SEO optimisation for online shops
- Importance of SEO for online shops
- How long does SEO take
- How SEO works
- What SEO actually means
- Content and SEO optimisation
- Transactional content for online shops
- SEO for product pages
- How do I make an SEO-optimised product description?
- How to structure a product text
- SEO for category pages
- Category texts as a significant ranking factor
- Informational content
- User Generated Content
- Criteria of a good SEO text
- How often should the content be updated?
If you already run your own online shop or are just taking your first steps in e-commerce, you’ve probably heard of SEO. Perhaps you have also given some thought to how you can use it to make your business thrive. But before you get down to the nitty-gritty and resort to the specific means, you should be aware of some terms and processes that take place in this field. First, we would like to clarify what SEO actually is and why it is so indispensable for an online shop.
Importance of SEO for online shops
Even today, the importance of SEO is neglected by many online business owners, who prefer to invest the money in paid search. This is particularly unfortunate because 37.5 percent of users come to a website via search. Search engine optimisation helps online shops get as high as possible in search results. A high ranking boosts traffic and increases a shop’s chances of acquiring new customers. According to a recent survey by Search Engine Journal, almost 30 percent of users click on the first organic hit, 15 percent – on the second and 11 percent – on the third. The last organic hit on the first page is accepted by only 2.5 percent of searchers. And if even direct clicks or purchases are not made, at least your brand gains popularity.
If you want to successfully distribute your e-commerce trade, you cannot do without effective SEO measures. But before you take them, familiarise yourself with our research on this topic, where we go into precise detail about the efficient SEO steps.
How long does SEO take
When approaching search engine optimisation of your website, you should keep in mind the fact that SEO will only deliver more traffic to your online business in the long run. Moreover, you also need to understand that SEO is certainly about a process and not at all a one-time action. Generally, the period of 4 to 6 months is referred to as the optimal transition period.
How fast the visibility of your shop improves is determined by some important factors. First of all, aspects related to content are mentioned, such as keyword strategy, keyword competition, meta descriptions. One must also consider such criteria as a good structure and usability of your website, competition in your industry, long/short existence of your domain. Last but not least, the time you are willing to invest in improving your webshop ranking is also important. However, it is worth taking time and effort for this, because SEO is an excellent way to get high-quality traffic without paying for it.
How SEO goes about it
When planning a business, it is also important to set priorities correctly. The correct order of your actions is SEO first, then the net page. A comprehensive keyword research creates a platform for proper page structure, efficient category and article pages, SEO texts, keyword coverage, search intent matching, etc. While it is possible to adapt SEO to the existing site if necessary, it requires significantly more resources.
What SEO actually means
SEO is the abbreviation for Search Engine Optimisation. Like SEA (Search Engine Advertising), which also implies the placement of Google Ads, SEO is part of search engine marketing. The aim of optimisation is to get web shops as high up as possible in the search results.
If you successfully take SEO measures, your business has every chance of ending up at the top of Google’s hit list. The high relevance of your shop for search engines means that more potential customers will take notice and click on it. Broadly speaking, search engine optimisation is divided into 3 major segments:
Content: Content should be of high quality and important for your target group.
Technology: Fast loading times, user-friendliness and good structure of your website are important here.
Authority: The more external and relevant backlinks there are on your site, the more your online shop will gain prominence and trust.
Depending on whether SEO measures are taken inside or outside your site, we also speak of onpage and offpage optimisation. Onpage SEO encompasses all the initiatives you are currently taking on your website. This mainly concerns content and technical aspects of the website. Offpage optimisation refers to the actions that take place outside of your website, primarily links.
Content and SEO optimisation
Content is the entire content of a website. This generally includes not only text, but also images, graphics, videos or online tools, such as a configurator. Content plays a fundamental role for the ranking in search engines, for the dwell time of searchers and their interaction on the website.
Generally, content for online shops is divided into three groups:
- Transactional Content
- Informational content
- Social content / user-generated content
Transactional content is particularly relevant for online shops. This includes category pages, product pages or brand pages.
