SEO is an area that never stays still. Constant algorithm changes mean a technique that works one day might be useless (or even harmful) the next. You have to keep your eye on the ball and constantly be aware of all the latest developments.

Because e-commerce is so competitive, it’s essential to keep up with all the latest techniques. After all, you want to ensure that when your target customers search for your products, they find your store instead of your competitors’ stores.

Here are some of the ways that e-commerce SEO is changing — and how you can ensure you stay ahead of the competition.

Increased Focus on Voice Search

Voice search is becoming more important all the time. Google Assistant, Siri, and Alexa are getting smarter all the time, and people are increasingly using voice search to get answers about the products they are considering buying.

These days, they are just as likely to ask their phones as they are to type questions into their search bars.

To adapt to this new world, you need to make sure you are using more natural language in your content. This usually means making sure you include long-tail keywords in your keyword research. Don’t cram in every long-tail keyword you can think of — that’s not the right way to go about it. But do include them on your list and try to work them into your content in a natural way.

Another good way to make sure you are optimizing your content for voice search is to put a focus on questions. People often ask questions using voice search, so you need to provide them with the answers they are looking for. An FAQ page is a good place to do this, so make sure you create a page and keep adding to it.

You could also create an FAQ section on every product page to answer the most common problems and optimize your site further.

Focus on Mobile and AMP

In case you haven’t heard, mobile shopping is now bigger than ever — and m-commerce is something all e-commerce businesses need to know about.

You need to take a mobile-first approach if you want to appear in mobile searches. Your store must be not only optimized for mobile users but also focused primarily on them. This is all because of Google’s mobile-first index which came into effect recently. This means your ranking might already be based on the mobile version of your website and not the desktop version.

So even if you have a fantastic desktop site, you can still rank badly if your mobile site leaves a lot to be desired. That means you need to take steps to improve it. This could be through making sure your mobile checkout is easy and straightforward — complex checkouts requiring a lot of information will put shoppers off. You may also want to completely redesign your site to put mobile users first.

Accelerated Mobile Pages are also something you want to consider. These are still relatively new, but you can already start using them to provide much faster page loading, something that mobile users expect. The faster your pages load, the better your chances of getting ranked — and your customers will enjoy a better experience too.

Even More Focus on User Experience

SEO is becoming increasingly about user experience. This is something that has been happening for a while, but the point warrants reiteration. People want slick experiences — we’ve already touched on this with the need for mobile optimization.

But it goes beyond that. It also means making it easy to find specific products with a search function on your site, providing your users with security (your site should be HTTPS now), and doing everything you can to keep people on your site for longer, which might include publishing a regular blog.

A lower bounce rate will help your rankings, so keeping people on your site by providing them with a good experience is essential. Customer retention is the name of the game.

Product Pages Need to Stand Out

Your product pages have always been important, and you probably already know about the need to provide unique content instead of simply copying the manufacturer’s descriptions word for word. These days, however, you need to do more.

That means creating much more in-depth product pages, including lengthy descriptions that go into detail, answering common questions directly, and using lots of long-tail keywords. Try reviewing as many e-commerce and/or marketplace sites as possible to see what you like or dislike about their content.

For one example, take a look at Exchange, a marketplace that lets you search businesses for sale by owner — note how the primary questions about previous profitability are instantly answered through clear metrics. That’s the kind of design you should be aiming for.

You should also make sure you use plenty of images and videos. Show off your product being used, and/or provide a user guide right there on the page. People love watching videos, and that means they are likely to stay for longer, leading to reduced bounce rates.

It also means using more User Generated Content (UGC), mainly in the form of product reviews. People love to read reviews before buying anything, so this improves the user experience. But it has another SEO benefit.

Your customers are likely to use language that other shoppers will use in their searches, those long-tail keywords you didn’t even think about including. This natural language is perfect for voice searches, and it’s all added without any effort on your part.

Stay Ahead of Your Competition

The one thing you need to know about e-commerce SEO is that it is always changing, and that means you constantly need to keep up with all the latest developments to stay ahead of the game. You may be ahead of your competitors right now, but that could all change if you take your eye off the ball.

For many e-commerce store owners, search engines are the primary providers of qualified leads. If you are in the same situation, make sure you keep up to date with all the latest developments in SEO so you don’t miss out on any targeted traffic.

 

**About the Author: Victoria Greene is an ecommerce marketing expert and freelance writer who thinks everyone in retail should be using UGC. You can read more of her work at her blog Victoria Ecommerce.

 

Photo credit: Daniela Hartmann (alles-schlumpf) on VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA