When it comes to SEO, particularly SEO for ecommerce sites, sitemaps are one of the most important elements of a website.
The sitemap is considered by many search marketing experts the second most important page of a website (next to the homepage as number one.) If you think of your website as a book, the sitemap serves as main reference point, or index.
In its very essence, a sitemap contains links to all primary pages of a website. Although not commonly used by typical users for navigation, the sitemap serve as a roadmap for search engine spiders, giving direction to all of the rich, rank-ready content that needs to be crawled and indexed.
As a result, sitemaps are absolutely essential for SEO (specifically "on-page SEO"). Most websites only need one sitemap to fit the bill; however, larger ecommerce sites can be an exception.
Because ecommerce sites are deep and often contain thousands of pages, one sitemap can pose some limitations for SEO. In short, one sitemap with thousands of links is a bit much. That is, the value of each link is significantly reduced when spread amongst thousands of counterparts.
Using Segmented Sitemaps for Deep Ecommerce Sites
There are no rules as to how many sitemaps you can have. Deep ecommerce sites with thousands of pages should take full advantage of segmented sitemaps. These are more focal sitemaps that are broken-down based on specific product categories, brands, and other characteristics that make logical sense.
For example, an online electronics store that specializes in hi-def TV's may want to create dedicated sitemaps for each brand it offers. This retailer could create segmented sitemaps for Samsung TV's, Sony TV's, Toshiba TV's, and so on.
Perhaps the ecommerce retailer only offers a few select television products per brand, in addition to many other electronics. In this case, they might simply have one sitemap for TV's, and additional sitemaps dedicated to other product categories, such as PC's, MP3 players, smartphones, etc.
The main idea is be logical about the segmentation process with respect to your ecommerce SEO strategy. If "Samsung TVs" is the keyword you want to rank for (and you have a ton of Samsung televisions in-stock,) then it would make logical sense to build a dedicated sitemap for this brand.
Leveraging XML Sitemaps SEO Empowerment
XML sitemaps are a little bit different. Unlike "HTML sitemaps" (which are visible to website users,) XML sitemaps are a files that are uploaded to your website, but invisible to the common visitor.
These XML files also contain links to your primary pages (and can also be segmented,) however they carry a different purpose for SEO. XML sitemaps are submitted to Google (via your Google Webmaster Tools account) to notify Google spiders of all the pages that you want crawled and indexed.
Because some pages of your site may not be easily discoverable by Google's normal crawling process, regular XML sitemap submissions are good way to ensure that Google is well-aware of what needs to be crawled and indexed. This is particularly important when you add new pages to your website.
To learn more about sitemaps and Google's guidelines on
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of Internet marketing, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media, and content marketing. Keep in touch with Tyler by following him on Twitter or encircling him Google+.
There's no two ways about it: SEO for ecommerce sites is a challenge.
With (literally) thousands of pages to tend to, it takes a lot of resources to check off all the on-page SEO boxes that Google looks for.
Fortunately, you can get more traffic to your product and category pages by implementing these simple on-page SEO "hacks" courtesy of Backlinko.
While all of these SEO tips apply to ecommerce sites, here are the four strategies that can get you the most traffic in the shortest period of time:
1. Add modifiers to title tags: A common mistake that I see ecommerce sites make is to use short title tags. There's a large percentage of searchers who use long tail keywords, like "best blue widget", "cheap blue widgets", or "brand blue widgets". By adding these modifiers before and after your target keywords you can potentially wrangle in more search traffic.
2. Speed up your page loading speed: A study by Amazon found that they lost 1% in sales for every 100 miliseconds of site speed loading time. If you run an ecommerce site you literally can't afford to have a slow website. One of the fastest ways to boost site speed loading time is to switch over to a better hosting plan. It's usually more expensive, but the ROI is typically positive over the long-term.
3. Post long content: Google loves giving their users pages with lots and lots of content. Unfortunately, most product pages are fairly thin in the content department (mostly due to the sheer number of pages ecommerce sites tend to have). One way to get around this is to identify your top 5-10 pages that you'd like to get more traffic to. Then add more details and information about the product on those pages.
4. Lower your bounce rate: A bounce doesn't just represent a lost sale: it may also mean decreased visibility in Google search. One site way to reduce your bounce rate is to add multiple "related products" sliders. This is a technique Zappos employs on their product pages:
This can also boost page views and time on site: two important user-interaction signals for SEO. Stay tuned for more ecommerce SEO best practices.
Ecommerce website owners and marketers are constantly look for new ways to increase product sales and achieve sustainability in their online business. With Google Search continuously evolving, ecommerce marketers must adapt and re-vamp their strategies from time to time.
