HERE'S MY KEY POINT: No matter how amazing your products or services are or how beautiful your branding, you’re not going to sell much online if customers can’t find your site when specifically searching out what you sell.
That's why it's important to make the products (or services) listed on your e-commerce storefront super discoverable by search engines. When qualified customers coming looking for you (that means people with the means and desire to buy exactly what you offer... the BEST kind of customer!) you want to ensure it's as easy as possible for those customers to choose to spend with you.
This mean you need a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. That might sound daunting and overly technical, but it doesn't have to be. Simply put, SEO is the process of improving the visibility of your online store on Google. The higher you rank in search engines (ie. the higher you come up on the first page of Google), the more traffic gets driven to your store.
SEO can get complex... But before you start delving in to more advanced strategies (and certainly before you pay a marketing firm to optimise your site!), know you can get a whole lot of benefit by keeping it simple and making sure you've got the basics right.
The 6 Basic Strategies To Make Your Products And Services More Discoverable Online
1. BE CLEAR ABOUT KEYWORDS Think about the exact words that people would use to search for your store and products. Use those keywords repeatedly in your product titles, on your product pages, in your image alt text, and on your blog.
2. USE YOUR ANALYTICS DATA Not sure which keywords to focus on? Once your shop's been up and running for a little while, your analytics data can help make that clearer. Most e-commerce platforms, like Shopify, tells you what search terms people have actually used to get onto your site. If you notice people searching for a particular thing, include the exact search terms they used as much as possible throughout your website.
3. ALWAYS FILL IN YOUR ALT TEXT Google can't read images, only text, so by accurately describing the contents of each image, you'll ensure that your photos show up in Google image search (which a lot of people use instead of the first page of Google).
- If you use Wordpress, install the free SEO BY YOAST plugin... it'll tell you what to do
- If you use Squarespace, add Alt Text by writing the image description in the "caption" box, then select "do not display caption" to make it hidden in the image editor... You can also check out this tutorial.
- If you use Shopify, install the free Alt Text Plugin to help you along!
4. FULLY DESCRIBE YOUR PRODUCTS Accurately and fully describe your products, including the designer’s name if applicable on your product pages. The more detail you include the better your chance of ranking in long tail keyword searches. That's when customers use longer and more specific keyword phrases because they have a particular product or service in mind, usually when they're closer to a point-of-purchase. So rather than searching for "mid century chair" they might search for "Danish teak mid century chair green wool upholstery East Toronto" in the hopes that the perfect piece of furniture is waiting for them just around the corner.
HELPFUL HINT: In my own experience running online shops, including your location in your Alt Text and Product Pages is a great way attract to local buyers. It's an under-utilised tactic among e-retailers and can really help you stand out in a world where most customers still prefer to shop locally, if only because they want their products faster and to save on shipping. If your business also has a physical location, this is a trick you definitely don't want to miss!
5. AVOID WHIMSICAL PRODUCT NAMES Name your products properly, at least in the URL of the product page, by using keywords that accurately describe the item. Calling a necklace “the moonlit pendant” is artistic and may feel super on-brand... But no one is ever going to search for that. Ever. They will search for 24k Gold Fill Crescent Moon Long Pendant, so go with that.
6. BLOG FREQUENTLY Have a blog attached to your e-commerce site and publish a post on it at least once a week. This will give potential customers more information about your products or services and the chance to bond with the story and values of your business. Use your blog to answer FAQs to preempt any concerns which could act as a barrier to sale. All this highly relevant content will keep your site fresh and help you be seen as an authority in your niche from Google’s perspective. That directly creates more opportunities to rank on Google for the long form keywords people are searching for around your topic, which is the whole point of your e-commerce SEO strategy!