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Key SEO tips for e-commerce websites

20.06.2018
Key SEO tips for e-commerce websites
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Myriads of e-commerce websites compete in search results for the right to show their products to people. Who wins? Well, today’s SEO plays by different rules than it did before. Google now takes into account which sites are useful to visitors. E-commerce website usability, loading speed, interesting content, conversion rate, and many other factors influence the rankings. And these trends are reflected in modern SEO tips for e-commerce websites. Let’s consider a couple of these right now.

Useful SEO tips for e-commerce websites

Meta titles and descriptions

Your product meta titles and descriptions help search engines understand what your pages are about. However, it’s a mistake to think that they are not for humans, since they often show up in search result snippets. That’s why they should be both convincing and keyword-rich.

They also should be the right length, and Google’s requirements for this often change. Currently, it is recommended to use 60 characters for the title and 150 for the description. If you place the most relevant keywords at the beginning, you can be sure they will not be cut off in a snippet.

In addition to details about the product, you can include words and expressions that people are likely to search for — like “best,” “cheap,” “buy,” “online,” “free shipping” and more.

SEO-friendly URLs

One of the main SEO tips for e-commerce websites is related to URLs. Understandable age URL-s are a vivid example of the areas where SEO-friendliness and user-friendliness meet. Both users and search engines appreciate a consistent URL structure and descriptive URL-s that let them know exactly what the page is about.

The perfect structure looks like this: https://website.com/category/subcategory/product. URL-s should contain keywords for the categories and products. A category or a subcategory may come in two words separated by dashes. The URL’s part responsible for the product can be longer because it should contain unique product details.

Search engines also respect conciseness, which should be considered in creating URLs.

Rich snippets

Short pieces of text that are displayed in search results are called "snippets." People are most attracted to the so-called "rich snippets" that contain additional elements (star ratings, customer reviews, product availability, prices, etc.).

They can give you a preference in search results over your competitors, raise your click-through rate, and bring visitors to your site.

Product names and descriptions

Each product name should tell you exactly what this product is and be unique compared to other products. This can be done by telling the exact brand and model name or key characteristics that differentiate the product from the others.

It is preferable to have unique product descriptions that are different from the manufacturer’s, because Google may filter out duplicate descriptions from lots of websites.

Descriptions should be consistent throughout the website and keep the same order of presenting the features and benefits, so users can easily compare product details.

ALT tags and optimization for product images

Many users browse images instead of using a standard search when shopping. Make sure your images get found — add relevant ALT tags that tell search engines what’s on the image.

If you have many products, the process of adding ALT tags can be automated. We have described how to automate ALT tag adding for websites built with Drupal.

Images should be of high quality and, at the same time, properly optimized, so they perform their main mission without slowing your e-commerce website down.

Product suggestions

Offering related products is a famous technique that increases user session duration. A particular product page could invite customers to view similar products, the ones that go with this product, the ones that people also buy, the ones that are hot in the category, and so on.

This can work beginning with your homepage — list some trending products or promo offers there. By using product suggestions, you never lose a chance to engage a customer even in a seemingly hopeless place like a 404 page.

Switching to HTTPS

With HTTPS protocol, all site data is encrypted and much harder for hackers to steal. This, and other reasons to switch to HTTPS, are compelling for all websites, but particularly for online stores, because they deal with sensitive data in checkout processes.

Google respects secure websites and gives them at least a slight ranking boost. In addition, browsers mark HTTPS-websites as “secure” and HTTP-websites as “not secure,” which directly reflects in user’s behaviour. They may leave immediately and increase the site’s bounce rate or, vice versa, keep exploring the website and make a conversion.

Articles with links to products

SEO tips for e-commerce websites are often related to good content. Here is one of them.

High-quality articles with attractive images often rank high in search engines. So having them on your e-commerce website may give you an advantage over your competitors. In the articles, you can give links to the relevant products.

This works especially well in reviews of various product models or in buying guides full of engaging images or videos.

Out-of-stock products

When some product is out of stock, it may not always be quite clear to users what is happening. They may be redirected to the site’s homepage, category page, or to a similar product page, or see a 404 error with no explanation.

Sometimes, the out-of-stock message appears only after the user starts to select colors or sizes for the product, which is pretty exasperating. It should be clear from the start if the product is out of stock, and this message should be noticeable on the product page. You can immediately provide users with the product suggestions that we have discussed above.

Category pages

Never underestimate the power of well-optimized pages for particular product categories. They may serve as powerful landing pages on your site. Convincing and unique content on them, enhanced with links to your products, is the key to great search results.

To recap

These are just a few SEO tips for e-commerce websites. Entrust your online store optimization to our team of SEO experts and let your online store attract search engines like a magnet.

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