1. SEJ
  2.  ⋅ 
  3. Ecommerce

Marketplace SEO: A Guide To Optimize Listings

Marketplace SEO involves optimizing product listings on ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy to increase visibility and conversions

Marketplace SEO is the same as trying to get visibility on search engines, there is no silver bullet that gets you there.

Only those sites that invest in search engine optimization (SEO) tend to reap the benefits.

If you have an ecommerce site with products listed on it that are provided by third-party vendors, and your site brings the buyer and seller together (like Airbnb, Amazon, Etsy, and eBay), then we’re off to a good start.

You manage a marketplace website.

If you want your site to rank well for free on Google, then, yes, this article is worth your while.

What Is Marketplace SEO?

Marketplace SEO involves optimizing product listings on ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Etsy to increase visibility and increase conversions.

You can look at marketplace SEO as its own niched specialty, because marketplaces have challenges and opportunities, unlike traditional sites.

As with “normal” SEO, your marketplace SEO must have sound website architecture that falls in line with SEO best practices, as well as on and off-page SEO strategies to ensure your page or product ranks highest.

Is this possible? Yes.

Is this easy? Not at all.

It is focused work, it is deliberate, and it is not a once-off exercise.

However, it is likely your competitors are not putting in the work, so the dividends are tremendous if you do.

As with all things digital marketing, your Marketplace SEO strategy should form part of a well-constructed, multi-channel, full-funnel marketing strategy.

You cannot expect your SEO to pull all your growth KPIs (key performance indicators)

However, it can definitely help!

How Is Marketplace SEO Different From Ecommerce SEO?

There are a lot of overlaps when it comes to comparing marketplace SEO with “normal” SEO.

For similarities, your marketplace site ranks for “free} on Google (as opposed to your paid search campaigns or display campaigns).

For another, the goal is to rank well. This is so that you have more brand visibility at every stage of the buyer journey, and that you drive traffic to your site.

Here’s where the similarities end.

Where the goal with traditional SEO is to create content that answers the search query so that the site is found on the search engine results page (SERP), with marketplace SEO, the goal is to optimize for commercial intent.

In other words, to be found when someone is most likely to purchase.

For example, if you search in Google “the best outfits for a year end dinner” you’ll get articles and blogs in the first few positions.

If you search “little black dress online” you’ll find marketplace results, where third-party suppliers sell their wares.

Clearly, these sites have put in the effort to optimize for organic search.

However, when compared with ecommerce sites, marketplace SEO specialists have several challenges that their ecommerce counterparts don’t.

For one, the marketplace site typically has way more products than the single shop-front ecommerce store. This makes optimizing a time-consuming, ongoing project.

For another, the ecommerce store has full control over stock, product listing quality, images, descriptions, etc.

Often, third-party vendors mistakenly upload products multiple times, or use confusing URL structures or naming conventions.

For this reason, marketplace sites need constant control, monitoring, and strict onboarding processes for vendors.

Tips To Optimize Marketplace Listings

We’ve come to the meat and potatoes of the article.

Here’s how to optimize your marketplace website to rank well on Google, Bing, and anywhere else you’d like.

1. Like Hansel And Gretel, Use Breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs are a vital part of clear, easy-to-use navigation on every website.

Breadcrumbs not only help improve your users’ experience on the site and help them find their way around through categories and subcategories, but the cohesive product path also helps bots crawl the site.

More than helpful navigation and ease of category location for people and Google bots, breadcrumbs are also shown in the SERP so that users can see where the page is situated on your site.

2. Schema Markup Is A Must

Schema markup is a bit of a ‘cheat sheet’ for search engines to help them identify what your web content is about.

See it as a label on a box that tells the person what’s in the box, in a room full of white, unlabelled boxes. It helps!

Schema markup, structured data, and snippets improve site indexing, and also gives marketplace sites the opportunity to show more information on the SERP.

For example, you can show product reviews, product details, and breadcrumbs.

Probably the most important schema markup to use to gain product visibility is product structured data.

This allows you to list or show various aspects of the product in the SERP:

  • Images.
  • Product name.
  • Reviews and ratings.
  • Brand or company name.
  • Product description.
  • SKU, and more.

3. Be Fast To Be Mobile-friendly

I shouldn’t have to tell you this, especially in today’s mobile-dominant Gen Z marketplace, but your website pages need to load fast, and your site needs to look good on a mobile phone.

Ok, now that I’ve got that off my chest, here’s why – if you still need convincing.

Sadly, you are the only one who is willing to wait around for your amazing, but slow, site to load. Nobody else will.

Close to 80% of online shoppers say that site load speed impacts their purchase decision.

Your slow site is costing you sales.

Also, Google uses site speed as one of its UX metrics in its ranking algorithm.

Your slow site is costing you visibility.

Use Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix to see how your marketplace site performs.

4. Site security (SSL) Is Super Important

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol that creates an encrypted link between the web browser and the site’s server.

You’ll know your site uses SSL when HTTPS is in your URL or there is a padlock in the URL.

Google does not like websites that do not have SSL, or are the old HTTP URL.

You will usually get a privacy error and users are discouraged from visiting the site.

5. Don’t Forget Your Sitemaps

Your marketplace site has hundreds, if not thousands, of pages that need to be updated regularly as new products and prices are loaded.

Update your sitemap so that Google bots can index the important pages of your site.

Use XML Sitemaps to manually create one if your CMS doesn’t do it automatically, then upload it to Google Search Console.

Do this whenever you add new URLs to your site, or change product details.

6. Use Reviews To Boost Engagement

Ask your customers for reviews after purchasing products, and make it as easy for them as possible to submit these ratings and reviews.

Reviews are a great way to overcome fears and objections in the sales journey, and serve to increase trust and engagement.

More than that, ratings tell Google that your site is the real deal.

7. Content Is Still King

I’m not talking about product descriptions or returns policies here. No.

Content marketing is still an important part of your online visibility for search engine optimization.

Good-quality, well-written, relevant content improves your marketplace site’s ranking.

Create articles, blogs, how-tos, and insights on your specific customers’ pain points.

Share these blogs and customer reviews on your social channels, like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok.

Make use of influencers on various social media channels frequented by your ideal target audience to drive more clicks to your site.

Create SEO blurbs with LSI keywords at the bottom of each category or product page that also supports your linking strategy.

Final Thoughts

There’s no getting away from it: SEO is vital for your marketplace website.

While building SEO on your marketplace site has its challenges, it will help your products and category pages rank for the competitive keywords you otherwise have to pay for.

Your efforts will bring in more organic traffic to your site, and help improve revenue and conversions.

I’m sure these tips will help you rank well on search engines.

More resources: 

Featured Image: Surasak_Ch/Shutterstock

Alex Macura Founder at Your Digital Assembly

Alex has more than 20 years of experience in digital marketing and growth across various B2B and B2C online industries. ...

Marketplace SEO: A Guide To Optimize Listings

Subscribe To Our Newsletter.

Conquer your day with daily search marketing news.