Optimizing E-Commerce Websites for Better Search Engine Rankings
E-Commerce websites come with some built-in functionality for an easy shopping experience, but these extra features generate some red-flags when it comes to making a website search engine friendly. Most e-commerce websites have the same optimization issues, such as duplicate content, very little to none content on the product pages, and non-SEO friendly URLs. To make an e-commerce website compatible with Google or other search engine guidelines, it is necessary to pay attention during development and when setting up an online store.
Here are some basic tips to implement Search Engine Optimization (SEO) during development:
- Avoid Duplicate Content: Duplicate content is a big no-no when it comes to search engine rankings. To minimize duplicate content issues on e-commerce websites, always use “Canonical” Meta tags for all the products and categories pages.
- Category Hierarchy: Before you even start building your online store, create a well-managed hierarchy of categories and sub-categories, and use your keywords in category slugs (URLs).
- URL Rewrites: Google doesn’t like long URLs with query strings like ‘?’. So to avoid these query strings and automatic URL, always use the URL rewrite options to create search engine friendly URLs.
- Unique Content: Google loves sites with unique and fresh content, so add some content on every page. For example describe a category before even listing products on that particular category. A best practice to generate content for an e-commerce site is the use of a blog. Create unique blog posts for each and every product listed on your website and link these blog posts to relevant products or category pages. It will allow you to have some content on your site and also help generate internal back-links to specific products.
- Use Schema.org: E-commerce websites often come with structured data converted into HTML, such as list of products with the same features. Always use Schema and micro-data to list structured data, which will help search engines to crawl and help return properly organized results, such as product reviews, ratings, prices etc.
- Use Google Merchant: A Google Merchant account allows you to upload a product catalog to make products available for listing under Google shopping search results. So create a Google Merchant account and upload all the products with properly categorized formats.
In addition to all these technical aspects of optimizing e-commerce websites, don’t forget to embed Social media plugins or widgets such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, into your online store. Let visitors share products and interesting content from your website to their social networks, which will help in generating more web traffic to your site.