SEO campaigns are always a cornerstone of any online endeavor, but carrying them out properly in the world of eCommerce can be a tad more difficult than in other niches. The reason for this is rather simple – the competition is as stiff as it gets, and the tools are limited compared to the websites that are focusing more on selling the content that is on them.
So, in order to devise an effective SEO strategy for your online store it is necessary to pay close attention to every single aspect of the business you are running, and always to keep your goals in mind. It is not always an easy task, as it is rather easy to lose your perspective and get drawn into fights with other vendors. The only problem is – most of those fights you simply can’t win!
The only way to succeed is to choose the best means to remain relevant and to keep your exposure high without investing too much. Overspending just to keep an edge is never a good idea and will inevitably lead you to the conclusion that there must be a better way. The worst part is that you will feel some of your competitors are actually using that better way. Most probably, you will be right to think so.
In order to explain all the aspects, you need to keep in mind when dealing with SEO in eCommerce we will try here to explain the basics.
Search engine optimization (SEO) in eCommerce is, of course, a very important segment that many vendors simply overlook. In some other cases, they do it in a completely wrong way, so their organic visibility never reaches its full potential.
The most common cases of making critical errors can be separated into several groups:
• Metadata issues
• Categorisation issues
• Content issues
The problems with metadata are more common than anyone could even imagine. Many vendors simply omit that part as not too important so only the main static pages get the full and utterly necessary attention. At the same time, the category, sub-category, and product pages get a very shallow and superficial attention and that in most cases ends up in metadata being not present at all. Of course, if there are no metadata, the search engines will flag those pages pretty hard and their visibility will be very low.
The other common case relates to not being creative at all. Since generating metadata in an effective way is not a cheap process and it can be quite time-consuming, many vendors simply opt for a generic approach. That, of course, can never give good results. It is definitely a better case than having no metadata at all, but still, you shouldn’t have high hopes to have any significant competitive edge on the contemporary market.
The third most common problem is related to duplicating metadata. While most vendors do invest some effort in meta titles, meta descriptions are often copied from category to category. Needless to say – this can’t have any positive effect whatsoever.
The next common issue is not respecting character limits. Both meta titles and meta descriptions are limited to a certain number of characters with spaces, in order to be displayed properly. There has been even an expansion in this department relatively recently when meta description length has been expanded from 120 to 160 characters, but still – a lot of vendors completely disregard these limitations and write as they see fit, often trying to carry out the main message through metadata rather through content.
The final and the most common mistake even with the vendors that are paying close attention to every aspect of SEO is not doing the keyword research properly and optimizing metadata to achieve maximum effects. They often cling to the keywords that are relevant for the niche with no regards to volume metrics on the target market. In that way, they often get a “junk” traffic. If they are not targeting certain geography with their products and can’t sell them there, yet a lot of search visits come from those geographies, the only visible result will be increased traffic and heavily decreased conversion rate.
What is the remedy?
The only way to optimise your eCommerce website properly is to do things in the way they have to be done! Each static, category and sub-category page needs to have metadata that are optimized in the right way. Each page should be optimized to a different keyword that is most relevant to the category or topic of that page. When dealing with static pages (home, about us, etc.) you need to keep a broad approach. These are the pages where you should carry out the message your company pushes as the main agenda.
Category and sub-category pages should be optimised to reflect the groups of products you are selling under those. ALWAYS pay close attention to volume metrics and competition in the markets you target. Without that approach, you won’t get anything useful from this.
Product pages are hard to optimise as the number of products tends to be huge on the largest online stores. The somewhat generic approach is allowed there for the sake of keeping the costs down, but if you do have financial or human resources, optimizing those pages as well in metadata segment could pay off big time!
Many vendors pay little attention to categorization and properly optimizing content for main category and subcategory pages. It often reflects in neglect to the metadata we already mentioned, and the utter neglect to the content on main category pages.
Everything related to the metadata we already explained in the previous chapter, but this has a further impact on SEO when it relates to content.
In order to make optimisation effective both meta description and main content on the page have to be optimized to same keywords, but also to generate LSI matrices that improve search engine understanding of what your product is all about.
