com has nailed their eCommerce SEOgenerating over $1, 000 in revenue per second.
And while a lot of their traffic and salescome from searches within their own platform, SimilarWeb estimates that search contributes30% of their overall traffic and Ahrefs’ Site Explorer estimates 706 million searchvisitors each month.
But Amazon didn’t become an overnight success.
In fact, their search traffic has grown immenselyyear after year.
So in this video, I’m going to walk youthrough a complete eCommerce SEO tutorial, step-by-step for more rank and more bank.
[music] What’s up SEOs? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool thathelps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche.
Today, we’re going to be talking about eCommerceSEO and how you can rank your product and category pages.
So here’s what our agenda looks like today.
First, we’ll tackle a couple must-dos forall online shops.
Next, we’ll break down keyword researchfor ecommerce.
Then we’ll hit on-page SEO, get technical, tackle link building specifically for product and category pages, and finish it off witha bit on content marketing for eCommerce.
Let’s get to it.
So there are two absolute musts that I thinkall eCommerce sites should do.
The first is to make sure that you secureyour website with HTTPs.
The main reasons for this is to keep yourcustomers information encrypted.
And I’m not just talking about credit carddetails, but names, addresses, and other personal information that you wouldn’t want to havecompromised.
And it’s important that all of your pagesare set up correctly because you don’t want Chrome returning a privacy error screen likethis or other warnings like this.
And Google has officially stated that HTTPSwill be used as a ranking signal, even though it may not be the strongest ranking factoraccording to our on-page SEO study.
The second must-do is to run a site auditto identify your technical SEO issues.
Ecommerce properties are one of the easiesttypes of websites to unintentionally create a whole mess of indexation and cannibalizationissues because of the sheer size.
For this tutorial, I’ll be using KleinfeldBridal shop as our example site, which sells wedding dresses and other bridal apparel.
So I’ll go to Ahrefs’ Site Audit tooland set up a simple SEO audit.
The only change I’ll be making to the defaultsettings is to run the audit on the domain without subdomains and then click next.
And next again to go to the crawl settings.
” Finally, I’ll turn off the scheduled auditsand just run this once.
Now, while the audit is running, let’s moveonto keyword research.
In this step, you’ll need to choose a keywordto target for every product and category page.
Yes, it is a ton of work, but it’s somethingthat should be done or outsourced.
Now, when it comes to selecting keywords, there are two different types of pages I want to focus on.
And those are category pages and product pages.
So first, you’ll need to get a completeinventory of your product and category pages.
Depending on the CMS you use, whether that’sShopify, Magento, Open Cart, Woocommerce, or whatever, you may be able to export thesepages directly from your backend.
Or you can go to your Sitemap if you haveone created.
So for the bridal site, I’ll just add /sitemap.
xmlto the end of the URL and you’ll see a full list of all of the pages that they want searchengines to crawl.
From here, you’ll want to prioritize theseby the highest revenue generating pages or the pages that generate the most traffic foryour business.
Now, for each of your pages, you’ll wantto look for a head term as well as long-tail variations.
In general, a head term would be a more popularkeyword with a higher search volume.
Long-tail would likely have lower search volumebut are modified variations to the head term.
You can find these by going to Ahrefs KeywordsExplorer and type in a seed keyword that’s broadly related to your niche.
So I’ll type in “wedding.
” Next, you can go to the “having same terms”report, and you’ll see a bunch of irrelevant keywords like “wedding invitations.
” So you can make it relevant by using the “include”search box.
Here, I’ll type in a few keywords like dress, dresses, shoes, and accessories which should represent some of your parent categories thatbroadly match the type of wedding related products that we sell.
And I’ll set the dropdown to show keywordideas that have “any” of these keywords in it.
And you can see a whole bunch of great keywordideas here, some of which would be perfect category pages, others that are perfect subcategories to that parent, and the rare one that’s irrelevant.
So you can match up the best keywords withthe current structure of your site based on the types of products that you sell.
Based on these results, you’ll likely wantto focus on a broader term like “wedding dresses” as the parent category, then addsub categories like guest dresses, plus size, cheap, beach, and vintage underneath the parent.
Keyword selection for product pages is a bitdifferent.
For example, if you sell a branded productlike Gucci shoes or an iPhone 8 Plus, then you’d want to include the brand name and/ormodel numbers, since they will likely hold search volume because of brand recognitionand reputation.
And if you’re on the other side of the spectrumwhere you’re selling unbranded products or products from unknown names, then you maywant to stick with more descriptive terms that people are searching for.
