Actionable Ecommerce SEO Tips for Online Retailers
You’ve got a great product, a slick looking ecommerce site but you’re not getting any visitors and not making any sales… what gives?
Most online retailers struggle with search engine optimisation (SEO) because there is a lot of work to put in. Your site is constantly changing with product updates, fulfilling orders, deliveries and stock management, plus your daily business tasks and social media marketing.
However, with the right knowledge and some hard work you can easily make some improvements and start to rise above the competition.
Like any website, ecommerce sites need visitors. But you need the right kind of visitors — ones that are ready to buy from you. By raising the position of your website within Google you can increase the amount of visitors you will receive compared to other websites selling similar products and increase your chances of making the all important sale.
If you follow the changes in this article you will vastly improve your ecommerce SEO and start to improve your visitors and sales.
Unique Page Titles and H1 Headings
The first ecommerce SEO tip is for each product you want to have a unique page title and H1 heading. The page title is the information shown in search engines and is the first thing people will read. Your page title should include brand names, product models, target keywords and if you have room, your business name.
H1 headings are usually your main product titles. These should include brand names, product models and target keywords. The trick is provide enough information that is keyword rich but make it readable for the visitor.
After you’ve chosen your word carefully you need to check that it’s the correct length and not truncated when viewed on search engine.
Unique Meta Descriptions
The second piece of information that people generally read after your page title is the meta description. The meta description is the short snippet of text displayed in search engines.
Your meta descriptions need to be unique for each product and introduces the visitor to your page.
Meta descriptions do not influence rankings but they should include a call to action to persuade visitors to click on your link. It’s important that meta descriptions are the correct length and are not truncated when viewed on search engines.
Do you want to know how to get your product data to appear in the search results? Using structured data can display the following details about your product;
- Stock data
- Name of seller
- Condition of product
When comparing two products in the search results, which do you think the visitor will click on? The product showing the name and a brief description or the product showing that it’s in stock, its price and five star review by ten people?
Your product description needs to be unique, well formatted, informative and help your customers make purchasing decisions if you want to have the ecommerce SEO edge. You don’t want to use the standard manufacturer’s description for the following reasons;
- Your website can be penalised for having duplicate content.
- There’s a good chance that there are many other websites using the same content.
Your content needs to be unique so that Google can view your content as valuable and rank it on it’s own merits.
Correctly formatted content is also an important aspect. You want your visitors to be able to read content easily and scan the content for the key features. I’d suggest having an introduction to appeal to the visitor followed by bullet points listing all the key features.
Optimise Products Based on Search Demand
If you want potential customers find your products when searching on Google, it’s important to research your keywords and use them in the correct places.
You want to choose keywords that have good search volume, so you know people are looking for these products. You also want to include brand names and product models in your keywords. These will provide long tail keywords which will drive visitors with a higher intent to purchase.
You want to place your keywords in the following places;
- Brand names and models in page titles and H1 headings.
- Target keywords in page titles and H1 headings.
- Target keywords in your content.
- Target keywords in you alt attribute for product images.
Keyword research is important because you might name your product one thing and everyone knows it as something else. A good example is “prams”, “pushchairs” and “strollers”. They are essentially the same kind of item but what does the majority of people call them.
Keyword research can identify the difference in search demand for these products. If there is a higher search demand for “strollers”, then that would be the recommended keyword to use.
Search Engine Friendly URLs
It’s important that your URLs are search engine friendly.
For example; yourdomain.co.uk/product/apple-27-inch-imac is much better than yourdomain.co.uk/product=p1133$?.
Using descriptive search engine friendly URLs are better than dynamic URLs because you can;
- Include your brand name and target keywords.
- It’s easy for the visitor to know what to expect when they click on the link.
- If an external website links to your product page, your keywords will be in the anchor text, improving the link equity.
About 70% of buyers are looking for products reviews when they are shopping online. Potential customers like to see social proof before they commit to buying a product. This is especially important if they have never bought from you previously or trying a new product.
Another great reason to allow customer product reviews is because it generates unique content. For ecommerce sites it can be difficult to create unique content across hundreds of pages. Reviews can solve this issue.
It goes without saying that your visitors need to navigate around your website easily without any roadblocks. You want to ensure that your categories are meaningful and the relevant products are included in the correct categories.
Once a visitor is on a main category page you can introduce sub-menus or filters so they can drill down and just look at the products they are interested in.
A good tip is to include related products on single product pages. This way you can suggest other products that will complement the product they are looking at. Not only are you up selling but you are improving your internal linking, making it easy to navigate around your website.
If you’ve got an ecommerce website you should be using a HTTPS connection. Letting your customers know that your site is secure will help in the following areas;
- Submitting personal data via your website will be encrypted.
- Showing an HTTPS connection will increase the trust of your website, letting your customers know they can shop safely.
- There is a slight increase in rankings for sites using HTTPS.
It’s important to have high quality, clear images that represent the product perfectly. When you’re creating the images for your products, it’s good practice to use the product name in the file name. It’s not always possible to do this because it’s time consuming but it’s worth noting.
Secondly, it’s good to include a descriptive ALT attribute to your images. ALT attributes are used to increase the accessibility of your website. Visually impaired visitors using screen readers will have the ALT text read to them so they know what images appear on the page.
Make sure your ALT text is descriptive but you can also include target keywords where relevant.
Fix Your Broken Links
If you want your visitors to reach your website and remain on it you need to keep all your links working properly. Broken links can occur by removing products or changing the URL and forgetting to create redirects.
If someone lands on a 404 page or navigates to one, the chances are they will leave your site and go shopping elsewhere. To monitor broken links and keep your customers happy, you can use Google Search Console.
Set Up Google Search Console
Google Search Console (formally known as Google Webmaster Tools) is a great way to keep an eye on your website. From the Search Console you’ll be able to submit an XML sitemap which will tell Google you’ve got website pages you’d like to be indexed for search.
Another important feature is the Crawl Errors section. This will tell you if your pages can’t be accessed. If you’re receiving a lot of 404 errors from broken links, you’ll need to start creating redirects to ensure your visitors are reaching the correct products and pages.
An excellent way of creating new unique content is blogging. Blogging is a great tool for ecommerce websites because you can showcase your new products, review products, talk about the latest trends and it gives you something interesting to share on social media.
Creating articles on a regular basis will allow you to target new keywords and attract new visitors. It also allows you to sell without having to hard sell. By dropping in links into the article you can to direct your visitors to relevant products and improve the internal linking of your content.