How to Optimise your Ecommerce Site?
Whether it’s a small site selling a few hand-crafted garments, or a commerce giant which ships out an array of products to a massive audience worldwide, your site has to be properly optimised for both users and search engines.
An ecommerce site which isn’t optimised for the user is bound to fail, considering how difficult it would be to keep them around throughout the buying process. If it isn’t optimised for search engines, you’re vastly limiting your potential pool of traffic and thus sales.
So, how exactly do you optimise your ecommerce website? Here are a few quick tips to get you started.
1. On-Page and Product Optimisation
Every website should be properly optimised for search engines, in order for people to be able to find you and buy your products. If your website hasn’t been created with SEO in mind, it’s vastly reducing the potential of your site as limiting its potential reach.
When it comes to optimisation for ecommerce sites, there are a few key points:
Page Title: This is the title of the page that you’d see on search engine results pages, or in the tab at the top of your browser. You’ve got 50-55 characters to work your magic here by including your keywords, as the page title determines the theme of the page for users and is crucial for search engines to understand what its content is about and thus rank your page accordingly.
For an ecommerce site, you’d include the product name, and possibly its category, and any branding. For example, the SERPs (search engine results pages) for a rather mainstream ecommerce product:
There’s the standard product name, the category (tees for men, t-shirts), and the brand name.
It’s all too common to see this be neglected in ecommerce sites – make sure your page titles are properly optimised.
Meta Description: This is the text that you’ll see under a title in a search engine results page. This essentially acts as ad copy for users who find your site through this way giving them some more information about what they can expect to find on your page, and also being crucial to ensure they click through to it. Your description should both describe the contents of the page, and entice the user to click it, by ideally including a call to action.
ASOS’ homepage description targets key search terms (women’s fashion, men’s clothing, etc.) while also showcasing benefits such as free delivery.
On-Page Product Copy: The actual on-page content of your page must be properly done, as well. The product description should concisely describe what the user can expect from the product, while also targeting relevant search terms in a concise way. Every page’s content should ideally be unique and contain at least 250 words for Google to properly index it.
TL;DR: Ensure that all on-page aspects of your ecommerce site are properly optimised for both search engines and users, such as titles, descriptions, and page copy.
2. Add Product Reviews
Reviews are a massive part of ecommerce websites. See a product with 1 out of 5 stars? You’re having none of it. A product the full 5 out of 5 rating from hundreds of pleased customers? You’ll be far more likely to pick that product up.
They’re a powerful feature that can help drive sales through for your products.
In fact, here a just a few compelling figures:
- 67% of consumers read 6 reviews or less before they feel they can trust a business enough to make a purchase. (MarketingProfs)
- 63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews. (iPerceptions).
- 80% of consumers have changed their mind about purchases based on NEGATIVE information they have found online. (ReputationAdvocate)
Products with a flurry of quality ratings will reflect well on your brand, and will inspire more trust from all users.
In order to get these reviews, you could chase users up after they’ve completed the checkout process, sending through an email asking for any form of feedback/review, or just offer a small incentive for a quick review such as a prize or discount on their next purchase.
In addition to the use of ratings for products, the ratings can actually appear in search engines next to your product listing which will help increase your CTR. This can be done through the Data Highlighter in Google Search Console, or through specific code added to the site – you can learn more here and here.
TL;DR: implement proper product reviews on your site.
Bonus: integrate schema markup date in order to have these ratings shown within search engine results pages.
3. Implement Proper Filtering
A filter is a vital part of the ecommerce building process. Being able to filter products based on certain values or characteristics is massively helpful for the user, and helps them to find their product much more rapidly, thus encouraging purchases.
The main problems that occur here are:
- Sites simply don’t have a filter for their products
- Sites don’t implement them with search engines in mind
Regarding the former – having a filter on your product listing pages helps users in the decision making process. Being able to take a few seconds to select things such as colour and size makes a world of difference for the user.
The latter? Well, having a poorly implemented filter can cause problems for your site and how it performs with search engines, tying into the first point of this post. If your filters haven’t been handled properly from a technical point of view, you may have duplicate content issues, where one page is accessible through multiple URLs – a big problem when it comes to SEO.
To avoid this, ensure that all categorisation is properly done within the filter, and that canonicalisation is used in order to prioritise a single URL – learn more about this here.
TL;DR: Implement a proper filter for your products, use canonicalisation in order to avoid any search engine hiccups.
4. Optimise Your Images
Semi-linking back to the first point about optimisation, your images play a big role in your ecommerce site. A user will make a decision on your product based on the image, and images can also rank in Google, similarly to pages, albeit in the image search feature.
In terms of actual optimisation, each image should be given a unique Alt Tag. This is a line of text code that accompanies an image, providing search engines with a description of the image, seeing as they can’t understand the image itself. Hence, alt tags are essentials to SEO, giving you the opportunity to describe it.
<img src=”//www.taggr.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/feed-add.png” alt=”Start Selling Products Online with TAGGR”>
Taken from: http://www.taggr.com/tour/ (feel free to have a look around, of course)
This tag can be used for keyword optimisation, as you can use a keyword relevant to the image and the page itself.
On top of the value they have to purchasers and image searchers, images also have an effect on how fast your site is, too. If an image file is far too large, it will take longer for users to load the page, resulting in a far worse user experience.
If a user has to wait too long for a page to load, they’ll have no second thoughts about ditching you for another site. Page speed has also been known as a key Google ranking factor for a few years now, as it plays into the user experience, a key determining factor for search engines.
TL;DR: Ensure that images on your site are high-quality, optimised with a proper alt tag, and don’t have a large file size.
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