Ecommerce keeps flourishing. Research predicts that it will reach $4.88 trillion by 2021.
This sounds impressive, but what does this mean for you as an online retailer?
Well, the growth of ecommerce means greater competition. So, to stay relevant in the fierce SERPs, you need to invest in a solid SEO strategy and keep revising it to see what works or doesn’t work. To increase your rankings and gain users’ trust, you cannot afford to make any mistakes.
Here are a few common SEO oversights you should avoid.
Building a Website with Difficult Navigation
As an ecommerce website, you have thousands of pages to manage.
For instance, google site:amazon.com and you will see that there are 167,000,000 results. Even though Amazon is not an example of the most beautiful website in the world, you must admit that it’s easy to navigate.
Once you visit their site, the first thing you will notice is the intuitive search bar that even lets you browse products by different departments. A search bar is an inevitable element on any user-friendly ecommerce website, as it gives customers an opportunity to find the desired product faster and finalize the purchase.
Each product category has lots of filters, helping you refine your search by featured brands, packaging options, average product review, price, seller, availability, and so forth.
Their menu bar is also divided into sections that are further branching into more specific categories. The majority of your customers (especially those that haven’t made the buying decision) will use your menu to familiarize themselves with different products and compare them. Precisely because of that, you first need to write informative and descriptive menu labels that will help visitors find a product faster.
You should also simplify your menu and reduce the number of menu items to improve user experiences. Too many options can be overwhelming, distracting a customer from what they’re looking for. Simpler menus are also important for your SEO efforts.
Namely, those pages you link to are passing some SEO value. Therefore, if you’re linking to less relevant pages instead of focusing on the most significant ones, you won’t be able to maximize your traffic. Logically, your goal is to increase the exposure of those pages relevant to your customers.
Not Targeting the Right Keywords
Many online retailers forget what their priorities are when conducting keyword research. Namely, they spend too much time looking for popular search phrases relevant to their products that they forget to focus on search intent. Namely, your goal is to understand your searchers’ needs and know what kind of result they expect to see when they google a certain keyword.
This is particularly important now that voice search is exploding. Statistics say that 41% of adults perform at least one voice search each day, while this number is expected to jump to 50% by 2020. This is one of the numerous trends impacting the way we optimize our ecommerce sites.
First, voice search triggers the growth of local SEO. For example, 22% of customers perform voice search to find locally-relevant businesses. So, let’s say you’re targeting the Gold Coast market. In this case, including local keywords containing “Gold Coast,” creating local content around these keywords, and building links on local sites will increase your rankings and help you generate more qualified leads.
With the rise of voice search, you don’t have to spam your content with exact-match keywords anymore. Voice searchers use natural language and conversational phrases when interacting with search engines. For example, instead of typing “gold coast shoes online” into the search box, they will ask something like “What is the best online shoe store in Gold Coast?” You get how this works.
This is why you should start combining traditional keyword research tools with some additional resources like Q&A sites, social networks, or forums to understand your customers’ needs and expectations. Consulting SEO agency from Gold Coast may also be a wise move. As they understand your local market, they will help you align your keyword optimization and off-page SEO tactics with search intent.
Not Creating Authentic Content for Product Pages
One of the most common mistakes online retailers make is simply copying product descriptions from the manufacturer’s site to their product pages. This is bad for your online presence for a few reasons.
First, by simply copying content instead of creating your own, you’re missing out on an opportunity to stand out and emphasize the benefits of buying from you. Original product descriptions are highly engaging and persuasive, building trust with your customers and having them complete the purchase faster.
Second, search engines won’t be able to differentiate your content from the one on similar sites, which may impact your rankings and overall page visibility. Google won’t have a reason to index your content if it already exists on similar sites.
Finally, you may even get penalized. If your product descriptions are the same or similar to the content that already appears on another website, Google will observe it as duplicate content. Assuming that you’re trying to play the algorithm, it will penalize you.
Not Using Schema Markup on your Product Pages
Google is getting smarter each day, but it’s still unable to understand non-textual pieces of content. This is where schema markup steps in. We can define it as a language Google crawlers understand and use to get the information about your content. With its help, you will be able to explain the purpose of your content, including your email, phone numbers, price data, product types, ratings, descriptions, reviews, and so forth.
In other words, schema markup is a great way to get your content indexed and ranked higher in the SERPs. Above all, it gives you the opportunity to appear in featured snippets and put your products in front of the right customers. As such, it can have a massive influence on your organic rankings, clicks, and even conversions.
Not Increasing User Experience
You cannot expect to have a poorly-performing website and yet boost conversions. Only by making your visitors happy and building trust with them will you be able to turn them into paying customers. And, here are a few steps to take:
- Make your website responsive. We’re living in the mobile-first era, when providing outstanding, cross-channel user experiences should be your priority. Simplify your checkout forms and ensure all links work from mobile devices. Also, pay attention to how your content looks and feels on mobile devices.
- Invest in an SSL certificate. Google has started marking sites with HTTP as “not secure.” No matter how sophisticated your encryption tactics are, if you don’t have an SSL certificate to back you up, your customers will still see this warning. Unsurprisingly, this may make your ecommerce site less professional, impacting the time people spend on your website, as well as their engagement and conversions.
- Add security badges. Apart from HTTPS and mobile-friendly forms, security badges are an important element of the checkout process. They prove that your customers’ data is safe with you, inspiring them to choose you over competitors.
