SEO for Ecommerce Websites: Questions to Ask Before Selecting an SEO Agency

A faded image of a collection of toy zebras with text that reads, how to pick an SEO agency for your ecommerce website.

What is one of the most powerful and overlooked strategies in the eCommerce industry?

Hint: It’s a practice that helps keep your online storefront healthy, efficient, and user friendly.

Answer: Implementing robust search engine optimization, or SEO, is crucial to success.

If you have considered hiring outside help, but aren’t sure how to pick an eCommerce SEO agency, then asking yourself and your prospective agency some questions may help.

  1. What is the Goal You Want to Achieve Through SEO?
  2. How Does the eCommerce SEO Agency Approach Uncertainty?
  3. What Kind of Skill Sets Does the Agency’s Team Have?
  4. Does the Agency Have a Defined Approach to SEO Strategy?
  5. What is the Agency’s Experience Using Your Business’s Platforms?
  6. Does the Agency Give Recommendations on Services That May Not Be In Their Wheelhouse?

These may seem like a lot of questions, but answering them is crucial to ensuring that your business benefits from eCommerce SEO. Let’s look at these questions in a little more detail and explore a few plausible answers.

1. What is the Goal You Want to Achieve Through SEO?

Like much in life, we can only know if we are making progress if we clearly know the goal we are trying to achieve. Just like you have distinct revenue goals, you should also have clear marketing goals.

Before you hire an eCommerce SEO agency, ask yourself, “What goal do I hope to accomplish through SEO”? This question will help you narrow down your search and filter out agencies.

A sheet of paper has a headline that reads Goal Review. Underneath the headline there are graphics showing a project planning process.

For example, your goal may be to increase your website’s traffic. One of the ways to do this is to improve your site’s domain authority. (When your website appears more trustworthy, search engines are more likely to list it on the search engine results page).

Like much else in SEO, there are several ways to improve your eCommerce website’s domain authority. Some agencies do this by building backlinks, i.e., links from other external sites that link back to your online store website.

If your goal is simply to increase your website traffic and you want to do this by building backlinks, you may want to partner with an agency that solely focuses on it.

One of the most important contributors to SEO success is onsite content. Among other things, it impacts your visitor experience and whether or not other sites want to backlink to you.

If you want to focus on using content as an inbound marketing tactic, then you may want to consider an agency that specializes in planning and writing SEO content for eCommerce businesses.

2. How Does the Agency Approach Uncertainty?

If an SEO agency guarantees amazing-sounding results within a specific period, then you may want to look closer.

The only constant in SEO is that it is an ever-changing space. Search engines are continuously trying to refine results to suit audience preferences and audience preferences themselves aren’t static. The way we used search terms in 2018 is different from the way we use search terms today.

It is important to understand early on that by its very nature, SEO is a long-term move. Unlike paid ads that may deliver immediate (and often expensive) results, eCommerce SEO takes time, but delivers much more sustained results.

3. WHAT SKILL SETS DOES THE AGENCY’S TEAM HAVE?

Just like your business team is made up of specialists in areas such as finance, product design, or supply chain management, the eCommerce SEO agency you choose should also be made up of different specialists.

It is important you ask your prospective agency if they can share their team’s internal structure.

  • Are there different people responsible for technical and non technical SEO?
  • What kind of experience do they have?
  • How will they ensure that the eCommerce SEO strategies and tactics they implement will align with your brand?
  • Where is the team based?

Rejecting an agency just because their team is based overseas is a bit of an overreaction. However, as a business looking for SEO for an eCommerce website, it is important for you to weigh how this will impact your partnership.

Similarly, before zeroing in on an SEO agency for your eCommerce website, you should ask about the agency’s relevant experience. Have they worked for similar clients before? Do they have other clients who could be your competitors?

There is certainly an advantage to working with agencies who work with brands/products similar to yours. However, there are also upsides to working with an eCommerce SEO agency that has a broad range of clients.

4. Does the Agency Have a Defined Approach to to SEO Strategy

This question is related to understanding your eCommerce SEO goals. When you clearly explain your business and marketing goal to the agency you are considering, they should have a well-laid out strategy that will help you reach that goal.

A game of chess in action where a bishop is being taken off the board by another bishop

You will see some eCommerce SEO agencies that define their broad strategy on their website. This is a good sign that tells you the agency will have a structured approach to work.

While an agency’s broad SEO strategies for eCommerce websites should be defined, their strategy for your business should be tailored to your needs. Many businesses work with agencies that offer templated plans that offer tiers of services, and this approach may work for some. However, before picking an SEO agency for your eCommerce business, ask yourself if it will work for you.

5. What is the Agency’s Experience Using Different Platforms?

One of the biggest differences between regular SEO and eCommerce SEO, is that the latter needs constant updates. Seasons change, inventories grow and shrink, product developments take place. In short, your business is constantly evolving.

A person is selecting items on an ecommerce clothing website on their phone

Unless you have a big team of people with available bandwidth, the eCommerce SEO agency you select will need to make updates on your website. They will need to be able to navigate the platforms you use so they can make recommendations and changes. We suggest selecting an agency that doesn’t simply hand over an SEO plan to you, but instead creates SEO content, publishes, and then measures the performance of that content.

In order to do this, the agency should have people who are experienced in optimizing different platforms. For example, does the team have suggestions on how to increase the speed of your Shopify store? Are they well-versed with WordPress Plugins? Are they comfortable making landing pages on Squarespace?

6. Does the Agency Give Recommendations on Services That May Not Be In Their Wheelhouse?

Some agencies may offer a slew of services, while others will specialize in a certain aspect of inbound marketing such as SEO for eCommerce websites. However, any agency you select should have your business’s interests at the forefront of their recommendations.

SEO is one of the most important marketing tools for eCommerce Businesses

With online retail continuing to grow at lightning speed, online businesses cannot ignore eCommerce SEO. If you are reading this, chances are that you know this.

If you are on the fence, consider this important statistic from Kinsta — 43% of eCommerce traffic comes from organic Google searches. Now, use the same source and compare this to the 27%, which comes from Google paid ads. Combine the lower click-through-rates with higher costs-per-click and you will quickly see that SEO should be an important part of your marketing strategy.

While we encourage you to combine several marketing channels and tactics to ensure you are meeting your customers where they are, we will say that SEO for eCommerce websites is one of the most important tools in your marketing toolkit.

If you are ready to explore Ecommerce SEO, but aren’t sure you have the know-how or bandwidth, then consider hiring an eCommerce SEO agency that has a proven eCommerce SEO strategy. At Boxwood Digital, we offer SEO services for eCommerce websites that includes strategy, execution, and implementation. Take a look at the results we have driven for our clients and schedule a consultation with us.