insights | 15.05.2024

eCommerce SEO – everything you need to know

Article topics
  1. What is SEO?
  2. Why is SEO so important in the world of eCommerce?
  3. The different types of SEO
  4. What isn’t SEO?
  5. How much does SEO cost to implement?
  6. Our top ten tips for enhancing your eCommerce SEO
  7. Need an eCommerce SEO specialist? Xigen is here to help

SEO. What is it, what are the benefits, and how can you use it to optimise your eCommerce store?

We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to help you rank for the right keywords and bring in the clicks.

What is SEO?

Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of improving your website to increase its visibility in search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.

About 93% of all online visits start with a search engine. This means that by ensuring your pages rank as high as possible in the search engine results, people are more likely to see (and visit) your site.

The gold standard for SEO is to get on the first page of the search engine results, ideally the number one result.

According to First Page Sage, the first result in Google gets nearly 40% of all clicks, meaning you’ll drive more visits to your eCommerce store.

The great thing about SEO is that the results are long-lasting. With the right strategy and approach, your web pages can appear high in the search engine results for a long time!

Why is SEO so important in the world of eCommerce?

We’ve examined how SEO can help you rank on the first page of the search engine results and drive more traffic to your website. But what other benefits can a solid SEO strategy bring to your eCommerce store?

  • It allows you to target specific customers. By focusing on particular words and phrases, you can attract the right shoppers to your store. For example, if you want to appeal to people who are ready to make a purchase, you can use keywords like ‘buy Nike trainers’ or ‘where to buy trainers in London’
  • It boosts trust and credibility in your business. Businesses that customers trust perform 400% better than their competitors. Ranking high in the search engines can show customers you’re a reliable and credible company. Trust in itself is a positive search engine ranking factor!
  • It increases your brand awareness. The more customers see your name in the search engine results, the more they understand what you do, what you sell, and what your values are. This means that when they’re ready to buy, they’ll think of your business
  • It makes you stand out from your competitors. When you sell the same products as other businesses, you need to distinguish yourself from them. Ranking higher than your competitors means customers are more likely to shop with you

The different types of SEO

SEO isn’t just one thing – many digital marketing practices fall under the search engine optimisation umbrella! Here are the four main categories of SEO and what they entail.

1. On-page SEO

On-page SEO is all about optimising the content on your website to boost your search engine rankings.

This type of SEO is generally the easiest one to do as no technical expertise is needed, and you’re not reliant on other businesses.

On-page SEO involves adding the keywords you’ve discovered to your pages, as well as enhancing the user experience of your site. The more useful and relevant your pages are, the more likely Google is to recommend them to users.

Ways you can enhance the on-page SEO of your pages include:

  • Using your keywords in your content, as well as your:
    • Headings and subheadings
    • URL
    • Alt text and file names
  • Adding internal links to other pages on your website. This makes it easier for the search engines to understand your website and encourages people to stay on your site for longer
  • Adding external links to other websites. This builds trust and provides additional value to your visitors
  • Optimising your URL to be clear and understandable
  • Creating content that provides value to your customers

2. Off-page SEO

Off-page SEO is all about optimising things that aren’t on your website to enhance your search engine rankings.

This type of SEO is trickier than on-page SEO as it’s typically not under your direct control. You are reliant on other people to do the work, and you need to show why they should collaborate with you.

However, it can be highly beneficial. Trust is an important ranking factor in the search engines, and when other businesses promote your site, it shows that you’re a reliable and credible source of information.

Backlinks are the most well-known type of off-page SEO. This is when other websites link to your site. Think of each backlink as a vote, explaining to the search engines why you’re a trustworthy choice! Here are some examples of backlinks we’ve got for the Xigen website.

According to Semrush, 92% of the 100 top-ranking domains for a search query have at least one backlink.

Any backlinks you get must be relevant and high-quality. While good-quality backlinks can give you an SEO boost, poor-quality, spammy backlinks can have the opposite effect. Think quality rather than quantity when it comes to backlinks.

Other off-page SEO strategies include:

  • Creating high-quality content that other websites want to share
  • Guest blogging for other websites
  • Generating media coverage through press releases
  • Setting up a Google Business Profile and NAP citations – we’ll talk about this in more detail later

3. Technical SEO

SEO isn’t just about the content you offer. It’s about making sure your website loads quickly, looks good on mobile, and that the search engines can understand what you do.

Technical SEO ensures your website meets these requirements.

Why is technical SEO important? Firstly, you want to ensure a good user experience for customers. If your website is slow or looks bad on mobile, prospective shoppers will likely go elsewhere.

Mobile friendliness is a SEO ranking signal. This means a mobile-responsive website is far likelier to rank higher than a non-mobile responsive site.

A well-structured website also makes it easier for the search engines to crawl your website and understand what it is about. This means that when someone carries out a search, the search engine is in a better position to suggest your website as a solution to their query.

Alongside mobile-friendliness and page load speed, other ways you can enhance the technical SEO of your website include:

  • Making sure your website has a logical structure (for example, through internal linking and redirects)
  • Creating a sitemap and submitting it to the search engines
  • Identifying and fixing duplicate content and broken pages

4. Local SEO

Local SEO doesn’t apply to all eCommerce businesses. For example, if you operate completely online and sell nationally or internationally, you don’t need to worry about local SEO.

If you run a brick-and-mortar store or sell to a specific region, you’ll want to use local SEO.

Local SEO focuses on ensuring you rank for region-specific words and phrases. For example, let’s say you sell brownies across London. You’ll want to rank as high as possible for keywords like ‘the best brownies in London,’ ‘brownie delivery in North London,’ or even ‘brownie sellers near me’.

