How Does eCommerce SEO Work?

Search engine optimization is a vital process that helps your business stand out in this increasingly cutthroat digital world. However, doing SEO for eCommerce is an extensive task, one that you have to deal with on top of the daily ins and outs of running your store itself.

By leveraging the expertise of an excellent eCommerce SEO company, you can hit the ground running with a solid strategy and pass the bulk of the legwork on to someone else. There’s no way around it—outsourcing your SEO services will save you energy, time, and money in the long run.

Before making that leap, it’s important to have an understanding of what SEO entails. This ultimate guide to SEO for eCommerce was written with the hands-on business owner in mind. Hiring an SEO company is an investment, so it will benefit you to know exactly where your money is going.

So, let’s get started!

What Is eCommerce SEO?

eCommerce SEO is the method of making your website rank on top of the search engine results pages (SERPs), particularly Google, the most-used search engine worldwide. With time, the best practices from your search engine optimization efforts will help your business gain more visibility on SERPs and entice your target market to click on your web pages, thereby boosting your web traffic, and most importantly, increasing your conversion.

In general, there are four parts of SEO:

On-Page SEO

On-page SEO is the method of optimizing your individual website pages so that each page will rank higher in the search results for your target audience.

This method includes adding keywords for the search queries you want to rank for to the page’s HTML source code and content, such as:

  • The URL
  • The title tag
  • The meta description
  • The written content
  • The image’s alternative text

Off-Page SEO

On the other hand, off-page SEO refers to all the methods that you perform outside your website to help it rank well in the search results. Often, website owners like yourself think of off-page SEO as building links, but it’s actually much more than that.

Other than link building, the method also includes social media marketing, guest blogging, influencer marketing, and the like.


Technical SEO

Technical SEO involves all the server and technical website optimizations to help the search engines “spiders” crawl and index your web pages, thereby improving your organic ranking more effectively.

The process usually includes the following:

  • Ensuring that your website or online store can securely receive credit card payments
  • Making your site mobile-friendly
  • Boosting the load speed of each web page
  • Removing duplicate content
  • Creating a sitemap to help the search engines understand your eCommerce website better
  • Adding structured data
  • Using analytics tools
  • Fixing technical issues in your site.

Local SEO

Local SEO efforts are only applicable to eCommerce businesses that also have physical stores. This approach will help solidify your reputation as a leading company in your area. With local SEO, you can gain more foot traffic in your brick-and-mortar store as well as increase your web traffic on your website.

Best local SEO practices involve strategies such as:

  • Claiming a business listing
  • Submitting your business NAP (Name, Address, Phone number) to local directories online
  • Including other relevant information for local customers
  • Ensuring that your physical location appears in local searches
  • Managing online reviews for your physical store
  • Curating a local-centric engagement on social media

Successful local SEO efforts appear on top of Google’s featured results, and normally look like this:

a screenshot of ecommerce stores on local search top results on Google

Is SEO Important for eCommerce?

The answer is a resounding YES.

SEO for eCommerce is one of the most important strategies you must invest in if you want your business to gain awareness and traction online.

Besides that, here are four top-most reasons why SEO is important for eCommerce websites:

SEO Boosts Your SERP Rankings

Search engine results pages are the most competitive areas on the Internet.

With thousands of web pages targeting similar search terms as you are, it’s crucial that you have a well-planned strategy to beat out your competitors. A strong SEO strategy presents optimized content to the search engine “spiders”. These spiders crawl, index, and rank your pages so they come out on top of your target audience’s search results.

This is where SEO proves vital to eCommerce sites—if your web pages are not ranking well, you are losing half the battle of selling your items online.

If your ranking improves at least one spot higher in the search results pages, your click-through rate is expected to increase up to 30.8%, especially if you are in the first half of the top results on page 1.

SEO Increases Click-Through Rates

Click-through rate (CTR) is the percentage of clicks you get from your target audience upon seeing your web pages in the search results.

Your CTR is primarily based on your SERP ranking, but there are other factors that also go into play. Some of these include a catchy title tag, compelling meta description, and rich snippets—which are all improved by SEO.
Typically, search engines like Google only show the top 10 search results for a query on page 1 of the SERPs. With this in mind, research shows that the first five organic SERP results account for over 60% of all the clicks on Google. This means that buyers aren’t likely to look at page 2 of the search engine results, putting you at a disadvantage if you’re not on the first page.

SEO Generates Web Traffic

Web traffic refers to the number of website visitors or customers who click on your site. Traffic is normally measured in “sessions,” and it is often the metric used to tell how effective you are with attracting an audience to your online store.

Basically, the higher you rank on the search results, and the more compelling your title tags and meta descriptions are, the more clicks you get on your website. This leads to more web traffic and thus more awareness raised for your brand.

SEO Improves Your Shop’s Conversion

We both know that ranking well on the search results means nothing if you are not converting well or making more sales.

Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) is a different specialty from SEO, but they sure do complement each other! Conversion rate refers to the percentage of your website visitors who are “converted” or convinced to do the desired action (such as buying your product or leaving their information).

CRO, therefore, refers to the process of fixing up your website to promote conversion. This has more to do with designing and formatting for appeal, rather than ranking on search results.

Still, SEO can further improve the conversion rate of your website by optimizing your web page to ensure your site visitors are in the right place. This is specifically evident in your title tags and headings, site structure, clearly defined products, and compelling calls-to-action.

Speaking of formatting for appeal, SEO can also improve user experience in your online shop. SEO can ensure that your web pages are loading fast enough for customers to keep engaging. It’s also about making your website mobile-responsive, so your audience can browse and shop from your online store no matter what device they are using.

Digital buyers are predicted to grow up to 2.14 billion by 2021. This data prediction from was made pre-pandemic, and that number is expected to grow even bigger.

People are now purchasing more and more products online as restrictions on physical stores remain stringent around the world. No wonder Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, is set to become a trillionaire by 2026.

While you may not be the next Jeff Bezos by tomorrow, you’ll still want to get ahead of your online store competitors! To get there faster, make sure that you get the best eCommerce SEO services for your site.

How to Do eCommerce SEO?

By now, you know e-commerce SEO is necessary for your online business to survive and thrive in this digitally-driven world.

Here are 8 actionable steps with the best practices of SEO for eCommerce!

1. Perform Keyword Research

Your homepage is the most important web page on your eCommerce website, followed by your category pages. So, choosing the right keywords for these pages is critical.
When finding the right search terms to target in your homepage and category pages, you have to consider the relevancy of these terms to your niche, their search volume, and their ranking difficulty.

Think of keywords as the building blocks of SEO—without knowing the right keywords to target, your optimization efforts will be in vain. So, here’s how you do keyword research for your eCommerce store:

Find the Target Keywords for Your Homepage and Category Pages

Your search terms must:

  1. Have a highly level of relevancy to the products that you sell or to your brand in general
  2. Have medium to high search volume, so you’re certain that people are looking for this information
  3. Have relatively less ranking difficulty or competition, so you can achieve high rankings more easily

You can do this by using free online keyword research tools such as Ubersuggest.

Let’s say you have an eCommerce store selling laptop accessories. Your keyword research will look like this:

a screenshot of keyword research for ecommerce store homepage and category pages

The search term “laptop accessories” has a significant search volume and relatively low competition: the search difficulty (SD) is at 50 but the paid difficulty (PD) is high at 100.

Nevertheless, this keyphrase is good to target for organic search ranking and is a good keyword for your homepage.

The next suggested keywords such as “laptop accessories for gaming” can be used for your category pages because they also have a good amount of search volume and low competition.

Find the Target Keywords for Your Product Pages

While your homepage and category pages can target broader keywords under your niche, your product pages must target highly-specific search terms.

You can start finding product-focused keywords for your online store by leveraging Amazon Suggest. Yep, Amazon might be one of your competitors, but there’s no denying that it is currently the leading eCommerce site, especially in the United States. So, treat it as a rich product-specific keyword goldmine!

Let’s use the same example of the online shop for laptop accessories. Go to Amazon and type in the keyword for one of your products. In this example, let’s find keywords targeting accessories for a MacBook.

Now, notice that the suggested keywords from Amazon are highly-targeted search terms with multiple words, also known as long-tail keywords.

The best thing about very specific keywords is that they tend to bring in more conversions. Plus, they are less competitive than shorter keywords.

Also, notice that Amazon Suggest will sometimes show you keywords that can be great for your category pages. Take a look at this:

a screenshot of product-specific keyword research for an online shop using Amazon Suggest

Another free keyword research tool is the Keyword Tool Dominator (KTD).  You can use this to scrape search terms from other massive eCommerce sites worldwide. Here’s how it works.

First, select the eCommerce site or search engine that you want to mine for the best product keywords:

a screenshot of keyword research for category pages of an ecommerce site using Amazon Suggest

Then, type in one of your product keywords into the tool and it will show you plenty of search term suggestions from your chosen eCommerce site or search engine:

a screenshot of keyword tool dominator for massive ecommerce sites and search engines

So, if you want to easily find more long-tail and product-specific keywords from Amazon or from other massive eCommerce sites out there, use the KTD.

There are also plenty of keyword research tools that you can use to get more highly-targeted search terms for your online store. We’ll discuss these later!

Find Long-Tail Keywords for Your Blog

Some search terms might not have a place on your main web pages, but you can use your blog to help you rank for popular keywords or long-tail keywords that your target market uses.

But what exactly are long-tail keywords? These are unique and highly-specific search terms that your potential customers use to find information and products online. From the word “long”, you can expect these terms to consist of more than one word.

These keywords are often interrogative sentences or actual questions typed in by your target market in the search engines. You can find them by mining the data from Google’s “People Also Ask” section:

a screenshot of Google’s data from People Also Ask section that can be used for an ecommerce website blog

Or use data from Answer the Public:

a screenshot of Answer The Public data on questions from a seed keyword

Don’t Forget the LSI Keywords

Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords are terms and phrases that are closely related to your target keyword.

For example, if you are optimizing for the primary keyword “smart camera” for your category page, the search terms closely related to this main keyword are:

  • Wireless camera
  • Home security
  • 1080p
  • Full HD
  • Outdoor security camera
  • Cloud service
  • Indoor wireless camera
  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • 2-way audio

So, here’s how you find LSI keywords for e-commerce SEO:

First, you can search from Amazon again or from any competitor site that outranks you, and eyeball some semantic keywords that appear several times and prominently on the page.

keywords found in an Amazon category page

Then, you can use Google’s Keyword Planner to get more suggested LSI keywords from the leading search engine itself.

And once you’ve gathered your LSI keywords, make sure to sprinkle them into your content—both in category and product pages.

Research Your Top Competitor’s Keywords

If you have big competitors that rank better than you on the search results pages, you can use their websites to be your keyword goldmine—just like how you do it with eyeballing Amazon keywords.

But there’s another technique you can use to research your top competitor’s keywords.

First, enter your target keyword into Google search:

a screenshot of Google search to research competitor keywords

You will see your top competitors’ search results. Choose one:

a screenshot of the chosen ecommerce site competitor for keyword researcha screenshot of the chosen ecommerce site competitor for keyword research

Then, scan the site’s category pages and product pages for keywords:

a screenshot of an online store category pages options

Now, remember that when you’re researching your top competitor’s keywords, make sure that you do not blindly copy or use all the keywords that they are using! Just because they rank better than you, it does not mean that they have the best keywords.

There are other factors to consider, such as their domain authority (DA). Domain authority is a ranking score that suggests how well a website can rank on the SERPs.

Your competitor’s site may not have the best keywords, but they may have a high DA due to other factors, so it’s best to take their keywords with a grain of salt.

At the end of the day, it’s much more important to perform the best practices when researching the right keywords to target. Here are some of the best practices for choosing the right target keyword: 

Evaluate the Search Volume

You must choose keywords that your target market is actually searching for. If no one searches for a keyword, no matter how logical it may seem to use, you can’t expect any conversion from such a search term.

Over time, you will get an idea of what a low search volume and a high search volume looks like for your niche.
To see the search volume for a specific search term, just enter it into a free keyword research tool such as Keyword Surfer and specify the region you are targeting:

a screenshot of an average monthly search for a keyword

Basically, you would want to choose a keyword that has a high search volume since it suggests that plenty of your potential customers are using that particular search term.