To realize success as well as support other search marketing strategies like SEO and PPC advertising, ecommerce marketers may find Google Shopping to be a powerful avenue to promote products. Google's Shopping results appear for almost any product-related keyword search. This offers this quite the marketing opportunity for ecommerce stores.
The Down-Low on Google Shopping
Do a Google search for any type of product, whether it's a general category (e.g. Men's running shoes) or specific brand, make, or model (e.g. Saucony ProGrid Guide 6).
The Google Shopping listings take a up a significant amount of real estate in the search results. This makes it a popular avenue for Google users who want to browse products they're interested in buying.
The Google Shopping platform helps direct customers to online stores by inviting the ecommerce owners to create ads for their products. Google shows customers the name of the store, picture of the product, and the price.
Customers interested in the products click through the link that opens the store's website to purchase the items. So although Google takes a cut on the sale, the process is rather seamless and easy to implement for ecommerce marketers.
Making the Most of Google Shopping for Ecommerce Marketing
If you're interested in Google Shopping for ecommerce marketing (or want to improve your existing campaign,) below are some tips to help you make the most of this great platform.
Optimize Product Data Feed
A business owner can fine-tune a Google Shopping campaign directly on the platform. Sort out the product database according to the relevant categories or departments. Find the most-searched and less competitive version of each of the categories using keyword tool and replace all instances of the original category name to further boost the effectiveness of the strategy.
For instance, improve the data feed by tagging high-margin items with labels and then bid more aggressively in AdWords. Other than optimizing page titles, descriptions, categories and product images, a business owner can include shipping costs and quality product images. Google is likely to identify a website's worth through its rich-content.
Frequently Update, Analyze and Test Product Feed
Improve Google Shopping search marketing campaigns by providing accurate and updated information. Update the data feed each time there is a change. Other than updating, the feed should be error free. Test data feeds to make it easier to remedy any errors after submission. Use the help center for troubleshooting information. Data feed errors and data quality errors can be identified and fixed before submitting the feed for indexing.
Add an Identifier for Tracking Purposes
Track the traffic reliably with Google Analytics to help in optimizing search marketing strategies. To help differentiate traffic from Google Shopping from other referring URLs and search engines, an ecommerce site owner can add an identifier to the product URLs.
Set up the ecommerce site for the Google Merchant feed to include UTM tags that instruct how to report data. The right string can separate Google Shopping results from Google organic results. Tracking results can provide information that can help in improving a marketing strategy.
Benefits to an Ecommerce Search Marketing Strategy
One of the benefits of listing products on Google Shopping is that Google is the top search engine used by millions of people daily. Opting for the service can create a wider audience reach and consistent traffic. The site can get more traffic because active buyers can search and find a store's items via the Google search engine.
Replacing free shopping placements with paid ads has lowered the number of retailers thus minimizing the competition. Other than being a comparison shopping engine, it also acts as paid search marketing strategy. A store that lists on the platform pays for results. This means a business owner is charged only when someone clicks on the ad and lands on the website.
Whether you're unveiling a new ecommerce website or have been trying your hand at ecommerce SEO for some time, a thorough audit can reveal help get you on the right track to success.
Here at ClickCentric SEO, we conduct ecommerce SEO audits on the reg. Whether for new prospects or existing clients, providing SEO audits is an integral aspect to the service programs that we offer.
In this article, I will share three essential resources that we use to conduct ecommerce SEO audits. These resources are available to anyone and should be well-respect assets in your SEO arsenal.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Ttools is one of the best resources for a number of SEO-related insights. Below are a few key places to look when conducting a SEO audit for your ecommerce site.
Optimization -> HTML Improvements
Ecommerce sites are often common culprits of duplicate content. Under the HTML Improvements section, check for duplicate and/or missing Page Title and Meta description tags.
Health -> Crawl Errors
Page errors can hinder the crawling and indexing process of your ecommerce site. Take a look at the Crawl Errors section to pinpoint any ailments that might be diminishing the SEO-value and crawl-ability of your pages.
Traffic -> Search Queries
Take a look at the types of queries (keyword phrases) that are generating organic search traffic to your website. Keep in mind that this data is a bit loose and not the most accurate (queries account for phrase matches - which are difficult to define.) Nonetheless, you'll be able to understand which keywords your site is most relevant about.
Traffic -> Links to Your Site
Get an idea of who is linking to your ecommerce site. Backlinks are huge factor for SEO, so the more quality links you can earn, the better SEO potential your ecommerce site will have.
Optimization -> Sitemaps
Under the Sitemaps section, check to see if any XML sitemaps have been submitted. If not, this is a good opportunity to take advantage of. An XML sitemap submission tells Google of the pages on your ecommerce site that are ready to be crawled and indexed. The submission, which is simply a notification to Google, accelerates the process.
