Okay, so your e-commerce website is up and running, appealing, easy for potential customers to explore, and locked and loaded with products (and attractive prices as well!). But something is missing: customers. Your perfectly designed Shopify or WooCommerce store is pointless if you aren’t getting traffic.
These days, when people want to buy something online, their first stop is Google. If you want an endless source of free traffic, you need to make sure that your website comes up among the first sites on search engines – this is where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Search engine optimization is the best practice to organically improve the ranking of your website, so when people search for something that is related to what you provide, your online store lands at the front of the line.
Below are some important e-commerce on-page SEO factors to consider to ensure that your site is more visible on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Perform Keyword Research
Keyword search is the most important and valuable activity in search engine optimization that is directly related to the success of your website or its downfall. Paying more attention to the keywords searched by customers in your market category will help you improve SEO and know more about your customers too.
The most effective keywords have been found to be the ones that are a bit longer, as this makes it more specific, which in turn minimizes competition and has a high conversion rate. For example, the customer who is searching for “Modest Mouse graphic t-shirts” has much more buyer intent than someone just Googling “graphic t-shirts”.
When creating keywords for your site, it is important to consider these four factors:
- Volume – the higher the keyword the more traffic potential.
- Competition – longer keywords tend to be less competitive.
- Relevancy – keywords that match what your products provide.
- Intent – keywords that people who are ready to buy are using.
Permanently 301 Redirect Expired Products URLs
After the expiration of your products, it is better to use a 301 redirect than have customers land on a 404 not found page. Why? Because assuming that the expired product has a high traffic, “404 not found” will only make your current customers (and potential ones too) think something is wrong and they need to run. Why would you want to waste such a hard-earned traffic when there is a better way to make it more useful?
With a 301 redirect, you get to still hold on to all those your customers and the SEO that you have worked hard for. And to make it more efficient, customize a message explaining why they are been redirected and make sure that it takes them to a relevant page (or parent category better still). This way they get something important related to you. Just make sure that your site is not clustered by too many 301 redirects, as this will render it inefficient.
Optimize Category Pages for SEO
The category page on your website is the most important page, even more important than all the product pages. And, when properly managed, it will be the first page to appear on a search engine result.
Tweaking and optimizing category pages ensures that all other individual pages don’t compete with each other. For example, if your site sells designer men’s shoes and you optimize all your product pages with the same keyword, you have just successfully rendered it ineffective.
But when you optimize the category page to be “designer men’s shoes” and all other pages are optimized to be more specific, then your pages will no longer be competing with each other for spots on Google.
Implement Schema Markup to Add Rich Snippets to Product Pages
With schema markup and snippets in your e-commerce platform, customers get to see important information about what you offer, their functions, and even how much they cost. With all these important information, the chances of the customer progressing to checking out the content of your site will skyrocket.
With schema markup and snippets on your site, you gain increased ranking and rating in the SERPs and more revenue for your business as it tells the search engine exactly what the information you provide is. To ensure that your site gets the traffic and rankings it deserves, you should implement the following:
- Optimize your product with schema markup.
- Ensure that schema markup also tells the user how much your product cost.
- Try to add ratings and reviews to your snippets.
Optimize Product Page Permalink and Structure – Use Breadcrumbs on all Pages
Permalinks are the permanent links to your product page on your website that make it easy for your customers to find what they are searching for, navigate your site, and even boost your ratings and rankings on the search engine. The permalinks should have the exact keyword you are trying to rank for as often as possible.
Breadcrumbs tell the user exactly the location they are on your site and can also come up in search engines result making your content more understandable by the users.
Add your Site to Google Webmaster Tools
Google webmaster tools help you analyze the technical sections of your site, such as…
- Search queries – here you see the keywords that the users typed whenever they visit your site.
- Crawl errors – here you see all the crawl errors Google encountered on your website.
- Keyword – here you get to see the various keywords on your site and how important they are.
- Sitemap – here you see your sitemap and what URLs it contains
- Links – here you will see where all your links (both internal and external) come from and be able to restrict any that are harmful to your site (such as spam links sent from a competitor).
Optimize Product Pictures and Videos
Pictures and videos are also very important and as such should be optimized for search engines as well. To do ensure a successful optimization, you have to implement the following
- Use names that provide the necessary information for your pictures.
- Use variations of your keyword as the alt tags.
- Try to reduce the time it takes for the file to load by minimizing the size.
- Transcribe your product videos.
Strengthen Product Pages with Little or No Content
Don’t let your product pages simply be lists of specifications. The more content on a page, the better its chance of ranking. Add as much as you can to the most valuable pages. Long sales copy will not only improve conversions, but it will boost your rank in Google too.
Continue A/B Testing
A/B testing is also known as split testing, and it the process of trying out two versions of your web page to know which one is better in terms of performance. Google has encouraged such methods and it is beneficial for your business as it will help with specifics that you can use in your search engine optimization.
Use Keyword Search Tools to Check your Status
Keyword search tools to help you to check your status across all the search engines and they also enable you to know the amount of traffic your keywords generated. They can also help you to compare your keyword ranking performance with other sites. Check in every two weeks or so to see how focusing on e-commerce on-page SEO factors is helping to boost your traffic.
In conclusion, the work and effort you have to invest to ensure that your website is optimized for search engines can be overwhelming, but with the aforementioned tips, you are sure to find it just a little bit easier.
This article was written by Sinoun Chea. Sinoun (pronounced ‘sin-noon’) is the founder of ShiftWeb Solutions, a web design and SEO company. She is passionate about working with small businesses to help them achieve a sexier presence on the world wide web. She is both an artist and entrepreneur at heart. In her spare time, Sinoun is always working on various projects that stimulate her brain. She also aspires to be a professional picnicker, an air floater, and an expert sleeper.