If you’re in the online retailing industry, you have a lot of tasks on your plate. When you’re juggling everything from marketing to fulfillment to customer service, optimizing your ecommerce site for SEO reasons may be getting pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. However, following a few ecommerce SEO best practices can be a big help in growing the number of orders you’re shipping out each day.
Read on for 5 actionable ways to step up your ecommerce site’s SEO strategy.
Simplify Your Site’s Structure
Ever browsed a site in search of a product and found yourself increasingly frustrated as you click link after link to reach your goal? We’ve all experienced this type of annoyance while online shopping, or even while choosing a restaurant. If it’s hard to get where you’re going, you’ll probably just go somewhere else. Even search engines feel this way–the deeper within the site that pages are hidden, the more time it will take for search engines to properly index your site.
When it comes to SEO for ecommerce sites, the best way to avoid this problem is to create the “flattest” site structure possible. Create a diagram of your current site structure to get a clearer view of the way your pages are organized. If some of your products are buried under six layers of subcategories or are only accessible through links on other product pages, you might want to consider having an ecommerce SEO expert audit your site structure and create a restructuring plan.
Make a Plan for Managing Old Product Pages
When you stop selling a product, it may seem easiest just to remove it from its category and delete its page. However, this isn’t a best practice for ecommerce SEO or good for users. The deleted page may have links that lead to that URL, and it may hold value on the search engine results page that brings in valuable customers. Why waste all that traffic?
Instead of completely deleting old product pages, give them a forwarding address by setting 301 redirects. This is a simple task if you’re using a platform like WordPress, as you can install a plugin like Simple 301 Redirects to help you “forward” old pages to relevant URLs that are still in use on your site.
Watch Out for Duplicate Content
Many ecommerce companies have a wide range of products and not a lot of time to write unique descriptions for each of them. Sometimes, online retailers use the manufacturer’s product descriptions or reuse bits and pieces of content on different product pages. However, this isn’t the wisest choice when it comes to ecommerce SEO.
While it can be a time-consuming process, it is worth your while to audit your product content for originality as well as user experience. Think about what potential customers are typing into the search bar when they’re looking for your item and make sure you include those search terms in the descriptive content. Check to see that each page’s content brings value to the customer as well as to the search engine that crawls it.
Add Product Reviews
You may be surprised to see this suggestion on a list of ecommerce SEO tips, but product reviews matter in the SEO world, too! If your site isn’t currently making use of product reviews, it’s time to consider it for both your customers’ and search engines’ sake. Product reviews help your site accumulate more content and avoid the duplicate content issues mentioned above, and having reviews accessible is a great way to show off your great products and encourage quicker conversions.
Step Up Your Security Efforts
Both search engines and your customers care about security, and so should you. Sites that use HTTPS encryption rather than simply HTTP are becoming increasingly common, and retailers without HTTPS are likely to fall behind the curve soon if they haven’t already. Google has announced that their algorithm uses HTTPS as a ranking signal, meaning that it prefers to reward higher rankings to sites that are secured with HTTPS. Over time, making the switch could make a big difference in the SEO successes of your ecommerce site. If you haven’t already, make the switch sooner rather than later.
On a similar note, displaying badges of security and safety on highly visible places of your site (such as near the “Add to Cart” button) is a good way to assure customers that your business won’t rip them off or otherwise cause problems. For a safety-conscious consumer, this can make all the difference between a conversion and a bounce.
Looking for more tips on how to get the most out of your ecommerce site? Subscribe to the Leverage Marketing newsletter for a regular dose of digital marketing info, or get in touch with our team to find out how we help businesses grow with the help of our expert ecommerce SEO knowledge.