2. W3C Markup Validation Service
Ecommerce sites are often very deep domains with hundreds and thousands of pages. This makes it difficult to ensure that no code errors and warnings are present on the website.
The Crawl Errors section of Google Webmaster Tools is sometimes not enough. This when the help of W3C Markup Validation Service can help you pinpoint HTML code errors and warnings present on your ecommerce site.
After you submit your domain at validator.w3.org, the service will tell exactly which lines of code are problematic to your site's health. You can then work with your webmaster see that these errors and warnings get fixed.
3. Pingdom for Site Speed Testing
Parallel to minimizing HTML code errors is ensuring the load speed of your ecommerce website is fast and fluid. A slow loading website can hinder both SEO and user engagement.
Test the speed of your ecommerce site using a free tool like tools.Pingdom.com. If your site takes longer than one second to load, then it probably can be optimized.
There can be a number of reasons for a slow loading website. Often times it's the HTML coding structure of the site that correlates to load speed. So if your using an ancient CMS software platform to run your ecommerce site, then chances are it's inhibiting SEO performance and usability.
Diagnosing a slow ecommerce site is best when done with tech-savvy individual who can troubleshoot why things are slow going. The remedy can range from a simple website optimization tune-up or complete overhaul onto a new CMS platform.
Bonus: Tools for Backlink Portfolio Audits
Assessing a site's backlink portfolio takes ecommerce SEO auditing one step further. The tools needed to conduct a backlink scan of a website (as well as provide data about the sources' anchor text, Google PageRank, etc.) typically require payment to use.
A backlink portfolio audit is essential if your ecommerce site has been penalized by Google Penguin (which targets over-optimized backlinks with too much exact keyword match anchor text.) Two tools that I personally favor are:
- Open Site Explorer - Created by SEOmoz, Open Site Explorer is web-based tool that offers a wealth of data regarding a website's backlink portfolio. Test it out for free by visiting OpenSiteExplorer.org.
- SEO Spyglass - SEO Spyglass is an advanced software platform that's apart of the SEO Powersuite by Link Assistant. For search marketers, this tool is ideal for client management and auditing.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Tyler spearheads most of the ecommerce SEO audits at Click Centric SEO. You can k0eep in touch with him by following Tyler on Twitter.
Promoting an ecommerce brand on the Internet can be done in many different ways these days, however many people get stuck when it comes to creating a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. They may be unable to determine the best places to promote their products, in addition to defining who their target audience is.
As a result, it is important to educate yourself and pursue the best marketing channels to promote your ecommerce brand. Every ecommerce brand is unique (as well as a brand's target market,) so leveraging the proper Internet marketing channels is critical to succeed.
In this article, we share with you seven effective tips to promote your ecommerce brand.
In order to make more and more people aware of your business, you should consider blogging for your ecommerce brand. People will be able to read the blog and find out more about what you have to say regarding your new products. Your blog can also announce new updates with certain products and give customers a general idea of a new direction that your business may be taking.
Social media is a powerful tool when it comes to brand marketing. Customers can ‘like’ a brand’s page. This page will then post various updates and continue reminding customers about the new changes that the business is making.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO can be used in order to promote your ecommerce website, which will in turn help to promote your products. You will need to put specific keywords into the text of your website. Ecommerce SEO will help to boost your product pages up in the rankings and will help to ensure that more people can find it. As a staple of ecommerce marketing, SEO is one of the first channels that you should think of investing in.
Reviews are going to either make or break your reputation. When it comes to review websites, you are going to have to make sure that you get the best reviews from customers. Review websites will also help you to gauge what the current trend is when it comes to your reputation.
With Twitter you can make announcements and engage with other customers. This is a very useful tool when it comes to sorting out certain issues that customers may bring up.
Monitoring your brand online can be done through a variety of different uses. Brand monitoring will allow you to determine just what people think of your product and what you need to do in order to improve it.
Paid surveys can give you more information regarding customers’ thoughts on your products. Do not underestimate a survey’s power, for they can reveal a wealth on insights in creating an effective ecommerce marketing strategy.
This article was provided by the advocates of Brandchats. Brandchats is unique tool designed for social media analytics and online branding.
Ecommerce SEO can be a complex undertaking that demands a higher degree of effort and consideration compared to typical websites. In addition to optimizing a robust site (that may contain hundreds and thousands of pages,) ecommerce SEO is typically more keyword competitive as well.
In short, there's just a lot that goes into the SEO process for an online store. Although the best results are attained with a professional ecommerce SEO company, there are a number of on-site SEO tasks that can be handled in-house by a webmaster or tech-savvy marketing team.
In this article we share several SEO processes that are essential for ecommerce sites. Think of all of these processes as your ultimate SEO checklist for your ecommerce store.
