4 SEO Essentials For eCommerce Websites

4 SEO Essentials For eCommerce Websites

By: Shelly Kramer
November 1, 2012

seo essentials for ecommerce sitesSEO is, without a doubt, part of what creates a solid foundation for a successful website—and eCommerce sites are no exception. The challenge for most eCommerce sites in terms of SEO, however, is differentiation. After all, most eCommerce sites are similar in content and structure and include common elements like product pages, a shopping cart and a checkout page. Although managing and implementing an effective SEO strategy can be difficult, it’s certainly not impossible—and it becomes infinitely easier if you pay attention to a few key areas.

If you have an eCommerce website, take some time to evaluate your content. Use the following 4 tips as a guide so that you can make changes where applicable. The end result will be a more optimized site that has better visibility in search results—and that means you’ll sell more stuff.

Optimize Your Content

It may seem tedious and, at times, unnecessary, but optimizing your product description content is a key factor in boosting the overall optimization of your site. After all, product descriptions are the heart of an eCommerce website—they give the customers vital information about the products or services they’re considering, and you want to give them the details they need to make a purchase decision. Make sure you’ve included product photos, specifications, pricing options and reviews—that way, your customers (and prospective customers) will have the info they need without having to dig for it or, worse yet, turn to your competitor for a better alternative.

If you sell similar items that come in different colors or sizes, you’re probably tempted to write one product description for that particular category. It takes more time, but your website will perform better if you create unique descriptions for every item you sell. These descriptions can follow a formulaic pattern, but taking the time to differentiate every piece of content adds up to huge results when it comes to site visibility, traffic and profitability.

One additional note? If your company sells merchandise to resellers or wholesalers, look at their websites to make sure they haven’t duplicated your product descriptions. If they have, you run the risk of being penalized by search engines because of duplicate content. Go the extra mile by providing keyword-optimized descriptions your resellers can use, or make it a habit to periodically check their sites so you can adjust content if a duplicate version is published.

Use Keywords In Your Permalinks And Internal Site Links

The easiest way to picture how a search engine like Google works is by thinking of a bunch of spiders (appetizing, right?). These spiders crawl through the Internet at regular intervals, search for new content—which is why it’s so important to update your site on a regular basis with content like blog posts. Search spiders also trawl site elements like permalinks and internal site links, which is why it’s important to use keywords in your permalinks and add internal site links where applicable. For eCommerce sites, some of which have hundreds (or thousands) of products and links, this is an expecially important step. Another tip? Link product description pages together through a recommended product link module or plugin to display related search results within your site. Not only will your customers be able to easily discover other items that might interest them—you’ll increase the likelihood of driving additional sales, too.

Don’t Overlook Social Media

Social sharing is huge—and eCommerce sites are no exception. Make sure you have social media sharing buttons prominently displayed on your site. We recommend having Facebook like, Twitter, Google Plus and Pinterest sharing buttons and widgets embedded on every product description page. Making social media share buttons readily available will allow people to instantly share products they like and want to recommend to their friends and colleagues—and that means you get an instant boost in terms of visibility and an increased likelihood at making more sales, too. And the easier this functionality is to find, the better. Customers don’t want to come to your website and do a bunch of work. Spell out what you want them to do and they’ll respond—I promise!

User Experience Is A Must

Remember what I just said about customers not wanting to come to your website and do a lot of work? User experience is vital no matter what sort of website you have—and that certainly includes eCommerce sites. Make it a habit to periodically check your site for quick load speed and performance. Make sure your customers can easily navigate the pages on your site and quickly locate information like reviews, pricing, shipping and other pertinent details. Make it easy for your customers to fill their shopping carts and check out, and you’ll be rewarded not only with repeat customers, but higher word-of-mouth referrals, too.

It’s best to think of your website as a constantly evolving entity. Keep a close eye on your data and analytics to give you important insights about your customers, including how they’re finding you, if they’re visiting your site with mobile devices and how much time they spend on the site. And don’t be afraid to test new content or features, too. When it comes to digital marketing, tests are always a good idea—and your website is no exception. You might be surprised by what your customers best respond to—but you’ll never know if you don’t try!

If you’re an eCommerce site owner, I’d love to hear from you. What sort of SEO tips do you use to make your site more successful?