There are several key errors people tend to make with categorization in terms of the SEO:
In the first case, they simply omit any descriptions. Although the category name is often self-explanatory, that doesn’t mean you don’t need any content on that page. From the SEO perspective, that is a fatal error. Crawlers will be able to draw some data from the meta descriptions, but they won’t be able to go any deeper as there is no content to be scanned in the main body of the page.
The second most common case is the existence of descriptions that are simply too short. A few sentences are simply not enough if you wish to push certain categories hard. It is still better than no content at all, but it is necessary to stick at least to minimal amounts of necessary text. Anything below 150 words is simply not enough. Ideally, 350 to 500 words would be optimal for main category pages, but generating that much content is not cheap if you are looking for a good quality, so sticking to 1150-words minimum is a strategy that will be the most cost-effective.
The final mistake is not optimizing the main content in alignment with the metadata. If you focus metadata on one keyword and omit using the very same keyword in main content, you will get slim results. Still, it won’t necessarily turn out completely bad, but the results are much better when you do things as they should be done.
What is the remedy?
When it comes to categorization and issues related to this segment, it is best to rely on experts. Not many vendors have internal human resources to cover SEO in a right way, and paying someone to carry out a full audit, identify the mistakes and remedy them is an investment that pays off every time. We at Studioworx have a lot of experience in this field and are fully capable to cover this from top to bottom. You will have impeccably optimized website that will rank as well as possible if you entrust this task to us.
Of course, you could try doing this on your own, but the results will be slim if you miss a single aspect of the optimisation. You should resort to this option ONLY if you have in-house human resources that are fully capable of covering everything in the right way.
Content on all pages including categories and sub-categories is what will make your website visible for search engines. ALL content needs to be fully optimized and adapted to answer its main purpose and the mistakes people make are quite numerous. We will mention only the major ones here.
The first and most common problem is not dedicating enough written content to each page. We have already explained the word count preferences for category pages, but there are some limits for static pages, product pages, and blogs as well. Static pages should have at least 500 words each, although higher word counts will produce better results if optimised properly. Still, in eCommerce, there is no need to be too excessive with this and 2000 words per static page is the maximum you should aim at. Everything more than that is simply not cost effective. Blogs should have at least 350 words each, with 2000 words being the preferred maximum. Usually, posts around 1000 words will produce the best results, but only if they are optimised properly.
The second mistake that often occurs is not optimising content in accordance with metadata and the LSI rules. In text body, there is no need to optimize everything just for a single KW. The larger the text, the more KWS can and should be used. Still, even in this case, it is necessary to take care of the KW relevance, volume metrics, and competition in the targeted geographies. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) adds another dimension to this and in order to generate the content that will be really effective, this segment NEEDS to be covered.
Another mistake that is already costly but in future can be even worse is not paying attention to the originality of content. ALL written content needs to be 100% original in order to be ranked well. Even the smallest amounts of plagiarised text will result in penalties. This is easily avoidable if you use Copyscape Premium service to pass all your content through it in order to make sure it is original. Still, even after everything has been written and uploaded on the website it is possible that there will be some conflicts. This is why further checks with some premium tools are necessary.
Finally, there is an issue with blogging which is more important in eCommerce than you might think if your focus is on organic traffic. A blog section has to be present and it needs to be updated regularly if you wish to remain relevant. This is the easiest and most effective way to add new KWS into your portfolio and to react to volume metrics changes. 2 blogs a month are a bare minimum, while 4 posts a month are pretty much enough. Of course, the word count and the optimization of each will determine the effects it will have.
What is the remedy?
Once again, it is best to leave things to the professionals. If you have local resources within your company it is possible to do it on your own, but usually small and medium-sized retailers don’t have SEO experts who are at the same time expert marketers and copywriters.
Hiring someone outside your company to take care of these issues is the best solution. Once again, we at Studioworx have all the expertise and experience to do this for you. Feel free to contact us at any time and we will do a full audit of your eCommerce store and give you all the recommendations on how to improve and be competitive to the maximum!