Tackling On-Page and Technical SEO for eCommerce
Welcome to part 2 of your complete guide to eCommerce SEO. You already know we’ve committed to bringing you the best results for your eCommerce SEO work.
In part 1, we talked about the importance of keyword research and gave you actionable steps to find, choose, and implement target keywords into the back end of your website. We also discussed the importance of your website structure and gave you the best practices to organize your site most effectively.
Let’s dive into part 2 as we discuss on-page and technical SEO.
Chapter 3: On-Page SEO for eCommerce Success
Now that you’ve optimized your website structure and implemented your keywords, it’s time to work on your category and product pages. This is such an essential part of eCommerce SEO, but it often gets overlooked. When it comes to eCommerce websites, the category and product pages usually generate the highest amount of traffic and, eventually, the most significant sales.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise when you think about it. The more targeted your keywords, the more likely those searching are willing to make a purchase. It’s like comparing someone who is searching “women’s sports shirts online” to someone searching “2019 Nike Pro AeroAdapt Long Sleeve.” The second potential customer knows exactly what they are looking for, which essentially means they’re probably ready to buy. When you optimize your pages to deliver better results, it results in higher sales.
Optimize Your Pages
They say nothing’s perfect in life, but we want to shoot for as close to perfect as possible when it comes to optimizing your category and product pages. A perfectly optimized eCommerce page should have the following:
- A title tag with click magnet words. These boost CTR and encourage conversions. Use words like “lowest price” or “% off.” You can also add modifiers like “exclusive,” “deals,” “buy,” and “cheap.” This will help you get more long-tail traffic.
- A description tag. Use phrases like “free shipping,” “great selection,” and “on-sale” to increase your CTR.
- Product and category page content of at least 1,000 words. Be sure to implement your keywords in the content. Use main targeted keywords at least three to five times throughout.
What Are Modifiers?
It’s probably pretty evident that you need to add your target keywords into your page title, description tags, and content. However, it would be best if you didn’t stop there. Modifiers can help your pages show up in more long-tail searches. So, what are they? Here’s an example:
If your keyword is “men’s running shoes,” you need to get creative and find other words that people might use when searching for this product. Common modifiers include:
- Free Shipping
You should add modifiers into your title tag to target the most significant number of users. So, instead of just putting “men’s running shoes,” your title tag can be “The Best Men’s Running Shoes Online.”
What Are Click Magnet Words?
Think about the actions you take when you’re shopping online. Most people have a handful of words that trigger their brain to tell their hand to click a search result. These can be called click magnet words. Since Google uses organic click-through-rates to rank your website, you should try to optimize your title tag for a higher CTR. This means more clicks, more sales, and better SEO results.
Most commonly, click magnet words have to do with price, quality, or added perks. The best click magnet words for your eCommerce product and category pages include:
- Free Shipping
- Best Price
- Lowest Price
- % Off
- Overnight Shipping
- Limited Time
So, you can take our example of “men’s running shoes” we used earlier and add the following for an optimized title tag: “40% Off Men’s Running Shoes and Overnight Shipping on Select Orders.”
Creating Better Description Tags
Description tags are also an essential part of successful on-page eCommerce SEO because of how it affects CTR. Description tags are longer than title tags, so you have more room to play with click magnet words and modifiers. Some great examples include:
- Unlock 50% off on men’s running shoes.
- Exclusive one-day-only sale on men’s running shoes
- Free shipping on all men’s running shoes today only.
- Click here to get exclusive deals on men’s running shoes.
- Great selection of men’s running shoes at the best prices.
Create Better Content for Your Product and Category Pages
One thousand words might seem like a lot, but it’ll bring you big results. The good news is that once your product and category pages are optimized, the most laborious SEO work will be behind you. You should always deliver high-quality content. However, page content is a little different than blog posts. You need to keep conversion rates and sales in mind when creating this type of content.
Here are the best practices for eCommerce product and category page content:
1. Write Descriptions with at Least 1,000 Words
Longer content still ranks the best when it comes to Google results. The fact is that search engines want to have a clear understanding of what your page is about. The more content you have, the easier it is for the search engines to understand what you offer. In-depth product pages also help your customers. They add to the customer experience because your users have a clear understanding of your products.
