Having an eCommerce website online is one thing, but ranking well organically is a whole major project in itself. eCommerce SEO strategies and standard SEO strategies, such as local SEO (getting a plumber down the road ranked), are very different and must be approached differently. Below we'll touch on a few basic points of what makes SEO on an eCommerce website unique. For more information on eCommerce SEO visit our search engine optimization services page.
Strategies for Optimizing a Lot of Content
The main differentiator in an eCommerce website is often the presence of a lot of content. Typically this is due to hundreds, if not thousands of categories and products. Optimizing these can be a battle and is often very time consuming. Coming up with a dynamic optimization strategy is the key to initial success and a quicker boost in organic rankings. Dynamic optimization is the practice of using code to create and populate content. The main elements used in dynamic optimization are the population of Title and META tags. Depending on your industry and the keyword research performed you may or may not want specific elements or database variables displayed in your tags. For example if you're selling products that are often searched by part number, you'll want to be sure your part number or SKU number is included in your Title tag.
Properly optimizing product pages is a key component in an eCommerce search marketing strategy.
Category Pages & Structure
One major issue we often see is how category structure on an eCommerce website was initially put in place. We'll see duplicate category names, multiple sub-categories with the same names or sometimes just very poorly named categories such as "Wheels - Brakes - Other" (yea, seriously). The key is to make sure Google or any other search engine can easily identify which category is the main landing page for the related keywords. If you have duplicates of the same category, Google won't know which to rank and often your content is spread thin. Also, naming the category appropriately, which often requires keyword research, goes a long way.
Include keywords in your category name and make it obvious what you're selling.
Internal Linking & Cross Linking
Too often this is overlooked on an eCommerce website, where in all reality it is most important. Cross linking is the practice of linking text on a page to another page on your website. Google looks at these links and the anchor text (the actual text that is the link) to determine which pages on your site are connected to which keywords. Whether you're cross linking content on your homepage or on a category landing page, it's an important strategy. One thing to always consider when cross linking is usability. Remember, spam is never good and linking every keyword looks like spam and is spam. The links you place within your content can help the search engines identify your landing pages, but they should also help your website visitor navigate the site.