Are you making any of these critical SEO errors on your e-commerce site?
A lot of people believe that when you create an e-commerce website and upload hundreds or even thousands of products, the search engine traffic will just start rolling in.
Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. SEO for e-commerce sites is a much harder than SEO on a simple 5-page brochure website. You’ve always got to be one step ahead and keep on top of all the products you’re constantly uploading, removing, moving around etc.
Here, we’re going to give you a very quick breakdown of the 6 common SEO mistakes that online stores make.
- Lack of product descriptions
This mistake is made by a large proportion of e-commerce stores. The lack of a full text description of a product basically puts a stop to the chance of the page being in the top 10 of a search engine query – even for low frequency searches. Search engines can’t view images so even though ‘a picture speaks a thousand words’ this unfortunately isn’t the case in SEO. Remember;
- only write good quality descriptive content that makes potential customers want to buy your product
- DON’T copy content from other websites. Doing a lot of competitor research is vitally important, but never be tempted to steal pieces of their content – search engines WILL penalise you for this
- Get the balance right. Test what description word count helps, speak to current customers or perform intense market research.
Give your products a chance and write a full, keyword rich product description – use this opportunity as a unique online sales pitch for the product in question.
- Using product descriptions from manufacturers
If you want to take the easy route and use descriptions written by the manufacturer, feel free… but remember that this action will guarantee your site WILL be banned from search engines and you may possibly get a phone call from a solicitor if their content was legally protected.
A lot of businesses use the manufacturers descriptions for their online store. The problem with doing this is your page won’t have any unique content and the pages with duplicated content will be filtered from search engines. Google is constantly releasing updates that make it easier for them to detect duplicate content and they will ban your website from results pages.
There are interim short-cuts to protect your website in the early stages. It can be a daunting task when your website has just launched and you have thousands of products that you have to write a unique description for. Search engine professionals, like ourselves, can help you during this stage to hide the pages without optimised content until you get around to writing the descriptions.
- Lack of product reviews
In a recent survey, we found that over 70% of online buyers are looking for reviews of products on online stores or forums before making a purchase. If your site doesn’t allow reviews, you’re missing out on a large percentage of your websites audience. It’s very easy for review pages to reach the top of search engine results, more so than selling pages.
The two main benefits of product reviews from customers are:
- Your customers are writing unique content for your online store… for FREE!
- It keeps the product page ‘alive’. If customers are leaving a review, it’s adding to that particular page which means your site will be constantly updated and fresh for search engines… all achieved without you having to do a thing
- Not optimising product pages based on the search demand
Keep in mind the search terms that people will type into search engines when you write your headlines, pages titles, product descriptions and other meta data. Say for example, you’re optimising the page for a ‘hat’. The search term ‘Hat’ is going to be so popular that it’s going to be virtually impossible for you to rank high for this exact search term (in the early days of course). This is where you’d be creative and have more specific search terms within the page’s meta content. For example, you would have as much descriptive, specific content as possible, such as ‘Chanel Black Bowler Hat, available from [company name]’.
For help with meta content and search engine best practises, please get in touch with us for a site review and digital marketing strategy.
- Non-Unique titles
All duplicated content is a bad idea, yet the largest mistake online stores make is having non-unique title tags. A title tag should be a unique short headline of what is on that particular page. This can be difficult f your business sells a lot of multiple items from the same brand, but this is where you need to be creative and focus on making unique key phrases.
A lot of online shoppers are searching for a key phrase rather than just one particular keyword. A technique that is most popular in the SEO world is; Title Tag = ‘Brand – Model – MAYBE company name’. The best way to determine the best keywords is to do some market research, see what customers would search for when looking for your products. Also, lots of online research is necessary – don’t worry, your SEO professional will handle this for you!
- Lack of ‘Speaking’ URLs
Speaking URLs, also known as ‘keyword friendly URLS’ are very important in terms of SEO. An example of a speaking URL is:
As you can see, the keywords for that particular page are present within the URL. “Readability can be a subjective topic, but hopefully this illustration can help:”
(image taken from https://moz.com/blog/15-seo-best-practices-for-structuring-urls)
There are 3 reasons why you should use speaking URLs:
- Semantics – It makes it easier for a customer to know what to expect when they click on the URL. A lot of users may avoid your website if your links look like spam
- Keyword and anchor link luck - there is a small chance that your URL will be picked up by another website and potentially re-posted. If your keywords are present in the anchor text, these will be picked up on the anchor tag of the link. Getting your keywords present within anchor text that links to your website is a massive bonus for your SEO
- Relevancy – Although Google have mentioned that they’re putting less priority on looking for keywords within URLs when indexing your website, it doesn’t hurt to have them present, especially within product pages
Your number one priority should be making your online store convenient and useful for customers. What’s good and unique for your potential customers, is also good for Google.
To speak to an SEO specialist, please contact us today to get your e-commerce site loved by search engines!