For example, if you look at these shoes fromNordstrom, you’ll see that they’ve named it “Gabe Pump, ” which no one seems tobe searching for.
On the other hand, there are around 350 monthlysearches for “vince camuto pumps, ” which could act as a head term for the product pagewith some variations or modifiers like using colors, the type of toe or heel, or simplyby prefixing the title with “women’s.
” If you look at Amazon’s product pages forVince Camuto pumps, you’ll see that they’ve put a little bit more thought into their keywordresearch and on-page optimization.
They’re using the designer’s name, a modifierkeyword, the brand line, and the type of shoe which is both descriptive as well as keyword rich.
A good way to find product keywords is tosearch for your brand name as your seed in Keywords Explorer.
Then, go to the “Having Same Terms” reportand type in the type of product that you sell.
In this case, we’re talking about pumps, so I’ll type in ‘pump.
’ Another way to find product and category pageideas is to analyze your competitors’ top pages.
Looking at the top pages report for David’sBridal, one of Kleinfeld Bridal’s competitors, you’ll see that some of their top keywordsfor their most popular pages in search include “mother of the bride dresses, ” “promdresses, ” and “bridesmaid dresses.
” And all 3 of these happen to be categoriesthat our example site is not yet serving.
From here, you can click on the keywords dropdownand look for the long-tail variations on these head terms.
Here, you’ll see that even though theirtop keyword is “mother of the bride dresses, ” that they still rank high for variations like“mother of the groom dresses” and this one that uses “long” as a modifier.
Now, before you actually select a keyword, there is one massively important step that you must take.
And that’s to ensure that the search intentfor the keyword matches the page you intend to use it on.
Looking back at our list of keyword ideas, you can analyze search intent by clicking on the SERP dropdown beside any of the keywords.
So looking at the SERP for “wedding guestdresses, ” you can see that they’re all category pages, so you’d want to stick withthe same format because the search intent shows that people are looking for a list ofdifferent dresses that they can browse through.
Looking at the SERP for “meghan markle weddingdress, ” you can see that these are all blog posts, so serving search intent with a productor category page probably wouldn't be in your best interest.
Taking 10 seconds to analyze the current SERPscan save you a ton of time to ensure you’re not targeting the wrong keyword.
I could go on with more keyword research techniques, but this should be more than enough to give you a solid list of keywords.
So, let’s move on to on-page optimization.
First is to optimize your meta titles, descriptions, and H1 tags.
Now, most eCommerce sites use templated versions, especially those with thousands of different products, which makes sense from a time perspective, but it isn’t exactly ideal from a search perspective.
It’s a bit ugly and none of these reallyentice a click from my point of view.
In fact, these 3 pages might seem like duplicatecontent issues, but they are indeed completely different products.
With this, you can go withsomewhat of a hybrid approach.
So rather than using the type of wedding dressfor the meta title as they have here, you can use the title of the product, which youshould be able to easily formulate if you do your keyword research.
As for the description, it looks like theywrote unique meta descriptions for each product, but they look like they’re the same simplybecause they prefix the description with a template.
In this case, they could simply move thatpart of the template to the end or remove it, so as people start reading the meta description, they’ll know that they are indeed different products.
The h1 tag is pretty simple.
Just use the category title or product name.
And again, if you’ve done everything correctlyup to this point, then these should fall in place quite nicely.
The next on-page tip is to optimize your URLs.
There are certainly different ways to do this, but my preference is to keep them as clean as possible.
Remember this hierarchy we talked about? You can use these to formulate the structurefor your category pages.
So, for example, you might have domain.
com/wedding-dresses/ as the parent.
Then you can add your sub category by addingplus size as a new subfolder.
And if you happen to have a plus size product, the URL can look like this with the product name as the final part of your URL.
Other sites often follow the same categorystructure, but you’ll also see sites that have product pages as domain.
com/product-name, which is also fine and a good way to avoid duplicate content by having the same productin multiple categories.
We’ll get into the more advanced URL featureslike filter queries and parameters in the technical SEO section.
The next part of on-page optimization arewriting unique product and category descriptions.
So, product pages, they often lack content.
Sometimes they don’t even have any at allaside from the title of the product.
I won’t go too in-depth, but here are afew copywriting tips: Include your head keyword target in the description;Sprinkle in long-tail variations and synonyms that hold semantic relationships with the head term.
For a wedding dress product page, you mayinclude keywords like bridal, gown, the designer’s name, etc.
Make sure they’re well-written and readablefor visitors; Tell visitors things that they may actuallywant to know.
Don’t try and meet a word count quota.
