Maximize E-Commerce Performance with On-Page SEO

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Have you been struggling lately with a drop in revenue or traffic to your e-commerce website? This is one of most common concerns that e-com marketers come across. Every website is unique and there is no defined strategy which can guarantee you success.

In the post below, I will try and share my experience working with several e-commerce domains and the strategies that worked for me.

Let us begin with defining the general pain points of an e-commerce platform:

  • Large number of pages present on the website
  • Chances of content duplication are high
  • Absence of Search engine friendly URL structure

Before starting the actual SEO work on your ecommerce website it is important to understand which keywords are relevant for different categories present on your website.

Mapping the right keywords to your page:

Keywords can be classified based on the following user intent:

  • Buy Intent
  • Information Intent
  • Navigation Intent

For an ecommerce website majority of the keywords are inclined towards the ‘buy intent’. Even though these keywords might have a very low search volume they are most likely to convert.

How will you target keywords with ‘Buy Intent’?

Unique Page Titles: For an ecommerce website it is possible that it has the same products with changes in colour or size. It is important that we don’t have the same titles across such product pages. We need to have unique titles for every single product that we have on our website.

These page titles should have instances of the buy intent variations such as ‘shop online’, ‘buy online’. They help Google term our website as relevant to search queries which express the intention of purchasing online.

Header tags: We can also target keywords with a ‘buy’ in the Header tags of a webpage. We need to include variations of keywords that have been used in the Title Tags.

Images: Since ecommerce websites contain a lot of images present, it is vital that we make maximum use of the available resources. Search engine spiders cannot crawl images hence it is important to optimize them so that crawlers understand what the image is all about. There are mainly 3 ways on how we can optimize images –

  • Image File Names:
    Before you upload your image, pick a descriptive filename – preferably a file name you want that image to rank for – because it will help with your search engine rankings.

    For example, if you want to see this in action, just do a sample search and view the images that rank. They almost always have the keyword you searched for in their file name.

  • Image Alt Tags:
    When you see an image, you instantly recognize what is the image all about.

    The problem is, this instant recognition isn’t possible for search engine spiders. Instead, you must help the spiders understand each of your images with alt text.

    For ecommerce websites the image alt tag can consist of the Product name along with the category that it belongs to.

    E.g.: <img src=”file-name.jpg” alt=”Buy Product Name: Category” />

    Once the images are optimized generate an image sitemap and submit it to Google using WMT (webmaster tools)

Content: The content present on pages should have instances of Buy intent. There are many ways in which we can target keywords with a buy intent in the content depending on the type of page:

  • Product Page: On the final product pages we can include a template content which talks about buying products from the same category. We can also provide a link from this section to its appropriate category section.
  • Category Pages: We can target keywords with a buy intent by specifying the advantage of buying the products related to a specific category online. (Content theme: why shop online for specific category related products)

How will you target keywords with an Information Intent?

The query may target a specific product, category of products or a problem the user is trying to solve etc. Examples of informational searches include how to select the perfect dinnerware? & how to find the right DSLR camera?

Blog section in one of the most common platform where we can target such keywords. Maximizing the search engine visibility of your ecommerce website, for qualified queries, is perhaps the most important role SEO has to play in selling products online. Even though such queries may not directly help in boosting product sales, it might help increasing the brand awareness and increase trust and loyalty among users.

By spreading your search engine rankings for as many qualified keywords as possible, you are exponentially increasing the probability that your site will be seen and hopefully visited.

URL Structure:

The backbone of every ecommerce website is a well-planned website architecture. URL’s make a lot of sense when they are convey the page details by just simply looking at the URL. URL’s are just as important as the optimizing the page titles and other page elements for better search engine ranking. URLs have a direct impact on how you rank for keywords.

Some key pointers to ensure while creating URLs for an ecommerce website:

  • Consider using product name, category in your product pages URLs
  • Avoid using unnecessary special characters in your product page URL
  • If you use Tracking parameters or session ID’s, handle them properly using Parameter Handling in Google webmaster tools

Link Building:

When it comes to link building earning a few quality links is considered appropriate rather than having a list of low quality sites linking to your website. Not only will Google penalize your site if a lot of low quality sites are linking to you, but also the referral traffic won’t do anything positive for your business.

How to gain quality backlinks to the website which can boost your referral traffic and the overall business?

Online Popular Magazines:

Shortlist all the popular online magazines such as based on relevancy to your industry. Post blogs on these magazines and provide a link either from the author bio or from the end of the post. Users reading this post and coming on to your website are more likely to covert since the users on such magazines are the target audience that your website caters to.

B2B Partners:

Establish partnership with B2B partners which are relevant to your niche domain. Some of the examples of B2B listing websites are:

These partnerships can help increase the visibility of our products and thus increase the possibility of increasing the overall revenue.

Mobile SEO:

Mobile SEO has grown significantly due to the increasing demand of Smartphones and tablets in this techno savvy era. As per Google mobile search volume will exceed desktop by the end of 2014. Studies have shown that mobile search queries have grown 5 times in the past 2 years.

Researches have proven that people prefer online shopping through their mobile phones instead of desktops and laptops because this device is portable and they can order their product from anywhere. Hence it is vital that the your ecommerce website is compatible with all mobile devices and has sufficient functions to help users to complete a particular action.

Product reviews:

Customer reviews play a very important role in the online space. Before making his first transaction on an ecommerce website a user is very keen to know the experiences of other customers with the website. This helps build a trust factor with the user and might probably end up converting on your website.

There are many ways of growing your online ecommerce conversion through your SEO efforts. However I wrote these tips based on my experience with different ecommerce websites.

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