When it comes to eCommerce SEO, it’s common to be flooded with questions around prioritization, either from your company or your clients. With so many product categories, sub-categories and SKUs, the question of where to start can be a daunting one to answer. In this blog, I’ll teach you how to prioritize your eCommerce SEO optimizations via 6 important considerations.
Let’s start with the most obvious consideration: monthly search volume. This is a basic metric that any SEO would probably use to prioritize, so we won’t spend too long on it. More people searching for a product means we have a greater likelihood to draw traffic to our site (and hopefully convert that traffic into sales and revenue).
💡 While MSV should be included in the consideration set, by no means should it be the only metric (or even the most important metric) to weigh when prioritizing opportunities.💡
If you want to understand the conversion potential of a keyword or group of keywords, I’d recommend sorting by highest PPC conversions instead of MSV. Some may make the argument that PPC is a different channel than organic and as such conversions shouldn’t be comparable. To that argument I’d say it’s actually one of the best indicators of success an SEO can use.
PPC conversion data is real, not an estimate, and what’s even better is that it’s specific to your website, your landing pages and your products. MSV is just an estimate provided by Google (and we’ve found it can be off considerably when comparing it to actual PPC impression data).
To conclude my argument for using PPC conversions, it’s also important to note that doing so will help you focus solely on low-funnel opportunities, which is a large chunk of what eCommerce SEO is all about. If this post was about prioritizing high-funnel content, guided selling assets, etc. I might sing a different tune. But if you want to focus on what’s going to drive revenue the fastest, give PPC conversions a thought during your next optimization project.
One caveat is that if your ads were not triggered by search terms for a specific product category, they won’t be in your PPC search query report and thus never had a chance to earn PPC conversions. In these instances, I’d defer to MSV but strongly consider running a tactical PPC campaign targeted at getting PPC data to increase your confidence in opportunities you decide to prioritize.
Let’s shift gears from talking about SEO and PPC metrics and start talking about people.
People like options when shopping online and thanks to search engines like Google, they have no shortage of options. Before deciding to optimize a page, search for the terms you plan to target it to and get a sense of what the competition is providing with regards to product selection. If they have 100 products and you only have 2, will you provide the best experience for the user? Probably not. As a result, it’s going to be difficult for you to rank.
Create a list of all your product categories and the number of products you can offer in each. This will come in handy when it comes time to make a matrix so you can weigh product selection alongside your other prioritization metrics. It can also show you which product categories to de-prioritize completely until you’re ready to beef up your merchandising.
It’s likely that you offer products that range in price point. Using the landing page report or content groupings within GA, you can identify which pages or product categories have the greatest average order value and prioritize those higher than others. This is a key part in determining whether the juice (potential traffic, sales and revenue) is worth the squeeze (effort involved in getting optimizations live).
We’ve all gotten excited about an opportunity only to remember that peak season for that opportunity just passed and we’d have to wait a whole year to see results if we were to optimize for it now. If your business doesn’t have a seasonal nature, you can leave this out of your prioritization matrix. However, if you see significant peaks and valleys in performance for some of your product categories during particular months, weighing seasonality into your decision making process will be important.
There are a few ways to determine peak season for a product category:
- Historical organic performance data (GA or GSC)
- Google Trends
- MSV Trends (Google Keyword Planner)
I’d recommend using a mixture of the tools above to determine which month has the greatest search interest and when that search interest begins to curve up and to the right. Plan to optimize pages for that product category ~6 months prior to when this incline begins. On average, it takes about 100 days for content to reach maturity, but you must also account for the time needed to bring your optimizations to life (research, recommendations and implementation). A 6-month timeline provides a nice cushion to get the work done and start seeing results by the time your users are searching for your products.
Treat this last consideration as a catch-all for anything you want to prioritize that doesn’t fall into the categories above. Where is your company headed in the next 5 years? Are there new product categories that maybe don’t have strong performance now, but are a part of the long term vision for the brand? If so, they’re worth prioritizing!
- Using a spreadsheet, create a column for each of the considerations listed above.
- In the rows, add each of the specific opportunities you’re hoping to prioritize.
- Determine the weight of each consideration (for example, is average order value more important than product selection? Is breaking into a new product category more important than the MSV reflected by your keyword research? If so, how much more important?).
- Using a weighted scoring system, to score each opportunity.
- Sort your opportunities by score.
Voila! You’ve just created a data-driven tool to prioritize your eCommerce SEO opportunities AND you’ve done so in such a way that you’ve kept non-SEO elements that are important to the brand at the forefront of your decision-making.
Got any other tips for prioritizing eCommerce recommendations for SEO? Drop ‘em in the comments below! In the meantime, check out our eCommerce SEO offerings or keep reading to learn how to find even more SEO opportunities using the site search functionality of your eCommerce site.