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SEO Best Practices for Ecommerce Websites

Over the last few years consumers have become increasingly secure about shopping through online resources. As they have become safer, there are more online purchases occurring than ever before. This offers the ecommerce site an opportunity to be taken advantage of, as long as they know how to stay competitive. This is of course the catch since ecommerce has become more difficult. Google acts like they want to be the only affiliate on the internet and with Amazon being the giant it is, it can be difficult to get notice as a valid alternative. Search engines also tend to remove commercial sites from their results and replace them with their own sets of ads or shopping programs. Search engines also tend to lean toward ranking results for content but not so much for products. There are several strategies and SEO best practices that can help improve an ecommerce site’s ranking in SERPs.

Going Mobile

According to industry experts, over 20% of online shopping is now conducted on mobile devices. But there are still a lot of online stores that have not optimized their sites for use on these devices. This makes the site difficult to navigate and read. The buttons are also too small and this can frustrate the mobile user. Some estimates indicate that inside of three years over half of all shopping sessions will occur on mobile devices. People are no longer tethered to a desk and expect to be able to conduct their shopping on mobile devices. For the ecommerce site to be successful site designs need to be more mobile friendly in nature and use of responsive design when creating a site is becoming more of a necessity to stay ahead in the ecommerce game.

Content Based E-commerce

Panda threw almost everyone a curve and it really hit commerce sites more than others. Panda looks at the web like it is a host for blogs, videos and other content that is there simply to either entertain or inform. The way the Panda update was designed indirectly hit sites that don’t have enough content. This can really affect an ecommerce site especially in the SERPs since many of them are commercially based. Since the search engines are looking for content, an ecommerce site is going to have to provide it. There are some strategies that can help your ecommerce site from appearing too thin. An ecommerce site can:

  • Avoid using template product descriptions
  • Give every product its own unique content (user generated is best)
  • When unique content is not reasonable, no-index the product pates and put quality content on other pages

Exceptional content is more than just Panda friendly, it is shareable. This can help boost referral traffic, provide positive branding and help develop long term relationships with consumers.

User Friendly Websites

While it is important to stay relevant in search results, it is really about conversions. This means making the most out of every single visit. In order to obtain and retain traffic to the ecommerce site you will want to build a site that is very user friendly and has minimal load time on both desktop and mobile devices. Search engines today look for sites that are geared to the user as well. Here are a few areas to contemplate when designing an ecommerce site:

  • Aesthetically appealing design
  • Interactive elements to prevent a passive site
  • Increase user interaction by offering visitors the opportunity to leave a review, earn points or badges, participate in a forum, or otherwise share your content across social media outlets
  • Page load time is very important to retain users and avoiding bounces
  • De-clutter the site so that users are not distracted or overwhelmed
  • Simply processes like sign-ups or purchases

Skip the Excessive Keywords

In order for a page to rank for specific keywords today it just takes some common sense; and you do not need to overuse the keywords. Just make sure that the page is really about the keyword and that the search engine has enough content to work with. Stuffing the keyword in titles, descriptions, tags and even content is building the site for the search engines and not the users. Google is actually changing its algorithms to help crawlers identify sites that are user friendly and designed for the user not the search engines. It is still part of SEO best practices to use relevant keywords in the title tag but you do not have to squeeze them all in to gain a positive effect. There is really no more “keyword density” for that matter. Google has shifted away from making links and keywords “king” and is more oriented toward statistics and co-citation. Focus more on giving users useful information instead of just using keywords. Search engines have become very good at sorting through the data to determine when a site is relevant and legitimate.

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