The Essentials of On-Page SEO for Ecommerce SitesPosted by oicadmin on 03/15/13
Tags: ecommerce , seo , on-page seo , tips , strategies , page title , meta description
The competitive nature of ecommerce search marketing makes SEO a daunting endeavor for most online retailer. There's a lot that goes into optimizing an ecommerce site. But if you can handle the on-page SEO essentials in-house, you'll have a good jump on the competition before unleashing your off-page SEO strategy.
To help you on your way to optimizing your ecommerce site, below are the essential practices of on-page SEO. The term "optimization" can mean a lot of things. But in this context, optimization is simple making use of keywords in the right places, respectively.
1. Make URLs SEO-Friendly
Depending on whether or not you use a CMS (content management system) for your ecommerce website, you may or may not have control over your page's URL structure. In essence, and like other forms of on-page SEO mentioned below, you'll want to include only the core keywords in your URLs (no need to include throw-away terms like "the" or "and.")
Your keywords for ecommerce SEO will most likely be the product name (brand/model,) type of product, and/or general category of products, depending on the URL or page. Having keywords in the URL helps to define the semantic relevancy of the page. A good tip is to keep your URLs as short as possible, and avoid lengthy URL names.
2. Keyword Optimize the Title Tag & Meta Description
The HTML title tag (or "Meta Title") is one of the most influential elements for on-page SEO and establishing keyword relevancy. It's recommended by most trusted SEO service providers that you keep the title under 60-70 characters. This will enable you to keep your pages tight and focal with respect to your keyword targets. That is, you'll only want to optimize pages for 1 or 2 closely related terms.
The Meta description is a short summary of the page that only is seen on the search engine results page, just below the title tag (or main link headline in Google.) While it's debated over whether or not the Meta description actually plays in a role in on-page SEO, the content will certainly be read if your page is ranking highly in the search results. For this reason, tailor a Meta description that is both incentivizing and keyword optimized.
3. Name Images and Alt Tags with Keywords in Mind
Images not only make your pages more appealing (and help with conversion optimization,) but images can also be optimized for ecommerce SEO. A sound tip in optimizing images for on-page SEO is name or labels your images with respect to your keyword targets. Furthermore, you can keyword optimize images' description and tags (found under the image properties) before uploading to your website.
And then there is the Alt tag for images (which stands of "alternative text.") This is text that should reflect what the image is about for users who do not have a compatible browser to actually show the image. Try to be ethical when keyword optimizing the Alt tag for SEO. That is, write an Alt tag that does indeed represent the image, but is also SEO-friendly in that it includes the page's keyword targets.
4. Tailor Unique and Compelling Page Copy
Whether for product descriptions or just general page copy for your homepage or product category pages, it's critical that the content of your ecommerce site is unique. Too often, ecommerce webmasters or site owners will use the same copy provided by product manufactures (this is particularly the case with individual product descriptions.) Instead, get creative and write unique, compelling content.
The fact of the matter is, when duplicate content gets crawled on numerous sites trying to sell the same thing, the ecommerce SEO value is significantly diminished. In short, Google will find less value in a page that has the same content on various other pages throughout the web.
Other Considerations for Ecommerce SEO
The above on-page SEO tips are essential to ensure your ecommerce site is well-optimized for search. This, however, is only the tip of the iceberg. In addition to off-page SEO (that focuses on link popularity, content marketing, and social engagement,) other considerations for ecommerce SEO include:
- Making use of videos for product reviews and other ways to engage your target market
- Building a complete HTML sitemap on your ecommerce site
- Analyzing and optimizing the steps in your check-out process
- Establishing an authoritative social following, emphasizing Google+ and Facebook as primary platforms for engagement
Ecommerce SEO can be a tough playing field. Be sure to build your foundation by implementing the tips above. For more information, tips, and resources, visit Click Centric SEO, OIC's ecommerce SEO and marketing branch.