So many e-commerce retailers make the mistake of assuming that simply by listing several hundred products on their website that they will immediately secure steady streams of organic traffic and revenue from the search engines. Unfortunately, ecommerce search engine optimisation (SEO) is quite a complex process and requires consistent focus at both homepage, category and subcategory level to continue driving the kind of results required to push meaningful growth.
Ecommerce websites are instantly at a disadvantage compared to simple brand websites and blogs because there will naturally be a high number of product pages consistently appearing and disappearing as stock levels and product ranges vary. The good news is that ecommerce SEO experts have the knowledge to identify a variety of issues before they start to affect a business in terms of organic ranking.
So, to give you an idea as to what you should be looking out for, here are four of the most frequently seen errors.
1. Missing product descriptions
Search engines value websites that provide their audience with valuable, useful information. If your ecommerce website doesn’t have an integrated product description box on each page, you are very unlikely to secure a top 10 ranking position in search engine results pages (SERPs). Don’t forget, search engines cannot read imagery which is why product descriptions are so important. When creating product copy, it is imperative to:
- Avoid copying directly from other sites (including the manufacturer)
- Focus on writing intent-led high quality unique content that will persuade users to become customers
2. Absence of Product Reviews
As more consumers than ever before actively search for product reviews and social proof before making a purchasing decision, failing to provide review functionality on your ecommerce website will mean that you miss out on engaging with a significant percentage of potential customers.
Customer reviews have a variety of benefits. We’ve already discussed the importance of online content and reviews created by your existing customers are both free and unique sources that will boost your ranking potential. Additionally, consistently encouraging new reviews will ensure that pages are frequently updated, which search engines find particularly appealing.
3. Failure to Optimise for what your customers are searching for…
When writing both SEO META Data and your product descriptions / headlines, it is very important to consider a) User Intent and b) Search Volume, associated with each target keyword. Failing to do this might lead to you promoting a product or category that very few people are searching for when your efforts would be better spent targeting a slightly different keyword. The Search Engine Optimisation process can initially appear quite complex, but it is particularly important to:
- Avoid keyword stuffing
- Always include unique alt tag information for all of your product images
- Use both your product brand names and model numbers in H1 headings and META Tags where appropriate
- Use user friendly url strings that describe each product using the keywords that you want each product to be found for on Google
Also known as ‘speaking URLs’, keyword-friendly URLs have three core benefits. In addition to ensuring that it is easy for the user to understand what they can expect to find when they click through to view the page, important keywords will be displayed if the link is shared on another website. Search engine algorithms actively reward sites with a strong link profile and if anchor text pointing to your site contains relevant keywords, you will likely be rewarded with a stronger ranking position for key search queries.
4. Product canonicalisation
Many e-commerce platforms like Magento / Shopify for example, have a nasty habit of creating duplicate product pages for things like product size, colour etc. and this has a negative impact on that particular page/product’s search engine position.
To resolve this, SEO agency’s should create a canonical tag that references the duplicate product page url. In doing so you are saying to Google “Hey, this page is a duplicate page so don’t crawl it”.