Tips to help you with optimising your website for the search engines as well helping you to engage and entice people to buy from it.
The main thing to remember with your ecommerce website is that duplication is not allowed – Google does not accept ‘plagiarism’ even if it is for a very good reason (for example technical details on a product) so you will have to be a little clever to make sure that your content is all original without creating an impossible amount of work for the SEO writers. You will probably think of lots of other innovative ways of making your ecommerce site come out ahead of the pack, but here are some basic ideas to get you started:-
1 - Let your customers write your content for you
This isn’t as cheeky as it sounds – customer reviews are often very precise in what they have to say about the product and there is nothing a potential buyer likes more than to see that someone else is pleased with the item. The real plus point here of course is that it is by definition bound to be unique content.
2 - Write generic information
If you stock many hundreds of similar items, you can’t possibly write unique content for every single one. A much better way of dealing with a large stock inventory is to write a single, informative piece about the generic item and include links to individual items without repetition.
3 - Don’t take your eye off the ball
When considering SEO content for your ecommerce site, don’t launch and forget – constant updates are a must because things can become obsolete very quickly. If your site has a large number of items for sale, keep stock levels up to date so people don’t waste time and effort on something no longer available – leave the item up by all means, but show its availability and link it to something that is still on sale.
4 - Use your internal search stats
Too many people only use their Google search ranking to see how they are doing and forget about the internal traffic once a customer lands on their site. Watching this traffic is just as important because it can help a lot to see how well your internal links are working and can easily be tweaked if they are not quite right.
5 - Don’t be dull!
Even if your product is not intrinsically fascinating to the average person, using pictures and videos can make the website more interesting and so people will stay longer and this extra investment of their time will often create a sale out of nothing. People buy when they feel they have had a pleasant experience.
6 - Ecommerce needs specialist content
Although some business owners write their own content this is not recommended for ecommerce sites which need to get a lot across in sometimes very few words. The customer must be engaged, encouraged to buy and also, in some cases, persuaded to delve several layers deep to find what they want and this is something best left to experts.
7 - Be responsive
More people are using devices other than PCs and laptops now to surf especially when they are buying something and more hits turn into purchases when tablets and phones are used. If your website isn’t responsive – especially if you sell a lot of items – you will lose a lot of custom, and those people may never revisit your site.
8 - Be search friendly on URLs
If you have a lot of pages, sometimes the URLs can degenerate into a series of numbers, forward slashes, ampersands and other stuff; keep them to words and words which will strike off a search result and you will have a lot more people landing on your page and, more importantly, getting to where they need to be right from the first moment.
9 - Don’t confuse the search engine
It can be tricky if your product list is small but has a lot of variants (such as colour differences etc) because creating a different URL for everyone will make it look as though you have duplication. Use a canonical URL and then have different links to options there on the page – that way you don’t have duplication, but the searches show the right colour/size etc so your ranking stays accurate and high.
10 - Be flexible
Sometimes the SEO content just isn’t working – rankings are low and hits even lower. It’s a bitter pill to swallow but sometimes the only way out of this problem is to start again, with lessons learned well and truly in the forefront of any new planning. Look on rival websites – you can often tell at a glance whether they have it right or not and taking a leaf out of their book (but no duplication, remember!) may well be the help you need.