“Build and they will come” is what most new ecommerce site owners believe, and if you’re one of them by now you may have realized how untrue that is.
Every business needs marketing, and if it’s an ecommerce website, digital marketing has to do most of the heavy lifting of not only fetching impressions but also converting them into website visitors. Ecommerce in India has become a very competitive industry. Every brand has online presence and is competing for the consumer’s attention.
Since the cost of PPC keywords do not fit the budget of most SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises), digital marketing, fueled by SEO, has become the weapon of choice for most marketers. And unlike PPC ads, SEO doesn’t eat into your profit margin. Instead, it provides ecommerce websites with a better option to market their website and bring in more visitors through the organic channel.
In case, your ecommerce site is built using Magento platform here’s an excellent article on Magento SEO Tips which you might find very useful, and if you are looking for a guide on magento SEO then here is the one for you.
So by now, you probably are convinced about why SEO is very important for your ecommerce business. In this blog post, I have covered a handy SEO guide for ecommerce website marketing. Go through this 12-step SEO guide and implement these suggestions to supercharge your ecommerce site.
1. Don’t let robots.txt block your traffic
By using robots.txt file in your root folder, you can block certain folders from listing in search engines. And if, by mistake, you’ve blocked your root folder, search engines can’t crawl and list your website. Sound serious, doesn’t it? It is.
If your robots.txt has the below code then you must remove it to make it more accessible for the search engines.
2. Title and Meta Description for product pages
The title and meta description plays a huge role in SEO for any website. When a user runs a search in Google, the content in listings you see is fetched from the title and meta description. Example image below:
Make sure the configuration for your ecommerce product page is perfectly done. Due to the volume of products, most ecommerce platforms will have an option to add syntax of the title and description. The title and description is auto generated based on this syntax. Most ecommerce platforms will have this option in inbuilt, or you can use a plugin or extension to implement this functionality.
3. Setup your webmaster and analytics account
It’s time to measure now. If you’ve just launched your website, it’s fun to watch traffic dripping to your website. So, to get the traffic data and Google crawl details, signup for a Google webmaster and Analytics account. Don’t just use this as a data tool but use it as an insight tool. You can get a lot of insight from your data and fine tune your SEO strategy based on it. Let’s look at the key insights you can get from the webmaster tool in the next step.
4. Make use of Webmaster data
Since Google analytics blocks most of the keywords which are driving traffic to your website, Google webmaster tool lend you a hand to study your keyword data. In the webmaster search analytics section, you can find the list of (partial) keywords driving traffic to your website. Check this data to get new keyword ideas and understand how users find your website. Other information you need to look at is the click through rate (CTR).If you find the CTR to be very low for a particular keyword, learn why it is happening. If required, fine tune your title and meta description to improve the CTR of the page. Structured data goes a long way in improving CTR.
5. Add Structured data
Structured data helps your website by highlighting it in the search results and providing useful information to the users. You can provide the rating, price and product availability information in the search result. An example search result below:
In this example image you can find the rating information, total vote count and the stock availability in the Snapdeal site listing. This information is not only helpful for the user but for the site owner as well as it improves the CTR and provides a better user experience for the user.
6. Include reviews
Providing an option for users to review your products is must for an ecommerce site. Reviews add credibility to your page and that information can be passed on to the search results through structured data which, as mentioned in the previous point,improves the CTR and hence the organic traffic. In another perspective, adding more reviews to your page also indirectly helps your page—adding more reviews will contribute more content to the page and improve the html to text ratio of a page. Even though small ecommerce businesses may struggle to get reviews from users, there is no option but to get reviews for your products if you want to stay in the game. You can provide incentives to users to provide reviews for the product they have purchased.
7. Don’t forget to optimize images
Images play a huge role in ecommerce traffic. Optimize your images by adding proper ALT tags so that they can be found by users through Google search. You could also use Pinterest to create product / category-specific boards to promote your products.
8. Add breadcrumbs to your page
Breadcrumbs are an essential part of SEO and a key aspect of the user experience. Remember, the ultimate goal of your site is to help your users find the right products with less hassle. Breadcrumbs provide a structured menu, help the users know where on the website they are and how to navigate to other categories or sub-categories. Breadcrumbs boost SEO by enabling better interlinking between pages, and improve the visibility of the pages. An example breadcrumb is shown in the below image:
9. Don’t disable out of stock products
If you have an out of stock product, don’t disable that page immediately. Look at the analytics and if you see good amount of organic traffic coming to the page, don’t disable it. Disabling a page will throw a 404 error page for the user, and you don’t want to disappoint your user. Without disabling, you can show an “out of stock” message and provide the users with alternate choices related to that product. This will help you to retain the existing traffic and improve the interlinking and visibility of products.
10. Add social bookmarking widgets
Social media signals play a huge role in SEO ranking so your SEO and social media strategy should support each other. Provide options for users to easily promote theirchosen products and purchasesthrough social channels. You can provide social buttons on the products page as well as right after they complete the purchase to let their friends know about their shopping.
11. Improve product descriptions
To improve a product listing, try to provide a unique description for each product. Include the right keywords and useful information for the users to make the right decision. Add more content to the page to improve the html to text ratio and to improve the page ranking.
12. Fix 404 errors
Remember, we talked about the uses of Google webmaster in point #4? Google webmaster also provides data on the pages which show 404 error. Monitor this section on a weekly basis, and fix these 404 pages. You can redirect these error pages to other related pages using 301 redirection. Less 404 errors on a website improve the credibility of a website and help in website ranking as well.
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