Optimizing websites with lots of products takes more thought an effort than many clients think. Here’s a peek at what really goes into getting an eCommerce site to rank in the search engines.
1. Products need content, just like any other web page.
For a human online shopper, an image can speak for itself, but search engines don’t see images. So, online shoppers may never even see your product images if they’re not first made visible to search engines with text descriptions. Since every product has it’s own page on your website, it’s important to write a description for every single product, even if several products are similar.
2. Product content needs to be unique.
It’s tempting to use descriptions prepared by manufacturers; they’re detailed, professional and right there, ready to pop right onto your web page. But just imagine how many other sites are using the same unaltered description…Google is not ok with copied content. Using manufacturer descriptions on your website will hurt rather than help your rankings, and can even get your site banned from search results. If creating unique content for every product is simply out of the question, duplicate content or un-optimized pages should be hidden from search engines.
3. Enable product reviews.
It makes sense that, if a user can’t see or touch a product in person, they’re going to rely on reviews to make an informed decision. When a user adds a review to a product page, they’re helping other consumers, but they’re also making search engines happy by adding unique content to your site.
4. Use the manufacturer item code/title.
Once a user finds the exact product they’re looking for online, they will often copy the title or item code to search for one of the following:
- A local business that carries the product (to avoid the time and/or cost of shipping)
- An online source that offers the product at the best price
Product SEO titles should be unique and formatted in the way customers are searching. This can be tricky, but a general formula is: Brand, Model, Item Type.
6. Make it mobile-friendly.
Any site that is not mobile-friendly will be penalized by Google. If that’s not enough to convince you to update or redesign your eCommerce site, do it for user experience. Some sites are simple enough to fumble through on a mobile device, even without responsive design, but an online store, with all its pages, images, links and forms, is a nightmare to load and navigate on a phone without special formatting for that tiny screen.
7. Share, share, share.
Giving users the ability to share content on social platforms like Facebook and Twitter is good for any website, but there’s even more sharing to be done on eCommerce sites, with all of the products and sales events. Definitely don’t forget about Pinterest; it’s a great opportunity for free product marketing.
8. Keep up with current inventory.
For obvious reasons, it’s important to keep inventory stats current. However, don’t be so quick to remove out of stock item pages from your site. As long as they’ve got a clear label, like “sold out” or “discontinued,” these pages continue to be indexed by search engines and permanent pages are better for search ranking than those with high turnover.
9. Optimize seasonally.
It’s natural for most eCommerce sites to have certain products that are more popular during different seasons. Optimizing the right products at the right time requires year round attention. Create seasonal categories on your site, if possible.
10. Continuously check for errors.
Checking an e-Commerce site for errors should be a regular and ongoing practice. Broken links will hurt your search ranking, so it’s important to keep up with any links that may be affected as products are removed, added or rearranged.
These 10 SEO tips highlight just a few of the aspects that make optimizing eCommerce sites unique and challenging. If you have questions or would like help optimizing your eCommerce site, call Thrive4 today: 303-940-5544.