How To Generate Sales with SEO: The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce SEO

The complete guide to Ecommerce SEO strategies to boost highly qualified traffic, leads, and conversions to your Shopify store.

Matt Schlicht (CEO of Octane AI)
February 9, 2024

With nearly $4 trillion in sales globally, Ecommerce is growing faster than ever before. 

But with so many online stores competing for attention, how can you ensure your Shopify store stands out? 

This is where Ecommerce SEO comes in.

Optimizing your Ecommerce website for search engines may seem complicated at first, but it could hold the key to dramatically increasing your organic traffic, leads, and sales. 

Implement Ecommerce SEO best practices and you'll start ranking higher in search results, driving more qualified traffic to your online store.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll break down everything you need to know about Ecommerce SEO in 2024 and beyond.

Ecommerce SEO Basics: A Beginner's Guide to Optimizing Your Online Store for Search Engines

So you've launched your online store but you aren't seeing the traffic and sales you expected.

Your products are amazing but no one can find your website. 

Why is this happening? 

Sure, you can leverage paid channels and spend on ads to get visitors to your site. 

However, that can be costly, and doesn’t necessarily scale profitably. 

Focusing on organic traffic, from search engines like Google and Bing, can help you generate qualified traffic that is searching for the specific content you are putting out. 

Ecommerce SEO is the practice of improving your site's ranking in search results and attracting qualified organic traffic. 

This is important as it helps online stores drive more traffic, increase sales, build trust and credibility for the brand, and gain a competitive edge over other non-optimized online stores. 

Without proper on-page and off-page optimization, even the best products can get buried by competing websites. 

The process to rank for the search terms you want to generate traffic for involves various tasks such as performing keyword research, improving site structure, optimizing on-page SEO elements, creating quality content, and building backlinks. 

Ultimately, focusing on SEO is a cost-effective way to reach customers without paying for ads and can lead to a higher return on investment. 

By implementing effective SEO strategies, Ecommerce websites can attract visitors who input queries related to their products and brand, ultimately leading to increased revenue and growth.

But there are unique challenges and nuances for optimizing online stores, which we'll explore in this guide.

Key Challenges of Ecommerce SEO

Optimizing Ecommerce sites comes with some unique hurdles, including:

  • Massive inventory - More products means more pages to optimize and manage.
  • Constantly changing catalog - New arrivals and expired listings make SEO management tricky.
  • Buyer intent varies - Customers at different funnel stages have different needs.
  • Limited control over product info - Reliant on suppliers for images, descriptions, etc.
  • Competitive keywords - Commercial keywords around products are highly competitive.

While tough, none of these are insurmountable.

Tactics like streamlining content, focusing on buyer keywords, and leveraging automation can help overcome them.

Now let's get into specific Ecommerce SEO tips for optimizing your online store...

3 Areas To Optimize Ecommerce Content for More Organic Traffic

If you are struggling to get organic traffic, you can focus on creating optimized content that addresses your customers needs, questions, challenges. 

For Ecommerce sites, content is king when it comes to SEO. 

Well-crafted product descriptions, titles, images, and other copy elements are crucial for ranking high and driving conversions.

Here are 3 ways to optimize your content for SEO: 

#1 Write Compelling Product Page Copy

Product Pages are the heart of any online store.

This is where customers research products and decide to hit that buy button. That’s why optimizing product page content is mission-critical.

Here are key elements to focus on:

Create Descriptive Product Titles

Keep product titles short, descriptive, and focused on critical keywords. Include key specifications like brand, item type, and more.

See this example from apparel brand Outdoor Voices for their top – the title is simple and straightforward: 

outdoor voices


And the similar layout for Lululemon shows a good product title, which is clear, simple, and to-the-point: 


Product Descriptions

Write detailed descriptions highlighting features, benefits, materials, specs, and other relevant details.

Use keywords naturally. Use bullet points, white space, and active voice for easy reading. Address common questions and pain points.

