As an eCommerce seller, you might think that creating a beautiful website with thousands of products is enough to get ranked in the search results and drive traffic to your website. However, most eCommerce sites have hundreds, if not thousands, of product pages and category pages to manage. This means there are many opportunities to excel in eCommerce SEO, and even more, opportunities to fail.
Optimising eCommerce websites is trickier than for your typical business website. With so many moving parts and products being uploaded and removed, many factors can affect your SEO performance. Knowing where these potential pitfalls are and how to overcome them will help you be on your way to eCommerce success.
At TSCA, we’ve helped our eCommerce clients boost their rankings with our tried and tested methods at eCommerce SEO. We’ve gathered the 9 biggest eCommerce SEO mistakes you need to avoid, including:
- Poor Keyword Research
- Keyword Stuffing
- Duplicating Content
- Lack of Security
- Poor Page Load Speed
- Lack of Product Reviews
- non-mobile-friendly Sites
- Lack of CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Improper 404 Redirects
Read on to learn more about each of these SEO errors made by eCommerce websites and online stores.
Poor Keyword Research
When conducting keyword research, the first thing you need to think of is your audience. How will they be searching for your product? Will they search “lemonade” or, more likely, “cloudy lemonade cans”?
Targeting high volume keywords isn’t enough to bring in the relevant traffic you need to create sales. You’ll have to match the audience’s intent, and it won’t always be the same as your product’s name.
Find long-tail keywords that most closely match your product offering, and use them in your titles, meta descriptions, H1’s and your product descriptions. It’s also a good idea to use Brand names and Model names in Titles and headings where possible.
On the other end of the spectrum from thorough keyword research is keyword stuffing: the act of placing your keywords unnaturally throughout the content to trick search engines and boost your rankings.
Keyword stuffing is never a good idea. Google’s algorithm has evolved from the early days of SEO where this was commonplace, to now – where high-quality content is considered the most important.
Make sure you place your keywords so that they flow naturally in product descriptions and titles, and remember keyword stuffing could result in poor user experience, high bounce rates, and even a Google Penalty.
Creating unique content is the cornerstone of modern SEO. Google penalises those who have duplicate content, both on the same domains and others.
While it may be tempting to take the easy route and create product description templates to be duplicated across the site, or use the manufacturer provided descriptions, this is an easy way to ensure you won’t get ranked for those keywords. Many other retailers will use those same descriptions, leaving you with non-unique content
Always ensure that your product pages and category pages have unique content and descriptions. If you won’t be able to produce original content for a page, or there is low inventory and it will be out of stock soon, you could consider adding a noindex tag to the page, so Google doesn’t think you are trying to manipulate rankings with thousands of pages with duplicate content and only a few with original content.
Lack of Security
With more and more people shopping online, some even for the first time, cybersecurity is at the forefront of people’s minds. When your customer shows up on your website, they want to be sure that their data and contact details will be safe in your hands, and that they are okay to interact with your website.
Retailers who choose to skip out on an SSL certificate are setting themselves up for SEO failure – Google now recognises SSL as a key SEO ranking factor, since it impacts both website security and user experience.
Adding an SSL certificate to your website is a quick way to boost credibility, user experience, and rankings.
Poor Page Load Speed
As previously mentioned, user experience is hugely important to SEO at the moment, and a website’s loading speed directly relates to this.
Online shoppers are more likely to abandon their cart if a website takes too long to load. On mobile, this is even more important – with the introduction of Google’s mobile-first indexing, if your page loads slowly on mobile, you’ve got some work to do.
Lack of Product Reviews
Customer reviews are one of the best ways to power your SEO performance. They can help increase your search rankings, increase sales, and help your customers make informed decisions. Over 80% of people say that a product review will encourage them to make a purchase.
If your online store is lacking in customer reviews, you should give them as many opportunities to do so as you can. This can be done in many ways:
- Send a link to review the product after delivery confirmation
- Connect to Google My Business and share your review link with past customers and clients
- Give them the option to add a testimonial to your website
Whatever you do, don’t use pushy or spammy techniques to gain reviews, and don’t buy fake reviews, as these types of black hat SEO techniques can backfire.
Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing means that if you don’t have a mobile-friendly eCommerce website, you need to get one, pronto.
eCommerce sites without mobile-ready designs will lose out on much valuable traffic. And with more and more consumers doing online shopping on their mobiles, that missed traffic will only increase each year.
Lack of CDN (Content Delivery Network)
eCommerce websites that get traffic from numerous locations could experience increased loading times and an overall slower response time, which will negatively impact your SEO performance.
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) can help websites display visual content, such as images, videos, etc, quicker, even if the website has heavy traffic. This can help decrease server loading times and increase your page loading speeds and user experience.
While some newer hosting platforms offer a CDN as a feature, many others (WordPress, Magento, WooCommerce) still do not, so you’ll have to keep this in consideration when determining your CMS.
Improper 404 Redirects
When you discontinue a product or run out of stock, your first instinct might be to remove the page so you don’t confuse your audience, but without proper redirections, you could lead your customer to a 404 error page, and a poor user experience.
If you are removing a product or out of stock, you can list this on your product page so you won’t lose valuable traffic, or even better, redirect to a page that most closely relates to the missing product page, and remove the dead links from indexing.
Avoid the temptation to automatically redirect 404s to your homepage, as this can lead to frustration, especially on larger, more complex websites.
How can I avoid these eCommerce SEO mistakes?
As you can see, Google’s biggest priority at the moment is providing a great user experience with high-quality content. Most of these common eCommerce SEO mistakes can be rectified by focusing your attention on how best to serve your customers.
When it comes to eCommerce SEO, there are so many opportunities to slip up, but these 9 SEO errors are the biggest hindrance to your growth. With thorough keyword research, optimisation of product pages and category pages, and paying attention to security and website speeds, you can be well on your way to eCommerce success. You should also make sure to always keep up to date with the Google algorithm updates, and monitor performance on Google Analytics so you can easily identify any issues that arise.
If you’re looking for an eCommerce SEO agency to improve your online visibility and boost sales, get in touch with us to discuss how we can help you.