There’s no denying that proper on-page optimization is as important as links.
Like we said earlier, with evolving search engine technologies, links can probably get you to the top search results page. But securing a post in the top two or three spots depends on how well your website is optimized and how your meta descriptions on SERPs are converting.
In short, your eCommerce SEO agency should be able to optimize every money-making page on your website for search engines.
Here are the tasks we consider crucial for on-page optimization:
- Optimizing the metas of all product and category pages;
- Optimizing the website for mobile;
- Faster loading speeds;
- Making pages’ search engines accessible;
- Enabling search engines to understand the context of your content;
- Schema, rich-snippet star ratings, and answer box optimization;
- Product Schema,
- Review Schema,
- URL optimization;
- Keeping the URL structure short and sweet,
- Avoiding URL duplication,
- HTTPS implementation; and
- Managing Redirects.
We consider all of the above factors for every company listed in the table.
Optimizing the Site Architecture
Site architecture is a higher level of on-page optimization. Basically, it makes it easy for both users and search engine bots to understand the site structure.
Besides, this strategically organized website structure adds efficiency to the filtering and search aspects of your eCommerce store.
The granular description of such tasks would probably look like this:
- Categorization of products – Proper categorization helps in displaying the products in order of relevancy. A good categorization means prioritizing the prominent products and creating a relation between products based on keyword research.
- Navigation-friendly website structure – Creating a navigation-friendly website structure will guide your URL structure and help your users filter and sort the results. It’s especially important for big eCommerce websites that have multiple options for one product.
- Canonicalization of URLs to avoid duplicate content problems – The canonical tag will inform search engines which version of a URL you want to appear in search results.
Make sure navigation elements are easily understood:
- Don’t clutter the main menu with too many categories,
- Make use of secondary menus (sub categories), and
- Use breadcrumbs to let your users know how many layers deep in the site architecture they’re in.
- Pagination, infinite scroll, and Load More – These are the three most commonly used options to display all relevant products. Ecommerce SEO experts will suggest which option is better for your niche. So make sure you include this in the list of questions to ask the agency you plan to hire.
- Internal linking – Internal linking is a ranking factor. What’s more, with the emergence of RankBrain, the context of the link has become an even more prominent factor than the linking itself.
Tweet: Make sure your eCommerce SEO agency has a detailed plan for your site architecture.
For the research and analysis part, we asked each eCommerce marketing company to give us sample sites where they developed site and information architecture.
Apart from considering all of the above factors, we were keen on evaluating the companies’ dedication towards interlinking in context and their capabilities in categorizing the products.
Ease of use has always been an important factor for better conversions. But with RankBrain in play, Google now considers the usability of a website to be a ranking factor.
Like on-page optimization, for most websites the impact of usability optimization is only visible when your website has enough backlink power to reach the first search results page.
How to improve the usability of your website would become as big an article as this one. So here we’re providing a link to our detailed guide on how to improve usability to get better rankings.
However, here are a few important things a good e-commerce SEO company should offer:
- Use of heuristic evaluation principles to evaluate how your website is fairing on usability terms;
- Experience in usability testing methods such as:
- First click testing,
- Five-second clicking testing,
- A/B testing, and
- Think aloud usability testing;
- Use of helping methods such as:
- Find better CTA Keywords,
- Discover better placing of CTA Buttons, and
- Figure out the pain points on your website for users.
The bottom line is that by hiring an e-commerce SEO company experienced in usability testing, you’ll end up with a better converting design for your website. As a bonus, you’ll get better search engine rankings.
For this aspect of evaluation, we rely on analyzing each company’s case studies and the interviews we conduct to find out if the company will successfully help you improve the usability of your website.
Our suggestion: Ask the company you want to hire whether it is experienced in any of the above-mentioned usability testing methods.
Analytics and data-driven decisions are crucial in developing new strategies for every SEO project. But in eCommerce projects, they have extra importance.
