In this tutorial you’ll learn how to do SEO for ecommerce sites step by step. If you run an ecommerce website, you’ll likely have hundreds, maybe even thousands of different product/category pages on your site.
Obviously it can be an insurmountable task to give special SEO attention to each and every one page of your site.
Before we continue, I want to mention that if you’d like to learn SEO right from scratch, please follow the SEO tutorial guide page and move forward from there.
Alternatively, you can use the navigation menu to move to any section of the SEO tutorial you’re interested in.
Now, for most non-ecommerce websites, we’re granted the luxury of focus when it comes to off-page optimization.
An SEO campaign is usually built around a handful of keywords that relate to the site’s core offering – which is usually just a few specific products or services.
In this instance, we can create a manageable number of pages on our site, optimize them for our keywords, and then focus all our off-page optimization efforts on those pages.
But what if you run an ecommerce website?
What if the more pages and the more products you offer the better?
Since you likely have so many different product or category of pages on your ecommerce site, we therefore need to take a different approach and ensure the correct structure is in place to maximize your website’s success.
Is Ecommerce Too Competitive for the Newcomer?
Before we get ‘into the weeds’ about how to approach eCommerce SEO, let me start out by telling you upfront – selling multiple products online is competitive. Really competitive.
You’ll likely be up against huge brands; companies with vast product lines and the ability to freely undercut you in price.
Did You Know?
Amazon invites third party vendors to sell their products on their website for a commission. Nothing ground breaking, right?
But did you know, Amazon is notorious for analyzing the sales data created by this third party inventory, then using that data to undercut and compete with vendors like you directly?
It’s like welcoming you into their home, working out the most tender parts of your body, then eating you!
I’m not going to lie, competing in the eCommerce marketplace will see you up against websites with very high domain authority and trust in Google.
Their consumers will have probably purchased from them in the past and so will be comfortable engaging with their sites. It’s also very likely they’ll be dominating the first page of Google for the products your site is trying to sell too.
But before I have to talk you down from the ledge or unplug your toaster next to the bath, what’s the good news? Is eCommerce too competitive for newcomers?
Ready for an answer about as satisfying as miso soup? Here it is…
“Yes and no”.
I’m afraid it’s the dreaded ‘d’ word again – yes, it ‘depends’.
Remember, first and foremost Google wants to show the most relevant search results to its users.
Let’s pretend you have a relatively new eCommerce website dedicated to selling, say, camping equipment. CampingStuff.com we’ll call it. And let’s say one of your products is a ‘Yellowstone 2-man tent’.
It goes without saying that we’d like our Yellowstone 2-man tent product page to rank at the top of Google when someone types that keyword into the search bar. But of course, a lot of larger, more general eCommerce stores with high domain authority websites are currently ranking on the first page.
It’s hopeless right? Wrong!
Even though campingstuff.com is a new website with much lower domain authority, if we’ve correctly optimized it, Google will know that campingstuff.com is much more relevant to the camping industry than a general vendor like Amazon.
Don’t get me wrong, we’re in for a fight; and a tough one.
We’ll have to do a great job with our off-page optimization to grow domain authority as much as possible, but we do have a chance of getting on the first page in front of our customers.
If you’re thinking of becoming the next Amazon, ranking highly for a generalized online inventory across various unrelated niches, forget it.
You’ll need an astronomic marketing budget (both online and offline) and several years to even get close! But if you can specialize, you have a fighting chance.
If in Doubt, Niche Down
The moral of the eCommerce story is:
You can become a very profitable online store if your product offering is niche enough.
If in doubt, become the specialist store.
If I had tents to sell, like the above camping example, and I wanted to be an online success as quickly as possible, I wouldn’t stop at specializing in camping.
I’d go one stage further and sell only tents, positioning my entire site as the number one online supermarket for tents.
Hell, I’d probably go one step further and become the only eCommerce site specializing in ‘kids backyard tents’.
The important takeaway is this – I’d let the market and my ability to compete in it decide what inventory I sold.
Most people do it the other (and wrong) way round by negotiating specific inventory deals, then they worry about selling it.