2. Add in Keywords
Once you have your product description written, you should be sure your targeted keyword is found at least 3-5 times in your content. This isn’t about keyword stuffing. That practice went out years ago. This is about including your keyword throughout your content a few times so search engines can better detect what your page is all about. Add your keyword to the beginning of your page to start then throw a few more in throughout the text.
3. Add LSI Keywords
Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords words or phrases that might be used with your main keyword. So, if your primary keyword is running shoes, keyword synonyms could be:
- Track & Field
- Track Shoes
These words are easy to find if you know how to look. Here are a few tips on how to find LSI keywords when it comes to eCommerce SEO.
1. Look Around
Find another popular eCommerce store that sells the same products as you do. Look throughout their content to see words or phrases that appear multiple times throughout the search results. Check within the product page as well.
2. Use a Google Keyword Planner
Enter your target keyword into the keyword planner. You’ll get a whole list of keywords. Find some lower-ranking keywords that might still be commonly searched.
3. Add Them to Your Content
Find ways to add the LSI keywords into your content. Be sure to do so in a way that makes sense. Google will pick it up if you are keyword stuffing, and this will be harmful to you in the long run.
The next step in optimizing your pages is to work on your URLs. They should be short but also keyword-rich. There is a direct correlation between length and rankings when it comes to the best Google search results. Short URLs rank higher, but this isn’t always possible in eCommerce. Since you have categories and subcategories, eCommerce URLs tend to be longer than regular URLs. Don’t worry about that!
When it comes to your URLs, make them as short as possible while still adding your keyword. Here’s an example:
The great thing about eCommerce is that internal linking is pretty much done automatically. That’s because of the way site navigation works with eCommerce. You should still follow an eCommerce SEO best practice for internal linking that is strategic, however.
Spend your time internally linking from authoritative pages to high-priority products and categories. Do this is a keyword0rich anchor text.
Uncover the Power of Product Reviews
When it comes to standing out, you should really focus on rich snippets. One of the most eye-catching rich snippets around is the customer review.
Here’s an example:
If you want the search engines to feature these reviews, you need to implement Schema markup on your eCommerce product pages. This is a special code that gives the search engines a deeper understanding of your page content.
There’s no guarantee when it comes to rich snippets, but having the right Schema markup can help boost your odds that the search engines will display it. This is no easy task. So, you might want to talk to an eCommerce SEO expert or use a program like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper. If you’re going to use a tool, make sure you double-check to your Schema is implemented right by using your Google Search Console.
Chapter 4: Technical SEO for eCommerce Success
Technical SEO is vital for all types of websites, but even more so for eCommerce. That’s because of the number of pages that eCommerce sites tend to have. It’s often a tiebreaker on the first page of Google’s search engine results. That means technical SEO issues can be the deciding factor between when you or your competitor gets the first place ranking.
While technical SEO can be a bit of a pain, it’s crucial that you regularly perform SEO site audits to ensure your website is set up for the best chance when it comes to high search engine results.
How to Check Technical SEO
When it comes to technical SEO, your best bet is to grab a tool that has a site audit feature. SEO tools are a great asset to eCommerce websites because they are thorough and easy-to-understand.
Here are some great examples of SEO tools that can provide eCommerce site audits for your business:
- Raven Tools
- Site Condor
Site auditors crawl your website to search for potential errors. They can identify common SEO problems like:
- Title tags that are too short or too long
- Description tags that are too short or too long
- Missing title or description tags
- Duplicate content
- Thin content (content that has low word count)
- Broken links
Fix Your Common Technical SEO Issues
Now that you know how to find technical SEO errors and what they might be let’s take a quick look at how to fix them. We’re diving into the most common technical SEO issues, why they happen, and how to fix them.
The Issue of Too Many Pages
One of the most common technical SEO problems is having too many pages on your website, especially when there are a bunch of unnecessary pages that don’t serve a purpose. Too many pages often lead to duplicate or insufficient page content.
The problem of too many pages usually happens because eCommerce websites have many products for sale. Each product requires its own page to promote and sell to customers properly. As more and more products are added to your online store, you accumulate many pages. Even the slightest variation of a product can require its own page to sell your products effectively. This can lead to a rise in total page count for your website.