Your Ecommerce SEO Checklist
- Define keyword optimization naming convention - This doesn't sound as technical as it may seem. A "keyword optimization naming convention" is simply the semantic structure of words that you use for essential SEO elements (namely the Meta Title.) Because ecommerce sites are often so deep with pages, it's best to write a consistent naming convention for the Title and other parts of a page. A good place to start in developing SEO-friendly naming conventions is with the brand name and then the primary keyword phrase (or product name.) So your naming convention formula might be "[Brand] [Product Name] | [Ecommerce Store Name]" (e.g. "Nike Flex Trainer 2 Shoes | EcommerceShoeStore.com.") You can also apply naming conventions for URLs, Meta Descriptions, and other important content elements with SEO value.
- Always write unique page copy - One of the biggest SEO mishaps that ecommerce stores face is duplicate content. This often stems from using generic product descriptions provided by manufacturers. The problem is that the same product descriptions are found on various other websites (perhaps even competitors'.) As a result of using generic content, the SEO value of your product pages is significantly diminished (if not entirely obsolete.) Instead, take the time to write unique and compelling product descriptions. This might demand the help of an experienced copywriter, but the investment is usually well worth it.
- Keyword optimize media files – Most individuals who know a thing or two about SEO are familiar with keyword optimizing the ALT tag for images. However only few keyword optimize the entire file before uploading it to the website. To do this, name your media files with respect to your keyword targets (which is typically logical for product page image.) Additionally, you can modify the properties of images to be more keyword relevant. Right click the image or media file, select properties, and populate the title, sub-title, tags, description, and comments of the file to reflect your keyword targets. This helps maximize the SEO value of your pages when you go to upload the files.
- Optimize for faster load speeds - Beyond the scope of SEO, optimizing your ecommerce website for fast load speed enhances user experience (which aids in conversions.) Although there is some SEO value to having a quick load times, most value is seen for conversion optimization. Faster load speed is achieved by minimizing the HTML code and optimizing robust media files. By taking the time to strip unnecessary code and reduce the file size of images and video, you can significantly improve your website load speed.
- Start content marketing (if you haven't already) – Content marketing is the glue that holds your social media marketing and SEO efforts together. In a nutshell, you can create informative, inspiring, and enlightening videos, articles/blog posts, or images/graphics, and share the goodness with your social media followers. Awesome content earns social authority and gets linked-to naturally. As a result, you can leverage content marketing to both increase your keyword rankings and grow your social media following.
- Integrate social media icons - There's no question that social media is having a game-changing impact on SEO. Tweets, shares, likes, +1's, pins, and other "social signals" are becoming stronger ranking factors. In essence, social signals tell search engines that humans are digging it, so it's worthy of higher rankings. In addition building a presence on relevant social media sites, integrating social media icons makes it more efficient for visitors to like your content, particularly product pages, the homepage, and blog posts.
- Build a HTML sitemap - The HTML sitemap serves as the index of your ecommerce site, and is considered by many SEO experts as the second most important page of the website (next to the homepage.) Although visitors rarely use the sitemap, it's very important to search engine spiders and SEO in general. The issue with ecommerce websites is that a complete sitemap can sometimes contain thousands of pages. When this is the case, you can create segmented sitemaps that focus on specific product categories. From you primary HTML sitemap, you can link to each segmented sitemap. This is a great solution for SEO and helps to keep your online store in good shape for crawling and indexing.
Although there's a lot more that goes into ecommerce SEO than the processes mentioned above, this is a solid starting place to get the ball rolling. On-page SEO is only a small piece of the puzzle, however by respecting the potential behind content marketing and social media, you'll be well on your way to executing some momentous off-page SEO strategies.
Learning the in's and out's of Google AdWords can seem like an ongoing endeavor. And to an extent, it is.
In an ecommerce context, PPC advertising can get really cumbersome. It's critical to be both properly educated and highly organized to make the most of your ecommerce PPC expenditure.
In this article, I hope educate and inspire you to become a more proficient AdWords advertiser. Below I share five ecommerce PPC tips that reflect the knowledge and wisdom I have absorbed from my search marketing mentors.
And although these are ecommerce PPC tips, you can leverage these techniques for almost any AdWords campaign.
1. Split-Test Ad Copy, Relentlessly
One of the most common things I notice when training Google advertisers or optimizing AdWords accounts is that most PPC advertisers will only create one ad for each ad group. This poses significant limitations because ad copy has an immense impact on click-through rates (CTR).
Don't be lazy. Make the effort to split-test multiple ads for each ad group (ideally three to five ads.)
Try writing a slightly different headline for some ads, and perhaps a few minor variations in the supportive copy and URL extension. The key is to keep very organized with your split-tests and make incremental changes that can be gauged by performance.
