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5 ways to improve your eCommerce SEO

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June 11, 2020 | 5 min read

Optimising an eCommerce website for search is one of the most challenging aspects of SEO - especially when you’re dealing with a large, multilingual online store

Even smaller retailers opening in a single country face some tough SEO that service-oriented businesses rarely have to think about.

Covering the “basics” of eCommerce SEO can be difficult enough, but what do you do when you’ve got the essentials covered - how do you get the edge on the competition? The answer is you have to beat your rivals where they fail the most and here are five areas where you can jump ahead with some selective eCommerce SEO.

#1: Know how to deal with ‘out-of-stock’ pages

Out-of-stock products are a real headache for eCommerce websites, especially if they’re still generating traffic. Do you de-index them and miss out on those visitors or keep these pages live and annoy everyone who lands on them?

Hopefully, you’re going to do the second in a way that doesn’t annoy visitors and still gives you the chance to make a sale.

Make sure you have clear, obvious labels listing the item as out of stock so that users can see this as soon as they land on the page. But offer them highly relevant alternatives to the product they’ve clicked through to see: the same product in other colours, similar products from other brands or similar products in the same category.

You can also offer to email visitors when the item is back in stock or offer them a coupon/discount on another purchase.

#2: Be ruthless with eCommerce UX

Probably the biggest area where most eCommerce fail is user experience, which might explain why online retailers generally have below-average conversion rates.

Source

Google has really pressed on with UX-related ranking factors in recent years - from loading times and mobile-friendliness to safe browsing and intrusive popups. Now, Google has announced that it’s going to increase the importance of UX in organic search even further when it rolls out a page experience signal at some point in 2021.Now is the time to get ruthless with eCommerce UX optimisation.

#3: Be just as strict with E-A-T & YMYL

We’ve written about E-A-T and YMYL on The Drum before and this remains a priority for eCommerce sites, as they’re considered high-risk websites to Google’s search quality raters. The fact that you’re asking users to part with money means you have to work harder to satisfy Google’s demands on expertise, authority and trustworthiness.

The same goes for users themselves.

Most eCommerce brands have been slow to react to E-A-T and YMYL so this is the perfect opportunity to get in there before everyone catches up.

#4: Invest in your product descriptions

Product descriptions can be a real nightmare for eCommerce brands and the challenge only increases as you add more products to your website. The thing with product descriptions is it takes a lot of time to create unique content and most brands simply don’t bother.

Which is precisely why it’s worth investing this time into your own product descriptions.

Instead of creating unique pages for product variations (eg: size, colour, etc.), create a single page and dynamically include variations. This reduces your workload and helps you avoid duplicate content and splitting your search ranking between multiple pages.

Don’t use product descriptions provided by retailers, either. Create unique descriptions and invest in a copywriter who will create copy that actually convinces people to buy from you (don’t forget Google also considers conversion rates in its search algorithm).

#5: Take advantage of the content marketing gap

It’s amazing how many eCommerce brands think content marketing isn’t for them or don’t know how to engage in it effectively. As an online retailer, you’re in the perfect position to offer your target audience advice that will help them make purchase decisions - precisely the kind of stuff they turn to organic search for.

There’s a huge content marketing gap yet to be filled by eCommerce brands who can provide purchase advice, user guides, how-to articles and videos, product reviews, unboxing videos and a wealth of content consumers want to engage with before they make a purchase.

The key thing is to hold off on pushing your own products and genuinely help consumers make informed purchase decisions. Build genuine relationships and with your target audience and they’ll naturally find themselves buying from you when the time is right.

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