Pick the Right Secondary Keywords

You can’t exhaust your main keyword in your web page’s content. In fact, the ideal usage of the primary keyword on a page is within three to five times. So, you will need secondary keywords to sprinkle within your content.

Besides finding long-tail and LSI keywords, you can also use the features from keyword research tools to get your secondary keywords.

This is where you can find them in Ubersuggest:

a screenshot showing secondary keywords in Ubersuggest

And this is where you can find them using Keyword Surfer—with data on how similar the search terms are to your main keyword:

a screenshot showing secondary keywords similarity to the main keyword using Keyword Surfer

Choose Keywords With Low Competition

If you target highly-competitive keywords, it will take you such a long time to rank high—and that’s if you’ll rank high with competitive search terms.

This is why we recommend that you choose keywords with low to medium competition or a relatively low SEO difficulty rate.

This is where you can find the competition metric in Google Keyword Planner:

a screenshot showing keyword competition metric in Google Keyword Planner

And this is where you can find the SEO difficulty metric in Ubersuggest:

a screenshot showing the metric for SEO difficulty in Ubersuggest

To recap the best practices of choosing the right keywords to target:

  • Make sure that the keywords you choose have significant search volume from the specific region that you are targeting.
  • Pick the highly-related keywords to your main search term.
  • Choose the keywords with relatively low to medium competition or low search difficulty.

Keyword Research Tools You Can Use

Before we move on, let’s talk about the top keyword research tools you can use to find the right keywords for your website.

This list is in no particular order and it includes the free keyword research tools previously mentioned in this article as well as some new ones!

After doing keyword research for your store, you can start planning web pages to build around those keywords. This brings us to the next step in SEO for eCommerce…

2. Plan Your eCommerce Site Architecture

A site’s architecture plays a vital role for all websites, especially in an eCommerce site. The structure of your online store will determine how well the search engines can crawl and index your web pages.

Plus, your site architecture will also define your user experience, which can significantly impact your ranking on search results!

An eCommerce website is likely to have way more pages than a typical blog, pizza shop, or legal service site. Thus, it’s critical that the website architecture of your online store makes it easy for customers and search engine “spiders” to find their way around your website.

When planning your eCommerce site architecture, there are two principles that you should follow:

  1. Make sure to keep things simple and scalable
  2. Ensure that every web page is within three clicks from your homepage

To illustrate, here’s an example of a badly-structured eCommerce site:

example of an ecommerce website with poor architecture

Here are three key reasons why this site architecture sample is wrong on many levels:

  • The site structure is not simple. It’s hard to understand which web page goes to which web page.
  • The site is not scalable. When there’s a need to add a new category, you will find it difficult to create a new layer without having to reorganize the existing categories.
  • It utilizes “deep” site architecture. Some of the product pages take more than three clicks away from the homepage. This dilutes the authority of the backlinks (also known as referral links) that point to your homepage.

TAKE NOTE! If you think that your eCommerce store has a messy site architecture, don’t move web pages around by yourself. Instead, consult eCommerce SEO experts so that you can get popular existing pages redirected to highly-optimized new web pages on your website.

On the other hand, here’s an example of a well-implemented eCommerce site architecture:

example of an ecommerce website with a good architecture

This well-optimized site architecture will now concentrate the link authority to the store’s category and product pages, thereby helping these web pages rank high in the search results.

Plus, this kind of structure makes it easier for the search engine “spiders” to crawl and index your eCommerce website.

Most importantly, a well-optimized online shop is not only great for the search engines but also for your website visitors and customers—a simple and “shallow” site architecture makes it easy for buyers to browse and find the products they want to buy.

That said, let’s take a look at a live eCommerce website with an excellent site structure,

a screenshot of an ecommerce website with excellent site architecture

Let’s say you’re looking for tools to help you train your dog during home-quarantine. You’d click on the category tab “Dog Training Collars,” which will bring you here:

a screenshot of the category page of an ecommerce site with a good site architecture

Then click on the sub-category page “Clickers and Reward Trainers,” which leads here:

a screenshot of the sub-category page of an ecommerce site

Finally, you get a list of the products on that sub-category page:

a screenshot of the product page

3. Perform On-Page Optimization

Once you have chosen your best keywords and your site architecture is well-implemented, it’s time to optimize the category and product pages of your eCommerce website. These two types of web pages will generate the most traffic and conversion, so make sure to make them your top priority when doing on-page optimization.

Here are the best practices you can emulate when doing on-page SEO for eCommerce:

Identify Your Website’s Current Problems

Conducting a website and SEO audit can pay dividends—this makes the process of fixing the problems in your eCommerce site a lot faster and easier.

This way, you can also focus on finding site errors quickly and determine your website speed.

Screaming Frog is a free tool that can help you find website errors easily. It can provide you with comprehensive data of web page errors, missing header tags, redirects, missing meta tags, duplicate pages, and a lot more.

Indeed, the tool will help you improve your user experience and SEO in much less time.

Give Your Web Page URLs a Lot of Thought

Ideally, the URLs of your web pages should be keyword-rich and short. One study suggests that the shorter and keyword-targeted the URL is, the higher the web page ranks on the search results.

Ideally, the URLs of your web pages should be keyword-rich and short. One study suggests that the shorter and keyword-targeted the URL is, the higher the web page ranks on the search results.

But since you have an eCommerce website, your URLs are going to be longer, especially on your product pages—and that’s okay!

In your product pages, your URL should also include not just the product-specific keyword but also the category and subcategory where the product belongs.

Like this:

However, keep in mind that this does not give you the license to lengthen your URL to 50 characters or more! Remember, Google gets confused with super-long URLs. Plus, lengthy URLs can negatively impact the significance of target keywords in the URL.

Here’s an example of an unnecessarily lengthy URL for an eCommerce product page:

a screenshot of a lengthy URL for an ecommerce site product page

See how long the URL is? Plus, it contains unnecessary stuff such as “B07YBHZ8T” which might be the product code as well as keywords such as “detection two-way” which could have just been used a few times in the product page’s content.

Now, here’s an example of a well-structured eCommerce web page URL:

a screenshot of a well-structured URL for an ecommerce site product page

Your keywords should also be naturally seen in your title tag, meta description, headings, subheadings, and image alt texts.

Take note that we said “naturally” because you don’t want to stuff your keywords in your content! Don’t use a keyword in all of your subheadings if it doesn’t appear natural.

Of course, sticking to your keywords doesn’t mean you can’t get a little creative. Making your title tags and headings catchy can assist in capturing your target audience’s attention.

Here are a few best practices to follow when writing your title tags, meta descriptions, and subheadings:

Add modifiers in your title tags and subheadings such as:

  • Deals
  • Cheap
  • Buy
  • Best
  • Free shipping
  • Free delivery
  • Review
  • Discount

Use click-worthy words in your title tags and meta descriptions such as:

  • Lowest Price
  • 10% Off or 15% Off or 20% Off
  • Money-Back Guarantee
  • Sale
  • Overnight Shipping
  • Guarantee
  • Limited Sale
  • Limited Offer
  • Great Selection
  • Few Stocks Left
  • All Items are on Sale

Write a descriptive alternative text for your images such as:

The search engines can’t really understand what’s in your images, but you can still rank for image search by writing keyword-driven and descriptive alt text for your images. This is how the search engines learn what your images are all about.

Write Compelling Category and Product Descriptions

Have you noticed what big eCommerce sites have in common when it comes to their category and product pages?

They have a compelling category description:

a screenshot of an ecommerce site with a compelling category description

And a unique product description:

a screenshot of an ecommerce site with a unique product description

This is because of two reasons:

  1. Compelling descriptions tell your website’s visitors more about the category page they’re viewing and the product that they might be interested to buy.
  2. Descriptions help the search engines “spiders” understand what your category and product pages are all about.

That’s why your descriptions should always be unique—never copy and paste the same description for categories and products. Spend time writing persuasive content and make it inviting enough for your customers to make a purchase.

Here are a few best practices you can follow:

  • Make sure to add your primary keyword in your descriptions.
  • Use other variations of your main search term, such as long-tail keywords and LSI keywords, but sprinkle them naturally throughout the page content
  • Ensure that your descriptions are readable and use simple language for your buyers to understand them easily.
  • Provide essential information about the category and product that your potential customers might need to know before they buy.
  • Add 1000+ words of content in your category and product pages—sprinkle your primary and secondary keywords three to five times all throughout the page.

The thought of optimizing the content of each category and product page in your eCommerce site can be daunting. But everything can be done smoothly with a strategic process. Start with your most important category and product pages, and work your way out.

Leverage Schema Markup to Appear Attractive on SERPS

How would you like to see your product display in the search results? A regular display like this?

a screenshot of a search result without rich snippets

Or in a more attractive display like this?

a screenshot of a search result with attractive rich snippets

As you can see, the second example includes product photos, prices, and ratings—things that are very helpful to a customer when they’re making their mind up about a purchase.

All this extra information was made possible with Schema markup, a set of code that serves as a semantic vocabulary for the search engines to display more information about a web page to your potential customers. When you put these codes on your pages, they will earn the attractive rich snippets whenever they are displayed in the search results.

Rich snippets are not only eye-catching and informative, but they can also help you significantly increase your web page’s click-through rate, thereby driving more web traffic to your online store and boosting your sales.

Google and other search engines use the information from Schema markup to better understand your content, whether it’s a category page, a product page, a blog post, or a landing page for a campaign. This is why utilizing Schema markup is great for e-commerce SEO.

However, Schema markup can get a bit too complicated. To help you out, here’s a quick rundown of the basics:

Product Pages Schema Markup

According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, it is best to add a markup to product pages because it helps Google provide detailed product information in the search results. With Schema, your target buyers can see essential information such as review ratings, number of reviews, price, and product availability.

To markup your product pages, you can use product markup.

There’s a variety of several Schema properties that you can add to your product pages, but here’s a shortlist of the most common:

Category Pages Schema Markup

Google’s Webmaster Guidelines state that since a category page lists several products and other types such as videos and recipes, each entity on that page should be marked up.

This means that if you use Schema markup on a single product listing on a category page, you must markup all the items on that page.

However, unlike product pages that need to be marked up extensively so that you can achieve rich snippets in the search results, category page markups are simply about helping the search engines understand the type of page you have, and not really about displaying rich snippets.

Therefore, you can keep the category pages in your Schema markup light and simple, so you can focus more on marking up your extensive list of products in your entire eCommerce store.
Also, you can use Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool to help you ensure that you have provided all the information needed for your category and product pages to appear attractive in the search results—or see missing details for that matter:

a screenshot of Google’s structured data testing tool showing errors for a product page

As you can imagine, adding Schema markup to your thousands of web pages will really require a massive amount of your time and energy. This is where you might consider hiring an eCommerce SEO agency to help you out, not just with Schema markup, but also in improving your overall eCommerce SEO.

Optimize Your Internal Linking

Internal linking to high-priority pages in your website is important in SEO for eCommerce. This is like telling the search engines such as Google that they should also “crawl” the pages you are linking to, so they can index and rank them as well.

However, keep in mind that when you link to a web page from your current page content, that destination page should be highly relevant to the linking page. Also, you must internally link from authoritative pages in your store to high-priority category pages and product pages.

Let’s say you have successfully published a blog post that has generated multiple high-quality backlinks to your site. At the same time, you have a product page that currently sits in the fifth rank of Google.

Now perhaps these two different pages are relevant to each other—for instance, you might have mentioned the product type in the blog post. So, you need to include a keyword-rich anchor text in the blog post and link it to the product page. This will boost the product page’s ranking one spot higher, and maybe even push it to the top spot!

A good internal linking structure of an eCommerce site looks like this:

a screenshot of a good internal linking structure of an ecommerce site

Keep User Experience in Mind

A great user experience means that your website is easy-to-navigate, interesting, and helpful. So if your visitors have a positive user experience on your site, they will spend more time exploring your pages.

Good user behavior will serve as a signal to Google and other search engines that your website is giving users a positive experience, and that you deserve better visibility and ranking.

