Did you know that 75% of online users don’t venture past the first page of the search results? Did you know that 29% of users will click on the first website on the search results page, while only 16% will click on the second?

Simple user behaviors such as these are the foundations of search engine optimization (SEO). Marketers realized that ranking high on search results pages drove inbound traffic that was vital to eCommerce websites. This sprouted a whole industry dedicated to identifying what parameters and criteria search engines use to determine search results rankings and utilizing that information to help business owners boost their ranks. 

Unfortunately, the truth about SEO is that it’s not an easy endeavor. If your goal is to be the first-ranked website in your category, then you’ll be competing with big names and corporations who have been in the game far longer than you have. Even getting on the first page is a monumental challenge. 

The good news is, not all hope is lost. The key is to readjust your eCommerce SEO strategy.

1. Focus on long-tail keywords
Users find websites through specific keywords, and your goal is to be the top website whenever someone inputs keywords relevant to your business on a search engine. If, for example, you’re operating a scented soy candles business, ideally, if a user were to search “scented soy candles”, your website would be the first on that search engine results page.
However, as mentioned earlier, the chances of this happening for small businesses are minuscule. Bigger companies most likely dominate the most competitive keywords. Instead, focus on long-tail keywords.

The thing about long-tail keywords is that they comprise 70% of total searches and yield a 36% conversion rate. The rise of voice-activated AI also initiated a massive shift towards long-tail searches. Instead of typing to search, users are now searching using voice commands. It’s now more common to see searches patterned after natural human speech instead of text shorthand (ex. “where can I buy scented soy candles online?” as opposed to “scented soy candles”). 
Another good thing about long-tail keywords? Major corporations usually don’t focus on these, so there’s less competition for them. 

2. Develop a content marketing strategy
Without high-quality content, you’ll have a hard time converting users or convincing old visitors to return. For eCommerce sites, videos of product reviews and tutorials help boost user interaction and conversion. You could also write blog posts about upcoming fashion trends or your best-selling products of the season. Don’t hesitate to invest in content creation. Great content moves people to share it with their friends, expanding your reach to more potential customers.
Besides content creation, you also need to plan out a content calendar. Users respond positively to brands that put out content consistently. By having a content calendar, you can maintain a steady engagement with your audience and establish a stable workflow for your content creation team. If your target upload days are Fridays, the rest of the week can be used to film, write, edit, and plan future content ideas.

3. Website optimization
Your website is the core of your eCommerce SEO, so if you don’t give it the attention and maintenance it deserves, your whole strategy will fall apart. It helps to invest in professional web design services to ensure you’re getting a website that people will want to visit and buy from over and over again.

Your website should load quickly, and the site itself should be stylish and reflective of your brand’s aesthetic. You should have buttons for easy sharing on various social media. Your title tag, meta tags, and content body should contain your core keywords. Most importantly, your website should work properly regardless of the browser or device the customer is using. For eCommerce sites, make sure the product page highlights the product well by including high-resolution photographs, detailed product descriptions, and product reviews. Make the checkout process as smooth and as quick as possible to minimize cart abandonment. 

4. Link building
Link building is having an external site link to your website. Having many links from different reputable websites will indicate to search engines that your website is high quality and deserving of a higher ranking on the results pages. There is no shortcut to link building, but you will naturally get featured on other websites over time if you continue generating useful and superior content. Engage in traditional PR practices by partnering with top bloggers and influencers. Send them products to review and ask them to link back to your site. Partnering with the right people is crucial to getting relevant traffic to your website. For example, if your business is focused on streetwear, you should collaborate with fashion bloggers instead of gardening bloggers.

5. Audit your SEO strategy
You have to constantly check your metrics to observe if you’re getting positive results. Anytime you modify your strategy, note how that affects your metrics overall. This is an effective way to fine-tune your strategy and streamline your efforts towards techniques that have been proven to work for your business. Making decisions based on concrete data is much more valuable to your business than just copying your competitors’ strategies or following generic advice.

You should also occasionally audit and test your website on different browsers and devices to ensure it’s still performing optimally. Certain browser or OS updates might be incompatible with some of your website features. The sooner you notice these issues, the sooner you can fix them.

SEO is a complex and oftentimes difficult pursuit, but it’s not rocket science, and it’s not magic either. Once you understand the different techniques and metrics involved in SEO, you can tailor a strategy that’s perfect for your business. Remember that at the end of the day, eCommerce SEO is useful for generating traffic. Your main priority should still be your customers. Generate content and optimize your website based on their feedback and preferences instead of exclusively pandering to the search engine algorithm.