Many people believe that SEO is only reserved for large e-commerce websites, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
You can do small things, even simple things, to boost traffic to a small e-commerce website without being an SEO expert. And it can make a real impact.
Yes, you may not have lots of competitors, or you may sell an extremely niche product, but it remains important to be found by your customers.
With product listings as well as pages it can feel as though you’re stood before a mountain when attempting to tackle your websites SEO, but here we reveal the 11 things you can do to switch your e-commerce website from a stuttering cart horse into a powerful marketing tool.
1. Make it mobile
In 2017, online sales made via a mobile device hit 49.7 percent. And this is set to rise during 2018 and 2019.
So, if your small e-commerce website cannot be navigated on a smartphone you run the dramatic risk of losing out on sales.
Furthermore, in 2015 Google rolled out ‘mobilegeddon’, no not digital warfare, but a mobile-first algorithm. Which means Google will rank your website only on the quality of your websites mobile content, and they even rolled this out to impact the desktop listings.
It may sound like a lot of techy jargon, but the point is, making your small e-commerce website mobile-friendly is now business critical. It’s no longer a ‘nice-to-have’ option, it’s a must if you want to continue ranking in Google.
2. Lockdown HTTPS safety
As your e-commerce website will handle personal details, it is a legal requirement under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to secure your website and protect your customers with an SSL certificate.
All consumers are now aware of GDPR, and if you do not have a secure website, you are not only putting them at risk, but you are also putting your business under severe risk of a crippling fine.
As well as implementing HTTPS, it is also well-advised to be transparent with your customers about your security procedures.
After all, with many e-commerce websites you’ll be requesting credit card information and other personal information, so users have to trust that they can hand this over without consequence.
3. Enhance category pages
It is very common for category pages to be neglected, but these pages are crucial for supporting keyword ranking and can see high volumes of traffic when structured correctly.
You should treat these category pages as unique pages, with their own content. In fact, rather than just a few lines, content should be at least a paragraph or two and give the user a clear understanding of what can be expected.
4. Improve product pages
Product pages can come with a wealth of SEO issues that can become a real headache if not addressed.
Yes, you may have many of them, but without optimising each product page and enhancing the user-experience you can find these pages not ranking and seeing major drop-offs.
Think of these issues as your users would.
Thin content, doesn’t provide the user with much information about the product, so how are they meant to make an informed buying decision?
Duplicate content, confusing for a user because what separates one product from another? If it’s the same product but just in another colour, this shouldn’t be as two separate products. It should have one page, where the user can then select the colour or size they require.
Meta-descriptions, if you can’t see from the Google listing what to expect how is the user meant to know what they’re clicking on?
Each of these areas poses risks to small e-commerce websites, and they must be resolved.
Write product descriptions that give users a true understanding of the items features. This should include, size, colour, material, washing instructions etc.
In regards to meta-descriptions, use your keyword research to create interesting descriptions that entice the user to click.
5. Remove unnecessary product pages
As mentioned in the previous point, you need to steer away from having multiples of the same product.
Instead, you need to optimise your product listing to include the variants. This includes providing the user the option to select different, styles, sizes or colours of the same product.
An easy way to look at this is by viewing the URL when you’re selecting different variations of the product. Does it create a new URL for every selection, or does it stay the same?
If it stays the same, you’re sorted. But if the URL changes you’ll be running into some issues.
Again, think about it from a users perspective. As a user would you want to keep scrolling through pages of products to find the right size or colour, or would you prefer to go to the one product you want and choose a colour from a drop down?
6. Related Items
While this isn’t directly related to SEO, this is a big business mistake we see many small e-commerce websites making.
On product pages there no related items.
Providing the user with a list below the product of related items can not only help to boost basket revenue but can also help the user.
For example, if a user is buying bathroom tiles, have they also remembered to purchase grout?
Treat your e-commerce website just like you would a bricks-and-mortar shop.
In this case, it’s as simple as a customer going to check-out, and the sales assistant checking that they’ve got everything else they need to get tiling.
If your website functioned like a high street store, what would you need to add?
7. Take images seriously
The size of your product images can slow-down your website speed, which as we know, leads people to bounce off and not be bothered to continue.
However, as well as optimising your images for web, there is one key trick that many websites ignore when it comes to photography, and that’s being unique.
If you have the ability to create your own images that are not from a stock site then you have a much better opportunity for ranking for your images.
Spend some time building your portfolio, and don’t forget to name them, and add alt titles and descriptions.
8. Sort your stock
As with any e-commerce website stock can fluctuate, which means you have to be highly proactive in your approach to keeping your website updated.
The trouble comes when products go out of stock and pages are simply deleted.
But as you’ve spent so much time and energy created this page it can be detrimental to both your rankings and your user experience.
If a product is returning to stock, keep the page but update the information as to when it’s coming back in and if people are able to pre-order. This way you don’t miss out on any potential sales.
Alternatively, if a product has discontinued you will need to do a 301 redirect to a new page. This way all the SEO value will transfer to the new page and not perish.
9. Trust factor
Surprisingly when it comes to e-commerce websites and SEO, trust is not often a big factor.
Trust with Google, yes. But Trust with users is often laid to the wayside as an afterthought.
But trust matters to consumers, they want to know if the product they are buying is of quality and that the brand they are purchasing from is reputable.
Showing elements of trust can strengthen your sales and even increase them when compared to a competitor.
Trust factors you could include on your website, are simple additions such as product reviews under the products. These can be pulled in from services such as Feefo, or Trustpilot, and you can even go further by adding in user-generated reviews from Facebook.
Consumers are increasingly aware of who they give their money to, so ensure to give them a real reason as to why you’re the one that deserves it.
10. Site navigation
As humans we’re now an impatient bunch, we want to get somewhere quickly and get there without any issues.
And the same can be said for e-commerce websites.
There’s nothing more frustrating as a user to not be able to move around a website easily. Which is exactly why bounce rates occur.
Ultimately you want to give users an easy experience when coming to your website.
You can do this by ensuring your site structure is clean and clear and enables them to move across the website without having to use the back button.
Breadcrumbs on a website are ideal in supporting user navigation. This allows the user to see where they are within the site’s structure, and easily move from category to product pages, and back again.
11. Keyword research
Everything that you do to your e-commerce website in terms of SEO, will all hinge on the quality of your keyword research.
After all, as many of these tweaks are content based, you need to know what your audience is searching and how you are going to deliver it to them.
Before you commence any of these changes to your website, we would highly suggest reading our guide on users intent. As this provides you with clear guidance on how to find long-tail keywords that your users are searching for.
These are keywords that can then guide your product page content and meta-titles and meta-descriptions.
Once you’ve optimised these to serve your user you may be surprised at how quickly your traffic will increase.