In 2023, advancements in AI and natural language processing, coupled with a strong emphasis on adhering to E-A-T signals (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness), have positioned these elements as top priorities in SEO.
Furthermore, an unwavering focus on understanding search intent remains critical when conducting keyword research and crafting high-quality content that guides customers through the sales funnel effectively.
Given the ever-evolving nature of Google’s algorithms and changes in how consumers search, businesses must stay attuned to the dynamics of digital marketing. This ensures they can harness the benefits of a robust and up-to-date SEO strategy.
Does SEO Still Work for Ecommerce?
Indeed, SEO remains a cornerstone in the realm of eCommerce digital marketing. While SEO trends evolve, the significance of the process remains unwavering. Admittedly, some SEO Ecommerce techniques that were effective in the past have become obsolete as search engine algorithms adapt to align better with user intent and eliminate undesirable, ineffective practices.
For eCommerce brands, SEO stands as a valuable investment. It not only aids in comprehending the target audience but also enhances the quality score of Google Ads, ultimately attracting substantial organic traffic.
As the SEO landscape is dynamic, you must recognise that your strategy isn’t static. Regular evaluation of current tactics and their alignment with the ever-evolving SEO landscape is essential to unlock the full potential of search engine rankings.
In this context, let’s delve into the top 10 SEO trends in 2023 that have the potential to elevate website visibility and boost conversion rates.
1. Page Speed and Technical SEO Are Still Important
Meticulous attention to technical SEO remains paramount for ensuring the smooth navigation of your eCommerce website and eliminating any technical hiccups that may hinder its indexing and ranking by search engines.
The velocity at which your web pages load directly influences your online store’s ranking. Swift-loading pages are favoured because they offer a seamless user experience, enhancing customer engagement and encouraging visitors to delve deeper into your web content.
Why does page speed matter?
Pages that load quickly provide a superior user experience, which can lead to higher search engine rankings. Slower-loading pages frustrate users, leading to higher bounce rates and reduced time spent on your site.
Ideally, you want your pages to load in under two seconds on all devices, ensuring potential customers can access your content swiftly and efficiently.
Core Web Vitals
In 2020, Google introduced Core Web Vitals (CWV), comprising three key metrics that gauge a user’s experience while loading a web page. These metrics are official ranking signals that significantly impact SEO.
- Largest Contentful Paint: This metric measures how quickly the main content on a page loads. Faster loading times enhance the user experience and can lead to better search engine rankings.
- First Input Delay: It assesses how quickly a web page can respond when a user interacts with it. A fast response to user input is crucial for a positive user experience.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: This metric examines the stability of content as it loads in a browser. Users find it frustrating when page elements shift unexpectedly during loading, so a stable layout is essential.
Why do Core Web Vitals matter?
While CWV doesn’t directly influence organic rankings, it undeniably bestows a superior user experience upon your target audience, leading to elevated conversion rates.
Essentially, it serves as a “page experience” rating, reflecting Google’s assessment of your web pages’ overall user experience. Improving Core Web Vitals by optimising server loading times, stabilising page loading, and enhancing the loading efficiency of third-party scripts on your site is an integral facet of SEO in 2023.
2. Be Mobile-First
As you evaluate your eCommerce website’s performance in a mobile-centric world driven by consumer preferences, consider this: an increasing number of consumers are conducting their shopping activities through smartphones and tablets. Surprisingly, statistics indicate that 79% of smartphone users have purchased online using mobile devices in the past six months. It’s evident that the future of online retail hinges on providing an exceptional mobile shopping experience.
In the realm of SEO, mobile-friendliness is a critical factor. Google now primarily indexes a website’s mobile version, clarifying that non-responsive web design will inevitably result in lower search engine rankings. The question arises: What exactly does it mean to embrace mobile-friendliness?
A mobile-friendly website is one that has been thoughtfully optimised to function seamlessly across a spectrum of devices. This ensures that customers enjoy a consistently pleasant user experience, whether shopping via desktop or mobile. The bottom line is that eCommerce platforms failing to invest in a thoughtful and strategic approach to delivering a positive online shopping experience on mobile devices risk a substantial competitive disadvantage.
So, as you embark on your SEO journey, remember that mobile-friendliness isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity. Providing an exceptional mobile shopping experience is no longer a luxury; it’s the key to thriving in the digital marketplace.
3. How to Make Content that Positively Impacts SEO
In the ever-evolving landscape of eCommerce SEO, one constant remains unshaken: the paramount importance of high-quality content. Whether it takes the form of images, videos, articles, or blogs, quality content attracts more traffic to your online store and sets your business apart from the competition. In 2023, content remains the reigning monarch in the realm of eCommerce.
Create High-Quality Content
High-quality content is characterised by its uniqueness, value, and professional presentation. It encompasses several crucial aspects:
- Error-Free Copy: Content should be free of grammatical and spelling errors, ensuring readability.