In addition to SERP tracking, the performance of the website in terms of conversion for keywords and products, the pain points in finally converting the lead, the impact of the titles on conversions, the power of the CTA buttons, the UX, and the usability of the conversions and of the whole all inform you how store visitors become customers and what hidden problems you need to solve in order to improve your ROI on SEO budget.
With immense advancement in technology, things like predictive analytics are now a possibility.
Knowing your customer’s intent in real-time and customizing the website products display accordingly is an advanced and useful feature for eCommerce websites.
The real-time optimization and decisions based on user intent can improve user satisfaction and the brand value of the website.
In addition to SEO, proper analysis of traffic will also help you
- Maintain your supply chain efficiently,
- Get a better price optimization, and
- Plan better discounts and promotion campaigns.
Before you hire an eCommerce SEO company, make sure they are capable of using data-driven strategies.
Here’s how we find out whether the company is capable of using web analytics:
- We search for numbers related to ROI increase via data-driven strategies.
- We ask the companies about their experience in the tasks mentioned above.
Tweet: Define your analytics-related goals and deliverables, and find out whether your company can work on them.
It’s a bit crude but has to be said: Humans like it easy. If given the chance, we all like to be lazy. Moreover, an eCommerce customer is the basic representation of our lazy nature.
So respect their time and laziness—serve it and get results.
One way to do so is by reducing the number of steps in finishing payments. The fewer the steps, the better the results.
Implementing eWallets, one-click payment services, PayPal, and a scanning card details service are only some of the strategies eCommerce websites use to reduce the number of people dropping off the website on the last step of the business transaction.
Tweet: Your eCommerce SEO company should be able to come up with payment gateway suggestions that go well with your business in terms of faster payments.
We evaluate the companies on this aspect by asking them directly the following questions:
- What payment gateways have you implemented in the past?
- Do you have experience in optimizing payment pages for better conversions?
- Do you have experience in implementing one-click payments and local forms of payments?
- Have you ever considered a segmented use of 3D secure protection?
Project Management Skills
Ecommerce SEO projects are huge.
A good eCommerce SEO company optimizes every new page created.
For managing such huge projects, the company you choose should be capable of articulating detailed objectives for your goals, defining them as achievable tasks, and categorizing and executing them with a plan of action in a timely manner.
When evaluating project management capabilities, we analize:
- How the company defines goals in the most granular form possible (in SEO terms),
- How they categorize the goals as short-term or long-term objectives, and
- How comprehensive they are with project planning.
If you want to achieve a certain number of leads, your company should be in a position to ask you for the previous analytics data, analyze it, and tell you
- How many impressions you need to get that many leads,
- What the potential is of the product pages based on volumes,
- What the technological requirements are,
- What the time frame is and what the budget would be, and
- Where exactly the problem is for impressions that aren’t converting to sales or leads.
When a company is talking in progressive language with realistic goals and plans to achieve those goals, you don’t have to search for any more posts on how to find the best eCommerce SEO company. You’ve already found it.
Suggestion: Make sure your company asks what your goals are and provides you with a detailed plan with KPI’s, deliverables, and dates.
Proper interaction between the client and the company is the key step to making sure the optimization project goes the right way.
Ecommerce projects are technical and involve numerous promotional and search strategies. If the company of your choice doesn’t bring success, it should at the very least not ruin your business. For that, there should be proper communication between the company and the client.
We evaluate this by talking to every company as an anonymous client.
As we mentioned earlier, SEO is not some regulated niche. Of course, there are a few good companies that overcharge more than similar companies.
Additionally, no two SEO projects are the same unless they’re competing for the exact same keywords in the same country (even then, a few factors like domain power can create a difference in strategies).
That being said, SEO companies often have different pricing models:
- Hourly basis pricing,
- Project-based pricing,
- Strategy-based pricing, and
- Goals- and task-based pricing.
The complex nature of the business make it a challenge for us to come up with average numbers.
However, by evaluating the amount companies charge for different kinds of tasks, or a combination of tasks, we were able to give you an idea whether a particular company is affordable or pricey.