Informational content is usually presented through online magazines, guidebooks or blog articles. Transactional and informational content directly influence customer traffic via the search engine and thus have a direct impact on sales.
User-generated content is often found in a magazine or guidebook or on separate landing pages. Social content can also be displayed on various sources that are not connected to the page, such as Facebook, YouTube. From an SEO point of view, user-generated content only has an indirect influence on a favourable ranking of the page.
Transactional content for online shops
SEO optimisation of transactional content is fundamental for an online shop because commercial keywords in particular are responsible for a high and continuous search volume. If you take successful SEO measures regarding commercial content webshops, you will get high-quality traffic permanently.
The transactional content should be generated in such a way that it enables the potential customer to make the decision to buy and to complete the transaction. In doing so, the user should have no desire to seek advice from another site.
The most important components of transactional content include:
- Product pages
- Article descriptions
- Category pages
SEO for product pages
The product page is the first stage on the way to purchasing your goods. Whether the buyer wants to go further down this path depends on how fully the item is presented. Accordingly, it should answer all possible questions of a potential customer that he cannot ask the seller directly. Nowadays, a picture and a short description are no longer enough for this. The most important elements of the product page include not only the item description but also pictures, video, customer reviews etc. We have compiled a checklist for you with important points that can be helpful in creating an effective product page:
Place price information in a visible way
A perfect product page should logically have up-to-date and clearly visible prices.
Add pictures and videos
Numerous photos from different angles and videos enable the visitor to gain as much knowledge as possible about the size, use and special features of the goods.
Offer similar products
The first item displayed is not always a perfect match for the searcher. He should not leave your site immediately. It is best to draw his attention to similar products. This gives them a perfect opportunity to compare on the spot and sees that your shop has a wide range of products and can satisfy every demand. This will increase your company’s trust and authority.
Recommend complementary products
Also offer your customers the goods they will need when using the product they are looking for. Don’t be afraid to appear pushy. Your buyers may disregard some details, so by reminding them of these, you point out your concern for their comfort. Moreover, appropriate links also have an effect on search engine optimisation. The optimal number of links is three to five per page. If necessary and appropriate, you can of course link to more complementary goods.
Show reviews and customer ratings
Positive reviews do not only influence the shopping pleasure of users, but also the local ranking of your business. So these are good motives to specifically ask buyers who have expressed their satisfaction with your shop for feedback. Not only do people prefer to browse through reviews with many stars, most searchers also attach great importance to their topicality. The most recent reviews are often accepted by users as the most relevant.
Provide detailed delivery information
All information about delivery is usually displayed in the upper third of the product page. This includes information about availability, delivery date, shipping method and any other delivery conditions. Here you can inform your customers whether the goods will be delivered ready for use or whether they still have to be assembled or put together. Whether the delivery of an item involves additional effort or is even free of charge. These are the questions that every online buyer deals with. Of course none of them should remain unanswered. For you, it is a good way to stand out from other online shops.
All of these key points contribute significantly to the visibility of your product page. However, the product text still offers the greatest SEO potential for an online shop to stand out and leave your competitors far behind.
How to make an SEO-optimised product description
In order for your product description to prove helpful to customers and to be viewed positively by Google, there are a few rules to follow when creating it:
🗸 Give enough information. As we have just established, a detailed article description is the be-all and end-all of the product page. This way you show your expert knowledge, strengthen your authority and enjoy more customer confidence. The higher the price of a product, the more trust in the trader becomes important for the buyer. Although it may seem surprising nationality is also an important determinant. According to the latter studies, German users demand more detailed item descriptions than searchers from other European countries. However, the length of the product description should be appropriate to the product, complex products require more information.
What content a product text contains is also determined to some extent by the product category itself. However, there are some general key points that every complete product description implies. These include: Manufacturer information, materials, ingredients, intended use, certificates, instructions for product use, information about warranty.
🗸 Write original texts. Emphasis on completeness does not mean that you can simply copy manufacturer descriptions for your product pages. To ensure that your product text is not only user-friendly but also SEO-friendly and ensures the highest possible ranking for your page, it should be written according to certain rules. Which is not exactly the case with manufacturer pages. Moreover, such texts can be recognised by Google as duplicate content.
