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David Ziguras November 8th, 2015

When considering SEO for eCommerce sites, it can be a little more complicated than optimising for non eCommerce sites. SEO experts need to be smarter with regards to we optimise online stores, keeping in mind the need to promote hundreds if not thousands of products sometimes, and the very real fact that you often find yourself up against not only a huge volume of competition, but many with extra deep pockets to throw at SEO budgets.

Google asks more and more of SEO companies these days. In the past, Google simply wanted a useful website, however more recently they expect a useful website offering efficient service and a great user experience.

What does Google really want?

Google has over 200 indicators in use to rank websites. SEO specialists make a point of having a deep understanding of as many of these as possible.  These rules are what determine if White Hat SEO is being used, or if the SEO company has fallen foul and is employing the use of Grey Hat SEO, or the worst of the bunch, Black Hat SEO. Both Grey & Black Hat SEO techniques attempt to manipulate Google into ranking a website higher, outside of the parameters Google communicate as “allowed” or otherwise known as White Hat SEO.

When approaching SEO for eCommerce websites it’s crucial to focus on the user, usability, user experience, efficiency, compatibility and the user interface. Google ranks eCommerce sites because they place importance on the user first. Keep in mind, Google simply wants to fill its search results with websites that are relevant, and user friendly. They want to maintain their dominance of the search market, and to do that they must continue to evolve and offer great results to users of their search tool.

Below are a collection of suggestions when Optimising an eCommerce Website – From an SEO Expert Melbourne

Do Not Copy Manufacturer Specifications

Many (Most) companies we speak to copy the product specifications from their manufacturers’ websites and literature onto their website.

Google likes original content. It likes copy to be unique. You can take the description from your manufacturer or supplier, but don’t use it verbatim, edit it, make it your own. Make it useful for the reader. Simply copying and pasting content could land you in hot water, as it will likely be seen as duplicate content by Google, and you’ll end up being penalised.

Add Reviews and User Comments to Each Product Page

Yep, I get it. It’s difficult trying to fill product based pages with unique content, that is user friendly, and engaging. This is especially hard when your online store carries hundreds, or thousands of products. Avoiding being repetitive on similar products is a major challenge also for eCommerce owners.

This is where user reviews help. It’s extra, unique content, useful to visitors to the page, and relevant to the product on display. Don’t fall into the trap of creating aliases and writing fake reviews, you’ll run into the same issues described above. Open up the site to your visitors and customers. Let them write their own reviews. In doing so, they’re not only giving you valuable feedback to act on, they’re also doing your content job for you.

Encourage comments and review with discount and rewards offers. This can also be tied into Social Media, to extend the value for you.

Concentrate On Parent Product Categories

Many eCommerce websites don’t carry the types of products that allow you to easily post extensive content, and that users simply don’t wish to provide reviews for. Sometimes it’s just a case of simply having a huge volume of products that makes this near impossible to manage. When faced with this dilemma, focus your content on parent categories.

As a side note, if you have a lot of products that are very similar, only differing in colour, shape or size, then don’t feel compelled to create individual pages for each. Instead, a quality SEO company will help you build an interactive product page that shows product variations in a search engine friendly way.

Break Product Descriptions into Bite Size Sections

Breaking product descripts down helps with usability. Perhaps start with a few key points and the price, then have a short blurb about the product. Further down, offer product details, a longer product description and then user reviews. All on a single page, laid out nicely to keep the user engaged.

Keep The Search Bar at the Top of the Page

People expect this. If it’s not at the top, users will assume you don’t have a search feature. And, make sure your search tool is advanced, highly responsive, accommodates misspelling and offers suggestions.

Social Media Is One of the 200+ Google Indicators

Social Media is here, and it’s important for Online Marketing. Let users share their reviews and comments on social media, and be active on your own social channels, offering tips, tricks, promotions and other attractive offers to build and engage a social audience.

Duplicate Sales/Promotional Content

All eCommerce sites offer promotions at some point. Be careful with the use of this content across multiple pages though, as it can be seen as duplicate content by Google. To avoid being hit by Google over this make use of canonical URL’s. These let Google know that you have duplicated content for a valid reason, and that you’re not trying to manipulate their search results unfairly. Google will then ignore the duplicate content on knowing it’s been duplicated for a useful reason.

Optimise Images – eCommerce Load Time

Google considers load time as part of its ranking algorithm. eCommerce sites are usually image heavy, therefore it’s important images are optimised in order to load fast. And don’t forget to “SEO” images. Google wants to see an alt attribute for each image, to explain what the image is, and its purpose. Make use of meta data for images to help with SEO performance.

Do you have an eCommerce site that could benefit from SEO? The team at Newpath WEB would be delighted to have a chat with you about how we can help optimise your eCommerce website or online store.

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