Getting a site fully optimised for the search engines can be a complicated and lengthy process, especially on a website with dozens and dozens of individual pages such as an online store. But we've got five simple and effective SEO tips for E-Commerce websites to make things a little easier...
1. Avoid Duplicate Content / Create Unique Content
In early 2011 Google put a huge emphasis on original website content by improving the position of sites that produced a lot of unique content; sites with a lot of duplicate content were also penalised by Google and had their placements lowered.
Rather than using the manufacturers product listings, like many other online stores, write your own or try to put your own spin on things. While this will help a page rank higher a well written product listing may also convince your visitors to make a purchase.
2. Use Descriptive Web Addresses
A web address has a lot of potential benefit for customers and search engines alike. While it can be easy to generate your product pages using item numbers, i.e. www.ashoppingsite.com/156468, it is better to use a descriptive URL related to the product. So for a product page about a digital camera use something like www.ashoppingsite.com/digital-camera
These descriptive URLs give an added piece of information for the search engines to index and will also be a lot easier for your customers to memorise.
3. Interlink Your Pages & Back linking
Search engines rank unique content very highly but they also factor in the links on a page; search engines follow the links on a page and index the pages it finds so it is very beneficial to interlink your pages, helping the search engines and your customers get around the site. Link to related products you sell or blog articles you've written and help your visitors find their way to more areas of your website.
Backlinks can be a great way to gain exposure for your web site, it can also benefit your SEO. A link from an external website counts as a vote to the search engines. If you have more votes than another website the search engines should place you higher. Gathering back links can be a time consuming activity but VSI-thinking offer this service.
Another helpful way to gather inbound links is to allow and encourage your visitors to share your products on their social networks. Bing utilises data from social networks to influence their search results, likewise Google have begun using data from their Google+ network to adjust and tailor search results. Don't forget to use good anchor text as well; a link that says "click here" is useful but not as useful as a link that features your keywords.
4. Cater for Your Customer's Searches
While your product database is full of individual, unique products a lot of buyers may be searching with broader keyphrases. Create unique pages which target these broader searches and then link off to more focused categories or product pages, helping your customers find exactly what they want. Landing pages can also be very helpful with broader searches. Don't forget to create them with unique content.
5. Let Visitors Leave Reviews
Customer reviews can have a great influence on whether a customer buys or not; they can also offer an SEO benefit too. A review is essentially another piece of unique content which the search engines will index and reward you for. The best part is your existing customers can produce this content for you. Just by giving your visitors the opportunity to leave reviews and feedback you can reap a huge SEO reward.
The VSI-thinking Content Management Solution and Product solutions make all of the tips above simple to achieve, and several SEO features are even put in place automatically to help your e-commerce website get off to a great start.