SEO Tips for E-commerce Websites

Written by Neil Ashton.

SEO Tips for E-commerce Websites

search engine optimization ( SEO ) is difficult for any website, and e-commerce sites have some unique SEO challenges to overcome.  These guidelines will assist you to tackle your e-commerce site's SEO so you can achieve greater rankings in search engine results and obtain more traffic, customers and sales for your online store.

1. Create Original Content on Each of Your Product and Category Pages

Interesting, original content tells Google a webpage is valuable, and helps it rank higher. Well-written content may also persuade more of your visitors to finally take out their credít cards.  Don't just copy the manufacturer's description from the product. Write your individual description so that Google sees it as being valuable, original content. Google's Farmer/Panda Update of early 2011 favors sites with more original content.

2. Find Out What Shoppers are Actually Searching For

Keyword research is an invaluable way to find the words you ought to be using to explain what you sell. You can find out the number of people look for a particular keyword per month, and even check more specifically for your own region, with Google's free keyword tool.  For more info on selecting the best keywords, read Keyword Research Is Key to Online Success.

3. Create Pages for Categories Consumers are Searching For

Some individuals may be searching for specific product names like "Nikon D90," but odds are, a lot more people are searching for broad keywords and key phrases like "Nikon digital camera" and "digital SLR cameras.".  Creating category pages for these broad keyword phrases - in addition to product-specific pages within each category - boosts your SEO and assists you capture a greater number of individuals looking for what you sell. Added bonus: Category pages based upon broad keywords may help browsers and researchers find what they want more quickly, and turn them into buyers.

4. Interlink Your Pages Using Good Anchor Text

Hyperlink to other products or categories within the text on your site. Be sure to use anchor text with relevant keywords. This will help search engines find and index other pages in your site, so they can be discovered by searchers. The hyperlinks and anchor text will also boost the linked pages' SEO and help them achieve greater rankings for words you use in your anchor text.  Added bonus: People reading your text can simply click links you provide and find other items that might interest them. You'll be keeping people on your site, and helping them find what they are looking for.

5. Allow Visitors to Share Your Products on Social Networking Sites

Social networking mentions help your SEO . Plus, social sharing gets your product seen by more people. Install social sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and Google+ on every product and product category page. Ensure they're readily available. One online retailer places them right below the price of each product, because people always look for the price.

6. Get Valuable Backlinks

Backlinks (links from another site to yours) will always be one of the most critical factors search engines consider when deciding how high to rank a web page in search results. Getting backlinks isn't easy, however.  Adding interesting content to your site beyond product and category pages is the first step, because few site owners wish to hyperlink to a dull page, or perhaps a page where you're just selling something. Your blog is a great avenue for adding link-worthy content to your site.  For much more info on getting back links, check out our articles about link building.

7. Avoid Duplicate Content Issues

E-commerce sites usually give visitors the option to sort a list of products by various parameters like price, popularity or product ratings. While sorting is useful for people, it can be a nightmare for your SEO , as it usually means that you're essentially creating multiple pages with the same content, just in a different order. Search engines like google will see these pages as duplicate content, and therefore less valuable. This in turn can dilute the SEO of these pages.  This is not a simple thing to correct, however the easiest action you can take is tell Google about the sorting through Webmaster Tools. For more information on solving this issue, read item No. 3 in this article.

8. Use Descriptive URLs

The URLs on your site are another opportuníty to boost your e-commerce site's SEO . If your page about round green widgets has a URL like http://www.example.com/round-green-widgets, the URL is telling Google that the page is all about "round green widgets" and really should appear in search results for that keyword phrase. However, if the URL is http://www.example.com/page?id=5624125645, Google doesn't get that extra piece of information telling it exactly what the page is about. People also take a look at URLs, and it is much better if the URL informs them, too.  For more information about SEO -ing your URLs, read Improve your URLs for Better SEO .

9. Let Visitors Leave Reviews

Reviews are another little bit of unique content, and search engines love original content.  Plus, reviews may help visitors choose to take out their credit cards and purchase the product.

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