E-Commerce (Chapter 2) Site Audit : Getting the Basics Right
Tim Capper is the Director of Search at Online Ownership, with 10yrs experience in SEO and SEM. Having owned and operated a restaurant and hotel in the UK’s Lake District, Tim has naturally gravitated towards SEO within the travel market, both nationally and globally. Tim is a Google Top Contributor and a moderator in the SEO Questions community on Google+.
This is a second webinar in series, the first one (recordings) is here.
Free and Paid tools that you can use for a site audit.
Domain redirects with Http and Https, have you got these correctly implemented, together with parameter and product pages.
Are all your pages visible, is your site mobile friendly and have you told Google what pages are important to you.
We look at handling 404’s and could you handle these a little better in future. When to 301 and when not to, does it make sense to the user?
Helping your site and page speed by revisiting your images, could you win with different images.
Each one of these could have their own in-depth article written about them, however as a base level here is a checklist for e-commerce site owners
The very design of your website is the first step toward optimization for search engines and users. Keep these things in mind when you’re creating pages. Clear structure and user-friendly
Matching the text on your site to the way that shoppers will search for your items is important to SEO, but choosing the best search terms can be challenging. General terms are more common in searches, but there’s also more competition for those terms. If you use more specific keywords in your site’s text, your site is likely to appear in fewer searches, but your site will appear in front of shoppers who are more likely to be interested in what you’re offering.
Use Google Keyword tool or other SEO tools to understand what search queries are relevant to your products
These page elements can seem inconsequential, but they let search engines know what your page is about. Clean, descriptive URLs and are an extra chance to use your keywords in a prominent place, and page titles appear in search results. These elements should also uniquely distinguish each page on your site from other pages elsewhere online.
Your page title is the first interaction that a user has with your business
Meta descriptions are short lines of text that appear in search results below the title. They tell shoppers what the page is about, and they can be a deciding factor to a user which page they want to view from a search result against competitors who offer similar or identical items.
“NAP” stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. This information combines to form the key identifier for your business online, and consistency across your pages and other review sites makes it easier for shoppers and search engines to rank your site’s trustworthiness. To keep this information consistent, make sure you use the same formatting, including punctuation and abbreviations, in your contact information whenever it appears online.
Your NAP information would be used on your store location, stockists pages, click and collect locations.
In recent years, mobile searches have eclipsed desktop searches in many countries. Google’s search algorithms give a slight preference to sites that are mobile-friendly, and they also mark those sites in their results for mobile users. Sites that don’t place an emphasis on mobile usability sacrifice both their user experience and their rankings.
If your e-commerce site is very large you may want to also look at using AMP (accelerated mobile pages) on your mobile pages.
Product pages are the bread and butter of your e-commerce website. They showcase the items you have for sale and highlight their features. Often, buyers will make their decisions based on the content of these pages, and it’s essential that they’re optimized for both search engines and usability.
It’s tempting to use the manufacturer’s product description for the items you’re selling. Google search algorithms filter duplicate content, and many other sites, including the manufacturer. When you use unique descriptions, you can also add emphasis to the product features that you think your customers will value the most.
Provide information to the user that is necessary for them to make a purchasing decision.
These are unique identifiers that consumers use frequently to find specific products, and you should feature them prominently. By using this information in page headers and URLs, you can indicate to search engines that your product offering matches common search terms.
Search engines prefer pages that contain useful information for users, and you can use this to your advantage on your product pages. The most common types of supplemental content on product pages are reviews and ratings, and these provide valuable insight for consumers making purchasing decisions. Unboxing and product use videos can also be valuable content for product pages.
In 2016 your e-commerce site should be entirely in HTTPS and not just your checkout page
Because search engines rank pages on their usefulness, it’s important to appear as an authority in your product niche. In addition to unique, useful product pages, you can take advantage of other types of content to establish this credibility.
A regularly updated blog can establish your site as a valuable resource for searchers and shoppers. Blog topics can include product release announcements, detailed product reviews, and industry news. A blog is most effective when it’s hosted on the same domain as your e-commerce site.
It’s rare that text content goes viral. Images and videos are shared much more frequently, and that means more exposure for your site. Videos and infographics that accompany blog posts or product reviews can be especially effective sales tools.
Content is a valuable tool for search engine understanding, and it’s also a great sales tool. Social media is one of the best ways to share your content and products with an audience that wants to be engaged.
Site visitors are more likely to share your content and products if there’s an easy way for them to do so. When you include Facebook, Twitter, and other social media share buttons on relevant pages, you increase the odds that people who are interested in what you do will share your content with their friends and family.
While other people sharing your content is valuable, it’s not the only way to get the word out about your site. Your own social media accounts are equally important, and they can help you build a dedicated following. The biggest advantage to your own pages is that anything you post there reaches the searchers and shoppers that are already interested in what you offer, and getting new updates in front of them can increase your page views and sales.
One of the most compelling measures of your site’s usefulness is how many other sites link to yours. Getting these inbound links can be challenging, but it’s worth the time and effort it takes. Strategies for generating inbound links are varied, but offering valuable content is the first step. Reaching out to the webmasters of sites or administrators of social media accounts that cater to the customers that you’re looking to capture can be an effective tool, especially if you have unique content to offer them.
By improving your site’s SEO, you’ll drive more traffic and increase sales.
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