Growing the organic search traffic of an e-commerce brand isn’t complicated.
But it does require that you be consistent and patient.
You have to consistently implement the right SEO strategy month-over-month, and you have to have the patience to see the process through.
Otherwise, you’ll never see massive increases in your organic traffic like this beauty brand did.
Back in September of 2022, this beauty brand reached out to us to inquire about our SEO services.
They hated the fact that their competitors were dominating Google for their industry’s main search terms, while their organic presence was non-existent.
So they hired us to change that.
All of our e-commerce SEO campaigns follow the same general framework:
- Technical SEO
- Keyword Research
- On-Page Optimization
- Content Creation
- Link Building
Each step is absolutely critical, otherwise the entire campaign will fail.
You can do all of the link building you want, but if your on-page optimization isn’t set, your pages won’t rank.
And you can create all of the content in the world, but if your keyword research was done poorly and you’re targeting overly-competitive keywords, your content won’t see any organic traffic.
1. Technical SEO
The first step of any e-commerce SEO campaign is to run a technical SEO audit of the site.
Fixing all technical SEO issues sets the foundation of an SEO campaign and makes it easier for Google to crawl and index all of the pages on a site.
This directly results in better keyword rankings across the board.
I use the tool Screaming Frog SEO Spider when I run technical SEO audits.
Upon running a scan of the site, I found that the site was actually pretty clean, however, there were a few technical SEO issues that I needed to resolve:
I. Broken Links
The site had a few broken links that we need to fix.
Broken links are links that exist on the site that take you to a page that doesn’t exist.
We applied a 301 redirect to all broken links that pointed to a relevant live page on the site.
II. Broken Backlinks
The site also had a broken backlink.
Broken backlinks are links that exist on an external site that take you to a page on your site that doesn’t exist.
We applied a 301 redirect to the broken backlink that pointed to a relevant page on the site.
III. Low-Value Pages Indexed
The site had a ton of low-value pages indexed.
For this brand in particular, these were primarily paginated and filter pages for their product category pages.
Not only do these pages create duplicate content issues, but they also bloat Google’s search results with low-value pages.
This reduces the overall quality of your site in the eyes of Google and impacts keyword rankings.
We added a canonical tag to both types of pages that pointed to the parent product category page.
This removed the pages from Google’s index while still allowing Google to crawl the pages and access any product pages that may be listed.
2. Keyword Research
Our keyword research breaks down into two phases:
- Keyword research for product category pages
- Keyword research for blog content
You need to do both because you need to rank for both types of keywords — transactional and informational.
I. Keyword Research for Product Category Pages
There were two primary product category pages that encompassed the brand’s main products, and we needed to find target keywords for both of them.
The easiest way to do so is to find a competitor that’s ranking well organically and has the same types of product category pages on their site.
We inputed the URL of each competitor product category page into the tool Ahrefs.
Analyzed the list of the keywords that they ranked for.
Picked primary and secondary keywords to target based off of competitiveness and search volume.
And then verified that each set of primary and secondary keywords had the same search intent.
II. Keyword Research for Blog Content
When it comes to keyword research for blog content, you want to find informational keywords that are relevant to the product category pages that you’re trying to rank.
That way, when you publish the content, it supports the product category pages and helps them rank for their target keywords.
The strategy we used for finding these relevant informational keywords was simple:
We inputted the target primary keywords of the product category pages into the keyword research tool on Ahrefs.
Then we filtered out the keywords so that we had a list of “Question” keywords.
“Question” keywords are always informational in intent and they’re typically low in competition as well.
This gave us a great list of keywords to create content around.
We had opportunities like:
- what is a [primary keyword]
- how to remove a [primary keyword]
- what is the most popular type of [primary keyword]
We also rounded up some “vs” and “best” keyword variations that were relevant to the product category pages:
- best [primary keyword]
- [primary keywords] vs [competing product type]
Those keywords are still technically informational, but they’re further down the funnel so they’ll attract users who are bit more buying-ready.
3. On-Page Optimization
Now that we had target keywords for our product category pages, we needed to optimize the product category pages for them.
First, we added the target primary and secondary keywords to each product category page’s meta title.
We used this formula:
Primary Keyword | Secondary Keyword | [Brand Name]
Then we added the target primary and secondary keywords to each product category page’s meta description.
We changed the H1 tag of each product category page to be the target primary keyword.
And lastly, we updated the URL slug of each product category page to include the target primary keyword.
That took care of the basic optimization.
However, there was one more thing that we needed to do:
We needed to add some content to each product category page that was optimized for their respective target primary and secondary keywords.
At its base state, a product category page is just a list of your products.
How is Google supposed to rank a page with little-to-no actual content?
We wrote up around 500 words of content for each product category page that was well-optimized for its target primary and secondary keyword, and placed it on the page.
You can either place the content at the bottom of the page.
Or place it at the top of the page and hide it behind a “Read More” button so it doesn’t impact the page’s UX or conversion rate.
Either strategy works.
4. Content Creation
With the site full optimized from a technical and keyword perspective, we wanted to start executing the content calendar we built out when we conducted keyword research for blog content.
Blog content does wonders for an e-commerce brand:
Not only does it drive relevant users to your site who are somewhere in the buyer’s journey for purchasing your products.
But it also supports your product category pages and helps them rank for their target keywords — which is ultimate goal of any e-commerce SEO campaign.
When building out blog content for our target keywords, we had one goal in mind:
Create the best piece of content on the web that fulfills that intent of that keyword.
Give users every bit of information that they could be looking for when searching that keyword, whether that makes the blog post 1,000 words or 3,000 words.
And then place the target keyword:
- In the blog post’s title
- In the blog post’s URL slug
- In an H2 tag within the blog post
- Throughout the body of the blog post where it fits naturally
We also added internal links to other relevant blog posts as well as the relevant product category page.
We set a goal of publishing three new pieces of blog content each month.
5. Link Building
I don’t think I can properly emphasize just how important link building was for this SEO campaign.
When we got started, this site only had 15 total backlinks.
That’s a major reason why the site had little-to-no organic search presence before we started on the campaign.
Backlinks are the #1 ranking factor in SEO.
You simply will not rank for the transactional keywords that drive product sales without them.
So we set a goal of building seven new backlinks each month.
At first, we focused a lot of our link building on the homepage of the site to grow the domain’s overall authority and make the link profile look natural.
Then we switched our strategy and started building links predominantly to the inner pages — the blog content and product category pages.
We also ensured that we acquired backlinks on sites that were relevant to the brand and had a good amount of organic traffic coming in themselves.
After around three months of link building, we saw the links “activate” and keyword rankings and organic traffic began increasing!
Now for the results:
After 12 months of running this strategy, we were able increase organic traffic by 605%.
We were also able to rank both of their product category pages #1 for their target keywords, as well as a number of other keywords.
This brand now has a new source of revenue that they can rely on to consistently generate sales without having to spend additional money on paid advertising.
They’re also seen as the authority in their niche, because — let’s face it — if you’re #1 on Google, everyone see’s you as the main player!