Digital marketing

17 E-Commerce SEO tips: How to optimize your website

03 July, 2020

In e-commerce, the lead game is not just a component of a development strategy, but a necessity, a guarantee of dynamic growth in the conditions of rapid competition.

When it comes to SEO, it is clear that traffic is never too much. The higher the targeted website traffic, the more sales and higher profit growth potential.

How many pages in the search results do you scroll before clicking on the link? More than 90% of users say on the first page, choosing a website from the top 5. The conversion of those who are first on the list is always higher. It is good if it is you, not your competitor.

The theory of large numbers proves itself in almost any industry. If one or two users out of hundreds who visited your site, make a purchase, this may seem like something insignificant. Now imagine that instead of two hundred visitors per week, the traffic of your website grows to two thousand per day. A possible result based on simple calculations cannot but rejoice.

How to achieve this? Optimization only! In e-commerce, it is SEO that is the main profit generator. Here are the main recommendations that you need to complete if you face the task of optimizing the online store.

Guide for e-commerce website SEO

For the SEO of the e-commerce website to bring good results, we have prepared a guide for you. What does SEO of the e-commerce website include:

  1. Optimization of the e-commerce website structure;
  2. SEO of the Title and Description meta tags on e-commerce website pages;
  3. Creating SEF URLs of e-commerce website pages;
  4. Image optimization;
  5. SEO of home page of the e-commerce website;
  6. SEO of categories pages of the e-commerce website;
  7. SEO of product pages of the e-commerce website;
  8. Adaptive e-commerce website design development;
  9. Setting up the scraper site and a single URL format;
  10. Setting up Robots.txt and sitemap.xml files for the e-commerce website;
  11. Connecting the basic webmasters’ tools to the e-commerce website;
  12. Creation and SEO of the 404 error page;
  13. Delete or edit duplicate pages and content;
  14. SEO of headings on the e-commerce website pages;
  15. Checking and improving page load time;
  16. Creation of micro-markup on the product pages;
  17. Checking and correcting errors on the pagination e-commerce website pages.

Now you know our guide for SEO of the e-commerce website, so let’s move on to the description of each point.

Optimization of the e-commerce website structure

When conducting SEO of the e-commerce website, we advise you to think first about the target consumer, and then about your own benefit. Let’s see why.

Visitor satisfaction from interacting with the website is an important behavioral factor. It is taken into account when ranking sites for search queries.

Therefore, if your online store combines different products in one category, you can forget about the high conversion and user convenience.

On the one hand, it may seem there is nothing wrong that a visitor will have to make a couple of extra clicks in order to find the desired page in the product catalog. But on the other hand, there are several important points:

  1. Firstly, the user is not interested in wasting his time. This is important for you as a seller and business owner;
  2. Secondly, it’s easier for a person to close a tab with your online store, return to search and make a purchase in your competitor’s store
  3. Thirdly, recommendations for improving the site’s structure are given in google’s search engine optimization instructions, and it’s illogical to question this source.

How to optimize the site structure for good SEO results?

It is quite simple. A properly optimized site structure should match user requests in search engines.

One category can be divided into the maximum number of subcategories. Thanks to this clustering, you can cover a larger number of key queries and get into the top Google search results. If this category is placed on 1 page, it will be very difficult for the user to find the necessary thing.

Tips for proper SEO of the site structure

When designing the website structure of the online store, it is important to consider the following:

  1. Use user-friendly SEF URLs (transliteration of words in Latin) instead of dynamically generated URLs;
  2. Create an ordered, logical site structure in which the visitor will be easy to navigate (main → categories → product/article pages)
  3. Place the navigation menu so that it is always in a visible place and displayed on all website pages;
  4. Use navigation chains (“breadcrumbs”) to increase the usability of the site.

By following these tips, you can create a convenient and logical structure with ergonomic navigation, which is important for both visitors and search engine bots.

SEO of title and description meta tags on e-commerce website pages

For proper optimization of Title and Description for successful SEO of the e-commerce website, let’s learn more about these meta tags.

17-ecommerce-seo-tips-1 Meta tag Title – the title of the page displayed in Google search results. It helps search engines understand what is being discussed on this page.

Meta tag Description – Description of the page, similar to Title. It provides a broad concept of page content for search engines.

Due to the fact that the page snippet in the search results is generated on the basis of these tags, they play a crucial role in the SEO of the e-commerce website.

Tips for proper SEO of title and description meta tags

When creating meta title and description tags for both the online store and any other site, we recommend adhering to the following recommendations:

  1. Title/Description meta tags should correspond to the page content and briefly characterize it;
  2. Use relevant keywords, but avoid repeating them too often. Search engines perceive it as spam;
  3. Text of meta tags for each page should be unique and not duplicate each other;
  4. Use the conversion words in the titles of online stores, for example, buy, price, name of the target city, etc.

To create Title and Description meta tags on separate pages of a site both in manual and in automatic mode, the corresponding functionality in the used CMS must be provided. If a self-recording engine is used and this feature is not available, contact specialists.

