ECommerce websites are notoriously problematic when it comes to SEO. This is partly down to the format and structure of eCommerce systems, partly down to human error and in some instances laziness! But don’t take offence, we’re all guilty of this from time to time, especially if you have 2000 product pages which all need optimising.
So what are the most common eCommerce SEO issues, and how do you minimize them and give your eCommerce website a real fighting chance of beating your competition?
Optimising product pages
It sounds obvious, but your individual product pages are the most important sections of your site in terms of optimisation. Despite this, they are also the pages that tend to suffer the most from poor optimisation. You can save yourself and your team a whole lot of time and effort by getting this right at the beginning, because (let’s be honest) nobody wants to revisit 2000 product pages in order to optimise correctly!
Optimise your page titles:
Spend time considering the product page title. This should be optimised for long-tail key phrase to cater for people who are in the buying phase and are searching for this specific product. Carry out keyword research to find out what people are searching for, e.g. Are they also entering the manufacturer’s name? Are there any alternative names for your product that people may search for
The meta-description appears below the page title in the SERPS and will be the call to action that encourages people to click-through. It is therefore worth spending time on this, to encourage the best possible click through rate (CTR). Research what the top brands are doing and try testing different descriptions to see which works the best.
Alt text on images:
This is an important eCommerce SEO factor that many online stores are guilty of overlooking. Whilst it doesn’t play as large a role as the page title or content, it may give your product page enough of a boost to leap frog your competitor and increase your sales. Always make sure you add the product name in the alt text, and if you have multiple product images take the opportunity to add some additional relevant keywords into the mix.
One of the most common issues we see on eCommerce website product pages is the descriptive content taken straight from the manufacturer. If you use the description provided by the manufacturer, you can be certain that this will be used on hundreds of other sites and will be flagged as duplicate content by Google. Always make sure each product description is unique, even if you have thousands of products. It may be time consuming, but it is a task worth doing. If the majority of your competitors are using the same description and yours is unique, it will be your page that rises to the top of the SERPS.
There are many ways to find a product on an eCommerce site, via categories, tags, search, filters, the different routes are great for usability and make your customers’ lives easier. But… Did you know this can cause havoc for your eCommerce SEO! Each of these different routes potentially means a different URL, which means, yes you guessed it, duplicate content. But don’t fret… This doesn’t mean you need to undo all the great work you have carried out on your eCommerce site. The best way around this is to set a canonical URL.
Setting a canonical URL basically means telling the search engines which URLs to pay attention to and which to ignore. For example you can set your canonical URL to http://domainname.com/Product-Name which means all URLs containing duplicate content will be ignored by the search engines when indexing your site.
If you aren’t including product reviews in your eCommerce website strategy, you are definitely missing a trick! Product reviews are the easiest way of building a product keyword strategy, without doing the leg work yourself. Think about it, if a customer writes a review about your product, it will be keyword rich (including the name of your product) and relevant (describing your product). Not only that but review pages tend to perform well in the search results, often outperforming the actual product pages.
From a user experience perspective, reviews are extremely beneficial. Reviews allow us to take on board other peoples’ experience before buying a product, which gives us peace of mind and makes us more likely to have confidence in a product. Of course, this can work both ways… A rubbish product will be highlighted as such. But as long as you are confident that you are selling top quality products, and have strong customer services to back it up, product reviews will benefit your business.
One of the most common eCommerce SEO faux pars in not optimising your URL structure. Sometimes when browsing products on an eCommerce site you will see strange characters, large numbers, session ids, etc. and if this looks confusing to you, you can be sure it is equally confusing for search engines. Search engines, like humans, want to see keyword rich URLs which explain to them what is on the page.
So always make sure you set your URLs to reflect the structure of your site and, with product URLs, use relevant keywords that you want to target.
If you have an eCommerce website that is under performing, get in contact with the Dreamscape team to find what we can do to breathe new life into your business.