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Few Areas to Deliver Big Results in E-Commerce SEO

Posted by peterzmijewski | Filed under Seo Techniques

When it comes to e-commerce SEO at scale, many of the traditional tactics used for on-site optimization simply aren’t feasible.How are you going to write individually optimized titles/meta descriptions for hundreds of thousands of products?How are you going to perform keyword research for the millions of different keyword combinations your products might rank for?Because of the large scale of many e-commerce sites, traditional SEO tactics may simply be too time-intensive or tedious to make a top priority.On top of the time commitment that would be required for traditional SEO, e-commerce sites tend to present a unique set of SEO hurdles that need to be addressed.

From our work with e-commerce clients, we’ve identified five areas for e-commerce SEO that can lead to strong organic traffic and revenue growth:

1.Site indexation
As mentioned above, crawl budget is a crucial consideration for large e-commerce sites.All of the on-site optimization in the world won’t help your site if Googlebot and other crawlers aren’t finding your content in the first place.There are a few tactics you can employ to improve your site indexation.One is to review the number of 5xx server errors your site returns in Google Search Console.Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Gary Illyes recently wrote a blog post on crawl budget in which he specifically directs webmasters to pay attention to the number of server errors in the Crawl Errors report in Search Console. This is because a large number of server errors or connection timeouts generally indicates poor site health.It turned out that a lot of discontinued products were still being included in sitemaps on the site, even though the pages were removed,which meant that Google was continuing to waste valuable crawl budget on products that were no longer in stock.Ensure that your sitemaps are dynamically updated to reflect the arrival of new products and the discontinuation of old products.

2.Main menu navigation
Though main menu navigation is important for internal linking and SEO in general, it takes on a renewed level of urgency for e-commerce sites.The pages identified in your menu are the ones most likely to be indexed and ranking in search results, especially since that menu will appear across hundreds of thousands of pages. The value of internal linking in main menu navigation is amplified for e-commerce sites.One way to capitalize on this menu navigation opportunity is to use secondary navigation options. Home Depot is a prime example of this.Their “All Departments”menu only includes their 17 most general product categories.However, when you hover over each category, it expands to secondary options within that category (and even tertiary options beyond that).

3.On-page copy for category pages
Many webmasters think it’s okay to have product category pages that merely list the available products and are otherwise devoid of page content.I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s not.Just listing products on a product category page provides almost no indication of what that page should rank for in Google.Crawlers like to see textual HTML content on a page to help understand what search results the page should appear in.Even something as simple as a two-paragraph description of the category provides crawlers with indexable content that gives you a much better chance of ranking in search results.It doesn’t matter if the content is at the top of the page or the bottom, as long as it’s visible to users and to crawlers.

4.Product schema
While there are many helpful uses for Schema.org structured data, quite possibly the most helpful SEO use of structured data is for Product schema.Google puts a lot of emphasis on product schema,especially for e-commerce sites.In addition to appearing in similar items searches, proper use of Product schema can make your products stand out in search results.Google will display a variety of structured data elements from Product schema, including price, star ratings, availability and more.You can see in the example below how Wayfair uses this markup effectively to increase their product visibility in search results.If possible, dynamically update your Star Rating field when customers leave new reviews on your products, as this adds more credibility to your schema and makes it likelier for Google to display your ratings.

5.URL structure
When it comes to URL structure, the best solution is to keep your products as close to the root folder as possible.Although it may feel more logical to have your products several directories deep (like www.example.com/products/stuff/things/thing-1), you’re not going to want to adopt that system.Longer URLs mean that searchers don’t see your actual product name until the end of the URL, which can sometimes be abbreviated or clipped in search results.If you look at almost all major online retailers, you’ll see that their actual product listing pages are rarely more than one to two folders away from the root directory.It’s okay to include longer parameter strings after the product folder, but make sure that product name is visible in the URL for search results.

Final thoughts
By employing these five tactics, we’ve seen some noticeable SEO progress for our e-commerce clients. Here’s one client we’ve been working with since October 2016.E-commerce SEO can have strong effects on your or your client’s online revenue, and the five tactics outlined above are the best way to get a jump start on that SEO progress.


Peter Zmijewski is the founder and CEO at KeywordSpy.His expert knowledge on Internet Marketing practices and techniques has earned him the title “Internet Marketing Guru“ He is also an innovator, investor and entrepreneur widely recognized by the top players in the industry.

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