is not leading users to desired destinations. You’ll miss out on potential conversions, and your brand reputation will be hit.

Strategic link placement is crucial for eCommerce websites, as it helps customers discover relevant content or products. Take a look at how you can place internal links on different pages on your site:

  • Product pages: Place links to similar products or services within the product descriptions
  • Category pages: Place links to relevant categories, promo pages, and helpful content
  • Blog posts: Place links to product pages within your content, but not in a promotional way

Intuitive internal links could bridge the gap between potential customers and paying customers.

Improve navigation with internal linking. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see

8. Optimize for mobile

More than half of organic search engine visits — 63% to be exact — come from mobile devices.

If you’re not optimizing your SEO strategy for mobile use, it’s safe to say that you’re doing it all wrong. The convenience of shopping through mobile devices remains unbeatable, and users expect your online store to be mobile-responsive.

With a focus on category and product pages, here are key strategies for making your site mobile-friendly:

  • Prioritize fast loading speed more than anything
  • Simplify navigation menus and enlarge Call-to-Action (CTA) buttons
  • Offer autofill options on your checkout forms
  • Optimize local SEO for mobile searches

Optimizing for mobile use is one of the best practices in doing SEO for eCommerce sites. You can test your site’s responsiveness through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, Responsive Design Checker, and MobileTest.me, Responsinator, BrowserStack, and Screenfly.

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9. Improve CR with intuitive UX

The average Conversion Rate (CR) for eCommerce sites sits between 2.5% and 3%.

This standard CR shouldn’t be your long-term target, though. Your conversion rate will increase with some tweaks in your tactics, including optimizing your site’s UX.

For example, a basic UX element like your search bar is important in driving potential conversions. If your search bar isn’t working, users will get frustrated as they can’t quickly find what they want. They will exit your site, leading to a higher bounce rate and a missed sale opportunity.

Offer autocomplete suggestions on your search bar or implement breadcrumbs for less confusing navigation to make your eCommerce site architecture more intuitive.

Most importantly, ensure the entire purchasing process is issue-free, from selecting products to choosing payment options.

Improve CR with intuitive UX. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see, two woman

10. Encourage reviews and UGC

There comes a point when social media and SEO intersect.

Customer reviews and other forms of User-Generated Content (UGC) can boost your website engagement rate, signaling a positive trend for search engines. You need to leverage your social media influence to generate these types of UGC.

Do you still remember Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke” campaign in 2011? It was a very simple campaign that raked a massive amount of UGC across social media platforms. They used a relatable concept for people to engage in, along with the simple but creative #ShareaCoke hashtag.

If you have a social media following, you could leverage that influence to encourage reviews and UGC on your website. Loyalty programs, giveaways, and discounts could motivate your social media followers to leave reviews and comments on your website.

11. Build trust with security signals

Google prioritizes websites with strong security measures, especially with cyber threats lurking in the corners.

Security signals aren’t just a part of your SEO playbook, either. Protecting your customers is a requirement, especially for eCommerce stores where people input confidential information such as their name, address, and bank details.

Protecting your customers’ data and privacy involves implementing these security signals:

  • SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate to ensure security of confidential information like credit card details
  • Trust seals from legitimate organizations like Norton Security, McAfee Secure, and Verisign
  • Partner with safe payment processors like Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal

SSL or TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates can be obtained from CAs (Certified Authorities) such as Let’s Encrypt or your web hosting provider. Website vulnerability scanners like Netsparker and Acunetix can also identify security flaws in your system.

To assure other users that your website is protected, you can encourage existing customers to leave reviews as social proof for secure buying experiences.

Build trust with security signals. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see, keyboard, three people

12. Engage your audience with content marketing

Your eCommerce content strategy does not just revolve around your product and category pages.

People are now using Google for everything they need, so creating a blog post, or any informative content about your audience’s pain points makes sense. You can use SEO content optimization to align your strategy to every stage of the marketing funnel.

Take a look at this running shoe website’s content strategy for each marketing funnel stage:

  • Awareness: Training Guide for Your First 5K Run
  • Consideration: Finding the Best Running Shoes For Your Foot Type
  • Decision: Running Shoe Discounts and Deals

Using keyword ideas and turning them into an engaging, helpful blog post can help you bring more organic traffic to your eCommerce site.

13. Increase authority with backlinks

A well-executed link-building strategy can increase the authority and reliability of your eCommerce store.

However, it’s not very easy to get backlinks, especially in the crowded eCommerce space. Moreover, it’s difficult to naturally attract backlinks if your content focus is on product descriptions and sales.

The times have already changed, though. Along with commercial keywords, an eCommerce site can also target informational keywords. These keywords could be used in an array of helpful content, including buying guides, how-to articles, testimonials, and case studies.

You can also offer guest posts or promote through social media to boost your link-building campaign. Crafting valuable content will help you acquire organic traffic in search results and backlinks from high-authority, relevant websites.

