The past couple decades have been marked by the rapid development of digital entrepreneurship, resulting in shifts in consumer attitudes and behavior that have made ecommerce an overwhelming chunk of our current economy. In 2014, retail ecommerce sales amounted to over $305 billion, and that was just in the United States. As is true of any highly profitable industry, competition increases at a rate proportional to ecommerce growth. How, then, do you make your business or brand’s online presence stand out among the millions of others and ecommerce giants like Amazon? By optimizing your website and addressing the biggest, most common SEO problems with ecommerce websites. Take a look at the list below to maximize the performance of your ecommerce website.
Volume of Pages
Having too many pages is a common issue for ecommerce websites, often because there are so many product pages. It’s important to have your products accessible online for consumers, but having too many pages increases the risk of duplicate content.
To correct this issue, try and make a habit of deleting pages that haven’t generated any sales in the past year. If you have so many pages you don’t even know where to start, use a tool like Shopify to determine which products on your website are generating the most revenue.
Site speed is critical for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, Google’s algorithm accounts for site speed, so if yours is slow, it’s directly affecting your rank. But in addition to that, site speed is an important part of the user experience. A delay in site speed can cost you leads and conversions that can amount to huge dents in your overall revenue.
Unfortunately, site speed is something that will come at a cost. If your site speed is suffering, you’ll need to upgrade your hosting. But paying a little more to upgrade your hosting will keep your site Google and user friendly. And, depending on the host you choose, add protection from cyber hacking/attacks (if you go with a content delivery network).
A common problem among ecommerce websites is the tendency to promote keywords that people aren’t actually searching for. Aside from being a wasted effort, it also doesn’t help searchers find what they’re looking for.
Spend some time researching the behavior and language of your customers. More often than not, consumers search for a specific phrase or question. If you can find key phrases, you’re more likely to generate traffic as opposed to keywords that are too broad.
The readability of a URL has a lot to do with why searchers do or don’t decide to click on a link. The idea is to have URLs that are readable, brief, and keyword-oriented. Check out the Moz image below for a clearer picture of URL importance:
Put yourself in the shoes of your customers and aim to develop URLs they’d find trustworthy and helpful, and use the keywords and phrases you find in your research.
Content is one of the biggest factors of SEO, and many ecommerce websites struggle specifically with duplicate and thin content. Both are punishable by search engines and will hurt your rankings, therefore hindering your ability to effectively compete.
To avoid or correct this problem, it’s important to write a couple hundred unique words on every product (using a manufacturer’s description will get you banned from search engines!). If your content is high quality and original, your search engine ranking will improve. If there are some instances that require duplicate content, create a canonical tag so Google knows not to treat the pages as duplicates, or consider a no index tag.
The overwhelming majority of buyers look for reviews when searching for products to purchase. By not having reviews of your products, service, and website available, users are prompted to buy from another producer that has positive reviews.
In addition to building up the reputation and ranking of your ecommerce website, reviews are also an excellent way to build up some unique content. Your users reviews will keep your website fresh and encourage search engines and other uses to value you as an authority.