Here is a nice example of great copywriting and simple communication from jewelry brand Mejuri

Include Attractive Product Visuals

High-quality hero image: Use a professional-looking main product image that showcases the product clearly and enticingly. Invest in good photography or learn DIY techniques.

Multiple angles & zoom: Include images from different angles, close-ups, and lifestyle shots to showcase details and usage. Allow zooming for detailed inspection.

Video: Consider adding product videos that demonstrate features, benefits, and usage scenarios. Short, informative videos can boost conversions. The Mejuri  product page includes a video, alongside the still photos. 

Use high-quality photos showing different angles and details. Optimize file names and ALT text with keywords.

Use Header Tags Strategically

Proper header tag usage benefits both users and search engines by making pages easier to parse, comprehend and navigate. Headers should be crafted with the reader in mind first while also optimizing for SEO where possible.

Proper Header Tags improves readability for shoppers, and adds structure to your content for accessibility. Moreover, it helps search engines understand page topics and content hierarchy and can help pages rank for more keywords through proper optimization

Here are some pointers to ensure you get the most SEO mileage from your Header Tags: 

Use Header Tags to Structure Content

  • Use H1 tag for the main product/title
  • Use H2 tags for key sections (ie product descriptions) and related details
  • Use H3 tags to break down details within H2 sections
  • Maintain a clear hierarchy from H1 down to lower-level headers

Header Tag Best Practices

  • Only use one H1 per page
  • Typically use 2-5 H2 tags per page
  • Use keywords in H1 and H2 tags where relevant
  • Focus on creating headings that guide the reader
  • Avoid over-optimizing with keywords (keep it natural)
  • Use brief but descriptive phrasing for headings
  • Leave proper spacing between headers and content


#2: Create Organized Category Pages

Category pages in an Ecommerce store serve as the gateway to a collection of related products, playing a crucial role in guiding customers to their desired items and significantly influencing the store’s SEO performance. 

Optimizing these pages can enhance user experience, improve product visibility, and drive targeted traffic, thereby boosting overall sales.

Here are some specific benefits of creating great Category Pages: 

Increased Organic Traffic:

  • Target Relevant Keywords: Category pages allow you to target broader, high-volume keywords related to your product categories. This attracts users searching for those terms, driving more organic traffic to your site.
  • Improved Ranking for Product Pages: Optimized category pages act as strong internal linking hubs, distributing link juice to individual product pages, potentially boosting their ranking in search results.

Enhanced User Experience:

  • Clear Navigation & Information: Optimized category pages with clear titles, descriptions, and filters help users find what they're looking for quickly and easily, improving user experience and reducing bounce rates.
  • Targeted Content & Comparisons: Informative content like buyer guides and comparison tables educate users and build trust, guiding them towards relevant products and improving conversion rates.

Competitive Advantage:

  • Higher Visibility: Well-optimized category pages rank higher in search results, making your store more visible to potential customers compared to competitors with weaker SEO.
  • Attract Long-Tail Traffic: Long-tail keywords targeted in category descriptions can attract users further down the purchase funnel, closer to making a purchase.

Here are some additional tips to improve your Category pages: 

  • Optimize URL structure: Keep URLs clear, concise, and keyword-rich.
  • Utilize structured data markup: Help search engines understand your content better.
  • Optimize for mobile: Ensure smooth user experience on all devices.
  • Track and analyze performance: Monitor metrics like click-through rates and conversion rates to identify areas for improvement.

Take a large Ecommerce site like Best Buy as an example. There are many Category pages, and within each Category, there are Sub-Categories, Sub-Sub Categories and more. 

For example, if you want to find a MacBook Air, it would be in the category of Computers & Tablets, and the Sub-Category of Laptops, and more specifically the MacBook Sub-Sub Category. 

You can see how this is built out by looking at the breadcrumbs on the page: 

A more simple example may be a coffee brand, where there is the Category of “Coffee”, but the different styles of coffee represent different Sub-Categories: 

Counter Culture Coffee organizes their Category pages based on the different types of coffees that they have – Year-Round Blends, Single-Origins, subscriptions (and then their merchandise). 

