8 Tips To Level Up Your Ecommerce SEO Game

Share your top ecom­merce SEO tips in the com­ments below.

Erin Everhart By Erin Everhart from The Home Depot. Join the discussion » 3 comments

When you’re in the ecom­merce SEO game and you’re on the hook for not just vis­its, but also rev­enue, you must focus on the things that will increase your traf­fic and con­ver­sion rate. Here are eight things to keep in mind for your ecom­merce SEO that’s sure to impress your C‑suite.

Every­one is fight­ing tooth and nail for organ­ic traf­fic these days. Organ­ic real estate is get­ting small­er and small­er as search engines are inte­grat­ing more rich media and PLAs into their SERPs and com­pe­ti­tion is fierce. Com­pa­nies are invest­ing more dol­lars in SEO than in pre­vi­ous years.

It’s a great time to be in the SEO indus­try, but it also means you have lots of eye­balls gaug­ing your per­for­mance, so your actions need show the increased traf­fic pay­off.

1. Responsive Design May Not Be Your Best Option

Respon­sive design is the trendy option when it comes to hav­ing a mobile-friend­ly web­site, and at one point Google rec­om­mend­ed this con­fig­u­ra­tion. It con­sol­i­dates your code to one place, mak­ing it remark­ably easy to main­tain.

That said, respon­sive may not be an option for your ecom­merce site; it’s a big under­tak­ing that would require a full site rebuild, and it might not even increase your con­ver­sion rates.

Peo­ple shop dif­fer­ent­ly on mobile than they do on desk­top; just rear­rang­ing the same con­tent to fit a small screen won’t nec­es­sar­i­ly pro­vide the best cus­tomer expe­ri­ence.

Before you go through a full respon­sive design build, con­sid­er oth­er options like dynam­ic serv­ing that would allow you to bet­ter tai­lor your mobile expe­ri­ence.

2. Optimize Product Names

Most of your organ­ic search traf­fic will like­ly enter on cat­e­go­ry pages or prod­uct list­ing pages since they hold the bulk of key­word search vol­ume, but your prod­uct pages are key entry points for those users who know exact­ly what they want and are ready to con­vert.

Include key dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing fea­tures and func­tions, like brand, dimen­sions, col­or, shape or even the loca­tion the prod­uct is used.

Just includ­ing these attrib­ut­es isn’t enough, though. Prop­er place­ment is crit­i­cal in your prod­uct names and could account for a sub­stan­tial search vol­ume dif­fer­ence.

Optimize Product Names

3. Write Unique Product Descriptions

The prod­uct descrip­tions your man­u­fac­tures give you aren’t going to cut it. For one, they’re typ­i­cal­ly not writ­ten well and don’t help cus­tomers make a pur­chas­ing deci­sion. Sec­ond­ly, they give the same descrip­tion to all their retail­ers, so you’ll be fight­ing some dupli­cate con­tent prob­lems.

There’s real­ly no way around it: Each of your prod­ucts need unique descrip­tions. It’s a lot of con­tent to write, yes, but it’s a one-time effort out­put that will give you a health­i­er site in the long run.

4. Index Your Product Reviews

Anoth­er way to boost your prod­uct pages con­tent is mak­ing sure all of your cus­tomer reviews are search-friend­ly and index­able. Avoid using JavaScript, Flash or iFrames in your reviews since that makes it hard­er or impos­si­ble for search engines to read that con­tent.

Hav­ing these rat­ings and reviews will also help move your cus­tomers through the path of pur­chase; 63 per­cent of cus­tomers read online reviews before mak­ing a pur­chas­ing deci­sion, accord­ing to an iPer­cep­tions study.

5. Keep Internal Linking Consistent

Con­sis­tent inter­nal link­ing is a strug­gle for every site, but ecom­merce sites get it worse because there are usu­al­ly many dif­fer­ent ways to get to prod­ucts.

The biggest offend­er is inter­nal search. If oth­er teams (or even your users) need a link to a list of prod­ucts, more like­ly than not they’ll do an inter­nal search for that prod­uct and pull that URL.

Consistent Internal Linking

The prob­lem? Your inter­nal search pages are most like­ly noin­dexed to avoid dupli­cate con­tent (if not, they should be). So not only will that link not pro­vide any val­ue to your main nav­i­ga­tion link, but you’re giv­ing search engines mixed sig­nals.

It’s eas­i­er to main­tain con­sis­ten­cy with your inter­nal links, but the same prin­ci­ple goes for any con­tent mar­ket­ing or link build­ing cam­paigns you’re run­ning. The rank­ing URL should be the link­ing URL, and it should be the one in your HTML and XML sitemap, too.

6. Redirected Expired/Discounted Products

Prod­ucts aren’t going to live for­ev­er; that’s just the nature of the beast with ecom­merce sites. New­er mod­els and styles come out and the old­er ver­sions aren’t sold any­more, but that doesn’t mean those prod­uct URLs lose their SEO val­ue when the prod­uct is no longer around.

Don’t delete those URLs; 301 redi­rect them to the new­er mod­el or the par­ent cat­e­go­ry. But, don’t redi­rect prod­ucts that are sim­ply out of stock and will be replen­ished lat­er.

7. Implement Schema Markup On Your Product Pages

Schema.org markup helps search engines inter­pret what your data means and then dis­play­ing that data direct­ly in the SERP. For ecom­merce sites, that means dis­play­ing things like price, start rat­ing, and num­ber of reviews.

Schema product markup

Schema markup will help your web­site rank high­er, and it also makes your SERP list­ing more attrac­tive to your users, increas­ing your CTR.

8. Compare Internal Search Keywords With External Search Keywords

Google key­words aren’t the only key­words that mat­ter when it comes to SEO. While organ­ic search prob­a­bly dri­ves a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of your traf­fic – Con­duc­tor says that organ­ic search is respon­si­ble for 64 per­cent of your web traf­fic – as many as 30 per­cent of your users use inter­nal search when they to your site and they’re 70 per­cent more like­ly to con­vert.

Don’t just track site search behav­ior to cap­ture what key­words they’re typ­ing in; use the inter­nal search key­words in con­junc­tion with your exter­nal key­word research data. You’ll be able to find poten­tial untapped oppor­tu­ni­ties and dis­cov­er what peo­ple are hav­ing a hard time find­ing on your site.

Erin Everhart

Written by Erin Everhart

Lead Manager, Digital Marketing - SEO, The Home Depot

Erin Everhart is an experienced digital strategist, content developer and search marketer. She's currently Lead Manager, Digital Marketing - SEO for The Home Depot and has previously worked agency-side for mid-sized business and Fortune 500 companies. She speaks regularly on digital strategy, content development and inbound marketing at conferences nationwide, including Pubcon, SMX and ClickZ Live.

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