Many online merchants think that simply listing their products on their e-commerce website will create immediate web and search engine traffic. In reality, optimizing an e-commerce website is not as easy as it seems.

Top search engine results get 31% more clicks, so there is no question that ranking higher on the search engine results pages (SERPs) will give you a step up on your competition. This is important, because more clicks mean more exposure, which often translates into more sales – the goal of any online business. So what are the best tactics to get your e-commerce site to the top of the rankings?

Include a well written and original product description

Search engines have advanced a lot, but they still can’t read minds. If you don’t have a well-detailed product description, a search engine will pass right over your product when a customer is looking for it. A quality product description improves your chances of being ranked higher in search engine results. But don’t think you can just copy and paste the manufacturer’s description of the product – doing so can get you filtered right out of the search results. Many online stores leave manufacturer’s text in its original form, which will be flagged as non-unique content by the search engine algorithms. On top of that, while manufacturer’s descriptions are fine for B2B sales, they tend to be a little boring for the general public and may not be written in a way that sells products. Moral of the story? Writing unique and detailed product descriptions creates the best chances to get higher rankings in SERPs.

Have a lot of products? It probably doesn’t make too much sense to produce text for 100,000 different products. If this is the case, make sure your products are in relevant categories and then focus your SEO on strengthening the category. Improve internal links, and add relevant products to feed search bots. Differentiate products through unique tags so you don’t repeat the same keywords by structuring your tags with a “brand – model – item” system.

Include pictures of your products

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to use quality pictures and videos on your site for optimal SEO results. High quality pictures and videos that are optimized on the back end with alt-text and captions is just another opportunity for the search engines to find you and understand your company’s capabilities.

Optimize for mobile

We’ve previously written about how to optimize your search strategy for mobile but it’s important to reiterate: mobile searches make up more than half of all Google searches, so creating a search strategy that revolves around mobile is the best way to reach your customers wherever they are, whenever they are looking for something.

Allow reviews and encourage ratings on your products

69% of shoppers seek out advice and opinions on goods and services before purchasing a product, and 70% are likely to visit user review sites before making a purchase. If your site doesn’t have the relevant information that customers are looking for or some reviews of the product, you’re going to lose a big piece of your audience. Customer product reviews are great – they create unique content for your online store that is considered in search engine rankings, and it’s all for free. Encourage and reward customers who leave reviews on a product – happy customers will serve as your very own brand ambassadors.

Utilize a keyword planner/analyzer to optimize your keywords

You want to make sure that the keywords that you are using are actually terms people are searching for, and at the same time, make sure that your page will actually have a chance at ranking for that keyword. Tools like SEMrush and Google Adwords Keyword Planner help you build and expand your search campaigns by searching for keywords, seeing how they rank, and getting ideas for new and improved ones for your company’s products. Even more so, these tools help with search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns by showing how much you should budget for a specific keyword or campaign.

Remember: SEO is never finished

Your e-commerce SEO strategy should be a continuous process of A/B testing to create the best performing variations that result in sales. Every e-commerce website should have a periodic analysis of the SEO framework to make sure that everything is in sync. Using tools like Google Webmaster Tools can help you find and fix SEO issues like 404 errors, see how your website and pages are performing on search engines, and will flag popular keywords and phrases on your pages.

In the competitive online retail market, a solid SEO strategy could give you the little boost your company’s page needs to get above the competition. Check out Advance Ohio’s SEO resource page or contact us today and let us help you build a custom SEO strategy that gets results.