You can give the best user experience to your potential customers by optimizing the following:

  • Mobile Responsiveness
  • Load Speed

This means that your web pages should look and work well regardless of the device your customers are using to browse your store—whether they are using a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.
You can test your eCommerce site’s mobile-friendliness by using this mobile-friendly test tool from Google:

a screenshot showing a mobile-friendly test from Google

Similarly, optimizing your load speed is critical in SEO for eCommerce. 47% of buyers expect that your eCommerce site will load in less than two seconds, and 40% of them will abandon your shop and go browse a different store if yours will take more than three seconds to load.
To test the load speed of your website and fix the errors that are slowing you down, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights. It provides detailed diagnostics and recommendations for your site’s load speed:

a screenshot of load speed test of an ecommerce site via Google’s PageSpeed Insight

Lastly, an intuitive interface can be successfully achieved with a well-thought out eCommerce site architecture. Ideally, your customers should be able to find what they want within three clicks. A flat website architecture makes this possible.

4. Take Care of Your Technical SEO

Technical SEO is one of the most essential aspects when doing eCommerce SEO, mainly because your online store will have dozens to hundreds more web pages than a non-eCommerce site.

Furthermore, eCommerce sites typically don’t get enough backlinks pointing to them. Technical SEO fills this gap. If you have a very tight competitor, fixing a technical SEO issue can mean the difference between you outranking that competitor on search results.

That’s the reason why it is important to run technical e-commerce SEO audits regularly.
You can tap the expertise of an eCommerce SEO company to perform a strategic SEO audit on your site and follow these actionable steps:

Resolve Duplicate Content Issues

Google did not officially state that web pages with duplicate content will be penalized. However, the search engine will filter identical content, and this can negatively impact a performing web page’s rankings and backlinks.

That’s why it’s essential to resolve duplicate content by deleting one web page or redirecting that identical page to the one that’s performing well.
You can find web pages with duplicate content by using the Screaming Frog SEO software:

a screenshot of duplicate content found on an ecommerce site when running audit using Screaming Frog

or by using Ahrefs site audit:

a screenshot of duplicate content found on an ecommerce site when running audit using Ahrefs

Using SEO audit tools such as these can definitely help you pinpoint duplicate content in your eCommerce site. Duplicated content can be found in the URL, title tags, meta descriptions, heading tags, and most especially in the content body.

Sometimes though, duplicate content may be necessary, especially if both pages have gathered valuable backlinks. If this is the case, you need to have a canonical link: an HTML element that helps you specify a “preferred” version of a web page to show Google and other search engines.

A canonical link helps ensure that Google and other search engines will only index one version of duplicate web pages—the version that you want your target audience to see in the search results.

For those with a coding background, this is what the code should look like: 


When adding it to the HTML for URL of the web page you prefer Google to index, it will look like this:

<link rel=”canonical” href=”” />

That’s it. 

It seems simple, but if you’re having a hard time doing this with several of your duplicate pages, consider getting e-commerce SEO services from the experts.

Address Keyword Cannibalization

Keyword cannibalization happens when you have numerous web pages on your online store that all try to rank for the same keyword, making your own pages compete against each other.

But isn’t competing against yourself pretty great? In real life, yes. In SEO, not really! Here are some negative impacts keyword cannibalism can have on your eCommerce site:

  1. Your web pages’ authority will diminish
  2. Your links and anchor texts will dilute their value
  3. Your crawl budget—the number of times the search engines will crawl your site in a given time—will be wasted

Google and other search engines may not see the value of the most relevant page and instead rank another page that’s not conversion-worthy, thereby making your conversion rate suffer.

You don’t want any of that to happen! So, here’s how you find and fix keyword cannibalization issues:

First, you need to identify the web pages that may be suffering from keyword cannibalism. You can do this by creating a spreadsheet that lists all of your online shop’s URLs and their target keywords. Start from the most important to the least important web pages.

For example, if you’re selling pet food products, your spreadsheet may look like this:

URLsMain Keyword food food food food wet food wet treats

Once you’ve listed all of your site’s URLs and their main keywords, you can now start looking for duplicate entries. If you see pages with the same target keywords, especially among your core web pages, your website is most likely suffering from keyword cannibalization.

Here are a few ways to fix this:

  • Restructure your eCommerce website
  • Publish new landing pages
  • Combine highly-similar web pages
  • Target new relevant keywords
  • Utilize 301 redirects for multiple pages ranking for the same keywords

Keyword cannibalization issues can be resolved with time, patience, and a lot of effort. To speed this process up, you may want to get a reliable eCommerce SEO agency to take the burden off your shoulders.

Fatten Pages With Thin Content

Search engines, especially Google, prefer to rank web pages that have thick content—the page that may not necessarily have the most word count but give the most value to search users.
This is why having thin content in your web pages can ruin your eCommerce SEO efforts. Data analysis from Backlinko found that web pages with longer and more valuable content rank much better than pages with thin content. Take a look at this graph:

a graph that shows the data analysis of web pages with long content vs. thin content

eCommerce websites tend to have more web pages with thin content than non-eCommerce sites because it is challenging to write unique and comprehensive content for multiple products that are similar.

This is an ongoing concern for most online stores that are trying to rank better in the search results, but this should not stop you from writing at least 500 words, preferably 1,000+ words, for all of your web pages.

You can use these best practices below to guide you when writing content specifically for your product pages:

  • Write a unique product name along with the product’s image on the page.
  • Write 50 to 100 introductory words in the product description.
  • Write the product features in bullet form.
  • Write in-depth product description—add more images of the product, answer some FAQs, unpack the benefits, state some awards, and cite case studies if there are any.
  • Write a 50-word conclusion with a compelling call-to-action.

If you are not gifted at writing, you can always leverage the SEO copywriting expertise of an eCommerce SEO company so you can beat your competitors and other big brands in the industry.

Check Your Site’s Load Speed on Desktop and Mobile

We’ve discussed the importance of page speed and mobile-responsiveness. Your customers will browse your online shop from various devices—using a desktop, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone.

Did you know that 53.81% of your target customers are browsing your online shop using mobile phones? This is in comparison to 43.27% of them who use desktop computers, and 2.92% who use tablet devices.

a chart showing the market share of different devices worldwide

While it’s important to make sure that your website is responsive to any device format, checking your site speed regularly is equally important.

Ensure that your eCommerce SEO services team performs a website speed check for each device using a reliable online speed test. One such service is Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

Start with your mobile speed and get recommendations from Google itself on how to improve your site’s speed on mobile devices. It will look like this:

a screenshot of PageSpeed Insights recommendations on a website speed test on mobile devices

Next, manage the recommendations for your site speed on desktop devices. It will look like this:

a screenshot of PageSpeed Insights recommendations on a website speed test on desktop devices

Some of these recommendations can be too technical. So, if you find them too confusing, don’t hesitate to consult the ecommerce SEO experts to speed up your website.

5. Build Your Blog With Content Marketing

An old cliche in SEO is “Content is king.” You may have the most optimized website structure and the best keywords, but if you’re not regularly producing anything valuable that keeps your clients checking back, Google won’t see your content as fresh or relevant.

This is why besides creating category pages and product pages, big eCommerce websites also maintain a blog, publishing readable and useful blog posts regularly.

Take a look at this well-updated blog site of Amazon:

a screenshot of blog site with updated posts

As you can see, blog content is not necessarily all about big blocks of texts! You should also include engaging images and videos along with your useful, informative, and compelling written words.

It’s also worth remembering that publishing these on your website and waiting for the search engines to rank them is not enough. You must proactively let people know that you have awesome resources on your site through content marketing.

Here are some of the best practices you can emulate when building your blog and marketing your content:

Find Where Your Customers Hang Out Online

Selling products to people is not enough to thrive in eCommerce. You must also learn your target market’s language, what they need, what they want, and where they hang out online. In this way, you get more advantage of getting more traction than your competitors.

For instance, if your target market is a bunch of sneakerheads, consider joining this Reddit community of sneakerheads with 1.3 million members:

a screenshot of a consumer community on Reddit

Or participate in good ‘ole forums about shoes like this one:

a screenshot of online forum threads about shoes

Match Your Target Audience’s Language:

Taking note of the words and phrases that your target market is using can prove invaluable—knowing the terms your potential customers use when describing their problems, needs, and desires will let you use the same words as your target keywords when creating your content.

Plus, the language will help you connect to your audience more personally. It will show them that you understand what they need and you have what they desire.

For example, you can eyeball the terms used by your target market in a niche-specific forum:

a screenshot of the words used by a target market

From the image, we can see that your audience refers to the product as a “running shoe”. Therefore, in your online store content, you should use the words “running shoe” rather than “sneaker” or “trainer.” They also specify the model of the shoe they are looking for, so you should include the model number in your content as well.

You should also check the comments when someone posts a need for one of your products—this technique will help you identify the search terms when your potential customers are still in the process of looking for a product to buy.

This is your chance to use the same keywords on your content and entice them to make a purchase from your online store.

Publish High-Quality Blogs Regularly

Top-notch content attracts high-quality backlinks and more buyers.

The more you publish useful, informative, helpful, and reliable content, the more you gain visibility on the search engine results page. 

This leads to more people reading your posts, linking to you when they create a post of their own, sharing your content in their social media feed, and most importantly, buying from your store.

Here are the best types of blog posts to publish on your eCommerce site:

Evergreen Content

Evergreen posts are pieces of content that are sustainable when it comes to SEO for eCommerce because they are always relevant.

Write about topics that are highly-related to your niche that your potential customers are likely to search for at any given time. For example, if you are in the shoe industry, you can write about tips on choosing a pair of shoes for different people and different activities.

You can also write about the best pair of shoes to give on Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, and Graduation Day.

How-Tos or Tutorials

How-to blog posts can also be evergreen pieces of content. These posts are extremely informative and are deemed ultra-relevant to your potential buyers.

Using the shoe industry as an example, you can write about “how to measure a shoe size,” or “how to clean a pair of shoes,” or “how to get the stink off a pair of shoes.”

This type of blog post will be best when you embed video tutorials to the post.

Trendy Posts

Trendy posts are the latest articles about the current situation in your industry or in the world in general.

Take the COVID-19 pandemic as an example. You can write about how to help people needing a new pair of shoes in the midst of the lockdowns, or where to get shoe cleaning supplies despite the limited supply.

Business Updates or News 

Even though you might think that your customers don’t really care about what’s going on with your business, writing about business news or updates is still beneficial. This will help you establish your brand even better, especially when customers browse your blog.

In 2020, you can write about how your business is helping the community fight the pandemic and how you are taking care of your employees during these challenging times.

You can also feature your methods of ensuring that everything you do in your production is hygienic, and how you can still serve your customers despite the delays and strict processes in shipping your packages.

Utilize the Skyscraper Technique

This is a method intended to “beat” all other pieces of content created for the keyword that you want to target.

The technique involves studying the web articles that are already published around a search term that you are targeting. These blog posts sit on the first page of Google because they are comprehensive and bring so much value to search users.

After studying these top-ranking blog posts, you can then create an even better piece.

Make Your Content Thorough and Up-to-Date

By studying the existing top-ranking web articles on the first page of Google, you will learn how much more input you need to provide in your article.

Make sure that your content provides more value by outdoing the information that’s out there with more topics that your target audience will find interesting and extremely useful.

Some of the blog posts that currently appear on the first page of the search results are actually a few years old. Since Google prefers fresh content, this is your time to produce a high-quality blog post with references and resources updated for the current year.

You can also add new insights for the industry that your target audience will find immensely relevant and helpful.

An up-to-date content may have a title tag such as this one:

a screenshot of a blog post with an up-to-date content title tag

Make Sure Your Content Is Well-Designed

Content with better designs performs better than those with mediocre appearance. Remember that people are first attracted to visual aesthetics before they see the value that you have to offer. Hence, the phrase in eCommerce, “people buy with their eyes.”

Here are some things you can do to get people interested: 

  • Add an enticing blog banner
  • Choose high-quality images and position them strategically to break up the text
  • Add engaging but relevant videos, if possible
  • Include interactive links or buttons for your customers to click through

Do Email and Social Media Marketing

Now that you’ve created the most awesome piece of content about a topic in your niche, it’s time to spread the word and make sure that the right people read it.

Hopefully, your readers will help expand your content’s reach to more of your target audience by sharing your top-notch post and linking to it.

Email outreach can be a traditional content marketing effort, but it remains invaluable, especially when your emails are reaching the correct audience.

You can start by researching the websites that link to the top-ranking web articles on the first page of Google, especially the ones that are highly related to your niche.

Get in touch with the owners of these websites through email, letting them know that you have created a more thorough and up-to-date post than the ones they are currently linking to. Suggest that they may want to reference your article instead.

Keep your email short and simple, and don’t forget to link your newly-published content!

