Elements of an SEO-friendy Successful E-Commerce Website.
A successful E-commerce website takes time, effort and organisation. But there is help available. Your site can deliver a great service to your customers and do well in the search results.
Over the past 12 years, Online Customer Solutions Director, Rob Wilkinson, has had the opportunity to manage a variety of e-commerce websites. These have offered everything from equestrian equipment to sirloin stakes.
Read more about our OpenCart e-commerce service here.
Most e-commerce sites suffer from similar issues. Usually, the problems are connected to how the business owners approach the development of their e-commerce platform. User experience and aesthetics are often placed way over search engine optimisation.
When sites overly focus on function and forget about optimisation, they lose opportunities to attract and convert new customers. A blend needs to be found.
E-Commerce Optimisation Recommendations
Unique product descriptions
Many e-commerce websites are looked after by people that are experts on their product. However, these people aren’t usually up-to-date with what SEO is or how it works.
Product descriptions are often light on detail and pulled directly from the manufacturer. This means there will be many other sites doing the same thing.
Your product description needs to be engaging, informative and unique. If it is, your site stands a good chance of being able to rank well. Although there are many other SEO factors to consider.
Try to create 250 to 300-word descriptions that speak to your target audience’s search intentions. Also, frame the products in environments where they are best suited.
Product Reviews from Customers
There are many reasons why customer reviews are essential. They are an excellent way to highlight relevant content on your product pages. They also build credibility and trust in your site, drive repeat business and they are free.
Potential customers really value online reviews. If your site has a number of positive reviews for each product, Google treat it kindly and other customers will convert more easily.
Relevant Search Query Optimisation
To allow search engines to understand all about your products, optimise them by name. Avoid using codes, colours or sizes to optimise your website pages. This will lead to duplicate content within your site. For example, use “Mens-Running-Shorts” rather than “Shorts-black-large”
Include brand names in your title tags, meta descriptions, image alt tags and header tags.
Product pages crammed with keywords instead of quality content does not help improve search engine authority. Mention keywords because they are relevant. Descriptions that that help your visitors and describes the products will improve user engagement, enhance the organic authority and drive conversions.
Image alt text
E-commerce sites tend to have more images than most other websites making them more visually attractive. Good images are essential and support the product description. It is important to include relevant alt text with the images so search engines know what the images show.
Search engines need to understand what each picture is of and how it relates to the page. Every image’s alt text needs to describe the product image. Include a key term that you’re trying to rank for as well as your store name.
Title tags allow search engines to understand the content of specific landing pages.
Avoid creating duplicate titles across your site by forgoing the use of manufacturer or vendor titles, as these are likely the same titles they have sent to your competitors.
SEO Friendly Urls For E-Commerce Sites
Instead of including item numbers or category IDs in your URLs, try to use the actual product names that are easily understood by potential customers. URL’s that are built with users in mind help customers and search engines navigate your site.
Meaningful Descriptive Categories
Your primary and subcategory pages should have enough content to be considered authorities. Include social sharing buttons, information that resolves common questions. Make sure you speak to your intended audience.
An automated XML sitemap updates when changes are made to your e-commerce website. Product or category changes are updated so the next time the robots crawl your site, they pick up the latest inventory.
Each time new products and categories are added the sitemap refreshes. This is the best way to ensure that all of your items are indexed by Google.
OpenCart and others offer automated sitemaps. Read more about how to start selling online here.
Content development and internal linking
Buyer guides, FAQ’s and educational content help attract visitors and connect them with your products.
E-commerce sites that link articles to a specific product or category page help teach visitors about your products and service, this transfers organic authority throughout your site.
404 errors, or page not found, wastes organic search results and frustrates customers. E-commerce owners need to keep on top of their online catalogue and redirect to a newer product model or category page.
Because slow sites are irritating to users, Google ranks faster-loading websites higher than slower ones. A fast load time leads to happier customers (conversion) and better search results (ranking).
There are several tools to measure the loading speed of your website – use your favourite search engine to find them!
Markup and Schema
Your webmaster will be able to tag your pages to highlight product name, price, availability, description and image. Data highlighting leads to enhanced search results for people looking for your products. Google provides tools for uploading a product catalogue to Google shopping resulting in more search result options.
Schema.org offers a library of structured data markup that search engines use to offer online consumers more information around a particular product.
Running Your Own E-Commerce Site
Online Customer Solutions provide successful e-commerce websites to a range of businesses in the UK.