While it can be difficult to say which ranking signals are the “least” and “most” important, what we can say is that all of them matter. How much each of them weighs is up for Google to decide and for the rest of us to guess.
We can also say that each of the following ranking signals will directly impact the success of your eCommerce SEO campaign, which in turn will influence how many users actually make it to your website. There are countless more than these – Backlinko alone has compiled 200 – making it difficult for online merchants to balance them all on their own.
The good news? A qualified eCommerce SEO agency can help manage them for you, resulting in higher domain authority and increased rankings.
1. Website speed
Website speed is a huge and important ranking signal that will directly alert Google as to the authority of your website, but there’s more to the bigger picture. Even though a slow site speed could result in a penalty, guess what else it will do – it will drive visitors from your website.
Even if you don’t consider bounce rate to be a direct ranking signal, it will tip Google off that something is wrong, creating an endless cycle. The slower your website is, the more unfavorably it will rank. See the section below on user experience for more information.
2. Responsive design
A few years back, Google officially began mobile-first indexing, which means that the mobile version of a website will be crawled and indexed before the desktop version. Websites that lack a mobile-friendly design will be in trouble here.
Mobile first indexing is a sign of the time. Increasingly, online shoppers are conducting purchases through mobile devices. If you don’t have a mobile friendly design, it isn’t just your ranking that will suffer. You will also miss out on sales, period.
3. Site security
Do you see that little padlock at the top of the screen by your URL? Well, perhaps you don’t, which wouldn’t be a good thing, since site security is apparently a very important ranking signal and one that should not be secured, especially since it’s so easy to secure and implement an SSL certificate.
It’s a direct signal to Google and sites that lack SSL certificates will not rank as highly as those that do. Also, a secure site makes customers confident, which is one thing when they’re only visiting to consume content and quite another when you’re asking for their credit card information. It’s actually a vital component of eCommerce SEO.
4. Site architecture
A logical, coherent site architecture is another important aspect of eCommerce SEO, and one that an eCommerce SEO agency can help you manage. A confusing, complex site setup is actually bad for two reasons – one, it tells Google that your website is a mess, confounding rankings, and two, it destroys UX – that’s becoming a theme here.
5. Optimized onsite content
Another vital aspect of eCommerce SEO is the consistent publication of a variety of optimized content for your website. This includes content on many different pages on your site, including your product and categories pages. It could be optimized product descriptions on your product pages or optimized blurbs for your category pages. It could also take the form of a series of highly optimized blogs.
Unfortunately for many eCommerce businesses, although optimized content publication is a vital aspect of search engine optimization marketing strategies, it’s not easy to produce. It requires thorough keyword research and carefully crafted content that is the right length, completely original, informative, and keyword optimized without being keyword-stuffed, which can incur a penalty.
Luckily, most eCommerce SEO agencies have years of experience producing optimized content, and can deliver it for your eCommerce website.
6. Duplicate content
An eCommerce SEO agency will also audit your website for duplicate content, which can incur an SEO penalty, and remove it when and where it is found.
7. URL optimization
A URL slug can be a long mishmash of nonsense letters or numbers, or it can be carefully optimized pursuant to your keyword strategy. One is useless for eCommerce SEO, and the other can boost your rankings.
8. Metadata optimizations
While it isn’t a hugely important ranking signal, every little bit helps, and optimizing your metadata opportunistically with a mix of short and long tail keywords will help your website rank more favorably for key search terms. Metadata may even encourage higher click-through and conversion rates.
9. Coherent internal link structure
Your eCommerce site needs a coherent internal link structure that either moves visitors down the sales funnel or gets them closer to the content they’re looking for. An online store with a poor web design that lacks a coherent internal link structure hurts both SEO and UX – a bad combo, by all metrics.
10. Backlink strategy
Just as important as internal link strategy is backlink strategy, which will create backlinks to your website that indicate your business as an authority in its field. Without a steady flow of high quality backlinks, you’re missing out on opportunities to increase authority and rankings in the long term. While acquiring backlinks can be time and resource intensive, an eCommerce agency can help out and may even have an established process in place for doing so.
11. User experience
You may have noticed a common theme here, that many of these ranking signals not only directly tip Google off one way or the other, but that they can directly impact UX. A poor UX will lead to high exit and bounce rates and low time on page. Whether or not these are direct ranking signals, they are bad for business, which means that engaging in effective eCommerce SEO strategies will help provide features for your website that encourage sales from the traffic that they also bring in. It’s a win-win scenario.
All you need now is an eCommerce SEO agency with a proven record of success that can deliver on all of these and many more. That agency is 1Digital Agency, which has been perfecting its SEO process since 2012. Don’t leave the health of your eCommerce websites to agencies that don’t stand on a history of success. Call 1Digital Agency at 888-982-8269 and start generating a successful, long-term eCommerce SEO strategy today.