Now you are just finished off listing hundreds of products on your e-commerce website. Yay!
It’s time to sit back, relax and see traffic floods your website.
Duh, it never happens like that.
You see, optimizing e-commerce websites for SEO takes lots of work. It’s more than just adding the title and meta description. It’s way much complicated than putting the target keyword in the product page.
You face this challenge because an e-commerce site has lots of pages that need to be optimized. It affects the chances of ranking well in the search engines.
The nine mistakes below highlight the typical SEO errors. Avoid these mistakes to improve the site’s ranking and increase online sales.
This kind of tactic involves overusing specific keywords or phrases in the web site’s navigation, meta title, meta description, product pages and so on.
You can clutter keywords onto a page, even if the keywords were unrelated and the site was absent of any real content.
Not anymore. You can’t manipulate a page’s ranking on Google’s SERP with keyword stuffing.
You may think it’s good enough to get your site rank higher in SERP page. It works well in the early years of search engines.
No. It won’t happen these days.
The gods of Google has wised up and began filtering out keyword-stuffed pages. This because they were mostly devoid of useful content and had a terrible user experience.
So how do you use keyword responsibly?
Focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and in context.
You can use long-tail keyword variations to spice things up a bit in your content.
Try implementing synonyms for words that have multiple meanings. It’s not only helping Google to differentiate between word meanings but also rewarding sites that implement them.
Due to a large number of pages on an e-commerce site, many of the products are mostly the same. These also tell that the product descriptions might be more similar to each other.
Duplicate content contributes to the website’s rankings down the search engine, or your site can get sanctions.
Search engines aren’t fond of webpage content that’s been blatantly “copy and paste” from other sources.
However, when it comes to e-commerce websites, products are mostly the same – their product descriptions copywriting is much more similar to each other.
For this reason, it is crucial for website owners to analyze all pages of your websites and identifying ways to reduce redundancy.
So how can create unique content for each page without duplicating content?
Here are some tips to avoid duplicate content: (this could be technical, so you might consider asking your web developer to help you out)
Install robots.txt to block areas that create duplicate content. In general, category and product pages are susceptible to this case.
You can use the canonical tag to indicate which web pages are the pages you want to be indexed. It tells the search engines which page they should be paying attention rather than the duplicated ones.
Add no-follow to links that point to areas of duplicate content in your site. Make sure you go through every single link that needs to be no-followed before adding this attribute.
Manufacturer’s Product Description
The worst thing you can do with e-commerce product pages is to copy and paste the stock description from the manufacturer.
While it may sound ok for you, but as a result, search engines ban your site.
The thing is that resellers are overwhelmingly using manufacturer’s product descriptions. Moreover, when Google finds out that these are not unique and original, they plummet your site’s rankings because of content scraping and duplicate content.
Besides, these manufacturer descriptions are usually not written in a way that sells.
You might be asking; if I have 100 over product pages, should I create unique content for every page? It sounds too much for me!
You don’t have to write unique content for every page. Just focus on what pages you are trying to be put up on the site. If you have 10 products that are soon to be rolled out, write the description for these 10 products first.
You can put a NO INDEX meta tag on product pages that you can’t write unique content. For example, you have 5 product variations, so focus on writing for a particular product variation that could be a top seller.
You must also ensure that the top priority of product description is to provide customers the benefits of your product and reflects their search queries with SEO.
No Outstanding Content
As you know, product descriptions have a limit of 255 characters and need to include keywords.
The rule is simple; always write unique content. Nowadays, Google has been getting better and better at kicking websites down the rankings because of duplicate content and content scraping.
If you have hundreds of thousands of product pages that you either can’t get to or be out your inventory, then consider keeping them out the search engines.
The point here is that you don’t want to have thousands of pages with no unique content. Keep your SEO in good standing from suffering from poorly optimized product pages or a spammy looking content strategy.
Write persuasive product page copy can help improve conversions rates, as it can be more informative and convincing to your audience.
It is not how much pages you have; it’s about the quality of content that provides value to a user.
