Recently I had the privilege of quizzing Aaron Wall from SEO Book regarding eCommerce SEO strategies. Below is the Q and A from the interview. A special thanks to Aaron for his time. After the read, be sure to checkout his SEO Training program.

Q: Typically, eCommerce site owners have a harder time generating incoming links than say a blog would. What link building strategies do you recommend for eCommerce sites that have hundreds or even thousands of products?

A: I don’t think you need to get links to every product from external sources to do well…most of your competition suffers from the same issues as your ecommerce site does. Ideally you just want to get your brand featured and try to get some links into key products. Affiliate programs are great for building links. So are contests and any social elements to your site – like a company blog.

Q: What type of keyword strategy would you recommend for an online retailer with a large product catalog? Should the focus be on a few, larger volume keywords or a long tail approach?

A: In general if I had to pick one I would say that a long tail is typically a better approach, but you really need to look at sales data and promote what is selling. If you know a certain category is particularly hot then feature it to drive more of your link equity to that part of the site. If another category is low margin and rarely sells then link to it less often.

Q: Many internet retailers struggle to attain good rankings for their individual product pages. With so much competition on the internet in nearly every niche, how does one make their product pages rank higher in light of the competition?

A: The 7 easiest ways to gain traction are:

  1. Ensure your on page SEO and site structure are well optimized.
  2. Limit your selection and hold sales events. does great with this strategy.
  3. Offer leading quality editorial reviews and how to guides that help people trust you and want to do business with you.
  4. Create wish lists and other widgets that people can spread virally on their websites…give people a reason to feature your brand.
  5. Focus your internal PageRank and anchor text to promote the most important items.
  6. Build community, contests, and/or an editorial voice that makes people keep coming back to you for the latest product releases.
  7. Aggressively engage in public relations and link building.

Q: Many online retailers struggle with getting all of their product or category pages indexed, due to the large number of pages and content deep within the site architecture. What advice would you give to ensure a deep crawl?

A: Focus your crawling priorities on your most important pages. Add tools, gadgets, editorial information, and engage in public relations / link building to help your site get crawled as deeply as possible.

Make sure your domain does not have pagination issues, canonicalization issues, or low information pages that are sucking up PageRank that can flow to more important pages.

Q: Do you have any other recommendations in regards to eCommerce SEO?

A: Promote seasonal offers with internal link authority at least a month early so search engines see a lot of PageRank pointing at those pages.

If you find that your store is a thin listing store (like a yellow pages website) then look at the 2 year performance of RHD and IAR…the value of thin listings are all going to Google. You really need to have interactivity and editorial to have a sustainable strategy.