One thing you must do when split-testing ad copy is adjust the campaign settings to rotate your ads to display evenly. This can be found near the bottom of the "Settings" tab under section titled "Advanced Settings" (see screen shot below.)
Although Google claims that this option is "Not recommended for most advertisers," simply ignore this and carry on. Choosing this option will ensure that your ads receive equal exposure, and thus enabling you to determine the ad copy that gets the highest CTR.
I like to maintain a spreadsheet that keeps track of my PPC split-tests. In the spreadsheet I note specific changes I make, in addition to the time-frame and performance metrics of each ad. It's also important to make alterations to ads only after they have received adequate exposure (or have earned "statistical relevancy.") In other words, don't assume your ad copy sucks if you've received no clicks after 50 impressions.
2. Create Keyword-Specific Ad Groups
This is perhaps the most important tip for ecommerce PPC advertisers:
Create your ad groups around very, very closely related keywords.
The more narrow and specific you can get with each ad group, the more targeted your ads will be. Here is an example:
Take a look at how the top ad from TriathleteSport.com is much more targeted compared to the lower ad from TYR.com (the actual brand of the wetsuit.)
The advertisers at TriathleteSport.com clearly have a dedicated ad group for the TYR Freak of Nature Wetsuit. TYR.com might have one ad group (and thus one ad) serving a number of overlapping keyword searches.
A good ecommerce PPC strategy for building campaigns and ad groups in AdWords is to think of brands (or product categories) as campaigns, and specific products or models as ad groups.
Create specific campaigns for each brand or product category that your online store has to offer. From each branded campaign, you can develop highly specific ad groups for each make or model of the given brand.
As a result, you can create focal ads with product/keyword-specific ad copy. Additionally, you can make strategic use of Ad Extensions per each campaign.
3. Employ Ad Extensions, Like a Boss
If your campaigns and ad groups are all structured as mentioned above, you can then employ Ad Extensions with immense creativity.
Ad Extensions offer many (and free) opportunities to make your ads pop and stand-out from the clutter. Additionally, you can use certain Ad Extensions to support other online marketing strategies.
A few ecommerce PPC tips for using Ad Extensions are:
- using SiteLinks to include product-specific links in ads that target more general keywords for brands or product categories (e.g. have SiteLinks to the top selling models of shoes ["Nike Flex Run iD"] in an ad that's triggered for a more broad keyword search ["Nike Running Shoes"].)
- leveraging Social Extensions to show-off social authority and brand credibility. The ad will display how many Google +1's your ecommerce store has, thus increasing the level of trust shoppers have in your brand.
- taking advantage of Location Extensions if you operate a big-box retail brand or an online store that has a tangible location. This technique is highly effective for local boutiques that want to advertise their products to a geographically-confined market space.
Many Ad Extensions can be used in conjunction with one another. This can significantly increase the real estate and click-through rates of your ads. To learn more about using various Ad Extension, check-out this Google Support page on the topic.
4. Use "Modified Broad Match" Keyword Bidding
When exact match is to narrow and restrictive (with respect to long-tail keyword searches) and broad match is just too general, try modified broad match bidding.
With modified broad match, you place a "+" symbol directly in front of the keywords that must be used in a searcher’s query in order to trigger your ads. This tip is highly effective for ecommerce PPC advertisers who are bidding on product-specific keywords the pose numerous search variations.
For example, if we bid on the keyword phrase +mens +saucony +guide (a popular running shoe,) those three words must be included in a searcher's keyword query for our ad to be displayed. This enables us to capture detailed long-tail searches like Saucony Guide 6 GTX for Men as well as Mens Saucony Progrid Guide Shoes.
Using modified broad match bidding also makes it a bit easier to do negative keyword research for select ad groups (which we cover in the next section.)
5. Know Where to do Negative Keyword Research
Hopefully you understand what negative keywords are and how to implement them in your Google AdWords campaigns. (If you do not, read this article on the subject.)
To get to the good stuff, below are my two favorite resources for doing negative keyword research:
- The "Search Terms" feature under the Dimensions tab in AdWords - Search terms reveals the history of keyword phrases that have triggered your ads. Here you can pinpoint which unwanted variations to include in the negative keyword list. (For more insights on this, check out this blog post all about using Search Terms.)
- Google Suggested Search (or "Auto-complete") - Open up Google search and start typing the keyword phrase you are bidding on. Often times Google will suggest keywords that not what you want triggering your ads. These negatives often include variations like "reviews," "kids," or "discounts."