Fixing the Issue of Too Many Pages
If your site audit shows that you have too many pages, take the time combing through your pages and see which ones you can delete or no index. Is each of your product pages generating income? If not, you may be better off deleting them than trying to fix or improve them. Sometimes you can combine products into a super page that has a drop-down for different options and variations of the same product.
Your CMS should be able to identify which pages have generated little or no revenue over a certain period of time. Before you delete, check Google Analytics to see if these pages are bringing in any traffic. Once you’ve eliminated all the unnecessary pages, focus on fixing and improving the rest of the pages on your site.
The Issue of Duplicate Content
This issue is another of the common technical SEO errors we see. And it can have a significant impact on your search engine results. Duplicate content can literally plummet your site to the bottom of Google rankings. Luckily, if you focus on creating new and unique content for each page, this issue can be quickly resolved.
Duplicate content occurs because your eCommerce site probably has several versions of the same product or category page. If each of your URLs is indexed by Google individually, you are going to find a lot of duplicate content on your site. Another reason it happens is that snippets of text begin to appear on multiple pages. Anything over 100 words will fall into this category.
Finally, duplicate content is often a result of lack of creativity or, for lack of a better word, laziness. Many eCommerce store owners are looking to get their site up and running fast. They copy the descriptions across the board, so their online store is in working order and launch. This is a huge problem! Identical content across multiple pages will severely damage your chances to rank.
Fixing the Issue of Duplicate Content
The first way to resolve this issue is to no-index your pages that fail to bring in search engine traffic. Once you do this, it’s time to unlock the power of the canonical tag. This tells the search engines that individual pages are exact copies (or close to it) of the content you have on other pages. When a search engine sees this, they don’t treat your duplicate content as unique pages.
The use of canonical tags is an excellent resource for those who know how to use it, especially eCommerce business owners. However, it can be difficult. While you should hire an eCommerce SEO professional to do this, you can also refer to this Google guide if you insist on doing it yourself.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to write unique page content for as many of your product pages as possible. It will take time and, if you’re not great with writing, it can be difficult. But, it will be a game-changer if you want to get better results for your eCommerce SEO.
The Issue of Thin Content
Thin content basically means that your pages don’t have enough content for search engines to fully understand what your pages offer. Just like duplicate content, thin content can do a number on your SEO results. The bottom line when it comes to ranking higher in the search engine results is that more content breeds better results.
The most common reason online businesses face the problem of thin content is that they can’t find the words to deliver unique content for each product they offer, especially when their products are similar. Let’s face it, how many unique descriptions can you write about the same running shoe? While you should aim for 1,000+ words on your important category and product pages, writing at least 500 is a good start if you’re having trouble.
Fixing the Issue of Thin Content
As with anything, the first thing you need to do is identify which pages are giving you the problem. Start by finding all the pages that are 250 words or less. Once you’ve found the problem pages, go in and add high-quality, informative, unique content. The more unique you can make your content, the better. Get excited about fixing this problem! Use the products you want to sell and create content that makes your viewers excited about them too!
The Issue of Site Speed
It is no secret that search engines put a considerable emphasis on site speed. Site speed can be a significant problem for your eCommerce SEO, but it affects your bottom line as well. In today’s fast-paced world, no one wants to wait for a website to load. NO ONE! Slow site speed can drastically decrease your search engine ranking, and it can also lead to higher shopping cart abandonment rate.
Why does your site take so long to load? There could be several reasons. First, certain platforms are slower than others. So, it could be the eCommerce platform you use for your website. Second, high-resolution product images usually come in large file sizes. This could slow down your site speed big time! Finally, your hosting provider or server could be slowing you down.
Fixing the Issue of Site Speed
The good news when it comes to site speed is that it’s usually easy to find a resolution. If it is your hosting provider and server that’s causing the issue, upgrade your hosting. You get what you pay for, so you might have to pay a little more to get better results. Consider investing in a CDN. This doesn’t just boost your site speed; it keeps your website safe from hackers and cyber attacks. Finally, make sure you optimize all your images before you load them to your site by compressing them. This will create a massive difference with site speed.
So, there you have it! Just like that, you’ve breezed through chapters 1-4 of our Ultimate Guide to eCommerce SEO! In part 3, we will talk about content marketing and eCommerce link building to wrap up our guide. If you missed part 1, check it out here.
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