SEO Best Practices for E-Commerce
2. Treat product category pages like mini homepages. A lot of care and attention should go into the homepage of your e-commerce site, and the same outlook should be used when creating product category pages. Treat them as mini homepages; make them as informative, interesting and optimized as possible. When consumers search for broad categories of products on search engines, your category pages will attract traffic to your site.
3. Use search engine-friendly URLs. Never use generic URLs for your website. The search engines look at the URL to figure out what a site is all about. Category page URLs should look like this: www.yoursite.com/category. Subcategory page URLs should look like this: www.yoursite.com/category/subcategory. Finally, product page URLs should look like this: www.yoursite.com/category-subcategory/productname.
4. Develop highly effective product pages and descriptions. Duplicate content is like kryptonite when it comes to ranking well on the major search engines, so it's crucial to develop unique product descriptions and pages for your site. This isn't such a tall order if you only have a handful of products, but it can be tricky when you have hundreds or even thousands of products. Start by focusing on your most popular products, but try to develop unique content and descriptions for all of your products.
Best practices for developing search engine-friendly product pages and descriptions include the following:
- Manufacturers’ descriptions: Avoid using generic manufacturers’ descriptions whenever possible. If you must use them, make sure to add unique content to each page to avoid being penalized by Google.
- Product variations: When you have products that vary by color, size and other small details, it's easy to inadvertently end up with duplicate content on your site. Another problem is that products may rank for the wrong keywords, which leads to confusion and can alienate consumers.
- Relevant products: A great way to teach the search engines what your site is about is by including links to relevant products on product description pages. This also enhances the user friendliness of your site by helping visitors find other products they may be interested in.
- Out-of-stock products: When a product is out of stock but will be back in stock at some point, don't just eliminate the page or direct people away from it. Instead, try offering alternative products. Let visitors know when the product will be back in stock. You might even want to offer a discount for customers who choose to backorder out-of-stock products.
- Obsolete products: Deleting pages for obsolete items may actually do more harm than good. People may still need information about those products, so it's generally best to leave them up. Furthermore, those URLs have gained a lot of traction over time and continue to help your site rank well. Alternatively, you could have the page redirect visitors to parent categories, where they can find related items.
- New products: Help new products rank well right away by promoting them on your homepage. Use good link architecture, site structure and internal links to quickly show the search engines what the new products are about and how they relate to your brand.
- User-generated content: Fresh content is extremely beneficial when it comes to SEO, but constantly rewriting product descriptions isn't practical. A great workaround is to encourage user-generated content by posting reviews, comments and social media activity on product and category pages.
5. Develop exceptional internal link structure and site architecture. Internal link building helps dramatically with SEO and search rankings. It helps search engine spiders make sense of your site, but it also ensures that visitors can find their way around effectively. Take advantage of every opportunity to link to relevant products, product category pages, subcategory pages and other pages within your e-commerce site.