Poor URL Structure
Most E-commerce sites automatically generate, and create unclean and hard to read URLs.
Here is an example of poor URL structure.
The URL makes it impossible for the search engines to determine what the web page is about and properly index it.
You want to make sure that your URL contains the name of your product.
This practice helps the search engines decide which page to index and rank. Many e-commerce websites that allow you to change your URL Structure. Stay clear of the e-commerce platforms that don’t allow you to do this.
Inventory on an e-commerce site, it can be challenging to create a navigational structure that is easy for the customer to use and the searcheEngines to navigate.
Having some options to categorize your products is a common practice among e-commerce sites. However, when it looks from the SEO perspective, it poses crawling challenges.
It means that search engines can’t figure out which content to be crawled and indexed first. You have to decide which facets you want to highlight as necessary and not relevant on your product page.
For example, options like category, brand, item, color, size, and type are essential facets that good for SEO. However, price range and review ratings are deemed less important for SEO.
The reason for this is that it helps search engines to index the correct descriptions that match users’ queries. It also makes your product unique to the search engine.
Here are some ways to improve crawling control on the faceted navigation:
Do some URL rewriting by including one primary and one secondary keyword that best highlights the content on the product page.
Use rel=nofollow attribute on non-essential facets (rice range and review ratings)
Use spaces, commas, pipes, and dashes as separators. It is best to avoid underscores.
Assigning one product in one category is a common practice among e-commerce sites — Use ‘sort by’ options to categorize your products.
Assigning To One Category Only
Most e-commerce site architecture is still applying what we called the ‘filing cabinet’ approach.
It is the way to assign each product to one product category only. Of course, in reality, any product may fit into many different ‘buckets.’
A pair of shoes might fit into ‘men’s shoes’ as well as ‘Adidas shoes,’ ‘running shoes,’ ‘tennis shoes’ or ‘casual shoes’.
You may already be using ‘sort by category’ options to categorize your products, but using a clean, HTML anchor text link ensures each of the product categories is entirely linked.
You need to be careful, however. The flipside of multiple categories on a website is duplicate content. Look for a sign if your product URLs looks something like this:
You might think this is well organized. However, if your content management system produces URLs like these, you end up with two unique URLs for the same product.
That is a no-no for SEO. The best solution is to get your web developer to do some URL rewrite, so you end up with URLs like this:
By having the product pages only one folder deep, you can have them listed in as many categories as you like. Make sure there’ll only be one version of that product URL.
Lack of Product Reviews
E-commerce websites have less content on product pages so leveraging user-generated content can help boost search engine traffic.
Encourage your customer to write reviews about the product they bought, and even you can run a contest to generate maximum reviews on particular pages.
Neglect Link Building Practise
Getting high-quality backlinks is vital for getting traffic to your site. However, as most e-commerce sites have little content and don’t update their content regularly, it’s hard to put in place this strategy.
So, when it comes to link building for e-commerce, you have to be creative. You have to come out with something your competitors don’t do. You have to look for ways to market your website and get ranked in search engines.
Here are some strategies to get a high-quality backlink to your site:
- Submit your products to Google Shopping.
- List your site on shopping a major social shopping network sites like Kaboodle, Style Feeder, Wists, Five Limes, Buzz Shout, Ohmybuzz, etc.
- Go to a content curation platform like Scoop. It’s a platform where people collect their favorite content from across the web and publish it in a magazine format.
- Do share your content on social media networks.
- Some other strategies; blog commenting, product reviews, product contest, and press releases, if applicable.
You may stumble upon when trying to get the right SEO strategies. However, with proper strategies in hand, you can’t eliminate those SEO errors to improve the site’s ranking and increase online sales.
Do you encounter SEO e-commerce errors in your e-commerce site? Please share in the comments below.
A reluctant chemist-turn-copywriter who transmutes big ideas into compelling copy. Since 2011, he had crafted copy for several SMEs and business owners, ranged from health and beauty industry, professional services and startups.