Search engine optimisation is critical for all types of websites but especially ecommerce platforms. Things can get tricky for e-commerce websites largely due to the sheer volume of products offered for sale!

It can become quite an undertaking to optimise thousands of merchandise pages –  but if you want to be successful online you are going to have to take the time and dive into SEO at some point.

It will come as no surprise to hear that good quality, relevant, unique page content is an important step in the process of optimising a website.

In many cases an e-commerce website will have product categories where the only difference between ten or fifteen products could be simply the colour or size. It might be easy to write one product description and simply change the text for the colour or size piece of the description but you need to do more than that. You really need to take the time and focus on creating unique product descriptions even if the products are very similar.

What detail should I put on the product pages?

A good general rule is to put yourself in the shoes of your customer or prospect when trying to answer this question. Imagine you are buying the product yourself, if you wanted to find something very specific about the product, what information would you want?  You might want to turn the item upside down and look at the serial number or possibly check the model number is the one you want.

You should include all the relevant information regarding that specific item in the body of the page – both in the text somewhere and also in the meta information. Take as much data and information that you can find about the product including manufacturers names and descriptions and incorporate them into that specific item’s page in your website catalogue.

Make sure not to just copy the manufacturer’s descriptions verbatim but rather try and put them into your own words.

Over time you will see a nice increase in steady traffic that just might be using those ‘laymen’s terms’ as their search term!

What about the URL’s?

Many ecommerce websites have the problem of being database driven and you almost always have to have a string of meaningless characters in the URL – this is sadly often unavoidable. However, if your e-commerce website structure uses page ID’s then you should be able to replace the page ID’s with text in the URL structure.

Use friendly URL structures that incorporate some of your keywords into the structure. You really don’t want to leave the URL as a meaningless string of characters because that is not going to help the search engines find your product at all.

Should I use product reviews?

If you know for a fact that the overwhelming majority of reviews for the product are positive ones then absolutely – yes!

Product reviews are a great way to not only strengthen the overall SEO effectiveness you are trying to achieve but also the user experience for the customer.   A good solid product review can often reduce the lead in time of a sale and increase your overall product sales.

Optimised Video testimonials from people who have bought the product in the past are also a powerful weapon in your sales armoury.

How many drop downs should there be to find a product?

Ideally a visitor to your website should never have use more than two clicks to find any product from anywhere in the website. The harder and more complicates it is for a visitor to find what they are looking for the less likely you are to make the sale.

You want visitors to find what they are looking for as quickly as possible.  Even from your home page all visitors should be able to find almost any product you have in your catalogue almost instantly.  Try and make using your website a painless and enjoyable experience.

Should I optimise the product images as well?

Typically ecommerce websites have a large number of images –  which actually creates another route  for visitors to find your website via an image search.

Often a customer or prospect will look for an image of a certain product prior to making a purchase and search for it using Google images or one of the other image search engines. If your image pops up in the image engine result then that web visitor might just turn into a web customer,  so it is important to label or ‘tag’ exactly what the image is.

For example if the product is a TV then name the image the name of TV, the TV manufacturer, screen size of the TV and even the TV model number can be there if you want to be thorough.

Optimising an ecommerce website is a little more involved and time consuming than optimising a traditional information or brochure website for a business. There are many factors and details about the products that search engine users can use as their search term –  it is important that you have all those factors and details fully optimised so your customers and prospects can firstly find your website easily via the search engines…… then having found your website they need to be able to find the product they are looking for quickly.

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