9 Quick SEO Wins for Ecommerce Sites

Ecommerce SEO Quick Wins

According to two separate studies, organic search engine traffic accounts for 38% or 30% of all visits online stores receive. This makes it the biggest channel for ecommerce retailers.

But winning this traffic does not come easy.

It takes time and effort to optimise a site. There are however some quick ways to ensure your site is prepared to rank. Below are few of the most important ones.

1. Turn category pages into individual home pages

Typically, category pages include only product thumbnails with pricing info. Some shops include a short blurb for each product.

Unfortunately that’s hardly enough to make these pages rank.

Yet they have a huge potential to rank and bring targeted customers to your site. Consider them as additional home pages for each category and optimise them accordingly:

Add a headline and introductory information

As Backlinko points out:

“Content with more words can cover a wider breadth and are likely preferred to shorter superficial articles”.

Therefore increase the number of words per page by including a headline and some introductory copy. You can explain the benefits of this type of products and highlight their main use.

Remember, many people landing on these pages might not be familiar with these products. So include all information that could help them pick an item they want.

Include your main USPs

This might not help your SEO much but will help making those pages more relevant to your customers.

Communicate the main reasons customers might want to buy from you. According to Invesp, this holiday season, the main popular incentives included:

  • Free shipping – 55%
  • Deals or Sales – 37%
  • Coupons – 29%

Build internal links to those pages

Pass some link juice from other pages on the site. Link to category pages from your home page and relevant blog posts perhaps.

Use search friendly URLs

Give a search engine a clear indication as to what the URL is about by including keywords describing the page’s copy. The most common URL practices are:

  • http://mystore.com/CATEGORY for main category
  • http://mystore.com/CATEGORY/SUBCATEGORY/ for subcategory
  • http://mystore.com/CATEGORY/SUBCATEGORY/PRODUCT-NAME for product page

2. Leave Out of Stock Products Up

You run out of certain items. It happens. Sometimes you’ll be able to restock, other times these products are gone forever. But how you handle those product pages can affect not only your conversions but organic traffic as well.

If these items will be back in stock later, leave these pages up. They are already ranking and have a potential to bring more traffic in a future. While the product is not available however:

Suggest alternatives

Convert old product page to semi-category one displaying product recommendations. Include information about the original product as well and direct users to other products they might be interested in.

Offer the option to backorder the product

Let your users order a product and have it sent to them when it’s back in stock. Just make sure that you display when the product will be back in stock.

In case of deleted / sold out products – don’t delete those pages. Instead:

301 redirect them to a newer model or the closest alternative

Perhaps there is a new model coming out or there is a similar spec product still available? Permanently redirect redundant products to those pages.

Alternatively you can also redirect them to the parent category. This might not provide a user with exact substitute product but still might offer an option to pick an alternative.

3. Use Canonical Tag to Deal with Duplicate URLs

Many online stores’ rankings suffer because of duplicate content. For instance, many have multiple URLs pointing to the same page. This is often a result of URL depending on product specification or other variables (colour, size, brand), i.e.:

The simplest way to deal with these kinds of issues is by implementing a canonical tag. I wrote a tutorial on how to do it here.

4. Add User Generated Content

Sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, a great product there’s just not enough content to add to a page.

At the same time, you need content to rank it and differentiate your pages from competition.

To overcome this, consider adding user generated content – reviews or Q&A content to product pages.

Every new review on a page increases your unique and relevant content. Product reviews also often include keywords further increasing the relevancy of your page.

Similarly, Q&A functionality allowing users to post product related questions is a way to build unique content on a page.

5. Optimise Your Images

How often do you focus on the quality of an image but ignore it’s optimisation? But images can affect not only conversions.  According to Backlinko,

Images on-page send search engines important relevancy signals through their file name, alt text, title, description and caption.”

Add Alt tag to every image to include product name and / or keyword you want a page to rank for.

6. Monitor Site for Broken Links

Poor user experience can cost you sales and traffic. Even a 1 second delay in page load time can reduce conversions by 7%.

The same goes for broken internal links. Avoid serving your customers dead links that take them nowhere.

Use Screaming Frog crawler to constantly monitor your site for broken links.

7. Reduce Image Size to Speed Up Page Load

I already mentioned how page load time affects conversion. Every second’s delay affects your bottom line. One way to quickly reduce the user’s waiting time is by reducing the size of your images.

8. Write Unique Meta Descriptions

It may be tempting to leave it for the browser to pick the opening line of your product description. Or to overwhelming to write descriptions for 100’s of products.

But your meta-description is an important ranking factor. Moreover, it can help you to increase your click through rate too.

Write a meta description to include your keywords but also, main USPs and a call to action if you’ll have enough space.

9. Implement responsive design

It’s hard to ignore the rising prominence of mobile today.

  • 52% of Thanksgiving Internet traffic in the US came from mobile devices.
  • Black Friday mobile sales grew 28.2% over the year before.
  • Google already displays a “mobile friendly” label in search and experiments with mobile friendliness as a ranking factor.

And yet you can still land on non-mobile friendly site while buying from a mobile device.

Consider creating a mobile version of your site. Implement a responsive design or use a mobile shop front like CouchCommerce or MobiCart.


Creative commons image by Fosforix / Flickr

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *