I feel your pain.
Writing quality content for an ecommerce site is tough. And it doesn’t help when most of the advice on how to do content marketing is mainly for SaaS and tech companies.
But do you know what’s crazy?
You may think it’s easier to sell a SaaS product than physical goods. The truth is, you have two more opportunities to rank in Google than those fancy tech startups.
Even better, each of these opportunities allows you to target different customers in different parts of the buyer’s cycle. So while most SaaS companies can only target top-of-the-funnel activities, you can target someone who is looking to buy today.
You see, most startups get their SEO traffic from a blog. You, on the other hand, can get traffic from Google through three sources:
After you put a solid content promotion system into place, you will notice that SEO is the backbone of your site’s growth. So let’s talk about each of these opportunities to create engaging content that will lead you on the path to 50,000 visitors a month.
The Art and Science of Writing Ecommerce Product Page Content
You can’t get any better traffic than motivated buyers going straight to your product pages. The question is, how can you create a product page that will rank in Google get your customers excited to buy from you?
Here are seven SEO factors I recommend you focus on:
1. Finding the Keyword Phrases to Ranking Ecommerce Content in Google.
For product pages, there are two types of keyword phrases to start with:
1. Your product’s brand name.
Estimates show that people search for “Nike” 13.6 million times a month. Even smaller brands like “Inov-8” receive 74,000 searches a month. And that doesn’t count all the other search terms those brands get traffic from Google!
Sure, not as many people may know your brand name. But that doesn’t mean you should neglect this keyword altogether. Even if you are buying a new product or drop shipping it, it’s wise to think about the long-term value of SEO and plan now.
If you are creating a new brand, here’s one idea: Find a name of a person that is getting some search traffic already. For example, for my silk tie brand, I looked up the most common male Italian names. After looking through the list of names, I combined them together in different ways until I found one that had a good amount of search volume and was happy with the name.
2. Find keywords that describe the product.
Naturally Curly sells hair care products to women. To get an idea of possible keywords to rank for, let’s look at their product, Paul Mitchell Curls Full Circle Leave-In Treatment.
Right away, you can spot some potential keywords that describe the product:
- leave in treatment
- Paul Mitchell Curls
Some of these keywords would be challenging to start ranking their product pages. But by combining a few keywords together, you can find it easier to rank for keywords. Here are a few examples:
- Paul Mitchell full circle leave in treatment
- full circle leave in treatment
- Paul Mitchell leave in conditioner for curly hair
Additionally, you can also find potential keywords you can use for blog posts, such as “Paul Mitchell leave in conditioner review.”
Now that you have your list of keywords, let’s look at what you need to do to rank your content in Google.
2. Optimizing Ecommerce Product Page Titles for SEO.
Now that you have chosen your keyword, it’s time to start sprinkling it throughout your content.
Optimizing your product page titles for SEO is straight forward – Put your main keyword phrase in your title, ideally closer to the beginning of the headline.
Be careful though. If your title doesn’t sound natural when a customer reads it, you may lose more sales because it doesn’t seem appealing. Here’s what I did for my product titles:
Are you targeting many keyword phrases? Focus first on adding your main keyword phrase. Then add in your secondary keywords to the title.
If you say the title out loud, you should get an idea if the title sounds right or not. You may also want to ask a couple of your friends to give you their advice about your title too.
3. Optimizing Ecommerce Product Description Content for SEO.
Can I confess something to you?
When I write a lot of content, I do a terrible job writing product descriptions that do not sound boring and dull.
So here’s a simple trick I use to write engaging product descriptions: I borrow the words right from my customer’s mouth.
I start by looking on Amazon for products that are like the products I’m selling. Any review site will do. I look at the most helpful reviews and read what they wrote about the product. Because they feel the excitement at that moment, they can take dead words and breathe new life into them.
Then, add in some basic details about your product. How much does it weigh? What are the dimensions of the product? What materials does it use? What color is it?
This information may seem obvious to you, but if a reader is skimming your products, this will help them to find what they are looking for on your product page.
Finally, see you can find a few places to use your keywords throughout the content.
