10 SEO Best Practices To Help E-Commerce Brands Rank Higher


Heather Hudson

May 25, 2021

You’ve got a great e-commerce site with all the right ingredients: an intuitive design, lightning-fast speed, high-res product photos, snappy product descriptions, a speedy checkout system, and a security system that locks everything up tight.

So, where’s all that traffic you’ve been promised?

We can probably answer that in three letters: SEO. While search engine optimization is often described as the single best way to boost website traffic, it’s also a serious bane for website owners. (Particularly e-commerce retailers who are just trying to sell their product, not understand every nuance of internet marketing.)

For the uninitiated, search engines like Google scour every page on the Internet to help people find exactly what they’re looking for when they type things like, “sickest high-top shoes,” “best deal on cat food,” and “gift ideas for mom” into a search box.

The more optimized your website is for these search engines, the higher you’ll appear in the results. We’ve rounded up 10 SEO best practices that may help you:

  • Understand SEO a little better
  • Get more eyeballs (and purchases) on your website

Come up with the best, most accurate keywords for your products.

When search engines beam their lasers around the internet in search of the answer to a user’s query, you want your website to stand out. For example, if you’re a clothing store specializing in denim, you’ll want to come up in every search query about jeans.

Think about what keywords your ideal customers would type into a search engine and make sure they can be found throughout your e-commerce site – in product descriptions, image names, headings, etc. Consider keywords that are as specific as possible.

Research competitors for keywords.

You can test the efficacy of your keywords by trying them out in a search engine and visiting every link on the first page of results. What do these e-commerce sites have that you don’t? Do you spy any keywords that could apply to your store? This is a great way to get inspired.

Use long-tail keywords.

Long-tail keywords are “longer and more specific keyword phrases that visitors are more likely to use when they’re closer to a point-of-purchase or when they’re using voice search. Think, “where to buy left-handed scissors in Ottawa” or “unusual gifts for 14-year-old boys.”

This is where your knowledge of your customer will come in exceptionally handy. Think about how your current customers find you. What did they buy? What search term would they have entered to get them straight to one of your product pages? Unlike uncovering keywords that already exist among your product offerings, coming up with long-tail keywords requires you to reverse-engineer the buying thought process.

Put your keywords in the right places.

Now that you’ve got your keywords, it’s important to have a strategy about where to put them. (Beware the much-maligned practice of ‘keyword stuffing’. Users and search engines alike hate it when they click on a search result and are met with a website that simply uses their keywords over and over and offer no meaningful content.)

Instead, get smart with a plan. Position your primary keywords where they’ll have the most impact, including:

  • In the URL - e.g.
  • In [the H1 (top heading)]( for each product page
  • In the body copy. E.g. Include a short introductory paragraph on each product page so you can use the keyword a couple of times, i.e. “Here are our best-selling jeans for men, women, and children! Perfect for everyday wear, special events, and even gift-giving. Who doesn’t love a great pair of jeans?”
  • Image titles. A simple way to boost SEO is to rename each image with an appropriate keyword. Even if your users can’t see them, Google can!

Leave breadcrumbs.

Just like in the classic fairy tale Hansel and Gretel, you can leave a trail on every one of your web pages to help users find you. According to Yoast, “a breadcrumb is a small text path, often located at the top of a page indicating where the user is on the site … This breadcrumb trail immediately shows where you are. Every step of that path is clickable, all the way back to the homepage.”

An SEO plug-in for your e-commerce site will help you set up breadcrumbs, but it’s a good idea to learn what they are and how you can use them to your advantage.

Use SEO tools.

Did you know that there are plenty of SEO tools you can use to help you do everything from identify keywords to implementing them across your site to optimizing every page of your website for SEO?

It’s true. You don’t have to get a computer programming degree to sell products online. Some reputable tools that can help you identify keywords, optimize your site and track your ranking progress include:

Have simple, intuitive e-commerce website architecture.

How many clicks do your customers have to make before they find what they’re looking for on your website? SEO tool BigCommerce’s golden rule is no more than 3 clicks. This means your home page should link to all your major category pages and maybe even some of your best product pages, too.

It may be worth revisiting your website architecture with a web developer to simplify the customer journey on your e-commerce site. We know that most consumers take the path of least resistance – if things seem unclear or take too long on one site, they’ll bounce to another.

Include customer reviews on your e-commerce website.

Not only do reviews offer social proof of the awesomeness of your products, they work to improve your SEO! Think of the natural opportunities your reviewers have for using the right keywords.

Product reviews do one more important thing: they help create long-form content on your website. We know that search engines like Google prefer web pages that have more copy. Remember, they are looking for the most meaningful and thorough content for their search engine users, so they tend to assume that more is better. Some experts estimate that 2,000 words is the magic number but rambling on for that long can defeat the purpose of engaging your users. By including product reviews, you’re beefing up the content on every product page, potentially increasing your visibility to search engines.

Do some internal linking.

Do your website pages link to each other? This is an important part of SEO. When Google is scanning the Internet, they prioritize web pages that have links, especially ones that reveal the site architecture of a specific website.

Your users and search engines use links to travel around your website. Online shoppers appreciate the opportunity to click to a similar or complementary product on the same site. It makes their browsing experience easier and more enjoyable. However, it’s important not to go overboard – both consumers and Google want to have a sense of how things interrelate on a website, not an overwhelming barrage of links.

Try social media integration.

We know that social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are important for e-commerce. They offer other channels to attract and connect with your customers and prospective customers. When you integrate social media into your e-commerce website, it proves to search engines that people find your website and brand valuable.

Checking this one off the list is easy: simply add social buttons to your product pages and home pages. (If you have a blog, that’s a good place for them, too!)

SEO is a complex process and best practices are always evolving. If you want consumers to find your e-commerce store and visit it regularly, it’s important to stay on top of it. Consider SEO a marketing strategy and invest in an expert to provide custom advice or invest in a plug-in that will do the work of helping you be visible to search engines.

If they can’t find you, nobody will.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an exhaustive review of this topic. The content is not financial or investment advice. No professional relationship of any kind is formed between you and PayBright. While we have obtained or compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. We recommend that you consult your personal finance professional before taking any action related to this information. PayBright is a provider of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solutions. BNPL providers offer plans with a variety of terms and conditions, including interest rates, fees, and penalties, and have different standards for qualifying for loans. Laws and regulations governing BNPL providers vary by jurisdiction. We recommend that you compare and contrast plans, read the fine print, and conduct detailed research into any BNPL provider before using their services.

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Heather Hudson

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