5 Lessons Learned from 100 SEO Projects with Health and Wellness E-commerce Stores 

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We recently passed 100 SEO projects for health and wellness e-commerce stores – an exciting milestone! We’ve been so successful because our team knows that every click from a search engine to the site could lead to a meaningful conversion. We keep that in mind as we build out our SEO strategies.

At the start of almost every project, we have to battle the pervasive myth that SEO is simply about churning out a few blog posts sprinkled with keywords. If only it were this easy! The health and wellness e-commerce landscape is highly competitive, so it demands a nuanced understanding of the space. There are the obvious things, like keyword selection that reflects an understanding of user intent and technical checks that ensure a site is crawlable and indexable. But the bigger task is keeping up to date with consumer trends and algorithm shifts (like the latest, which has clearly given preference to FAQ sites and big industry incumbents). Staying ahead means constantly evolving your SEO strategy.

Whether you’re a budding e-commerce entrepreneur or a seasoned marketer looking to refine your approach, the journey to SEO mastery is…well, an ongoing one. Here are the lessons we’ve learned to drive growth and success with SEO in the health and wellness sector.

Beyond Blog Posts

Most of our client engagements start with clients coming to us with a pressing challenge: how to get more people at the top of their funnel.

A lot of companies start by doing things that don’t scale out so well – press, events, physical placements, influencers. But at some point, demand cycles stabilize and the need shifts to get the word out about the brand and SKUs at scale.

We have found that many companies at this point turn to optimizing their homepage and writing lots of blogs. While a rising tide lifts all boats, there is little strategic consideration about why the homepage is being optimized, what topics to write about or how this will tie in to the wider customer journey and experience. While the goal is clear, the tactics are disparate and the results often follow suit.

Instead of throwing out a bunch of blog content, we streamline the process, focusing on how to strategically improve brand awareness and the top of funnel customer journey through SEO with the following:

  • User Intent: aligning content with user intent means going beyond surface-level topics to meet the specific needs and questions of the audience at each stage within their buying journey/the funnel. For example, if someone is searching for heart healthy snacks for men, most other page 1 SERPs are listicles and articles. Creating content that addresses this query – and aligning with the search intent of a customer who is clearly searching for a range of options is really important.

Once customers click through to the relevant page onsite, we’ve found that matching user intent with high quality content is just the first step. Keep customers on the site by having clear navigability and internal links to other relevant content, and always make sure that you give multiple options for the next step in the journey, whether that’s getting an email address or making a sale. In our heart-healthy snack example, we list the heart-healthy snacks available to men, including our product, and provide a list of other heart-healthy blog posts. We also add links to heart-healthy products and have a call to action to download a free heart healthy snack time cookbook.

  • Keyword Selection: most people are enamored with the idea of ranking for high volume search terms. I always explain it like this: if I’m selling face oils for sensitive skin, my initial reaction is that I want to rank for the keyword “face oil.” There are literally millions of searches for this term.

But if I Google “face oil” I will likely get millions of search results back – the competition is huge. Those results include face oils from the world’s largest companies, product reviews, pictures of face oils, recipes for homemade face oil…I may want to rank for this term, but it will be hyper competitive and ultimately lacks the specificity of my USP, which is focusing on sensitive skin. Instead, ranking for “best face oils for sensitive skin,” focusing on specific ingredients or finding different ways to describe my oil (face serum, skincare oil, facial skincare and other keywords) could be more relevant. Sure, there are less searches for these other types of terms, but those searchers are hyper relevant to what I offer.

  • Competitive Analysis: in SEO, competition is everything. Even if you’re performing well organically, a few new competitors in the space can cause a big difference in SERPs, as I did for one of our global fitness clients. Search for the keywords you want to rank for. See what types of content are already ranking. Then, find opportunities they’ve missed and to differentiate your approach. For example, we’ve found a lot of success in linkbuilding back to specific product pages in the vitamin and supplement space, as many competitors focus on the way that vitamins or supplements make people feel, but few focus on the ingredients in the products. This white space enabled us to rank for ingredient-specific keywords and drive traffic back to product pages that increased sales and drove down acquisition costs, while also building more brand awareness for our client.
  • Product Page Optimization: optimizing product pages with unique descriptions, high-quality images, and customer reviews give customers more information about your products, which ultimately increases the chance of conversion. One of our recent clients optimized their product pages and saw a 200% increase in product-specific SERPs. Although most customers will validate their purchase by moving through the funnel, depending on the price point and entry into the funnel (longer tail keywords, such as “organic white wine chardonnay” are more likely to convert than “white wine” due to their specificity, which shows a closer step toward knowing what is required), some are motivated to buy fairly quickly after finding your brand. Giving those people, as well as people who have followed along the journey for a while, more information and context through optimized product pages can help increase conversion.

A free tool such as Google Search Console will help you understand what keywords you currently rank for and what your click-through-rate is. From there, you can start to plan out what other keywords you might want to rank for, using keyword research tools such as SEM Rush or AHRefs.

Technical SEO

Technical SEO may seem inaccessible, but in our experience there are a few high level things to be aware of – nothing too scary or overly complicated.

  • Crawlability and Indexing: your site structure should be easy for search engines to crawl and index – i.e., to “read” and “save” so that your page can show up on results pages later.
  • Mobile-Friendly Design: Google prioritizes indexing – i.e., “saving” – the mobile version of websites ahead of desktop versions. This means that your site must be mobile-friendly if it hopes to rank.

Review your site using Pagespeed Insights to learn more about its mobile optimization.

More SEO Strategies for E-commerce

    • Leveraging Social Proof: integrating customer reviews and ratings can boost SEO by providing fresh, keyword-rich content and enhancing v trust. You can do this throughout your product pages, FAQs, on your homepage and in blogs or other digital content on and off your website.
    • Content Marketing Beyond Products: content that supports the health and wellness journey of the customer, like how-to guides, health tips, and product usage tutorials are great pieces of content that push customers down the customer funnel and build brand awareness.
  • Backlinks: think of backlinks as works cited in an academic paper. When we cite an article or book in our own paper, its because we consider it a credible source. The same goes for backlinks, where we link to another page or website on our own webpage. Search engines see those links; the more links that lead to a certain page, the more that the search engines recognize the linked page as a credible resource. (Certain exceptions apply. To read more about black hat linkbuilding and when linkbuilding can be harmful, read Moz’s blog about it here.)

Nowadays, one of the best ways to grow your page in SERPs is through linkbuilding. Having great content that is worth linking to – graphics, research studies, tools or webinars for example – have often been our clients’ biggest blockers. So rather than starting from a place of wanting to build a link, start from a place of wanting to create great content that other people want to link to, and go from there.

  • FAQs: From product-specific FAQs to FAQs about shipping and returns, FAQ pages are an SEO goldmine that can improve SERPs and answer many customer questions – a two birds, one stone content type.
  • Visuals: Don’t forget that search engines also crawl and index optimized images, which is why alt text is so important. Image searches are an overlooked yet highly impactful place to rank, particularly when it comes to product photos.

Interested in learning more about what we can do for your health or wellness e-commerce business? Get in touch. And if you’re curious about how your site is ranking, try our free SEO review here.