Does the thought of a SEO tutorial for beginners give you chills?
I don’t blame you, it’s not the sexiest topic on the internets. But let’s look on the bright side — getting your SEO right will lead to high returns and long-term growth, so it’s definitely worth the struggle.
There are some simple, quick wins you can chase to boost the SEO of your eCommerce store.
And this non-technical, step-by-step SEO tutorial for beginners will give you the courage to tackle this topic head on.
- The ABC of keyword research
- What you need to know about the long-tail keywords
- How to find long-tail keywords for your niche?
- Optimising your product pages to target long-tail keywords
- Product meta descriptions
- Product description optimization
- How to optimize product images
- Making the best out of product reviews
- SEO tutorial for beginners: how to track SEO results
- SEO tutorial for beginners: conclusion
The ABC of keyword research
We’ll begin this SEO tutorial for beginners by explaining the ABC of keyword research. Search engines are smart but you still need to help them figure out the contents of your site. Keyword research is the backbone of search marketing. When done right, it doesn’t only help you generate more traffic, it ensures the right customers with the right search intent land on your site.
Let’s say you’re cruising the crowded corridors of a shopping mall, looking to get yourself a nice new pair of trainers… would you be more likely to spend your money in a sneaker store that has the latest shoe models displayed in the window, or a generalist clothes store like Zara? Well, there you have it.
Keyword research can help you understand what web searchers are actively looking for and respond to those demands by either expanding your product offering or better optimising your keywords. If you’re selling computer accessories, should you target people who search for ‘laptop case’ or ‘laptop sleeve’? Which keyword is worth more for your business?
One way to answer this question is to look at search volume and trends. You can use tools like Google’s Keyword planner or KeywordTool to gather your keyword ideas and get a better insight into your customer’s mindset. The more people are searching for the keyword, the bigger is the opportunity.
Obviously, you want the keywords that have enough search volume but, on the other hand, they’re the ones that everyone’s got their eyes on, so the competition is insane. That’s where the long-tail keywords come in.
What you need to know about the long-tail keywords
So what are those long-tail keywords exactly? Let me explain, after all, this is the SEO tutorial for beginners.
Long-tail keywords are phrases or keywords that are super specific (and usually longer than more commonly searched for keywords) that visitors tend to use when they’re at a late stage in the buying cycle or are ready to make a purchase.
Here’s an example of a long-tail keyword: ‘cool harry potter sticker macbook’. Hey, don’t judge me — we all have our own definition of cool.
Long-tail keywords usually receive significantly less volume compared to the most popular search terms but they’re better converting and are often worth more in terms of potential sales. So even though your long-tail keywords won’t rank #2 on Google, they present a huge opportunity and can generate a lot of revenue.
How to find long-tail keywords for your niche?
You can follow these simple steps to find the right long-tail keywords for your eCommerce store.
#1 Start from high-volume keywords
Coming back to my previous example, let’s assume you’re selling computer accessories. To kick off your research, go to Google Keyword Planner and search for ‘computer accessories’.
#2 Use the Keyword Ideas tool to expand your thinking.
#3 Select the most relevant keywords that you can explore further.
#4 Pick one of the keywords and copy/paste it into the search bar above.
#5 Make a list of the long-tail keywords that best capture the intent of your potential customers.
Another great tool to explore is Übersuggest. It will scrape Google for Google suggestion keywords by adding every letter in the alphabet to your keyword.
Optimising your product pages to target long-tail keywords
Now that you have a list of long-tail keywords, it’s time to incorporate them into your product pages and start capturing customers in their shopping journey.
Optimising product pages to target long-tail keywords is quite simple. It’s basically using title tags, meta descriptions, product descriptions and other elements to expose the facets that people search for.
If you can plug in the long-tail keywords naturally, that’s the best strategy to follow. For instance, if one of the phrases you’re looking to optimise for is “handmade leather laptop bag”, you can easily use that in the H1 heading and title tag. See an example below.
Further, the “Brand – Model – Item Type – Year – (Colour)” formula for product title tags is a jolly way to use product attributes to target the long-tail keywords and avoid duplicate content. If you’re selling a lot of similar items, it can be difficult to generate unique title tags. But this formula will help you apply the fundamentals of the SEO school and optimise for key phrases rather than single keywords.
When implemented, it should go something like this: “Awesome Bags Mini Natural Leather Backpack Nude”. You can adjust the formula to include relevant information and integrate the language that your customers are using.
Other elements that you need to consider include:
Product meta descriptions
The purpose of meta descriptions is to inform the user of what to expect on the page and encourage action. I’m not going to lie to you, writing unique meta descriptions for each product page is a pain, but not doing so will lead to loss of profits. So pull yourself together and do it. Make sure you incorporate the exact matches for your keywords and place the most important keywords at the beginning.
Product description optimization
Search engines cannot see images, so make sure your product descriptions are painstakingly detailed and helpful. Needless to say, you should write unique descriptions containing your star keywords for all products. The goal is to both compel the customer to make a purchase and to give search engines meaty descriptions of what’s on the page. And for god’s sake, don’t use product descriptions from manufacturers, or you’ll get banned from the search engines. If you’re tempted to save time on this task, so are hundreds of other online retailers, which leads to dozens of pages with non-unique content. Not good.
How to optimize product images
Product images can help you improve the overall performance of your site’s SEO and appear higher in search rankings. By adding Alt tags, which are text alternative to images when browsers have trouble rendering them properly, you associate keywords with images and ensure your products show up in Google image and web search.
Be smart about optimizing your product image Alt tags:
- Every product image on your site should have an optimized Alt tag.
- Alt tags are not the place to plug your keywords. You should aim to use descriptive language, like you do for image file names. (An example of what you shouldn’t do: “buy ray ban glasses online now”)
- Include model or serial number of a product if it has one.
Making the best out of product reviews
It has become second nature to online buyers to look for product reviews before making a purchase. It’s been estimated that roughly 70% of buyers need social proof to make a decision. If your product pages don’t satisfy this need, you’re missing out on a huge percentage of potential customers and should act immediately to rectify this mistake.
The added benefit of featuring customer reviews is that you get loads of free, unique content on your product pages! Plus, the search engines have to come back and review fresh content more often, which is a great boost for your overall SEO strategy.
YotPo Reviews example
SEO tutorial for beginners: how to track SEO results
The only way for you to know which SEO optimization strategies are working is to keep a close eye on trends and results. So what do you track and how do you track it?
The most commonly used tool is Google Analytics — it’s free and reliable but not particularly user-friendly, so I couldn’t recommend it as your first choice in this SEO tutorial for beginners. If you want to look into other tools, Moz Pro, Majestic and SemRush offer complete SEO solutions.
The most important metrics to track are eCommerce SEO revenue from organic (non-paid) search traffic, eCommerce transactions, eCommerce SEO revenue from new visitors, eCommerce SEO revenue from specific landing pages, and assisted conversions with eCommerce SEO. You can run all of these reports on Google Analytics if you don’t want to invest in a new tool just yet.
SEO tutorial for beginners: conclusion
It will take time and effort for all of these hacks to sink in and start making sense, so don’t worry if it all seems overly complicated in this moment. When it comes to getting the SEO game right, all the little things matter. Don’t skip small tweaks like optimising the product image Alt text or title tags just because they appear insignificant — the compounding effect of all these small changes can make or break your online business.
This SEO tutorial for beginners for just the start. More eCommerce SEO tips on the way, stay tuned.