How to Perfect On-Page Optimisation for Ecommerce Websites
Optimising the product pages of your ecommerce website is an important part of ecommerce SEO. When you are looking at on-page search engine optimisation you need to work on a number of important elements in order to really reap the rewards of your efforts.
In this post I’m going to outline all of the elements that you need to focus on if you want to optimise your product pages for SEO. For each of the elements I list I will explain briefly how you can optimise each of them for your ecommerce website design.
1. Customer Reviews
Collecting customer reviews is an important process you need to be using. Of course there is the feedback, which you can use to improve your business, but you may not be aware that it’s also a source of unique content.
Here are some quick and dirty tips for collecting and using customer reviews:
Build or buy a system that automatically emails customers a few weeks after they’ve purchased from you asking for a review.
Don’t be afraid to offer incentives such as discounts on a customers’ next purchase in exchange for a review.
Publish negative reviews, customers aren’t stupid and can see when something is a bit too positive. It comes across as fishy.
Added benefit: microdata
Make sure you are marking up these reviews with relevant microdata. This is going to benefit your search engine results because it gives your content context and will improve click-through rates.
2. Product Videos
This is one that is worthwhile for an ecommerce design but difficult to execute properly. There are a number of ecommerce SEO benefits from having videos on a product page. One being that it makes your content more worthy and rich in content. Another major benefit you’ll get from using videos is the fact that your search results stand out compared to your competitors and we all know how important it is to stand out now.
If you are going to use videos on your product pages then you need to make sure that you are embedding them or marking them up properly. The best system available to embed and optimise videos properly is called Wistia. This is a great system, things are always improving and new features are always being added.
Rel=”next”, Rel=”prev” and view all
Dealing with pagination is a problem that many ecommerce website stores experience. Problem is you have product categories that can literally have thousands of products that span a lot of pages.
There is a simple way that you can handle pagination and it’s with the rel=”next”, rel=”prev” and “view all” attributes. This is a great way to help Google understand pagination and pass link equity on key pages. This will help to make sure they are indexed and crawled so you’re not missing out on search engine results.
Microdata markup and Schema.org
There is some great ecommerce SEO data that you can use to help you show up in search engines. This is microdata and the support of the Schema.org vocabulary. Initially, this announcement was greeted with a lot of enthusiasm but it turned out to be not as good as what we all hoped. However, things have now changed and Google seems to be using this data more now.
There are a few types of markups that you can use to generate better results on your product page. Here are a few tips on how you can use this effectively:
Only choose the properties that are relevant to the product attributes you have
Take development time to integrate these properties into template elements of your page, so that when you add new products, they are automatically marked up
Add notes to your analytics package when you put these changes live so you can monitor any improvements
3. Q & A Content
Getting unique content onto product pages on scale has always been a problem for ecommerce websites but there is a great opportunity to get unique content on those pages with question and answer content. There are a few important benefits you get by using this kind of system:
Scalable, user-generated content published onto product pages
Improving ranking for long-tail terms and question driven keywords if the content is crawlable
Possible improvement in conversion rate if customer concerns are addressed in the answers
Possibility of encouraging brand evangelists and even bringing in some gamification principles to help motivate users
4. Social Sharing Buttons
Social sharing buttons are something that should be used cautiously on ecommerce websites. Instead of using them on product pages, use them at different points of the buying process. The reason I don’t advocate using them on product pages is because you don’t want to distract a customer from buying your product.
Here is when you should use them:
After point of purchase on a thank you or confirmation page.
Email follow ups and correspondence.
After a review has been published - give reviewer option to share their review.
There is also a code that you can use to test whether a user is logged into Google+, Twitter, or Facebook when viewing your ecommerce website. This code would allow you to show the user a customised message where you could encourage them to like your page, etc.
Speed is important and has become even more important since Google confirmed it was a factor in the algorithm.
Speed is a factor that affects conversion rates on an ecommerce web design. This should be pretty obvious because a user isn’t going to wait forever for one of your product pages to load. So speed is something that you should care about if you run an ecommerce website.
Open Graph Tags
Facebook is a massive social media platform so you need to be optimising for how your content is shared. You can do this by adding open graph tags to your ecommerce design. What they do is allow you to be more specific with how your content is shared on Facebook.
These are easy for a developer or even you to setup and put live. If you have a lot of products on your site then you will need a developer to setup the tags so they scale across all of your products and use the correct elements of the page.
