9 Ecommerce SEO strategies and actionable best practices [2024]

Lizzie Davey
10min read
Ecommerce industry
3 April 2024
Featured image

Hitting the top spot in Google’s search results is the ultimate for every ecommerce brand.

Hitting the top spot in Google’s search results is the ultimate for every ecommerce brand. With nearly 40% of searchers clicking the top-ranking page link, on the first page of the search engine results pages (SERPs) (a number that falls to 18.7% if you’re in spot two or 10.2% for spot three), it’s a fierce battle in the clamber to the top. 

Ecommerce SEO is much like any other type of SEO. It involves optimising and fine-tuning your website to reflect what your customers are searching for, meeting search engine best practices, and creating fresh content that answers consumer needs. 

But there’s an extra set of challenges that ecommerce brands face in the SERPs race. Take a look at this screenshot of a search for “red ballet shoes”. 

Firstly, you’ll notice there’s a lot of choice. It’s easy to become red-shoe-blind and suffer decision paralysis. Secondly, you’ll see that the first half of the search results are taken up by sponsored ads and product listings. 

Ecommerce brands competing in the SERPs either have to wait for shoppers to scroll past Google’s digital store window or spend big to join in the action. This new layout makes it harder for product-based businesses to stand out if they don’t have a host of rich media elements, like reviews, images, compelling titles, and a USP. 

But the click is just the start. It’s not enough to lure visitors in from the SERPs and hope for the best. Your organic search channel needs to convert if you want to reap the rewards of each click-through. 

Here, we go beyond the generic ecommerce SEO tips you often see, and instead, dive deeper into how you can solve search-related challenges with proven tools and actionable tactics. 

The biggest ecommerce SEO challenges and tips 

Whether you find yourself in a constant battle with marketplace listings or struggle to create regular fresh content, here’s how you can overcome the most common ecommerce SEO challenges. 

1. Win against marketplace competitors 

The struggle for most ecommerce brands is that you’re not just competing with other standalone online stores. You’re also competing with millions of listings on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. These websites often form the first step in the shopping journey, so Google tends to heavily favour them in search results. 

Take a look at this results page: 

The first two results after the Sponsored section are both Amazon links. In fact, you have to scroll past images, Google’s product collection and even the People Also Asked section to get to independent online stores. 

But there’s an opportunity here. Notice how these results expand on the “fish dog toy” keyword and include additional information, like the colour and sustainability status. Looking for long-tail keyword opportunities can help you bypass the marketplace listings and reach customers who are actively looking for products exactly like yours.

The search volume might be smaller for phrases like “eco fish dog toy”, but chances are, those shoppers are more likely to convert because they know what they want. And look at the SERPs for the phrase “eco fish dog toy”: 

The first result after the Sponsored section is an ecommerce store — not a marketplace link. 

Here’s how to take advantage of long-tail keywords:

  • Add additional information to your product titles, including ingredients, materials, colours, and sustainability status. 
  • Use descriptive language so you show up for shoppers looking for your products. 
  • Target low-volume long-tail keywords that are more likely to convert. 
  • Type the core keyword into Google and see what it autocompletes with.

2. Play to your product inventory strengths

Trying to win against ecommerce brands that are already bigger than you can be a futile exercise.

Instead, focus on the areas where you already win and invest in content and optimisation there. Do you lead on unique products? Is your pricing model different? What about your availability — do you have products in stock that usually aren’t available elsewhere? 

For example, Benefit Cosmetics highlights a unique product quality — its lip stain is long-lasting. The brand has leaned into this by creating content on the product page about how to make the stain last longer. 

Here’s how to play to your product inventory strengths: 

  • List what makes your products different. Price? Quality? Materials? 
  • Incorporate these phrases into your product pages and create fresh content that amplifies these features. 

3. Focus on category pages vs faceted search

Faceted searches apply multiple filters to a single search so shoppers can get specific with their searches. For example, searching for “women” and “dresses” will lead to search results that meet the attributes of those two phrases. 

This is great for helping customers find exactly what they’re looking for — but there’s a problem. These faceted searches don’t rank in the SERPs. Google doesn’t pick up query strings like “women+dresses” or “red+dresses+women+maxi” because each faceted search is so individual. To tackle this, identify common searches and create category pages with readable URLs. 

Using the above example, you can create a category page for “women’s dresses” or drill down even further and create category pages for “women’s maxi dresses” and “red women’s dresses” depending on how many people search for those combinations. 

Here, Everlane uses a string of attributes to create a unique search results page: 

Whereas New Look has a dedicated URL for women’s black coats:

Google can read this URL and understand what the page is all about, which ultimately means the New Look page has a better chance of ranking (it takes spot number one for the keyphrase “women’s black jackets”). 

How to make categories work for you: 

  • Identify common search combinations. 
  • Create category pages for your most popular search combinations. 
  • Use keywords in your URL for each new category page.

4. Get ahead of seasons and trends

It can take anywhere between three and six months for a page to start ranking on Google, which means you can quickly fall behind if you’re updating your content to reflect changing seasons and trends. This is particularly important in dynamic industries like fashion, where collections change every few months. 

