Top 10 E-Commerce Mistakes
Ways to Improve SEO in E-Commerce
Ecommerce websites are some of the most fun sites to work with from a search engine optimization (SEO) perspective. why? Because the return on investment (ROI) is easy to see. Additionally, e-commerce sites also present some of the toughest challenges and who doesn’t like a good challenge. As with anything, these challenges also create opportunities and this is especially true when it comes to e-commerce and SEO.
In this article we will dive into the top 10 SEO errors we commonly see on ecommerce websites and how to fix them. Buckle up, here we go!
Top 10 Ecommerce SEO Mistakes and How to Fix Them
Duplicate content within the domain
If product attributes, filters, or breadcrumbs “build” your URLs dynamically, you will likely encounter this problem. you are not alone. Many e-commerce platforms automatically generate multiple URLs to access the same product. The problem is that this is a huge problem with regards to Google.
Just remember that the funny looking URL generated when filters are applied is actually a page that Google can see and index, which can generate a lot of duplicate content. Ask your development team to address this. There are many solutions like using a Robots.txt file to tell search engines to ignore groups of URLs and make sure any filter pages have the proper basic setting.
Duplicate content across websites
The most common way this problem appears is that e-commerce website owners simply import the product content provided by the manufacturer. Efficient, yes. Effective in SEO, not at all. Re-uploading the same content that everyone else has will not earn you any priority in search engine results pages (SERPs).
We never pretend that SEO is easy. If you want to make your e-commerce site stand out, you can’t simply copy and paste what others have already put out on the web. Google will give 1 website credit for this content and it is unlikely to be yours.
Invest time creating your own unique product descriptions. Obviously, if you have thousands or hundreds of thousands of products, you have to be strategic about how you approach this. Start with the most profitable or highest-volume product categories and work your way through them. The best sales or the best opportunities may include a deep product description with unique photos and videos and your opinion. Others may just need more details added to the manufacturer’s description.
I still have to meet the company with unlimited writing capacity or SEO firm budget, so strategic thinking is key here.
Ease of use weak site
If your e-commerce site isn’t super fast and easy to use, the competition will outsmart you.
Oftentimes, when we do an SEO audit on an e-commerce website, we spot a lot of fruit that is hanging out. It starts with security. Of course, make sure you have SSL on your site, which affects usability and searchability.
The next most common problem we see is speed. Take a minute and use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool and check out your homepage, product category page, and detail page. This will tell you what you need to address in terms of speed.
The next thing I suggest you check is navigation. It should be as simple and consistent as possible. If the navigation changes every time you click, it can be very frustrating for the end user. Ask your development team to create a clean, simple, and consistent navigation architecture across the site.
There are no product reviews
Simply put: Buyers want social proof. Product reviews can seem risky when placed directly on your website. However, online reviews are expected by users and they are important. They want to know what other people think. Most modern e-commerce platforms provide functionality for reviews. Don’t be afraid to play it, and order it from your customers.
Most importantly, be transparent. Managing negative comments can seem intimidating but don’t delete them unless they are really vulgar. You should also respond to comments, especially negative ones. This helps build trust and a sense of community and appreciation. Use negative reviews as an opportunity to correct any that may have gone wrong and to truly show that you care about the customer experience in the future.
No unique nicknames
If you’ve been away in this post, you probably already know that the address we’re talking about is the meta address, which is basically the main one that appears at the top of your web browser. This is usually the content that Google displays with the blue link in the SERPs. This is not a place to stuff any and all keywords, but it is the place to use a keyword or two that will help make clear what the user should expect to see when they click to get to the page.
Most ecommerce platforms will make the SEO 101 mistake of duplicating H1 pages in the page title and in all honesty, this is better than it used to be. If you really want to get an edge from an SEO perspective, invest the time in helping the user understand what they’ll see on your website before they get there. Manually write the titles of the pages that describe in a useful but succinct way the product you are proposing to them.
Duplicate meta descriptions
Over the years there has been much debate about the value of meta descriptions. Largely because meta tags were generally misused by the SEO industry in the early days.
True, meta descriptions are not a silver bullet for better ratings. It doesn’t actually affect ratings much, if any. However, they affect your chance of earning clicks. If they are well written and useful, Google will likely display them as an excerpt in their search engine results pages.
Poor URL structure
URLs must be human-friendly. If you can’t understand your URLs when looking at a product page, you probably have an SEO issue.
Many ecommerce platforms have come a long way in terms of building human-friendly URLs, even down to the product description level. However, it is definitely not perfect. Take the time to browse to one or two of your product categories as well as a couple of products found deep within your website. Make sure, at all times, that you can understand what the URL is telling you about the page you’re on. If it’s confusing or code-like for you, it’s time to have a chat with your development team.
Let’s take a look at a good url: https://www.unistrutohio.com/combo-nut-washer
A confusing and hard-to-understand URL comparison: , 11389
Keyword stuffing on product pages
Don’t cram keywords that don’t belong to them. This is not search engine optimization. SEO accurately and uniquely describes your products in a way that helps the user make a good decision.
How do you fix it? It’s simple – just don’t do it. If you look at product descriptions, meta tags, or alt tags for images they are simply lists of keywords you got it wrong. In all of these cases, natural language is better. Describe the product or image as if you were talking to another human being.
Learn more about why users, not search engines, are your top priority.
Poor website design
Take the time to plan your user flows and user experience. The confusing design of the website causes users and search engines to let go.
However, here are some pointers:
- Make sure you only have one URL to access each piece of content, whether that content is marketing content or a product description.
- Organize your products into categories and subcategories as simply as possible. If some products belong to multiple categories, make sure that you do not accidentally create multiple copies of that product in your CMS.
- Keep your navigation user focused, as simple as possible and always in the same location.
Poor architecture is not a problem? Check out our blog covering 13 Reasons Why Your Ecommerce Website Fails.
Lack of responsive/mobile compatible website
More than 50% of web traffic is on mobile devices. In 2021, there is no excuse to have a website that is not responding if you are hoping to perform in the e-commerce space.
If your e-commerce site is not already responsively designed, you will face an uphill battle from an SEO perspective. Gone are the days of having a desktop site and a separate mobile version (thank goodness!). Responsive design allows us to create a single interface that adapts and adapts to the user’s device. If your ecommerce site isn’t responding, it’s probably time to take a look at the platform that will let you move on.
To end things…
E-commerce is not an easy and inexpensive way to do business anymore. Competition is stiff, user expectations are higher and the PPC market is becoming very expensive in most areas. All of these factors make SEO one of the best investments you can make in your ecommerce business. These common SEO mistakes are likely to be the beginning of opportunities that you will discover if you decide to go into your SEO strategy.
Ready to start your SEO strategy in high gear?