It’s only fitting to also market your content on social networking sites, especially when you have created social media pages for your business and you are growing your following.

It’s crucial that your blog posts have social share buttons so that your readers can share your content with their own profiles easily.

Social share buttons look like this:

a screenshot of the social share buttons on an ecommerce site in a blog post, to help with content marketing

And every time you have a new blog post, it’s best to also share it to your social media pages to entice people to click your content, thereby bringing more backlinks and web traffic to your eCommerce site.

This is also a great way to let your followers know that you produce a substantial amount of resources for them to consume, thereby strengthening your brand.

6. Build Your Links and Strengthen Your Backlink Profile

Building links to your eCommerce site’s homepage, category pages, and product pages can be a bit more challenging. After all, these web pages do not really offer evergreen content or how-to tutorials.

To work around that, here are a few tips to help you strengthen the backlink profile of your eCommerce store:

Discover Your Competitors’ Backlinks

Just like mining for keywords, your top competitor’s website can also be a goldmine for backlinks! You can use a competitor link research tool like Ahrefs to know the sites linking to your competitor—websites that are highly likely to also link to your store.

a screenshot of a competitor link research tool

Tools like this one will help you easily discover your missed link opportunities as well as link patterns that you can follow from popular consumer forums to niche-relevant directories.

Expect that you will discover sites that are linking to several of your competitors. With any luck, it won’t be hard for you to ask them to link to you, too!

Get started by submitting your business details to niche-relevant directories and do email outreach to sites linking to your competitor’s blog posts.

This will be a time-consuming task overall, though, so you may want to hire an eCommerce search engine optimization agency to do the heavy lifting for your outreach strategy.

Leverage the Manufacturer’s Retail List

Product manufacturers often have “Where to Buy” pages. So, make sure that your online store appears on the list with a link to your homepage.

You can check the manufacturers’ retailer list using Google search—follow this search format:

manufacturer’s name of products you sell + intitle:“where to buy” OR intitle:“stockists”

Let’s say, for example, you have an online shop for dog training collars:

a screenshot of a Google search for manufacturers retailer list

Once you find these web pages, reach out to the web owner, and request to be added if you are not yet included in the list.

Search for Resource Pages In Your Niche

Resource pages are web articles that list useful links and resources for a certain topic or niche. Just like finding a manufacturer’s retailer list, you can find resource web pages using Google search. Here are the keywords that you can use:

  • Your target keyword + inurl:resources
  • Your target keyword + inurl:links
  • Your target keyword + intitle:resources
  • Your target keyword + intitle:links

Here’s an example:

a screenshot of a Google search for resource web pages

Once you find the web pages that list resources or links for your niche, especially the ones that are not your competitors (non-eCommerce sites), reach out immediately and ask to be listed.

Find Broken Links and Fix Them With Updated Content

Broken links are links pointing to expired, moved, or outdated pieces of content. Fixing these broken links is one of the most effective strategies in SEO for eCommerce. This gives you a chance to network and gain more traction for your online store, especially from potential customers that don’t know your brand exists.

You can start finding broken links from the websites that link to your competitors. Then, check niche-related resource pages for any broken links that you can replace with your more thorough and up-to-date content.

Once you have a list of these websites, you can use a tool like HREF Check My Links to run a test. This tool highlights broken links in red so you can spot them easily, like this:

a screenshot of a tool showing broken links of a website

After identifying the broken links that exist on their web page, reach out to them via email, and pitch your content that they can use as an even better replacement.

Create Social Media Pages For Your Business

Did you know that 54% of consumers use social media to research products?

Also, 71% of buyers who have a pleasant experience with a business on social media are more likely to recommend that business to their family members and friends.

And a huge chunk of your target market—90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Gen X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers—spend an average of 3 hours daily on social media sites.

Therefore, social media pages for your business are a must, especially if you want to reach more of your target market, engage with your potential customers, and gain more backlinks, clicks, and web traffic.

Here are the top social media platforms that you should consider:


Image Source: StatCounter

a graph showing social media platforms and their market share worldwide

Social media for businesses is a whole different beast to tame than SEO, however. To save time and energy, check with your eCommerce SEO company if they can also offer you a social media management service.

Consider Partnering With Influencers and Affiliates

Did you know that 49% of your potential customers depend on the recommendations of social media influencers when choosing products to buy?  This is why partnering with an influencer is one of the things that you should consider when building your network, raising your brand awareness, and gaining more backlinks from influencer blogs.

Reach out to influencers by offering a few of your products for free in exchange for a truthful review. Also, consider granting them an affiliate link from their website to your store.

You can then observe how much web traffic and conversions you get from an influencer, and seek a long-term business relationship with him or her.

7. Do Local SEO if You Have a Physical Store

This eCommerce SEO step is not applicable to every online business, but if you have a physical store, especially in several locations, local SEO can boost your visibility and rankings in the search results.

So, if you have an actual location that your customers can visit to buy from (or pick up products, in light of the pandemic restrictions), here’s how you do local SEO:

Optimize Your Google My Business Profile

This is a cool feature that allows you to place your business details in Google’s database, so your business will appear in local search.

Anyone Googling your business in your vicinity will see important details, such as your local address, your business operating hours, some images, customer reviews, and a lot more.

It looks like this:

a screenshot of a Google My Business listing of a pet food shop

If you are not so confident with optimizing your Google My Business profile, don’t hesitate to tap your eCommerce SEO expert team to help you out.

Submit Your NAP to Local Directories

NAP stands for your business Name, Address, and Phone number—essential information that your potential customers need when searching locally.

Now, to ensure that you get more visibility in local search, build your links with local citations. These are backlinks from local websites that feature your city, state, or country, especially the businesses under your niche.

Generally, links from local citations include claiming your free business listing from local directories such as Yellow Pages, but they can also come from local websites, such as media and news outlets, press releases, and online magazines.

8. Measure Your SEO Success

SEO for eCommerce requires tracking your efforts. Knowing your numbers allows you to identify and maintain your KPIs as well as work on things that need improvement.

Now, remember that unlike a paid advertisement, SEO aims for organic traffic and conversion, so the results take longer. You can’t expect to calculate the ROI after a day or two.

So, here’s how you measure the success of your eCommerce search engine optimization after some time:

Track Your Search Rankings

Use a search ranking tool like Ahrefs. You can choose to get notified when your rankings are decreasing or increasing.

Also, the tool lets you compare your SEO progress with your neck-to-neck competitor and it allows you to see your overall search visibility.

a screenshot of a search ranking tool for ecommerce SEO

Now, when tracking your rankings, look for a general increase for your main keywords over time. You can do these on a week to month basis.Now, when tracking your rankings, look for a general increase for your main keywords over time. You can do these on a week-to-month basis.Now, when tracking your rankings, look for a general increase for your main keywords over time. You can do these on a week to month basis.

Track Web Traffic and Site Engagement

You can use Google Analytics to measure your organic web traffic and site engagement metrics—to see if people are actually visiting your eCommerce website and consuming your content.
Also, if you find Ahrefs to be too costly, you can use this free SEO dashboard for your Google Analytics account.

a screenshot of a free SEO dashboard for Google Analytics to track SEO success

Together, these tools will let you see an increase in search traffic, and allow you to access the landing pages that your web traffic is reaching. Then, you can use the information to identify which search terms your eCommerce site is ranking well.

Now, to see where you are ranking in the search results, make a Google search using your target keywords. Use an incognito search so that Google will not refer to your personal search history and actually show you where your online shop is ranking in the search results.

a screenshot of an incognito search in Google

Once you find your rankings, take note of them so that you can track the positions of your web pages in the search results.

Remember that you are looking for slight increases over time (this is more realistic than jumping to #1 overnight!). So if you notice that after a few weeks, your ranking jumped from page 3 to page 1, that’s a huge sign that you are doing your SEO for eCommerce right!

Which eCommerce Platform is Best for SEO?

This comprehensive study on choosing the best eCommerce platform for SEO used 14 crucial factors that help eCommerce sites rank well in the search engine results pages. These are the following:

  • Independent navigation links
  • Independent page titles
  • Independent page URLs
  • Independent meta descriptions
  • Independent image alt tags
  • Independent H1 headings
  • Canonical URLs
  • Integrated blogging platform
  • Social sharing buttons
  • Auto XML sitemap
  • Use of own domain name
  • Your own IP address
  • 301 redirects
  • Robots noindex capabilities

The study found out that Shopify is the eCommerce platform that is best for SEO, garnering the highest SEO score of 98.

The Top 10 eCommerce Sites

This ranking is based on the in-depth analysis of eCommerce platforms against 14 crucial SEO factors mentioned above:

  3. 3DCART (SEO SCORE: 95)
  9. WIX (SEO SCORE: 75)

Maybe you have an in-house “SEO team” but you still see little to no progress at all. If you know that you are not at the top of your SEO game despite doing every nitty-gritty and time-consuming task, you’re still getting outranked by your competitors. You’ll see a constant decrease in CTR, web traffic, and conversion, which could hurt your business overall.

If that’s the case, it’s time to talk to the eCommerce SEO experts so that they can improve your website SEO while you save more time, energy, and money in the long run.

Key Takeaways

While this is a pretty dense read on SEO for eCommerce, the most important things to remember are listed below to help you succeed in your search engine optimization efforts and grow your online store!

Here are the most important things to keep in mind: 

eCommerce SEO is a multi-faceted method of boosting your online shop’s ranking, increasing its click-through rate, driving web traffic (and foot traffic if you have a physical store), and improving your store’s conversion.

Doing SEO for eCommerce includes strategic keyword research, planning your site architecture, performing on-page optimization on every web page, taking care of your site’s technical SEO, building your blog and marketing your content, link building, and measuring all optimization efforts with the right tools.

The best eCommerce platform for SEO is Shopify.

The top 10 leading eCommerce sites according to the in-depth eCommerce platform analysis are the following (in order): Shopify, WooCommerce, 3DCart, Magento, BigCommerce, Squarespace, Volusion, Weebly, Wix, and GoDaddy.

If you want to improve your SEO—whether it’s for a Shopify store or any other platform, get the best eCommerce SEO services from the experts whose main goal is not just to improve your site’s ranking but also to increase your store’s conversion.

HTTPS: What It Is and How It Impacts SEO

HTTPS and SEO How a Secure Connection Impacts SEO

Even if you aren’t familiar with it, you probably recognize HTTPS — It’s that little string of letters you see at the beginning of most URLs these days. If you’re using an Internet browser like Chrome or Firefox, it’s probably accompanied by a padlock symbol or something similar.

It should look like this:

HTTPS and SEO - How it affects your website's SEO

HTTPS stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure. It’s an extension of the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which is the foundation for all data communication on the Internet.

In this article, we’ll explore what HTTPS is, why it matters for SEO, and what you can do to enable it on your website.


Before we get into what HTTPS is and how you can enable it, let’s do a refresher on HTTP so you have some understanding of why it’s important.

Put simply, HTTP is a system for sending and receiving information (data) across the Internet. Communicating across the Internet is always an exchange of information between a web client, such as an Internet browser, and a web server.

A web server is a combination of software and hardware dedicated to serving client requests online — you can think of it as a big computer that has files and software stored on it for the purpose of serving up websites to users.

When you arrived at this website, your Internet browser requested the web server that hosts the website to send data, which was then sent and rendered to you through your browser. All this requesting and responding occurs via the protocol for Internet communications: HTTP.

MDN Web Docs (Mozilla) uses a simple diagram to explain how this works:

HTTPS Request

Today, when your browser connects to a website, it can do so using either HTTP or HTTPS depending on what’s enabled on the website’s server. But, if you connect via HTTP and not HTTPS, you’ll probably get a notification that says your connection is “not secure.”

That’s’ because HTTP isn’t an encrypted protocol. Anyone monitoring your session can read your requests to the web server and its responses. If you’re sending sensitive information like a password or social security number through that connection, a bad actor could potentially pick it up and use it for malicious purposes. 

This is why your browser might warn you when you’re using an insecure connection:

Insecure Connection

To make that connection secure, all data being sent to and from the web server needs to be encrypted. That’s where HTTPS comes in.


As we noted, the “S” in “HTTPS” stands for “secure” — it’s the secure version of HTTP. This protocol uses Transport Layer Security (TLS), a cryptographic protocol, to keep communications between your browser and a web client private. Most HTTPS protocols used to use the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) cryptographic protocol, which was the predecessor of TLS.