Just keep it short, sweet, and on point.
And last, use user generated content via.
product reviews to add further context.
The final on-page tip is to use schema markup.
By adding schema markup, you can have yourproduct pages show up in search like this.
Beyond looking more visually appealing, structuredmarkup has led to increases in click-through-rate by 30%.
I won’t get into a coding tutorial, butyou can check out the best practices on schema.
org or use Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper, which makes an intimidating task, super simple.
After you’ve marked up your products, thenyou can enter in the URL of your page or paste the source code into Google’s structureddata testing tool.
So for this page, you can see that they’reusing both breadcrumbs and product markup.
One important thing to note is that if youdecide to markup products within your category page, then according to Google, all of themshould be marked.
Schema markup isn’t a must, but it’s certainlya good way to standout in the SERPs and increase your CTR.
Alright, we’re onto our technical SEO section.
Now, technical SEO is super important forecommerce sites simply because it’s a lot easier to create duplicate content, cannibalization, and other issues that often go unnoticed.
We’ve already talked about general navigationin terms of URL structures, but as an ecommerce store, you need to take special care withfaceted navigation.
And by faceted navigation, I’m talking aboutparameters that are added to the URL via.
filters that don’t exactly have a semanticrelationship.
For example, if I’m looking on Amazon foran iPhone and then I choose a 5 to 5.
4 inch display size, only in gold color, and fromthis random seller, they don’t really have a semantic relationship when all combined together.
While these filters are great for user experience, they often lead to issues with duplicate content which comes with other problems like how yourlink equity is distributed among your other pages.
And for bigger sites, crawl budget becomessomething to be aware of.
So there are 2 main issues that we need to solve.
Number one is duplicate content, which willaffect how your link equity is distributed.
And number two, wasted crawl budget.
And the most effective way for beginners andintermediates is to set a canonical URL for different facets that you don’t want tobe indexed as a separate URL.
And if you look at the source code for thatAmazon category page, you’ll see that it’s something that they set here.
But this doesn’t solve our crawl budget issue.
So the way you can do that is to add nofollowinternal links on facets that you don’t want to be followed.
And you can see that our example bridal sitedoes that here on certain filters.
It’s absolutely vital that you take careof faceted navigation since Google has explicitly said that it contributes to having manylow-value-add URLs, affecting crawl budget.
You can check if you have issues with facetednavigation simply by taking one of your URLs with some filters that you don’t want to be indexedand then pasting it in as a Google search.
Next is to fix other duplicate content issues.
Now, if we go back to Site Audit we can headover to the “Content Quality” report in the left sidebar, and you’ll see a nicecluster map of near duplicate pages.
The green ones have canonicals matching, andthe red duplicates have mismatching canonicals.
And in almost all cases, the green ones canbe left alone, but the red ones will need some tender love and care.
If I click on one of the red ones, then you’llsee the duplicate pages that do not share the same canonical URL.
And if I open up a couple of pages, you’llsee that the pages are indeed the same, but have different canonical URLs based on thepage number.
But they’re using the parameter, pp, whichstands for per page causing a potential SEO issue.
So in this case, they can nofollow the internallinks to the number of results per page filter, noindex the pages that contain that filter, or add some additional conditions in the backend to fix this issue.
But there would likely need to be more fixesthroughout the site since these kinds of issues tend to go deep.
You can click on the URL that you want toexamine, then click on “inlinks” within Site Audit, and you’ll be able to see allof the internal links pointing at this page.
There are a lot of options that you need toweigh out and since I have minimal knowledge about this site as a whole, there would needto be further analysis before making a big move like this.
There are other kinds of duplicate content issues.
A common one you’ll see on ecommerce sitesis having the exact same product page within different categories.
For example, you might have a URL that lookslike this, which is in your new-releases section.
But that same product might fall into yourdresses category, creating two identical pages.
In this case, you could either use the canonicaltag or if it’s no longer relevant, you can delete the page and redirect it to the correct URL.
Finally is to find and fix keyword cannibalizationissues and we have a great video and blog post on that, which includes a free templatethat you can download and watch after this video.
Because right now, we’re going to hit linkbuilding for ecommerce which is a real struggle for many of us ecommerce site owners.
Building links to your product and categorypages is hard in comparison to getting links to blog posts.
So let’s talk about a few tactics that youcan use that will help you get more links to your revenue generating pages.
The first is to find sites that link to yourcompetitors’ homepages.
And the reason why I’m going for homepagelinks is because this is much more common and easier to get for ecommerce sites overlinks to product pages.
