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Essential eCommerce SEO Tips

As eCommerce marketing specialists, we have come across many simple mistakes that are made by eCommerce companies when optimising their website pages for SEO. Our essential eCommerce SEO tips will help you to avoid some of the most common mistakes made.

Keyword Research

Keyword research is an everyday practice for anyone looking to improve their SEO. Keywords need to be relevant to your page’s content this is because it helps crawlers to understand your webpage and therefore show you in search results when a user searches a query specific to that keyphrase. They will be used throughout all webpages, whether it’s the content itself, meta titles and descriptions or more specifically a product and its description, if you’re building an eCommerce site.

There are plenty of tools such as Semrush’s Keyword Magic tool or Google’s Keyword planner, that allow you to understand which keyphrases have high search traffic, and what the competition for that keyword is like.

Another handy tip, especially for eCommerce sites is to use tools like Semrush’s Keyword Gap, this tool allows users to take several web domains, and compare them to find out which keywords these sites are or not using. This means you are able to research your competitor’s site to see if there are any keyphrases that may give you an edge.

Make sure that all of your page titles are unique

A mistake that is commonly made by a lot of eCommerce sites is that their page titles are not unique. You have to do your best to make your titles as unique as they can be. This can be quite difficult to do when you sell a lot of items that are similar but from different brands. This is why you should try and optimise your titles for the keyword phrase which your customers are likely to be searching for. A good way to do this is to have your titles tags with the brand model first, then the model and then the item for example Argos K100 blender.

Video, Images and Alt text.

Image content is always a must for eCommerce sites, customers want to see what it is that they are purchasing, whether that’s a product image or a short video demonstrating the product. The most important thing to remember when adding these types of visual content is the speed of your site itself, if a files size is too large it can affect your website’s loading speed, this not only frustrates the search engine crawlers but also reflects badly in terms of user experience. To avoid large files you can use sites such as squoosh.app and veed.io/video-compressor which will allow you to compress an image or video file. 

As well as file compressing you’ll want to make sure that you are adding alt text to any images found on your eCommerce site. Images are not visible to crawlers, so they are unable to understand what the content of the image is, if we add alt text to them we are essentially describing that image so that crawlers are then able to understand what is on that page

Always optimize for mobile as well

All websites should make sure that they are responsive sites, meaning they work well on both mobile and desktop. However, with smartphones accounted for 64% of global retail website visits it’s especially important that users can access an eCommerce store with their mobile devices.

You can check to see if your site is mobile-friendly by using Google Search Console’s mobile usability check, which will highlight any issues you can change to help your mobile version of a site run better. You can also check mobile site speed through Page Speed Insights, which will also give you a list of opportunities and errors that you can fix to help speed up those pages.

Avoid duplicate content.

We spoke about making sure page titles are unique, but the same can be said about the content on your web pages. Say you’re selling T-shirts, you want to make sure that you are being more detailed within your product descriptions, otherwise the products will blend into one, making it harder for Google to crawl those descriptions and differentiate them from each other. 

Don’t use product descriptions from the manufacturers

The issue here is that other companies selling the same products will be given the same default descriptions for those products. If you and another company are using the same description for your products, you could be penalised by Google for using duplicate content on your website.

Make sure you have a product description

Having no text on your product pages makes it highly unlikely that your page is going to get in to the top 10 results of a search query. So make sure you include a product description of a good size for all of your product pages.

Have product reviews

The majority of users, when looking to make a purchase online, will want to be able to see reviews for the products before buying them. If you don’t have reviews on your site you could be losing out on a lot of potential customers.

Make sure product pages are optimised for the right terms

When writing your pages you have to think about the search terms that people are typing in on google and other search engines. Otherwise you may be making content that is going to rank but for a term that no one is searching for. This is a mistake made by a lot of large stores that have a large number of products.  Ensure you optimise for the specific term that best describes your product, for example optimising your page for Ralph Lauren Polo Jumper rather than just Polo Jumper. When you are writing your headlines, title pages, and product descriptions you should always be thinking about your keywords.

Creating an enjoyable user experience.

Website usability is critical to creating an enjoyable user experience. Google also ranks pages based on usability, and with eCommerce sites featuring a lot of technical aspects, it is an essential part of eCommerce SEO to make sure they work properly.

In order to create a positive user experience, it’s important to understand how users interact with your eCommerce site.

There are several factors that can affect the way users interact with your website, a couple we have already spoken about, which include:

-The layout and navigation of your eCommerce site.

-The speed at which the site loads.

– Make sure any payment systems, sign-up pages or any other technical aspects of your page are functioning properly. 

-The content on the page. For eCommerce, this can include product images, videos of products, reviews and ratings and product descriptions.

Make your URLs keyword friendly

There are a couple of reasons why this is good to do. The first is quite simple, it makes it clearer to customers what is going to be on the page. If you have a long URL that has lots of numbers in it and it’s not clear what the content is it could potentially put off customers. The second reason is the relevance of the keywords to the page. Google used to look heavily towards the keywords in the URL’s when ranking pages, however, Google no longer puts that much value on this but it is something that is still worth doing.

URL Structure

With eCommerce sites featuring many pages with different categories and subcategories to those, it’s important to talk about URL structure. 

A URL is made up of a domain for example ours would be tillison.co.uk, this would then be followed by a subdirectory, a specific category within that website such as tillison.co.uk/case-studies/, and finally you have the slug which is the specific page that a user could be on like tillison.co.uk/case-study/ecommerce-marketing-everything5pounds/.

You’ll want to keep each section of your URL structure simple so that search engines have an easier job of understanding when your page is nailing down to something more specific within the site.

Making sure your structured data is correct

In order for crawlers to index your eCommerce site they need to understand your page’s structured data, this is the code which makes that crawlers use to understand the content of your page.

With eCommerce sites having different features like shipping information, offers, pricing, and product availability it’s important that this is all coded properly into your structured data. Usually, web designers will have an understanding of how to implement this, however, Google also has a whole bunch of product-related structured data which you can simply copy and paste into the right sections of a website’s code.

Backlinks

Backlinks are essentially where a third party has referenced your site on their own, which not only sends more traffic to your site, but it also shows search engines that a website is trusted and therefore will be more likely to rank higher. An easy way to see which sites have been referring to yours is by using Semrush’s Backlink Audit tool.

Although this is a normal practice for all websites using SEO, it can be a really useful tool for eCommerce sites, that regularly collaborate with influencers or brand affiliates as these are more likely to mention you on their own site or social media pages.

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