When it comes to SEO, it’s best that you think of it as a two-layered approach. The first level is the strategic stage, when you are planning out keywords that you’re going to focus on when it comes to creating your website. This is where many sites fail before they start, either because they focus on keywords that are too general to get a competitive ranking or target the wrong audience for your business.
The second level is the one that we’re going to spend time discussing today—how to actually put that strategy into action. From the way that you structure your website to the type of content that you use, implementing a proper SEO strategy is essential for your site to work properly, and the stakes are highest when it comes to e-commerce.
E-Commerce and SEO Mastery
For the sake of this conversation, we’re going to assume that you already have done keyword research and chosen a good set of keywords and long-tail keywords for your site.
One of the first steps you’re going to want to take is making sure that all your existing meta titles, descriptions, and headings are optimized. This is one area where e-commerce sites are different than traditional websites, largely due to volume. A proper e-commerce site can have thousands of different pages, and choosing unique tags and meta descriptions is a massive time investment. At the same time, it’s proven that going for the templated approach is selling your site’s SEO potential short. There are two ways to handle this, and they may tie together:
- Using a balanced approach of unique metadata for major pages and templates for smaller pages.
- Outsourcing the work of implementing metadata for the smaller pages after you come up with what you want to use.
Your budget will ultimately determine what the best course of action is here. Let’s also talk about something that fulfills a similar role.
Similar to a rich snippet on a traditional site, adding schema markup to the back end of your website will allow it to display a whole lot of helpful information onto its Google listing. This is great for multiple reasons. First, it improves your ranking and differentiates your listing for a product versus similar ones from other sites. Second, it makes for a better customer experience. SEO is all about not just getting any person to your site, but a motivated customer. Schema markup puts important details that will help do just that, similar to a meta description. Combine these with appropriate keywords for a powerful combination.
There are two different types of schema markup you can implement.
Product schema markup: Here, you need to add the product name and price, but you can also go a step further, adding details like a brand-name, image, description, and URL.
Review schema markup: It’s proven that the vast majority of customers give some sort of weight to online reviews before making purchases. To use this method, you’re going to need both aggregate ratings and individual reviews. The aggregate will need:
- Overall rating value
- Rating count
- Best rating
- Worst rating
Each individual review will need:
- A reviewer
- Review date
- Best rating
- Worst rating
- The actual body of the review
There is added coding work needed for both of these, but don’t feel that you have to get added help to test this out. Google has several free tools that can help you get the data necessary and check it to make sure it is running properly before your markup goes live.
Adjusting Your Site With Inventory
Just like any store, changing product selection is a part of e-commerce. Starting a page from scratch with good SEO is relatively basic. What’s not so easy is figuring out what to do with pages for products that you’re no longer going to be offering. It’s tempting to just delete these, but that’s a bad idea for two main reasons.
- When you delete a page off of your site, you lose the SEO value that you’ve created with it. This could be a big hit if you had a page that was performing well, but needed to replace it because a newer version was available, like in tech.
- Anyone who bookmarks the page ends up with an error message. The worst thing you can have in SEO is broken links, even if they’re not necessarily of your own making.
There are a lot of ways to keep your SEO going strong even as your inventory changes. For the first example we mentioned, where you had a strong, but outdated page, you can always simply us a 301 permanent redirect. This tells Google that the new page is the one you want to be ranked, but retains SEO value.
If there’s not as obvious a solution, you can also redirect to a parent category to try and encourage customers to try out other products. In some cases, if the products are generic enough, you may even be able to get away with reusing the URLs in order to preserve your ranking.
Help With Your E-Commerce SEO
Let’s close this discussion with a comparison. Your typical business website has a lot of roles, be it informational or for marketing. Ideally, it’s created with a goal in mind, whether it’s to get customers to call you or come to your physical location. An e-commerce website does all of this, but is also the means for you to make a direct profit. Make sure that you use every SEO concept at your disposal to put the ideal customers in this position.
If you’re looking for more information on how to rank at the top of Google, get in touch with Paul Teitelman for a free SEO consultation from a professional SEO expert. He will assess your trouble website and build a plan to help you determine the best course of action for driving traffic, creating conversions, and developing high ranking SEO content that will bring you solid results that your business can count on for more exposure and better sales.