SEO in E-Commerce: 12 Tips for a Better Findability
Good search engine visibility is one of the key success factors in e-commerce. Search engine optimization (SEO), especially the on-page one, is essential, and the effort is definitely worth it.
On-page optimization, which means adjustments to your website, is essential in e-commerce, as potential buyers can be generated here at no additional cost. The purpose of the on-page optimization is to make the content of a website visible to the Google crawlers via relevant files and tags in the source code. In contrast, the content-based on-page optimization involves adapting the website content, i.e. texts, images, videos, and using relevant keywords. Here are 12 tips about how online retailers can increase their reach and generate more customers in the long term:
Tip 1: Place relevant content in the visible area "above the fold".
As simple as the first tip may sound, it’s really important for on-site optimization. There is the so-called "above the fold" area on the web site, which means all the content that a user can see without having to scroll. Therefore, the most relevant and important information should be shown there, immediately grabbing users’ attention and preventing them from going to another website.
As for B2B websites, placing effective call-to-actions and other relevant information at the top of the homepage or other landing pages will undoubtedly result in a higher conversion rate.
Pay attention that the exact area varies because of different monitor sizes (desktop and laptop), screen resolutions, browser plug-ins, and sizes of other devices. The majority of web designers consider that a standard fold line is nearly 1000 pixels wide and 600 pixels high when determining the average fold position. It’s the perfect scenario for the most common monitor/browser combination with a screen resolution size of 1024x786 pixels, in which the browser window is maximized, and the toolbars are not installed at the top, moving the content downwards.
Your website analytics software may inform you what screen sizes are most appropriate for your site visitors. For example, while 1024x768 px has traditionally been the most common one, new sizes such as 320x568 and 360x640 are gaining popularity because of the increasing use of mobile devices that challenge the concept of web design optimization.
Mobile devices offer a wide variety of screen sizes, while users also tend to view pages in the portrait mode rather than landscape one, which pushes the traditional web page design aside.
As so many people access web pages on such a variety of devices, up-to-date web design techniques involve responsive design: flexible layouts, images, and cascading style sheets. There is no fixed layout for the page and content reflows to fit any screen size in responsive design, which responds and adapts to the environment it’s used for.
While the most important content should still be higher on the page, web pages also need to be designed to stimulate scrolling for not missing out valuable information.
Tip 2: Properly create headings with H tags
One of the most essential steps in e-commerce on-page optimization is the structuring of website content based on headings with SEO-relevant H tags. It determines which hierarchy and order a heading takes within the HTML framework: the H1 heading is the main one on every page.
Be careful as Google increasingly uses the H1 headings as descriptions on the search results pages, and the H1 tag should appear only once per page. Further optimal H-Tagging in webshops works in the following way: H2 headings in text content, H3 headings for references to shop categories, and H4 headings for references to products.
Tip 3: Use the right keywords with WDF * IDF
All the website texts should be targeted to search query with WDF * IDF. WDF * IDF ("within document frequency" and "inverse document frequency") is a formula that determines the optimal distribution of topic-relevant keywords in the text.
In comparison with common keyword counters, the formula evaluates the semantic context and suggests thematically relevant keywords.
Tip 4: Use high-quality website content
Online retailers should attach the greatest importance to the quality of the website content. In addition to the unique content in texts, images, and video, this can be done through suitable information, recommendatory texts, or the thematic linking of the materials from the individual shop categories. If the content is always kept up to date, the Google ranking of the page can be improved in the long run.
Tip 5: Generate internal and external links
From the SEO perspective, the thematic linking of shop categories and sub-categories on their pages via internal links is essential for online retailers. But linking your own homepage with thematically matching other websites via backlinks also plays a major role in SEO. To strengthen the authenticity of your own domain and supplement your own content in a meaningful way, you can also provide links to other sources.
Tip 6: Use the "Canonical Tag" against "Duplicate Content"
Duplicate content is poorly rated by search engines because there is no added value for a user. If the content is used multiple times or a clear URL is technically not accessible because the homepage can be reached via different URLs, then a "canonical tag" should be used in the source code of the website.
Tip 7: "hreflang" - mark out the language version of the content
If an online store grows and expands with its products in several countries, regions, and languages, duplicate content can easily become a problem in this case. The reason for it is that large identical parts of the content are available in another language. The link attribute rel tri= "alternate" hreflang = "x" informs Google that the content is also available in another language and that the URL is accessible for users of a specific language.
Tip 8: Optimize images of the online store
Online shops are usually very visual as a customer wants to see the products that they can buy, and that is why it is extremely important to optimize the existing images for the search engines.
As the search engines can’t analyze the product images visually, they should have an alt tag that contains relevant keywords describing the content.
In addition, the images should have an appropriate file name, which in turn contains the relevant keywords so that the search engine can read out the images.
Tip 9: Optimize the online shop's internal search
The internal search function of a webshop should be given special attention for two reasons. On the one hand, it provides very valuable data on what your customers are looking for and how they are looking for it.
If customers often enter a product in this internal search that you don’t have, you should consider adding this product to your assortment. You can also see how customers are looking for it based on the search query entered.
If you sell facial cleansers and your customers often enter “Peel” in the internal search, you'd better rename some of your products or add this query so that users could also find your peeling or cleansing products.
On the other hand, the internal search function has an usability component. Especially in the case of larger online shops, it is easier to find products using the search function than to do it through the navigation menu. Therefore, your internal search function should be as intuitive and good as possible.
Although Magento already has its built-in site search, sometimes it doesn't perform at its best. To enhance internal online store search, our Magecom team implements the Elasticsearch tool, which main advantage is that it provides a tangible increase in performance when searching for data. It also ranks search results based on many factors — from the frequency of requests to the popularity and not only. Elasticsearch is also capable of handling human errors, including complexities such as typos. For instance, we've recently integrated the online fashion store with Elasticsearch for a better internal site search. By the way, you could find out more details and valuable information on this project in our case study.
Tip 10: Follow the rules for pagination
A page with a lot of information about products in webshops within a category is usually divided into component pages. So that Google could read out the pages belonging together during this "pagination" and display the most important page of the product category (usually the first one) in the Google search — use the link attributes rel = "next" and rel = "prev " for that.
Tip 11: Pay attention to usability
If a potential customer doesn't find what is looking for within a few seconds, the user just leaves it. Usability is often underestimated in the SEO context, although there is a direct connection between usability and on-page optimization. If a shop page has short dwell times and no interactions, good placement on Google won’t be achieved.
Tip 12: Use the Google Search Console
To avoid SEO obstacles in advance, website admins can use the free analysis and service tool Google Search Console. For example, new pages or content can be submitted there to simulate Google's crawling and rendering. With the Google Search Console, any problems can be shown on the shop page and solved quickly.
SEO audit for online stores
Apart from website development on Magento, Shopify, Shopware and other platforms, Magecom is an ecommerce agency, which also provides clients with SEO audits allowing finding bottlenecks that negatively affect the website performance.
We deliver the following kinds of SEO audits: technical, onPage, content, and offPage depending on our client’s business goals. We crawl and check different versions of a website, indexing status, URL, silos & page structure. We also analyze the loading time, find bad quality pages, work on the backlink profile, and provide recommendations.
If you’re interested in better website ranking and attracting more traffic to your online store, please fill in the contact form on our website. We’ll be pleased to help you.