The Last Word
Although most of these ecommerce PPC tips focus on Google AdWords, you can apply many of these PPC tips to Bing's AdCenter, as well as other advertising platforms. For more insights about AdWords optimization and campaign management, join this community on Google Plus.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is search marketing specialist who spearheads the SEO and PPC campaign here at Click Centric SEO and founder of YisooTraining.com. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Keep in touch with Tyler by following him on Twitter.
When it comes to ecommerce SEO, product pages are the bee's knees. In addition to SEO and generating valuable search traffic, product pages are primary conversion touch-points that sway visitors to buy now, or to keep browsing.
It's thus important that you respect both SEO and CRO (conversion rate optimization) when optimizing your product pages.
Although the scope of this article is to offer product page SEO tips for your ecommerce website, some insights will touch upon CRO and promoting the conversion value of these pages.
Before Optimizing, Know Your Keyword Targets
When you're doing keyword research, you'll want to understand how your product pages relate to the searching behaviors of your target market.
Product pages represent a specific product. Your target search market is seeking a specific product. For this reason, you should optimize your product pages for very specific long-tail keywords.
Not only are these keywords more achievable in a competitive ecommerce SEO context, but the individual's searching these long-tails are further along in the buying cycle and know exactly what they're looking for.
So when pinpointing your keyword targets for product pages, go deep. That is, avoid broad keywords like "Men's Tri Shorts" and shoot for more specific long-tails like "TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts Men's."
Write a Keyword Naming Convention
The keyword naming convention is the order or sequence of terms that make up your complete keyword target. Determining the keyword naming convention is important to ensure the on-page SEO or keyword optimization process is consistent.
Consistency is key when it comes to any form of on-page SEO. For example, let's say we are optimizing a product page for the latter phrase "TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts Men's."
If we write this phrase as our Page Title, we'll want to use the exact same sequence of keywords for the Meta Description and header of the page copy (not "Men's Tri Shorts TYR Competitor 7.") Be sure to pinpoint this naming convention for your product pages and keep it consistent for each of the following elements mentioned below.
Optimizing Product Pages for Ecommerce SEO
After you have your keyword naming convention down, the on-page SEO process is fairly simple. Below are the content elements you'll want to optimize for each page (and examples based on our mock keyword target:)
- URL: Be sure to include the most essential terms of the keyword phrase.
- Page Title: Define your page using the exact phrase match of the keyword target (but try to keep titles under 70 characters so all text appears in the search results.)
- TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts Men's | [Ecommerce Website]
- Meta Description: Although it is under debate on whether or not keyword inclusion in the Meta description helps with SEO, search terms will be displayed in bold which can help to make your listing more relevant to searchers. Additionally, this description is your sales pitch to compel search users to click your listing.
- Shop for TYR Competitor 7" Tri Shorts in Men's from [Ecommerce Website]. We offer some of the lowest prices on TYR triathlon gear and clothing.
- Page Copy: In the visible copy, try to use the same keyword naming convention in the first header as the Page Title. It also helps to have the keyword mentioned a few times in the supportive copy or product description. Consumer-generated reviews are one of the best way to integrate quality content that offers conversion value (as well as SEO value.)
- Page copywriting tip - don't use product descriptions provided by manufacturers. You want to avoid any risk of duplicate content with other website, so write your own copy and make it unique.
- Media Files: Before uploaded images and videos to your product pages, keyword optimize media files by opening-up the image or video properties. Here you can add keyword references to titles, sub-titles, tags, descriptions, and other fields.
- Bonus -Do this can result in your images showing up in Google Image search for related product keywords.
That, my friends, this the simple process of on-page SEO for ecommerce product pages. Stay tuned for more SEO-focused articles here at Click Centric SEO.
The horse is already dead, so I won’t beat it much longer. Unless you’ve been living under a large rock for the last couple of months, then you know by now that you need a mobile strategy to survive in the retail industry in 2013 and the years ahead. We no longer live in the metaphorical “Stone Age” of ecommerce, where online shoppers are sedentary beings tied down by their inert desktops and laptops. This last Q4 was a record holiday shopping season in terms of online sales.
No, we have a more nomadic target on our hands. Look around: people are ridiculed for having “dumb” phones, an influx of tablets have flooded the market (Apple’s iPad is only on the 3rd of probably 52 generations), and smartphone screens are beginning to outgrow our meagerly-sized human hands. On top of it all, big retail players like Wal-Mart and Target already have rather refined mobile stores, meaning their superior resources allow them to monopolize the mobile industry.
Everyone talks about mobile, but it’s still immature
All signs point to a mobile-centric future, but I won’t jump the gun here. No doubt, we are in a transformative phase for both technology and shopping, but it’s admittedly getting a little awkward. Despite having the stage set with an exponentially growing mobile market, it remains a relatively undeveloped frontier.
