4-Step SEO Crash Course for E-commerce

Are you trying to understand how to do search engine optimisation (SEO) for your e-commerce site? Read through this 4-step crash course to get quick and practical tips for boosting your page’s ranking on Google search.

In this article:

  • Step 1: E-commerce SEO Keyword Research
  • Step 2: E-commerce On-Page SEO
  • Step 3: Content Marketing for E-commerce
  • Step 4: Link Building for E-commerce

Step 1: E-commerce SEO Keyword Research

Keyword research is the bedrock of EVERY search engine optimisation project, including the one you’re going to do for your e-commerce website.

The keywords you optimise your pages around influence how you design your e-commerce pages. A perfect example would be your product pages—it would be near impossible for you to optimise your product pages for search without a solid keyword list to base your titles, meta data and descriptions on. Without keyword research, you're really just guessing what people are searching for.

Keyword research also helps you design your website’s structure. Later, you’ll find that the keywords you’ll use will make their way to your page titles, meta descriptions, product content, and site URLs.

The question now is…

How do you do keyword research for e-commerce websites?

Glad you asked! It’s not as different from the way you’d do keyword research for regular websites or blogs. We’ve covered this in detail on our Ultimate Guide to Keyword Research (a 100-page free ebook) that we're releasing very soon.

Here’s a little sneak peek at the six-step keyword research guide outlined in the ebook that you can use as keywords for your e-commerce category pages:

  • Define Your Goals
  • List Down Topics Related to Your Business
  • Give Each Topic a Set of Keywords
  • Add Long-Tail Keywords to Your List
  • Refine Your Keyword List With a Free Keyword Tool
  • See How Your Competitors Rank for These Keywords

The importance of purchase intent in keyword research

Choosing keywords that rake in tons of traffic is great. Then again, if none of that traffic translates into sales, you’ve got a problem. Too many e-commerce sites fall into this trap. Yours shouldn’t be one of them!

Every time you do keyword research for your e-commerce site, you’ll want to include those that reflect a customer’s purchase intent. Purchase intent keywords don’t usually bring quality visitors over quantity of visitors; the people that purchase intent keywords bring to your site are more likely to “Add to Cart” and “Check out”. This means more sales for you!

Here are examples of keywords that reflect purchase intent (used in combination with [your product/service]):

  • Buy
  • Purchase
  • Order
  • Where to buy
  • For sale
  • Affordable

A purchase intent keyword: Buy size 11 white sneakers

A non-purchase intent keyword: How to clean white sneakers

Although you should have a mix of non- and purchase intent keywords as part of your overall SEO strategy, picking keywords with purchase intent is super important since they are more likely to get you traffic that converts.

Step 2: E-commerce On-Page SEO

The practice of optimising your product pages for search engines, aka on-page SEO, isn’t that different from how you’d do it for any other website. There are three crucial things you’ll need to optimise on each of your product pages:

Optimising the Title Tag

It’s perfectly reasonable to name your product page after the actual thing you’re selling. You’ll want to ensure that your keyword is in the title tag, too!

But why stop there, right? You can add keyword modifiers like those purchase intent keywords we talked about earlier. Let’s say you’re selling robot vacuums. Instead of a title tag that reads “Robot Vacuums by Rumba Tech,” you can be more creative with “Robot Vacuums: The Best Affordable House Cleaners in 2021.”

Going with the second title tag not only makes your product page a little more interesting but can also boosts your sales. Since you used the purchase intent keyword affordable, your chances of attracting customers who’ll buy your robot vacuums are higher.

Optimising the Meta Description

Your product page’s meta description is another great place to tuck in the keyword you want to rank for. What’s great about the meta description is you have more room to add longer keyword phrases.

Note: Although Google has said that keywords inside meta descriptions don't give your page any "SEO credit", it is still a super good best practice to follow since you know these keywords are being searched for by hundreds or even thousands of internet users – so when they see them in your meta description they will know your page is meant for them.

