Shopping online has become part of everyday life. The simplicity of being able to log onto the internet and buy what you need instead of making a round trip to the shops means that more and more shops are going online.
If you sell products online then getting the SEO right on your ecommerce site has never been so important.
Ecommerce sites by their nature don’t usually include a lot of content, which means that site owners need to ensure that they address other elements to give their sites a competitive edge.
In this blog, I have put together a comprehensive guide to ecommerce SEO as well as the other factors that should also be looked into to give you a competitive edge.
As with any SEO campaign, it all begins with keyword research.
Without extensive research you won’t truly get the full picture as to what people are searching for (in relation to your products).
Carry out your research. Find what people are searching for and make your decisions.
Product names are product names and a majority of people will know what they are looking for. In these instances there isn’t much room for movement away from working with exactly what it is. However researching terminology and variations can be the difference between targeting your audience and just missing out.
Title Tags – Each page should have a unique Title tag. Your keyword research will provide you with valuable information as to how these should be structured, what terminology should be used and what key terms you will be focusing on.
For product pages always include the product name. Don’t try to be clever by using a variation to attract more visitors. More often than not if someone is searching for a product, they know what it is called.
Meta Description Tags – They may have no bearing on rankings but these descriptions are valuable snippets that can make the difference between someone clicking through to your site or going to your competitors.
As with your Title tags these should all ideally be individual.
Product Description – If you are a reseller or include 3rd party products within your range, avoid using the manufacturers description. Rewrite it. You want this content to be unique. You don’t want to duplicate information that could be included on other sites.
You also want to avoid including links that lead off to another site; for example a “for more information check out their official site” style links. The second you lead them away from your site you have lost the sale.
Product Prices – Nothing will annoy a potential customer more than not knowing how much the product is. Make sure the price is visible.
Add To Cart – Make it easy for customers to buy your products. This starts at being able to add products to their basket. If this move is remotely difficult or doesn’t work they will be off to your competitors in seconds.
You should also make sure that the price of the product is next to the “buy” button.
Make sure you check important buttons such as “add to cart” or “buy now” on a regular basis.
Images – Your product images should be clear. Don’t use images that you have had to expand. This will affect the quality of the image.
If your images aren’t top quality this can give the site an amateur feel.
Phone Number – Make sure you include a contact phone number on all pages. Even if no one ever rings it, simply having it there will create a trust between you and your customer. Knowing they can contact if needs be will add trust.
Social Buttons – Be sure to have social buttons on your pages. Help your visitors share your content. It’s the online version of “word of mouth”. The easier you make it for them to bookmark and share your products and pages, the further your reach will become.
It also helps natural link building.
With your on page elements in place, it is just as important to make sure that the technical aspects of the site are also up to scratch.
Google Search Console
Any site serious about getting results online needs performance data.
Google Search Console is free and gives you essential data about how Google see your site and how it is performing.
Ecommerce sites by nature are big with hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages live. You need to stay on top of all possible issues. Google Search Console will help report back on such key areas such as site speed, broken links and crawler errors. For more information on this, why not check out our e-commerce SEO checklist?
The speed of a site is an important factor. If you have a slow site while someone is trying to buy something and you are going to lose sales.
So from both a search engine and a usability point of view you need to make sure that your site is quick.
As mentioned previously, Google Search Console will give you strong indications on your sites current speed.
Search Engine Friendly URLs
Using search engine friendly URLs is usually one of the areas that is thought about once a site has gone live or once all other SEO work has been carried out.
Ecommerce sites, due to their very nature of having a high number of pages, will have URLs that consist of long product number related strings, for example: “https://www.example.com/shop/white-productid=37827white/”
It would be far more beneficial to use keyword related URLs: “https://www.example.com/shop/white-widgets-for-cans”
A descriptive URL is more search engine friendly.
The set up that is required will be dependent on the CMS you are using, but this should be thought about during the set up stage otherwise you have a world of 301s to set up.
Due to the nature of large Ecommerce sites, duplicate pages can naturally be created. If a product is relevant to more than one category then potentially you could be creating duplicate pages.
Google recommend that canonical tags are implemented. These help to inform the search engines that you only wish them to recognise one version of the page. The tag refers the search engine to the version you wish to be indexed.
- The site navigation needs to be right.
- The site needs to be easy to navigate. Don’t allow your customers to get lost.
- Using breadcrumb trails helps you add key terms (which will also add relevance) and helps usability.
- Giving your customers this trail will also help them around the site. It can also be followed by Google.
Beyond Your Site
If you are selling products online then you need to be thinking about platforms beyond your own site. Online marketing is evolving all the time with potential customers using more and more online platforms to seek out what they are looking for.
If you aren’t using them, not only will you be missing out you will also be passing up on natural link building opportunities and social shares.
Social is huge. More and more people now use social platforms to find out information and make their decisions. If you are nowhere to be seen then you will miss out.