Search engine optimization helps reduce customer acquisition costs. It is an important aspect of e-commerce marketing as it helps increase organic traffic and business visibility. No wonder, e-commerce marketers are applying a variety of SEO tactics to attract as many quality leads as possible.
However, SEO may not always work best for e-commerce businesses. It’s easy to falter if they aren’t careful to avoid the common mistakes in this domain.
Optimizing e-commerce websites for SEO is much difficult as compared to blogs or official company websites. With tons of product pages adding to the websites, XML sitemaps, and URLs getting indexed, SEO can prove to be tricky.
Here, we look at five common SEO mistakes that e-commerce websites must avoid.
- Writing Poor Product Descriptions
Customers seek sufficient information before making a purchase decision. When customers are impressed with unique and helpful content, the business is rewarded with improved search engine rankings and conversions.
Poor product descriptions on e-commerce websites can ruin your ranking and dissuade customers from buying from you. Check out how great product descriptions benefit an e-commerce business.
- More Orders and Fewer Returns
Almost 62 percent of consumers return products owing to poor or mismatched product descriptions. Returns eat into business profit and damage brand reputation.
Detailed product specifications, high-quality product images, and real-life product demonstration can improve buyer experience in an e-commerce storefront. Look at the product page of White Teak, a decorative lighting brand. It offers adequate information, allowing customers to make an informed decision.
- Reduced Shopping Cart Abandonment
Having great product descriptions can help buyers stay on the page longer, encouraging them to decide in your favor.
Did you know?
Nearly 30 percent of shoppers abandon shopping carts because of poor product descriptions.
The absence of high-quality images, detailed specifications like size or color, and other details can hurt the expectations of e-commerce shoppers, causing them to leave. Hence, it’s critical to craft a detailed product page that aids shoppers in their purchase decisions.
Look how the American retail giant, Walmart has crafted a unique product description that adds value to the landing page content.
- Enhanced Brand Trust
Around 80 percent of buyers developed customer loyalty for an e-commerce store offering better experiences through their products or services. A product page that resonates with the brand’s personality, tone, format, and imagery is bound to get more views, win customer trust, and secure conversions.
- Having a Slow Site
From deteriorating user experience to an increase in bounce rate, a slow e-commerce website can negatively impact your business. Businesses lose out on search engine rankings, qualified traffic, and finally sales. Here are some key statistics that will help you appreciate the importance of e-commerce site speed.
- A 0.1-second improvement in mobile site speed resulted in an 8.4 percent increase in conversions for retail e-commerce sites.
- Almost 47 percent of shoppers expect e-commerce stores to load up in two seconds or less.
Here are a few ways to improve e-commerce site speed.
- Look for a Suitable E-commerce Platform
Platforms like Shopify Plus and Magento are equipped to offer enhanced page-load times. Counting on such platforms can increase conversion rates and decrease bounce rates, thus contributing to your store’s revenue.
These platforms are also SEO optimized, thereby having a positive boost to your site’s ranking. For instance, if you want to optimize your Shopify store, the platform offers built-in SEO features that can help you climb up in the rankings.
A Magento research conducted among 60 merchant sites reveals that including features such as ‘Security icon on checkout’ and a ‘PayPal express button’ resulted in the most dramatic revenue per visitor (RPV). Such features speed up the buying process, adding to customer delight.
- Use a Content Delivery Network
A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a collection of servers scattered across the world. It allocates a specific delivery load for your content through the closest server to a visitor’s location. It enhances the local user experience by improving site speed.
This is how a CDN functions.
Set up your content delivery network using tools like Cloudflare, Amazon Cloudfront, or Google Cloud CDN. These tools can speed up a site for global visitors by storing its static content on different servers around the world. WordPress users can choose a simple cache plugin to enable the CDN for their sites.
- Go Easy on Homepage Hero Slides
Slideshows with hero images are brilliant for displaying your products. However, hero-image sliders can increase load times because they are huge. So, while you may like to employ hero slides to impress your site visitors, they eventually impact user experience and kill e-commerce conversions.
Alternatively, a single, high-quality hero image with a clear call to action, like the one below, can help draw customer’s attention.
