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Guide to Ecommerce SEO

Simple guide to content and backlinking SEO for ecommerce.

Mari Luukkainen
Mari Luukkainen
4 min read
Guide to Ecommerce SEO

Disclaimer: this guide assumes you're doing OK in terms of technical SEO, meaning your site is optimized for loading speed and mobile devices.

If you feel there's room for improvement, check my Guide to SEO.

1. Content and keyword strategy

Ecommerce SEO is splitted in 3 keyword categories:

  1. Purchase intent category keywords (e.g. tables)
  2. Purchase intent product keywords (e.g. small dinner table)
  3. Prospecting keywords (e.g. decoration ideas)

Efficient SEO strategy combines ongoing actions on all of these by combining technical improvements (speed, mobile usability), content (producing new content) and reputation (social media and producing backlinks for the whole domain and directly on specific pages).

Purchase intent keywords are searched when the user has made the purchase decision already → bigger conversion rate but higher competition.

Prospecting keywords are searched when the user hasn’t decided a purchase yet but can do that in the future (retargeting opportunity) → smaller conversion rate but lower competition and more possibilities to acquire small traffic streams from the search engine.

1.1 Purchase intent category keywords

Tables, kitchen tables, cars, used cars...

  • Content baseline: Category pages exists with consistent H1, title and description, breadcrumb url, and visible category description. Optimize meta description for better CTR from search engines.

1.2 Purchase intent product keywords

Ikea lack table, Porsche Boxster 2006...

Content baseline: Consistent H1, title and description, breadcrumb url, and visible category description. Optimize meta description for better CTR from search engines.

  • Usual technical improvement: Product SEO would be easier/possible if the sold items are not disappearing. Consider leaving the product pages even the item is sold and adding an additional action for the users:
    Sellers: “We have recently sold this product, sell yours here!”
    Buyers: “Uh oh! We just sold this item. Join the waiting list to be the first one to know when we list something like this again. / Browse similar products.”
  • Alternative: If you don’t want to leave sold items visible, make static pages for certain product keywords.

1.3 Prospecting keywords

Blog articles or half static/dynamic content pages.

  • Content baseline: Blog / prospecting keyword sections exists. Consistent H1, title and description, breadcrumb url, and visible category description. Optimize meta description for better CTR from search engines.

Typical content SEO development for ecommerce

  1. Purchase intent category keywords
    Find keywords on Keyword Planner and produce new pages.
  2. Purchase intent product keywords
    Make a technical decision about dynamic product pages.
    Find keywords on Keyword Planner and produce new pages.
  3. Prospecting keywords
    Choose 2-3 long tail keywords /month and produce content on a monthly basis.
    Focus on seasonal topics right before the season (e.g. “terrace decoration ideas” before spring).

Ecommerce SEO is splitted in 3 reputation and backlink categories:

  1. High DR backlinks and PR
    E.g. Techcrunch → high link power to front page / no-follow link / no link at all → impact on organic search (user sees the mention of your brand and searches themselves → positive traffic impact).

    High profile blogger / site → high link power to front page, but usually no keyword targeted backlink → high impact on the whole domain, low impact on specific keywords.
  2. Low/mediocre DR backlinks
    Microbloggers → keyword targeted backlink to specific landing page → low impact on the whole domain, high impact on specific keywords.
  3. Social media reputation
    Quora, YouTube, social media in general → impact on the whole domain and impact on users searching with the brand.

Efficient SEO strategy combines ongoing actions on all of these.

More specifically:

  1. High DR
    Produce one PR article every month by doing organic outreach.
    Bigger media e.g. Techcrunch.
    Smaller media e.g. local industry magazine.

    Optional: Purchasing high profile influencer backlinks every month or quarter.
  2. Low/mediocre DR
    Produce 2-3 micro blogger backlinks / month on specific landing page with specific keywords (e.g. “tables” backlink to /tables/ landing page).

    Optional: Combine with 2-3 micro blogger Instagram stories / month to boost brand keyword searches.
  3. Social media reputation
    Produce 2-3 answers on Quora /month.
    Expand social media reach on various channels from YouTube to Reddit.

3. Calculating monetary value of SEO

Search for average conversion rate for purchase intent keywords and prospecting keywords. Usually the difference is something as 3% for purchase intent keywords and 0.10% for prospecting keywords.

You may also have specific purchase intent keywords of your domain (e.g. “used furniture”) that have a higher conversion rate which you should prioritize.

40% - 60% of the monthly search value clicks TOP3 organic results, 15% clicks ads.

Formula:

Search volume (monthly)

SEO traffic potential

SEM traffic potential

SEO conversion potential

SEM conversion potential

Conversion potential with all the visibility

1000

400

150

12

4.50

16.5


4. Monthly SEO process with KPIs

Category

Content

Purchase intent category keywords

Find 2-3 keywords and produce pages

Purchase intent product keywords

Find 2-3 keywords and produce pages

Prospecting keywords

Find 2-3 keywords and produce blog posts

Domain

1 PR article

Landing pages

2-3 landing page backlinks from microbloggers

Domain

2-3 Quora answers

Domain

At least 2-3 social media posts on weekly basis

How to choose the keywords

  1. Monetary value based on conversion history on Google Analytics or “best guess.”
  2. High traffic, low competition.
  3. Low traffic, low competition. Multiple low traffic but low competition keywords will improve your domain’s overall traffic value which eventually makes competition possible with more competitive keywords.
  4. High traffic, high competition (better start now than never).
  5. Seasonal → historical traffic is low but it may be different in the future.
  6. Hot topics from Google Trends.

5. Documentation guide

Gather all the documentation on the same sheet to be able to see the big picture.

Usual templates:

  • Content: SEO landing pages (do they exist, what is the expected volume, backlog of pages to be created).
  • Reputation / backlinks: Contacted backlink opportunities and their situation.
  • Technical: Technical improvements backlog.
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