- Attractive Images: Visual content should be appealing and complement the text.
- Usefulness: The information provided should engage your target audience and cater to their interests.
It’s essential to emphasise that content should be created primarily for people rather than just to satisfy search engine algorithms. Balancing the integration of relevant keywords into web copy while maintaining high readability is a key factor in on-page SEO success.
Moreover, E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) plays a pivotal role in content evaluation. It’s an integral part of search engines’ algorithms and is delineated in Google’s Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines.
Capitalise on Video Content
Video content dominates over 82% of consumer internet traffic, making it an indispensable component of your eCommerce SEO strategy. Integrating relevant videos into your online presence enhances user engagement and offers an easily digestible medium for educating your audience.
Consumers exhibit a penchant for specific types of video content:
- Explainers: These videos elucidate how a product or service functions and why consumers would benefit.
- Interviews: Video interviews delve into themes closely related to your brand, products, or services.
- Product Reviews and Demo Videos: These videos often outperform traditional instruction manuals in guiding consumers.
Avoid Stock Images
Today’s consumers are discerning and can readily identify stock images. Regardless of their quality, using stock images may make your brand appear generic and unoriginal. The alternative is to employ original photographs and images that resonate with your brand’s message and complement the accompanying text. While purchasing stock photos may seem cost-effective, the cumulative expenses can become substantial, especially when acquiring images for numerous social media posts and website pages. Factoring in the time and effort spent searching for suitable stock images, creating your images emerges as a more cost-effective and brand-aligned choice.
Conduct Ecommerce Keyword Research
Keyword research forms the cornerstone of any effective eCommerce SEO strategy. This process ensures that your on-page SEO strategy is attuned to the most relevant keywords, thereby maximising the effectiveness of your eCommerce SEO endeavours.
One common pitfall is an undue focus on short keywords while overlooking the potential of long-tail keywords that more precisely reflect customer search intent. Specific searches often indicate a higher likelihood of a purchase.
E-commerce keyword research can be approached through three primary methods:
- Exploring Search Engines: Analysing popular search results across different search engines.
- Competitor Research: Studying the content focus of competitors to understand the types of content to prioritise.
- Keyword Tools: Utilising specialised tools designed for comprehensive keyword research.
Ideally, a combination of all three approaches is recommended to understand the keywords integral to your eCommerce SEO strategy comprehensively.
4. Highlight Your Strengths
Improving your Ecommerce SEO requires a multifaceted approach, which includes leveraging testimonials, structured data, and diversifying your marketing channels. These strategies boost your SEO and foster consumer trust in your brand.
Request Customer Testimonials
Consumers seek social proof, often testimonials, to validate their decisions when choosing a business to engage with. Many customers are willing to provide testimonials, especially when the process is convenient. Ecommerce stores typically request testimonials via email or apps following a customer’s purchase. Simplifying this process encourages more customers to participate, contributing to a wealth of social proof.
Set Up Structured Data
Structured data, also known as schema markup, serves as a vital tool for improving your website’s visibility in search results. It allows search engines to comprehend your web page content more effectively, ultimately enhancing your ranking. When your data is structured correctly, your website may appear in rich snippets, which display additional information beyond standard search results. These rich snippets often enjoy higher rankings and click-through rates, consequently driving more traffic to your site.
Showcase Product Reviews
Product reviews are invaluable for building consumer trust and signalling your credibility to search engines. They assure prospective customers of your product’s quality and your commitment to transparency. Displaying product reviews is highly effective, considering that 90% of consumers read these reviews before making a purchase. Encouraging and featuring product reviews is a worthwhile investment in building consumer trust and enhancing your SEO.
Diversify Your Marketing Channels
A well-rounded Ecommerce SEO strategy encompasses diversifying marketing channels to drive organic traffic from various sources. Search engines favour websites that receive traffic from multiple channels, such as social media and email marketing. Diversification is advantageous for SEO and essential for generating the desired revenue.
Utilising multiple marketing channels caters to diverse consumer touchpoints throughout the purchase journey, from initial brand awareness to conversion. Moreover, channel diversification increases your brand’s reach, making your products or services more accessible. Exposure through various channels enables you to engage existing and potential customers where they spend their time. Comprehensive marketing efforts recognise that discovery only occurs on your website, as customers are scattered across various platforms and mediums.
5. Optimise for Voice Search
In the past year, voice search has gained significant prominence, with 58% of consumers using it to discover local businesses. Moreover, 71% of consumers express a preference for conducting voice searches over traditional typing. These statistics underscore the influence of voice search on SEO trends, particularly for local businesses.
Voice search queries typically consist of an average of 29 words, focusing on long-tail keywords. Google’s reliance on featured snippets and knowledge graphs to provide voice search answers necessitates optimising these aspects of your SEO strategy.
