Ecommerce SEO Trends

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Hey, everybody.

I wanted to shoot a quick video and talk about an observation that I have been noticing more and more and more of as I pay attention to Ecommerce SERPs as we move into 2017.

So, this is going to be just a quick opinion of mine just to put it on the record and share my observations for where I think Ecommerce SEO is going in 2017.

This may seem a lot like common sense, but I want to give a specific list of examples.

I’ve got 10 keywords that I follow and that I’ve looked at, and I want to talk about what I’m seeing in the top 5 rankings on these 10 SERPs, and share with you what I think that means and how you can take advantage of it to do better Ecommerce SEO going forward.

So, one important thing to clarify right out of the gate is, I want to talk about Ecommerce SEO for non-branded terms. For more information, check out my post on Ecommerce content strategy.

Branded Ecommerce SEO is a whole different monster.

When you’re selling Nikes or Canons and you’ve got to compete on branded terms against the brands who, at this point, almost all now have Ecommerce enabled stores or Ecommerce web properties, that’s a different beast.

I want to talk about unbranded keywords because I believe they represent the largest opportunity for SEO.

So, we’re going to run through 10 keywords and I want to list out the top 5 current ranking websites as of December 2016, and then I want to talk about what pattern I’m seeing across all these results that I think over 90% of them will hit this pattern.

The first one is “women’s winter coats”

So, the top five ranking websites in order right now for “women’s winter coats” are:

  1. Nordstrom
  2. Burlington
  3. Macy’s
  4. JCPenney
  5. DICK’s

The next keyword is “men’s boots”

“Men’s boots”, top five ranking websites right now are:

  1. DSW
  2. Nordstrom
  3. Amazon
  4. Zappos
  5. Famous Footwear

The next keyword is “cocktail dress”

The top five ranking websites right now for “cocktail dress” are:

  1. Nordstrom
  2. Dillard’s
  3. Lulus
  4. TJ Maxx
  5. BCBG

The next keyword is “coffee machine”

The top five websites ranking for “coffee machine” right now are:

  1. Amazon
  2. Bed Bath & Beyond
  3. Target
  4. Good Housekeeping
  5. Best Products

Next keyword, “travel coffee mug”

Top five websites ranking for “travel coffee mug” are:

  1. Amazon
  2. Contigo
  3. Walmart
  4. Starbucks
  5. Target

Next keyword is “candles”

You guys wouldn’t believe how many times every month “candles” are searched for – it’s like 368,000.

The top five websites right now that are ranking for the one-word keyword head term “candles” are ;

  1. Yankee Candle, (and it’s the homepage, which is important and we’ll come back to later)
  2. Amazon
  3. Anthropologie
  4. Bath & Body Works

The next keyword is “camera lens”

The top five ranking websites for “camera lens” are:

  1. Amazon
  2. Best Buy, specifically their general camera accessories page
  3. Then Best Buy again in position three, but it’s for their DSLR lenses page, (this will be relevant)
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Canon

That Wikipedia page, make a specific note of that in your mind.

Next keyword is “humidifier”

Top five ranking websites for “humidifier” are:

  1. Amazon
  2. Target
  3. (make a note of that)
  4. Home Depot
  5. Walmart

Next keyword is “coffee table”

This is also searched for a ton. The top five ranking websites for “coffee table” are:

  1. Wayfair
  2. Overstock
  3. Joss & Main
  4. Houzz (make a note of that)
  5. Target

Keyword number 10 is the word “sofa”

Top five ranking websites right now for the keyword “sofa” are:

  1. Wayfair
  2. Ashley Furniture
  3. Overstock
  4. West Elm
  5. Raymour & Flanigan

What does this all have to do with anything?

And how many times did I ask you to make note of a website?

It was about three, right? I think it was three.

It was Wikipedia, Consumer Reports, and Houzz.

Out of the 50 results that we just went through, so 10 websites, top 5 ranking results for…or 10 keywords, top 5 ranking websites for each, so 50 websites, out of that group of 50 websites, 47 of them, so 90…what is that, 94%…47 of those websites are e-commerce sites, which is important.

The other three are informational sites. They’re aggregates.

Those, it’s funny that those are considered more informational terms, where Google wouldn’t want the top five results to all be commercial results.

Here’s the Observation

Every single one of the e-commerce pages that is ranking for these massive head term keywords with huge monthly search volume and great contextual relevancy for selling their products that they’re ranking for, every single one, with one exception, is a category page.

I just think it’s really interesting that this massive shift has taken place in the Ecommerce results, where we used to see a lot more informational results.

The fact that Wikipedia is still in one of those results as an informational page is very interesting.

But, again, 94% of all of the other rankings, the pages in the top five for these massive Ecommerce keywords are results pages.

They’re, again, pages with lots of options where people can browse.

That’s what people want, that’s what people expect, and Google’s a user experience company.

Google’s going to deliver the user experience that meets and fulfills the expectation and the intent of the keyword.

Anyway, like I said, it may sound like common sense, but I wanted to put it on the record. Hopefully, that’s helpful and you found this interesting

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  1. Interesting insights indeed Nick. You mentioned how Google is a user experience company. Do you think their AI alogorithms chose to list more e-commerce pages for terms like sofa, coffee machine after noticing how the bounce rate may have been high for informational pages listed on the first of of SERPS? I have a strong feeling that would be the case.

    Thanks for sharing your analysis btw. Given your e-commerce experience, it’s worth a ton to read/watch your thoughts on such things 🙂

    1. Syed – Yes I definitely think that G’s algorithm’s (as supported by deep machine learning) are running quantitative analysis of qualitative heuristics to determine a page’s value for the user. Beyond just bounce rate I think CTR, dwell-time, long click, and even to some extent the amount of pogo-sticking back and forth to the SERP results, as well as even the query path – all play a big role in determining what users “expect” to see and then are “satisfied” with.

      My pleasure, thanks for taking the time to leave a comment 🙂

  2. So Google now would want results pages with lots of options with a specific category to rank for these terms versus sites that are solely focused around one specific item ranking for a general term. This makes a lot of sense and I’m going to start taking these ideas to my current e commerce clients to implement. Thanks!

  3. Dear Nick,

    thank you for this great article! Do you think that you need more inspiration? Just rummage our website and give us a feedback!

    Best wishes!

  4. Hey Nick,

    This is great. The first and basic step for starting the seo for eCommerce is to finalize the keywords, which is the most hectic work to do. Optimizing the pages with the proper meta and keywords which give us rank and traffic. Your opinion about above mentioned keywords are amazing and help us to learn more. You have put a lot in this. Nice:)

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