SEO is just the thing for success in ecommerce. If you’re the type of person who thinks that SEO is only for blog posts and listicle articles, thing again. SEO is perhaps no more important anywhere online than it is in the world of ecommerce. Think about it like this: if you wanted to go down to the local electronics store and pick up a new stereo, you’d need to know where it was before you got in your car. If you couldn’t find it, you’d likely go somewhere else to find what you need – which is exactly what your users are going to do if SEO makes it hard for them to find your ecommerce site. Only it’s much easier for them to head into the open arms of competitors as they don’t even need to leave their homes in order to do it.
There are a number of common SEO problems that plague ecommerce sites but thankfully, they don’t have to any longer.
Low Quality Product Descriptions
If you had to make a list of all the things people DON’T like about running an ecommerce site, crafting product descriptions is probably right at the top. It’s time-consuming, it’s difficult and it’s also looked at by many as unnecessary – after all, the products speak for themselves, right?
People rely on these product descriptions for valuable insight before spending their hard-earned money on a product and you need to provide them with as much detail as possible in order to make that sale. Not only that, but if you play your SEO cards right product descriptions are a great way for not only those products to rank, but to increase the rank of your site as well.
Take the effort to craft high quality product descriptions that are SEO optimized by going after the right keywords, that are filled with valuable content, that include helpful elements like product reviews, ALT tags and more. It may require a little additional work on your part now, but you’ll be thankful that you took the time to do it when your traffic goes sky high in the future.
Google has made no secret of the fact that it really, really doesn’t like duplicate content – which means that you’re not allowed to like it, either. On the one hand, repeating content on certain portions of your ecommerce page can be a great boost to productivity. Why write unique category descriptions for “Spring Outdoor Furniture” and “Summer Outdoor Furniture” when you’re essentially talking about the same thing anyway, right?
The answer is simple: not only will this harm you from an SEO perspective, but it could also land a penalty right at your virtual doorstep when Google eventually notices.
If Google crawls your website and finds identical content at two unique URLs, it essentially stops considering those two separate pages in the future. This means that you’re losing out on an opportunity to increase traffic via SEO when you really don’t have to be. Take the time and effort to make sure that all content on your site is unique and wholly original whenever possible.
Internal Linking Problems
Another understandable problem that a lot of ecommerce sites face has to do with internal linking practices, or a lack thereof. Running an ecommerce site often involves a lot of “cooks in the kitchen,” so to speak. Social media marketers, copywriters and other people will all be referencing the same information, but they’re pulling that information from different URLs – causing SEO-based confusion in the process.
Sit down with your team and explain to them just how important consistent linking really is. If they need to link to a particular URL, make sure they use the one you’re trying to rank as highly as possible in search engines. Consistently goes a long way in the world of search engine optimization.
Don’t Ever Forget Those SEO Sitemaps
Finally, sitemaps. Search engines like Google love sitemaps because it makes their job easier – it’s a great, one-stop shop filled with valuable information about the structure your site uses. It’s also a veritable smörgåsboard in terms of discovering links for crawling purposes.
However, many people create a sitemap once – when the ecommerce site originally launches – and then forget about it. Think about all the changes you’ve introduced to your site in just the last few months alone. That original sitemap is probably woefully outdated and pretty much worthless, right?
If you don’t consistently update your sitemap, any major changes (including ones made to drive SEO) will be missed by search engines like Google. Instead of crawling relevant sections of your site, they’re going to find a lot of broken or invalid links. Always create an updated sitemap and resubmit it to the Google Search Console every time to avoid this type of situation altogether.