When your website is secured with HTTPS, if anyone is monitoring communications between the web server and client, they’ll only see useless encrypted data. This makes HTTPS a safe protocol to use when sending sensitive information over the Internet.

As you can imagine, most website owners want to have HTTPS enabled so that their users know they are safe in using their website. Allowing users to send data over an insecure connection could be catastrophic for some companies and their customers. Can you imagine what would happen if it turned out that a bank’s customers were doing all their online banking through an insecure website?

But HTTPS is also important for any other type of website. Even if you don’t accept login information or other sensitive data from your users, you should still enable HTTPS. It’s the right thing to do for your users, and there are SEO benefits as well. 


From a technical SEO perspective, we just need to turn to Google to understand the importance of HTTPS.

In 2014, Google announced that it would be giving a ranking boost to websites that use HTTPS. In their own words, this would be “a very lightweight signal” that would only give websites a relatively small benefit. They even said this signal carries “less weight than other signals such as high-quality content.”

But, more importantly, Google shortly thereafter proposed that web browsers mark websites that don’t use HTTPS as “not secure.” Since then, most browsers have taken up this proposal, which is why you get prompted when you enter a website that doesn’t use HTTPS.

This can have a devastating effect on your traffic and your click-through-rates. Nobody wants to use a website that has been marked “not secure,” regardless of whether they plan to transmit any sensitive data. Furthermore, some browsers will block users from entering an insecure website before they can even see the content, prompting them to hit the “back” button just to stay safe.

There are other SEO benefits to using HTTPS, too.

For one, you can get more data about where your traffic is coming from. Traffic sent from a secure HTTPS site to an insecure HTTP site has its referral data stripped away, according to Moz. That means all that traffic is listed as “direct” traffic, so you can’t tell where it was referred from.

HTTPS is also a huge trust factor for Internet users and other webmasters. People will be more likely to share and link to a secure website than an insecure one. 

How to Enable HTTPS

To enable HTTPS, you need a valid SSL certificate. This is a small data file that binds a cryptographic key to your website, or even a string of domains under your ownership. 

You used to have to purchase SSL certificates separately. But if you built your site using certain website building applications, such as Squarespace or Shopify, it probably generated an SSL certificate for you. You should already have HTTPS enabled.

Similarly, if your website hosting is managed remotely by a major hosting provider like Bluehost, GoDaddy, HostGator, DreamHost, etc. you may already have an SSL certificate as part of your hosting package. That means HTTPS should already be enabled. 

If it isn’t but should be, you should contact your hosting provider. If you still have HTTP and you don’t have an SSL certificate as part of your website package, you’ll have to buy one.

Get an SSL Certificate

Getting an SSL Certificate is relatively easy. You may be able to buy one directly from your hosting provider if they haven’t issued you one already. For example, GoDaddy has a purchasing page dedicated solely to selling SSL certificates.

But you don’t have to go straight to your hosting provider, as their prices might be high. You can also buy a certificate from third-party sources known as Certificate Authorities (CA). 

There are even some non-profit CAs that offer SSL certificates for free. Sites like Let’s Encrypt, SSL For Free, and Cloudflare all offer free SSL certificate options.

Configure Your SSL Certificate

Manually configuring an SSL certificate takes several steps, and it requires you to install the certificate on the origin server where your website “lives.” 

If you pay for managed hosting services, ask your hosting provider to configure your SSL certificate for you

This is usually the best route if you don’t have the technical know-how to do this yourself or if you only have limited access to your server. What’s more, if you configure your certificate incorrectly, it could prevent users from finding your website. 

If you decide to do this yourself, keep in mind that web hosting control panels and CA login dashboards vary. These are the basic steps you’ll need to follow:

  1. Activate your certificate. Go to the SSL/TLS section in your web hosting control panel and choose to generate an SSL certificate signing request (CSR). Fill out any required fields. 
  2. Copy your CSR. It should appear as a big block of text that looks something like this (the first block): 

    Signing Request and Certificate for HTTPS

  3. Submit your CSR to your Certificate Authority. Log into your CA account and paste your CSR text to submit it. This option will likely be under an option entitled “Create a New Certificate,” “Submit CSR,” or a similar name. 
  4. Install your certificate. If your website hosting provider isn’t doing this for you, just paste your certificate (the second big block of text) into your web host’s control panel. Depending on what host you’re using, you should see an option to “Install an SSL Certificate” or something similar. 
  5. Check that your site is secure. At this point, your certificate is installed. It might take some time for it to be verified by your CA, however. If you visit your site later, you should see “https://” before your domain name.

If you’d like to verify your certificate, just click on the security icon in your browser (the padlock):

CloudFlare Connection Secure

Then, click on “Certificate,” and you should see details about your SSL certificate, such as which CA it was issued by, who it was issued to, and for how long the certificate is valid.

That’s it. You’re secure!

Rely on the Experts

Remember, configuring a certificate incorrectly could make your website insecure, which defeats the purpose of enabling HTTPS in the first place. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, rely on a developer or your hosting provider to do it for you.

Bliss Drive can help, too. Contact us now to talk about how you can keep your website secure and improve your search rankings at the same time!

Enjoyed this article? Read next: Mobile SEO: A DIY Guide to Optimize for Smartphones in 2020

eCommerce SEO Strategies to Beat Amazon & Walmart

Bliss Drive President Richard Fong recently appeared on Bright Ideas Podcast to discuss his success as a digital marketer. Sharing his methods and ideas with host Trent Dyrsmid, he shined a light on the tools, tactics, and strategies used by today’s leading entrepreneurs.

Bliss Drive President Appears On Bright Ideas Podcast

Key Takeaways:

Ranking at the top in search engines doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re starting at the beginning of your SEO journey, it can take up to two years or more to start ranking at the top of search engines. If done correctly, you can outrank big names like Amazon and Wal-Mart

Once you’re ranked highest, you don’t have to put as much money into your SEO strategy.

When you rank at the top, you’re getting much more organic conversions that your competitors are since people tend to buy based on organic searches because they trust Google.

Always do your keyword research. Take a look at all of the products you offer and narrow down a couple of categories that have good margins. Using tools like A-HREFS will show you a good range of keyword volume and difficulty and let you know what your competition is ranking for so that you can compare.

Make sure your keyword appears in these 5 things:

  1. Title, or title tag
  2. Meta descriptions
  3. H1 tag
  4. H2 tags
  5. Body copy: Use 1%-2% of the keyword density for the focused keyword in your content.

Off-Page SEO Is Just As Important As On-Page.

Off-page SEO helps build your reputation and authority in your industry, which will help boost your website’s overall ranking. The more backlinking you do, the better your chances of Google believing that you are an authoritative source who should rank higher.

Stay Active On Social

Active social media pages allow you to link back to your site for more traffic while allowing you to easily and personally engage your customers.

Read the full transcript:

Trent: Hey, what’s up everybody? Trent Dyrsmid here; welcome back to another episode of the Bright Ideas Podcast, thank you so much for joining me today. We’re here to help you discover what works in e-Commerce by shining a light on the tools, the tactics and the strategies that are in use by today’s leading entrepreneurs. Speaking of joining me on the show today is a fellow by the name of Richard Fong. Richard. You can see him on the screen to my left or right, one of the two.

He runs an SEO agency in Orange County California and he helps e-Commerce business owners beat out the big companies like Amazon, Wal-Mart and multi-billion dollar brands in the organic search rank. And he’s been featured on Forbes and entrepreneurs magazines Websites.

He’s married with a one year old son so we know that’s a full time job because I used to have one of those. She’s a little older now and he is an avid salsa dancer. So Richard, thank you so much for making some time to come and share your wisdom with my audience, it’s a pleasure to have you on the show.

Rich: Hey, thank you for having me; it’s great to be here.

Trent: So in reading your bio, did we miss anything? Is there any other important details you think the audience should know about you before we jump into talking about SEO and how e-Commerce business owners can use it to increase revenue?

Rich: I think the only thing people may not know is that I was actually born in China, Shanghai and then I came over to the United States. I was actually in Kansas; I grew up there you know since eight to college and then went to UCI University of California Irvine up from there. Yeah. So you know I’m I speak some Mandarin not fluent but you know and then I’ve lived in the Midwest.

Trent: All right well, let’s dive into it. So, let’s start off with because we’re going to talk extensively about your expertise in SEO particularly how it pertains to running an e-Commerce store. So hopefully you have some kind of incredible results, a story for a client perhaps that you did that we can talk about and how your expertise played a role in achieving that result, so what comes to mind for that?

Rich: Yeah I do. So couple years back and we’re still working with this client. We helped them— There were a whole seller, they wholesale to distributors mainly and they knew that consumers were buying this stuff directly right. So they wanted to develop a website where they could sell to consumers directly and kind of circumvent the distributors.

So what they did was they built out a website and then once they had the website, they had no SEO, no ranking, no one could find them. Now if we go and look for them, if we look for it like say Bill shareholders or sign holders, they’re ranking number one the company name is displays and holders and we’re out ranking Amazon, Staples, Office Depot, Wal-Mart all those brands for very big keywords that are getting thousands and thousands of search forums every month.

And so right now, when they first hired us they were getting about three sales a day, right now they’re getting if you go check on a website. He made a testimonial video too, they’re doing about 20-30 orders every day. So we essentially grew a profit center for them out of nothing and that’s all based on e-Commerce sales direct to consumer.

Trent: So what’s the average order value for them?

Rich: A couple hundred dollars, it’s small, it’s like a brochure holder or sign holds about a couple dollars a piece. So sometimes they order you know several and sometimes they have bigger volumes.

Trent: Okay, so this is a meaningful amount of revenue if you’re getting 20-30 of those orders a day. [Oh yeah] How long did it take you to get them from essentially nowhere to where they are now? Was that a year exercise or a couple of months ago?

Rich: To gain number one ranking, it didn’t happen overnight for sure right, essentially we got them on the first page within the first— It’s been a couple of years now but within the first 6-12 months around that time range certain keywords were popping up on the first page but from the first page, you could be on the middle of the first page where the bottom the first page going up to the top three of the pages is kind of– it’s like a Richter scale.

It’s exponential in terms of difficulty because everybody wants to be on the top and then they’ve been building a lot of authority for the guys on the top three. So you have to do extra amount of— it’s much harder from like from page 10 to first page, than from 10th position to the first position, it’s ten times harder actually.

So from there, it took another— I would say another year before they actually got to the top three. So all in all it took about 2 years. And then in between that time there were times where the algorithm updates where we fall off back to the middle of the page and then right now they’re back on just because we figured out what the algorithm does and you know it’s constant off and on but consistently they’ve been on the top three for a lot. And if you look there actually they have two positions on the top three, number one and number two.

Trent: Ballpark, how much money have they had to spend with you to build to accomplish this particular result?

Rich: Tens of thousands, I wish they were spending millions but they’re not you know.

Trent: But even if it was 30 grand, given the volume of orders that they’re receiving now they are away…

Rich: Oh yeah, the authorized definitely estimate. Yeah. After email, SEO is one highest are why there right. Because once you’re there, you don’t have to keep really paying and then you don’t have to keep competing with your competitors on cost per click, you’re just there and a conversion on organic is much higher because people trust it. If you if you’re doing pay per clip right, the best click the rate you get is about 2%-5%. If it’s on each play maybe 10%. That means what 90% are not even going on an ad; they’re going straight to the organic where they’re preferring what Google has to offer.

So if you’re on the top three that gets about 50%-80% click through rates; so you’re getting majority the traffic and then the conversion is higher because they trust that what Google is serving up for them. So people tend to buy more based on organic.

Trent: Yeah, makes perfect sense; okay so now that we’ve established a result let’s unpack it and let’s walk through the process that you use just and obviously in the time that we have, we can we’re going to go in as much detail as we can but we’re not going to be able to explain absolutely every last little thing. So let’s— at the beginning where did you start? You met with the client, they said, “Hey, these are the keywords we want to rank for” and you started to do some research?

Rich: Yeah, in the beginning they just knew that they wanted more sales online data and we really know you know what keywords were or anything. They were very SEO novices if you will; they’d never work with SEO company before.

So, what we did was we went ahead and took a look at all their products all their offerings did keyword research to see what volume there are fake products just so you know we’re not tackling something that’s not going to drive a lot of volume for them. And then from there we kind of narrowed down to a couple of categories that we knew had good margins for them and had good volumes for them.

