Welcome back to the Elemental Guide to E-Commerce SEO! In the first part of this series, we covered the basics that are needed to ensure that your online store is headed in the right direction from a Search Engine Optimization perspective.
In part one we covered the following items:
- Keyword Research
- URL Structures
- Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
- Image Alt Tags
These items are the barebones, the absolute basics to SEO but relatively important aspects that will get your e-commerce store on the right track.
In this part of the series, we dive into the technicalities of what can be done to optimize your e-commerce store. Don’t despair if anything seems unclear to you, we are only a phone call away. Let’s dive in, shall we?
THE TECHNICAL SEO ELEMENT OF YOUR ONLINE STORE
Before we get into technical aspects, we are going to cover the slightly less technical elements. This is because they will combine together for the last portion of this article. Schema Markup or Rich Snippets is where it can get really technical, so we will ease you into it.
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION OR CONTENT
Whenever I see a product page on an online store, the content or product description is often the same as every other site and there is nothing inviting about this.
Secondly, having a well written, descriptive and structured product description can increase your sales. Remember, Google and humans love content. The better the content the better the rankings, which will lead to an increase in sales.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO WITH PRODUCT DESCRIPTIONS?
When deciding on your product descriptions, you could use the description that is supplied to you from the manufacturer, however, the problem with this is, everyone has the same content. There is a chance that the search engines would pick this up as duplicate content and where you may not get a penalty, the chances of an increase in traffic and rankings decrease.
Our recommendation is to craft a somewhat lengthy (and unique) description between 250 – 400 words. We know, it may sound like a lot, but this allows you to explain the product in its entirety.
When writing the description, it is easy to get ahead of yourself and go into too much detail on the specifications. Although this is important, your primary focus should be on how the product will benefit the customer and help the customer envision how your product will benefit them. Think about the description at the back of a cereal box, the information is clear, usually quite catchy and not often too lengthy.
How often do you read reviews when looking to buy a new product? I bet often. The same can be said for your customers. Adding product reviews to your product pages is really important for two reasons;
- Reviews act as social proof. This means that there is a trust factor associated with the product. This generally persuades people to either buy the product or not.
- You are providing customers with all the information that they would need to make a decision to purchase. This is not only great for user experience but it is exactly what search engines want from websites. It’s a win-win situation!
The other benefit of having product reviews is having new content being added to the page. With each new review, the “fresher” the content on the page and site. This is another aspect that search engines love.
We understand that getting your customers to write reviews is a difficult task but having a review section on the relevant page will be more enticing for the customer. Initially, you could consider a reward system where you offer a marginal discount on their next purchase if they leave a review.
Before we get into the crux of website speed, let’s have a look at some of the stats as to why it is important.
- 79% of web shoppers who have trouble with website performance say they won’t return to the site to buy again.
- 53% of visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
- 52% of online shoppers confessed that a quick page load is important to their site loyalty.
- A 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
As you can see from the above stats, having a fast loading site is very important to your customer and essentially your sales. This is why it is important to make sure that your product pages load as fast as humanly possible.
Here are a few easy tips you could use to speed up your site:
- Reduce the file size of your images. For example: We sometimes come across websites that have large file sizes (in the 7mb range) and this negatively affects the load times. Ideally, you want your product images to be 200kb or less. Tinypng is a tool you could use to reduce your file sizes.
- Don’t use fancy fade in or out features. These require more code to load and again, slows the site down.
- Avoid excessive plugins and features. Remember every little item that you add to the site adds to the load time.
- Use a content delivery network. A content delivery network or CDN is a remote database that stores the site files on it instead of on the site itself. This keeps the site light and fast. Search Engines will not have to download all these files to access the site.
Keeping your site as simple as possible is probably the best way to ensure your site speed isn’t slow. We understand some of the above tips may be too complicated to do on your own, that is why we are here to lend a helping hand to ensure your e-commerce site is perfectly optimized.
TYING IT ALL TOGETHER WITH SCHEMA MARKUP
You are probably wondering “what on earth is Schema Markup?” Simply put, Schema or rich microdata, is code that clearly defines what each item is on the page. For example, when Search Engines like Google, crawl your site they want to understand what everything is. With scheme markup, there will be added code that describes the price of the product, the name of the product and how the product looks.
Here is an example of what the code would look like to a search engine without schema markup:
In the above image, search engines are left guessing. Now, let’s have a look at what it would look like once we have added schema markup:
As you can see, this clearly describes each item to the search engines. This helps them better understand the content which in turn means they can index it more efficiently and accurately.
If you would like to try schema markup yourself, have a look at this site: https://schema.org/
These are important elements to use to give your site the best chance to succeed online. In the next part of our series, we are going to tackle content recommendations which will allow you to increase page views on your site as well as increase revenue from off-site recommendations. Until then, here is to your SEO success!