🗸 Try to convince your customers. An SEO-optimised product description should not communicate dry facts and be a listing of features, but should also entice the potential customer to buy. A high-quality item description should give the potential customer an answer to the question: “How does this product make my life easier, more pleasant and happier?”
Let’s take an example. You describe a bicycle with a bicycle basket. What advantage does the bicycle basket give? It enables us to carry necessary things comfortably. Accordingly, the text could read: “If you don’t want to wear a backpack on your back while cycling, you can use our bicycle with a bicycle basket. It offers you the possibility to comfortably transport your utensils and thus ensures more comfort and safety on the journey”.
🗸 Keep the clientele in mind. Before you describe an item in this way, you should be aware of your target group. You will hardly inspire a professional athlete with this, while a mother with small children will highly appreciate this additional equipment.
🗸 Explain complex issues simply. A product text should be written in as uncomplicated a manner as possible, both in terms of content and language, so that it can be understood by a wide range of potential customers. Avoid technical terms; if their use is necessary, explain them. Overlong, compound sentences are also undesirable.
How to structure a product text
In addition to the pure content, the visual appearance is also a decisive factor for comprehensibility. Last but not least, good clarity of the product description also plays a role in how long or whether the potential customer stays on your site at all. We have a few tips to help you achieve a clear structure and the desired dwell time.
- Use an informative and product-related H1 headline
- Write a small introductory text/teaser that entices the buyer to purchase the product
- Divide the item description into small segments with further H2, H3, H4 headings (e.g. technical information, scope of delivery, warranty, etc.)
- Keep in mind the length of the paragraphs. 4-5 lines are optimal for good readability
- Show the most important information about each product on one page so that users can see through it without scrolling.
SEO for category pages
While the importance and the essence of the product page is understood by the majority of entrepreneurs, category pages and their importance for high ranking are often underestimated. In the meantime, they are the most important entry pages that provide an overall view of an online shop’s product range. If headlines and category texts are set to search terms and are also otherwise summarised in a search engine-friendly way, your online shop will receive a significantly larger influx of users via categories than via product pages.
An SEO-optimised category page is set up according to the following scheme.
1. At the top is the H1 with the main keyword (or it can be the main keyword itself).
2. On the left side is the sidebar with filter, which makes browsing through your online shop much easier.
3. After this, there is a short teaser, which also includes the main keyword.
4. Below this there is a list of goods.
5. Below the goods is the category description, which provides an informative overview of the range.
6. Сustomer reviews and star ratings are displayed at the bottom of the category page.
All these elements are essential to improve the visibility of your website. But from the SEO optimisation point of view, category texts in particular are the best option for ranking.
Category texts as a significant ranking factor
Very often category texts are seen and grasped as pure customer advice, and on the one hand this vision is justified. On the one hand, a text answers the frequently asked questions of customers and thus helps the future purchase. In addition, high-quality texts that thoroughly address a topic and communicate expert knowledge are also highly valued by Google.
Similar to the product description, the category text should also not be a simple description of the product range and its variants. For example, if you write about garden furniture, don’t let your text read as a simple enumeration: “Our online shop offers a wide range of garden furniture. You will find high-quality bench swings, beach chairs, hammocks, swings and sun loungers.”
Put your potential customers in the future where they have already bought your goods. Show them all the possible advantages of it. In this way, a good text can be written, for example, like this: “Snoozing in the afternoon and listening to yourself in sprinkling of nature sounds? That’s what hammocks, swings and sun loungers are for. Do you want to retreat and enjoy the summer sunset in a quiet spot of the garden with a glass of wine? All you need to do is design a corner of your country plot with a bench swing or a beach chair. Our garden furniture is made from robust and weatherproof materials and will look great for years to come.”
At the end of a category description follows a call to action. This prompts your visitors to familiarise themselves with the range or to buy a certain item. The call-to-action can be as follows: “Dive into the wide world of our online shop” or “Browse through our range of quality furniture”.
