A guide to SEO for Ecommerce platforms

Learn how Stillio can help you monitor your eCommerce SEO ranking using screenshots.

Introduction

Ecommerce platforms allow any person in any location in the world to open their online store without a need to code. They're a massive part of the online ecosystem, and thanks to them, we can access products from businesses that may be otherwise we couldn't.

But having predefined templates and a structured tool doesn't mean that your chances for optimization are flat. There are ways to twist certain aspects of your eCommerce site to perform better on search engines and attract more sales.

We've put together some eCommerce SEO best practices so that you can ace your SERP game no matter your chosen platform. Then, stay until the end to learn how to automate result tracking with a simple tool: screenshots.

What to optimize in an eCommerce platform

Choosing a predesigned eCommerce platform over hiring a developer to build your site manually has its perks. Built-in key functionalities like an SSL certificate to make browsing secure, or automatic mobile responsiveness, help you take your mind off technicalities and focus on the product.

However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't be working on constant optimization. As we mentioned before, eCommerce platforms offer different elements you can adjust to boost your rankings.

Here are some essential eCommerce SEO tips that can apply to any platform.

Keywords

You don't need to be an SEO expert to know that keyword research is fundamental. In an industry as competitive as retail, you want to ensure you understand how people search for your products.

When performing keyword research, pay special attention to the following:

  • Long-tail keywords: these less popular, more specific terms cater to an audience that's smaller but possibly more ready to purchase. Try different variations of your product and add detail, like "golden hoop earrings with strass" vs "hoop earrings," and see the difference in performance.
  • Search intent: Two users may look for the same thing but with different goals. It's essential to understand why people are looking you up, and keywords are exactly how to find out. "Buy hoop earrings" doesn't have the same search intent as "jewelry stores near me." Once you define what works for your offering, you can add these keywords to their corresponding section on your site.
  • Keyword variations: don't repeat the same term over and over when crafting a product description. Search for keyword variations to scatter around your titles and descriptions for a broader chance of being found.

Product pages

That is where you can play around the most. Product pages are 100% your craft, as you choose the words and images that go into selling the product. 

We've already covered keywords, one of the main points regarding product page SEO. Your main keyword should be included in the title. Then other variations can be used for description headings and body. Ensure to use those long-tail keywords we mentioned earlier!

Descriptions should be short and to the point: we don't want the user to get annoyed. These are there to show the person what they're looking for. 

Category pages follow a similar logic. It's a good idea to add a short description to a whole category and a descriptive title.

Images

An image says a thousand words. So besides choosing the best pics to showcase your beautiful products, there are some technical aspects you can tweak to better user experience.

The first one is related to accessibility. An alt-text is a short sentence (100 characters or less) that describes the image to the user. These must be added to all images to ensure visitors with a need for screen readers can also know what image is being featured. 

A common practice used to be filling the alt-text field with keywords. Unfortunately, that doesn't work and can damage your site's authority, as it is considered a foul practice. 

Another consideration to have regarding images is their size and format. That plays a huge role in page speed, which is also a key determinant for SEO results. Therefore, keep all images at less than 1MB.

Navigation

Ecommerce platforms take some of the labor off-site architecture, but it is still worth considering. When deciding how to structure product categories, do so in a way that:

  • It is logical to the user. That means someone who has never visited your site or encountered your product menu should understand where to find what they're looking for.
  • Keep the product as close to the user as possible. Don't divide categories into many subcategory levels. Do not make the user go through several clicks to get what they want.

Another tip for optimizing navigation is breadcrumbs. Breadcrumbs show a user the path they've gone through on a site. They're commonly used in websites with lots of content organized in a hierarchical structure (like eCommerce sites!).

breadcrumbs
breadcrumbs example

Breadcrumbs allow the user to go back a step in the category they were browsing and understand where they're standing.

Content Marketing

Going into this realm is taking your SEO game a step further. Content Marketing—like a blog, rich media, or infographics—can help amplify your reach. There are two big reasons for this.

First, opening up a blog means more pages, keywords, and chances of being discovered on search engines. Blogs also allow you to cover topics related to long-tail keywords and search intent that you wouldn't be able to do with product pages alone. 

Second, when content is done right, people want to share it. And having your site shared is one of the best things that can happen to you SEO-wise. Third, being referred to on other sites and social media is called backlinks, which have much weight on your domain authority.