Best Buy and Counter Culture Coffee are great examples of how you can optimize your Category Page by following these best practices: 

  • Choosing strong category title tags with head keywords
  • Writing compelling, keyword-rich category descriptions
  • Creating comparison tables, buyer guides, or other informative content
  • Linking to relevant, high-performing product pages
  • Keeping content updated and refreshing it regularly


#3: Write High Quality Blog Content

Your Ecommerce blog offers a prime opportunity to rank for keywords through unique, high-quality informational content. Thus it is pivotal in driving organic traffic.

Here are some practical tips for leveraging blog content to boost e-commerce SEO:

  • Establish Brand Authority: Blogging allows Ecommerce brands to position themselves as industry experts and build brand authority, which can positively impact SEO and customer trust
  • Keyword Optimization: Blog posts provide an excellent opportunity to target long-tail keywords that might not naturally fit into your product or category pages. These keywords can help you attract more targeted traffic.
  • Internal and External Link Building: Blogs serve as a platform for internal and external link building, which contributes to improved SEO performance. They provide opportunities to link to product detail pages and incorporate relevant search terms
  • Customer Engagement: Blog content can help engage customers and keep them on your site longer, which can send positive signals to search engines and improve your rankings.
  • Educate Users and Showcase Products: Use blogs to educate users about your products and address related queries. This not only enhances the user experience but also strengthens the site's relevance and authority in its niche. Furthermore, use your blog to answer common customer questions, which can help attract traffic from informational search queries.
  • Content Promotion: After creating blog content, it's essential to promote it effectively. Sharing blog posts on social media and other relevant platforms can increase visibility and drive traffic to the e-commerce site
  • Optimize Images: If you use images in your blog posts, make sure to optimize them for SEO by including descriptive alt text.
  • Include Calls to Action: Encourage readers to take action, such as making a purchase or subscribing to your newsletter.

By integrating these strategies, Ecommerce businesses can harness the power of blog content to enhance their SEO efforts, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately increase conversions and revenue.

Jones Road Beauty does a fantastic job of creating content that addresses customer needs, concerns, questions, while also bringing in relevant organic traffic. 

Here is a post about how to look your best in pictures, a long tail keyword that has 40 searches per month:


Though not a ton of traffic, it is something that their customers are asking.

So Jones Road Beauty created a piece of content answering that question:


And the post also incorporates their product, as well as their Octane AI quiz, into the piece: 

Optimized Ecommerce content attracts customers and search engines alike. Work these tips into your strategy to unlock the full power of content for ranking higher.

How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Site For Search Engine Traffic

You’ve put in the work optimizing your online store’s content and technical foundation. 

But how do you bring everything together into an overarching SEO strategy primed for success?

Implementing the right Ecommerce SEO tactics can propel your website up the rankings, drive qualified traffic, and ultimately boost conversions.

Now let’s explore the key areas to focus your optimization efforts on to maximize your Ecommerce SEO results.

Conduct Thorough Technical SEO Keyword Research

Keyword research is a fundamental aspect of SEO – it underpins your entire content and SEO strategy, identifying terms and phrases your customers are searching for. 

It helps you understand the language your potential customers use when searching for your products or services.

Step 1: Understand Search Intent:

Move beyond just "volume data." Consider search intent (informational, transactional, navigational) to match content to searcher needs.

For example, if you use a tool like SEMrush, you can see the Intent of the keyword.

So a term like “macbook” is Transactional (the user wants to complete an action – a conversion), but a term like “laptop” is Commercial (The user wants to investigate brands or services). 

And a term like “how to connect airpods to laptop” is Informational (The user wants to find an answer to a specific question). 

Here you can see the different Keywords and Intent related to “Laptop”:  

Step 2: Run Competitor Analysis

Look at the keywords your competitors are targeting to identify gaps and opportunities.

