10 SEO Tips From Semalt: How To Optimize An E-commerce Site?
We are in the era of the SEO explosion and we are witnessing a more or less orderly race in an attempt to improve the positioning of your site; in this unbridled competition a pre-eminent role is played by the e-commerce, or the online shops whose goal is, of course, to sell as much as possible. If a good SEO optimization is the basis of the success of any site, improving the positioning of an e-commerce can change our life from day to night - and it is not an exaggeration.
For example, appear in the first position for a given keyword it may mean attracting most of the users interested in that search key to your site; the transition from the first to the second position, to convey the idea, can bring about half of the visitors who arrive to those who have conquered the first place.
Having an e-commerce site that does not generate access or, even worse, that does not bring sales. This is the nightmare that ruins the nights of anyone with a site to sell products or services. Where did I go wrong? What am I omitting? Why do my competitors sites sell and I don't?
The commercial and technical aspects
When you enter the loop of questions you risk falling into a vortex from which you can no longer escape: it being understood that several factors are essential to sell online (in addition to professional SEO consultancy, if you do not have the appropriate technical skills), some of which it would even be superfluous to underline: first of all, the product or products we sell are of quality, sought after, attractive? Basically, are we selling something that the users are looking for? And again, at what price are we doing it?
The answer is naturally to be found in a series of parameters, not all necessarily related to SEO but which may also have to do with the type of product that is being sold, the competition, the quality of the product itself, the price and many other factors. If we offer the same product that is on the dozens of other sites and moreover at a higher price, it is clear that our e-commerce will never make a sale. And there is no SEO or anything else here, but it is an upstream commercial policy.
Given that what you want to do here is to give advice strictly from the Seo point of view, the technical structure and the editorial setting of an e-commerce site, we assume that the commercial project has been studied in details and is valid. So let's focus on what are the Seo tips to optimize an e-commerce site thus increasing the visitors' number and consequently the sales.
Preliminary actions to optimize an e-commerce
There are several parameters to take into consideration if you want to improve the positioning of your e-commerce site: first of all, the choice of the keywords. And here is the problem. It is not easy to choose the right keywords for our site but it is essential to understand that everything starts from there. Because around these keywords we should build our editorial plan, that is the writing of the contents as well as trying as much as possible to open the related sections on the site.
The choice of the keywords is essential and must start from the product we are selling. In the case of highly competitive sectors, it is advisable to work on the so-called long tails, long queues or specific search keys composed of several words.
For example, if we want to open a site that sells used cars in Rome, and we try to position ourselves with the dry keyword, it would be a bit like fighting against windmills: here it is better to focus on specific, less competitive and more detailed, descriptive search terms of our business. Are we specialized in the sale of company cars running on gas or with LPG systems?
We have already had a chance to work on a more specific search key, a long tail made up of several words, on which we can position ourselves. We talk about the long tails, the compound keywords, longer and more specific, to better describe the services and the products.
Importance of the homepage in an e-commerce
Then there is the importance of the homepage of our e-commerce: it is the starting page where the user will move and that will be our business card. An e-commerce homepage must be as personalized as possible on the user side. A bit like the big e-commerce, see Amazon.
It would be advisable to display on the homepage not only the news that we insert from time to time on the site, but also the products similar to those the user has looked at, recommend the products according to the tastes and the preferences of the visitor, as well as those most sold and appreciated by the users in general. Basically do not opt to a static and always the same homepage, but one that is as interactive and personalized as possible according to the preferences of the user who is browsing our site.
Another fundamental aspect of the homepage is related to the insertion of the Title tag; a common mistake is to enter the description or the list of all the products we sell. So it's useless. It happens to see an e-commerce site for example of clothing in whose all the brands (Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Gucci, Prada etc…) treated have been inserted in the title tag of the homepage - a long list of brands on the site.
In your opinion is this an effective title tag? If you enter the description of all the products sold hoping to attract the attention of Google, here too the result will be poor. The advice is to write an accurate description of the product, why the user should buy it, what are the real strengths, the peculiarities and the advantages compared to the competitors.
Organize the products in the best possible way
It is the basis for a good navigation of the e-commerce site: it is advisable that your products are divided with criteria. It can be a division by price, by type of product, by bands; or even a distinction between the latest arrivals and those of older stock.
You can choose to give the visibility to the best-selling products, the most visited by the users, the most reviewed or other: the important thing is that the surfers have the ability to filter a myriad of information (and products).
A good 'trick' is to try to intercept the questions that the users ask about the products we sell; as Giorgio Taverniti explains well in this video tutorial on his Youtube channel, if, for example, we sell the books online, considering that it would be impossible to reach the top on the dry keyword ('online book sales', precisely) we can try to understand which searches make the users about those products.
Maybe they are looking for 'the best books of 2014'? Or even 'children's books' or 'books in a given sector'. Basically grope to verticalize the research as much as possible. Our success in terms of sales will also depend on the choice of the keywords on our site. If we have been good enough, we will not waste the visits and we will be sure to go and intercept the types of visitors who are really interested in our product.
The product sheets: what is the importance from an SEO perspective?
The product sheets are a fundamental point for the structure of every e-commerce: it is absolutely important that these are designed, organized and above all drafted in the best possible way. The contents of the product sheets must be original: which is not easy, especially if you have the hundreds of products that are all similar or often identical to each other or, even more if you sell the products identical to those on the other sites.
