Every successful online shop starts with a great idea. And let’s be
honest: setting up an online shop isn’t all that hard these days. You
could use, for instance, WooCommerce, Shopify or other ready built
systems, and you should be up and running in no time at all. Add
your content and a payment provider and you’re basically good to go.
In the process of setting up your online shop, there are a number
of things you have to consider. You’ll need to set up that shop with
your future customers and Google in mind. The upside is that what’s
good for your customer, is also good for Google these days. But there
are certainly optimizations that are specifically aimed at Google. You
simply need to make sure that your shop is built so it can be indexed
by Google in the easiest way possible. And all that is what this eBook
In this eBook, we’ll tell you about setting up the right structure
for your own site. We’ll dive into the most important pages of
your shop, and how to optimize those. We’ll specifically address
optimizing your product pages. We’ll spend a good amount of time
explaining what to take into account when setting up a mobile shop.
And, since this book is about eCommerce SEO, we’ll also touch on
marketing and conversion.
You might recognize some of the information in this book from
one of our previous eBooks. In this eBook all the information
has been specifically adapted to and focused on people having
an eCommerce site.
Every section in this book is packed with practical examples and
nice tips & tricks to help you take your own website to the next level.
Have fun reading and do let us know via social media or our website
what you think of this eBook!
Shop examplesIn every section of this eBook we use another example shop. At the
beginning of a section, the example shop is introduced and the very
same example is used throughout the entire section.
The example shops are all entirely made up and not based upon
existing online shops. We used our experience with online shops
and transformed this experience into fictional shops. The kind of
shops we use as an example are in fact fairly common. Whenever
we use an example you will see this icon:
Search engine – terminology
In this book, we’ll often write ‘Google’ when we refer to a search
engine. Of course, there are other search engines, like Bing and
Yahoo. But since Google pretty much dominates the search engine
market, we’ll mostly refer to Google in our texts
In the first section of this book we’ll help you get started with
defining the mission and goals of your online business. Although
sometimes overlooked, this is a crucial step to come to a good SEO
strategy for your online store. Knowing what the purpose of your
business is, your Unique Selling Points (USPs), and finding your
audience and niche, will help you tremendously when executing
keyword research. And an SEO strategy should always start with
keyword research! In this section we’ll guide you through this
process step by step.
Katie’s Little Art Shop
Katie is a popular momblogger. It doesn’t matter if she writes
about the cupcakes she made for her little girl’s birthday or
the shopping spree she describes for the fall collection. Other
moms relate to her stories and read them by the dozen. Besides
writing stories, Katie also loves to draw. Nice little illustrations
of animals, a tree with birds. She decorated her daughter’s
bedroom with illustrations of cute animals and her son’s
bedroom looks like the Shire from Lord of the Rings. Every two
weeks or so, Katie publishes a photo of one of her drawings.
Over time, more and more readers show interest in buying
Katie’s artwork. Would it be possible to make this into a
business by adding an online store to her website? In this
section, we’ll go over some of the choices Katie has to make.
What is her mission? How can she stand out from other
illustrators? What keywords does she focus on?
What’s your mission
It would be wrong just to start optimizing your SEO, UX and the
works without a good game plan. That game plan starts with your
mission statement. Ask yourself why people should visit your
website and buy your products. What’s the purpose of your website?
You should be able to answer these questions in a heartbeat. It’s like
an elevator pitch but even shorter. In this chapter, we’d like to
guide you in the process and show you some examples from other
brands along the way.
What is a mission?
The mission for your online shop comes from the ideas you have
about your company/brand and what you want to achieve with it.
Merriam-Webster defines a mission statement as “something that
states the purpose or goal of a business or organization”. Every website
owner has their own expectations about what they want their
visitors to do on their website. With an online shop, that purpose
is clear: sell products. Or isn’t it? That probably isn’t your mission.
A mission reflects your beliefs and values as well. You want to
improve your customer’s life with your products, and are probably
doing so with a more ideological purpose in mind. For instance, the
mission statement of the Smithsonian is “The increase and diffusion
of knowledge.” This tells you what main belief lies beneath all that
they are showing us in their collections and exhibitions.
