An e-commerce site has it own unique challenges and goals when it comes to SEO. Large e-commerce sites could have ten of thousands of product pages, each which need to rank well in the search engines for its appropriate keywords and related searches. It is important to remember that the main goal of any e-commerce site is to encourage visitors to buy, so content and site structure needs to actively reflect that goal.
Regardless of what your e-commerce site may sell, from wholesale school supplies to high-end speakers to commercial bakery equipment, the following SEO tips can be applied to better optimize your site, making it more search engine and user friendly.
1. Weigh time vs. return
In an ideal world, every page of your 10,000-page e-commerce site would be manually optimized. This involves creating a unique Meta tag and description, URL, product description and a customized image tag for each product page. However, manually optimizing each product page isn’t a quick or easy task.
That is why it is important to first optimize the top revenue generating and top profitable product pages. You can optimize the rest of your site in batches. This way you can begin the second part of your SEO campaign, link building, on the most profitable pages without waiting to finish the rest of your on-site SEO.
2. Create unique product descriptions
Many manufacturers will send out their products with a generic description. If your e-commerce site sells clothes, for instance, each pair of jeans you sell comes with a pre-written product description. You want to create new and unique product descriptions for everything that you sell. Chances are you aren’t the only one who sells that pair of jeans.
How many other sites are using the manufacturer’s description on their product pages? Search engines frown on duplicate content and your site could end up being penalized because of it. You need to incorporate your unique selling proposition in the product descriptions and encourage a user to pick your e-commerce site over another.
3. Develop an internal linking structure
One way to keep your visitors engaged is to create an internal linking structure. Look at the behemoth of online shopping, Amazon. When a shopper gets down to the end of the page, they are given “suggestions” based on the product they are currently looking at. You can do the same thing for your e-commerce site.
What other kinds of products would someone be interested in purchasing if they are looking at product X? The internal links can keep a visitor clicking through your site and adding things to their cart as they go.
4. Treat each product page as a landing page
Think back to the last time you visited an e-commerce site to do some shopping of your own. Did you even bother checking out the homepage? Probably not. Most likely you searched for the product by name and clicked on a link in the SERP that brought you directly to that product page. An e-commerce site’s homepage isn’t as powerful as other sites, as it is not the usual entry point for visitors. Therefore, each product page needs to be optimized and treated like a landing page.
5. Incorporate customer reviews/testimonials
One of the biggest problems many e-commerce sites have is a lack of unique content. One way to counter that is to incorporate consumer product reviews and testimonials onto your pages. Customer reviews also lend to the user-experience and build trust. Visitors are more confident in their purchasing decision when they see that others have made the same purchase and liked your product. A good review might also be the thing that convinces a visitor to buy.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of how to better optimize an e-commerce site, but these 5 tips are a good place for site owners to start. Optimizing an e-commerce site, especially large ones, take a lot of time and effort. However, the effects of doing so (namely, increasing your sales) are well worth it. Most e-commerce site management systems make optimizing your site simple and easy, so don’t get overwhelmed by the task.
About the Author – Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis is the President and Founder of Brick Marketing (http://www.brickmarketing.com), a full-service Internet marketing and SEO services firm that offers SEO consulting and SEO audits. With over 12 years of industry experience, Nick Stamoulis shares his knowledge by posting daily SEO articles to his blog, the Search Engine Optimization Journal.