To effectively attract voice search customers, consider the following strategies:
Optimise for Featured Snippets
Structuring your content to appear as featured snippets enhance its chances of being selected as the voice search result. Providing concise, informative answers to common questions related to your industry can improve your visibility in voice search results.
Enhance Domain Rating
A high domain rating signals to search engines that your website is authoritative and trustworthy. Focus on building backlinks, improving your site’s content quality, and optimising user experience to elevate your domain rating.
Local SEO Optimisation
Ensure your eCommerce site is optimised for local searches. This involves creating and verifying a Google My Business listing, optimising your website for local keywords, and encouraging customer reviews. Local SEO is vital in catering to users’ preferences seeking nearby businesses via voice search.
By implementing these strategies, your local business can effectively tap into the growing trend of voice search, reaching a broader audience and improving its overall SEO performance.
6. Improve User Experience
In the pursuit of high Google search rankings, paying attention to the significance of providing an exceptional shopping experience for your customers is crucial. We recommend that our clients periodically conduct a User Experience Audit (UX audit) to identify areas within their eCommerce stores that may hinder conversions.
A UX audit is an invaluable practice that fosters alignment between your eCommerce business and website visitors. It functions as a health check for operational websites, allowing you to evaluate existing user flows and uncover issues or bottlenecks that impede potential customers from taking the desired actions.
The key aspects of a UX audit include:
- Website Navigation: Assess the navigational elements of your website to ensure they are intuitive and user-friendly. Simplify menu structures, categorise products logically, and optimise the search functionality to enhance the user’s ability to find what they need quickly.
- Mobile Responsiveness: With the increasing use of mobile devices for online shopping, ensuring your site is mobile-responsive is vital. Test your website’s performance across various devices to guarantee a seamless experience for mobile users.
- Page Load Speed: Slow-loading pages can deter visitors. Perform speed tests and optimise your website’s load times to keep users engaged and prevent high bounce rates.
- Checkout Process: Simplify the process to reduce cart abandonment rates. Minimise the steps required for a transaction and offer guest checkout options to streamline the purchase journey.
- Content Relevance: Ensure your product descriptions, images, and other content are informative and engaging. Quality content helps customers make informed decisions and boosts SEO performance.
- User Feedback: Leverage user feedback, reviews, and surveys to gain insights into areas for improvement. Address any recurring concerns or issues raised by customers to enhance their experience.
By conducting regular UX audits, you can identify and rectify weaknesses in your eCommerce website, creating a more user-centric environment that fosters higher conversions and customer satisfaction.
7. Refresh/Revamp Existing Content
Staying ahead in the dynamic realm of content marketing can be quite challenging, given the relentless pace at which search engines seek out and prioritise up-to-date, pertinent content. Consequently, older pieces gradually tend to slip in rankings and traffic. So, what’s the solution?
The good news is you don’t always have to start from square one. Much of your current content can be revitalised and brought up to date. This approach demands less effort than crafting entirely new material, all while elevating your potential to rank higher in search results.
8. Secure Your Ecommerce Website
Irrespective of the prevailing eCommerce SEO trends, website security stands as an absolute necessity. In today’s digital landscape, cybercrime presents an ongoing and severe threat to the eCommerce sector, leading to substantial financial losses for businesses. Identity theft and fraudulent transactions not only damage customer trust but can also, in some instances, lead to the permanent closure of a business. The importance of website security cannot be overstated.
To protect your eCommerce business from cyber threats and build trust with your customers, consider implementing the following security measures:
Obtain an SSL Certificate
An SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate is a fundamental security protocol that encrypts the data exchanged between a user’s web browser and your website. This encryption ensures that sensitive information like payment details and personal data remains confidential and secure during online transactions. Beyond security, having an SSL certificate improves your website’s credibility and SEO rankings.
Choose Secure Payment Gateways
When it comes to online transactions, choosing payment gateways is crucial. Opt for reputable, secure payment processors that comply with industry standards and provide robust security features. This ensures that your customer’s financial information is protected and instils confidence in your eCommerce platform.
Implement Anti-Malware Software
Malware attacks are a common threat to eCommerce websites. Implementing anti-malware and antivirus solutions helps detect and prevent malicious software from compromising your website’s security. Regular scans and updates are essential to stay protected against evolving threats.
Regular Security Audits
Conduct routine security audits and vulnerability assessments to identify weaknesses in your website’s defences. Address any vulnerabilities promptly to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks.
Customer Data Protection
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Implement 2FA for your administrative accounts and sensitive systems. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring users to provide two forms of identification before granting access.
Backup and Disaster Recovery
Regularly back up your website’s data and have a disaster recovery plan. In a cyber incident, having up-to-date backups ensures you can restore your website and customer data without significant disruption.
