Foundations of SEO: Advice for Small Businesses to Boost Traffic to Their E-commerce Site

August 3, 2023
If you have an existing online store or plan to create one, ensuring its visibility is crucial.

One effective way to achieve this is by implementing search engine optimization (SEO) techniques for your reseller hosting store.

SEO for e-commerce involves optimizing your online store to rank higher in search engine results. A well-designed, SEO-friendly website with high-quality content enhances your store's visibility, attracts potential customers, and boosts sales.

SEO boasts one of the best returns on investment (ROI) among marketing strategies and can significantly impact your business. Surprisingly, many businesses create websites without considering SEO. Instead, they heavily rely on social media and paid advertisements, which can yield positive results but demand ongoing effort and financial investment.

In fact, companies spend billions annually on advertising, and this expenditure keeps growing. It's possible that they are unsure where to start with effective SEO strategies.

To help you kickstart your web hosting business, here are some valuable SEO tips. While it may require initial effort and time, once you achieve a high search engine ranking, sales can flow in without continuous expenses.

Select the appropriate keywords

Selecting the right keywords for your online store is crucial. According to a recent global retail survey, more than 50% of respondents prefer to search on Google before making online purchases. As a result, it's essential for your store to rank well for relevant keywords to attract potential customers.

The first step in any e-commerce SEO strategy is conducting keyword research. This process ensures the choice of target keywords that are not only relevant but also have reasonable ranking potential, significant search volume, and a high likelihood of converting visits into actual sales.

Tools like the Google Keyword Planner allow you to identify relevant keywords by analyzing their search volume and cost per click (CPC), which can indicate potential buyer interest. Additionally, with the Keywords Everywhere browser extension, you can access valuable data about a keyword's search volume and its ranking prospects on Google.

Beyond using these tools, examining actual search results provides valuable insights into various aspects, including the overall competitiveness within a specific market.

If your competitors rank higher than you in search results, you can extract keyword ideas from their websites. Start by entering your keyword into Google, select a competitor, and review their category and product pages for potential keywords. However, it's important to note that blindly adopting the same keywords as your competitors may not be the best strategy, as other factors like domain authority play a role in rankings.

To enhance your ranking, optimize your web pages for these keywords

After identifying the relevant keywords, your next step is to strategically place them on your website's most important pages for optimal search engine ranking. When users discover these pages in a Google search, they gain immediate access to the products within that specific category. To effectively optimize these pages, you should include your desired keyword in the following on-site locations:

  • 1. The URL: Pay attention to the URL structure and make sure it includes relevant keywords. Having your primary keyword in the URL is a straightforward way to boost search rankings. Create a readable URL that accurately represents the page's content.
  • 2. The title tag (H1): This is another critical element to consider. It's advisable to position your keyword as close to the beginning of the title as possible on product and category pages.
  • 3. Image alt text: Don't neglect image alt text, as Google uses it to interpret images. Including keywords in alt text offers another opportunity to incorporate relevant terms and improves visibility in Google image searches. Using high-quality images and graphics can capture attention and enhance customer conversion rates. Resources like Fiverr and Canva can help you obtain such visuals.
  • 4. Body copy: Since Google serves as a research tool, text-rich websites tend to receive favorable treatment because they provide visitors with answers to their queries more effectively. Aim for an introductory text section with a minimum of 300 words, including 2-3 instances of your chosen keyword.
  • 5. Description tag (metadata): Including keywords in the metadata of your product and category pages doesn't directly impact rankings. However, it does result in the keywords appearing in bold text in search results, which can improve click-through rates and ultimately enhance rankings.

Enhance the organization of your website and its navigation

Optimizing an e-commerce store involves more than just using the right keywords; it also entails focusing on the technical aspects of the website. When optimizing your site, consider the following on-page elements:

  • 1. Website Structure: How you organize your navigation, category pages, and product pages is essential. Ensure that significant content is easily accessible, ideally within three clicks from the homepage. Use prominent links from the homepage to lead visitors to major category and key product pages.
  • 2. Internal Linking: Strategic internal links create an interconnected ecosystem within your site, improving navigation, increasing engagement, and boosting conversion rates. Internal linking also helps distribute authority from the homepage, improving search engine rankings.
  • 3. Mobile Responsiveness: With over 60 percents of Google searches conducted on mobile devices, it's crucial to optimize your website for mobile responsiveness to enhance the user experience.
  • 4. Page Speed: Page speed affects search engine rankings and user experience. Studies show that users often abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. Use tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights Tool to evaluate your site's performance and receive recommendations for improvement, such as installing caching plugins or compressing large files.
  • 5. Sitemap: Including a sitemap file on your website acts as a guidebook for search engines, highlighting the importance of pages within your site's structure. It helps search engines like Google index your pages effectively.

Build backlinks by creating valuable content and fostering strong relationships

In addition to implementing SEO techniques, you can boost your search rankings by creating valuable, relevant content and acquiring backlinks from other websites. Backlinks from websites with strong domain authority can significantly improve rankings, often surpassing the impact of other ranking factors. While this process may be a bit more complex and time-consuming than making small website adjustments, there are some highly effective yet relatively simple link-building strategies:

  • 1. Resource Pages: You can establish relevance and authority by creating webpages with easily shareable blog posts or FAQs. To discover relevant resource pages in the web hosting industry, use Google with the search term "inurl:resources + web hosting" (substitute "web hosting" with your industry keyword). After identifying potential pages, add them to a spreadsheet and reach out via email to request a link to your site.
  • 2. Partnering with Influencers/Guest Blogging: Collaborating with influencers or guest blogging allows you to secure backlinks to your online store, which can drive traffic and improve search rankings. For instance, you might obtain a backlink within a blog post featuring compelling product descriptions or secure a link from an existing page on an influencer's website. Both of these strategies provide valuable opportunities for increasing visibility, attracting new visitors, and enhancing your online store's presence.

Evaluate Your SEO Performance

Monitoring the progress of your SEO efforts might not yield instant results like calculating ROI from paid advertising. It takes time and patience to accurately assess your performance. Luckily, Google Analytics provides a free solution for this purpose.

In addition to tracking rankings, it's essential to keep an eye on more subtle signals, such as sudden spikes in search traffic and the performance of landing pages. These important indicators can help you pinpoint the specific keywords for which your website is effectively ranking.

While there are various ways to generate website traffic, such as social media, paid advertising, and email marketing, organic search traffic is a valuable, free, and relatively accessible traffic source.

Though it does require some initial effort, there are many tools and resources available to support you in the process. To gain a comprehensive understanding of SEO basics for small businesses, we recommend downloading the "SEO Basics for Small Business" ebook provided by our trusted partners at Neustar, the .US registry.

The effort you invest in acquiring high-quality website visitors who become loyal customers is certainly worthwhile.