This can help you find keywords that your competitors may be overlooking. Analyze competitor content using their top keywords and identify areas for improvement (fresh angles, better content formats).

Here are some steps to reverse-engineer your competitors' SEO strategy: 

Identify Your Competitors: Start by identifying who your main online competitors are. These might not always be the same as your direct business competitors. Any website that is ranking for the same keywords as you is a competitor.

Analyze Their SEO Structure: Look at the keywords they are targeting, their site structure, their on-page SEO tactics (like meta tags, keyword density, and alt text), and their backlink profile.

Look at Their Content: What kind of content are they producing? How often do they post new content? What is the quality of the content? This can give you ideas for your own content strategy.

shopify keywords

Identify Their Strengths and Weaknesses: Based on your analysis, identify what your competitors are doing well and where they are falling short. This can help you identify opportunities for your own SEO strategy.

Use Tools: There are many SEO tools out there that can help you with competitor analysis. Tools like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz can provide valuable insights.

The goal of competitor analysis is not to copy what your competitors are doing, but to find opportunities to improve your own SEO strategy. It’s about learning from what is working for others and adapting it to fit your own store. 

Step 3: Target The Right Keywords

Diversify beyond just product and category keywords. 

Consider related topics, questions, and buying guides to attract users throughout their purchase journey.

Start with broad keyword research to identify a wide range of terms related to your products and industry.

Then Use tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to find keywords with significant search volume and relevance to your business.

Don't overlook long-tail keywords, which are longer and more specific phrases. They often have lower search volume but can attract more qualified traffic due to their specificity.

Step 4: Optimize The Long-Tail Keywords

Optimizing long-tail keywords is a nuanced process that involves understanding user intent, finding the right balance between different types of keywords, and creating content that addresses the specific needs and questions of your audience.

Here's how to optimize long-tail keywords for your eCommerce site:

Understand User Intent: Long-tail keywords often reveal a lot about the user's intent. They are typically more specific and indicate that the user is further along in the buying cycle.

For example, someone searching for "best price on blue men's running shoes size 11" is likely closer to making a purchase than someone searching for "running shoes."

Find Long-Tail Keyword Opportunities
Use keyword research tools like Google's Keyword Planner, SEMrush, or Ahrefs to identify long-tail keyword opportunities. Look for phrases that are relevant to your products and have a reasonable search volume but less competition

Incorporate Long-Tail Keywords Naturally
When you've identified your long-tail keywords, incorporate them into your content naturally. Avoid keyword stuffing, as it can negatively impact the readability of your content and harm your SEO efforts

Use Long-Tail Keywords in Various On-Page Elements

Optimize your on-page elements with long-tail keywords, including:
  • Title tags: Include the long-tail keyword in your title tag in a way that sounds natural and appealing to users.
  • Meta descriptions: Write compelling meta descriptions that include the long-tail keyword and encourage users to click through to your site.
  • Headings: Use long-tail keywords in your headings (H1, H2, etc.) to structure your content and signal its relevance to search engines.

Product descriptions: Integrate long-tail keywords into your product descriptions to make them more specific and targeted

Balance Long-Tail and Head Keywords
Don't focus exclusively on long-tail keywords. Balance them with head keywords to attract a broader audience while also targeting specific segments.

Use head keywords for your main pages and categories, and long-tail keywords for more detailed content like blog posts and product descriptions

Monitor and Adapt
Track the performance of your long-tail keywords using analytics tools. Monitor which keywords are driving traffic and conversions, and adjust your strategy as needed.

SEO is an ongoing process, and what works today may need to be tweaked tomorrow

Remember that the key is to provide value to your users by creating content that genuinely addresses their needs and questions.

How To Build High-Quality Backlinks: 8 Strategies To Test

Building high-quality backlinks for a Shopify store is a crucial aspect of SEO that can significantly improve your store's visibility and search engine rankings.

Here's an actionable and straightforward guide to help you achieve this:

1. Create Link-Worthy Content
Develop comprehensive and valuable content that naturally attracts backlinks. This could include in-depth guides, how-to articles, or informative blog posts related to your products. High-quality content is more likely to be shared and linked to by other websites.