After all, search engines evaluate a category description from an SEO point of view. So if you reconcile content and SEO rules, you will end up higher up in the search results and be seen by more potential customers. The updates of the Google search algorithm nowadays also principally determine new quality guidelines for the content of an online shop. In order to meet the high requirements of search engines, you must generally adhere to certain points.
Criteria of a good SEO text
We have worked out some tips on how to write a search engine optimised text that will rank your website on the top positions of the search results:
1. Research the topics for your texts in detail. This way you can fully explain the matter and leave no question of your customers unanswered.
2. Create individual content for your site, do not copy the texts from other sources.
3. Do not attach great importance to the length of your texts. The only thing that counts is that the topic is fully illuminated. For some topics you can’t blow up your article to 1200 words even if you wanted to.
4. Use keywords as often as they occur in normal speech.
5. Also use synonyms, related terms and keyword combinations. This makes the texts easier to read.
6. Pay attention to the appearance of your texts. Headings, bulleted lists, images, videos, tables and highlighting make the content clear and understandable for users.
7. Make paragraphs every 4-5 lines.
8. For longer texts, put a content overview with links in front.
9. Integrate your texts into the page in such a way that they are easy to read and easy to find.
In addition to the above-mentioned aspects of search engine-friendly content for online shops, we would like to be more precise about the frequency of keywords in an SEO-optimised text.
Although a certain keyword density is essential for the high ranking of your website, you must not overdo it. Overuse of keywords affects rankings just as badly as their lack. Also, do not forget that you are writing your texts not only for search engines, but also for users. Preferably, search terms should appear in your text as often as in normal language. The optimal distribution density of search terms in the text is like this:
- once in the H1 heading
- 1-2 times in the subheadings
- once in the first 100 words of the paragraph
- a sufficient proportion of the search terms is from 0.5 to 1%.synonyms and relevant terms are desired.
Informational content for shop SEO?
Informational content is very important for SEO, although purchase intent for informational keywords is not as high as for transactional keywords. However, they have a high search volume. Create quality content in your guide or blog where you advise your customers on specific topics. This is another way for you to stand out from competitors and attract potential customers to your site.
A distinction is made between evergreen content and seasonal content. Evergreen content always stays current, whereas seasonal content is only valid for a certain period of time. This is often the case with topics that relate to a few points in time, such as Christmas, Easter, Oktoberfest, etc.
In contrast, evergreen content remains relevant in the long term. However, in order for it to work in this way, you should consider some specifics, just as you do when creating transactional content. These are such aspects as target group, appropriate use of keywords, clear structure of the text. In addition, informational topics benefit especially from images or videos that contribute to clarity. Also use internal links to your transactional pages.
User-generated content for online shops
User-generated content (UGC) includes product ratings, product photos, reviews, Q&As and unboxing videos on social media. According to studies, user-generated content is a decisive factor in the purchase of a certain product. So, in this way, it is a highly influential advertising tool that your visitors generate without your participation and effort.
Moreover, UGC supports a high level of interaction with your website, which positively influences such ranking factors as dwell time, authenticity and trust. However, you also need to moderate and control user-generated content and control it. This is necessary not only from a legal point of view, but also from the search engine’s perspective.
How often should the content be updated?
This is not an easy question to answer because there are many factors involved. A lot also depends on the sector. It goes without saying that in such areas as technology, for example, changes come faster than in the furniture sector. Accordingly, content on your site should also be updated. Last but not least, it also depends on the type of content. User-generated content is always much more dynamic than transactional content, let alone evergreen content.
However, evergreen content is also not as eternal as one might assume from its name. With each new search query, it takes into account when the information was published or last updated. This is not only the case with technical areas, where rapid changes require regular updates, but also with supposedly timeless content. So, in order to achieve high traffic with informational content, you also need to take possible updates or improvements in time.
SEO area always stays up to date, because search engines are smart nowadays and cannot be outwitted. To go further, you should update your content regularly and manage your shop so that it remains user as well as search engine friendly.