How to do Search Engine Optimization (SEO) For E-commerce Websites
Let me tell you, if you own an e-commerce website or do SEO for one, it will cause you a lot of headaches. Because of the scale of these websites, doing SEO for e-commerce websites requires a lot of time and effort. SEO for e-commerce places a strong focus on technological and on-page SEO. The first thing you have to note if your website has hundreds or thousands of pages is that each page provides an opportunity for SEO optimization.
Planning to Build an e-commerce Website
You are either planning to build an e-commerce website if you read this post, or you are in the process of upgrading your current website, but do not know where to start. I’ll try to simplify the process of doing SEO for e-commerce websites in this article.
Structure of Website
It can be messy to have an e-commerce website. I’ve seen a lot of companies where they just keep uploading fresh items until they know their website structure is so unorganized that it’s almost impossible to untangle it. If you’re just planning to build a new website, you’re lucky. But if you have already lost the structure of your website, it can still be saved, but it will take a lot of time for you to do so.
For other websites, the website layout for e-commerce websites uses the same concept. With just 1 or 2 clicks, your most important pages should be available. It should be mirrored in your main navigation bar on your website.
In this case, your product categories should be accessible with only one click from your homepage, apart from your landing pages, and your subcategories and product pages should be readily accessible after that. This helps search engine crawlers understand the hierarchy of the pages of your website and makes it easier for users to navigate through your website as well.
Keeping a website framework like this also means that the website is distributing link juice. The homepage is referred to by most backlinks on e-commerce websites. So you have to make sure the homepage is connected to the pages that are relevant, and so on.
Bear in mind that the deeper your website gets, the link authority is diminished by pages at the end of the layout of your website. From pages 1 or 2 clicks down, pages that are more than 3 clicks away from your homepage can gain less authority.
Create your list of keywords
Create your List of keywords Dividing the list of keywords into three is a strong keyword technique for e-commerce SEO: insightful keywords, transactional keywords, and commercial keywords.
Keywords for information are what users use to search for news, statistics, tips, and other details. Commercial keywords are queries in which users search their choices for purchase, but there is no intention of buying yet. Although transactional keywords are used with the purpose of buying by consumers. In this other article, you might read more about keyword intent.
And how are you going to know which is which?
You could use the search results to give you hints on how the intent of a keyword is interpreted by Google.
Knowledge keywords are usually long-tail keywords that ask questions such as “how” or “what” and provide you with articles or blog posts.
And last, general product types and product names contain transactional keywords. Users are ready to shop, and in the search results, Google can return product pages or product category pages.
The explanation why you should diversify your keyword list is that there are distinct opportunities for each type of keyword. To optimize for keywords, making an e-commerce website means thousands of pages and any chance should not be wasted. In the following pages, we’ll talk about it more.
Optimize Product Metas
Optimize Meta Tags for Goods There are few places for e-commerce SEO where you can put keywords on your product pages and the page title is your main opportunity here. The keyword you are targeting for a particular product or category should be included in your page description.
Yeah, you read that correctly. Each page should have a target keyword of its own. Remember, what I said about each page in the intro presents an SEO opportunity? Right here, that’s it.
Write Compelling Content
Even if the main focus of an e-commerce website is to sell products, content is still vital and you still need it to boost your rankings.
Writing blog posts that target informational or commercial keywords will bring in traffic to your websites and you could use a call to action to drive people to purchase from your website.
You could also use internal linking to bring users from blog posts to product pages and keep them on your website to get a higher chance of converting them.
Have Important Pages in the XML Sitemap
It goes without saying that your XML sitemap file should include all the important pages of your website. An XML sitemap helps Google identify which are the pages it should give priority when crawling.
One common mistake I see people make is that they don’t put their single product pages in their sitemap. You should always have your main product category pages and single product pages in your XML sitemap. You could leave subcategories behind. Always remember that for e-commerce websites, each page brings more opportunities so you should definitely let Google crawl them more frequently and with priority.
You could create a separate sitemap for products and content so you could better organize your links. You could then submit both sitemaps in Google Search Console to make sure both of them get crawled.
Use rel=canonical for Duplicate pages
Having many product categories or sub-categories can cause duplicate pages for your products which can hurt your SEO.
If a product is labeled in two or more sub-categories, some content management systems will create one page for each sub-category it is in and produce multiple URLs with the same content inside. You have to choose one page as the main/original content and use rel=canonical on the other pages.
Make your Shop Mobile-Friendly
E-commerce website owners would always want their shop to be virtually appealing to drive in more people, but virtually appealing does not mean efficiency.
When creating an e-commerce website, you should not compromise speed for the design, especially for mobile. A huge chunk of e-commerce sales is made from mobile and having a website that does not adjust well on mobile is a lost opportunity.
Apply Schema Markup
Having a proper schema markup for all of your product pages allows Google to display your product and its details in rich results. Using the product schema markup can make your products visually appealing in the search results and Google images to attract more people to go to your website.
If you accept reviews on your website, you could also apply the AggregateRating schema inside your Product schema so Google could show star ratings in the search results.
To get the proper schema markup accepted by Google, you can view this guide on how to apply product schema. You could also use plugins to automate your schema application. After the application, you’ll be able to see your valid product pages or errors in your schema markup in the “Product Report” on Google Search Console.
E-commerce websites contain a ton of images, sometimes multiple images per product. Unoptimized images can heavily affect your website’s loading speed.
When uploading images, always try to compress your images to reduce its file size without decreasing its quality. You could also use tools to automate this process for you for images that are already uploaded by using tools or plugins so you won’t have to re-upload each image again. There are a lot of plugins out there but I regularly use EWWW Image Optimizer for our websites since we mainly use WordPress.
Another thing you should optimize is alternative texts for images or alt text. This is a good opportunity for image SEO. You could place keywords on your product images to help them appear in Google images.
Bonus: Submit your Products on Google Merchant Center
Google Merchant Center is a platform created by Google that allows business owners to upload their product details and allows it to be seen by users across Google’s other platforms such as Google search, Shopping Ads, and Shopping Actions.
It is really easy to upload your products and its an easy way of selling your products globally. You should definitely check Google Merchant Center out.