Whether or not your e-commerce store is a hobby, a side gig for extra money or your main source of income, you want it to be successful.

Being successful isn’t easy.

Where do you start?

Beginners may not know where to start and a quick search for the best strategies to make an e-commerce store successful brings up a scattered list of results ranging from social media marketing to guides on how to make a new website.

But there is really one important strategy you should take to make an e-commerce store successful. SEO-ification. (Yeah, I made that word up).

SEO has the highest ROI of any customer acquisition strategy for e-commerce stores.

If you’re new to SEO, that’s okay. Acronyms can be scary, especially when they’re attached to technical concepts. But you can break down SEO into three categories to ensure your e-commerce store is profitable. They are:

  • technical SEO,
  • content marketing, and
  • link building.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO is the building blocks of your strategy and website. The best way to implement this is by keeping it at the forefront of your mind while first creating your e-commerce website.

Site architecture is important for ranking higher. So, when designing your site, make sure to categorize and build pages that flow together. Other things to check off the site architecture list include:

  • making sure to have an HTTPS secure website,
  • creating an URL structure for the entire site,
  • and purchasing a hosting provider that will be able to handle your visitors and give you proper site speed.

Duplicate content is another technical SEO nightmare. Having pages that have the same content confuse Google and cannibalize one another, hurting the overall SERP of your website. Make sure to become familiar with the noindex and canonical tags to avoid Google penalizing your e-commerce store.

Broken links and 404s are yet another simple, but important SEO factor to monitor. This can include links pointing towards other websites that have broken pages, or linking internally to other pages on your e-commerce site that don’t exist. Many times this is due to user error and fudging up the URL when publishing content.

Crawling tools such as ScreamingFrog are great solutions to all of these problems. Crawling your e-commerce store regularly will catch all of these problems such as duplicate content, broken links, 404s and more to help you stay on top of the technical side of SEO.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a much more fun piece than the technical side. This is where you produce content for your e-commerce site, normally in the form of a blog. The end goal here is to drive top of the funnel organic traffic to your site that may ultimately result in a sell.

An example of these top of the funnel terms would be “how to design shorts” for a website selling shorts.

Keyword research is the most important element. Using keyword research tools like Ahrefs, SEMRush or AdWords allows e-commerce professionals to dive into specific keywords relevant to their business, as well as see their search volume and ranking difficulty.

Once you’ve selected keywords to target, the next step would be to do some competitive research on those who already rank for those keywords. You’re going to want to mirror their style, but make it even better. Great content ranks. Remember that.

When you start to produce your content, make sure to optimize all on-page elements. These include meta-text, the title, headers and other basic SEO on-page fundamentals.

An important element to not forget is proper anchor-text. Make sure when linking to other pages internally on your e-commerce site to hyperlink the specific phrase you’re trying to rank on for the linked page. The hyperlinked phrase tells Google that the linked page is associated with that term and is one of the best ways to have your content rank (or not rank) for a target term.

Link building

Link building is one of the forgotten tactics of basic SEO and content marketing. Link building means other websites are backlinking to your e-commerce store.

In the beginning, seek out directory sites relevant to your e-commerce niche and list your website. Build relationships with other industry sites in hopes of having them link to you in the future.

When you produce content, spend extra time conducting outreach to other content authors asking to give you a link in their content. One of the most important ranking factors is strong backlinks with a proper anchor-text. This not only helps the overall visibility of your content and store, but a backlink is essentially a recommendation from another site, which gives your e-commerce store a big bump in SERP rankings.

Link building is not easy. It’s a ton of manual work to find content, authors, and emails for outreach. You must build emails that convert and not sound spammy. You may send 100 emails and only get 1 conversion. That’s okay. It’s worth it.

Be sure to avoid buying backlinks. This is a blackhat method and Google will penalize your site. Also, remember to stay away from websites that have low website authority and that are scammy or spammy. If a site is linking to yours that is a known malware site, Google will associate that with your e-commerce store. Not good.

There are many tools to utilize for monitoring and building backlinks. Tools such as Ahref and SEMRush can help find potential backlink targets and monitoring backlink acquisition, while tools such as BuzzStream help you conduct the actual outreach.

Monitor Results and Start Selling

If you follow these three steps for SEO-ification, your e-commerce store should begin to see results. Content marketing and SEO don’t work overnight, remember that. But that’s okay!

Over the course of a few months, you should start to notice the impact of these strategies and begin to notice a traffic spike. With traffic come sells.

And like that, you’re a successful e-commerce professional.