5 E-Commerce SEO Tips to Sell More Products
The physical, off-line brick and mortar retail industry continues to contract. People around the world are choosing the convenience and simplicity of shopping online. A recent survey by the National Retail Federation estimated that 108.5 million Americans shopped online over the Thanksgiving weekend, which is well above the 99.1 million who shopped at brick and mortar locations. Amazon, Wal-Mart and other major retail stores dominate e-commerce, but many small businesses and individuals make money selling products, using such solutions as Shopify, SquareSpace and the WooCommerce plugin for WordPress.
Because these businesses don't have the name recognition of the big brands, they drive their own traffic. As ever, this includes Search Engine Optimization. According to N Channel, 44% of online shoppers begin with a search engine query, which is an opportunity for small e-commerce sites. According to KissMetrics, 30% of e-commerce traffic comes from search engines.
On-Page SEO Best Practices Still Apply
However, many e-commerce websites ignore these optimization rules, partly because page building system throw product pages together on the fly by pulling information from a database. Therefore, if you follow these tips, you have a big advantage over many other e-commerce sites, including many of the big names.
1. The search engines still want great content that's unique.
Many e-commerce sites have hundreds, or even thousands, of product pages with the name of the title, a brief description of its pertinent features and a picture. You wouldn't expect Google to rank a blog post on page one for a competitive keyword based on only fifty words of content. Google and Bing don't care that your page's topic is a television, toaster or a table. They still want plenty of good, relevant content.
And you wouldn't expect a blog post that contained the same fifty words as twenty other websites to rank highly either. But many e-commerce sites simply repeat the manufacturer's product description. Many manufacturers still supply just enough of a product description to fit into a paper catalog or to distinguish one sweater from another.
Therefore, e-commerce sites need to write their own long, unique product descriptions using keywords related to the product. These product descriptions work best when they both inform and entice visitors. Use good sales copy to make them want to buy the product. Do not use descriptions written by the manufacturer or by anybody else.
Good descriptions help sell the product to the web visitors and, by using their language, add long-tail keywords to the page.
2. Encourage customers to post product reviews.
Amazon has trained online shoppers to look at product reviews before they buy. However, product reviews not only help increase your product page's conversion rate, they help with SEO. That's because they constitute content. It's relevant. It's unique. And it's ongoing. A product page that attracts new reviews is like a blog post that keeps getting new comments, and that keeps the search engine crawlers coming back more often to check on what's new on the page.
3. Every product page should have a unique page title.
This is a basic on-page SEO practice, but one that many e-commerce sites ignore. Even though many product pages have duplicate brand and product names, include the model number or other unique detail. Some customers do know exactly which make and model they're looking for, and having that in your title will help your listing be the one they click to.
4. Research keywords for your category pages.
Your category pages won't generate as much traffic as your product pages, but they're still important. Unless your category is unique to your particular line of products, the best site to research keywords for categories is Amazon. Drill down into their departments and subcategories. Put good, unique content on all your category pages, not just links to individual product pages. Wikipedia pages also contain a lot of synonyms and alternative terms for products your prospects might search for.
5. Switch from HTTP to HTTPS.
HTTPS simply means "secure" HTTP. This indicates your site has an SSL certificate (for Secure Socket Layer) and guards your customer's personal information, especially their credit card numbers, zealously. Google considers that so important, they announced they ranked secure sites higher than ordinary sites. They usually don't explain their algorithm, so that indicates they want you to switch to HTTPS if you haven't already. This article explains the process.