- Boost your website speed. If your site doesn’t load in less than 3 seconds, most of your customers will kick it without taking the desired action. So, to speed things up, compress your images, invest in the right CDN, minimize overly complex animations, minify the website code, and find a reliable host to ensure your site loads fast.
Not Inspiring User-Generated Content
Awesome website performance, gorgeous product photos, and high-quality descriptions are important, but they’re not enough to convert a visitor into a customer.
Did you know that most of your customers don’t trust branded content? Instead, 84% of them rely on online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
This is exactly why you should allow customer reviews and ratings on your site. You shouldn’t be worried about negative user reviews hurting your brad reputation. Namely, some recent statistics say that product pages with diverse ratings drive more sales than those with stellar ratings only. This is also an amazing opportunity for you to provide exceptional customer support, help them fix specific problems, and turn them into satisfied users.
Asking loyal customers to write testimonials and publishing them strategically on your homepage or product pages is also an amazing way to demonstrate your trustworthiness. To make these testimonials even more relatable, include a customer’s photo, as well as their full name and even a job title.
Sure, just like with the content you create for your product pages or blog, you also ensure that these reviews are accurate and helpful. For example, you could let users rate peer comments according to their relevance. Amazon has introduced the amazing option that allows users to sort reviews by “the most helpful” ratings.
Over to You
If you’re making some of the abovementioned mistakes, don’t be desperate. I’m sure I’ve never landed on an ecommerce site that has no SEO issues. Your goal is to identify the main problems in your SEO strategy and stop wasting money on them. This is how you will improve your online presence gradually and I hope these tips will help you.
Crawl Speed and Search Ranking
Internet users don’t want to waste any time typing in your URL and you can’t really blame them. They want a fast and seamless experience and that is why they favor search engines like Google. And to show up there, on the booming avenues of the internet, you need to get your pages crawled and indexed.
In other words, you have to face the technical side of SEO, one that often gets neglected and unsolved. However, this effort is the only way to lay the solid groundwork and elevate your website’s usability, speed, and visibility. So, you must be able to appease the internet deities and delight its users at the same time.
Get your priorities straight
Make no mistake: crawl speed can make or break your internet presence. Although officially not a ranking factor, it has a profound impact on SEO. It affects all other aspects of your strategies and determines their ultimate success. All in all, not having your pages crawled and indexed undermines your SEO aspirations.
It is not an overstatement to say that this can be an utter disaster for websites that update content on the regular basis and want to get it in front of users as soon as possible. Therefore, before pondering your content marketing and social media strategy, you might want to take a look at what is going on “under the hood” of your website.
Make it snappy
First off, note that there is a strong correlation between your web speed and crawl speed.
In case you have a sluggish internet presence, the crawl speed of Google bots can be hampered. Namely, Google has expressed discontent with high-response times for requests made to the website. Its officials admitted that they differentiate between sites that are really slow and those that have normal load times. If it takes two seconds to fetch a single URL, then the number of URLs that bots crawl is severely limited.
This indirectly, yet substantially impedes your ranking. Of course, optimizing on a millisecond level doesn’t change anything. But, if you improve response time by one second you can make a real difference in terms of how quickly Google picks up new content and related updates.
Strengthen the supporting pillars
In the eyes of a Googlebot, a speedy website is a reflection of a healthy server infrastructure. This is to say that it receives a positive signal, one that indicates the possibility of grasping more content over the same number of connections. On the other hand, 5xx errors and connection timeouts serve as red flags that reveal server deficiencies. In the wake of the latter scenario, crawl speed slows down.
In the mobile world, speed plays an even more pivotal role. Google has announced that as of July 2018, it will use mobile site speed as a ranking signal. All pages will be measured in the light of this criterion, regardless of whether they belong to a dedicated or a responsive site. Slow websites will be penalized and fast ones will be awarded better ranking. This seismic shift will be introduced by an algorithm change called “Speed Update”.
So, take action now to brace yourself for the mobile-first digital world. You will have to figure out the exact moment when the tide of change hits your pages. To do that, you can access your server logs and see if there is an increase in crawling activity of Google’s smartphone variant (accompanied by the decrease in the activity of the desktop counterpart).
Full speed ahead
Furthermore, website speed testing is a must.
There are various instruments to do this, so take your pick. Also, make sure to use SEO audit tool to gauge the SEO-friendliness of your pages and uncover any technical issues and errors that could hamper your ranking. Make it easier for your search engines to crawl your pages faster and you will be able to forward your overall optimization strategy.
In the case of mobile pages, you can utilize Search Console to estimate how your pages hold up. To be more precise, a “Smartphone” tab, which you can find under ”Crawl Errors,” allows you to identify any problems that encumber your mobile pages. “Fetch on Google” is another key feature that gives you insights into how Google bots see your website. Use the acquired knowledge to make the necessary adjustments.
Of course, there are some other things you can do to improve crawl speed. The list of solutions goes on and involves activities such as minimizing the downtime, creating an XML sitemap, and taking advantage of robot.txt files. So, go on, explore all avenues, and make an effort to cover all the technical bases.
Get a move on
If you are serious about taking your organic visibility to the next level, you have to enable search engines to efficiently crawl and index your pages. This is a real game-changer in the domain of SEO.
Thus, familiarize yourself with the way crawling process plays out. Realize that Google algorithm chances stem from shifting user preferences and trends such as the explosion smartphone-based online browsing. Make crawling a breeze for bots and let your pages run like clockwork.
You should be able to drive an immense amount of traffic your way and advance by leaps and bounds towards the forefront of the SERPs.