Take a look at how PC Mag used the meta description to include the keyword phrase affordable robot vacuum:


PCMag meta description



As with the title tag, you’ll also want to add purchase intent keyword modifiers in the meta description. This way, you can invite more quality, convertable clicks to your page!

Optimising the Product Page Content

Backlinko found that pages with 1000+ words ranked much higher than those with a smaller word count. So, to make the most out of your product page content, it’s also best to shoot for descriptions that amount to at least 1000 words.

Now we know it isn’t possible to write 1000-word descriptions for every product in your inventory. Take a look at how this robot vacuum on Amazon—with a word count of just 251, it manages to be among the highly-rated robot vacuums on the platform:

Robot vacuum on Amazon

A way to get around this is to go in-depth on descriptions for your top 10 product and category pages. You can always add internal links that’ll lead them to your other product pages.

So we’ve talked about length; let’s move onto keyword density. When you’re writing out product descriptions, ensure that your keyword appears at least three to five times throughout your content. This is enough to help Google understand what you’re selling without triggering SEO’s prime enemy—keyword stuffing. You should also add what we call 'contextual keywords', which helps Google's crawlers understand your page better. In the example above the page's contextual keywords would be, 'smart sensor', 'cleaning modes', 'multi-surface brushes', 'carpet cleaner', and so on – words that are not you primary keyword but related enough that they'll help paint a complete picture for Google, so it can accurately direct users toward your site.

RELATED: How to Create Better Product Pages for Your E-commerce Store

Step 3: Content Marketing for e-commerce

While optimising your e-commerce page for search engines is key to being found by your customers online, it’s not the ONLY way.

Another great way to generate sales from your site is to be where your customers are. Find out where your target market hangs online and try to see how they talk about topics related to the products you’re selling.

Take, for example, this discussion about robot vacuums on Reddit:

discussion about robot vacuums on Reddit

You’ll see that when people talk about robot vacuums, they often say things like zone cleaning function, multi-cleaning modes, easy to use, hard floors, and carpets. Make the most of these terms by doing two things: (1) including them as keywords for when you write your product and category page content, or (2) creating killer content that touches on these topics.

Specific to number 2, you can craft blog articles that talk about the most affordable robot vacuums with an adjustable cleaning function. You can create social media posts that promote your blog through content marketing. And of course, your call-to-action at the end of the article can link out to your brand’s robot vacuum catalogue.

Getting these articles onto your site will improve your SEO, since you have research to show these topics are on people's minds, and therefore, likely to be searched for. In addition, you should absolutely get these articles out into the world through a solid content distribution strategy. This means posting on your social accounts, sharing in relevant groups, contributing to forums, guest posting, partnering up with influencers – anything you can do to spread the word and show the world that you are an authority on this subject. The more you're on people's minds (and screens) the more likely they are to think of you when they next need to purchase [your product]. That's content marketing.

Step 4: Link Building for E-commerce

One of the SEO strategies you can implement on your e-commerce page is to build a network of backlinks for it.

DEFINITION: A backlink is a link to your page from a third-party website.

You can compare your backlink network to word-of-mouth marketing. If many of your friends are raving about a new restaurant, wouldn’t you be more convinced to eat there? The same thing applies to backlinks. When Google sees that tons of reputable pages refer back to your product pages, the search engine will see you as worthy of ranking up to page one!

Plus, having a sizeable network of backlinks to your website also helps you rake in more website visits which can potentially turn into leads or sales.

RELATED: How to Get Free Backlinks for Your Website

Key Takeaways

This crash course on e-commerce for SEO has hopefully helped you create better product and category pages for your site. Start with thorough keyword research. Once you’ve settled on a keyword list, optimise each page around these terms. Don’t forget the power of content marketing—create thumb-stopping content on social media or forums that link back to your page. Lastly, continuously build your backlink network. These steps will help you rank higher on Google, deliver traffic to your e-comm store, and drive sales for your business!


Need help fine-tuning your e-commerce site’s SEO strategy? Ape-X can help! Send us a message, and let’s talk about how we can get more sales out of your site today.


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