Are You Making These eCommerce SEO Mistakes?

webConsumer confidence is growing with online commerce platforms, and now social media sites and Google have introduced instant buy buttons for mobile users, it is easier than ever for consumers to make an impromptu online purchase.

To ensure your eCommerce site functions to optimum performance, it is important to use best SEO practices. Not only do you need to up your game in search engines, you need to earn the trust of online customers. Therefore, avoid making these SEO mistakes.

Thin content on product pages

One of the most annoying things for online shoppers is to follow a link to a product page they are interested in, only to find there is little or no information about the product. This is a cue to look elsewhere.

One of the biggest reasons why eCommerce companies lose customers to competitors is because they fail to include useful or engaging product descriptions on their site.  Worse still, some ecommerce suppliers simply copy manufacturers descriptions leaving little unique content that Google can’t find elsewhere already.

Whilst there isn’t really a minimum on how many words are the right amount for product descriptions, the most important thing is to think about what information people are looking for when searching for your product and what type of questions they might have about that product.  Answer the questions and provide useful information to meet humans’ queries about a product and you can’t go far wrong.

There is also the issue that you may end up with ‘too similar content’, with little between one page on your site and the next.  Whilst Google might not filter these as duplicates, you will likely find that the page which ranks for a keyword or search term changes a lot because Google can’t quite work out which to give the authority to.  You’re diluting your efforts.

No alt tag in images

Images are vitally important when it comes to attracting clicks, and you can optimize the performance of pics by updating the alt tags field in your CMS media uploader.

Alt tags inform search engines crawlers what is in an image thus for an eCommerce site is another nugget of effective SEO that can be used towards the searchability of the page against keywords from image search in particular.  Alt and title tags also form part of the overall ‘search engine view’ on a page so add context to further understand what the page is about for search engines.

Failure to include engaging content ‘hubs’

Hub content is arguably one of the drivers behind the SEO wheel of online visibility. Posting regular articles in an organised manner to meet the needs of your target audience at the various stages of the buying cycle attracts customers and gives you a platform to upsell your products, services and brands, not to mention improving your internal linking.

Be careful about how you organise this content though.  Piling everything into an unwieldy disorganised blog can mean that you can distort the relevance of your overall site structures.  Using a framework approach of ‘Help, Hub, Hero’ content organisation helps with this.

Slow load times

The most fatal flaw of any website is a slow load speed. Consumers typically wait three to ten seconds for a website to load before clicking out and moving on. Because images are vital for eCommerce sites, they can often make pages lag, so format jpegs and exclude unnecessary features that require a lot of javascript and css code.

Not Being Mobile Friendly Or Cross-Browser Friendly

If your site is not mobile friendly you will face an increasingly uphill struggle to convert traffic and even receive visitors from search engines.  Particularly given Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update which first surfaced in April 2015.  The mobile-friendly update has been ‘dialled up’ a couple of times since, so it is safe to say that all sites should be considering a move to mobile friendliness.

It’s not good enough though to simply pass a mobile friendly test.  Your site should also provide an engaging experience across all devices, not just tick a box.  If the experience is terrible, despite passing the test your users will simply abandon the site.  Check your bounce rates across different devices to check this in the first instance.  Also consider taking a look at how your site renders on different mobile, tablet and desktop devices using tools like Mobile Test Me.  Check cross-browser rendering using tools like Browser Shots to get a feel for how your site is rendering across different browsers too.

Unsightly permalinks

You may think the way a url is structured is the least of your SEO worries, but because of the amount of spam thrown around on the web, consumers are becoming suspicious about unsightly url extensions – you know the ones that look something like this:

Neatly titled url pages not only look more professional and trustworthy, but are a good reference point for end-users and crawlers so it is worth updating the permalinks in your CMS whenever you load a new page.

However, it is worth mentioning that rewriting URLs on large ecommerce sites can mean that you end up with many redirections and the benefits achieved may not be worth it if there are negative impacts on other areas.  It really is a case of looking at where the efforts of your SEO campaign is best spent.

Don’t let ecommerce SEO mistakes hold you back

Given the amount of competition that eCommerce websites face online, it makes sense to ensure that your website performs as well as possible. And just by making the odd tweak to your website’s SEO can make a huge difference.

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