We all know the basic rule of Google by now: woe to propose duplicate, copied and non-original text content. This is the foundation of the SEO writing. This is why you will have to climb on the mirrors and sweat the fateful seven shirts to try to write the original product sheets and not all the same.
How? Perhaps by describing the product specifically. If you have a site that sells shoes of famous brands, and you need to create the product sheets of two types of Nike shoes, very similar to each other, focus on the differences. Does one have laces of a different color? Or a color combination that the other pair of shoes doesn't have? Highlight this aspect and make sure that the product sheet that comes out is unique and original. Even compared to the other sites.
Yes, because staying on the example of the Nike shoe you sell on your site, being a well-known brand and maybe even a fashionable product, it is sold by the hundreds of other sites. And then you can't afford to write the standard description, perhaps the one given by the parent company. Otherwise, you will create duplicate content and face a google penalty. Of course it is difficult and not always possible: but there are the other tricks to generate the original content.
Enter the comments in the product sheets
Here is another little tip: giving the users the ability to post comments under the product sheet will have a double benefit.
It will offer a better shopping experience for the visitor who can have direct feedback by reading the opinions of the other users who have already purchased that product.
It will generate original and unique text content for your site which will increase the indexing.
In general, the product sheets must always be clear, with the descriptions that are not excessively long, captivating, descriptive and concise.
SEO for e-commerce
Create tutorials to encourage the natural sharing and backlinks.
Here is another focal point. Why should the users share the contents of our e-commerce site on their social profiles? What would happen to them? Probably our friends will do it, who will share a product sheet taken from our site on their Facebook page to give us a hand.
But the users who browse our site without knowing us would have no reason to advertise us without anything in return. So, the offering of the tutorials is the best solution, which many resort to encourage the sharing.
If you sell the shirts online, for example, you could think of creating a page where all the sizes with converter between Italian, European, American sizes are entered... or again, in the example above of an e-commerce of sports shoes, you could think of do the same thing by providing the users with a guide with a converter between Italian and the other country shoe sizes.
Does your site sell the classic clothing, including ties? Why not make a nice video tutorial on how to tie a tie? Think about how many users would share it, how useful it is, thus going at the same time to advertise your site, even if unwittingly.
How to get the backlinks for your e-commerce site
These are some ideas starting from examples taken at random: by analyzing your business and the products you sell, you can indulge yourself in inventing the tutorials and video guides related to your business to entice the users to share.
This policy will lead, in addition to share on various social networks, it will also be useful in obtaining of the natural backlinks (what in jargon is called link earning).
If we have a site that sells wines and spirits and we insert a guide on how to make the right wine pairings or how to make beer, surely these pages would be shared on many forums and sites in the sector as useful.
We offer a service to the user, by giving them the content of real interest and usefulness written in the right way and we will have the right recognition in return: this is why it is important to take care of the text content of a site. If we are not able, let's contact a content manager. In this regard, it would not be bad to integrate our e-commerce with a text content blog.
Create a blog of content related to your business
It is probably the first piece of advice you will hear when you turn to a professional to build an e-commerce site. Almost all sites now integrate a text content blog into the e-commerce site to improve its indexing and position on Google.
This has happened since the search engines began to give greater prominence to textual content to create the SERP, or the results page for a given search key: since then the importance of the text content from an Seo perspective has significantly increased. The creation a content blog will lead you to a double result:
- Another fundamental aspect of the homepage is related to the insertion of the Title tag; a common mistake is to enter the description or the list of all the products we sell. So it's useless. It happens to see an e-commerce site for example of clothing in whose all the brands (Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Dior, Gucci, Prada etc…) treated have been inserted in the title tag of the homepage; a long list of brands on the site.
- You will index yourself better on the search engines: by creating a quality and original text content on the main topic covered by your site will greatly help your indexing. Especially, as explained above, you have to write original and captivating product sheets.
Unavailable product: how to manage this?
Another critical point of the e-commerce sites is the one related to the unavailable products. The question closely touches the SEO logic and any penalties.
For example, it may happen that a product sheet has reached an excellent positioning: well, if that product is no longer available after a period, what should I do? Logic would suggest to remove the page, but from the SEO point of view it would be a sensational own goal. So there are several solutions to consider in these cases, the most common are the following:
- Try to redirect the user perhaps to a page with similar content. Was the visitor looking for a smartphone model on our site that we no longer have available? Let's refer it to a page that perhaps sells the next model or a similar Smartphone. Or, even better, to a page with the list of products related to the one that is not available in our store.
- Create a 301 redirect if you have created a new page because the previously existing one has been permanently removed. In this way, the user who was looking for a product will be redirected to the new page.
- Use the specific Meta tags that indicate to Google when to show our page in the search results. By doing so, when we know we have the product available we will tell google that it can index us and we will then appear in the results for that search key. Conversely, when the product is not available in our warehouse, through this tag, which is called unavailable, we will mention to Google to not make us appear in the results. At least until further notice.
- Error 404: It is not good to use this solution. However, for a product that has been definitively deleted and without the possibility of inserting the pages of the similar products, we can use a page that generates a 404 error. Maybe by customizing the page itself and inserting the link that refers to the homepage of the site, we specify that that page does no longer exist, but there is still a fantastic site to visit!
All the tips that can be useful for the optimization of an e-commerce site from the SEO point of view; and when you followed and practiced it consistently, that can lead to a net improvement of your portal in terms of visits and sales.