E-commerce operators can run their own independent websites or sell on established platforms like Amazon and eBay. Some do both. But when operating an independent website as the sole means of selling online, operators need to approach ecommerce SEO differently. They need to approach it more like traditional SEO for the simple fact that search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo will generate most of their new traffic.
As a company that offers ecommerce SEO services, we can tell you that retailers operating independent websites have it easier in some ways. They can focus on more traditional SEO rather than having to practice different forms of it for both on- and off-site search engines.
By contrast, Amazon retailers must do both. On the one hand, are SEO practices for Amazon’s built-in search engine. On the other are SEO practices designed to produce results on Google and Bing. Still, there are advantages to selling on established retail platforms.
Everything Starts with Keywords
Successful e-commerce with an independent website begins with keywords. That is because keywords are the main ranking factor search engines rely on. Another way to say it is that keywords are the starting point for all online searches. So if an e-commerce operator isn’t utilizing the right keywords, their website isn’t going to perform very well in organic searches.
Keywords are still important for on-site search engines, like those found on Amazon and eBay, but customers who use those search engines are, for the most part, already planning to buy. E-commerce sellers trying to attract customers through Google and Bing need to work a little harder to get past the window shoppers and tire kickers. So keyword research becomes much more important to their success.
Technical SEO Also Matters
It has been our experience that e-commerce operators running independent websites fail most frequently when it comes to technical SEO. Technical SEO addresses all those aspects of a website that cannot be seen by visitors. It is all the ‘under the hood’ stuff. It matters more than most website owners know.
Take images. E-commerce relies on them. Without images, an operator will not sell much. But images that are not optimized for the web can actually be counterproductive by hurting search engine results and slowing download times. Maximizing images to boost sales requires optimizing them for the web.
Technical SEO for e-commerce touches a variety of things, including:
- site architecture
- title and image tags
- site maps.
An e-commerce site that is not technically sound will have trouble competing in the search space. As a side note, one advantage of selling on a platform like Amazon or eBay is not having to worry about the technical stuff.
Do Not Forget About Link Building
One last thing worthy of discussion is link building. Ecommerce SEO providers who know what they are doing use a variety of strategies to build internal and external links. Internal links point to pages on the same site. External links are used in both directions: outbound and inbound.
Outbound links point to other reputable sites within the same industry. They do not have to be other e-commerce sites, though. Inbound links drive traffic to the e-commerce site from other sites. Typically, those other sites are somehow related to the seller’s industry.
You have probably noticed that we haven’t talked about things like product descriptions and page titles. They certainly are important, but most e-commerce operators already know that. What many don’t know is how important keywords, technical SEO, and link building are to running a successful e-commerce site.