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SEO has been consistently transforming in recent years and rapidly, too. Strategies that once worked like a charm are now utterly ineffective. It’s difficult to keep up with the changes, but it’s essential knowledge for ecommerce business owners who want to maximize their presence in search results.
It all starts with your website’s architecture. The structure of your site should be set up with both users and search engine crawlers in mind. Your customers want answers to their questions and a fast, streamlined experience. Search engines want easy access to content, clean code, and minimized dead-ends.
To organize your site effectively, you need to understand the four main types of pages and their purposes.
- Home Page: Introduces consumers to your brand. Your most important page!
- Category Pages: Classify your products by category to make your site easier to explore and navigate.
- Product Detail Pages: Provide customers with information about your products and allow them to purchase.
- Information pages: Resource and blog-type content that helps build trust with your brand.
There are multiple ways to optimize each type of page for SEO. Avoid flashy, intrusive content on your home page, like moving sliders or carousels. You’ll also want to highlight important USPs like free shipping offers front-and-center.
Category pages should be built with content that describes the items on the page. Think about the customer journey and how users want to explore your product offerings. However, don’t go overboard. Only create categories when it makes sense for users.
Product detail pages are your money pages, so you’ll want to give them close attention. Engage customers with multimedia content when possible, like videos and interactive user guides. Including product specs and Q&A sections can help you capture long-tail search traffic.
And, of course, make it easy to buy!
Information pages are an opportunity to position your brand as an authority in your industry. Answer the questions your users have and make their experience as painless as possible. You should also optimize for snippets and voice search with schema and HTML markup.
Introduced in 2015, RankBrain is a part of Google’s search ranking algorithm that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to better understand the actual intent behind searches. When you type in a complex or nuanced query, you can be sure RankBrain is hard at work.
This means keywords are no longer the be-all, end-all when it comes to optimizing for SEO. However, webmasters still need to consider RankBrain when designing their sites. This means maintaining clear taxonomy to make it easy for Google to crawl and understand your site. You also need to use clear tagging with HTML and structured data
Be sure to make your content more “human” and helpful. Think about what potential customers are searching for, and aim to address the intent behind those searches.
All sites should now be designed with the assumption that a user’s first touchpoint will be on a mobile device. In fact, Google is expected to begin treating the mobile version of a site as the canonical one very soon.
Just because your site is mobile-friendly doesn’t mean it’s mobile-first. Make sure the core functionality and features of your site work flawlessly on mobile. Scale your resources to ensure a lightning-fast experience. And always keep testing with Chrome’s Dev Tools to see if your site works with popular devices and screen sizes.
The Need for Speed
Site speed is a traditional weakness of ecommerce sites, but you don’t have to let it be your Achilles heel. Balance performance with aesthetics so your site looks great and runs well at the same time.
Compress your images to the minimum needed for clear viewing on the screen. Condense HTML, CSS, and JS where possible. Audit your scripts regularly and remove unnecessary assets. Use a CDN to serve images and video. Aggressively cache static content that doesn’t change often. Together, these tactics will have your site sprinting in no time.
Foundational SEO tactics will give your ecommerce site a roadmap for success. These include a well-designed site architecture that caters to both search engine robots and human users. You should also optimize for RankBrain with intent-focused content, make your site mobile-first instead of just mobile-friendly, and prioritize speed.
Knowledge of SEO best practices is a valuable tool for any ecommerce business to have in its arsenal. You can implement virtually any of these recommendations on your site right now!
If you missed any of our #SEOWeek webinars, you can view them on-demand at https://www.netelixir.com/university/all-webinars/