I’d recommend writing at least 150 words because Google does consider how much content is on each page. Keep in mind that other words on the page count towards your word count too. So if you have product reviews enabled, this will help improve your product page SEO.
Here’s what one of my product descriptions looks like:
4. Optimizing Ecommerce Product URLs for SEO.
Another important place to add in your keywords to better rank your product pages in Google is in the URL.
One reason why I use BigCommerce (BC) over Shopify is that it’s significantly easier to customize each of the product URLs. Here’s how I structured the URL:
5. Optimizing Ecommerce Product Image Alt Text for SEO.
Believe it or not, but Google doesn’t have eyes. Although there are many advanced algorithms, Google uses to get an idea what a picture is, the image alt text helps Google “see” your image by reading this information.
The simple way to add your product image alt text is to copy the title of your product. Then find the picture of your product, paste in the title as the name of the image, and upload it to your site.
6. Optimizing Ecommerce Product Meta Descriptions for SEO.
Have you ever wondered how to create a summary of each listing in Google’s search results? You can do this by creating a meta description.
Meta descriptions look like this:
A simple way to create your meta description is to take a summary of your product description and place that text here. By the way, you have only 160 characters before search engines cut off the description.
7. Other Ways to Writing Content to Optimize Your Ecommerce Product Pages.
Points 1-6 are the most important parts of writing content for your products. Once you have completed those six tasks, you can also improve your SEO by:
- Include breadcrumbs. If you are using BC, these are added auto-magically to your store.
- Add related products. Featuring other related products helps your customers find new products to buy, and it helps increase your topic relevance for SEO. Again, the BC platform will do this automatically for you.
- Get product reviews. Product reviews help SEO in three key ways:
- The star ratings appear in search rankings (known as “schema markup”).
- The review itself increases the amount of written content on your site, which Google considers when ranking pages.
- If your customers read these reviews, this increases their time on-site, which some think is another ranking factor.
Product views also help increase sales. One study found that 88% of customers trust reviews as much as a recommendation from someone they know.
Optimizing Ecommerce Category Pages for SEO, Like a Boss!
Optimizing category pages for SEO is similar to what you did for your product pages. The biggest difference is that there are different keywords you can go after.
Here are a few ideas to jump-start your keyword list:
- Event Keywords: Think of when someone might use your product. For example, people use neckties at weddings, for Easter, and on their dogs (of course that’s a thing).
- Descriptive Keywords: How would you describe your product to a stranger? I used adjectives like “conversational neckties” but even describing the tie itself, such as “shark ties” will work.
- Branded Keywords: Do you know of other websites your customers like to browse? These sites are great keywords opportunities. Here’s an example Rhone used to target the site Gear Patrol:
Bonus: These category pages can be an excellent opportunity to use influencer marketing to drive traffic to your site too.
Remember, whenever you do keyword research, make sure that your keywords have some amount of search volume. I like to use Keywords Everywhere and Ahrefs to quickly find the search volume in Google. If you are still looking for more ideas, UberSuggest and Ahrefs are two tools I use to generate a lot of keyword ideas.
After choosing your keywords, use the same 7-step process you used above for optimizing product pages. The only major difference is you will need to make sure you have products that make sense in each of your categories.
How to Start an Ecommerce Blog to Improve Your SEO
I don’t know why SEO experts tell you to look high-and-low for random keywords that might give you traffic. Because your competitors have done all the hard work for you. Check this out:
1. Start by finding bloggers who write about your products or niche.
Let’s say you sell drones. Start by doing a Google search for “top drone blogs” or “best drone blogs.” Not enough results? Try broadening your search to the industry level, such as “top tech gear sites.”
For this example, I will look at uavcoach.com, diydrones.com, and oscarliang.com.
2. Find out which blogs get organic traffic.
Hop on over to SEMrush and plug in each domain. If you find these sites get organic traffic over 10,000 searches a month, that means they have a solid base of keywords worth writing content for your eCommerce blog.
3. Discover your competitor’s keywords to find topics to write killer content about.
Take the three domains and put them into Google’s Keyword Planner under “your landing page,” like so:
Click “get ideas,” and you’ll find a list of keywords that the site is currently ranking for, and what Google thinks that site could potentially rank for.
