Search engine optimization is the method used by webmasters all over the world to help boost their websites’ ranking in a search engine’s organic search results. There are two ways that a website can be listed on a search results page, either through paid search or organic search. Paid search involves paying the search engine company to have an ad linking to your website displayed in the special area designated for advertisements. Organic search refers to listings of websites that appear naturally when a user searches for a relevant term. SEO can only help improve your organic search results. Unlike paid search, the results are not instantaneous, but you will find that it is very beneficial for your site in the long run.
Unlike other types of websites, e-commerce sites are among the most difficult to optimize for in the search engines. This is caused by an inefficient amount of unique content. Search engines love sites with a lot of content that is original and detailed. E-commerce sites are just the opposite of that, they are composed primarily of product images and offer very little in terms of detailed descriptions. For online shoppers, a picture is worth a thousand words and they are more likely to make a purchase based on how the product looks. Product descriptions often lack detail, it is common practice for most online stores to just use the manufacturer’s description when describing a product. On top of all that, internal linking structure is weak and more focus is placed on the back end as most e-commerce sites use shopping cart software to list their products online. As a result, online stores are not typically ranked very well in the search engines.
If you already have an e-commerce business or plan on starting one, don’t despair, there is still hope for you. There are actually a number of e-commerce SEO techniques that will help improve the search engine ranking of your site. Below is a breakdown of all the techniques you must use if you want a well optimized, search engine friendly online store.
E-Commerce SEO Meta Tags
Meta Title – this is the title that only the search engines can see, it can be the same as the on page title or different, but must contain the most relevant keywords to describe the product
Meta Description – this is the description that only the search engines can see, it can be the same as the on page description or different, make sure it is detailed and describe exactly how the product looks like and how it functions
Meta Keywords – these are the keywords that only the search engines can see, it is used as tags to describe the product, use only the most relevant keywords
E-Commerce SEO URLs
Dynamic Static HTML Pages – these are pages that have relevant keywords in the urls rather than generic numbers or product id, make sure that each of your product pages, category pages and content pages have their own unique and descriptive URLs
Canonical Tags – these are tags which are used to eliminate duplicate content that may have been created by having multiple versions of the same page
On Page E-Commerce SEO Elements
Header Tags – use these tags when writing page or product titles, it emphasizes the keywords to help let the search engines know that they are important
Keywords – use relevant keywords on all of your pages so that you are able to demonstrate exactly what is on the page
Unique Description – make sure you have original content that cannot be found on any other online store that is selling the same product
Alt & Title Tags – add these tags to all of your images so that not only will you be found on regular search results but also on image search
Other Important E-Commerce SEO Factors
Breadcrumb Navigation – on page text navigation that adds internal linking structure that is much needed on an e-commerce website
Google XML Sitemap – shows Google each and every page on your site and alerts them of new content so they don’t forget to go back and crawl your site
It is critical that you implement all of these e-commerce SEO elements throughout your online store. Some of these little changes can go a long way and edge you ahead of your competition so don’t overlook their significance. It is a long term strategy that will gradually help to boost your traffic and revenue.