It’s common for online stores to think that by simply listing hundreds or even thousands of products on their e-commerce website, search engine traffic will start rolling in. That turns out to be far from reality.
The sad fact is, optimizing e-commerce websites for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is much harder than it is for blogs or a simple company website. By having lots of product pages constantly shuffling on and off the site, numerous problems arise that make SEO very difficult for e-commerce websites. In this article, we look at some of the challenges with SEO for e-commerce websites and hope that this guide will help website managers improve their SEO practices not just for e-commerce websites but generally.
Complete Guide to Website and Competitor Analysis
Google Exact Match Keyword Penalty Explained
Conversion Rate Optimization and Internet Marketing Goals
SEO Mistakes Associated With Most Ecommerce Websites
E-commerce websites require additional efforts to boost optimally for search engines. Items like products which usually come with short descriptions and less amount of relevant and valuable keywords can pose a challenge to optimizing an e-commerce website We have here discussed 3 of the most common SEO mistakes you will easily find with e-commerce websites.
Read more on SEO in this article titled: Principles of Good Website Designing
1. Lack of Product Description
This error has been major one which should be avoided. The complete lack of a text description of the product virtually puts an end to the chances of the page being in the top 10 of a search engine query. Google recommends that the more unique content written for your page, the better for your SEO ranking.
In writing a product description, follow this simple guide:
1. Write descriptions that will be helpful in customer purchase decision making.
2. Please avoid copying the content of other websites.
3. Speak to your customers: Understanding the main considerations of your customers is most crucial to make them relate with your descriptions and buy your products. Once you know who your target audience is, you can decide which voice or personality you should take up to communicate with them.
4. Let your product description tell a story: People take decisions emotionally and attempt to justify them with logic. Make them imagine how their life would be if they buy the product. And weaving a good story is a great way to reel them in.
5. In writing your product description, you will ensure that you are able to bridge the gap between product features and its benefits. The product features are the facts and characteristics of the product while the benefits are how these characteristics can be useful to the customers.
6. Avoid the use of jargons in writing product descriptions. Jargons are good only for sophisticated customers and not recommended in writing description for products open to the public.
7. Try to add social proof to your descriptions. Some kind of human example to show how the product works will be very helpful in convincing your potential customers. Human examples should not come at the beginning of your description
8. Take advantage of short and broken sentences. Something like: reliable. Affordable. scalable hosting.
Most people tend to underestimate the usefulness of a great product description. Not only is it your sales pitch, it is also the best way to differentiate your store from the various copycats out there. There are way too many ecommerce stores with product descriptions written by manufacturers.
Also read: E-commerce Website: A Guide on The Choice Of Magento Or Woocommerce
1.2 Avoid Using Descriptions from Manufacturers.
This can seriously hurt your SEO efforts and will not be helpful despite the efforts you make to be visible in the search engines.
When you use product descriptions written by manufacturers there are a few things that are working against you. First of all, these descriptions are distributed to all the other online stores selling the same product and, guess what, most of them don’t change it either.
What search engines now see are multiple websites with the same content. Ever since the Panda algorithm came out, sites with duplicate content have been getting penalized by Google.
A rule to remember when it comes to any SEO, not just product page SEO, is that search engines love unique and interesting content. Keep in mind that your content should be descriptive in a way that helps your customers when they are deciding on a product.
1.3 Consider Role of Keywords in Product Descriptions
Research your keywords for maximum results. Keywords play a key role in SEO. Keyword research should be the starting point for any SEO campaign and Ecommerce SEO is no different. Without proper keyword research you’ll be flying blind.
1.3.1 So where do you start
Clearly, there are certain keywords you’ll want to rank for. Your products, your brands, your categories etc. And of course it’s essential that you optimize your store for those keyword phrases. While you set out your plans and strategies, you need to consider the fact that your competitors will be targeting those exact same keywords. And if they have a stronger link profile, then they are likely going to outrank you. So to kick off this section you need to learn how to find some super cool low competition keywords.
Be emphatic about keywords that have good volume because that will likely convert visitors into customers. You also need to consider keywords that your competitors are NOT targeting. You can rank quickly for such keywords. Now, let us learn a bit from blogging and affiliate marketing and not just e-commerce.
1.3.2. Learn Keyword Research Tricks From Affiliate Marketers
The most successful affiliate marketers have a process that looks like this:
1. Identify a common problem
2. Create content targeting people with that problem
3. Recommend a solution in the content (either a product or service)
4. It’s a simple formula that converts impressively and the good news that it works just as well for Ecommerce sites.
Here’s a quick example.
Find High Converting Keywords Using This Simple Formula
Let’s say you were into gaming and wanted to buy a brand new laptop. But you weren’t particularly technical, so had no idea which laptop or specs to go for.
Now as mentioned above that we’ll be looking for keywords that your competitors are not targeting. But actually, that is not quite correct as bloggers (and affiliate sites) are also your competitors. Perhaps not in terms of business, but definitely in terms of search traffic. Which means they can be a great place to look for keyword ideas.
When you do a search, by default, we’ll see the keywords that are driving the most traffic to the site. Nothing particularly interesting for us there, so let get more specific.
And scrolling down we can see a couple of keywords that look interesting.
