SEO Guide for eCommerce

November 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

With more and more eCommerce sites popping up internationally as well as locally, it seems like a good time to talk about the specificities of SEO for this area.  The number of products and links present particular challenges, as does the spectre of duplicate content in multiple locations.

SEO Guide eCommerce

Hang on, isn’t SEO for eCommerce just the same as regular SEO?

First things first – no, not really.  Apart from the factors discussed above, it’s not just about getting web traffic, but about converting that traffic into sales, which puts a different slant on things.  Most eCommerce SEO strategies will concentrate on content, using long-tail keywords to ensure that the site’s tailored to those actually looking to buy.  And yes, good content, that hasn’t just been copy-and-pasted from the product manufacturer, is a good start.  But you need to look beyond that if you’re looking to maximise the benefits of SEO and turn that traffic into sales.

Where eCommerce sites deal with a huge number of products, and types of products, you’re looking at a vastly increased pool of potential keywords.  Sitemaps, navigation and URL structure can get out of hand.  Competition can be fierce – so how do you stand out from the crowd?

Site Structure is key

SEO Guide Structure

Good content and keyword use will help drive traffic, as will the use of microformat data to make your listing look more authoritative in search results, and getting your head around Google Shopping; but the customer (and the search engine spider) needs to be able to find their way around your site!  That’s why a solid site structure is absolutely key to eCommerce SEO.  Without it, you’re storing up trouble for yourself further down the line.

Simple Steps toward Effective Site Structure

Clear Category Trees

Do your research.  What does Google analytics tell you about who comes to your site, and what they’re looking for?  Is brand, as well as product, important to them?  What are their exit points?  Can you formulate categories that encourage browsing?  Are linked categories intuitively linked?

Clear Navigation

There are two issues here – that of usability and crawlability.  The UX has to be right – can you find your way back to a main menu?  Is it consistent throughout the site?  And as ever, if you’re using any kind of Javascript navigation, make sure that you’re also using text links somewhere on the page, or the search engine spiders simply won’t be able to find half of your content.

Good Anchor Text links

The opportunity for good anchor text should arise from good content, but remember – pick your linking anchor text with keywords in mind, and stay well away from “click here”.  The wider the range of products, the harder it’s going to be, but the more opportunities you have.

Deep Linking

With the huge number of products that eCommerce sites deal with, categories and sub-categories can often get out of hand.  If it’s unavoidable, then make sure you’re giving the opportunity for the deeper pages to be linked to some of those closer to the surface.  This will help the search engine spiders find those products which are buried in the site.

 

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