Ranking highly in Google for an online shop is very important; you cannot only rely on email marketing or other such channels to be successful. But eCommerce websites can be full of problems which will disadvantage them from ranking organically. If you have an eCommerce site, here are some things to look out for:
1. Make sure you do not have duplicated content. This is very important as the search engines do not like web pages which do not have unique content. It looks spammy. No one really knows how Google’s algorithm works but we are sure it doesn’t like spammy sites as duplication implies low quality = Panda penalties.
Duplicated content can occur in eCommerce sites as a result of:
· Similar products differing only by colour
· Similar products differing only by size
· Tagging new visitors with a tracking parameter
· Functional parameters e.g. print version
Google will do its best to understand your site but it is much better to fix the architecture so that you are not causing duplication.
You can do this in a number of ways. 301 redirect commands are useful because they tell humans and search engines that the page has moved permanently elsewhere. Not only that, but a 301 will pass on ranking authority from one page to the redirected page. You could use 301 redirects when your duplicate URL has traffic or inbound links.
When 301’s are not possible or too difficult to implement, then you could use the Canonical Tag. This allows webmasters to specify which is the canonical version of the webpage. Therefore, if there are two versions of a product differing by colour, then use the canonical tag to inform Google and Bing which one it should index.
Finally, create unique product content if that is possible to do.
2. Ensure your meta title and meta description are unique. Often, due to the number of products and the effort involved, meta descriptions are missing or duplicated. Although meta descriptions are not used by the search engines for ranking, they are important as this is what is displayed on the search results pages and should be enticing and unique. Meta titles are used by the search engines for ranking, and these should be unique for each page as well as containing your keywords.
3. Short, simple and unique URL structures can be beneficial. Not only are they easy for visitors to remember and navigate, they also mean that your products are close to the root domain. Having empty folders which pass on no SEO benefit is to be avoided. Each category in the URL structure should be descriptive to further understand and enhance what the product is about. This helps visitors and search engines.
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4. Ensure your products have a unique URL regardless of the category they are found in. It is natural to have products residing in seasonal categories as well as static categories. However, it is important that however a visitor arrives at the product, the URL for that product is unique.
5. Make sure your product pages have strong onsite SEO – H1 tags, alt tags and the descriptive copy mentions your keywords without keyword stuffing.
Following these basic concepts should ensure that your website has the architecture in place to help it rank in Google and Bing. Of course, the most important aspect is to make sure that your website is inviting, trustworthy and presentable. There should be clear calls to action and buying something should be super straightforward. I have seen some eCommerce sites where you have to register before browsing. This will reduce drastically the number of people willing to spend the time on a website.
If you are a bit stuck on eCommerce, why not give us a call at Alba SEO Services.
Categorised in: ECommerce
This post was written by Caroline Phillips
Published on Jul 2, 2014