In this case study, we showcase the successful SEO campaign we implemented for a client operating a large eCommerce website in the fashion niche. With hundreds of category pages and thousands of product pages, the site presented a complex challenge for our team.
However, our efforts paid off, and we doubled the client's monthly organic traffic in just six months, highlighting the power and effectiveness of a well-executed SEO strategy. And we're going to show you exactly how we did it.
With the aim of improving keyword visibility and driving search traffic to the website, we launched an SEO campaign in April 2021. The timing was strategically planned to coincide with the busy holiday shopping period, specifically the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons. The campaign's ultimate objective was to maximize the site's online presence and attract more potential customers during this high-traffic time of year.
The site operates within the highly competitive fashion industry, offering a diverse selection of sneakers from leading brands. With a focus on delivering premium quality products, this site targets fitness enthusiasts, sneaker collectors, and fashion-conscious individuals looking for the latest and greatest in sneaker trends and styles.
Challenges and Issues Holding the Website Back
Our first step was a comprehensive evaluation to identify the obstacles that might be holding our client’s eCommerce site back. We noticed several issues that needed to be addressed, including:
- Poorly optimized product and category descriptions - The first thing that stood out was that the descriptions used dull standardized text, lacking the persuasive copy and creative flair that would engage visitors and entice them to make a purchase.
- Uncategorized product pages - hundreds of product pages were stuck in limbo, unassigned to any category. This was causing issues with navigation and preventing potential customers from finding the products they might be interested in.
- Link Building needed to improve the site's authority - Our final challenge was to create a high-quality link-building campaign once we had optimized the product pages. Building backlinks to these pages helped build authority for both them and the site overall.
Course of Action
Once we had identified the obstacles that were holding our client’s eCommerce site back, we developed a course of action to reach our objective.
Optimizing Product & Category Pages
The most important part of any eCommerce site is the product and category pages. It's essential that these pages are optimized for both the user and the search engines.
The primary goal of category or collection pages is to help visitors quickly and easily find the products when browsing your site. By organizing them into logical categories, your visitors won't be frustrated trying to find the item they are searching for.
You should ensure that your content includes the keyword(s) you'd like to target, but equally important is understanding user intent.
There are two key questions to answer: does my content meet the user's expectations, and does the content reflect what Google is already showing for this search query?
If you answered no to both questions, you need to find out what types of pages are ranking on Google for your primary keyword to understand what type of intent you should focus on.
There are four types of search intent:
- Informational Intent - Searchers are typically looking for information, for example, 'how to tie your shoelaces.'
- Navigational Intent - Searchers are looking for specific websites, for example, 'Facebook login.'
- Transactional Intent - Searchers are actively trying to purchase something, for example, 'Buy Nike sneakers.'
- Commercial Investigation - Searchers are researching products or services before buying, for example, 'Best running shoes.'
Sometimes you might find when you search your keyword you'll find the intent is mixed. For instance, if your eCommerce site sold 'chocolate' and you searched Google for this keyword, you would find a mixture of informational and transactional intent pages.
You'll want to ensure that you align your category page content with the other eCommerce sites ranking for the same keyword, in this example, 'chocolate.'
Next, open up each of the ranking pages to understand what content they are using and how it is optimized. Use this as a reference point when creating your category page content. Your aim should be to create content that is better than what already exists.
We noticed that our client had plenty of content at the bottom of the page (i.e. below the fold), but many visitors never reached it, going totally to waste. Moving the content above the fold ensured visibility, and visitors saw it immediately. Ensure your primary keyword(s) are included in your content's first couple of sentences and that category pages have unique descriptions.
We'd also recommend adding 'read more' functionality - This gives your visitors the option to discover more about your offer and doesn't impact those who might not have time to read your full page content.
Product descriptions are undoubtedly the most important content you'll write for your eCommerce website.
Here's what you should focus on:
- Addressing your target audience - Write the content with your ideal customer in mind. Get into their mindset and understand what they want to know about the product.
- Answering the right questions - When potential customers search for your products, what kind of information are they looking for? You'll want to make your descriptions as comprehensive as possible, providing all the necessary information they'll need to make an educated purchase decision.
- Features and Benefits - Don't just list the product's features, but also describe the benefits your customers will experience.
- Unique descriptions for each product - Avoid copying and pasting descriptions straight from the manufacturer's site. Creating fresh, unique content will help your website stand out from the crowd. Google doesn't want hundreds of websites with the same content, and your visitors will appreciate the effort you've put into the descriptions.
Reorganizing the Site Structure
Good site structure is important for any website, but even more so for an eCommerce site. With some sites having hundreds, if not thousands, of pages, it's very easy for things to become disorganized.
If your structure is clean and easy to navigate, Google can crawl your pages more efficiently, meaning they'll be indexed correctly and quickly. And your visitors won't struggle to find what they're looking for.
Here are our tips for best practices when structuring an eCommerce site:
- Optimize the hierarchy - Keep the click depth as shallow as possible. It should take four clicks or less for a visitor to reach any page from your homepage. The product page should link back to the sub-category, which links back to the parent category, and finally, the homepage.
- Organize products by relevant categories - Group related products across different categories and sub-categories without duplication. If you have products that have more than one category, use a rel=” canonical” tag on the most relevant page.
