Yes, you can optimize all ecommerce websites for search engines (SEO). The key is to have your SEO strategy fit your brand and marketing strategy.
Below is an example showing two different SEO strategies to sell T Shirts online.
Both are correct — it’s about knowing and doing what is best for your brand and online business.
Strategy #1 – Product Intent Keyword Optimization
When I Google the keyword ‘t shirts‘, these are my search results.
In the above search results example, I removed the Google Ads and localized Business Map results.
Underlined in red is the first thing I noticed when looking at these search results. The keyword ‘t shirts’ frequency on the website title, URL, meta description, site page and subcategories.
The next thing I look at is the type of websites and businesses showing on page one.
Search intent strongly suggest I (the customer) want to buy a t shirt of some type.
Google is not really sure of the search intent behind the keyword ‘t-shirts’. It a very generic short tail keyword, so Google is displaying a blend of result types.
Basically, Google doesn’t know what type of t-shirt I want.
Do I (the customer) want:
- Mens shirts?
- Womens shirts?
- Custom printed shirts?
- A certain big brand of shirt?
- Local printed shirts for my team or business?
Saskatoon, cause that’s where I am located! 🙂
There are lots of related long tail keywords related to this niche.
The websites that rank well for the keyword ‘T shirt’ have:
- Good on page optimizations for the keyword ‘t shirts’.
- Professional looking websites (branding, photography, content, contact info).
- Easy to read and well structured websites for the customers to make an informed purchase.
Interestingly, there seems to be no consensus on how to spell tshirts. Heynated, no hyphen or just a space? All the results on page one search results had slightly different spelling variations (and so does this blog post).
This probably has more to do with consumer behavior and clicks than businesses having incorrect grammatical variations in the site title and descriptions.
T Shirt Search Volume
According to Ubersuggest the search volume for the keyword ‘t shirt’ is between 200,000 to 300,000 searches per month.
Results of SEO Strategy #1 – Keyword Optimization
If your website ranks on page 1 of Google for the keyword ‘t-shirts’ or ‘t shirts custom’ — Congratulations! Your site probably does very well selling t shirts online.
Some of these businesses are competing on price, as consumers are price conscious and the product is viewed as a commodity.
Ranking for the keyword ‘tshirt’ will be hard but doable. Goodluck if this is your niche!
Other businesses that sell shirts are able to sell their shirts at a higher price because consumers may like the graphic, shirt fit, fabric quality or the associated brand.
Strategy #2 – Branding
Have you heard of the brand Supreme?
Supreme is a billion dollar brand. They mostly sell graphic t shirts.
When I Google ‘Supreme’, It looks like this :
No, keywords anywhere in the title or the description for t shirts. But, what they have done is match the brand.
Honestly, the Supreme website user experience sucks. I can’t even find how to navigate to the t shirt category from the homepage of the website.
I had to do a Google Search to find the t shirt section. This product category is probably a majority of the products they sell (guessing).
Supreme Shirt Search Volume
The search volume for supreme shirts is 60,000 searches a month. If I Google ‘Supreme shirt’, their website isn’t even the first result.
The top result is reselling used / new Supreme shirts for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
How to build a Brand like Supreme
- Work with celebrities and influencers.
- Limit your product availability and use scarcity to drive sales.
- Build your brand and marketing to match your consumers behavior.
Results of SEO Strategy #2 – Branding
This sort of strategy takes time. You can’t always track how many sales you got by giving your product to someone cool to wear.
The buzzword for this is currently known as influencer marketing, but it has been around for hundreds of years. From Royalty selling fine china to movie stars selling cigarettes.
If you figure out how to connect your product with a person or people and an audience who aspires to be like them in some way — then you got lighting in a bottle.
Supreme is able to sell their shirts for a premium and they don’t compete on price. Their customers LOVE their brand and will stand in line for the chance to buy it.
Ecommerce SEO & Branding Key Takeaways
- Doing SEO on the right type of ecommerce store with the right product related search intent can be very profitable.
- Building a brand is more of an art that a science. It Takes time but can pay dividends into the future.
- Consider doing a combination of branding and SEO for your ecommerce sales strategy.
Shopify Expert and digital marketing consultant.