And we knew that we could get some traction and from there we went ahead. So let me backtrack, that’s the research phase right. Essentially with SEO you want to determine two things you wanted to determine that on page and you wanted to determine the off page. Okay, so once we figured out what keywords were what categories they wanted to go to.

We then focus on the page itself to make sure (a) is categorized correctly, the URLs are you know you has the keywords in the URLs they have products, most e-Commerce stages have product listing with pictures, very light descriptions. So we added a thousand words to the product category that’s very important, a lot of e-Commerce miss that.

Trent: Let me interrupt you there because we’ll get there to —- and I want to back up to the keyword research, what tools what tool or tools did you guys to help you figure out which keywords you should even be going after?

Rich: Yeah, so we use a couple of tools at the time and this was a couple years ago, Google keyword tool, what it’s actually good.  They actually gave you days that’s not the case right. They give you a big range. So if I had do it right now, we would use ‘A-HREFS’. A-HREFS shows you not only what you’re doing but also what your competitors are doing.

So it’s a really good aggregator of your competition and it shows you a good range of keyword volume and the keyword difficulty of how difficult is it to actually rank for that keyword.

Trent: I actually love that tool, I had the CMO on the show I’m just looking out for the episode number and I’ve been using the tool since it is absolutely. So, I had him on, in case people want to listen, it’s episode number 264 on

Okay, so you used A-HREFS and I’ll put a link to that in the show notes; so you used it to identify of all the keywords in the universe we should really be focused on. How many did you pick by the way to begin with?

Rich: We actually— so when we pick keywords, we don’t just pick like a couple of keywords, we pick categories or topics if you will. So for example, they’re ranked for brochure holders but they’re also ranked for like acrylic holders, all variations of brochure holders. That makes sense? So, we’re not trying to just go in and just rank for one key word because you will over optimize it, you wouldn’t make a lot sense. You want to allow the LSI semantic indexing. So you want to have a lot of variations that those keywords in that same topic category within that page, that’s what we did.

Trent: And in the show notes as well they have some really great videos that explain how to use their tool. I’ll make sure that I am. So for the audience I’ll embed some of those videos.

So now, you’ve you figured out these are the key words that we want to rank for, so the next step in your SEO process you’d mentioned earlier that there is on-page elements, there off-page elements, I’m guessing then you went and dealt with on page elements because that’s a relatively short amount of time to kind of get that right and then off-page takes a whole lot longer.

Rich: So once we figure out what the focus is, what the focus your URL is then we really evaluate the on-page yourself. So, on-page we actually have a 80 point checklist. There’s a lot of things we go through but I’m just going to give you the top maybe five things that we should let you know anyone should really look at to make sure they’re doing the right thing what they’re on-page.

Number one is the ‘Title’, so title is the title tag or whatever it’s showing up on your browser; if you don’t have the keywords in the title at least, you’re not going to rank Google doesn’t understand you if you don’t have that into it. And then but you don’t want to over stuff it, you don’t want to like over optimize it where you we in the same word but you at least want to have it one time into the title itself.

Number two as a ‘matter description and matter descriptions also very important because that’s what you see after the title, that’s the actual two sentence blurb that you would see. So you will want to have a variation or that keyword is actually for what you’re trying to rank as well and you want to write it in a way where it’s compelling for the user. Essentially a part of your ranking factor is the click the rate of that listing when they list you. If you write a very like robotic type of stuffing keyword, users may not click on it, Robots might read it but if they’re not clicking on it, the users you’re still not going to rank very high because Google will want to serve up what’s best for users. So title, matter description.

Number three is your H1 tag. So H1 tag is essentially your kind of your title when they visually see it. So the title and the map description the visitors don’t really see it, they just see the listing that’s for the Google search engine results. And then so the H1 is actually where you show the actual title itself. It doesn’t have to be huge it’s just a tag. So, when you are on the pages notice what that is. If you don’t have the keyword where variations of those keywords in there, you’re going to have a trouble, you’re going to have some problems listing it.

And I would go as far as H2 tags, I don’t stop there I go as far as H2, so those are kind of your subtitles and go ahead and get those within some key words of what you want. And then I would inject about a list a thousand fifteen hundred word of content. So, most e-Commerce, that’s where they like say oh wait wait, No I’m you know my store is all product based, I wanted to look simple and beautiful I can’t put a thousand words in my category, in my page.

So, what I recommend is typically visually have your product laid out the same way just put the content at the bottom. Okay, so if you don’t want a long piece of content, what you can do is you can use accordion style content. So you’ve seen those where you click the button and then the content adds up. So you could do like frequently asked questions, just have the subtitle and then as users are you know if they’re interested in the topic, they’ll click on it and then the content would open up. But for the search engine part, they read everything. So to them it’s their food to understand what your website’s about and then you have to have like if you don’t have it– most e-Commerce sites don’t have a lot of descriptions especially on their category pages. That’s why Google bots don’t understand what the contents about because it’s all scattered with different products et cetera.

Trent: But if you had like that to be clear you’re right you’re attempting to rank the category page on which there are multiple products you’re not doing right for every single product page.

Rich: So, let me back up for e-Commerce, you typically want to do it for a category page and here’s why. A visitor comes in, guess what’s going to happen, visitors is going to go and click through to the product and see what the product is about they have a lot of options they can go ahead and click through the products. What Google registered is, “Oh, they’ve found what they’re looking for”

They went ahead start engaging, if you start ranking for a product, user come, they see the product they see the players they don’t like it they’re back out.  Guess what Google wasn’t. They didn’t find what they like, so we’re not going to serve this very high, does that make sense?

So what you want to do is you want to serve up a kind of a category page where you can funnel them through to your channel, to your products or to other categories. So that to Google it’s highly engaging, you got like 5-10 clicks on the website so that oh at least we’re serving up something that people want and you’re engaging your users are creating a long time on your Website because you’re showing them something that they want. So that’s why you want to use category of pages.

But back to the content, you definitely want to have the keywords in the content. But a lot of times, amateurs or novices who would try to do SEO on their website, they think of the keyword they want and then they overstuffed it. That’s a newbie mistake because Google’s algorithm they’re onto that back in the 90s, you could do that, you know people just write the same thing over and over and then they get on the first page, you can’t do that anymore.

So then once there’s 1%-2% of the keyword density for the focused keyword that you’re going after. So say for a thousand words article, you only want about you know 10-20 of that keyword within the article. I wouldn’t have it the same exact verbatim phrase; I would mix it up right. It just mixed up the keyword as much as you can have a couple maybe five, that’s exactly the same what you want and that way it’s natural and organic for Google to see.

Trent: Does A-HREFS, once you’ve done your on-page SEO, do they score it at all? Does the tool give you feedback?

Rich: We don’t use H-REFS to score the on-page, I’m not sure if they do or not, I’ve never used it, if they do.

Trent: How did you come up–  You’ve got your 80 point checklist that you’re using for on-page, how did you come up with what is on that checklist?

Rich: So there’s a lot of– I mean there’s checklists out there that you can kind of look at. So, these are just very simple things for someone who hasn’t done any SEO to kind of get a handle on. There is also data structures, there’s schemas, there’s site maps, there’s internal links which are gets a little bit more advanced and complicated.

You can do schemas where you can essentially give your self-reviews, a risk snippet schemas of your products based on other people’s feedback and then Google will actually read it and give you the five stars using those and in product sometimes in Google rankings where you see five stars on listing. So that’s something you can totally control on-page wise as well.

So those are some of the things that we can add into the page itself on-page wise to make that appear. So it gets more technical and more complicated. But I just want to go over something that’s very simple for someone who has really looked into so much but that’s something that they could look into it once they figure out how much volume is in that key word they say, “Okay, let me go into my page and kind of just tweak these things after you tweet these things” you’re going to get results within like a week or two very quickly.

Trent: So when now that you’ve gone on-page complete now, the bigger and the more laborious and the more long task is the off page SEO link building.

Rich: That’s essentially yeah. That’s where SEO is at the end of the day right. So I tell my clients like you know on-pages, it may sound complicated but actually everything is very duplicate able.

So meaning that you can look at your competitors and see exactly what you’re doing on-page because Google is bots have to read it. So it’s actually visible to us as well. We can just do, “Oh do you see what is up?” so you can copy each out there, you can copy your competitor, your competitors can copy you at the end of the day, if everybody is copying each other, how is Google going to know how to rank one about the other?

The way they determine that is through the authority of the website, the domain itself and authority is established from back links other websites linking back to your website. This is how Google’s algorithm like start beating out all the other search engines because of this algorithm calculation, other links linking back to your website as a calculation for votes.

So with that, there’s a lot of strategies out there, there is a lot of ways to do back link building; the way we approach it, we approach it with the philosophy of how do we make our website look like a big brand? Because that’s what Google ultimately wants to rank high is they want a brand– you know even if you’re not Coca-Cola, there’s a lot of niches out there; they want to brand within that niche.

So, you have to think in terms of, “How do I look like a brand and not like a scummy affiliate type of deal?” So the difference between a big brand and affiliate was say okay, number one a brand a real business will probably have an address. If you don’t have an address you’re not verified on Google, Apple or bing, you’re probably not a real business in Google’s eyes. So the first thing we want to do is verify yourself on those three assets and then build the citations to those local addresses your name address and phone number even though if you’re not a local business, “Hey, I’m not a local business, I’m not trying to go for why I don’t need citations” but it does help because it allows Google to understand that you’re a business at a physical location. Okay, so that’s number one.

Second layer are social signals were media signals, so any brand would promote themselves. If you’re not promoting yourself it’s kind of like you’re not really active as a business. So that’s just a signal that what they looking at. So you want to have an active Facebook, Twitter, social media accounts, YouTube account. What we typically do is we have a blog and then we build RSS feed to the social media sites and then so whenever we post something on the blog, you actually post out to the social media sites itself and feeds back because it has a link to our specific focus pages.

Trent: You could do that but just by using buffer as well; someone’s got to do the RSS feed, you could just be the buffer zone or you’re just like Yeah

Rich: So you could do something like that and then what we also do is we do press releases but we also built other Web 2.0 assets that did you know that…. so, it’s Google’s platform that allows you to kind of it’s there form a weekly where you know it’s something that they allow webmaster to kind of build a page, a site on their own site and you could do that with your own pages and add some content and link it back to your Website. So there’s a lot of these Web 2.0 assets that you can actually create content on, have a link to them back to your website, does that make sense?

Trent: It does.

Rich: Yeah, so there’s an over there, there’s literally hundreds of these assets you just got to evaluate how much domain authority each one has, if it’s worth it for us to build. But we definitely have our list of priorities of which type of assets to go after and build links in the…

Trent: How does A-HREFS come into play

Trent: So let’s get you to repeat what you said in the last one minute.

Rich: So the second layer of what we do is Web 2.0. So we have Web 2.0 sites that we can essentially go out and create an account and put some content in have a link back to our website.

Okay, so the first two layers that I take then along with the Web 2.0 press releases all these things they’re very controllable by us, we can go out and kind of get these links and build up our authority that way. You can’t control some of your anger texts on some of the Web 2.0s like press releases and social media. You’re not going to control too much of those anchor text coming back into text are essentially the word blue, you know underlined word, you can say … linking back to your website. Obviously you want to do a correct proportion. You don’t want overall optimize that either but that’s something that you want to kind of do it naturally, make it look natural.

Trent: So when you’re looking for places to get back links, does the A-HREFS tool help you to figure out where you should go?

Rich:   A-HREFS have a specific section that just says referring domains that you can click on and it shows all your competitors, all the links that they’ve gotten, how they’ve gotten it where it is, so a lot.  Oh we could go this link, I know they made a— they got the link back, it has this much value, let’s go do the same thing.

So you kind of build up a list of network that you can go back right away and get those links. So that’s one way and then the last tier, the third tier is actually the outreach where we actually go out to bloggers and webmasters and ask them to sponsor for a link. So essentially, we could write them an article that says, “Hey, can we have an article on your website and or sponsor it?”  Give us some money to have a link back to us. And that’s a very solid way of doing that as well back until you find that when you’re reaching out to buy links like that the acceptance rate is at high or is it low?

Rich: It’s not so high but you know we played the volume game on that; that way we can still get enough links.