You can also do the same in SEMrush and Ahrefs. The advantage of these paid tools is that you can also sort the keywords by the SERP competitiveness. Finding easy-to-target keywords will make step four easier.
4. Check the keyword competition by hand.
Warning: This step takes time. But if you are up to the task, this step will create a competitive advantage for your business and put you miles ahead of the competition.
For every keyword you want to target, you need to look them up in Google. I recommend going “incognito” so you decrease the amount of personalization for your search results.
Next, download the Mozbar. This tool will help you get an idea of how fierce the competition is. Here are six things to look for when analyzing the SERPs:
- Do they use the keyword phrase in the title?
- Do they use the keyword phrase in the URL?
- Do they use the keyword phrase in the meta description?
- How high is the domain authority of the site? How does this number compare to your domain authority? (Pro tip: the Mozbar can give you this number).
- How high is the page authority of the article?
- How relevant is the site to the search term? If you see high domain authority sites like Quora, WikiHow, Pinterest, or reddit in the search results, don’t delete this keyword! These are exactly the search terms you want to target because these sites lack topic relevancy.
From there, start prioritizing your keyword phrases. You should have enough keywords for the year. So if you write one article a week, that’s 52 keywords.
If you rather hire someone else to do the keyword research process, we can do this step for you.
No matter what, keep asking yourself why you think Google ranks one website above another. Although you can only make educated guesses, you will begin to notice patterns. These patterns will help to rank faster in Google.
5. Write the best content on the web on your topic.
You’ve got your list of keywords. Now it’s time to create the best content out there.
Start by brainstorming the topics you want to cover in the article. Next, check out your competitor’s posts and find what else you should write about. Third, look at Google’s Autosuggest and Searches Related To sections to find more problems to address.
Google’s Autosuggest in action.
Google’s Searches related to, found at the bottom of a Google search page.
This will give you a better idea of how to write the best content for your audience.
Keep in mind that “best” changes based on who your audience is. For example, Examine.com writes detailed, independent articles on diets, supplements, and nutrition. Contrast that with Greatist which creates some of the best content on health and fitness news, tips, and recipes. But both sites strive to create the best content for their audience.
6. Promote your content to the world.
Even if you only want to get traffic from Google, you need to have a promotion plan to kickstart your organic traffic. Content promotion falls under three main categories:
- Attracting potential customers to your articles. This is what most people think of content promotion. This includes SEO, community marketing, influencer outreach, pay per click ads, social media marketing, earned media (i.e. press mentions), video marketing, audio marketing (e.g. podcasting), and visual marketing.
- Engaging readers. Once a potential customer gets to your article, you need to keep them engaged with your article. Start by writing an engaging headline, hooking the reader with a powerful story, and create a clear message that entices your readers to keep coming back for more.
- Re-engaging readers. Typically your readers aren’t interested in buying from you after the first time they read your article. To increase the likelihood that they will buy from you, you should keep re-engaging your readers. Tactics to re-engage readers includes list building/email marketing, retargeting ads, and owning a position in your customer’s brain.
7. Make cash-money from your content.
One benefit of getting organic traffic to your blog is that it will also increase the amount of organic traffic to your storefront too. So even if your persuasion skills are not the greatest, you can eventually get traffic to where it needs to go.
That said, you should try to write articles that provide your product as an answer to your customer’s problems. For example, someone might be unsure what they should buy to create a business casual wardrobe. Neck ties are one part of the outfit, which gives me an opportunity to direct the reader to my silk tie category page.
Writing compelling content for your Ecommerce store at scale is challenging. Especially if you do not have a team to do this for you.
My recommendation is to begin by creating templates for your product pages and category pages. Use templates and make a few changes to target each of your keywords. Then, as you get more traffic and sales, hire a writer who can customize each page. Once you have a handle on the Ecommerce content, try experimenting with growing your site through blog content.
How have you used content to drive traffic to your store? Are there other strategies and tactics you use? I’m sourcing new ideas for an upcoming article, so I’d love to hear what you do to grow a blog in the comment section below.