2. Leverage Influencer Collaborations
Partner with influencers in your niche to feature your products. They can create content that includes backlinks to your Shopify store, which can help you reach a wider audience and gain credible backlinks.

3. Guest Blogging
Write and publish articles on relevant blogs within your industry. This not only positions you as an authority but also allows you to include backlinks to your Shopify store. Ensure the content is of high quality and provides value to the blog's audience.

4. Utilize Resource Pages
Find resource pages that list products or services similar to what you offer and reach out to the site owners. Pitch your Shopify store or specific products as valuable additions to their resource lists.

Here is a resource from INH Hair to share inspiration, education, and community through hair

inh hair

5. Monitor Unlinked Mentions
Use tools like Google Alerts to monitor when your brand or products are mentioned online without a link. Reach out to the authors of these mentions and kindly request that they add a backlink to your store.

6. Repair Broken Links
Search for broken links on websites within your niche and suggest your Shopify store's links as replacements. This strategy can help you gain backlinks while helping website owners fix their site issues.

7. Create Engaging Visual Content
Infographics, charts, and other visual content can be powerful backlink magnets. Create engaging visuals that other sites will want to link to and share across social media platforms.

Here is a great advertisement for Big Blanket that went viral 


8. Product Reviews
Reach out to bloggers and ask them to review your products. This can result in backlinks from their review articles to your Shopify store--here is an example of a product review for Sinful Colors nail polish from Allure, a site with high authority (and readership): 

nail review - allure

Remember, the key to successful backlink building is to focus on quality over quantity. Aim for backlinks from reputable, high-authority sites that are relevant to your niche. Avoid any black hat SEO tactics that could result in penalties from search engines.

How To Boost Your Google Search Rankings with Link Building Strategies

Quality backlinks from reputable websites are like votes of confidence that boost your Ecommerce site's search rankings. But link building can seem daunting.

Now let's explore proven white hat link-building strategies tailored for the Ecommerce space.

Implement these tactics to earn high-value backlinks that supercharge your SEO visibility.

1. Guest Post on Niche Blogs

One of the most effective ways to get quality backlinks is to guest post on industry blogs targeting your customers.

  • Identify blogs read by your target audience
  • Pitch relevant, value-adding post ideas
  • Aim for sites with Domain Authority 50+ and organic traffic (using Ahrefs, SEMrush, or a similar SEO tool)
  • Secure follow-up links e.g. in newsletter or roundups

This allows you to tap into an engaged audience and build niche relevance.

2. Get Interviewed on Relevant Podcasts

Podcast interviews establish you as an authority and net backlinks from show notes.

  • Find popular shows in your industry
  • Offer unique insights when pitching
  • Share interview with your audience

Bonus: podcasts also help with content promotion!

3. Sponsor or Exhibit at Industry Events

Industry events offer networking and link-building potential.

  • Sponsor relevant conferences and meetups
  • Exhibit and distribute content/swag
  • Follow-up with organizers for a backlink

Position yourself as a thought leader in your niche.

4. Create Resources for Your Audience

Once you've identified a broad set of keywords, develop a variety of content types to target them. This can include:

Product Pages: Optimize your product pages with relevant keywords, but ensure the content remains informative and engaging.
Blog Posts: Use blog posts to target informational and commercial investigation keywords. Topics can range from how-to guides, comparisons, industry trends, and more.
Buying Guides: Create comprehensive buying guides for your product categories. These can target a mix of commercial investigation and transactional keywords, helping users make informed purchase decisions.
FAQ Pages: Compile frequently asked questions related to your products and industry. Answer these questions thoroughly, targeting informational keywords.

You can promote these resources via social media and backlinks, and link to the related product pages and category pages. 

5. Work With Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers have engaged niche audiences perfect for Ecommerce promos.

  • Find relevant influencers in your industry
  • Send free product samples to review
  • Ask to reuse content on your blog

This builds awareness and garners high-quality links.