For starters, the big players in the market remain unseen. The mobile wallet real estate is currently a battlefield. We could (and will) talk about Google and the efforts they’ve made towards enhancing the mobile consumer experience. We could also talk about the rivaling mobile payment solution from Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), spearheaded by retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, and CVS. And we can’t mention Google and MCX without referencing the wildcard Isis and its mobile wallet. Regardless of whoever wins this war, the point is that right now, this is ground zero for the major players in the mobile shopping world. There must be something groundbreaking going on here.
Another point to ponder is that we still have a discrepancy between desktop/laptop purchases and mobile purchases. Even within the “mobile purchases” category do we see notable variations in tablet purchases vs. those done on smartphones. Shoppers usually purchase large AOV products, such as furniture or TVs, on traditional computers while smartphone purchases more commonly include smaller AOV products, like books or electronics accessories. Perhaps this is due to the differences in screen size or maybe it’s because of the context in which we use these different devices, but one thing is for sure: this gap is inevitably going to get smaller.
So what we learn is that despite the relatively infantile stage of the mobile market and the different purchasing trends that arise when comparing mobile and “immobile” online shopping, formulating a mobile strategy is still relevant and indeed necessary. Many questions still remain for mobile commerce. Questions like: Which mobile platform is best for your mobile store? Which mobile wallet should I use? Which aspects of my online store should I omit from mobile? Which aspects should I add? What are the pain points for producing conversions on a mobile store?
Time will reveal the answer for most of these questions. What you probably know to focus on by now is the need for a super-fast mobile store, a simplistic and clean design, an expedited checkout process, and navigation so basic that a 7 year old wouldn’t complain. Mobile commerce is a wave that will ultimately engulf us all, so you may as well start paddling out now. So how do you do it?
For the sake of relevancy to the standard online retailer, I’ll use Google as launching point for optimizing your mobile strategy.
First and foremost, you have to get your mobile store off the ground. Magento and Yahoo! Store offer pricey solutions, while it seems that Volusion has a mobile store built into their solution. Feel free to vent below if you have any criticisms or praises for either mobile store.
Using Google to Optimize Your Mobile Store
Assuming your store is all set up and designed to your liking, your next step has to be optimizing the checkout process. This is arguably the most crucial pain point for mobile shoppers. Imagine trying to enter a 16-digit credit card number into a smartphone. It’s not fun nor efficient, and it’s probably the single biggest knock on mobile commerce from the perspective of the shopper. You can go two routes to fix this. One, you could develop a mobile-only checkout page, complete with huge buttons and drop-down lists. Ideally you would want checkout to be achievable on one page.
Two, you could go with a mobile wallet solution. Let’s talk Google Wallet. After its initial launch in 2011, Wallet was off to a slow start but it has recently gained more traction with increased usage accessibility. As the merchant, setting up Google Wallet for your site will remove the hassle that shoppers unfortunately experience when trying to enter all relevant payment information on a mobile device. Those shoppers, however, must have a Wallet account.
So it may seem that Wallet, and really all other mobile payment solutions, isn’t all that much of a game changer since it would only apply to such a small niche of customers (those with Wallet accounts). Well, let me restore your confidence with the introduction of Zavers, indeed another Google tool to facilitate and optimize the checkout process.
Zavers is a digital coupon promotion program that Google has very recently whipped up, and it is no doubt an effort to provide a carrot for customers at checkout, facilitate coupon distribution for retailers, and revitalize the long term future for Wallet. Most importantly for retailers, Zavers runs on a Cost per Redemption model, meaning you won’t have to pay for the service until customers actually start receiving then using your coupons. When in conjunction with Wallet (which is required for shoppers to use Zavers), retailers have a nifty combination that benefits both their store as well as the shopper experience.
In case you aren’t already doing so, you can make your Adwords Ads mobile too. This makes it easier for mobile users to find/access your site. Here are the instructions straight from Google:
When the single largest internet technologies company in the world has such few ecommerce solutions for business owners, it becomes clear that mobile commerce, though a hot topic in ecommerce forums, still has a lot of growing up to do.
The “finished” product will most likely feature a mobile payment solution that fits nicely in the larger mobile ecosystem by having an inherent reward system for customers that use mobile payments and uses GPS technology to offer specialized, localized promotions and coupons.
As for now, you just need to start. Retailers must have mobile stores to retain relevancy and avoid missing out on potential sales, especially if the business is small AOV product-oriented.
About the Author
Jon Gregoire is a Content Specialist at CPC Strategy. Jon specializes in content marketing on ecommerce trends and comparison shopping management. Feel free to reach out to him at email@example.com.
No matter how much a fancy website you may own, in the end it always comes down to its usability.
