SEO Guidelines for E-Commerce Sites

Online retailers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to improving search engine optimization (SEO). Most people do not fully understand that SEO requires long-term thinking and strategy for long-term growth. While there are a few short-term gains that can be achieved through SEO, the real success for e-commerce sites comes from bigger scale ideas that can be executed over a large period of time. While there is no set checklist or quick fixes that can help fix your site’s SEO overnight, we have put together a list of our top 5 long-term strategies that a site can use to improve their SEO over a longer period of time. Generally, strategies that are good for SEO are also good for the user experience.

1. Homepage Content: Placing content above the fold on a website’s homepage is absolutely essential for SEO.  While many designers try to persuade against it for aesthetic purposes, it is one of the most essential things that can be done to improve SEO on a site. The more targeted keywords that are included in the content, the better it is for SEO and for the consumer experience.

2. Information Architecture and Category Page SEO: Information architecture lays the groundwork for successful SEO. Building your site to emphasize how you want to be found, why you want to be found, and whom you want to be found by will give your investment in SEO a maximal return. A well-architected website that is organized by high volume categories with optimally allocated search assets across its pages funnels the right people to the right entry points, which increases overall customer acquisition. Category pages can be best optimized for SEO by creating custom URLs, meta titles, meta descriptions and including 3-4 sentences of keyword filled content.

3. Product Detail Page SEO: The product detail pages may actually be the most important piece of content on any e-commerce website. It is the destination where customers find all of the product details and ultimately make the decision whether or not to purchase a product. The product detail pages are also critically important for search (both for on-site search and search engines).  By optimizing the page (content, meta title, meta description etc.) using specific brand names, model names, sku numbers etc., you are increasing the chance that someone searching for a specific product will land on your site. For instance, someone searching for a specific model and product is closer to making a purchase than someone searching for a more generalized term. Product pages can be best optimized for SEO by creating custom URLS, meta title, meta description and including critical keywords in the content that do not contain duplicate content from any other page on the site.

4. Brand Page SEO: If you are a retailer that sells branded products (that are not your own), your goal should be to create brand landing pages that can often times rank near or higher than the actual manufacturers website.  Each brand page should contain keywords, meta titles, meta descriptions and URLs that are specific to that brand only and avoid duplicate content elsewhere on the site.

5. Create a Blog: Search engines love blogs because they always contain fresh and new content that can be written to target very specific (and essential) keywords. Additionally, from a user experience, there is no better way to engage with customers and comment on issues and topic that are prevalent within your industry. If you currently have a blog on your site, it is essential that your blog is part of your main domain for SEO purposes (ie: www.domain.com/blog). That way, the content on your blog is considered on-site content and will therefore positively impact your search presence.

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