5. Search Options
A search box on your ecommerce website is an essential part of improving your website and your customer’s experience. Here are some simple tips for using a search box:
Track your features using your CMS or Google Analytics.
Monitor how many people who search and then leave straight away.
Check your search results actually return good results.
It’s important to make sure that your search works with singular or plural keywords.
Pull in special offers and discounts related to the searched for keyword.
Make sure you pull in product images next to search results.
6. Clear Call to Action
A clear call to action is one of the most important elements for any ecommerce website design. Without a clear and compelling call to action you are basically wasting your time. After all, your goal is to sell a product. You need to run experiments on your product pages so you can test your conversion rates and this will help give you an idea of where you can improve.
There are three tools in particular that you can use to optimise calls to action:
Google Analytics event tracking
Using these tools will allow you to gather data and then you can start setting conversion targets against it.
7. Trust Signals
If you want people to give you money then they need to be able to trust your ecommerce website. They need to know that their credit card and personal details are secure. You do this by using trust signals such as verified by Visa, etc.
Make sure that these trust signals link to secure certificates as well. You want your users to be able to trust that you are a legitimate business.
Breadcrumbs are an important piece of ecommerce web design navigation. They look great and they help users navigate your site with ease. Not only do they help your users, but they are also great for ecommerce SEO and help with internal linking.
If you have a lot of products then it’s best that you stick to using the one breadcrumb trail because otherwise things get too complex and complicated for users. Always assess using breadcrumbs in relation to customer experience.
You need your images to be high quality. That means clear, crisp, and clean. Anything less and you are drastically affecting user experience. Remember that on an ecommerce web design, users engage with what they can see so your images need to be crisp, clear, and clean.
You need to make sure that you are doing basic image optimisation to capture as much traffic from Google image searches when possible. Here is how you can do this:
Use descriptive filename e.g. wooden-oak-table-12345.png instead of 12345.png
Add ALT text to all product images - it is quite easy to make ALT text the same as the product name automatically in the CMS
Create and submit an image sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools
10. META Title
With META titles it’s best to get your developer to auto-generate them because you are going to potentially have thousands of products on your site. It’s impossible to customise every one of them on your own and far too time consuming. A key thing to remember here is to avoid mass duplicates of META data.
Top tip - An ecommerce website will usually have some kind of database with various attributes (fields) for each product. A good developer will be able to use these fields to populate other parts of the page dynamically, eg: a META title or description.
11. Product Description
Your product descriptions need to be unique. This is important because you need to be able to differentiate yourself from the hundreds of competitors out there. Make sure they are unique and compelling, and include a USP that separates them from your competitors.
12. Page URL
One very important thing to remember with ecommerce websites is to make sure you don’t put in categories or sub-categories in product URLs. This is even more important if there is more than one way to find a product because otherwise it can lead to duplicate product pages.
Best way to do this is to just use a product name and a code for the URL, for example - www.example.com/product-name12345. The reason why you should always include a number in the URL is to protect yourself against similar product names.
13. H1 Tags
Whilst this isn’t the most important thing you need to do for on-page optimisation of your ecommerce website design it is still something that is worth doing. Best thing to do here is to code your page template so that the product name automatically becomes the default H1 tag for a page. This will help to eliminate duplicate H1 tags across the website and will automatically optimise each page you publish.
14. Phone Number
A phone number is important. Remember the trust signals mentioned earlier? This is another one of them and one of the factors that will help your search engine rankings for inspiring trust is including a phone number.
Here is great tip for improving the customer service of your website. If you have a customer support team, have them track all of the baskets that were abandoned in the checkout process. Hopefully those customers included a phone number and then you can call them to find out what went wrong. This is a great way to improve customer service and also find out possible barriers people may have to buying.
15. Company Details
Company details can help give you that little push up the search engine ranking. If Google see’s that your location is listed then it can help Google rank you for keywords that are based on or near your location. This is also another important ecommerce SEO trust signal that Google looks at.
All in all, this is your comprehensive guide for on-page search engine optimisation of your ecommerce website design. There is a lot of information here for you to work on but if you apply each of these tips you will see the effect it will have on your business. If you have an ecommerce store then optimising your product pages is essential and something you cannot ignore.
How are you looking to implement these tips for your on-page optimisation of product pages?