Be careful not to be too aggressive with this tactic, though. Google prioritizes quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks. You can check your backlink authority using Ahrefs Backlink Checker, Semrush Backlink Analytics, Moz Link Explorer, Cognitive SEO, Linkody, and Monitor Backlinks.

14. Monitor key metrics

When thinking of best practices for SEO for eCommerce websites, monitoring key metrics should always be at the top of the list.

With other websites ramping up their SEO efforts, you might lose your position on search results if you don’t monitor your performance. For an eCommerce store, here are key SEO metrics that you should always keep track of:

  • Organic sessions
  • Organic conversion rate
  • Average position on specific keywords
  • Click-through-rate and bounce rate
  • Technical SEO health, like page speed, mobile responsiveness, and broken links

Doing a regular site audit of your website could help you achieve optimum SEO results.

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Most Popular eCommerce Platforms

Choosing the right eCommerce platform is the key to success — discover the top options for your eCommerce store.

Shopify

Shopify advertises its services as an easy 3-step method of building online stores.

There’s more to Shopify than meets the eye, though. It can handle technical SEO aspects, including generating sitemaps, preventing duplicate content, and detecting broken links.

There are other SEO best practices that you can do on Shopify, including these key aspects:

  • Schema markup: Shopify supports basic schema markup to help search engines understand your content. This creates enhanced snippets of your product descriptions.
  • Integrated SEO apps: Shopify allows third-party integrations like Smart SEO, Sitemapper, and Risify.
  • Performance monitoring: Connect your Shopify store to Google Analytics and other analytics tools to track its SEO performance.

Shopify logo

Etsy

Etsy is an online marketplace unique in one important aspect: its own search algorithm.

Having said that, you might have to make slight variations to increase visibility on Etsy. Here are key Etsy-specific SEO tips you need to consider:

  • Etsy tags: You can place 13 tags for each product listing. Blend broad and long-tail keywords to increase your keyword rankings.
  • Etsy attributes: Make sure to display information under all product attributes. This is important when customers use the search filter to find relevant products.
  • Etsy Seller Handbook: Etsy offers a platform-specific handbook for keyword research. This handbook will help you with keyword difficulty related to Etsy’s search algorithms.

Etsy logo

WooCommerce

If you’re using WordPress as your Content Management System (CMS), WooCommerce is a free plugin that transforms your site into an online store.

WooCommerce’s ease of use is a popular feature in the eCommerce space. In addition, it also offers specific SEO capabilities, such as the following:

  • Yoast extension: Yoast SEO offers an extension that’s exclusive to WooCommerce. Through Yoast, you can preview product snippets and edit on-page SEO elements in groups.
  • WooCommerce shortcodes easily display recent products and important items on your homepage and relevant pages.
  • WordPress SEO: Implement WordPress SEO practices since WooCommerce is built into this CMS. Optimize images for faster page loading speed and make your site mobile-responsive

WooCommerce Logo

Magento

Magento, now called Adobe Commerce, is an open-source eCommerce platform primarily used for scalability.

Scaling is a big aspect of Magento’s open-source nature. It also makes it easier for you to apply SEO strategies, particularly through these features:

  • SEO suite: The admin panel of Magento has built-in SEO features. These SEO assets include managing meta descriptions, URL redirects, and robot.txt configurations.
  • Live search: This powerful feature lets customers discover products through AI-powered search results. Make sure that you have the right product tags and descriptions in place.
  • SEO extensions: The Magento platform offers various free and paid SEO extensions. You can use these tools to create content around relevant keywords, generate sitemaps, and implement structured data.

Magento logo

BigCommerce

Popular among enterprise-level businesses, BigCommerce also has SEO features for scaling small-sized online stores.

BigCommerce is an SEO-friendly platform for building eCommerce websites. You can perform SEO practices through BigCommerce, including these key aspects:

  • Built-in tools: BigCommerce allows you to enhance your product pages by setting custom page URLs
  • Connect with GSC: You can connect your BigCommerce store to Google Search Console. This will help you monitor your SEO efforts and stay on top of possible issues.
  • Customer reviews: BigCommerce also allows you to optimize for Google Customer Reviews. These reviews can help boost the visibility of your website.

BigCommerce logo

Biggest Challenges in Ecommerce SEO – And How to Avoid Them

Navigating through the eCommerce SEO space is about overcoming — and avoiding — challenges that may arise.

Constant algorithm changes

Google rolled out two significant algorithm changes in just six months: the September 2023 Helpful Content Update and the March 2024 Core Update.

Major search engines like Google implement these updates to enhance the factors that affect search rankings. If you’re not able to adapt readily to these algorithm changes, it might cause your eCommerce site problems like these:

  • Sudden fluctuations in traffic
  • Disruptions in your SEO playbook and long-term plans
  • Decreased visibility

Stay on top of these algorithm changes by following SEO publications like Google Webmaster Central Blog and Search Engine Journal. Furthermore, it’s recommended that you use analytics tools to monitor how a significant algorithm update impacts you.

