A Unique Process for Ecommerce Sites
Ecommerce optimisation requires a different skill-set to traditional SEO. Your online store differs from a standard website, in terms of taxonomy, navigational hierarchy, filtering, content, and layout. If this isn’t factored into your SEO strategy, your online visibility may suffer.
As an ecommerce SEO specialist, I adopt a wide range of tailored optimisation techniques, to boost ranking results, and generate more traffic and sales.
Addressing product schema
Your product pages present an excellent opportunity for optimisation – not just in the standard tags and on page optimisation, but in the form of schema mark-up. This code provides the search engines with a better understanding of your content, which pays off in terms of your visibility in the SERPS.
Get the product schema right, and it’s likely that Google will add rich snippets to your URL when you appear in the search results. This makes you far more likely to stand out (and attract click-throughs). As such, I always give product schema the time it needs when working on a client’s website.
Handling product category filters
Duplicate content and opportunities missed with filters that exclude from search can be a big issue for ecommerce sites, especially those with hundreds of product pages. Considering the SEO implications of a particular filtering approach is essential to gaining valuable long tail traffic, and focusing rankings on the right pages. I’ll check your product category filters, to ensure that the pages causing problems are hidden from Google, and pages offering hidden opportunities for traffic are given the visibility they need.
Don’t accept your ecommerce platform's default settings blindly.
Product page Canonicalisation
Canonical tags let the search engine know that some pages feature similar (or identical) content. It’s important to put these in place where appropriate, as otherwise, Google will penalise you for having duplicate content. Again, this is especially important for sites with lots of product pages (and lots of paths to those pages), which could cause pages to appear on multiple URLs.
Setting up hreflang for international stores
Hreflang tags don’t just let the search engines know which language your page is written in. They also inform which page to index in which country's version of Google, and which version of the site is the default if there isn’t a specific version for a country. These tags are also a vital internal linking structure, and help the value of your main domain flow to your country directories or subdomains.
For example, if you’ve created a German-language version of your site, the hreflang tag will make sure that customers searching in German only see the site in their native language (and not your English version). Obviously this improves engagement and boosts conversions, so it’s well worth doing.
Keyword optimisation with limited content
It’s not uncommon for ecommerce product pages to have limited content, particularly if the images ‘do the talking’. As part of my optimisation process, I look for ways to incorporate keywords into not only the visible content on the page, but also in other elements, such as the page’s meta data, image tags and URLs. I advise on ways content can be used subtly on category, subcategory, and product pages to add relevance directly to the pages, as well as passing relevance to these pages from more content-rich, editorial pages on the site.
Dynamic tag optimisation
Dynamic tags are a fast way to optimise your subcategory and product page meta data, and don’t necessarily need significant development work. With a good understanding of your product range, taxonomy, and the way users search, I'll devise a set of matrices that can be applied to the meta data of your pages. This ensures that, without intervention, every new page is automatically optimised. It's extremely useful for large sites, and sites with high product churn or seasonal collections.
Developing an effective navigational structure
The structure of your ecommerce site is very different to a standard business website. Some of the internal links will be incorporated naturally, but they’ll still benefit from optimisation.
When working on the structure of a site, I focus on:
Creating links, from high-authority pages to high-priority category / product pages
Internal linking throughout the site
Ease-of-navigation through the category and product pages
The customer ‘flow’ – e.g. how easy it is for them to progress from a casual browser to a buyer
The hierarchy – how many ‘levels’ there are, and whether your hierarchy could be simplified