Sawaram Suthar is CMO at Acquire, and also a founder of Jagat Media, a digital marketing agency. A digital marketing consultant, he has experience in things including branding, promotions and page optimization, along with research and strategy. He has an MBA from the University of Pune. Anyone can find him on @sawarams.
Many people think eCommerce search engine optimization (SEO) is the easiest term, but in practice, it is the hardest one, there are thousands of interconnected activities included that have to be monitored, analyzed and implemented time and again time. The process and activities are more complex when it comes to eCommerce websites. The core principles of SEO haven't changed that much, but there are plenty of new things we need to include when it comes to on-page optimization for eCommerce websites. After panda 4.0 updates, eBay website has been affected and went down their traffics.I had explained the reason in my last blog at Tweakyourbiz.
So today I come up with some advance On page SEO tips for an eCommerce website.
Research, Research, and Research (Keyword Research)
Generally, internet marketer uses 60% of their total time in researching ideas, finding new things and information. So it is compulsory for them to do perfect research, whether it is for keyword research, product description, review writing or anything else. Once research is done perfectly, half of the work is done automatically.
Write Killer Meta Tags (Title and Meta Description)
Meta tags are still important for a website because it will be showing in the search result. Improving your Meta descriptions will encourage your readers to find you on search result easily and that leads to more clicks on your site, at the same time it improves your website ranking. For an ecommerce website, click through rate is more important than traffic so making a killer title and meta description could the better option.
Create Easy to Access Site Navigation
Approximately 930 million websites are accessed by browser every single second and this number is increasing tremendously as more and more businesses plan to go online. With those figures in mind, it is necessary for a business owner to make his website navigation as easy as possible.
Web strategist Any Crestodina suggests
"Put your most important items at the beginning of the navigation and the least important items in the middle. “Contact” should be the last item on the list, putting it at the far right in top-level horizontal navigation, a standard location."
You can also use Breadcrumbs techniques that will help a visitor to find content easily on your website. But if your website has more than 500 pages then you need to categorize broad topics or subjects and plan out a sitemap accordingly. Refer to this broad guideline on how to create easy site navigation. For a big website, you need to scale down website structure and create a proper conversion funnel that will help you optimize maximum conversion rates.
Create Unique Description for Each Category & Product
Once a keyword is finalized, start writing an unique description for each category & product. Try to write at least 200 to 300 words lengthy description so people and search engines can easily find the category and their offering. Sometimes people use manufacturer’s content for category and product pages, but I would recommend this, you need to create completely new, unique content for each category and product pages. Here is example how
Design Product Page with All Necessary Features (Social Sharing, Image, Text, Videos)
First impressions are the last impressions. For an eCommerce site, product pages are more important than a home page and it is the moment of truth for your business. So it is important to optimize a product page that caters the information, pricing, assurances and motivation at the same time fulfills the needs of visitors or customer. Shopify describes top seven effective ecommerce product page that is really inspirational for a newbie. In product page, we need to strategically place all things together including product description, product images, videos, pricing, comparison, related products and social sharing option.
Interlink Page with Each Other Strategically, Doesn’t Avoid Internal Linking
Interlinking pages with each other is another great tip that I use for an eCommerce website. It is an important factor in SEO that increases keyword ranking and also assists visitors in providing a route through your site. It allows you to distribute link equity, helps Google to crawl page easily and reduce your website’s bounce rate.
Keep Eyes on Dynamic Pages and Solve It Whenever Required
Especially on large e-commerce sites, there are thousands of product pages available and sometimes people directly search brand or product name or promotions landing page directly from one or more categories pages. With this action, every time each of these paths automatically generates dynamic URL and each URL will compete with other main URL, which will lead sites to a lower ranking in search engine.
So there are two solutions to overcome this problem.
- Block search query using robots.txt
- Use canonical URL, that is, tell search engines which are your preferred URL. The URL structure is < link rel="canonical" href="http://domain.com/canonical.html">. You can check more guide on canonical URL here.
Watch Broken Link Periodically and Remove It Whenever Required
Finding a broken link on a website is bad practice for SEO and it can hurt your ranking on search engine. Always monitor broken link using tools like deadlinkchecker.com, brokenlinkcheck.com, and Xenu. I usually monitor my client’s website over 15 days or sometimes once in 1 month and whatever broken link found, I immediately remove it.
Go with Mobile
On 21st April, Google rolled out mobile friendly algorithm updates with the aim to improve search over the mobile device. If your website is not mobile-friendly and your target customer are mainly found on mobile then you can lose your traffic and rank over mobile devices. That means less mobile traffic to e-commerce sites; which is a bad mobile experience. Recently fashion giant Myntra planned to switch off their desktop website because 80% traffic and sales come from mobile apps. There are three strategies you can follow: responsive design, a dynamic serving of pages; and dedicated mobile URLs.
Now a day’s many e-commerce platforms offer responsive design templates and follow the Ultimate Mobile-Friendly Guideline that provides a list of common mistakes to avoid. Use Google's free Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool to check each web page and fix issues.
Use Rich Snippet
Rich snippets are additional information that enables a search engine to identify extra information on the page, used to deeply understand the value of the product page. Page with rich snippet is not only trustworthy but it enable a searcher to make a quick decision to clicks pages and improve the likelihood that satisfies their needs.
Which rich snippet is perfect for your, depends on your goals and niche, but there are six common rich snippets which you can implement for your ecommerce sites. Moreover, you can also refer to a visual guide on rich snippet at Moz.
- Limited-time offer
- Product name and price
- Product availability
- Review and rating
- Images and videos
- Paid product search
Handle Out of Stock Page Strategically
For ecommerce marketer, handing out of stock product is the biggest hurdle because there is no hard and fast rules for dealing with unavailable or out of stock products. But after all, you have to strategically manage out of stock product to avoid decrease in sales
Generally, people are used to deleting those pages redirecting it to the homepage, remain as 404 pages or redirect randomly similar pages. But these are not right tactics to implement, you have to come up with solutions that neither hurt your sales nor devalue that particular page.
So exactly how you can handle it? Here are the right methods you can implement.
- Do not delete page,
- Keep the same page but change content like this,
- Add most related product link,
- And also add category link
Moreover, I would suggest you check this guideline on how to handle out of stock product.
For An Ecommerce, Site Secure is Must
For ecommerce site, there are many important steps occurred in ecommerce transaction like providing payment details, user details etc. so customer always wants to check whether your website is secure with a socket or not before buying a products or services. So before boarding on an ecommerce project, you need to ensure that all the necessary systems are secured with high socket layers like encrypt 256 bit or more. You can use socket license provider like Norton, Godaddy, Comodo etc. Moreover, follow these ecommerce sites security essentials to fight fraud and virus attack.
Leverage User Generated Content (Reviews)
Ecommerce website has very less content on product pages so leveraging user generated content can be helpful for boosting search engine traffic. Encourage your customer to write reviews about the product they bought and even you can run a contest to generate maximum reviews on particular pages.
Update Sitemap Periodically
Sitemap is a kind of gateway through which search engine understand a flow of your site. Search engine giant Google only accept XML sitemap. Sitemap notify search engine about a number of pages you have on your site. Whenever you make any changes on webpages or attempt any of the above activities, you need to submit sitemap immediately after updating. While creating a sitemap, follow these xml rules and regulations. If you have more than 500 pages, then use free tools like Xenu, GS site crawler.
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