In case you are not sure about the usability of your website, check the 2-3% rule. Do the 2-3% of the visits on your website get converted into sales?
If not than definitely you would have to rework on your website, to make it more user friendly and effective in selling.
Here is a complete potpourri of various steps and techniques that you can follow, in order to optimize the usability of your ecommerce website.
Steps That You Can Take to Improve the Usability of Your Website
If, as per the data, only 3 out of 10 orders on your ecommerce website are seen through completion, of course there is a room for a lot more that can be done. Here we shall be discussing various ways in which you can optimize your website, offer a better user experience and subsequently improve the sales of the same.
Optimize Your Website for Faster Loading Time
Your website has at most 3 quick seconds to load on the browser of the user, otherwise no one is going to sit around and wait for your ecommerce website, while it takes forever to load.
So, remove any unnecessary animation or flash designs, optimize the images on your website and ensure that your website is a quick loading one.
Reconsider the Layout
Follow the conventions – over the period of time, there has come to be an ecommerce website union of the sorts.
They follow similar practices, have a similar layout, so that the users do not get intimidated and find it rather easy to navigate through and use various different websites.
You may think of applying the widely followed practices on your website as well.
These include – Logo on the top left side, hyper linked to the main page, a contact us page, which offers contact information such as Name, email address, postal address etc., the right side as the link to check out page.
These conventions will make the users more comfortable and hence will enhance the user experience.
Wisely use the text – the right blend of text can further increase the experience a user has. Do not use morbid type of fonts and also do not get extra flashy with the same. By the very nature, it gets a bit difficult to read through the website, hence ensure that the size of the texts is optimum enough to be read. Also, avoid long paragraphs, try to follow the KISS principle [keep it simple, silly!]
Condemn unnecessary graphics – unnecessary graphics only adds up to the over all weight of the website hence increased the loading time and also distract the users from focusing on the main content and highlights of the website. Keep the brand logo of your website and the pictures of what you are selling, rest everything is simply unnecessary.
Rework on the Navigation
Effective organizations – you need to make it very easy for the users to find the products.
Do not leave them unguarded in a maze of product pages etc, rather be their torch bearer.
Organize the content of your website rather skillfully and the entire journey should appear to be as smooth as boating in still waters.
Work certain conventions out – there should be certain aspect of your page, which should not change and also should be easy to find. Like, the links of the previous page or the next should always exist on each and every page and that too at the same locations. Similarly the checkout button – it should be easiest to find and should exist at the same right hand corner, on all of the pages.
Offer users a menu bar – the menu bar will make it considerably easy for them to flip through various pages of your website, it should have the home page, Contact Us page and other critical pages.
Streamline the Order Process
Give them clear cut, specific information – nobody’s a fool when they are shopping online. We are all well aware of the online frauds and cyber crime and hence it definitely gets a bit difficult to trust the online medium, regardless of how easy and effortless it is.
In such a tight cryptic scenario, if you hit them up with hidden information, add hidden costs and inflate the prices at the point of checkout, the users will only simply abandon your shopping cart.
KISS, KISS and more KISS – well, there are people who can never get enough of it, but this time round we are talking about the principle we already discussed – Keep it simple, silly!
Though it is such a simple concept to follow, yet a lot of websites simply refuse to follow it; especially when it comes to the check out process. Usually, the checkout process takes at least 5 pages, simply because as an online merchant, we want to get as much information from the users, as we possibly can manage.
However, what we don’t realize that every page in the check out process gives an opportunity to the user to abandon the entire page and leave it right in the middle.
Thus, work on the checkout process. Do not ask repetitive questions, which would force the users to type the same information again and again. Also, match their shipping information with the billing data and there fore, fill in the shipping details automatically, so that the users do not have to type the same. Lastly, it will be good to show some sort of a progress bar, which will show how much far they have reached in the checkout process.
Do away with the registration – there are websites that require the customers to register first and then place their order. If you have one such website, you are only inviting much more steps and inconvenience for the users. Do away with any such formality and your may add a handful amount of loyal customers to your kitty.
Ask for Feedback
One of the basic lessons that one learns in the business school is that consumer demands have no end. No matter how far you go to please them, they would definitely come up with something or the other that went amiss.
Ask for their feedback anyway. Their feedback will give you a reality check on where you stand. Do not be swayed with the criticism or the acclaim, always try to read between the lines and test the waters on your own.
I hope these certain guidelines or tips (in whatever way you take it), would help you to boost up your sales. We are waiting for your reviews and views in comments section.
About the Author:
This post has been contributed by Mr. Praveen Sharma, an Sr. Associate – Internet Marketing at Daffodil Software Ltd., a company specializes in magento ecommerce website development and other cms development services. You can get in touch with Praveen on twitter @i_praveensharma.