Remember that you should not neglect these tips, because the page position in Google’s search results depends on the spelling, interest in the described offer, and SEO of the Title and Description meta tags.

Creating SEF URLs of e-commerce website pages

SEF refers to a Search Engine Friendly URL. This is important not only for e-commerce websites but also for information projects and any other types of sites.

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Why does the e-commerce website or regular site need SEF URLs?

Title and Description tell search bots the page content, and the SEF URLs tell the bots and users what this page is all about.

Tips for proper SEO of SEF URLs of e-commerce website pages

To avoid problems with the URLs of the e-commerce website, follow these tips:

  1. Do not use Cyrillic when creating URLs. This adversely affects the growth of positions, and when copying such an address, these words immediately change to unknown characters.
  2. Try to make short SEF URLs. We recommend no more than 60-80 characters.
  3. Use a hyphen instead of spaces between words in SEF URLs. We do not recommend using other punctuation marks. This is bad for SEO.
  4. Do not indicate numerous key queries in the URL. Using too many key queries will result in spam and an increase in URL length.

Image optimization

Images are integral to any site. For the online store, this is the main element, because visitors in search of certain products, first pay attention to the photos in the catalog.

Image optimization allows solving two main problems: speed up the pages loading and increase the traffic due to high conversion from image search.

You can optimize the photo size using graphic editors. Thus, you can reduce the “weight” of the photo by 20-30% and keep the quality, because the loss will be almost invisible to users.

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If we talk about the SEO of the e-commerce website, it is recommended to do the following. First, write down the URL of the image so that it contains the name of the product or it conveys its essence, for example, notebook-dell-xps15.jpeg. This is much clearer than a complex set of characters like edre54546rgty.jpeg.

Second, pay attention to the alt attribute, the description of the image. It is shown if the image cannot be displayed correctly, plus it is taken into account by search engines when indexing to image search.

For the e-commerce website, the alt attribute must contain the name of the product pictured. At the same time, watch for the uniqueness and avoid spam when using keywords.

SEO of home page of the e-commerce website

Usually, the home page of the e-commerce website is optimized for general search queries, for example, “the online store of equipment in washington”. It is not worth exaggerating its importance, but the main page still is a kind of business card and one of the entry points for visitors.

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Tips for proper SEO of the e-commerce website home page

Given that SEO of the home page should include common key queries, pay attention to the following:

  1. The alt attribute of the logo of the online store should contain target queries, and links should lead to the main page;
  2. The menu block should be in a notable place and provide convenient navigation through sections of the site;
  3. The block of popular or new products should be in the first half of the screen to “hook” a visitor, attracting him to interact with the site;
  4. Place a small text (3-4 thousand characters) under the block with the goods. The text should contain the main information about your store mentioning targeted queries.

Before starting SEO, we recommend that you look at the methods your competitors use in SEO of the home page of the e-commerce website.

SEO of categories pages of the e-commerce website

Product categorization is one of the most important components of SEO in e-commerce. Information sites may not use categories, but for online stores, they are target pages, entry points to start working with the catalog when searching for the product.

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Tips for proper SEO of online store category pages

SEO of category pages in the online store uses the following methods:

  1. Integration of bread crumbs and the addition of optimized content. Thus, the pages of subcategories and individual products will contain targeted queries in the link, as well as facilitate the transfer of more “weight” of the pages of sections.
  2. Adding unique text to category pages with a volume of 150-300 words with the inclusion of targeted queries. This will improve their visibility in the search.
  3. SEO of Title and Description on the categories pages of the online store.

Remember that SEO of category pages is extremely important as increasing targeted traffic to category pages will increase the conversion of the e-commerce website itself.

SEO of the product pages of the e-commerce website

The effect of SEO of product pages is obvious to all owners of e-commerce websites. They are the main landing and conversion pages on the site, which means that SEO must be of high quality.

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Tips for proper SEO of the product pages of the e-commerce website

SEO of product pages includes the following:

  1. Placement of the title (H1) including the full name of the product;
  2. Optimization of the Title and Description meta tags for the name of the corresponding product with the integration of conversion words and adaptation to target queries;
  3. Creation of unique “selling” descriptions informative for potential buyers and relevant for search bots;
  4. Optimization of product images;
  5. Adding social buttons;
  6. Integration of additional features, for example, the ability to add reviews, compare products, a wish list, and others.

The above list proves that product pages in an online store must meet two main criteria: be SEO for search engines and convenient for potential buyers.

Adaptive e-commerce website design development

Adaptive is the design of a site that arranges page elements for viewing on the screen of any user device. Thus, it is convenient to work with the website both on the computer monitor and on the smartphone screen.

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Adaptive design has a positive effect on behavioral factors; the refusal rate and interrupted purchases are reduced. The improvement of these indicators is taken into account by search engines when ranking.

