Handling SEO for e-Commerce websites can be confusing and overwhelming to a large extent. However, the key to SEO is finding the right and relevant keywords for your platform. The selected keywords will change your SEO ranking dramatically. And in this part of the world, it is even more challenging because we don't consider SEO area as a speciality.
In Qatar, when checked Google for the terms "online platforms in Qatar", "e-commerce in Qatar", "online marketplace Qatar" - I don't find the key online shopping websites in Qatar anywhere with very few exceptions. Clearly, none of the e-commerce providers are focusing on how their customers are searching for them. Although the majority are heavily focused on promoting their products and platforms in social media.
I found this Digital Branding Institute article pretty comprehensive explaining at a tactical level how to use SEO for e-commerce websites - written by Juntae Delane. Below are the key points that sum up the article.
SEO for e-Commerce
Keyword research plays a vital role in SEO. Your keyword research will involve identifying a list of phrases describing what your eCommerce business does. You can use this list to produce a significant amount of website traffic if you’ve picked the right keywords. This will make a high starting point for your SEO for eCommerce. Keyword research could just be described as modern market research.
Your keyword research should kick off any serious marketing initiative that you undertake. Additionally, it is critical for pay-per-click campaigns, content marketing efforts and on-page SEO.
Terms that are broad within retail sites can be hard to rank for; this could include phrases like ‘online shopping.’ It is best for you to begin with keywords that are specialized.
You should begin your keyword research by finding an initial cornerstone keyword. Once you’ve found it, then you can create a bigger list off of it. You’ll also need to verify that your cornerstone keyword will work for you by doing research. This will need to be done over and over again until you can check its usefulness and create a full list.
Start with a phrase that your clients typically use to find you. Take that keyword and do an initial test. First, you can check the existing traffic volume for this term. There are several tools you can use to do this, both free and paid. Google Adwords has a great utility called the Keyword Planner that will assess lists of keywords for their viability in PPC campaigns. This works particularly well if you’re using google ads.
Another tool is SEMRush which contains an array of paid research and analysis. SEMRush is useful for organic and paid SEO. On this site, all you need to do is type in your keyword phrase into the search bar at the top of the page. Immediately you’ll get results which will tell you how much search volume the term receives and suggestions with related words. If the terms they suggest hold value to your business, then add them to your list.
SEO for eCommerce will involve a lot of niche targeting. This means that your foundation keyword may not get a lot of hits in a month. 70 hits in a month will be enough to generate a profit.
If you choose a broader keyword string, then it will likely be too competitive for organic SEO and too expensive for pay-per-click.
Make a Spreadsheet
If your research confirms that your foundation keyword will work and suggests other keywords, then this is the time to start a spreadsheet to compile a master list.
Google Sheets is a great option to create keyword research templates that can be structured into ongoing campaigns.
Your spreadsheet should include your keywords, their volume, competition, and specialty. You can also add any notes you might have on them here.
Go Back to Google
Your foundation keyword will work out great, so now you go to Google to mine more keywords. Head back to Google and type in your cornerstone keyword, then scroll down the page and look beyond the organic results. Down at the bottom of the page, Google will show a list of alternate keywords. These keywords are search strings other people have used when looking for your keyword. These keywords can be added to the list you created on your spreadsheet, and you can test their traffic volumes.
Your list will just continue growing at this point, but you should continue to search for variants. In your search, you will probably find alternative keywords that will yield traffic.
When looking for variants, you can start by looking for synonyms for your keyword phrases. Thesaurus.com can show you lots of synonyms to contribute to your research.
Developing your SEO for eCommerce you’ll already have a couple of words right away, online and internet!
If you’re using a generic phrase like ‘finding an online retailer’, then you might want to use a synonym for ‘choosing.’ The other keywords you pick will also have opportunities for synonym research.
Conduct Competitive Research
There are many useful tools in SEO for eCommerce that can make life easier. The typical keyword tool of choice is the keyword explorer from Moz. There are others though that are offered by SEMrush and Ahrefs which perform similarly.
Your goal will be to snoop around for keyword ideas from your competitors. Take your cornerstone keyword and paste it into the Google search field, then choose one of the paid results from PPC and copy the URL for the landing page. You can then paste the URL into the Keyword Explorer main input field.
By doing this, you’ll end up with a list of keywords found on your competitor’s site. These are the keywords that will rank them organically in the search list. These might also be keywords that they will target for in AdWords. You can search through these keywords and find ones that are relevant to you to add to your spreadsheet.
If you are already using AdWords, then you will have access to Keyword Planner. If that is the case, then you can skip this step.
Your goal is still to find keyword ideas from your competitors. To do this, head over to Google search and type in your cornerstone keyword. When the results appear, you can look for any of your competitor’s paid listings. If there is one, then copy the URL of their landing page and it to Keyword Planner. Then choose the option to search for new keywords using a phrase, website, or category and past the landing page URL in.
After you’ve done this, you can analyze their entire website. Google will then suggest some keywords for you, which is what this site is currently ranking for in organic search.
The list that you get will include keywords that are useless and unrelated that you don’t have to keep. However, it will also include keywords that you can steal and will give you a good idea of what your competitors are targeting. Figuring out what they’re targeting will also give you more ideas for keywords.
Stream Your List
At this point, you will have a large list of keywords that may contain duplicates. Your job now is to comb through your spreadsheet and take another look at these keywords.
First, you’ll want to get rid of any duplicates. Some spreadsheets may even have a ‘remove duplicates’ feature which will speed up the process. Then you can group keywords based on their similarity.
Once you’ve done this, your list will be complete. You’ve found all the keywords you want to use, and you’re ready to check them out a final time in SEO for eCommerce. Giving them a final test will help you determine how much traffic volume those words get. You can do this using Keyword Planner.
Finishing Your List
Now that your spreadsheet is ready, you can take it back to Keyword Planner. Now you’ll want the second option ‘get search volume and trends’ when you can choose the option to upload your entire list.
When you click ‘get search volume’ you will get analysis from Google on your list. Google will also tell you what a typical PPC bid is for any of your keywords. Keyword Planner is a PPC tool, so the analysis it gives is intended to be for paid search, not organic search. The paid keyword analysis tools will also give ‘quality ratings’ which are useful to know about any SEO for eCommerce.
When Google does it’s analysis you can decide to cut out the low traffic keywords that won’t give you enough traffic to warrant the effort of using them. Find the keywords which have decent volume and look for keywords with significant volume and competitiveness. You can find these by their average cost-per-click numbers from the Keyword Planner.
If you’re unsearchable, you might as well not exist, because your potential clients won’t be able to find you. Your eCommerce business will need to be online to be successful and will need a real presence there. By figuring out all the right keywords for your business, you’re that much closer to being boosted onto the first page of search results. This will give you real and tangible success.