Why You Should Choose SEO Optimized Ecommerce Platform
Very often, amateur e-retailers ask me this ever interesting question- “Is SEO important for ecommerce platforms?” Of course, SEO is the heart of online retail stores. More than 50% of online purchases begin with an online search. Visibility on popular search engines such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox can either make or mar any ecommerce store. Business owners should invest enough time and efforts to ensure that web pages of their respective online stores feature in search engine results. Customers are known to make narrow-down searches. Narrow-down searches facilitate great user experience. However, they are beneficial in the least to SEO. To tackle such problems, it is important to choose that ecommerce platform that has enough SEO plugins to optimize the searches. SEO is a continuous process. Apart from affordable hosting and robust technology framework, ecommerce stores should have the following SEO features:
SEO Friendly URLs
URLs are of two types: Static and Dynamic. In case of static URLs, the content of web pages doesn’t change. Websites which run scripts or data driven websites are said to possess dynamic URLs. URLs should have a good structure. Good structured URLs facilitate indexation of websites. Unfortunately, not many webmasters use optimal URLs. A URL contains the following three parts:
- Protocol: More often than not, HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) is the commonly used protocol in many URLs. Other commonly used protocols are FTP, Telnet etc.
- Domain Name : Address of your e-store on the world wide web
- Sub-directory : A directory or a folder within another directory
- Name of the file
URLs should be keyword reach. Unfortunately, not many e-retailers are well versed with this fact. Dynamic URLs can be identified by the presence of question marks. For all intents and purposes,avoid dynamic URLs.
Avoid the following types of URLs:
- /item.php?id= 2434
The following type of URL is preferred:
Independent Meta Descriptions
Meta description is nothing but the text content that features along with your e-venture on the results page of Google. Description in itself doesn’t necessarily impact the search results. However, description can have a considerable impact on casual visitors. In ecommerce, it all boils down to converting casual visitors into loyal paying customers.
There are certain ecommerce marketplaces that create meta-descriptions for the products you list on the marketplace. This can be a disadvantage to many. E-retailers who desire to edit the meta- description will not be able to edit. There is another disadvantage- E-retailers who use the same platform to list their similar products will have similar meta-descriptions. In such scenarios, it is impossible to convince customers that your offers and products differ from those of others. More often than not, e-retailers intend to incorporate a strong CTA (Call to Action) button.
Page Titles should contain keywords.Whenever a visitor visits your website, he / sheshould be convinced to bookmark the page or save it as a shortcut to his / her desktop. Many ecommerce platforms auto-generate page titles by using the same name as the products listed. In addition to product page titles, category page titles are also generated. Good page titles should include a couple of words of description about the products.
Consider a scenario in which an e-retailer sells dresses. If the name of one of the products happens to be Dorothy, page title should ideally be- “Sleeveless Top – Dorothy”. It is quite shocking that two reputed platforms- 3D Cart and BigCartel do not have this feature. In many other platforms, this feature can be incorporated only with additional customization.
Certain platforms allow editing of titles of category pages but not page titles. Similarly, there are certain platforms which allow editing of titles of product pages but not category pages. It is recommended to choose that platform which allows editing of titles of both product and category pages.
Many ecommerce sites run out of stock or discontinue certain products. Some ecommerce sites may discontinue certain categories. 301 redirects shall redirect not only visitors but also the link juice from all deleted pages to new pages. It is recommended to choose that platform wwhich allows you to set up 301 redirects.
It is important to make your websites perfectly crawlable. One of the proven ways of making your website crawlable is by incorporating XML sitemaps. Please be informed that XML sitemaps do not improve your website rankings. However, XML sitemaps help Google locate and index new webpages with ease. There are various automated XML sitemap modules which facilitate seamless crawling and better indexing.
Do want your visitors to tread a circuitous path to move around your website? Obviously NO! Likewise, it is not a good idea to force search engines to tread around your website in a circuitous labyrinth. In other words, navigation structure of your website should be search-friendly. The following SEO criteria should be fulfilled by your ecommerce site:
- Primary navigation should be facilitated through links and not images.
- Eliminate all the superfluous links. Duplicate links should be as minimum aspossible
- Site navigation shouldn’t hinge on Flash and Java Script. Your ecommerce site should have all provisions for perfection navigation.
- There should be a built-in provision in your marketplace to edit navigation menus at the individual link level.
Classification of categories and sub-categories should be at the brand level. For instance, if you are selling ‘Deodorants’, brands are Engage, Axe, Fogg etc. Category can be MaleGrooming. Sub-category can be Deodorant. Brand pages should contain keywords. Category pages should also be optimized for key search terms. A well-organized taxonomy improves the SEO of your ecommerce site.
Landing pages help you create the initial first and the best impression. First impression should be everlasting. Landing pages help you target as many customers as possible. Tailor-made landing pages help you reach specific market groups.
When it comes to digital marketing, CONTENT IS KING. It is recommended to link your blog to your website. Incorporate RSS feeds and social sharing options. Needless to say, anti-spam and commenting features should be enabled.
Why do customers abandon websites? According to a research, more than 40% people abandon a site that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.The average customer doesn’t have enough patience and needless to say, he doesn’t wait for the webpages to load. What if your e-store takes more than 3 seconds to load? Buy more server space. If this doesn’t help, use a different Content Management System. For your information, Magento is notoriously slow whereas WooCommerce is fast.
Mobile version of website
More than 60% of mobile users expect mobile sites to load quickly. As a matter of fact, 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are bound to visit competitor sites. Responsive website design is the need of the hour. Long gone are the days when ecommerce stores used to create separate versions of websites for different PDAs. Today, there are many marketplaces that help you create a uniform website which can be accessed on any device of any size and resolution. Thanks to responsive web design, e-retailers can obviate all the problems associated with duplicate content.
Social Media Integration
I would like to quote Jayson DeMers, a famous Seattle based content marketer- “A branded social presence can help build word of mouth that gets you customers, mentions, and links.”By having as many social signals as possible, your e-store will be in the good books of Google.Moreover, customers do not enough have time to dole out their details. They prefer to access your e-store by logging in from their respective social media accounts. Incorporate Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networking login CTAs (Call to Action).
There are no boundaries to SEO. SEO gets better and better every day. Invest enough time, money and efforts to improve your site’s SEO. If you have any queries or concerns, feel free to drop a line or two in the comments section. I shall reply in a day or two. Keep watching this space for insights on SEO, growth hacking and Facebook marketing. My best wishes are with you and your e-store. Cheers!
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