The SEO You NEED for eCommerce Success

By October 17, 2019September 24th, 2020No Comments

There are a lot of SEO companies out there that will tell you a million and one things you need to be focusing on to be successful in organic search. They’re usually telling you a sort of half-truth, though. I wouldn’t call it an outright lie, because there’s a ton of value in investing in some of the strategies and tactics that we won’t get into here. But they aren’t always 100% necessary. So buckle in and forget what you *think* you know about SEO for just a few minutes.

On-Page Content

Pages need to be optimized for search engines and human beings

Those aren’t mutually exclusive, I promise. Search engines rely on creating the best user experience for real life human beings just like you and me. That means it is absolutely mission-critical for them to show the most relevant result for what a real life human is searching. And if you’ve ever avoided a link in a search result because it was stuffed full of keywords or been very disappointed because the page you landed on was not at all what you were expecting, you’ll understand this completely.

Let’s make a checklist of basic important items:

  • H1 tag
  • H2 tag(s)
  • Body content
  • Product descriptions

You don’t have to be a stellar copywriter to write great product descriptions so long as you follow “The Formula.” The Formula for good product descriptions is basically answering these questions: 

  • How does your product look and behave?
  • What problem does it solve?
  • Don’t assume your customer knows these things

If you are thorough, you’re going to give search engines a really good reason to show your product or page to prospective customers.

Category descriptions

I can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve gotten in with clients about category descriptions. This is an argument I have yet to lose and until or unless something major changes I will win every single time. 

Writing category descriptions gives you an opportunity to educate customers on the problems that your products solve.

Want to know the coolest part about this? Chances are that very few of your competitors are writing these (if any at all) and that means you can give yourself a competitive advantage that’s great for search engines and for sales. 

Good looking images

Images are like the teeth of the website. If you don’t have them you probably look really weird. If they don’t look good you also probably just look really weird. And if you look that weird, people probably won’t want to hang out with you. I mean…

Clear Calls-to-Action 

We work in eCommerce. If it’s not clear you want people to buy something on your site, chances are you’re doing it wrong. You’ve probably been on a site at least once in your life where you’ll see a button that says “Click Here” but doesn’t really say what you’re going to find on the other side. Sometimes contextual clues help you out, but it sure would be nice if the button said “Click Here to Purchase” or “Get Your Free Guide.”

Page Titles

Search engines still use these to determine how high you deserve to appear in search results. Therefore, it’s imperative that you write unique page titles that are written for people and search engines alike. There are a million and one blogs on how to write good page titles, and while there’s not a single correct way, I’ll just share my personal favorite title structure:

{Descriptor} {Product/Page Name} {Qualifier} – {Site Title}

Made Up Ex) Elegant White & Blue Polo Socks for Jockeys – Jockey Socks

Meta Descriptions

You have an opportunity to speak directly to your potential customers through meta descriptions. If you write a good meta description, search engines will display it directly through the search result to your potential customer. It shows up as the gray snippet of text in search result listings. Sometimes this takes a minute to click with people, so I’ll show you what I mean with a few actual results from a search for one of my favorite nerdy things to procrastinate with… Rubix Cubes.


We’re focusing on meta descriptions, so we won’t even bother going over the horrendous page title. This meta description is basically just a list of image URLs. The rest starts to give you an idea of what you might see on the other end of the result, but I’m way into this world and I’m going to be perfectly honest, I have zero clue what a spooky speedcube is supposed to be. Bonus that you can see how much it costs, though!


This meta description is actually descriptive. It gives some insight into how the product was created and why, though it doesn’t give you much else.

Better-er (But Could Still Be Improved)

In this example, this is the best of the three. This is a Chinese product sold on Amazon in Canada, so we’ll let the grammatical error slide. Aside from that, the description actually tells you what product you’ll find by clicking, who it’s for, and what it’s used for. If it actually had the price of the product in there as well, it’d be top notch.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO can be a little bit misleading. You might be thinking that technical SEO just means that if the site functions well you’re good to go. This isn’t always the case. While it IS mission-critical to have a website that functions well, there are some major issues that can crop up that harm your website in organic search. And in my decade or so of experience in SEO, 99% of the time business owners have no idea these are hindering them.

Hire Someone if You Don’t Have the Chops

Technical SEO is a beast. Platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce help manage some of the major technical SEO issues you might run into. That being said, show me a website with more than 5,000 products and I will show you a site that is riddled with technical SEO issues. It’s not always avoidable.

Big things like duplicate content and rampant 404 errors to small things like faceted navigation can ultimately have a huge impact on how well you appear in search results. If you don’t have the skill set to check for these things, it’s in your best interest to contract someone who can.

Despite What You’ve Been Told, Backlinks Probably Don’t Matter That Much… Yet

Ok this is a half truth. But working hard for backlinks to a site riddled with technical issues or that is just generally unoptimized is a massive waste of effort. Set the foundation for success first, and then focus on the rest.

It’s important to note that you should not read into what I’m not saying. Backlinks are extremely important for any website that wants good appearance in organic search. But the truth of the matter is that if your product is good and your customers talk about you and care about what you do, the backlinks will come. Your job, first, is to make your eCommerce site as usable and technically sound as possible so that your customers have the best experience possible.

Tanner Petroff

Tanner Petroff

My name is Tanner and I’m a web marketer by trade. I’m always striving to learn and provide the best work I can. Want us to help? Fill out this form.

Leave a Reply