SEO Secret Tips for Your e-commerce

SEO is Part of The Online Marketing

SEO is now part of the growing online marketing ecosystem of “inbound marketing.” Inbound marketing tactics include:

  • Content marketing through blogging, video, news articles, and copywriting
  • Search engine marketing through organic channels including local, mobile and vertical search
  • Social media marketing on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and in forums
  • Community engagement, outreach and customer service
  • Building links and non-social external traffic referrals
  • Brand marketing to capitalize on direct traffic and branded search, including news and PR
  • Email marketing
  • Conversion rate optimization
  • User experience through design and interface improvements and page speed
  • Customer retention and lifecycle management
  • A boat load of other activities

SEO Secret Tips for Your e-commerce

Get More From Your Review Content

Review content represents a huge opportunity for e-commerce websites, purely because of the level of unique content available for product pages. If you optimize your review acquisition process and ask the right questions, this could be a really big part of your organic growth strategy.

If you are using an enterprise-level platform like BazaarVoice, you can send review prompts and follow-up emails to optimize the success rates of obtaining customer reviews. This will generate more volume as well. Also, provide some kind of incentive, such as a monthly prize draw, to help make the review proposition more enticing.

Be Vigilant With Low-Quality Pages

Panda represents a huge risk to e-commerce websites with low-quality pages (too many dynamic pages, pages without content, duplicate variants of content, or just duplicate content). Panda is notoriously difficult to overcome, so listen up.

Focus on the following items (in order) to future-proof your website:

Dynamic Pages

Dynamic pages can cause issues when left accessible to search engines, which is you should prevent them from being indexed. I have seen plenty of cases where a website had been either affected by Panda or generally saw a drop in rankings as a result of allowing these pages to be indexed.

Here are some of the most common types of dynamic pages:

  • Layered navigation
  • Pagination
  • Tracking parameters
  • Sort filter

In order to prevent this from being an issue, perform regular website crawls and keep an eye of what is being indexed.

Duplicate Product Content

Duplicate product content is probably the most common e-commerce SEO problem. And, it results in low search position due to Google’s Panda update. The most common issues relates to retailers opting for supplier content (usually because they do not have the resource internally). This will, unless it is a strong domain, prevent a website from ranking for product queries.

If you are in this position, gradually edit the copy. Prioritize with product pages that already generate a lot of traffic and revenue. Another common issue is the use of product feeds which results in the same duplicate product copy. This is happens when retailers provide a shopping feed to affiliates, resellers, and marketplaces. To combat the risk of duplicate copy, create a second feed with separate content to eliminate the risks associated with sharing a product feed.

Out of Stock Pages

There are many different opinions on what to do on a product page when it is out of stock. I would suggest to leave it, especially if it is a only a temporary issue. When you leave an out-of-stock product page, you run the risk of unhappy customers, so you need to provide some helpful information. Do one of the following options:

  • Provide the user with some indication of when the product will be back in stock. This can either be a static date or a countdown to show the user when they can purchase the product.
  • Capture the user’s email address and automatically send an email once the product is stocked again.
  • Allow the user to continue to purchase the product, and deliver it direct once it is is back in stock.
  • Finally, provide the user with products similar to the product they are looking at.

Any of these techniques will enable you to provide a positive outcome for the user and the search engine… until the time the product is discontinued.

When that time comes, have a strategy in place to ensure that the product pages are not left in the wilderness. For websites with thousands of pages, create an automated process to reduce the amount of hours spent on implementing redirects. When creating rules for discontinued products, there are a number of internal factors that may affect the decision. Here are some suggested methods:

  • 301 redirect the product to either an updated model, or the most relevant alternative product.
  • If there is no product available, then redirect the product to the category or sub-category.
  • Remove the product completely and provide the search engine with a 410 status code to have it removed the index.

Rich Snippets

I am often surprised by the lack of online retailers who have not yet implemented rich snippets. With structured data becoming more of a factor, those who have implemented rich snippets are starting to see the benefits. Implementing rich snippets provides the user with further information about a product and also allows the result to stand apart from other search competition.

Get Granular With Sitemaps

Sitemaps can be the forgotten SEO technique. In fact, a large number of companies only have a single sitemap containing all of their content. Although it does the job, it does nothing to help inform where your indexing issues are.

Using a sitemap index allows you to be more granular with the categorization of the sitemaps, providing you with more information, but sometimes it’s not enough. With larger websites with multiple categories, it is essential to use multiple sitemap indices. Breaking your website into multiple sitemap indices makes it easier to understand where the indexing issues lie.

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