A student of mine, Darren Dematas, recently decided to launch his first eCommerce site, the camping and survival gear store, TopSpecUS.com.Like many e-commerce entrepreneurs, Darren was a new player in a super-competitive industry. Most people in his position would just create a bunch of product pages and hope for the best. Please get traffic. But Darren knew that eCommerce SEO would make or break his site’s success. So he focused on the four ranking factors that I’m about to show you and organic traffic to his most important product and category pages increased across the board, sometimes as much as 259%. Now that you’ve seen how well these four ranking factors work, it’s time for me to show you exactly what they are and how you can take advantage of them.
Okay, let’s kick things off with e-commerce SEO ranking factor number one, Domain Authority. Here’s the deal, it’s no secret that the quantity and quality of the backlinks pointing to your site is Google’s top-ranking factor. And, yes, this also applies to eCommerce websites. The question is, how can you get someone to link to your site if it’s made up of 100% product and category pages? The short answer, you can’t. The fact is, people, wanna link to sites that have valuable content. Without that, you’re gonna have a hell of a time building white hat backlinks. That’s the bad news. The good news is that even e-commerce sites can publish awesome content.
When you do, you’ll build up your site’s overall domain authority, which will help your product and category pages rank in Google. In fact, eCommerce giants like Amazon very rarely have links pointing directly to their product pages. Instead, they rank based on their sitewide link authority. For example, when Darren first launched TopSpecUS, he created a high-value round-up post called Pistol Shooting Tips from 20 Sharpshooters. And because this post attracted quality backlinks, it increased his site’s Domain Authority, which boosted the rankings of one of his important category pages, Heavy Duty Bags, by 259%. The bottom line? Use content marketing to increase your eCommerce site’s overall Domain Authority. That boost in Domain Authority will increase the rankings of your product and category pages. Next up, we have a ranking factor that’s super important, product page optimization. If you’re like most eCommerce site owners, a good chunk of your search engine traffic goes to your product pages. But more importantly,100% of your conversions come from your product pages. In other words, the more traffic you get to your product pages, the more money you’ll make. The question is, how do you optimize your product pages for SEO? It’s simple, use this four-step action plan. First, add modifiers to your product page title tags. Now you obviously wanna use your target keyword in your title tag but don’t stop there. Adding what I call modifiers to your title tag can help you rank for dozens of long-tail searches. For example, let’s say the target keyword for your product page is noise-canceling headphones. Instead of making a title tag simply noise-canceling headphones at Headphones R’ Us.com, you’d add a word or two that people are likely to use when searching for that keyword. Here are some common terms that people use when searching for products on Google. So, your title tag could be something like this. The words best and cheap are title tag modifiers and these terms will help you naturally show up for long-tail searches that contain those words. Next, you wanna add magnet words to your title.
I see very few people optimizing their title tags for click-through rates and it’s a huge mistake. After all, Google has stated that they use CTR in their algorithm. And even if they didn’t use CTR, it still makes sense to optimize your title tag with CTR in mind. Why? Because higher CTR means more clicks which means more traffic which means more sales. Fortunately, you can easily boost your CTR by adding these magnet words to your product and category page title tags. Here’s an example of these magnet words in action. Now it’s time for on-page tip number three, which is to include at least 1000 words of content on your most important product pages. Industry studies have found that longer content tends to rank better in Google. And yes, these findings also apply to eCommerce sites. The fact is this, Google wants to understand what your page is all about and when you provide lots of content to Google, you help them do just that. Plus, when you publish long content, your customers can help understand what they’re about to buy. So it can increase conversions too. Now, you’re probably not gonna have time to write 1000 words of content for every product page on your site. That said, I highly recommend writing long product descriptions for your 10 most important product pages.
For example, this Amazon product page for a Kitchen Art mixer boasts 2,109 words. Now it’s time for our last product page optimization tip which is to include your target keyword three to five times. Let me be clear here, this has nothing to do with keyword density or keyword stuffing. It’s simply making sure your keyword appears on your page so Google understands what your page is all about. For example, if your target keyword was 6 Quart Crockpot, you’d wanna make sure you have that exact phrase in your product description at least three times. Now it’s time for our third-ranking factor which is your website architecture. Site architecture or how the pages on your site are organized and arranged is an important SEO consideration for any site. But it’s twice as important for eCommerce websites. That’s because your average eCommerce site has a lot more pages than your average blog or local pizza shop website. With that many pages, it’s critical that your site architecture makes it easy for users and search engines to find the most important pages on your site. The secret, following the golden rule of eCommerce site architecture. Keep every page three or fewer clicks from your home page. For example, take a look at this site’s architecture. What’s wrong with this picture? The site’s architecture is way too deep. Most eCommerce sites tend to get the most links and therefore authority to their home page. And when you have a deep site architecture, that authority is diluted by the time it reaches your product and category pages. In this example, it takes six clicks to reach the first product page. So, what’s the solution? Make sure your products are no more than three clicks from your home page.PetSmart sets up its site with this rule in mind. For example, let’s say that you wanna get a new dog food bowl for Fluffy. You’d head to the site’s home page and click the dog link. Then click bowls and feeders. And you have a list of products in that subcategory. Just like that, you found what you want. And Google can easily find and index all of PetSmart’s product pages. Now it’s time for our last Google e-commerce ranking factor, URL length.I recently teamed up with a bunch of SEO software companies to conduct the largest search engine ranking factor study ever. In total, we analyzed a million Google search results. So, what did we find? We discovered that short URLs tend to rank better than long URLs.For example, let’s say that your eCommerce site sells organic bird food. All things being equal, URL number one would rank better than URL number two. One word of warning, you don’t necessarily wanna go back and change your long URLs to shorter ones. That can cause serious SEO issues. Instead, set up your URL structure so all of your new product and category pages have short URLs.