SEO eCommerce – 6 Essential DOs and DON’Ts

SEO ecommerce

You know the saying, “Quality over quantity”?

Well, the same applies to eCommerce when it comes to improving your search ranking. It doesn’t matter whether you have hundreds or even thousands of products available via your eCommerce store, if the individual products are not search-friendly then your site will never reach its full potential.

An eCommerce platform still requires the same attention when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) as any informational website. Sometimes, the work involved with optimising an eCommerce website is actually harder – just because of the sheer volume of pages.

The team at Digital Thing has a lot of experience in developing and optimising eCommerce platforms to ensure the best possible ranking on Google and other popular search engines. We have outlined some of the more common mistakes we come across while assessing websites for new clients.

No Product Descriptions

This is more common among large companies that have automated systems for uploading new products to their eCommerce site – particularly when stock changes between seasons (i.e. large clothing retailers).

Without unique product descriptions for each product, there is little for Google to crawl and therefore difficult to rank. Many retailers we speak to believe that the image accompanying the item will suffice as the description – which may work for customers – but unfortunately Google cannot see an image.

Not only will keyword-heavy product descriptions improve SEO, they will also improve the user experience – therefore improving time spent on page and increasing return rates, which again enhances the site’s overall SEO (so it’s an on-going cycle).

Copied Product Descriptions

The only thing worse than no product descriptions on your website is to copy and paste them from either the manufacturer or a direct competitor. If your website content is clearly plagiarised then Google will “blacklist” you from appearing on search queries altogether.

This catches out many businesses because while gathering images and information about the products, they may receive written descriptions from suppliers that they have been given permission to use online. What some businesses do not consider is that the supplier is also providing these exact descriptions to anyone else stocking the same items.

In addition to this, by using very generic descriptions it’s less likely to engage the customers. Selling something online is no different to selling something in the store – customers want to be sold on the item before committing to purchase, which is usually done through emotive language.

For this reason it’s extremely important that all content on your website is unique and written by a professional. If you don’t have time to create your own text then consider using a copywriter, who will conduct thorough research on the products before creating an original and engaging description.

Here at Digital Thing, we work with a team of talented writers from various backgrounds. They understand how Google works and what criteria all website content needs in order to receive the best possible ranking. They also understand the craft of using tone and language to appeal to all types of people.

All Other Duplicate Content

Even if you haven’t copied your content from another website or source, it’s another common mistake of business owners to repeat the same segments of content on their own websites. This may be as simple as using a small snippet about your product guarantees or shipping information. If you have used this exact same text on every page of your website then you will be penalised by search engines such as Google.

This may also be the case if you stock a variation of the exact same products (e.g. in different colours or sizes). It is common practice to use the same product descriptions across each variation of this product, which will not be favoured by search engines either.

No Review Section

No matter how large the purchase, online buyers are more likely to commit to buying when user reviews are open to the public. It provides that added peace of mind, that the product itself and the website it is being purchased through can be trusted.

Even if a customer has already committed to purchasing an item in their mind, they will often browse the user reviews to ensure they are buying it for the best price and will receive the best quality service.

Reviews can be added to each product, allowing users to comment on the quality of the individual items, and a testimonial page is also useful to improve your own brand credibility. To ignore the need for a review or forum section within the design of your eCommerce site is a huge oversight – especially because to add this feature is also relatively simple and cost-effective.

The type of reviews you display on your website is entirely up to you, the most popular being a simple comment form restricted by a certain number of characters. Star ratings are also very popular and make it easy for users to scan. To go one-step further you may choose to allow users the freedom to create their own community or forum, allowing them to discuss products and other related topics freely.

Search Relevancy Vs. Popularity

The search algorithm you use on your website will ultimately determine the user experience – so it needs to be accurate. Much like the way Google ranks search results by relevancy, popularity must also influence the return.

The quality of your data (such as product names, descriptions, etc.) is extremely vital in this process. The more accurate your data is, the better the search relevance will be. When it comes to the individual page titles, try to be as descriptive as possible. For example, don’t just add the product name to the page title; include the product type, brand, category and your own business name. This also applies to the individual page URLs.

  • An average page title: Product name – g. “iPhone 6”
  • An awesome page title: Brand & Product Name| Product Category | Your Business & Location – g. “Apple iPhone 6 – Smartphones & Accessories – Michael’s Tech Store Melbourne”

But relevance isn’t the only important search factor. Once your website generates some initial traffic, the search function will be used more and more. It is possible for the search algorithm to consider the popularity of products to ensure the most well liked items are ranked higher.

So how can you ensure the best ranking for your eCommerce website?

User experience is the key to success – because if you provide the customer with a reason to come back, then you give search engines a good reason to make your website easier to find. As we stated in the point above, when it comes to search algorithms, popularity is just as importance as relevancy.

If you need some help improving the overall ranking of your existing website, or need some pointers to help you develop the best strategy, come and speak to the team at Digital Thing. We have over a decade of experience developing eCommerce solutions for a range of businesses in various industries.

We will take the time to understand every aspect of your business, from your products or services to your existing and desired markets. We will conduct comprehensive research to determine what your customers need and want, and also what your main competitors are doing right and wrong.

About the Author -

With a successful career in web development and digital marketing under his belt, Chris has been a driving force behind major projects for brands including Telstra, Heart Foundation, Laurastar and Noodle Box, Melbourne Mint and more.