Educate your team about cybersecurity best practices. Human error is a common entry point for cyberattacks. Training employees to recognise phishing attempts and follow security protocols can significantly reduce risks.
Third-Party Security Audits
If your eCommerce platform relies on third-party plugins or services, ensure they meet security standards and regularly undergo security audits. Vulnerabilities in third-party components can compromise your overall security.
Website security is about protecting your business and safeguarding the trust your customers place in your brand. Knowing you’ve taken all necessary steps to shield your business and customer data significantly contributes to the establishment of credibility and trust. By prioritising website security, you mitigate risks and enhance your competitive advantage in the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape.
9. Build a Strong Brand
Crafting a memorable brand is a distinct process from establishing a robust online presence, although the latter undoubtedly complements the former. A powerful brand is more than a logo and marketing campaign; it is the embodiment of a captivating story, exceptional service, and unwavering commitment to quality. Branding encompasses customers’ carefully curated experiences when interacting with your business.
Building a solid brand necessitates a multi-faceted approach, including:
Understanding Your Target Audience
Effective branding begins with profoundly understanding your target audience. What are their needs, preferences, and pain points? What resonates with them emotionally? Insights into your audience’s behaviour and psychology lay the foundation for brand messaging and positioning.
Building an Engaging Website
Your website serves as your brand’s digital storefront. It should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and optimised for a seamless user experience. A well-designed website not only captures attention but also reinforces your brand identity.
Implementing a Digital Marketing Strategy
A comprehensive ecommerce digital marketing strategy leverages various channels to increase your brand’s visibility and reach. This includes search engine optimisation (SEO), social media marketing, content marketing, email campaigns, and paid advertising. Consistency in your messaging and visual elements across these channels is key to reinforcing your brand image.
Every successful brand has a compelling story at its core. Share your brand’s journey, values, and mission with your audience. Storytelling humanises your brand and forges emotional connections with customers.
Providing Outstanding Customer Service
Exceptional customer service is a hallmark of a strong brand. It not only retains existing customers but also turns them into brand advocates. Responding to inquiries promptly and resolving issues effectively contributes to a positive brand image.
Quality is a cornerstone of brand trust. Consistently providing high-quality products or services builds credibility and fosters customer loyalty.
Consistency is key in branding. Ensure that your brand messaging, visual identity, and values are consistent across all touchpoints, from your website to social media profiles and advertising campaigns.
Due to the multi-faceted nature of establishing a successful online brand, many eCommerce businesses collaborate with digital marketing agencies. These agencies bring expertise in sending the right message to the right audience, creating cohesive branding strategies, and achieving an impactful online presence. By enlisting their assistance, businesses can ensure that their brand’s story is effectively conveyed, resonates with their target audience, and stands out in the digital landscape.
10. Focus on User Intent Optimisation
User intent is the window to understanding the motivations behind your target audience’s keywords and phrases in their search queries. It’s a crucial concept to grasp because it paves the way for the creation of informative and engaging content that resonates with users.
User intent can generally be categorised into three primary types:
- Informational Intent: This is when users are seeking information or answers to their questions. They want to learn about a particular topic or understand something better. Content that fulfils informational intent is often educational and explanatory.
- Navigational Intent: Navigational intent pertains to users looking to access a specific website or webpage. They already have a destination in mind, and their search is geared toward reaching that site. Common examples include branded searches, where users seek a particular company’s site.
- Transactional Intent: Users displaying transactional intent are at the stage of purchasing or performing a specific online action. They may be ready to buy a product, sign up for a service, or subscribe to a newsletter. Content designed for transactional intent typically involves product pages, sign-up forms, and e-commerce transactions.
A comprehensive understanding of user intent serves as the compass for your keyword selection, targeting, and content marketing strategy. By aligning your content with user intent, you increase its potential to attract and engage your audience effectively.
In recent SEO trends, the prominence of search intent has grown even more, surpassing the significance of backlinks (although backlinks remain valuable). In other words, regardless of how exceptional your content is or how strong your backlink profile appears, neglecting to cater to user intent can hinder your ability to drive organic traffic. To succeed in the dynamic landscape of search engines, prioritising user intent in your SEO and content strategies is imperative.
Seek Assistance from SEO Experts
In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO, it’s essential to stay updated and refine your strategies to maintain your online business’s relevance and competitiveness. Our recommendations concentrate on enhancing the customer experience and elevating your search engine rankings.
If your eCommerce store isn’t attracting as much organic traffic as it did in the past, or if you want to strengthen your overall SEO efforts, it’s advisable to consult with our SEO experts at Strategic Media Partners. Our team can help you diversify your marketing channels, optimise your website’s performance, furnish actionable insights to bolster sales and ensure you’re aligned with the latest eCommerce trends.