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SEO for eCommerce

One of the most frustrating parts about working with organic SEO is that it’s difficult for businesses to compete with large corporations that traditionally dominate search. Amazon is the best example. Ecommerce sites of all sizes often struggle to outrank Amazon, which largely comes down to their extraordinarily high domain authority.

Sites have tried to outrank Amazon only to get frustrated and settle for search results below the enormous online marketplace. This doesn’t need to be the case. The right tools can help much smaller sites beat Amazon in organic search. In fact, there are 6 strategies that can make a world of difference.

1. Leverage Backlinking

To compete with Amazon, increase your backlink profile. This will help boost your domain authority. In fact, backlinking is one of the best ways to beat Amazon, hands down. Keep in mind, plenty of articles online have affiliate links to Amazon but they use “no-follow tags,” which tell Google they don’t want a backlink created between the two sites. They do this to protect their online reputation in case the Amazon page does poorly.

To get quality backlinks consider reaching out to trusted bloggers or publications. Ask them to check out what you have to offer. Write guest publications, create valuable resources on your own site, swap content. The more credible sites who link back to yours, the better.

backlink semrush report

If you’re unsure of your current backlink profile, use a tool from SEMrush or Moz to see how many backlinks your site has and where they’re coming from.

2. Make Sure Your Site is In Good Shape

While you’re running that backlink audit, go ahead and run a full site audit. You want to look for technical errors that could be dinging your SEO, including any broken links, duplicate content, or crawlability issues. If you find any, fix them as soon as possible. Remember, if Google can’t find your content easily, they can’t rank it well, and you’ll never be able to outrank a massive site like Amazon even if your product is a better fit.

semrush data

Since Google is now utilizing mobile-first indexing, make sure you have a strong mobile-responsive site. Along with that, speed matters. If your site is slow, you’ll lose both Google and users alike.

3. Create a “Keyword Theme” For High-Value Products

I have a strategy that I’ve used for my site copy clients for several years now with great success. I call it creating a “keyword theme” or a “keyword profile.”

Here’s how it works. First, identify high-value, high-margin products that you really want to rank well for. Second, create a full list of possible keywords that users might use to search for the item. Last, place the keywords throughout the product listing and on similar products.

Let’s say, for example, that you sell multiple versions of a pocket knife. You’ll want to optimize each one for different keywords, increasing your likelihood of catching as many customers as possible no matter what specific language they use. One might be optimized for “pocket knife,” another for “swiss army knife,” and another for “folding knife.” By doing so, you’ll get visitors to your site with multiple terms.

4. Use Content & Long-Tail Keywords

Amazon only has product pages and product listings, meaning they have an enormous amount of pages all competing for the same short-tail keywords.

What do you do? Make content your best friend. Target long-tail keywords that indicate search intent in your product pages, product copy, and even on your on-site blog posts. The competition is lower for these keywords. Since Amazon typically tries to target shorter keywords, this is your opening.

For example, if someone searches for “yoga mat,” the first results that show up are for Amazon.

yoga mat serp

If, however, you search for “best yoga mat for travel,” multiple other sites show up before Amazon.

long-tail keyword serp example

This is true even for “thick yoga mat,” which links to on-site content that offers information about the thickness of the company’s yoga mats and how to choose which one is right for you.

offer schema example

As you’re picking long-tail keywords, consider search intent. Question-based keywords are often best for traditional content, while descriptive keywords work well in product listings.

5. Write Individual Copy for Each Product Listing

If you look at most Amazon listings that come from the same brand, they have almost nearly identical copy.

I understand the appeal of this; it’s cheaper and faster to reuse copy and just change what you need to. That being said, if you want to outrank Amazon, create individual copy for each product listing.

When writing separate copy, highlight what’s great about each product. With this method, you have more opportunities to target unique keywords, helping you rank for more searches across a variety of different terms.

This tip is simple: Keep the general voice the same, offer the same general information on each product listing (like weight, size, and care instructions), but write a unique product description for each one.

6. Take Advantage of Reviews

Reviews. Reviews, reviews, reviews.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again. Reviews can do wonders for sales online, but they can also make a big impact on SEO, especially when you’re leveraging them properly.

Do what you can to generate reviews, and use SEO-friendly review software like Yotpo, which allows all the reviews to be searchable. If a customer writes that your running shoes are “the best running shoes for the desert” and someone happens to search for that random phrase, you could show up.

google serp results for product schema

You can also use review schema markup on your site. This will help you rank well in Google, and it will also signal to users that whatever you’re advertising has a five star rating (or close). This can boost your positioning and draw more clicks, both of which will help you beat Amazon in search.

Final Thoughts

Trying to compete against Amazon is difficult but doable. Follow all 6 steps discussed here consistently to boost your domain authority, increase search relevance, and ensure that Google is able to see everything you have to offer.

Need some extra help rising in the ranks of SEO? That’s our jam. Learn more about what we can do for you here.

Ana Gotter
Ana is a content marketer, copywriter, and ghostwriter specializing in business management and social media marketing, though she's written in a variety of other niches. She can be contacted at anagotter.com