SEO guide for e-commerce – online store optimization in a nutshell, part AND

19 March 2014

For some time now I have been meaning to write a series of articles useful for online store owners. Today, for most of them, organic results are one of the basic sources of traffic and at the same time a channel generating significant profits, so I hope that all of my subsequent texts will be useful to you. You will find there both basic and more advanced information that will help increase the visibility of your store in natural search results.

For those who have not seen my previous series of articles on content duplication, please read my previous blog entries: The most common reasons for content duplication, How to deal with content thieves, Duplicate content test results. I also recommend Patrycja Tomczak's article How to prevent duplicate content between your own domains.

I have an online store, where should I start?

Many online store owners are not aware of the enormous potential of their websites. Thousands of product pages, dozens or even hundreds of categories, this is an incredibly huge potential for queries that can be obtained thanks to proper website optimization.

?A thorough keyword analysis is a key element of SEO for every e-commerce website that wants to manage organic results in search engines such as Google.

Content analysis? how is it done?

At the very beginning, it is necessary to prepare a list of all subpages for which we want to conduct keyword analysis. In most cases, this will be the home page of our store, category and subcategory pages, and product pages. On some e-commerce websites you can also find pages with guides, entries on the company blog, etc.

Once we have a list of subpages that we want to optimize, I suggest creating a Google account if we don't have one yet.

The tool that is perfect for our keyword analysis is Google Keyword Planner and it is available only to logged in users

If we want to analyze phrases for a specific subpage, we must first consider what the category is about and what products it includes.

In the case below, we have selected one key phrase: evening dresses. So let's assume that we need to optimize a specific category page in a women's clothing store.

The value that will be important for us is Average monthly number of searches.

?Average monthly search volume is the average number of searches for a given keyword over the last 12 months. Calculated based on the selected location and search network targeting settings, the average number of monthly searches for a given term with specific targeting settings?

After selecting the main keyword, it is worth searching for a few auxiliary words that can be used within this subpage in order to use even greater query potential. We can search for such phrases in many ways. One of them is to review the list of keywords offered by Google in the Keyword Planner tool. Thanks to this, you can find phrases such as: cheap evening dresses, evening dresses for weddings or evening dresses shop.

Another way to find potential keywords is through autosuggestions in Google. By entering our keyword with any letter of the alphabet, we receive examples of several key phrases that are searched by the user in Google.

If you have such phrases, it is a good idea to check their average monthly search volume using the Keyword Planner tool and choose the most valuable ones.

The next tool on our list is the service, which is able to search for hundreds of keyword suggestions resulting from combining our main phrase with words starting with all letters of the alphabet. Of course, we should always remember to check the popularity of searched phrases in Kewyord Planner.

?Keyword analysis is not the easiest task, but it is the first and one of the most important elements in all SEO activities.?

What next?

Having a list of URL addresses of subpages that we want to optimizeanalyzed together with the list of keywords assigned to them, we can move on to the next stage, which is the optimization of website elements. Staying on the topic of women's clothing, we will quickly optimize the evening dresses category page.

Meta title & description

The title and description of a given subpage are one of the most important elements that we must pay attention to. Next to the URL and, in some cases, richsnippets, they appear in search results, encouraging you to click and go to our site. Uninteresting presentation of the offer in these elements may result in a low CTR value.

For simplicity, let's assume that we have assigned the following phrases to our category, of course the set could look different. It all depends on what words we care about the most and how precisely we determine the potential of a given subpage…

It is a good idea for the words assigned to a given subpage to appear in these two elements. It's true that "meta description" it is not taken into account when determining the ranking of search results, but it is worth taking care of it. Most e-commerce websites, due to their size, use title and description templates that speed up the entire optimization work.

The phrases specified in the table above, of course, do not limit the pool of keywords for which our website can appear in Google. For example, by adding the phrase "internet" we also have the opportunity to appear for inquiries about evening dresses online store or dresses online store and much more. Of course, optimizing only these two elements and using keywords in them will not guarantee you high positions, many factors contribute to this state of affairs.

H1 header

This is another element that search engine robots pay attention to when reading a given page and assigning a topic to it. Unfortunately, many ready-made scripts in online stores make it impossible to edit them independently.

Very often, in the case of ready-made solutions, we are forced to have the first-level header take the same form as the category name. In some cases this makes it less optimal than it could be.


This is a navigation element that is overlooked by many e-commerce websites, allowing the additional use of keywords in the website content.

Friendly URLs

Many content management systems do not pay much attention to friendly URLs. Please remember, however, that the optimal structure of URL addresses is very important, especially on e-commerce websites.

?The form of URL addresses is important both for website users and search engine robots.

When we become a potential customer of an online store, we want the URLs to be as simple as possible, without unnecessary numbers and characters that are impossible to remember. When returning to the store, potential customers often enter URL addresses directly into the browser bar or search for them in Google because they want to immediately find the subpage they are interested in on our website.

SEO friendly URLs are also important for search engine robots. When we talk about friendly URLs, we usually mean those without session parameters and tags and usually containing keywords. A less than optimal structure or errors in addresses may lead to ineffective indexation of the website by Google robots. On the other hand, linking the content of addresses with the content of subpages may increase click-through rates on search results pages.

When creating friendly URLs, we should remember, among other things:

  • they contained key phrases,
  • separate words with a dash or underscore, but I personally suggest using the former,
  • the address was devoid of diacritics and spaces.

When creating the structure of URL addresses in an online store, we should also pay attention to file extensions, which are mainly determined by the technology used to create the website (e.g. PHP, ASP. NET, HTML). In such a case, the best solution will be to resign from extensions, if of course it is possible, or to use the most universal extension, e.g. html. InWe can do all this using mod_rewrite. p>

Unfortunately, when making changes to the structure of URL addresses, we often encounter errors that may lead to duplication of content within the website. Changing the URL structure and leaving old addresses without redirections or simply errors in the addresses cause the same content on the website to be located under several URLs at the same time. Therefore, we must remember to standardize all addresses and create a situation in which the content of a given website will be available to search engine robots only at one, the most optimal address.

If you are interested in the topic of content duplication in your online store, please read the next part of the guide or the articles mentioned at the beginning of this text.

In the second part of the SEO guide for e-commerce, I will describe, among others, issues such as:

  • duplication of content in the online store,
  • microformats,
  • optimization of product graphics

Also read

Local SEO – what you need to know

Local SEO – what you need to know

Local SEO is crucial for smaller companies that operate on a regional rather than national level.

11 March 2021