In February, Karen Millen is already ranking for “summer dresses 2024” having likely prepared the page months ago to make sure it was ranking in time. 

It’s a good idea to plan six months ahead of time. Start updating your seasonal products before people start searching for them to make sure Google has ample time to index each page. 

You can also take this opportunity to refresh any dates (like the 2024 addition to the Karen Millen page above) so you appear up-to-date and on-trend at all times. 

5. Use AI for SEO content 

Most ecommerce brands have hundreds of products, categories, and pages to nurture. It can be daunting trying to optimise every single page to ensure you stay in Google’s good books — but there’s help at hand. ChatGPT and other AI tools can fill gaps in the content creation and optimisation process.

We’re not saying you should get AI to write all your content. Far from it. Instead, AI should be used as a drafting and ideation tool. The final article or product page should have a unique, human perspective with deep links back to product category pages and other stable pages that won’t go out of stock or serve 404 redirects. 

How to use AI for ecommerce SEO content: 

  • Use AI as an ideation partner to brainstorm topics and content pieces.
  • Work with AI to add a human touch to your content. 
  • Incorporate deep links to evergreen pages on your website. 

Maximise your organic search channel’s conversion power

Once you’ve optimised your website and are starting to earn increased traffic and higher rankings, it’s time to ensure your organic search channel is converting into sales. 

1. Use tactical web forms 

The average time spent on a web page sits between 44 seconds and one minute 22 seconds. You don’t have long to convince shoppers to buy — but you can collect their details so once they leave your site you still have a way to get in touch. 

With Klaviyo’s custom form builder, you can create beautifully branded web forms that gather more than just a shopper’s name and email address. You can learn about their interests, discover their shopping motivations, and offer incentives to sweeten the deal. 

For example, The Couture Club ranks organically for the keyword “women’s tracksuits”. When a shopper clicks through to the category page, they’re immediately served a pop-up offering them 10% off their first order: 

We recommend tactically sprinkling pop-up forms on relevant product pages to drive sales through: 

  • First-order discounts that encourage repeat visitors
  • Exit intent pop-up discounts to re-engage shoppers about to leave
  • “Today only” deals to incite urgency 

2. Target offers and discounts 

Once shoppers have signed up to claim their incentive, you can nurture them via email. Send targeted offers and discounts based on their previous browsing habits, purchases, and interests, like an abandoned cart campaign to win back their custom.

Beardbrand sends shoppers a reminder when they’ve left something in their cart: 

3. Share persuasive product reviews

74% of shoppers say product reviews are a key way they learn about products they’ve never purchased before. Adding social proof in the form of reviews, ratings, and user-generated content (UGC) to your optimised pages can give shoppers the reassurance and confidence they need to convert. 

Kiehl’s UK ranks organically for “face serum”. When shoppers click through they can browse a selection of products and their star ratings. 

And, when a shopper chooses the product they’re interested in, they can get targeted and detailed reviews for each product. 

4. Inform your content strategy with customer segments

If you can pull insights from your customer data, you’ll never be short of inspiration for your content strategy. Klaviyo’s customer data platform lets you store, manage, and analyse customer data at scale so you can target different segments to inform potential offers, promotions, discounts, and content. 

You can even create personalised page content based on a shopper’s previous interactions and preferences. For example, if they’ve shown interest in your organic alcohol-free spritzer, you can suggest specific blog posts about recipes and promote relevant, complementary products. Or, if they buy a new pair of your brown suede boots every Spring, you can tailor the price or offer a discount based on their loyalty. 

Ecommerce SEO is a two-pronged approach 

Ecommerce SEO isn’t just about hitting that much-coveted top spot on Google. It’s about creating an ecosystem that inspires discovery and conversion. It’s great when shoppers find you through the search results, but it’s a missed opportunity if they don’t go on to purchase. 

The best ecommerce SEO strategies combine practical SEO tips, like incorporating long-tail keywords and using correct URL structures, with conversion techniques, like pop-up web forms, targeted promotions, and ongoing communication via email to create an organic channel that drives sales.

Ecommerce SEO FAQs

What is ecommerce SEO?

Ecommerce SEO involves implementing search best practices and optimisation techniques to improve the ranking of your website in the search results. This leads to more visitors, increased brand awareness, and, ultimately, more sales.

What is an example of ecommerce SEO?

An example of ecommerce SEO is implementing relevant long-tail keywords onto a product page to help shoppers find it in the search results. For example, a brand selling bamboo water bottles might target the long-tail keyword “green bamboo water bottles” to target shoppers who are looking for just that. 

To drive more sales, you should use conversion optimisation strategies on the product page to encourage shoppers to buy. This might include pop-up forms with money-off incentives or targeted product reviews to build shopper confidence.

Does ecommerce need SEO?

Yes! Ecommerce brands face fierce competition in the SERPs. Ecommerce-focused SEO tactics can help online stores stand out against marketplace listings, improve click-through rates, and win more customers.

Lizzie Davey
Lizzie Davey
Lizzie Davey is a freelancer who specialises in helping technology companies tell compelling, engaging, and rich stories. She is proficient in SEO, thought leadership, email, and content strategy. Lizzie is based in Brighton.