Using the link intersect tool, you can enterin your competitors' domain and see which sites link to them and try and get an understandingof why they’re linking to them.
If you’re not sure who your competitorsare, then you can go to the Competing Domains report within Site Explorer and look for sitesthat have a lot of common keywords, or just skim through the visual graphic here and lookfor lots of green.
So you would take these 3 domains here andpaste them into the link intersect tool, which I’ve already preset.
And then in the bottom, you can enter in your domain Next, I’m going to switch all of these dropdownsto URL mode.
Finally, I’m going to switch this filterto show pages that link to any of these pages and I’ll run the search.
And you can see that there are nearly 5, 500sites that are linking to these competitors, but not to Kleinfeld Bridal.
Now, some of these links will be irrelevant, but you’ll also be able to see that they have links from Vogue.
Then you’ll see a bunch of links from whatlooks like a wedding magazine who are perpetually giving them editorial links.
These are the kinds of people you’d wantto network with! Another link building strategy is to get featuredon manufacturers’ “where to buy” page.
You can do a Google search for something like this: The manufacturer whose product you stock thenintitle:(”where to buy” OR “stockists”).
Sometimes you’ll find directory listingslike this, and other times, you’ll be able to contact the manufacturer who would be morethan willing to list your online shop there.
You can also do this in Site Explorer.
Just enter in the domain of one of your competitors, so I’ll put in Davidsbridal.
Then go to the backlinks profile.
Next, type something in the “include”search box like “where to buy.
” And you can see here that there are some decentopportunities to get some editorial links.
The next link building strategy is to search for people who have done reviews on your competitor’s products.
Now, the wedding dress industry probably wouldn’t be the best for this search since they have high ticket items.
So let’s use Tata Harper as an example, who sells natural beauty products.
You can do a Google search for intitle:”tata harper” intitle:review.
And you can see that there are a good numberof results including YouTube results.
You can also do this in Content Explorer.
I’ll just type in “Tata Harper” as aphrase match and set the search parameter to title.
And you’ll see a nice list of pages thatweeds out a lot of the junk pages that you’d normally have to filter through in Googleand in YouTube.
A big plus to using Content Explorer is thatyou can see all of the SEO metrics to know which site owners and authors areworth building relationships with.
Now that we have a list of prospects, youjust need to reach out to them.
You can say something like: Hi [name], Sam here with Sam’s NaturalBeauty and Healthcare Products.
I saw your review on Tata Harper’s organic cleanser.
Thought you might be interested in doing areview on our [similar product].
Cosmopolitan rated it as the top natural cleanserin 2018 and Forbes has called us “a skin care company to be reckoned with.
” I liked the thoroughness of your Tata Harperarticle and thought you might be a good fit to provide an objective review on our “Organicks” line.
Let me know if you’re interested and I’dbe happy to send you some samples and a few gifts for you and your family.
Cheers, Sam Now, if they choose to write a review, thisis will naturally lead to a link back to your site and/or product page.
The last one is a bit different, but it has massivepotential to rank for highly competitive phrases.
The caveat is that it’s extremely difficultto execute.
Do you remember #thedress? Basically, a woman saw this dress as blueand her friend or family member saw it as gold.
They posted it on Tumblr and the story went viral.
But what store did they buy this dress from? And of course people would go out of theirway to find out.
And it was a small-ish store in the UK called“Romans Originals.
” Once people found out, guess what happened? Authority sites like the Huffington Post, Forbes, BBC, and Mashable started linking to their product page and home page.
And look at their spike of referring domains! Now, ranking for hashtag, the dress, isn’tgoing to bring much value for them alone.
But look at their “Best by Links” reportto see what they did.
They started redirecting all of their virallinks to their /dresses category page.
And if we look at the overview page of theirdresses category page, you’ll see that they had a massive spike in Google traffic to theirpages when they redirected those pages.
Now, creating a viral hit like this is noeasy task.
But if you or your team are able to come upwith something creative, you can use a similar post-viral strategy.
So, get the links from virality, milk everylink you can until the buzz fades, then redirect those pages to a relevant page that can bumpyour rankings.
The last and final piece to the eCommerceSEO puzzle is to do content marketing.
And by content marketing, I’m referringto blogging, creating infographics, and tools that will be helpful to your prospective customers.
As I mentioned earlier, content attracts alot more links and a lot more easily than product or category pages.
Now, rather than rehashing what I’ve alreadysaid, I highly recommend watching our SEO tutorial, which you can view by clicking thecard and I’ll leave a link to it in the description below.
So keep grinding away, get results, and I’llsee you in the next tutorial.