Setting up the scraper site and a single URL format

Setting up the scraper site implies specifying the main version of the site (with www or without www) in the robots.txt file. 301 redirects to the main scraper are additionally configured.

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The only URL format is the availability of site pages for a single URL. For example: http://site.com/page-example. If the same page is available in a different form, for example, with a closing slash “/” at the end, this is a negative point, as search engines perceive it as a duplicate.

Setting up Robots.txt and sitemap.xml files for the e-commerce website

The robots.txt file allows the site owner to manage its indexing by setting recommendations to search bots whether or not to include a specific section or page in the search index. It can also be used for other purposes – for example, to prevent search bots from indexing a site during its development until all planned work is completed.

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The sitemap.xml file facilitates the scanning of site pages by search bots, which is especially important in the case of online stores and other multi-page web projects (1.5-2 thousand pages or more).

Both files are important for the correct indexing of the site. To create them correctly, it is better to contact specialists. Delegating such work to an incompetent person is not recommended.

Connecting the basic webmasters’ tools to the e-commerce website

The Google search system provides any owner of an e-commerce website and any other site the opportunity to add it to the webmaster’s panel for free – Google Search Console. This panel allows to monitor the site indexing, view requests for which it appeared in the search, and also receive notification of errors that may hamper effective SEO. Learn more about the tool, register, and add your web project using the Google Search Console link.

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Creation and SEO of the 404 error page

The server generates the “404 Not Found” error in response to a user request to open the URL that does not exist or has been deleted. A well-designed 404 page will keep the user on the site and attract him to further interaction. In addition, it should reflect the corresponding status, this can be checked using special webmasters tools.

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For e-commerce websites and other commercial projects, this is primarily important because the loss of even a small number of visitors results in lost profit for its owner.

Delete or edit duplicate pages and content

Duplicates on the site are possible for a number of reasons, including technical errors in the CMS, poorly designed architecture, or publishing content taken from other sites. People mostly do not care about duplicate pages, but search engines take this extremely negatively.

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Duplicate URLs negatively affect the ranking, and pages with content copied from another site have a low chance of reaching the top in the search therefore low conversion is inevitable. That is why it is necessary to check the site for duplicates using special tools (NetPeak Spider, Google Search Console), and then eliminate them, taking care of the reasons for their occurrence.

SEO of HTML tags on the e-commerce website pages

HTML tags of the e-commerce website pages are used to form the page structure. Their purpose and use are similar to those in books, magazines, etc. The hierarchy of headers begins with the H1 tag and ends with the H6 tag, and this is true both in terms of their “weight” and size.

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Do not underestimate the H1-H6 headings! In addition, with successful SEO, they attract search engines to your page, thereby contributing to the SEO.

Tips for the proper SEO of titles on the e-commerce website page

There are several possible problems when adding or SEO of the headings, so we have prepared some tips that will help SEO the headings on the e-commerce website pages:

  1. Use the H1 heading only once on each page. The largest and most important title tag is H1, which should be given on every page, reflect its essence and not be repeated more than once;
  2. Follow the headers hierarchy, placing them from H1 to H6, rather than mixed;
  3. Make the text in the headings informative, for example, “Sony Lenses” instead of just “Lenses”;
  4. The text in the headings should contain main target queries;
  5. The headings must be unique and not be repeated on any other page of your e-commerce website.

Checking and improving page load time

According to several studies in Internet marketing, if the page load time exceeds 4 seconds, 75% of users refuse to view the site, close the tab, and return to the search. This negatively affects behavioral factors, taken into account by search engines in ranking. The recommended page load time for the e-commerce website is 2-3 seconds.

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You can improve page load time using the following services:

  1. https://www.gmetrix.com/
  2. https://www.pingdom.com/
  3. https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/

Creation of micro-markup on the product pages

Semantic markup (micro-markup) is the use of special tags on the pages of an e-commerce website and other types of sites that reflect additional information in the page snippet in the search results. The most popular types of micro-markup are “breadcrumbs” and “stars” of user ratings.

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Checking and correcting errors on the pagination e-commerce website pages

Pagination pages often cause duplicate texts and meta tags on the website of the e-commerce website. Numbering allows the user to view a wide range of products. Users often do not notice the errors that search engines may perceive as fatal.

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To avoid this, pagination pages use special HTML markup in the form of attributes rel=”next” and rel=”prev”, as well as in the Title and Description meta tags indicate the serial number of the page in order to uniquely identify them. Rel=prev/next is not an indexing signal anymore.

Conclusion – How to optimize e-commerce website for SEO?

This article lists the key points that must be taken into account in the process of SEO of an e-commerce website, which is an important condition for its effective SEO. Each of the projects requires an individual approach, therefore, a mandatory preliminary audit of the site is necessary to identify possible errors and make a list of necessary works.

If you are the owner of an e-commerce website, you can use the above list to self-assess your site. Anyway, we recommend using the express audit service, where experts will evaluate the quality of SEO of your e-commerce website.