SEO for eCommerce in 2021
This article has been updated since it was drafted back in 2014, with the addition to Shopify SEO, Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and content marketing covering your online store and home page. It is important to note that today's tools are more technical, and have more metrics to measure your marketing effectiveness than back 7-8 years ago. The base rules still apply, the tools have just expanded.
Google Search Console: This needs to be connected to your google session's email and have the sitemap XML file entered in the console for the Google bots to crawl your pages and index them. This captures your organic content, your search keywords will be collected, and based on the authority of your site/page will direct search traffic to your online store. This is a must for all online stores to get searched.
Organic Content: Keeping your page and site active with updates in content and keywords that are optimized to your content marketing strategy is important to keep up. Your upkeep is going to tell the google bots of the changes and it will update and refine search results based on them. Keywords get associated with other keywords based on search patterns - these patterns change and updating your content for these changes matters too. Your target audience shifts in their search criteria.
Your online store structured data: In order to keep your marketing campaigns in line with your organic content, your page titles, title tags, meta tags, alt text, product pages, and product descriptions keywords must be aligned and be SEO friendly. Taking a piece of content from a page is not going to get the bots to notice that your website is optimized for that keyword - it is the whole website being taken into account, and where/how often with what correlated keywords it will index and associate to your site for relevance on a search. Social networks, Social Media Content, and video content are all part of this association, and whereas Shopify Apps might assist in getting your organized, your content marketing strategy is what will drive your brand awareness forward.
#1 – Avoiding Analytics
Google Analytics is an invaluable tool that allows you to really get to grips with how your website is performing. If you’re not regularly checking your Analytics page then you’re missing a trick.
Find out 6 quick ways you can use Google Analytics to understand more about your eCommerce store.
#2 – Doing Duplicate content
Google’s Panda update discriminated heavily on sites that used the same content on various pages. So if you’ve copied and pasted from other pages (whether that’s yours or someone else’s) then Google will regard yours as a low-quality website and rank you as such too.
For many eCommerce stores with hundreds or even thousands of individual product pages, this presents a problem. After all, it could take many hours to provide unique text for each page.
Although it’s tempting to use the product description that’s given by a supplier, this content will doubtless be used elsewhere on the web, deemed as duplicate and will only result in diminished rankings.
It may take time to individually write customer-focused product descriptions, but the high-value long tail traffic and increased authority will ensure your investment is worth it in the long run.
#3 – Misusing meta information
Are you neglecting your site’s meta titles and descriptions? A page’s title (the large text in search results) is one of the first things that Google looks at when it crawls a web page.
And just like with site content, putting the same content in the meta descriptions and titles will have a harmful effect on your site’s SEO.
At best, identical meta information will lead Google to think the different pages are in fact the same and present the ‘wrong’ page to visitors – causing substantial bounce rates. At worst, it will regard the meta information as spammy and push it down the rankings. Either way, it’s essential to differentiate each page’s metas.
#4 – Cramming in Keywords
Choosing the right keywords and utilising them in meta information and content is essential if you’re looking to grow your reach online. However, you have to use keywords sparingly.
Back in the day, the ‘cramming’ of keywords over and over was an effective way of ranking in search engines. But the Google Panda algorithm released in 2011 put an end to this low-quality practice.
Think of keywords like spice in a curry. The right ones, in the right quantity, will complement the page and make it stand out from the rest – but put an unnatural amount in and you’re left with something quite unpalatable. Include keywords by all means, but don’t forget that you’re writing for real human readers.
#5 – Using Unsavoury URL Structures
Many developers miss a simple trick when they neglect to build a site that allows readable URLs because Google pays huge attention to a site’s URL when determining search rankings.
For instance, if we have two websites with the following URLs:
The former will be far more likely to rank than the latter which looks spammy and offers no insight as to what the page is actually about.
What’s more, not only will a keyword-rich URL help to show up in search engines, it will also appear more relevant and worthwhile to human visitors and increase click-through rates.
#6 – Scrimping on Copy
Every web page needs readable text so that Google can scan it and ascertain what it’s all about. So if you’re building standalone web pages without a decent chunk of interesting, relevant and original text you’ll struggle to rank well.
What’s more, you need to be sure your text is crawlable. Put simply, if you can’t highlight, copy and paste the text individually then Google won’t be able to read it either.
#7 – Having a sluggish, unusable site
Put simply, Google is dedicated to enhancing the experience of its users. As a result, the web pages that it displays to searchers will not only be the most relevant, but also the most usable. A decent site speed is essential for ranking well, as we discussed in a previous blog.
As Google becomes increasingly sophisticated, there will doubtless be new ways that they determine the quality and usability of a website.
Want to stand the best chance of enjoying strong search rankings? Focus on providing a unique and convenient online offering that puts visitors first. Talk to us today
TheGenieLab is trusted by big brands and niche start-ups to build search-friendly, highly-accessible websites. For more information about how we can help to create a website your brand can be proud of, speak to us today – call 01633 415 364 or live chat with us today.