Trent: Okay, so you’re using A-HREFS to figure out, “Hey, these are all the sites that we might like to have a link on” And then you probably have a process that a virtual assistant uses to do that outreach to each of the site owners with your proposal, was it more or less correct?

Rich: Yeah we have an in-house team that just does nothing but link building and you know we do submissions and outreach so to kind of put these back links.

Trent: So, I would imagine and obviously there’s a lot of details in the outreach in the off-page SEO but in a nutshell, it’s covering off your bases with your social presence your Web 2.0 properties and is best you can and then going out and looking for sponsored links kind of like an ongoing forever, forever basis, would that be a fair assessment?

Trent: Yeah, obviously we want to assess how far we are along with the campaign; sometimes what happens is we get him on the first page like that where on the top and we’ll just stop pressure on the sources on that link, on that focused URL and then move on to the next one and brought it up.

Trent: So being as we’re having such horrible connectivity today I think we’ll go a little shorter on the interview than longer let me sum up with this last question. In your role as an SEO professional, has there and you don’t have to name any companies or anything like that but have you ever made any really big mistakes that you ended up you or your client paying a penalty for and what kind of lessons did you learn from that?

Rich: Yeah, you know in my early days when I was doing SEO, I was just trying it doing whatever you can to kind of get Google traffic; so in my early days, I remember I used to bill like we used to be an ass sense. I used to be an ass sense, I don’t know if you remember that affiliate. So we used to build out like 100 pages, 100 websites every month based on niches and we just produce whatever content out there that’s available kind of rehash it and just posted out there and try to get traffic and then do kind of advertising as an arbitrage.

Obviously, it’s very short term and you know you made money at the time but then make money in a long term. So the way I look at it now it is that. That was very short term thinking in terms of how we do it and that’s not something I would do today. But that was definitely an interesting beginning for me to kind of see how that works. You know if I were to do it now, I would probably make it more into a platform, a publication, focused rather than a hundred sites just focus on one site or two sites and then build it out.

Trent: Yeah, I actually got my start almost 10 years ago in exactly the same way I was building little micro sites.  I was using the best spinner; it was hot and I was driving getting used to rank and I was sending the traffic to Amazon and getting affiliate commissions and it worked really well until Penguin and Panda came down and then it was over.

Rich: That’s right, that’s right. So we had the same beginning on we did. Yes. That’s awesome. Those are the days right. Like, “Wow! This actually works” Let me tell you if I can make $10 a site, let me make one hundred of those, right?

Trent: All right well thank you so much for coming on, if anyone has any questions or maybe they’re interested in working with you what is the single best way to get in touch?

Rich: Visit my website, that’s  So my email is [email protected]

Trent: All right wonderful, Rich thank you so much for making some time and again apologies to the audience, we don’t control bandwidth and the Internet and today did not cooperate very much.

Breadcrumbs & SEO: What They Are & Why They Matter

Guide: Breadcrumbs and SEO - What they are and why do they matter

Hansel had the right idea when he dropped breadcrumbs through the forest to find his way home. Though his trail of breadcrumbs didn’t help him much (alas, birds ate them), the story inspired the name of a website navigation element. If you’re serious about search engine optimization (SEO) and user experience, you need to know about what breadcrumbs mean for your website.

Breadcrumbs are an especially important component for larger websites that have a lot of low-level pages. Search engines use them to get a better understanding of how your website is structured; and your users rely on them to keep tabs on where they are in the hierarchy of your website, so they don’t get lost.

When you consider that 75% of website users rank “ease of use” as the most important characteristic of a website, this is something to pay attention to. In this guide and tutorial, you’ll learn how to use breadcrumbs to enhance your SEO and help your users navigate.

What are Breadcrumbs on a Website?

You may already be familiar with website breadcrumbs, even if you don’t realize it. In the most common cases, breadcrumbs are a sequence of small, named links that represent each page in a page hierarchy on your site. They expand as a user goes deeper and deeper into your page hierarchy. 

They usually present at the top of the page under the main navigation menu. This provides a reference for where the user is and an easy way for them to jump back to previous pages. 

The user doesn’t have to visit each page in the hierarchy for the breadcrumbs to present themselves. These types of breadcrumbs don’t show the user’s path through the site. Instead, they show the user where they are on the site in relation to other pages in a page hierarchy.

Here’s an example of how breadcrumbs look on eBay:

What are Breadcrumbs on a Website Example - Ebay

You can reach this page by going to the eBay home page, clicking on “Clothing, Shoes & Accessories,” “Men,” and then on “Men’s Clothing” But, most likely, you’ll arrive on this page by Googling “Men’s T-Shirts on eBay” and clicking on the page in the results.

The breadcrumbs still appear when you enter through search, providing a reference for where you are on the website.

Most computers (both Macs and PCs) use a similar breadcrumb system to help users navigate through their files. Here’s what it looks like on a Mac:

Breadcrumbs on Mac

And here’s what it looks like on a PC:

Breadcrumbs on Windows - SEO Guide on Breadcrumb trail

Website breadcrumbs apply the same concept to the pages on your site. These are what are known as hierarchy-based breadcrumbs because they show the hierarchy of a sequence of file folders or pages.

They are also sometimes referred to as location-based breadcrumbs because they show the user where they are in reference to other files or pages.

There are other types of breadcrumbs, too. These are known as attribute-based breadcrumbs and path-based breadcrumbs.

Attribute-Based Breadcrumbs

Attribute-based breadcrumbs are the second most common type. They are a popular tool on eCommerce websites because they indicate what categories or tags are associated with the page that is currently being viewed. This allows the user to more easily shop by category or tag. 

For example, let’s say you’re looking at a Bohemian-style rug shaped like a rectangle that’s 9 feet by 12 feet and between $300 and $600 (very specific!). You decide to shop on to get a great deal:

Types of Breadcrumbs - Good Web Design Impact

Here’s a great example of hierarchy-based breadcrumbs and attribute-based breadcrumbs in action at the same time. 

Not only can you navigate the website based on the page hierarchy, but you can also navigate your shopping results by specific categories, like price and style. This makes it easier for you to find the rug you want, then further explore the Home Décor section so you can find drapes to match! 

Path-Based Breadcrumbs

Path-based breadcrumbs are perhaps the least common. They present as the exact path the user follows as they navigate from page to page on the website. 

Essentially, they look like this: 

First Page > Second Page > Third Page > Current Page

While there are some benefits to this method, it can also be confusing for the user because it doesn’t show them the actual structure of your website. Path-based breadcrumbs also act as a stand-in for the forward and back buttons on a user’s browser, which makes them more-or-less obsolete. 

How Breadcrumbs Help with Navigation

You can probably already tell how breadcrumbs can help with navigation. Consider the eBay  website.

eBay needs to contain a great deal of information, all of which must be categorized and easy to find. It must also be accessible to shoppers who may not be tech-savvy, as well as those with disabilities who rely on assistive technologies like screen-readers.

Without the breadcrumbs as a reference, it would be easy for users to get lost on the website as they search for the information they’re looking for. There are thousands of pages on the website. 

Using breadcrumbs also makes eBay easy for search engines to crawl and reference, which makes It easy for users to find specific pages using a search engine. If we do a Google search for “eBay Men’s Clothing,” the first result is the eBay Men’s Clothing page:

Sample of Breadcrumbs Navigation on Google Search Results

You can also see the “Men’s Clothing” page in the hierarchy of the search results. Similarly, breadcrumbs help Google display a page hierarchy for the page it’s showing in search results.

Here’s the second result for a search of “What are breadcrumbs in WordPress”:

What are breadcrumbs in WordPress - Yoast Breadcrumb Navigation on Google

Breadcrumbs only get used as a navigation tool about 6% of the time, while 40% of users click on embedded links, 31% use the browser back button, and 22% click on the navigation bar. 

According to user experience expert Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group, “Breadcrumbs never cause problems in user testing: People might overlook this small design element, but they never misinterpret breadcrumb trails or have trouble operating them.” 

Incidentally, breadcrumbs also “take up very little space on the page,” so they won’t use up too much of your page’s real estate.

How Breadcrumbs Help with SEO

As we referenced above, breadcrumbs help Google determine how your website is structured. The search engine can even use your breadcrumbs as search results, which can help users find specific pages on your site.

From an SEO and a business perspective, this gives your site a better chance of taking up more space on a search engine results page (SERP). As you can see in the eBay example, eBay not only occupies the first Google search result, but it’s subpages occupy the next three rows as well.

Naturally, doing a search that includes “eBay” is likely to bring up the eBay website, but you get the idea.

According to Yoast, breadcrumbs can also lower bounce rates. Because it’s more likely that someone will enter your website through organic search, breadcrumbs can help guide them to your higher-level pages if they can’t find what they’re looking for on the first one.

How Do You Enable Breadcrumbs?

If you want to enable breadcrumbs in WordPress, you can find multiple plugins that will do the task for you. All you have to do is install and configure them. 

Enabling Breadcrumbs with Yoast

If you already use the SEO tool Yoast, you can enable Yoast breadcrumbs as well. One way is to add the following code to your WordPress theme in the location you want your breadcrumbs to appear (usually underneath the main navigation)

How To Enable Breadcrumbs on Yoast Plugin

Yoast also notes that “depending on your theme, you may or may not need to add in the beginning <php and ending ?> php tags. If you are not sure, your theme developer can help.”

Once you embed the code, Yoast allows you to enable breadcrumbs directly in the tool. Here’s how to do it, step-by-step:

Step 1: Log in to your WordPress site and go to your dashboard.

Your dashboard should immediately appear when you log in.

Step 2: Go to the SEO tab

The ‘SEO’ tab is in the menu on the left-hand side.

Step 3: Click on ‘Search Appearance’

‘Search Appearance’ will appear in the list of SEO options.

Enable Breadcrumbs on Yoast - Search Appearance

Step 4: Click on the ‘Breadcrumbs’ tab.

You’ll find the ‘Breadcrumbs’ tab on the right.

Enable Breadcrumbs on Yoast - Breadcrumbs tab

Step 5: Toggle the ‘Breadcrumbs’ switch to ‘Enabled.’

You can remove Yoast’s breadcrumbs later if you like. All you have to do is toggle this option to ‘Disabled.’

Step 6: Set your breadcrumb settings to your preferences.

Yoast provides a few options for managing your breadcrumbs. For example, you can customize the separator that appears between them, add a prefix, or bold the last page listed in the breadcrumbs.

Switch Enable Breadcrumbs on Yoast

Step 7: Save your changes.

Once you’re finished, just save your changes.

Other Platforms

On some platforms, you may need to add breadcrumbs manually, or you may need to reach out to the provider or the community for help. There doesn’t appear to be an easy way to enable breadcrumbs on platforms like Squarespace, Weebly, and Wix.

For example, Squarespace is a closed website building system, so it doesn’t allow for much customization. You’ll need to use the JSON-LD method instead of microdata if you want to add your own code.

You can inject your own code using “Code Injection” in the “Advanced” section under “Page Settings,” but only if you have a Premium account. Of course, you’ll need to compile your own code to do this, so it takes a little bit of coding skill.

Still, even if you have a website that isn’t on WordPress, you should still consider enabling breadcrumbs. They’re immensely important for SEO, and they could just improve your bounce rate and keep visitors on your site.

If you need help adding breadcrumbs to your website, don’t hesitate to reach out to use. We can provide a custom solution so you can take advantage of this benefit.

That’s it! 

Remember, hierarchy-based breadcrumbs are usually your best option. They’ll help your users navigate your site and they’ll make it easier for Google to analyze and index your pages. If you have an eCommerce website, consider enabling both hierarchy-based breadcrumbs and attribute-based breadcrumbs so your customers can shop more easily.

To learn more about how you can improve your website and your business, contact us at Bliss Drive for a free consultation!

Mobile SEO: A DIY Guide to Optimize for Smartphones in 2020

Mobile SEO Guide - Optimize Websites for Smartphones in 2020
Mobile SEO Guide - Optimize Websites for Smartphones in 2020

There’s a reason everyone has a smartphone. Not only are smartphones the go-to tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, but they are quickly replacing the device that was once dominant in Internet browsing: the desktop computer — and by extension, the laptop computer.

According to Statista, mobile browsing now accounts for approximately half of all website traffic worldwide. This statistic has stayed at about 50% since 2017.