Many eCommerce platforms like Shopify offer the option to integrate a blog into your online store. So if you have the time and resources to create and have consistency with content marketing, you should go ahead and do it.

Off-page SEO

When looking to deepen your SEO efforts, you shouldn't be delimited by the possibilities of your chosen eCommerce platform. There are other SEO best practices you can follow outside your site.

Link building is the most important one. We've briefly mentioned backlinks, and a way to get those is to get them yourself—that's link building. 

Reaching out to influencers, blog writers, and other brands so you can collaborate on a piece or post that redirects to your site can be of significant impact. Not only for SEO, but if their audience trusts the source, you'll soon be looking at more purchases and new clients.

Explore which profiles match your brand's style and values, and don't hesitate to contact them to start working together!

Platform-specific SEO tips

Shopify

One of the most well-known eCommerce platforms, Shopify itself, encourages users to optimize for search engines. However, when it comes to SEO for Shopify, one of the most important alerts is duplicates. 

According to Moz, Shopify automatically creates duplicate content in two ways: with product pages and collections pages through pagination. That is a bit more technical but can be solved through the platform. Moz does a great job of explaining that solution.

Shopify also offers users a way to integrate a blog into their eCommerce website. As we mentioned when covering content marketing, it is a great tool to use and apply to keywords with informational search intent.

Another great eCommerce SEO tip is to build rich snippets: those enhanced search engine results that provide visual information to the reader. 

Event-rich snippet example
Event-rich snippet example

To achieve those, you'll need to get familiar with structured data. Thankfully, this can be managed through Shopify. Suppose you don't have coding knowledge or don't have a developer at hand. In that case, you can trust Google's Structured Data Markup Helper to make the task easier for you. If you'd like more information or are unsure about the process, you can check out our guide on rich snippets.

WooCommerce

The biggest advantage of WooCommerce is its integration with WordPress. Apart from all the tips we previously mentioned, it's key to use plugins for this platform. Tools like All in One SEO and Broken Link can seamlessly improve your daily SEO work.

Personalization is also broader and easier thanks to a platform backed by WordPress. Explore the available themes and make your site unique.

Squarespace

This platform aimed at more niche audiences claims it's already optimized for SEO. Squarespace is the first platform integrated with Google Search Console to make analytics easier for users. This functionality is perfect for detecting what keywords people use to get to your site, which you can use to your advantage.

You can also manage your Google My Business snippet directly on SquareSpace and adjust what previews of your URLs look like when sharing on social media. 

In conclusion, our recommendation for Squarespace as one of the best eCommerce platforms for SEO is to use all their integrations and functionalities.

Monitoring optimization results with screenshots

See? Many optimization tricks are available when you run your online store through a CMS. Now we bet you want to know what happens next. As we always say: SEO is not a one-time task. Continuously monitoring results is a must in eCommerce platform SEO so that you can detect SERP wins as well as areas of improvement.

So how do we do that? Well, you can periodically set time aside to search for your target keywords and see if there are any changes. However, sitting down, exploring, and manually registering updates takes extra time and effort. 

Another option (and our personal choice) is to turn to an online tool. SEO tools for eCommerce sites are great for getting an overview of rankings, keyword search volumes, and difficulty, as well as keeping an eye on competitors. Yes, monitoring results doesn't only mean looking at your work but also tracking competitor activity. You need to know what you're up against!

One of those tools allows you to track SERPs through screenshots, so you can keep copies of results in their original format to analyze whenever you want—that's Stillio.

With Stillio, you can set captures of all the keyword searches you want at the interval you need. Those will be automatically saved into your account to analyze and share any time. In addition, you can organize captures into tags to keep everything handy, like grouping keyword searches by product line.

In addition, SERPs are captured at full length, so nothing gets cut out. That is also helpful for tracking competitors! Just set captures for their product pages to monitor changes in titles, descriptions, and images. You can also choose to remove cookie banners or pop-ups.

If you're ready to start building your SERP collection, feel free to book a demo with us so we can walk you through the process.

Conclusion

There is no excuse to start optimizing your eCommerce site now that you know your platform of choice can't stop you. Follow these tips, and get a strong results tool to monitor your performance.

Starting at $29/m

Start capturing website screenshots automatically and save a lot of grunt work. You'll be set up in minutes. No credit card required.