In the world of eCommerce marketing, if there is one foundational leg of the inbound marketing tripod that is particularly difficult to master, it is getting found online. This can be a real headache for eCommerce marketers, who frequently pit themselves against deep-pocket competitors for high-volume keywords and who can face penalties for not having a unique enough content strategy.
Fortunately, there are a few steps that eCommerce marketers can take to ensure success with their search engine optimization efforts -- from adjusting page architecture to leveraging the right long-tail keywords, here are a few basic tricks to improve your eCommerce SEO.
5 Tips to Improve eCommerce SEO Strategy
Avoid Duplicate Content Penalties with User-Generated Reviews
eCommerce marketers often post out-of-the-box product specs and descriptions for their product pages, and because of this, they frequently face duplicate content penalties from search engines. To combat duplicate content, allow your customers the ability to review and comment on your products. By doing so, you’ll not only enrich keyword uniqueness, but by posting product pages that are continually updated with fresh content, your pages will be crawled more frequently by search engines.
Optimize Each of Your Product Pages
Each of your product pages should be fully optimized for on-page SEO. Use keyword-rich title tags, headers, and meta descriptions, take advantage of image alt tags, and use internal linking to help visitors find more of your products. If there is repetitive content that must live across all of your product pages, consider using iframes to avoid duplicate content.
Use a Calculated Long-Tail Keyword Strategy
Get to know your competitors’ websites really well. Understand what keywords they use, what keywords they rank well for, and create a list of long-tail product terms that have low competition.
For example, if you sell vintage clothing, brainstorm some long-tail keywords like vintage clothing in California, 1950s vintage clothing, vintage clothing for kids, and vintage clothing accessories. Even if these keywords register a relatively low monthly search volume, they are comparatively easier to rank for and will tend to bring in more targeted traffic. Think about what terms potential customers are using to search for your products.
Embrace your Website Architecture
In eCommerce SEO marketing, it is critical to have a clear, hierarchical website structure. Many eCommerce websites bury their products within dozens of sub-categories that make the site both cumbersome to navigate and suboptimal for search engine crawling.
Keep your product pages two or three clicks from your home page and try to avoid using variables, IDs, or other parameters in your page URLs. Ideally, product URLs should primarily include long-tail keywords.
Optimize your Internal Search Engine
Many of the internal search engines that come with eCommerce CMS platforms are clunky and unsophisticated. Internal search engines are an opportunity to capture and analyze how people are searching for products on your site. This can show how often (and in what fashion) your internal search engine is used. It can also help identify website architecture shortcomings and potential long-tail keywords.
Originally published Mar 6, 2012 8:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016