The key is using white hat tactics focused on value, not manipulation. Avoid spammy outreach and link schemes.

Implement these strategies consistently, and you’ll notice the SEO benefits compound over time. Power up your Ecommerce link-building today!

How To Use ChatGPT To Improve Your Ecommerce SEO

AI can help you accelerate your process for much of this. 

Below are some examples of how ChatGPT can be used for Ecommerce SEO activities:

  • Product Descriptions: Use ChatGPT to craft unique and optimized product descriptions that are both engaging and SEO-friendly. This can help in ranking higher on search engines when potential customers search for specific product-related terms.

Here is a prompt that you can use:

"Write a detailed product description for a [Type of Product], focusing on its unique features and benefits. Highlight what sets it apart from competitors, including its innovative design, materials, technology, or user experience. Please emphasize the product's high-quality aspects and how it caters to the discerning consumer. Include practical applications and ideal user scenarios to help potential buyers visualize its value in their daily lives."

  • Blog Content Ideas: Get topic suggestions for Ecommerce blogs that can drive traffic to the main site. For instance, "Top 10 Summer Fashion Trends" or "How to Choose the Right Size for Online Clothing".

Here is a prompt that you can use:
"Generate a list of blog content ideas related to [Product/Industry Type]. Each idea should cater to the interests of our target audience, focusing on topics such as how-to guides, industry trends, [Product/Industry Type] innovations, and user experience tips. Consider including content that highlights the unique aspects of [Product/Industry Type], offering readers valuable insights and practical advice to enhance their understanding and appreciation of this niche."

Once you have your content ideas, you can use BloggyGPT, an Automated Blog Post writer that we have created. It will write professional, well-researched blog posts in your unique brand voice: 


  • Keyword Research: Request ChatGPT to suggest potential keywords or long-tail keyword phrases relevant to specific products or niches within the Ecommerce domain.

Here is a prompt that you can use:
"Conduct keyword research for [Product/Industry Type], aiming to uncover high-traffic yet low-competition keywords. Focus on terms that potential customers might use when searching for products like ours, including unique features, benefits, and problems it solves. Provide a list of primary and long-tail keywords that could effectively drive targeted traffic to our website, along with search volume and competition level for each keyword."

  • On-Page SEO Audit: Ask ChatGPT for a checklist of on-page SEO elements to review, such as header tags, image alt text, internal linking, etc., ensuring that all elements are optimized.

Here is a prompt that you can use:
“Perform an on-page SEO audit for a webpage dedicated to [Product/Industry Type]. Evaluate the page's content, meta tags, headings, URLs, and images to ensure they're optimized for relevant keywords associated with [Product/Industry Type]. Identify any issues that could be hindering search engine visibility, such as broken links, slow load times, or non-optimized content, and offer actionable recommendations for improvement."

  • Content for FAQ Sections: Generate detailed answers for frequently asked questions related to products, shipping, returns, etc. This not only aids in user experience but can also be a source of rich snippets in search results.

Here is a prompt that you can use: 

"Create content for an FAQ section tailored to [Product/Industry Type], addressing common questions and concerns that customers may have. Each answer should provide clear, concise information, emphasizing the product's unique selling points and how it solves specific problems. Include questions about product specifications, usage tips, maintenance advice, and any other information that helps build trust and confidence in potential buyers."

Ecommerce SEO Success: Key Takeaways to Generate More Traffic and Sales from Organic Search Traffic

Optimizing an Ecommerce website for search engines may seem daunting. But by following core SEO best practices tailored for online stores, you can dramatically boost your organic visibility and traffic.

In this comprehensive guide, we covered a ton of ground on Ecommerce SEO strategies and factors that impact rankings.

Ecommerce SEO is an ongoing process requiring constant care and maintenance. But the long-term payoff in visibility, traffic, and sales makes it well worth the effort.

Use this guide as a roadmap to continually enhance your Ecommerce site's search presence. The customers and revenue will follow!

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