We encourage all businesses to build their web shops right from the off. Good planning and a sound eCommerce SEO strategy will ensure your site is effective from the start, though of course that doesn’t mean that alterations and optimisations can’t be put in place further down the line. However, we’ve found time and time again that the later SEO tactics are applied, the more difficult it becomes to achieve high rankings. That’s because great SEO isn’t just about meta tags and keywords, but informing the overarching site strategy, and including your UI and UX designers, developers, paid search specialists and content marketers.
Substandard SEO will be truly detrimental to your site, and when it comes to eCommerce, it can lead to serious underperformance and disappointing results. The solution? Get an SEO expert involved early in the development process – or, at the very least, keep reading!
With over 90% of traffic not straying from page one search results – 60% of which hit the links presented in spots one, two and three – it’s vital that your eCommerce site abides by SEO best practice. The more attractive your web shop is to search algorithms, the higher your site will rank, meaning more traffic will be received and more sales will be made.
Whether you’re building from scratch, making a few tweaks or planning a complete overhaul, the following recommendations will ensure you’re getting the most from your web shop…
Top 7 SEO Practices
A huge amount of factors impact on your site’s value and authority, but there’s a smaller handful that’s considered the most important. This includes:
- Site structure
- Title tags
- Meta descriptions
- Internal links
Carefully considering each of these on-page factors, and creating or amending your site inline with our recommendations, will help to safeguard a visible and profitable web shop.
When it comes to your web address, relevance is everything. A strong, self-explanatory URL that relates directly to your business is vital – unless you’ve already established the global success of the likes of Apple Inc., of course. For the rest of us, aim for brand and product relevance; if your business is called Cheap Computers UK, get your hands on an appropriate domain. And if you’re selling jewellery, include this keyword in your URL.
Every page on your site requires an effective URL. This means matching the page title and content without keyword stuffing, including hyphens/underscores as word separators, and with as few folders and redirects as possible. We also know that shorter URLs are preferable – ideally less than 60 characters. This isn’t for the sake of search engines (they can process the most complex URLs without a problem), but for users who wish to copy and paste, embed or share.
A well-structured site is clear, cohesive and easy to navigate. It will provide search engines with a solid link structure that’s easy to crawl and index, as well as offering users a good experience. For eCommerce sites in particular, the structure must be practical enough for customers to discover products and make purchases. If the site doesn’t make sense, it will be more difficult for clients to complete the process, meaning you’ll lose out on cash.
Ask any SEO expert to explain their trade in the simplest of terms, and they’re more than likely to mention keywords. These nifty little words are pretty much the epicenter of SEO, allowing you to populate your site and its content with relevant terms and phrases that potential customers are searching out. Keywords should be utilized within page titles, product descriptions, image tags and any additional content, such as a blog and news section. However, they should only ever occur naturally – loading your site with an abnormal amount of keywords will lead to penalties, proving totally counterproductive.
Your site’s title tags define its content in a succinct, simple manner – think of them as chapters in a book. They will be used in search results to display snippets of the page, flagging to search engine’s that the content is relevant, and calling to visitors to click through. Every page’s title element should be accurate, including your brand’s name as well as one or two major keywords.
Meta descriptions are concise, clear paragraphs displayed beneath the title tag. Since your offering can’t always be fully communicated within a short title, the meta description allows for more details. Here, you’ll be able to explain to prospective clients what your business is about. We recommend meta descriptions are a maximum of 160 characters and contain several keywords and a call to action.
Your web shop’s internal links should point to other pages onsite, offering a fluid and relevant journey to visitors. This process is only effective if you’ve enough relevant content onsite to link between – for example, the homepage displaying your best sellers, or a blog post that discusses new product launches. Well implemented internal links will contribute to your eCommerce SEO efforts and offer search engines additional, relevant information, as well as giving visitors a little push to purchase.
A great content strategy will strengthen your web shop’s presence, providing visitors with more than just reams of product listings. Blog posts that discuss relevant topics, customer reviews and case studies will all help to assert your brand as an industry expert, as well as padding out the website with the kind of quality content that search engine’s love. While your eCommerce site is chiefly a platform for sales, it can also be a source of industry expertise, inspirational articles and stunning imagery. Set yourself apart from competitors and start offering up great content – you won’t regret it.
Many online merchants assume they’ll witness eCommerce success by simply listing hundreds and hundreds of products. The truth is, no matter how many products or services you offer, and no matter how great the quality or low the prices are, you’re unlikely to see success without an effective SEO strategy. Find out more about our SEO services for web shops by getting in touch on 0113 2180 109.