E-commerce web sites have their own unique challenges and opportunities for Search Engine Optimization. Perhaps the greatest challenges are the problems of individual product page visibility, and the issue of duplicate content with other sites. By following some basic ecommerce SEO guidelines, you can avoid these problems and significantly improve your ranking in search engine results.
Help the search engines find your pages
Individual page visibility can be an issue if individual product pages are dynamically shown to the user based on a site search. A search engine cannot enter text into your search box to find out what content is on your site, so unless there are static links to your products, the search engines will not find your product pages. Here are some tips to help over come this problem:
- Try to avoid dynamically generated URLs when product pages are displayed as a result of a site search. Search engines cannot index these properly so your content will be lost.
- Feature your most important products on your home page and provide a static link to their pages in your store
- Link from those product pages to other similar products, to provide the search engines with a pathway to explore your entire e-commerce site
- Add additional static content to your site. A blog is a good way to do this, because you can write about your products and then provide a link to their product pages that the search engines can follow. Other content could include ideas on how to use your products, or customer reviews and testimonials, all with links to the appropriate product page.
Avoid duplicate content – make your site fresh and different
Another reason product pages are often ignored by the search engines is because they appear to have duplicate content from other sites. This is often a result of using the generic product descriptions provided by the manufacturer of the products you are selling – many other e-commerce sites may also be using those descriptions. Search engines will often discard content that they believe to be duplicating another site. In addition, if some of your products are very similar, for example you have different pages for different sizes or colors of the same item, this may also appear to be duplicate content to the search engines. Here are some ways you can make sure your ecommerce site is listed ahead of your competition in the search engine results:
- Use unique tags and descriptions on every page of your site, including each product page.
- Include your own unique product description for each product, rather than the generic one provided by the manufacturer
- Add additional content about the product. You could include customer reviews, or your own thoughts on what you like about the product.
- Add links to similar products that you sell, with a unique description of those products
In other ways, E-commerce SEO isn’t that different than optimizing a regular web site. Online shoppers are increasingly using search engines to look for products and services online. E-commerce SEO is an essential aspect of making sure potential customers can find your web site in search engine results.