You can feel the next point coming: writing a mission like that is
tough. But before you start making any improvements to your
website you’ll have to think about your mission. It’s really hard to
clearly have (and keep) in mind what it is you want to do. In our
website reviews, this is actually one of the main problems sites
seem to have: confusion. Lots of websites just do not make clear
what it is they offer and what makes that specific offer so special.
One website that does this well is Kiva. Kiva’s mission statement
is “Connecting people through lending to alleviate poverty.” Microloans
to make poverty more bearable. That sounds pretty clear to me.
Please visit their website, by the way. And find our team here.
How to formulate your shop’s mission statement
To get started, write down the mission of your website on a piece
of paper and please take your time to do so. You have to come up
with one mission statement, one main message to send to your
target market. If you have found the right message, a message
that you can really relate to yourself as well, you’ll also be able
to communicate it much better to your audience.
To help you formulate the mission of your website, we’ve made
a list of questions you should be able to answer:
• Why are people buying your products? If you want to hang a
painting on a wall, you need a hammer. But the purpose of using
that hammer isn’t to hammer a nail in that wall, it’s to hang a
painting. It’s helpful to think about what people want to achieve
by using your products.
• What makes your products unique? Even if you sell almost the
same products as another online shop, your products could be
manufactured eco-friendly, or come in more colors. Focus on
these things as they are what make your products unique.
• Why should people buy the products on your website and not
on another (e.g. cheaper or better known) website? This might
not even be about your products. For example, because you’ll
deliver it tomorrow or your services great.
How will your products enhance your clients’ lives? What
changes after they have bought your products? Will your products
for instance make it easier to exercise, or enable them to do an
expert’s job themselves?
• What’s the reason you’re selling these products, besides making
money? That will most probably be a personal belief driving you
while doing business. TED’s mission statement is simply:
“Spread Ideas.” There is clearly a higher goal in there.
Katie’s Little Art Shop
So if we think about Katie’s Little Art Shop, what would Katie’s
mission be? It could be: “Katie’s mission is to enable parents to
decorate their children’s rooms in a unique way”. To be more
specific, we could even elaborate a bit: “With her hand painted
illustrations of animals she strives to make kids feel happy and
comfortable in their bedrooms.”
Ways to make your mission clear to your audience
Once your mission is clear to you, you can check whether or not
it is reflected on your website. Focus on your homepage and landing
pages first, as these are the pages where your visitors enter your
website. Be aware that you literally just have seconds to get your
most important point across. People’s attention span is really
short, particularly online. So you have to make sure you show
all the important stuff first, and show it quickly. Oxfam does this
really well. Their mission is “to create lasting solutions to poverty,
hunger, and social injustice”. On their website, that is translated
to an even shorter tagline: “The power of people against poverty.”
There are a number of ways to make sure your mission and purpose
are instantly clear to your audience. No doubt that you can come up
with more, but we feel these can be implemented easily:
A collection of products needs a bit of copy to ‘glue’ the products
together. Start pages like your category pages and homepage with
a few short paragraphs (focus!) to explain your mission and how
your products, or your brand as a whole, fit into that. Make sure
this text is really clear and adapt the wording to the language use
of your audience.
Headline and taglines
A headline is the title of a page or post. A tagline is a small
amount of text which serves to clarify a thought. It could be
the explanation of the headline, or a description of your brand
or company. Make sure that headlines and taglines clearly
communicate the core goal of your product or business.Try to
write your headlines in an action-oriented way. Use verbs and
create short sentences that imply an action for the visitor.
Yoast.com could have a headline like: “Keep your site optimized
with the Yoast SEO Premium plugin!”. It’ll motivate people to do so.
picture is worth a thousand words
Pictures can help a lot in explaining your mission to your audience.
For most products, it is easy to find pictures that reflect the
purpose of your website. Think about what you want to tell your
audience and keep your mission in mind while choosing pictures.
And don’t just add ten pictures to a slider, please.
Businesses are born of ideas, some of which are great, some are
not. But they’re all born out of the idea that what you have to offer
is unique, and adds something to the market. Whatever that is,
that is your mission. And that mission, that advantage, that
promise, should be well reflected throughout all the pages of
your online shop.