Optimising for search traffic on an ecommerce site can take a lot longer than on a company or portfolio website due to the layers of that site e.g. Supermarket Homepage > Groceries > Frozen Food > Frozen Vegetables & Herbs > Frozen Prepared Vegetables. And that can make it seem very complex, very time-consuming and a bit technical. There are however, at least 5 steps you can take today to improve your ecommerce SEO, that are fairly painless and don’t require you to be a web developer.
1. Check your site architecture
A flatter site architecture usually makes it easier to get search engine referral traffic. This will often mean that plenty of higher-level categories are needed. Are there vertical filtering layers in your online store that you could eliminate or combine, to help improve your ecommerce SEO?
If you’re currently developing a website, really do give a lot of thought to the way your content is organised, before you go live. And if the site is already live, look at how many clicks it takes someone to get to a product. We would recommend that products are no more than 3 clicks away from the homepage. If you are running a large ecommerce site and you find that your products are sitting much deeper into the structure than this, it might be time to call in the experts. Regardless of website size, if you can’t make these architectural changes safely yourself, even just doing this site architecture audit will be a great use of your time and really help your developer.
2. Expand your product descriptions
In a time of search engine optimisation technique when engaging content is so important, improving your shopping website product descriptions is an extremely valuable task.
Clear and unique product descriptions are vital for appealing to a prospective buyer and can help your site rank when someone is searching for details of a known product or a specific detail they are shopping for. And of course, you will want to provide a great user experience for those that visit your ecommerce store anyway; conveying lots of product detail is part of this. Have a range of images shown for the item and think about things like extra sizing details (length of the skirt part on a dress for example), alternative colours available, fastenings, describing all sides of an item e.g. 2 pockets on the back, or ‘soles have a dinosaur footprint imprinted’. You want to be answering your shoppers’ questions before they even know they have them.
3. Fire up the language
And that brings me nicely onto tip three. The language used in your product descriptions can make your products more attractive. So, revisit what you’re saying and fire it up! Afterall, you’re seeking an online sale and you undoubtedly have competitors which are too, so you don’t want to be saying the same thing. Avoid mediocre phrases like ‘good quality’ and aim to be more inspiring.
Use the power of words. An example of enticing copy might be “boots never felt this good, combine your inner cowgirl with festival fashionista and voila!”. A sentence like that might just put a smile on your customer’s face and seal the deal.
Another thing you can do is use storytelling. And by that I mean, take a section from a review and include them in your product copy. Like, “I’ve tried cheaper brands but finally came to my senses and saved up for these. I totally love them and wish I’d done it sooner. They heat up so fast and do such a good job that they’ve solved my daily hair stress and I can’t recommend them enough.” Or, you can simply give examples of situations the product might be used in, to accentuate the buyer’s perceived need for it.
4. Round the chimney, step in time
This step is about getting things in sync behind the scenes. And for some reason, Bert from Mary Poppins sprung to mind! Go through your site pages and check whether your page title, meta description, and URL are in sync for each page. Make a spreadsheet if it helps.
Why is this important? Well a url that makes it easy to identify what the page is about will get a much higher click-through rate. And the same level of clarity goes for the page title too. And you need to include your target key phrase in these, as well as the url – even if partially. I say partially because you’ve got to be mindful of character limits for meta titles and meta descriptions but if you are using a tool such as the Yoast plugin, this will help you out. A keyword-heavy url structure can be beneficial for search.
The most important thing to note in this tip however is not to go changing your urls (url-slug) on a live site without any kind of redirect in place. And ideally you want any redirects to be of the permanent kind (301s). So be careful here.
5. Links, inside and out.
Act like a concierge and help your site visitor find what they need without any hassle. Adding internal links can help hugely with this.
Say you have two products that are very similar and customers could easily end up buying the wrong one; this just leads to dissatisfaction and potentially, a negative review or a customer service task. If, however, you’ve said in your description something like, “Hold up, you might be looking for this 7cm version instead” including an internal product link, that situation could be avoided and you’ve created a happy customer. Should your business have the right historical data, you might be able to do some matching up and spot any repeat occurrences like these to help get you some quick wins.
That was the inside, for the outside you will need to find and fix any broken external links. When someone is searching, clicks on a link and gets faced with an error page like a dull-looking 404, 400 or a bad host message, they’re highly likely to head off elsewhere. Shoppers won’t be the only ones to notice. When the broken links mount up, the search engines notice too. So make sure you seek the broken external links out using a tool like Screaming Frog (filter by response codes) or Ahrefs.
Let us know if these tips will help you improve your ecommerce SEO.
Rachael Dines, Director of Shake It Up Creative