E-Commerce websites are often seen as a challenge in terms of on-page search engine optimisation. E-Commerce sites tend to be large sites, often with many thousands of product pages. This makes even knowing where to start a daunting task.

The temptation for retailers selling the same products as others on the internet is to use the same titles and descriptions as their competitors or using the information provided by the product manufacturer. This is not good practice from an SEO viewpoint!

By far the best approach is to consider the on-page SEO at the time new pages are created or even when existing pages are updated. For established e-commerce sites this may not be practical and you will need to go through all the pages on a category by category basis.

The 4 tips below may help you in your optimisation efforts:

1. Take Care over Product Descriptions:

If possible try splitting your product descriptions into two sections. In the first section – the most prominent part of the product page – give the potential buyer the key product information such as its name, what it does and the main features and benefits. Your product description is one of the key influencers in whether a customer buys from you or not, so take care in selling the benefits. This first bit should be written very much with the buyer in mind.

The second part of the description is where you can add to the key points and include any must have ‘keywords’ – in other words this bit can be aimed more at the search engines. Never write product descriptions with content aimed at the search engines first.

This recommended split of the product description will help you retain focus on the people that will buy from you whilst the second bit will help your organic search engine rankings.

2. Create Unique Meta Descriptions:

Whilst a major challenge, each product’s meta description and meta title should be unique – even if it is only slightly different from other descriptions on your site. Your meta data is your ‘ad’ on Google so it has to be right.

The meta description in no longer thought to be part of Google’s ranking algorithm but it is time well spent in getting the meta description right, using keyword rich content. We recommend that you view writing meta titles and meta descriptions in the same way you would if you were writing a paid search advert for the product. As with paid search you have a limited number of characters for both the title and the description of the product and you should also include a call to action in the description.

Think of Google and the other search engines as large classified advertising platforms. You need to say what it is that you are selling (Meta Page Title) and what is does, how it benefits you and why a customer should buy from you (Meta Description).

3. Use Effective Page URL’s:

Try and keep a uniform but simple URL structure (the file names of your pages). Usually your e-commerce website will have products sorted by category. Make sure all products are listed in the correct category (or categories). Using URL’s that include the product name will help the search engines to recognise products and where they sit within the overall product offerings.

For example an online Jewellery website might have a category for ‘Ladies Watches’. The product URL could be something very specific like ‘/ladies-gold-rolex-watch’ which would be a likely search phrase used by a potential customer. In other words spending time doing keyword research around your products is likely to help you determine the most effective product URL’s.

4. Remember the Search Engines need help to see your Product’s images:

The search engines cannot read images unless you include an ‘alt-tag’ (alternative text tag) for each product image used. It also helps if you save the images with a product friendly filename rather than a camera generated filename. Using alt tags that say what the product is and having an image file with the product name will help the search engines to easily identify what the image is and will help your organic search ranking.

This will also be of benefit to you when people search for images rather than web results as it is likely to lead to increased click throughs to the site.

If you need any help with the search engine optimisation of your e-commerce website please leave a comment below or call GB Web Marketing on 01293 822 755

Chris Griffin
Chris Griffin
Chris has been a Digital Marketing Consultant since 2005. Since 2007 he has specialised in Search Engine Marketing, both Paid Search and Organic SEO. He has an excellent record of helping businesses of all sizes, both in the UK and overseas, to achieve their online marketing goals.

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