There’s reasonable search volume and a very low difficulty score. But most importantly, those keywords are a great fit. Now if you Google the keyword and take a look at the search results. You’ll discover that in some cases, the top positions could be category pages suggesting the sites have a good domain authority. In some case the individual page is not very strong.
Which means that if we can create something cool and build some solid links, we should be able to rank for that keyword.
Organic keywords report for a page and taking a look at all the keywords it ranks for will guide you on the keyword we should be optimizing for. You can then look to sprinkle the other keywords into your content to make it super relevant.
You can choose to set up a category page for that keyword in the main store. An alternative will be to create a high quality piece of editorial content in the blog. The great thing about posts like this is they can be updated every few months as products/ranges change. That’s going to help keep the page fresh – something Google definitely likes to see.
1.4. Target Opportunity Keywords
What is an opportunity keyword?
· It’s a keyword phrase that you are already ranking for in positions 11-20.
· Has good search volume
· Has a relatively low difficulty score
Which means with a little work you can get your site on to the firs page and quickly increase your search traffic.
1.5 How To Find Opportunity Keywords
You can find opportunity keywords by running the Organic keywords report and setting a few search filters. In the example below, we have set the following parameters:
Volume: 1,000 to max
Difficulty: min to 20
Also read: How to recover from a Search Engine ranking drop
2. URL Structure
Let get down with page URL. The best policy for URL structures is to Keep It Simple. It should be simple, relevant and understandable to both humans and search engines. Too often will you see url structures like this.
You do not want to do this. By the way, this is a real URL for a low-rise skinny jeans product. We’ve just replaced the actual site name with “storedomain”
There are a number of things wrong with this URL structure. First of all, you have no idea what product this is just by looking at the URL. Not only is this confusing for humans, it also contains no relevant keywords for search engines. Search for Product Id 34353316, said no one ever.
URLs like this are typically generated by the software or platform you use to build your store. The random number at the end is a dynamic parameter. Now, some platforms do create more readable, static URLs but they still end up like this: www.storedomain.com/womens/collections/product/blue-lowrise-skinny-jean
The problem here is that the keywords you want search engines to pick up on, like lowrise ankle or skinny jeans, are all the way at the back. You are basically telling search engines that the most important elements of your url are womens and collections instead of your actual product.
An optimized product page URL should look like this:
Your keywords come right after your domain so search engines understand that that’s what the page is about. They are also understandable by humans. When your product shows up on search results, Google will bold the keywords in the URL, so searchers know what to expect when they click on your link.
Also read: A Complete Guide To Good SEO For Beginners
3. Lack of Product Reviews
Please you will need not ignore this very important aspect because a large number of buyers want to know about buyer experiences and rely on reviews to decide.
According to eMarketer, almost 70% of people look to online reviews before making a purchase. If your eCommerce store does not have product reviews, you are missing out on a big opportunity. Not only do people love, and look for, product reviews, but search engines love product reviews too.
Product reviews are great because your store is consistently being updated with fresh and unique content. The best part is it’s all free user-generated content, making it a very scalable and cost-effective way of adding new content to all your product pages.
They also help your product page for long tail keywords that you’ve missed out on. When your customers leave reviews they might just use the same keywords that consumers are searching for.
3.1 Easy Ways to Get Product Reviews
Generally speaking, product reviews help your store in a few but significant ways.
Shoppers have become very interestested in reviews and will likely never purchase a product without knowing how it’s going to work for them. Product reviews are a reliable way to get the views of real users of the product and this is useful to determine and assess their exeriences with the products. Users read the good, the not-so-good, and the downright ugly to make the all-important decision:
The immediate benefit of reviews is that they can make your future customers feel that much more confident about a urchase. The more reviews you have, the more convinced a shopper will be that they’re making the right decision.
Reviews can help increase a store’s online presence, too. Since customer feedback appears on each product’s page, reviews can help pages be found on search engines via unique keywords.
Additionally, if customers share products they’ve reviewed across their social networks, it’s more exposure for those products and for your brand.
Reviews can also help even the producer or developer better understand their own products. You can spend hours using a product, but chances are customers will notice things you never would. That means your customers can give you great feedback, ideas for improvements, or even incredible marketing ideas!
3.2 How Then Can You Get More Reviews for Your Product
Here is a quick guide, some useful tips that can promote reviews for your product:
Request Reviews From customers directly
You can make a subtle request from customers for a review. It is a good way to get customer reviews and had been very succccessful. Ask the customers who have made a purchase from you for a review about a week after their order would have arrived (or later, if your customers aren’t likely to use your products right away).
Make the review process Easy
Don’t send customers to a review forms riddled with unnecessary fields. You need a name, an email address (for contact or verifications purposes only), a rating, and the review.
If you think it’s necessary, you may also ask customers to write a title (or headline), and to provide a broad location (such as a city and/or state). If you want customers to be able to include images or video, use an upload function that you’ve tested on all devices.
Offer an incentive to Reviewers
Customers could be given a bonus, a discount or some incentive that provide some extra benefits for free just to get them write a review. Incentives are a great way to get people excited to quickly write a review and benefit from an existing offer. This can range from tacking rewards for reviews onto an existing rewards program, or creating new incentives for reviewers.