Intense competition on search engines

Your eCommerce website could suffer if you cannot cope with search engine cutthroat competition.

Take this statistic as an example: 20.8% of retail purchases occurred online in 2023. That’s a staggering number, exhibiting the massive growth of online stores and marketplaces today.

Knowing what to do against competition could help eCommerce sites avoid these drawbacks:

  • Decline in organic traffic
  • Increased advertising costs due to expensive bidding wars
  • Price adjustments to attract customers away from competitors
  • Loss of market share due to declining rankings

Moreover, going against fierce competition will motivate you to put more effort into brand differentiation. You might need help doing this, but the rewards are high if you offer unique features or messaging to potential customers.

Product page duplication

Product page duplication, or multiple pages with identical content, is an eCommerce SEO issue that could have serious repercussions.

Duplicate content in eCommerce sites can occur in many ways. It might be caused by improper handling of product variations (size, color, material), the manual process of copying and pasting product descriptions, or unintentional technical issues from eCommerce platforms.

If you don’t fix page duplications right away, you might encounter these SEO problems:

  • Missed ranking potential due to wasted crawl budget and keyword cannibalization
  • Technical problems that could lead to higher bounce rates and shorter session durations
  • Overall loss of trust and authority

The good news is that there are ways to avoid page duplication. For instance, you can utilize canonical tags to point to a primary page or disable automatic CMS features that lead to redundant URLs.

Product page duplication. Computer where you can see statistic and small people are talking about results they see, two woman

Managing large product inventories

Is it always an advantage for an eCommerce shop to offer various products or services?

Yes and no. The answer lies in your store’s ability to manage large product inventories. An inventory of this size could become a disadvantage, particularly due to these reasons:

  • Significant amount of tied-up capital that could be spent on marketing and product development
  • Unpredictable market demand that could lead to stockouts and lost sales
  • Higher expenses due to large storage costs and rush manufacturing

While these problems don’t directly impact your search engine performance, inventory problems could decrease brand trust and reliability.

You can counter these issues by using tools that provide data-driven demand forecasting. Platforms like Shopify, Wix Stores, and Squarespace use your historical sales data for basic forecasting. If you need advanced demand forecasting, you can tap into specialized tools like LOKAD, Blue Yonder, Zoho Inventory, and SkuVault.

Tips for succeeding with eCommerce SEO

Attracting organic traffic is the key to managing a successful eCommerce website.

Achieving positive SEO results requires a fine-tuned strategic approach at every turn. While there’s no one-off strategy to doing this, here are a couple of tips that could help you take one step closer to eCommerce success:

  • Seamless UX: An eCommerce site relies heavily on providing potential customers with a smooth interface and experience. Fix broken links and slow-loading pages and optimize for mobile use.
  • Creative product descriptions: Take your time crafting unique product descriptions. These descriptions could become a differentiator in search results when integrated with the right keywords.

It’s also recommended that you do site-wide SEO audits to check the health of your online shop. You can link up with full-suite digital marketing agencies like Fortis Media or do the audit with your in-house team. An SEO audit is a very technical, so ensure you have the expertise to take it on.

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eCommerce SEO Best Practices: Key Takeaways

Using eCommerce SEO best practices will help build your online store and achieve short-term and long-term goals.

Crafting creative product descriptions and titles, building a strong and logical internal linking structure, and ensuring a sound technical structure compose the gist of an excellent eCommerce SEO playbook. The challenge is to do this regularly, particularly to counter the ever-changing nature of the eCommerce space.

Typically, eCommerce websites partner with SEO marketing experts to help them achieve their goals. Trusted digital marketing agencies, like Fortis Media and others, deliver full-suite SEO services to boost eCommerce websites’ visibility.

Always remember that SEO will take time to produce results. If you’re partnering with an SEO expert, conduct a thorough background check of their experience to ensure a smooth, long-term collaboration.

FAQs About eCommerce SEO

  • What is SEO in eCommerce?

    Running an eCommerce SEO strategy is about increasing an online shop’s visibility in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). A well-planned SEO campaign in eCommerce focuses on optimizing product and category pages and ensuring the website’s technical structure doesn’t pose issues or errors.

  • Does eCommerce need SEO?

    SEO is essential for eCommerce websites to increase visibility, acquire organic traffic, and expand their customer base in a target market. SEO is a powerful tool that helps eCommerce businesses drive sales and revenue without spending a lot of resources on paid advertisements and sponsorships.

  • How can I improve my eCommerce website SEO?

    Improving the SEO ranking of your eCommerce website involves creating a smooth user experience, regularly publishing keyword-centered, quality content, and optimizing on-page SEO elements. Implementing these strategies will help your online shop attract targeted traffic, increase brand awareness, and collect more sales and revenue.

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