Like many things on your eCommerce store, SEO is something that constantly requires time and effort to improve. Many factors go into increasing the search ranking for your store for relevant keywords. In my previous post about SEO, I covered the basics of search optimization and a few tips to improve it for product pages.
In this post, I’ll list a few more tips that you can use to create better search optimization for stores built on WordPress with plugins like WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads. First, let’s do a quick recap of how SEO works.
You have to define certain terms – called keywords – for which you want to rank high in search engines. For example, if you are selling phone cases, then you probably don’t care to rank high on searches for yard equipment. And so, the content on your store will be focused around phones and phone cases, rather than anything else. These can form the basis for keywords you want to optimize for.
Now, specifically for stores on WordPress, let’s take a look at a few more things you can do.
WordPress is built around publishing on a blog. So it is a waste if you don’t utilize your blog to create unique content around relevant keywords. You can use your store blog to post about:
- sales and promotions
- product announcements and updates
- customer stories
- product information and use cases
- industry news and information
You don’t have to start with all of these. To start, pick one or a few categories that you can create content for on an ongoing basis. It’s important to post regularly – whether that’s weekly, biweekly, or monthly – so that you create an expectation with customers for when new content is posted. Ten posts spread out over some time period will serve you better than posting them within a week and then going silent for a few months.
With each post, you can grow your brand through customer engagement. This engagement can also help you establish your brand’s voice that can come from the content and your interactions in the comments section. The blog can be a really flexible place as each post can be about and be optimized for something completely unique. This way, you can develop content that’s not pushing products, and can be more detailed than what you would post on social media.
As more customers come to and spend time on your blog, comment on posts, and share your articles, your search optimization improves. In addition, each post can contribute unique content towards your site that can move the dial on SEO.
Get some more insights into blogging in my recent post.
One of the factors for SEO is the bounce rate – which is the percentage of people leaving your store after viewing only one page. This tells search engines that visitors probably didn’t find what they had hoped for on your site. And Google doesn’t really want to send people where they can’t find what they had searched for. That’s just bad business.
One way to mitigate bounce rates on your store is to have a engaging sales copy on the landing page with compelling calls to action. This keeps the customer journey going by navigating visitors to the logical next step in the sales funnel.
The other thing you can do is to have a clear and well-structured navigation on your store. This will enable customers to filter through to main areas of your shop products.
If you have a large number of informational pages, consider moving them to the footer. This will keep the top navigation easier to follow.
As the name suggests, a sitemap maps your entire site, i.e., it creates a list of all the pages on your store. This enables search engines to see all the pages you have and how they are organized. This is typically stored in an XML file on your site servers.
Luckily, you don’t have to know how to create one or manually list anything. You can find a number of plugins (including Yoast SEO) that can create an XML sitemap of your store.
Back in the day, SEO meant carpet-bombing your site with keywords that you want to rank for, whether the content or sentences made sense or not. Today, SEO is a product of well-structured user-friendly content. This means active voice, few or no run-on sentences, areas of emphasis, rich elements, and logically-organized content.
This is rarely achieved by having your keyword show up in every single sentence. For example, as I write this post for better SEO, I think to myself how I can improve my ranking for better SEO. I want readers to learn about better SEO, but I don’t want to inundate them with information about better SEO.
As you guessed, my keyword of focus here is “better SEO”. Including it in each sentence is… well… cringe-worthy. And looks spammy – which is the signal it gives to search engines suggesting that the post doesn’t have actual content of value. That’s why, you want to keep the density of keywords reasonable – roughly 0.5% to 3%.
This goes back to the lowering the bounce rate on your site. According to one report, roughly 40% of people abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. In addition, about half of those surveyed expect websites to load in 2 seconds or less.
If your store pages take a long time to load, you may be losing potential customers as they become frustrated and leave. You can reduce load times on your store by:
- optimizing images for web (you can use plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer)
- using a content delivery network to serve the images
- upgrading your hosting as needed
Faster load times can lead to higher conversions for your store. This is because fewer people will leave your site, reducing the bounce rate, which ultimately will improve the SEO.
Thanks to the evolution of Google’s algorithm over the years, SEO largely goes hand-in-hand with user experience today. Majority of SEO is driven by unique and meaningful content. Therefore, store owners should really consider investing time and effort into creating relevant sales copy, product descriptions, and store content.
A good user experience generally means that people spend more time on your store. This feeds into your search optimization as it is a signal for good content. You can actively use your blog to engage customers, make navigation around your site easier, and cut down on load times to keep customers on your store.
Also, check out Google’s SEO Starter Guide to see the inner workings of their optimization process.