As the holidays approach, we’re putting special focus on helping our e-commerce clients become as successful as possible in an increasingly competitive atmosphere. We know for a fact that fantastic products and a lovely site design simply aren’t enough to ensure the kinds of conversions our clients need.
Keeping our clients competitive will instead rely upon ensuring their sites are being updated in accordance with SEO best practices.
Proper Keyword Usage
Keep in mind it’s no longer necessary to consciously cram a certain keyword percentage onto any web page. Google’s gotten a lot smarter, not only about recognizing keywords, but recognizing the words you’d expect to find side-by-side with those keywords. With that being said, the keyword should be in the product title and description.
Usually, this just makes good sense. If you’re selling a pair of “Ugg Boots,” then the title of that page is going to be “Ugg Boots.” “Ugg Boots” will also be the keyword. You’ll probably use the words “boots” a few more times. You might also describe the materials used to construct the boots, where and when you might want to wear them, and more.
What you don’t want to do is go overboard. You’ll bore the end user and convince Google you’re keyword stuffing.
Product descriptions are where most e-commerce sites fall down on the job. There is a temptation to provide minimal product descriptions, or to simply cut and paste the manufacturer’s descriptions.
We must find interesting and informative ways to present each product to the end user. These descriptions must be unique. Research tells us 150 to 300 words is ideal for products. If a merchant has several products that differ only in color and size, it’s good to group them with a drop-down menu so one page (and one unique product description) suffices for all of them.
It’s important not to neglect category pages. Each category page should serve as a 500-word article about the products people will find.
There are multiple opportunities to make these pages useful by providing mini buying guides, size guides, or style guides on these pages. For example, perhaps “Women’s Shoes” is your category page. You can spend a paragraph telling people what kinds of shoes you carry, but that will only account for about 100 words of text.
You could flesh out the other 400 in a useful way by adding “Choose the Shoe for Every Occasion,” then discussing which shoes are right for which occasions and locations, with examples and links to specific products. Again, make sure category groupings make sense and that there are not too many of them so that you don’t end up with a glut of repetitive content.
We should always be looking for other opportunities to post useful content. Instruction manuals, gift guides, how-to infographics and other information can be placed at appropriate intervals on the e-commerce site to help it rank better overall.
It’s incredibly important to help our clients gather as many product reviews as possible. These add fresh content to the site and provide social proof as to why the customer should trust any given product. E-mail marketing focusing on “thank you for purchasing” and “review this product” letters as well as site design will help ensure that a steady stream of product reviews continues to flow.
Of course, this also means our site design must remain conducive to gathering e-mail addresses from customers when they’ve finished purchasing a product.
Some e-commerce experts suggest putting a social sharing button on every page, but this is risky. Few people share products they’re buying unless those products are especially clever and cool. Meanwhile, a low number of shares could convince some buyers the product isn’t worthwhile, reducing conversion rates.
Cleaning up the Back End
Much of SEO occurs on the back end, and e-commerce is no exception. It’s important to look to the details below to ensure we give our clients a fighting chance:
- Alt Text
- XML Site Maps
- Page Speed
- Easy, SEO Friendly Product URLs
- Meta Data
Page speed is especially important, as customers are incredibly likely to abandon their shopping carts if a slow load time impedes their progress in any way.
While most of these best practices are little more than Fair Marketing’s standard operating procedure, it’s still a great idea to brush up on them. Our clients need us to bring our A-game right now!