Regardless of what industry you operate within, it’s a fact that eCommerce by its very nature is incredibly competitive. Your site is often competing with tens – if not hundreds – of businesses selling similar (if not identical) products to yours.
This means your site needs to capture the attention of your prospects via organic searches. It’s a fact that 44% of online shoppers begin their journey with a cursory Google search. To achieve a high ranking on the world’s most popular search engines, you’re going to need to employ some search engine optimization (SEO) techniques. With our handy eCommerce SEO checklist, you should be able to get well on the road to achieving this.
eCommerce SEO checklist: What you need to know
1) Optimize your page titles
All page titles should be search engine optimized. To achieve this, consider doing the following:
- Ensure page titles are less than 60 characters long
- Use call-to-action phrases like “buy” or “affordable”
- If you offer free shipping, mention this in your title where possible
- Consider using your website brand in each title page (this is known as brand optimization)
2) Improve page loading times
The average eCommerce site takes 6.5 seconds to load. If possible, you should aim for a load time of 3 seconds or less. This can be achieved by:
- Optimizing images so that file sizes aren’t too large – but don’t compromise on quality. Use .png files where possible
- Embedding videos from external sources, such as YouTube
- Enabling browser caching
- Minifying your HTTP requests
- Using the best hosting service that you can afford
- Reducing redirects
3) Offer valuable, unique content
Google takes a dim view of copied content and penalizes sites accordingly for using duplicate content, including product descriptions, blog posts, and other information. Avoid duplicate content by:
- Checking your content is unique with a tool like Copyscape
- Regularly updating your blog with relevant posts and backlinks
- Engaging with existing and prospective customers to improve ranking
- Linking to related content only
- Remembering to “noindex” pages which do not require indexing
4) Keep it simple
A simple website structure makes for the best possible user experience. Perform an SEO audit to view areas needing improvement. It allows both users and search engine algorithms to locate relevant information. To keep your website structure simple, remember to:
- Internally link to related products and category pages
- Create a simple structure that helps search engine crawlers to categorize every page on your site
5) Structure your data
We cannot stress enough how important it is for every eCommerce store provider to structure their data. The benefits of this include increased conversions, a reduction in bounce rates and increased user engagement overall. Use rich snippets to provide users with the information they want to read before making a purchase. These can include:
- Product name
- Price, currency
- Shipping information
6) Mobile optimization
It’s been a while now since Google introduced Accelerated Mobile Pages for eCommerce. The purpose behind this tech is to make pages lighter and faster to load. Increasing numbers of shoppers are making purchases via handheld devices, and if your site isn’t mobile-optimized you can expect the major search engines to penalize it accordingly.
7) Consider guest posting
While you may think that guest posting has had its day, it remains a great way to create good quality backlinks. It also helps to increase traffic to your site. However, remember to only guest-post on high authority sites that are relevant to your industry.
View Segment’s off-page SEO services to learn more.
8) Add 301 redirects to any expired products
You should be permanently redirecting old or expired product pages. This is to let search engines know that your old content has been moved. With a 301 redirect, you can pass up to 99% of old ranking power to your new, redirected page.
Hopefully, these steps will help you on your way to conquering the search engines. However, remember that SEO is a marathon, not a sprint – it can take up to six months before you start witnessing the fruits of your search engine optimization labor.
It’s also an ongoing process, which you’ll need to stick to with a rigid and regular timescale. If you’re unsure of whether you’ve got the time or resources to implement an SEO plan, it may make sense to outsource this work to a professional SEO consultant instead.