One of the best things you can do for local SEO is to create a Google Business Profile. This provides Google with additional information about your business, meaning it can show your eCommerce store to the right people. It also increases your chances of appearing in the ‘Snack Pack’ – the map of local search results displayed at the top of Google.

Here are some additional ways you can rank in local SEO searches:

  • Researching relevant keywords and phrases and optimising your pages for them
  • Encouraging relevant local businesses and organisations to link to your site
  • Using NAP citations to build authority and trust in your business

What isn’t SEO?

We’ve looked at what constitutes SEO, but what doesn’t count as SEO?

Is PPC and paid advertising SEO?

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising like Google Ads, Google Shopping Ads, and paid social ads, doesn’t count as SEO.

This is because SEO is all about building relevance and authority over time. With PPC, you’re essentially ‘paying to play’ – spending money to appear at the top of the search engine results.

However, you can use PPC and SEO together to cover all bases and ensure you target all your prospective customers, wherever they are in the sales funnel.

Is email marketing SEO?

Email marketing doesn’t count as SEO, as you’re contacting customers directly through email rather than appealing to them through the search engines. 

However, like SEO, you can use email marketing to drive traffic to your website and increase brand awareness.

Is social media SEO?

While it isn’t SEO in the strictest sense, more and more people are applying SEO principles to their social media content to make it easier to find.

For example, imagine you’re searching for a specific keyword on a platform like YouTube, TikTok, or Instagram. By optimising your profile and posts for the right presence, you can ensure your content appears in front of the right people.

YouTube is the second most-used search engine behind Google, and TikTok isn’t far behind – over half of Gen Z women use the platform to find answers to their questions!

How much does SEO cost to implement?

A significant benefit of SEO is that it’s relatively low-cost compared to other marketing channels like PPC advertising. This makes it a great way to promote your eCommerce business if you’re on a budget.

It’s estimated that businesses spend between 8.5% and 10.5% of their marketing budgets on SEO. Most of this spend goes on content creation, agency fees, and SEO tools.

However, there’s a lot you can do for low cost and no cost.

One of our favourite tools at Xigen is Google Search Console. You can use this free tool to see which keywords you’re ranking for, how many backlinks you have, and if your website has any technical issues.

Our top ten tips for enhancing your eCommerce SEO

SEO may seem complicated if you’re not used to it. The good news is that there are lots of simple things you can do to help your website rank in the search engines!

We asked our SEO team what eCommerce businesses should consider to increase the chances of getting on the first page of Google.

1. Start with an audit

A great place to start with SEO is to audit your website. Look at how much traffic your pages get, look for broken links, and see where what you can do to update your content.

(We can get you started with a free audit if you like!)

2. Create a blog

Investing in a blog for your eCommerce site can be great for SEO.

You can rank for brand-new keywords, establish yourself as a thought leader, and encourage backlinks!

3. Focus on the quick wins

When looking at your keyword rankings, focus on the pages that rank on the second page of the search results.

A few little changes can push your content onto the first page of the search engine results.

4. Look in unusual places for keyword ideas

Reddit and Quora are brilliant websites for seeing the questions prospective customers are asking about your industry and the types of products you sell.

Alternatively, look at the emails, live chats, and social media messages your customers send to get inspiration.

5. Spy on your competitors

Looking for an easy way to find backlinks?

Check out the backlinks your competitors have. If they have links on directories or news sites, it’s highly likely that you can get backlinks on these sites too!

6. Don’t fixate on your rankings

It’s good to keep an eye on where your pages rank in the search engines. Your rankings can fluctuate day by day, so don’t worry if you go down by one or two results.

If your page ranking suddenly plummets though, you’ll need to see why this has happened. It might mean a technical issue needs resolving.

7. Update old pages

Refreshing old pages on your website allows you to optimise them for SEO, for example, by adding new internal links or refreshing your images.

Updating your content also shows the search engines that you’re active and relevant, which can give you a welcome SEO boost.

8. Write content for people, not search engines

It’s vital to create pages that provide value to potential customers.

Spammy pages stuffed with keywords and irrelevant information can negatively affect your SEO rankings. They can even cause the search engines to stop showing your pages completely.

9. Understand search intent 

Not all keywords are the same. Some keywords are for customers researching their options, while others are for customers who are ready to buy.

  • Informational – searches made by people researching a particular topic. For example: ‘How to fix a flat bike tyre’
  • Commercial – searches made by people who know what they want and are conducting research. For example: ‘Best inner tube for road bikes’
  • Transactional – searches made by people who are ready to buy. For example: ‘Buy tyre tubes online’
  • Navigational – searches made by people looking for a specific website. For example: ‘’

When you know the search intent of the keywords you use, you can create content that resonates with the specific needs of your different customers.

10. Take things slowly

And finally, SEO can take a while to work, so don’t panic if you don’t immediately see the results you want.

Focus on making high-quality changes, and you’ll reap the benefits soon enough!

Need an eCommerce SEO specialist? Xigen is here to help

eCommerce SEO can sound scary, especially if you’re new to it. However, if you want your website to rank as high as possible in the search engine results, it helps to understand the basics.

The critical thing to remember about SEO is that it’s all about providing value to your potential customers. By making your pages easy to access, answering their questions, and showing you’re a trustworthy and credible choice, you’re well on the way to success in the search engines!

If you want to find the right keywords to target or audit your site to discover some quick SEO wins, our team of experts are here to help. Get in touch today, and we’ll get your eCommerce site noticed in the search engines.

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