Organic traffic through Google is every webshop owner’s dream. But how do you make sure your webshop is fed with relevant and organic traffic from Google’s gigantic universe by working with SEO. We have asked Nikolaj Mogensen, who has worked professionally with SEO optimization, partly as a webshop owner and partly as Head of SEO for the digital agency s360 since 2008. s360 advises and conducts digital marketing and SEO projects for a wide range of Danish and international brands.
In the following 9 tips from Nikolaj Mogensen are presented:
Help Google, help you! Initially, Google does not know much about you. Therefore, the first SEO tip is to research what your customers are requesting – i.e., what they are searching for in Google. You do this through a keyword analysis that collects keyword data and uncovers competition for specific keywords.
This exercise aims to discover what your customers think about your products and brands and your competitor’s products and brands. This way, you will also find out which pages you should have on your webshop and which you should optimize.
You can use Excel to structure your analysis. For example, use Google’s tool, Keyword Planner from Google, for the analysis itself. This allows you to get data on what your customers are looking for. There are also other tools you can use, such as keyword.io and answerthepublic.com. Check out Nikolaj Mogensen’s free ebook that guides you through the keyword analysis.
With your keyword analysis in place, you know which brands, products, colors, etc. your customers are looking for. This is essential knowledge when building the information architecture of your webshop. For example, if it is particular brands your customers are looking for, it should be easy to find categorized pages with the different brands. If they are looking for specific colors, they should be able to find relevant products in the wanted colors. It is crucial what your customers and potential customers are searching for can be found on static pages that can be indexed.
The same principle applies to product types. You need to make sure that your information architecture is deep enough to meet the demand. However, it is a balance as the structure can get too deep. Therefore, it is relevant to compare your data. If there are only 100 searches on a keyword, it rarely makes sense to create another level in your structure. Instead, you might be able to target this particular keyword with a product page.
You must make fantastic category pages. Pages that do not only show your product but also give your customers tips and tricks that guides them to the purchase stage. You can either place the content before or after your products.
If you choose to place your content before your products, the product might end up too far down your webshop page - out of sight out of mind. As a result of this, you can risk jeopardizing the good user experience. A way to avoid is to use a “read more” function which unfolds in a way where Google will read it correctly.
In general a typical solution is to place the content in the bottom of your webshop page, so it do not disturb the user experience. You can place a link in the top of the page, which shows the customer more qualitative information is found further down the page. Keep in mind that your category pages should enable different content and not just a wall of text. You could, for example, work with columns, icons, bullets, and of course, images. Everything that make the texts of the category pages interesting, catchy, and useful to your customers.
Way too often, I experience that webshops do not have good product content – some do not even have a product text for their most important category pages. Consider prioritizing your 20 most important category pages and develop excellent and helpful articles that can guide your customers to buy your products. You do not have to be worried if some of your tips and tricks recur on your category pages. Look at your category pages as landing pages, but make sure that all content is unique – by doing this, you will avoid search engine problems with duplicated content.
A notorious challenge when discussing search engine optimization is how to create content and pages that encapsulate the keywords customers use in their search for specific products. For example, in some markets, potential customers start their searches with specific issues or inspiration earlier in the purchase journey than in other markets. It can make it challenging to ensure that all your category and product pages is shown in those searches.
Creating a blog on your webshop can therefore be a reliable tool to “catch” your customers early in their buying process. Use your keyword analysis to figure out which challenges your customers experience and what questions they ask Google. Based on this, you can develop blog posts and articles that proactively respond to your potential customer’s questions. These articles will drive traffic to your webshop as they will rank high because of the content.
Be aware that traffic to your blog does not have the same conversion rate as your product pages. Therefore, you should work with additional channels like email marketing and automation to guide leads through the purchase journey or to retarget with banners and social media.
Many webshop owners miss the opportunity to create linkable content. This means content, which is so useful and informative that other sites such as news sites, bloggers, and niche sites link to it.
When you work with SEO on your webshop, you should always consider link building, unless you dare to take the risk of buying links, you have to attract links organically. Be aware that your webshop provides one or more good, linkable pieces of content that can attract attention. This can, for example, be calculators, special releases, and visualization of selected market data or top-10 lists, just to mention a few.
To increase the amount of websites linking to your content you can start by linking to their content. Remember that links to your webshop do not come automatically. You need to activate linkable content yourself. I have previously written several articles on topics such as content marketing and link building. You can start by reading these if it seems incomprehensible.
As the owner of a webshop, you need to make sure that you tell Google what the different elements of your website are. I would recommend that that you use Schema.org, which is a programming language Google understands.
With schema.org on your webshop, Google will start to show more content from your page in the search results. It increases your ranking and raises the percentage of potential customers who click on your content showing in the Google results. You must implement shema.org on your product pages to get inventory status, price, and reviews in the index. Also, try to work with your category pages. For example, by accumulating reviews on the page and extracting them from the index. Or by creating a price range on the page that you can also extract.
On a technical level, it is essential to ensure that your webshop does not create duplicated content. This is a problem I often encounter when webshop systems, such as filters and paginates category pages. These are not pages that should be indexed. Instead, they should be guided by technical SEO like rel = next or canonicals.
This is something you need your developer or SEO-consultant to look into. You can mock the symptoms of duplicated content if you make a site search by putting your website URL (yourwebsite.com) in Google and compare the number of indexed pages to the number of pages you have. If there is no similar match, you may have issues with duplicated content.
Google is becoming increasingly focused on usability – also on mobile devices. Therefore, it is of great importance how fast your webshop can load. Not only does it ensure good user experience, it also helps boost your ranking via Google's algorithm.
It is easy to test your load time. For example, use the tool Google Pagespeed Insights, which easily gives your website a score based on how fast it loads. For more detailed information on load time, you can, for example, use webpagetest.org. If your webshop scores poorly on tests it can for example be a questionable server, too large images, or because there are too many elements in your webshop. You should discuss the most straightforward solutions for your webshop in terms of load time with your developer or web agency.
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