21Mar'14

Drive more Ecommerce Traffic with these SEO Strategies

Website-Traffic2An ecommerce site that ranks higher on the SERPs than its competitors will certainly attract more traffic.  An ecommerce site that implements good SEO practices stands a better chance of ranking high. Taken together, the two statements lead to the infallible conclusion that SEO is a foundational requirement for success in ecommerce.

SEO essentials for ecommerce

  • SEO is not an afterthought – SEO has to be an integral part of your website development from the planning stage. The SEO expert and the web designer should ideally sit next to each other and chart out a path. The benefits are huge, permanent, and also incremental. For example, based on the advice of your SEO expert, developers have the opportunity to introduce time-saving automation into the SEO process. The structure of title tags, use of H1 tags, meta data, and rich snippets should be considered for automation. 301 redirects for seasonal products could be automated as well.

  • Get the URLs right – Follow best practices for SEO-friendly URLs, such as avoiding query parameters that lead to awkward URLs as well as duplication issues. Be consistent with the case you use – upper or lower. Switching between the two can lead to more than one version of a given page and also “404 Page not found” errors.

  • Make 404-error pages work for you – You should have 404-error pages setup on your site to help keep users on the site. If a customer happens to land on one don’t be bland and just have a basic error message listed. Use this opportunity to say something funny in the copy and provide a quick CTA with a link to another relevant page on your site. This will keep more people on your site, build relationship with customers, and lead to more sales.

  • Internal linking should reflect URL hierarchy – A logical folder structure will define internal linking and enable effective crawling by search engines. It also enhances user experience.  Use the most appropriate keywords for anchor text and avoid huge drop-down menus that dilute hierarchy and impart equal significance to all categories and pages. With hierarchical sub-navigation, you can regulate the upward and downward flow of link juice and authority. Since categories are not created equal, you want the higher selling ones to benefit more.

  • Optimize the product pages – The most numerous pages are the individual product pages. Establish an SEO best practices template and follow it. The product name has to appear in the title tag, alt tags, and the URL. Local markets being targeted should be mentioned as well. Allocate different pages to variants of a product – different color, size, etc – only if you can create unique content.  Thin content is bad for SEO and could cause a poor user experience, too many clicks.

  • User engagement for SEO – Make it easy for visitors to leave feedback and product reviews. You get content, a lot of it, and with many creative combinations of long-tail keywords. Offsite user engagement on your social media pages serves to send strong social signals to the search engines. The combined effect has a beneficial effect on the health of your ecommerce site’s SEO.

  • Run analytics-based tests – Test your SEO activities, for example, do you notice quicker indexing and more sales with sitewide links to new additions and seasonal products? Analysis-based ecommerce will reveal the SEO activities that are helping to bring in customers. Regular testing will enable you to assess the impact of your SEO work and you can tweak where necessary before implementing an SEO idea across the site.

Remember, while there are definitely SEO best practices that you must follow for your ecommerce business, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy that you can implement. Regular content additions and upgrades to search engine algorithms mean that SEO for ecommerce has to be approached as a continuous and evolutionary process. It’s a living experiment! So don’t be afraid to come up with new ideas, document what you’re measuring and the desired outcome, and start testing. Your business will thank you!

About Brett Relander

Brett is a Digital Marketing Consultant and Founder with specialties in mobile marketing (apps & sites) and social media marketing. He is a featured contributor to Entrepreneur.com and SocialMediaToday.com as well as a speaker and small business advocate.