- Consistent URL Structure - We'd suggest a simple URL structure along these lines:
- Internal linking - An internal link is a clickable word or phrase (hyperlink) that links one page on your website to another. External links, which we'll discuss shortly, in contrast, link from one website to another.
Internal links serve as pathways within your site for Googlebot to follow when crawling. This is beneficial for SEO because Google can quickly and easily identify related content on your site.
Internal linking also provides users with quick navigation options and directs them to related content that they may find helpful. This seamless navigation helps keep visitors engaged on your site longer and encourages them to explore other pages.
On-page optimization refers to all the measures you can take on your website to improve its ranking in search engine results pages.
This includes everything from page titles to image alt tags and headings. On-page optimization can be challenging for an eCommerce site like our client’s because there is so much content to optimize.
We recommend identifying your key pages, such as your category or collection pages and the product pages that are driving the most organic traffic and revenue, to begin with.
Image Alt Tag Optimization
Image alt tags provide a textual description of an image for crawlers, and they also help visually impaired users using screen readers to understand the content on a page.
By optimizing your images with descriptive alt tags, you can not only help Google understand the context of your page better but also increase the likelihood of your images appearing in Google Image Search.
Image alt tag best practices include:
- Including your target keyword in the alt tag
- Keeping it short, descriptive, and relevant to the image.
- Applying a unique alt tag for each image.
An example of a poor alt text would be .
An optimized version of this would be
H1 Heading Tag Optimization
H1 heading tags are HTML elements used to define the main heading for a page. They are often used as titles for blog posts, product pages, and other content.
Tips for optimizing H1 tags on an eCommerce site:
- Use your target keyword in the title as close to the beginning as possible.
- Only use one H1 heading tag per page.
- Use descriptive words that accurately describe the content on your page.
- Keep it short – usually between 40 – 60 characters.
- Ensure that each page has a unique title tag.
Title and Meta Description Optimization
Title tags are HTML elements that define the title of a web page and appear in the SERPs or search results page like this.
Meta descriptions are short snippets of text that show up below titles in the SERPs, for example.
With an eCommerce task, writing hundreds of meta descriptions can be an arduous task; we find using templates for product and category pages such as the ones below makes this process easier.
Meta description template for category page
Shop for the latest collection of [Product Type] from [Brand Name]. Shop now & get free delivery on orders over $75 at [Site Name].
Meta description template for product description
Find the perfect [Product_Name] for your needs in the [Category_Name] category. Choose from a wide selection at [Site Name], the trusted source of [niche description].
Link Building Strategy
Once we had the content and structure of the website fine-tuned, we switched our focus to link building. One of the most effective strategies to build backlinks is researching competitors' sites to find opportunities from websites linking to them.
We used Ahrefs for this analysis.
How to Find Relevant Competitor Sites
To begin, head to the Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and type in your target keyword for a page you want to rank for. For this example, an online store selling running shoes that wants to target the keyword 'Asics Gel-Nimbus 24'.
Scroll down to find the top pages ranking for this term.
Identify the websites for your top 3 to 4 competitors that are most relevant to your own.
Go to the Link Intersect Tool and input the URLs of your three competitors under 'Show me who is linking to these domains or URLs.'
Next, insert your website's domain into the text field labeled 'But doesn't link to (optional).'
By clicking on the text 'Show link opportunities,' you now have a complete list of all the external websites that are currently linking to your competitor’s sites but not to yours.
Checking Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals is a set of metrics Google uses to measure user experience. They include the loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a page.
The metrics are:
- Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – This measures the loading performance of a page. The goal is to have an LCP measurement of 2.5 seconds or less.
- First Input Delay (FID) – Measures interactivity, or how quickly a user can interact with your page after it loads. The goal is to have an FID measurement of 100 milliseconds or less.
- Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures visual stability, or how much-unexpected movement of page content the user experiences. The goal is to have a CLS measurement of 0.1 or less.
How to Check Core Web Vitals
Alternatively, you can turn to the Core Web Vitals report in Google Search Console to understand which URLs on your website have passed or not met the required Core Web Vitals score.
At the end of this successful SEO campaign, the stats speak for themselves.
- 102% increase in organic traffic, with 846,473 users visiting the website per month
- Year-on-year, 36% increase in the number of transactions, from 1,308 to 3,157
- 144% increase in revenue, from $278,962 to $680,669.
- 375.75% increase in keywords ranking within the top 10 positions, from 3,629 to 17,265.
Let the others do the talking
TSI has been a great asset to our team!
"They are very knowledgeable, quick to assist with any task or project we give them, and always produce high quality work. Definitely recommend TSI for your SEO needs."
Blown Away by their Service!
"I recently worked with The Search Initiative and was blown away by their level of expertise and customer service. Their team helped recover my website from a Google update and I couldn't be happier with the results."
Could not recommend TSI enough!
"Robert and there team have not only got us number #1 for our main keyword but also number #1 for the top 5 keywords in our industry, which is unheard of."
"Excellent SEO / digital strategy agency. 5* on all levels from communication, planning, execution, availability and delivery."
Top Notch SEO!
"Provide a top notch SEO service which provided us with consistant growth."
The Best SEO Agency!
"The best SEO agency I've ever worked with. I've been partnered with TSI for 4+ years now with great success. They took my website to the top of the search results and have kept me there over the years, overcoming competitors and algorithm changes."
"Excellent project management and communication. We used them for six months and we're seeing a decent spike in sessions already."
"Very prompt and accessible communication."
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