Internet Marketing Since 2003

Ecommerce SEO: The Basics

Shopping cart with growth arrow showing increase in ecommerce sales

Simply put, SEO for Ecommerce businesses is the process of optimizing the shop to meet Google’s standards so that products rank at the top of searches and that purchases of the products are completed online.

Ecommerce SEO vs Regular SEO


Ecommerce SEO is the same as regular SEO in that sites still need to be optimized completely with on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. All of the same rules apply. The only real difference is that some elements require more attention and must not be overlooked in ecommerce sites. For instance, images are an important element of marketing products, so attention needs to be paid to the image file name, the image alt tag and description so that they represent the product well.


The following are some of the key SEO elements that require full attention in ecommerce websites:


  • Keyword Research
  • Category Structure
  • URL Structure
  • Product Optimization

Read our article about the basics of seo for more information.

Keyword Research


Keyword research is perhaps the most important step in the optimization process for all business types. If you aren’t targeting the most relevant keywords for your business, you will be missing the mark everywhere else.


The challenge for ecommerce shops then, is to perform a keyword analysis and determine the best keywords to target. Ordinarily it would be the category and product names that would be used as keywords, but a little research can help a great deal.


For instance, a bathroom store sells bath tubs and optimizes his bath tub category as ‘bath tubs’. Semrush’s keyword magic tool, however, indicates that ‘bath tubs’ have a search volume of 12,100 in the USA whereas the keyword ‘bathtubs’ have a search volume of 27,100. The Keyword Magic Tool also provides additional keywords that are related to bathtubs that are less competitive. This category is extremely competitive but there are some great opportunities for sub-categories such as ‘freestanding bathtubs’ that are less competitive but still have good search volume.


It’s important to select keywords that have great search volume that are relevant to your business. There is no point in targeting a keyword that has great search volume if you are invisible in organic search results. Any traffic you would get will also not likely convert into a sale.

Person working with computer laptop to manage categories

Category Structure

The category structure is very important because it also has a huge impact on the website’s navigation. A simple category>sub-category>product structure is the simplest and cleanest way to organize your shop. It makes navigation easier for visitors which is important for user experience, and it makes it easier for Google to crawl and index your website’s pages.

A great rule of thumb to use is that no page should be more than three clicks from the home page. The use of breadcrumbs also provides an extra layer of simplicity and ease of navigation.

Make sure that the category and sub-category pages are optimized for the most relevant search terms as determined by keyword research. Searches are most commonly made for the category or sub-category 

and not the specific product, so shops that have 10,000 products can get away with optimizing the categories and sub-categories without optimizing all 10,000 products.


For instance, the category bathroom faucets have a search volume of 40,500 searches per month according to Semrush. The sub-category gold bathroom faucets have 5400 searches and Moen gold bathroom faucets have a search volume of 480 per month. A search for the specific product ‘Moen gold bathroom faucet model X’ has no search volume. So, it is important to optimize your category and sub-category pages which pull in large amounts of search traffic, and to make sure that traffic is funneled into buying a product.


URL Structure


Well designed URLs can help Google better find and index ecommerce web pages, so it is important to start with a logical URL structure. It also enhances the users experience by having a simple way to traverse the website.


Targeted categories and products must appear in the URL. Be sure to have the keywords you have chosen in the URL.

Content Optimization

Ecommerce websites are unique in the sense that many sites have the same products and categories. Because you can be selling the same products as Best Buy, Amazon, Walmart you can have the same product level content such as descriptions and specifications without it being deemed duplicate content.

You have an opportunity to stand out from competing shops however by properly optimizing your category and product pages. The elements of these pages that need to be optimized include:

  • Product Descriptions
  • Images
  • Reviews
Keyword research on man's laptop computer

Product Descriptions


It is essential that product descriptions are optimized. Provide a complete set of details in the product description and optimize it for the keywords you are targeting on the product page. If you have a lot of content for the description you can use a template that has a ‘quick description’ which captures the first paragraph or two of your description with the full description available further down the page. The more content the better for Google but we need to balance that with trying to capture a sale.


Unique content will set you apart from other ecommerce shops selling the same product. Rather than settling for the standard details that are provided to you by suppliers, take the opportunity to add value by adding unique content that the user and Google will like.




Images are a big part of an ecommerce website so make sure that the image filename and alt tags are optimized. The image name should be the product or category name, or your targeted keyword and the alt tag should reflect your product’s description. Images should also have small file sizes.




Product reviews are an essential part of ecommerce shops as users frequently make their purchase decisions on the reviews they read. Reviews also convey trust to the user, and they can help increase conversion rates.


The Ecommerce SEO Process

Initial Discussion

We will work with you to understand your business, your goals, your audience and whether you are looking for local results or if you want to reach nationally or globally. We’ll also work with you to understand which categories or products of your ecommerce site are most important so we focus on those first.

Ecommerce discovery in boardroom

Initial Assessment

We will assess your site and look for any issues it may have that will impede rankings such as old code, poor mobile design, URL structure and category structure. 

Keyword Analysis

We will perform full keyword research for your site as a whole but also for categories, subcategories and in some cases products of your ecommerce site. It’s important to select keywords that have great search volume that are relevant to your business

Woman working at computer

On-Page SEO

Once the keywords have been approved we will then work on optimizing your pages, your ecommerce categories and sub-categories, products and other on-page factors

Content Optimization

We will optimize your content so that your product and category descriptions, images and reviews are setup for success.

Man and client starting project with handshake
Ecommerce SEO report on boardroom table

Measuring & Reporting

Measuring and reporting ensures that you are making steady progress and that identified issues that crop up are resolved quickly and on an ongoing basis. 

Search Engine Results

Enjoy the fruits of your labour such as top Google rankings, more visibility and increased sales!

Happy businessman client with arms in air

Staying Ahead of Your Competition

SEO is an ongoing process that ensures your biggest asset, your website or ecommerce shop, continues to improve and doesn’t begin to slide. Ongoing SEO is the best investment you could possibly make.

Our core specialty is SEO, and our results have helped to develop many successful long-term relationships with our clients, many of whom have been with us for over a decade, and we hope to add you to our long list of satisfied customers.


Contact us now for a free consultation.