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How to boost your ecommerce website visibility in France thanks to on-page SEO

With 112 billion euros of turnover in 2020, France is the 2nd ecommerce market in Europe and the 5th in the world (1). Moreover, French ecommerce has exploded in 2021. It now represents 13.4% of retail trade against 9.8% in 2019.
According to Statista, this growth is expected to continue, with an average increase of 6.4% per year between 2020 and 2024. The future is therefore bright!

Internet Search Engines in France On-Page SEO

Having a website is no longer enough to be successful in ecommerce. As the number of websites increases, competition is increasingly fierce. Now you have to make sure that your website is clearly visible to be visited by as many Internet users as possible.
As Google is the search engine with the largest market share in France (2), any ecommerce website has to be on the first page, in the first 10 results of a search on Google.

To reach the top ranking, natural referencing, or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is an important pillar of the digital marketing strategy. It is made up of on-page SEO and off-page SEO. I am now going to explain the following:

  1. What is on-page SEO?
  2. Why is it important to focus on on-page SEO when approaching the French market
  3. What are the main actions to take for an optimal on-page SEO?
  4. My last recommendations to optimize your French translations for SEO

1. What is on-page SEO?

On-page SEO includes all the actions to be performed on a website to improve its ranking in search engine results. It is opposed to off-page SEO which brings together all measures taken outside the website, such as adding backlinks from other reputable websites, to improve search engine rankings. Optimal SEO combines on-page SEO and off-page SEO. For each page or article of the site, the main on-page criteria observed by Google are presented in the table just below.

Main on-page criteria observed by Google :

Page structure optimization using Hn tags
Metadata optimization (titles and descriptions)
Image optimization (file name, ALT value)
Use of semantic markup (eg rich snippets)
Internal links optimization (anchors, titles, number and linking)

2. Why is it important to focus on on-page SEO when approaching the French market

The main characteristic of on-page SEO is that it relies heavily on language. In fact, 90% of searches on a search engine are carried out in mother tongue. To address the French market through the web, it is therefore important to think and speak like a French person.
The vocabulary words used in tags, metadata, image file names, etc. and included in the on-page criteria, have to be therefore those used by French Internet users. Words cannot be the result of an approximate translation provided by a software or a translation tool. In addition, interculturality is really important: the subjects addressed by the French concerning the products or services you offer may not be the subjects you initially thought of.

3. What are the main actions to be taken for optimal on-page SEO?

In helping a foreign company translating its ecommerce website into French, I have pointed out a few principles that I would like to share with you in this paper.
The aim was to improve the natural referencing of his ecommerce website. He sells eco-responsible decorative objects. He has built a strong distribution network in France. He is now looking for a direct development on the French market.
Mastering on-page SEO on the one hand and French cultural specificities and the finesse of the language on the other hand, I was able to:

  • Choose the right keywords / key phrases in French
  • Choose the right ideas to be employed describing the products
  • Translate code elements dedicated to natural referencing into a natural language as meta descriptions, urls …,
  • Optimize text and image content for SEO
  • Create the necessary internal links while keeping the semantic silos.

4. My last recommendations to optimize your translations for SEO

Systematically follow these three SEO principles

  1. Adopt good design practices for pages and page elements.
  2. Ensure that all pages are readable and understood by website visitors and by Google bots in a language near to natural language.
  3. Ensure that the structural elements of each page allow an excellent user experience while promoting good indexing in the search engine.

Simultaneously carry out the translation and SEO optimization

This way, you are going to save time. Your text is more efficient on a SEO viewpoint: instead of translating keywords, you will directly use queries made by Internet users in French. Your text is also more understandable compared to a text receiving retrospective changes.

Integrate multilingual translation when designing your site

The “templates” must provide sufficient title areas. Indeed, the volume of words changes when switching from one language to another: German has more volume than French, which itself has more than English.

To conclude, having a website has become quite common nowadays. But it is becoming much more difficult to be in the top 10 search results of your prospects in France. By improving on-page SEO with a high-performance French translation, your ecommerce website goes up in search results, for greater visibility, thus increasing traffic and conversion rates visitors/leads and then leads/customers.


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  • 2 WebRankinfo infographic source StatCounter

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