What is SEO: Ecommerce SEO for Beginners

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Hi guys! My name is Nora. I’m on Printful’s marketing team. I’m joined by Martins, our Senior SEO Specialist here at Printful. Today we’ll be talking about SEO or search engine optimization. If you’re running your online store these days you can’t just rely on a unique design or a cool-looking store to get your products in front of people. You have to be thinking about optimizing your content for SEO, because organic traffic is going to be a very valuable tool for you. Alright so let’s get started. Martins, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what is SEO and why you should pay attention to it on your online store.

SEO stands for search engine optimization. It makes your site Google friendly so to speak. Whenever Google or other search engine crawlers enter your website, they can easily recognize the content on your site and link it to valuable keywords, which other users then use when searching for stuff on Google. By identifying that your page is related to the search queries, Google then knows to serve your page whenever these search queries are used. The reason why SEO is so important today and especially for ecommerce it’s one of the most cost-effective marketing channels out there. Unlike paid traffic, if you turn off the plug for resources, SEO won’t stop, organic traffic will still keep coming. SEO can actually be divided into two large groups. One of them is on-page SEO, which is the stuff you do on your website. The other part is off-page SEO, which includes activities you do outside your own website. What are examples of on-site SEO and off-site SEO? What are the main principles of each one? On-site SEO can be subdivided into two slightly different types.

One type is primarily related to all the technical stuff that you can do on your website. The other part of on-page SEO is content optimization, which has more to do with the specific keywords that you optimize for. Everything begins with keyword research. Nowadays, it has a lot to do with the search intent. It’s not only about ranking for keywords, but it’s also about the content you serve on your website that should match the searcher’s intent. For example, if I’m looking for information, it’s probably going to be more of a blog type or informational pages that are going to rank well. Whereas, if I’m looking where to buy a specific product, it’s probably going to be a product page. This is one of the things that need to be considered when thinking about content optimization. We’re now moving on to the most commonly associated things with off-page SEO, which is link building. It’s essentially getting other websites to link to your website. The truly valuable backlinks that point to your website come from industry related sites with high authority. All of the content that the other website has helps Google figure out what your page is also about.

If you have a blog post about pug puppies and then you link to a site where you can buy a T-shirt to support your blog, you have all this content talking about pug puppies with the link pointing to you. All of that helps Google figure out that there is something definitely related to pug puppies on your site. SEO is a very broad topic. By your description alone it sounds like there’s a lot you can focus on to get your SEO strategy right.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what the total ecommerce beginner should focus on when opening their eCommerce store? What are some very basic actionable SEO things that you can do right away? One of the most important things to do at the very beginning is keyword research. This way you’ll know which keywords you should be focusing on. There might be a big difference between very similar terms and even though some of them are more commonly used in your region, they might not be the ones that users use the most when searching on Google. Make sure that your page titles and meta descriptions are optimized for the keywords that you want to rank for.

Make sure that every product page has a unique main heading (it’s called an H1 heading). Make sure that the URL for every page and category is strategically chosen and based on a keyword. Beyond that, you should also have some unique content talking about that specific keyword. We’ve gone over what you should be doing for your online store to build your SEO strategy, but what about mistakes or things that you should avoid that are going to hinder your SEO strategy and progress? One of the biggest mistakes that you can do is neglect all the data that you could be gathering by setting up some of the free tools offered by Google.

Google Analytics helps you monitor your website performance and all the traffic that is going to it. With Google Search Console you can link to Google Analytics and access all the data about organic traffic. You can access all the keywords and organic traffic that is coming to your site and see it right there on the page for free. Another mistake, which is very common for ecommerce sites is the appearance of the same content under multiple URLs.

When you have the same page title for two pages, these two pages are trying to rank for the same keyword. When you have the same content on two pages under two different URLs, you end up with two pages fighting for their own survival, rather than working together and making sure that one of them ranks and the other one is just boosting it. One of the things I’d like to add regarding keyword research is that a lot of ecommerce store owners often make the mistake of identifying and then going after the high search volume and high difficulty keywords. If their website is new and they’re just starting off, they’re going into a battle against websites that are much larger, older and stronger, in terms of domain authority, than their own. This makes it very difficult for the websites to rank high because the competition is so great.

A much better approach would be to focus on specific niche keywords or long tail keywords, which generally have lower search volume and are a lot easier to rank for. If your store is targeting a specific niche audience, such as pug lovers, you’re much better off trying to rank for keywords, such as pug lover T-shirts or T-shirts with the pug puppies, then going after the generic keywords, like T-shirts or leggings, because there’s not going to be many stores offering T-shirts with pug puppies on them. That means that you’ll be much closer to the top from day one. Final question. What are some resources that you can check out to learn more about SEO? Ones that I personally visit a lot to learn on a daily basis are our own blog for ecommerce specific tips, Ahrefs, they have a very rich blog, and Backlinko blog run by Brian Dean.

The thing I like about his resources is that they’re very down-to-earth, very structured and good for beginners. If you have a problem with SEO, type in the question in Google and see what comes up. If something comes up on the first page, they probably know what they’re doing, if they are ranking that well. Something that I would encourage people to do is Googling. Try to figure out what works best, instead of leaving it to chance. Thanks for all these beginner tips. It’s a really great place to start and to explore more if you’re interested in it, which you should be, for your online store. We have included links to all the resources that we mentioned in the description below so you can check those out.

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