ecommerce seo tips

Simple SEO techniques to optimise your e-commerce store

One of the biggest factors that will determine the success of your e-commerce store is how your site is ranked on search engines. Search engine optimisation is a complex topic, and experts have differing views on how to rank highly on major search engines. Some experts even go as far as to say that search engine optimisation is dead, given that Google’s algorithm and spiders are more advanced than they used to be and what worked previously is no longer as effective.

However, since sites do rank above each other on a search result for a particular keyword, the importance of optimising your e-commerce site to rank high on a search for products you provide is self-evident. You need to find the edge.

In this article, we will list a few simple measures that will help you rank as high you can in the search engines.

All your internal links should point to the same domain

ecommerce and seoYou should be clear if you want your ecommerce store to be known as http://www.yourecommercestore.co.nz or if you prefer http://yourecommercestore.co.nz. This is essential because search engines often treat the urls as different sites. If both variants of your site get indexed, this will water down your search engine optimisation efforts.

Although Google now provides the option to include the preceding www or not, it is important that you include it in all your internal links just to be certain.

Configure your 301 redirects carefully

If you decide to use the http://yourecommercestore.co.nz version of your site, you should ensure that you add a 301 redirect on all urls coming into your site that include the www in the url to http://yourecommercestore.co.nz.

To do this, access your .htaccess file if you’re on a linux-based host and add the following code below:

Options +FollowSymLinks
RewriteEngine on
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yourstore\.co.nz
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ http://yourstore.co.nz/$1 [R=permanent,L]

This will help you consolidate all your index pages and help you achieve the highest possible ranking on search engines.

Make links to your main page point to yourecommercestore.co.nz

This is similar to the above point, but there is a subtle difference. A lot of times, ecommerce site owners have some of the links pointing to other links such as yourecommercestore.com/index.php or yourecommercestore.com/index.html. It’s important you do not make this mistake to avoid diluting your SEO efforts.

Choose the right domain name

This is a simple but often overlooked idea. Brendan Wilde, an e-commerce web-hosting expert with Umbrellar, said that, “there are lots of e-commerce sites online with names that have nothing to do with what they are selling. Don’t get so fancy or clever that you fail to include what you are selling when registering a domain name. Search engines prefer sites with clear and concise names that are related to what the site is offering. Build a brand yes – but make it clear what the brand is about too.”

Create unique titles and meta descriptions

The most important tags on your website in terms of search engine optimisation are the title tag and the meta tags. It’s vital that each page on your site has a unique title and meta description. The title tag should describe the product or page in a way that’s user friendly and easily understandable. While the meta tag should summarise concisely what is on the page or what the page is about.

For example, if you are working on a page that sells Puma shoes, your tags could look like this:

Title tag – <title>Puma Shoes- From Just $23- Choose Your Shoes Today!</title>

Meta name – <meta name=”description” content=”Puma shoes are the best footwear in the market. They offer protection, comfort and variety. Step out in style.”>

Use keywords for each product URL

Search engines index media pages (those that contain just pictures,video or just flash contents) very poorly. To improve your page indexing, try including the keyword in the url. For example, for the puma shoes above, the url should read http://yourecommercestore.co.nz/puma-shoes.html and not something like http://yourecommercestore.co.nz/item.cfm?id=634&subcatid=45.

Good original content

One of the worst kept secrets in e-commerce marketing is that good content is essential to ranking high on Google. Yet, a lot of e-commerce site owners use short, generic descriptions of a product and depend on pictures to do the selling. As mentioned earlier, search engines are not good at ranking dynamic content, including pictures.

Google often advises site owners to write content that is readable by humans and not focused on search engines. Your content should be original, readable and informative. It should be able to capture attention and keep it, and then compel the reader to take the desired action. The good news is that you can outsource the writing of your content. As it’s commonly said, to the search engines, a picture is not worth a thousand words. Only a thousand words is worth a thousand words.

Optimise product pages based on search keyword

Always research your product keywords before you create your headline, content, title page, and meta description. Then you will be certain you are actually optimising your product to fit what customers are searching for.

Using our examples above, you might find that instead of just optimising for Puma shoes, it may be more profitable to optimise for a particular colour or design or make of Puma shoe. Generally, being specific is a better way to rank highly than being generic. Below are a few more tips to help you better optimise your product pages:

  • Include model numbers in your title tags and H1 headings.
  • Include brand names in your title tags and H1 headings.
  • Make sure you fill your image alt tag information
  • Don’t over use keyword in your description
  • And don’t ever use iframes to display content. Ensure your content is on the product page it is supposed to be on.
  • Submit a sitemap

Sitemaps allow you to organize and map your relevant pages. The major search engines, including Google and Yahoo, allow you to submit this map and tell them where your relevant pages can be found.  This feature is important as you can directly influence which of your pages the search engine will display. Create a sitemap and take advantage of the ability to add weight to your important product pages.

Get inbound links but don’t waste too much time on it

In the past getting as many inbound links as you could was a good way to rank well on Google, but not anymore. Search engines place less weight on volume of linking today. However, links from authority site will help boost your ranking, whilst linking to authority websites can also help your articles and website content do well on search engines. You can sign up to directories such as Dmoz directory or yahoo directory if you want to pursue this course of action; a safe way to add some positive signals. Really high quality guest posts are a good way to drive traffic and build site authority.

The rise of social media in e-commerce

social media and seo

 

No e-commerce or SEO article would be complete without a mention of social Media. For years Google has been looking for ways to reduce the algorithmic reliance on website links as a way to judge site authority. Although links are still vital, as we have seen above, one answer that Google has turned to is social media.

If your site causes a lot of buzz on social media then Google will take this as a very positive signal that your content is relevant, interesting and worthwhile of high rankings.

Even without the huge SEO benefits of using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instogram, Pintrest, and so on, it would still be a worthwhile activity. You build brand credibility, reach more people, and can build a conversation with people on social channels.

If you aren’t using social media yet to drive your e-commerce site on then start today!

If you follow the above advice, your search engine rankings will improve. Remember that consistency is the key. Work little and often when promoting your site, or, better still, work a lot all the time!

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