Mobile SEO A DIY Guide to Optimize for Smartphones in 2020

In the United States, that percentage is even higher. ZDNet reported in February 2020 that 3 out of 5 Americans use a mobile device first when surfing the web. They also revealed that 52% of online shoppers purchased through a mobile device.

This shouldn’t be that surprising. It’s much easier to sit back in your armchair and browse the web on your phone than it is to boot up your computer or laptop. Who wants to click with a mouse when you can just tap with your finger?

But this trend also has huge implications for your business, especially if you rely on your website to attract customers, generate leads, or make sales. If you haven’t done so already, it’s past time for you to adapt your website for Mobile SEO.

If you don’t know what mobile SEO is or if you’re unsure if your website is optimized, don’t sweat it. This guide will walk you through the basics of how to optimize website for mobile devices.

What is Mobile SEO and Why is It Important for Mobile Phone Users?

Mobile SEO is two things in one. It’s search engine optimization (SEO) combined with a form of website development that generates a flawless viewing experience on mobile devices. In other words, it applies the best practices of SEO concerning your website, but specifically to how people can find and view it on their smartphone.

Most other Internet companies have already adapted to the mobile trend. Google (which is basically synonymous with the Internet these days) is one company that pushed hard for mobile-first optimization. 

Google now uses what it calls “mobile-first indexing,” which means the search engine “predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking,” rather than the desktop version of the content of your website – this is mobile SEO.

That means that if your website doesn’t load properly or contains missing content when it’s viewed on mobile, Google won’t index it properly — it doesn’t matter how well it’s been structured for desktop.

Naturally, this can have huge implications for your site’s Google ranking. You’ve put a lot of time and money into your website. It would be a shame for all of that to go to waste just because it isn’t mobile optimized.

As a first step, just see how your website looks and feels on your mobile device. You can also use the following tools to test your webpage’s load speed and see how it looks on different types of mobile devices:

If content is missing, if images aren’t loading, if the text is so small it’s unreadable, and if it’s taking too long for content to load, your website will need some attention. 

Mobile SEO Services - Optimizing your mobile configuration for Mobile Phone Users

You can also check to see if specific webpages are generally mobile-friendly by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test for Mobile SEO tool on Google Search Console. Just plug in the URL, and after a brief analysis period, you’ll get your results. 

Hopefully, they should look something like this:

Google Mobile Friendliness Test - Ensure your site is mobile friendly using Google's Tool for Mobile Optimization

If not, your first objective should be to adapt your site so that it works on mobile devices. There are a few ways to do this, but one method is now preferred over the others: using mobile-responsive design.

Implementing Mobile SEO – Responsive Web Design for a Mobile Phone

Most website building platforms and WordPress themes are now designed to be mobile-responsive. In fact, it’s rare to find one that isn’t. When your website is mobile-responsive, no matter what content you put on your site, it should rearrange itself to fit neatly and logically when being viewed from a smaller screen, such as that of a smartphone or tablet.

In the past, developers would build a “mobile version” of their website to be served dynamically to mobile users, or they would create a separate URL that their site would redirect to when being accessed by a mobile phone. While these two routes technically work, they aren’t good for your mobile SEO. 

According to the Search Engine Journal, there is no separate Google Index for mobile, so only the “desktop version” of your website would be indexed, and it wouldn’t be mobile-optimized. Furthermore, Google wouldn’t register that your website is mobile-friendly, which could hurt you in search rankings.

If you’ve created or updated your website recently, you may already be covered. But if you’re using an older website builder or if you hard-coded your website from scratch, you may not have a mobile-responsive design.

Mobile SEO: Making Your Website Mobile-Responsive

Altogether, there are three ways to make your website mobile responsive.

1 – Use a mobile-responsive WordPress theme. 

Again, very few WordPress themes aren’t mobile-responsive these days. But if you’ve got one of them, it’s probably time to move on.

This may require you to do some redesign work, but it’s the easiest way to avoid any hiccups when making the switch. The alternatives are to transfer your website to a new platform, or start a new website from scratch.

2 – Add code to make your website mobile responsive.

You can use HTML and cascading style sheets (CSS) to automatically resize, hide, shrink, and enlarge objects on your website. This code only works with a mobile-responsive design and may be necessary if your theme or website building platform doesn’t insert it automatically.

Just insert the following <meta> element to the head of the HTML on all your webpages:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

This instructs the website browser to scale the page’s dimensions based on the size of the user’s screen. If your website isn’t built to be mobile SEO responsive in the first place, this could make the user experience worse if you don’t address the sizing of every element on the page. 

For example, images that are displayed with a width wider than the user’s screen will force the user to zoom out or scroll horizontally just to see the entire webpage.

To make an image scale as well, you can set the CSS “width” property to 100%, like this example with “img_1.jpg”:

<img src="img_1.jpg" style="width:100%;">

This will make the image scale either larger or smaller than its original size to fit the screen. Naturally, you don’t want your image to appear giant on your user’s mobile screen. To avoid that possibility, just add the “max-width:100%” property, which allows the images to scale down but not up:

<img src="img_1.jpg" style="max-width:100%;height:auto;">

You can do the same thing with text by adding HTML as well. Here’s how you can scale an H1 tag to “viewport width” or “vw”:

<h1 style="font-size:10vw">Header Text Here</h1>

If you don’t have a mobile-responsive theme, you may have other elements on your website that require your attention, such as buttons and widgets. You may need to add code to each of these elements to make them size correctly on various screen sizes.

3 – Transfer your website or start from scratch.

If your website is still being hosted by a platform that looks like it hasn’t been updated since 2002, it might be time to find a new home on the Internet for your business. If your current website builder or hosting service doesn’t give you the tools you need to make your website mobile-responsive, they probably aren’t worth your time and money anyway. 

The good news is that you should be able to keep your domain.

Do your best to save all your content when making the transfer. You may be able to export your site or even transfer it to a new platform automatically.

Mobile SEO: How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Phones: Step by Step

Beyond mobile responsiveness, there are a few other elements of mobile SEO you may need to address on your website. Here’s what you can do, step by step.

1 – Make Your Webpages Load Fast

If you haven’t already, try running your homepage through Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If you end up with a low speed score, the tool will provide you with plenty of information about what’s slowing your page down.

You can repeat this step for all your webpages to get an idea of which elements are slowing down your website on mobile devices.

You’ll see a detailed examination of what’s making your website slow in the “Lab Data” section. It might look something like this:

Google PageSpeed Insights for Optimizing Mobile Site

The tool will also provide you with a list of “Opportunities” below this. These are all the things you can do to make your website load faster on a smartphone. Some of the changes you need to make may involve altering the way you deliver critical JavaScript and CSS. 

You may also need to reduce the impact of third-party code on your site or implement HTTP caching to speed up your load time when people visit your website repeatedly. If you need help, you may want to reach out to some experts to work on your website for you.

There are a few other tricks to reduce load times. One of the most basic is to reduce the “weight” of your webpages by literally minimizing the number of bytes that need to be loaded. 

You can do this by compressing images and optimizing other assets like videos. You can even combine your images into CSS sprites to make them load faster. You can do these things manually, or you can use tools that do them automatically (there are tons of compression plugins available for WordPress).

If possible, consider uploading images in newer formats like JPEG-XR or WebP rather than GIF, PNG, or JPEG. These formats are better optimized for mobile viewing. 

Meanwhile, instead of using a plug-in to play videos, consider using HTML5 by implementing the <video> and <source> elements where you want the video on the page. It should look like this:

<video controls>
<source src="movie.mp4" type="video/mp4">
<source src="movie.ogg" type="video/ogg">

The three video formats supported by HTML5 are MP4, WebM, and Ogg.

2 – Don’t Use “Intrusive” Pop-ups

We’re not going to wade into the pop-up debate too much, but if you use pop-ups on your website, you should be aware that they can impact your mobile SEO.

Originally, webmasters may have suggested you disable pop-ups complete for mobile viewers. More recently, Google has announced that some types of pop-ups won’t hurt your rankings, but others do.

Mainly, Google wants website owners to do away with what it deems “intrusive” pop-ups. These are usually pop-ups that take up the entire screen on a mobile device or otherwise make it difficult to access content on a smartphone.

According to the Google Webmaster Central Blog, techniques that make content less accessible include the following:

Showing a pop-up that covers the main content immediately after the user accesses the page or while they’re browsing.
Displaying a standalone pop-up that must be dismissed before the user accesses the main content.
Using a layout where the main content has been inclined beneath the fold and the above-the-fold content appears similar to the standalone pop-up.

Generally, if your pop-ups look like this on mobile, Google will penalize you for it:

Don't Use Intrusive Pop Ups

Google does ignore some pop-ups that fit these descriptions if they are necessary. For example, some websites are legally obligated to inform users that they use cookies or verify the user’s age before they can access the site. Small banners that are easy to dismiss are generally okay, too.

So, if you’re going to have non-essential pop-ups on your website experience, make sure they are small, non-intrusive, and easy to recognize and dismiss for a nice mobile SEO experience, like this banner on the top of the webpage below:

Sample of Good Mobile Web Design

3 – Don’t Block Resources

Developers used to block certain resources from mobile users — and, by extension, from Google’s crawlers. For example, they might block some written content to keep the page shorter or block some JavaScript from loading. This would make the website load faster and be easier to use on a smartphone.

This wasn’t a bad instinct because it did make the mobile experience better. Who wants to wait for JavaScript to load when all you want to do is read an article?

The problem with this approach these days is something we’ve already mentioned: Google’s mobile-first indexing technique. Whatever resources and content don’t appear on your mobile site won’t be crawled by Google. As far as the search engine is concerned, those assets probably don’t even exist for mobile SEO.

As we mentioned above, there are other ways to make your website load faster. Ensure you aren’t blocking any resources, such as JavaScript, CSS, images, and video for mobile users. Let Google crawl everything and let users see everything on your website. 

If you can’t build a strong mobile experience with what you have, it may be time to take a second look at your design. If you absolutely need to block content or resources on your site, make sure they aren’t critical to your users.

4 – Make Content Accessible

The term “accessibility” doesn’t just refer to how quickly your website loads or how easy it is to navigate. According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), putting accessibility into practice “is essential for developers and organizations that want to create high-quality websites and web tools, and not exclude people from using their products and services.”

If the Internet is for everyone, that means it needs to be accessible to people with disabilities too. Accessibility isn’t just an important ethical decision, it’s also an important business practice. Google will penalize websites that aren’t accessible. 

Luckily, many of the aspects of mobile SEO overlap with accessibility. For example, all the following are elements of good mobile SEO, but they also exist to enhance your site’s accessibility:

  1. Large, readable fonts
  2. Color contrasting text
  3. Content structuring
  4. Title tags
  5. Header tags
  6. Image alt attributes
  7. Image captions
  8. Video transcriptions
  9. Link anchor texts
  10. Breadcrumbs
  11. On-page table of contents
  12. On-site sitemaps
  13. Easy navigation
  14. Semantic HTML

Image alt attributes work with screen-reading technology to describe images to users who are visually impaired. Video transcriptions make videos more accessible to people who are hard of hearing. On-site sitemaps and easy navigation tools make it easier for people who use voice commands to browse your website. 

Start by looking at the way your pages appear on mobile. Are you using negative space to make it easy to identify content? Is your typeface large enough to read on the screen?

You should also pay attention to your image alt attributes and captions. If someone with a screen reader hears the alt attribute attached to one of your images, will they understand what is being depicted, or will they hear something like “image underscore seven three two one dot jpeg?”

Keep in mind that you’ll need to optimize your website for all sorts of devices, whether they are a phone, a tablet, or an AI assistant device. 

There are also other areas of accessibility that you won’t be able to cover just by optimizing your website for mobile. To ensure your website is accessible, follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

5. Follow General SEO Techniques

Finally, you should follow general Mobile SEO guidelines to ensure your website is optimized for mobile. That means installing Google Search Console, generating and submitting a sitemap, using keywords, and adding structured data so it’s easy for Google to crawl your pages, among other strategies.

Check out some of our great mobile SEO and general SEO resources to learn more about on-page and off-page SEO:

Go On Your Way!

If you can follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to creating a mobile-optimized website that will look fantastic on any smartphone. Plus, Google will love you that much more.

For more information about Mobile SEO and mobile site optimization, reach out to our Mobile SEO experts at Bliss Drive

Enjoyed this article? 👉 Read more: Breadcrumbs & SEO: What They Are & Why They Matter