Besides using the above-mentioned tactics, there are several other steps you can take to improve site speed. Take a look at this comprehensive article by Shopify to know more.
- Absence of Internal Linking
E-commerce marketers need to set up their digital stores, add products, and optimize each page for search engines. Additionally, there’s a need to promote them on the right channels for better visibility and sales.
So, should you bother about something as technical as ‘internal linking?’
Internal link building should be at the heart of your e-commerce channel strategy as it hugely impacts your site’s indexing. In fact, Google de-indexes or penalizes websites for wrong internal linking schemes.
Here are a few pointers to be considered as you work with your in-house marketing team or SEO expert to implement an accurate linking structure for your e-commerce store.
- Create Brand Landing Pages
An easy way to link with brand keywords is to create a brand landing page. This page should offer a general description of the brand, the best products offered by your store, and other relevant highlights that can aid in a buying decision.
This is how the Samsung brand page looks like on Amazon.com. It helps with interlinking other landing pages at Amazon.com displaying the best products and highlights offered by Samsung.
- Display Related and Featured Items
While a visitor is on a product page, you can implement an internal-linking structure highlighting related and featured products from their online store.
Here’s a great example of how relatable products can be interlinked on your e-commerce store.
- Write Articles and Buying Guides
Creating in-depth content and highlighting vital points in ‘know-how’ articles and buying guides urge customers to narrow down their purchase decisions. Use visual elements, segregate products by their type, make, or budget, and leverage ways to link to more products from your e-commerce store.
Take a look at this buying guide from Wayfair that offers users the factors to consider when buying a desk. Such guides can help them make a quick decision.
- Not Optimizing URLs
Look at these two product page URLs.
Which of these URLs provides more page relevance?
Surely, the second one seems more SEO-friendly. The URL is so clear that the search engine bots will face no issue making sense of it.
An SEO-friendly URL is critical to signal to a potential buyer what a page is about.
Optimal URLs are short, relevant, and unique.
Let’s take the example of an online store selling women’s garments. A URL for its product page featuring a ‘bandana’ should contain the brand and product name, and details like the available color.
Here’s an example.
There is no optimal length for product-page URLs. The aim is to make them relevant and informative to shoppers. They should not come across as spammy and stuffed with keywords.
The best practices for product-page URLs in e-commerce sites are mentioned below.
- Match the title of the page with the content as closely as possible.
- Avoid using parameters like ‘&’, ‘%’, or ‘=’.
- Reduce the usage of numbers and unfamiliar characters in product URLs. The ones only with letters are easier to type and remember.
- Separate words in the URLs using hyphens. Search engines do not interpret underscores as a separator between two words.
- Avoid repeating keywords within the URL. This can negatively affect your product-page SEO.
- Failing to Ask for Product Reviews
A Shopper Survey Report revealed that almost 92 percent of buyers read at least one review before making a purchase decision. Moreover, the organic traffic for product pages increases by a whopping 108 percent when a business, that’s not been reviewed in the past, gets at least one review.
So, that explains the importance of asking for and sharing product reviews.
Google is constantly looking out for fresh and updated content and ranks businesses accordingly. User reviews encourage search engines to come back to product pages more often. Reviews center around a product or brand name, thus generating more long-tail keywords and improving a site’s click-through rate (CTR).
Product reviews also push content across multiple sites. This increases the market share of products with optimized review content appearing organically, both on retail e-commerce sites and the official brand website.
Notice this Google search result on ‘Kit Kat bar.’ User reviews from different e-store improve the overall perception of the product.
When assessing the overall image and trustworthiness of a brand, buyers prefer to read both negative and positive reviews. While e-commerce businesses dread getting negative reviews, it’s important to remember that such reviews offer critical brand insights. Further, by responding to negative reviews, you can improve your online reputation and portray yourself as a brand that listens to its customers.
Notice how Mother Bear’s Pizza responds to negative reviews. The pizza company goes out of its way to address a customer’s concern, thus improving its trustworthiness in the eyes of its audience.
SEO in e-commerce comes with its own set of challenges. Hence, it’s natural to commit a few mistakes when attempting various tactics.
To make SEO work for your store, it’s critical to avoid the mistakes shared above. This will help you reduce the negative impact of such mistakes while boosting your store’s visibility and sales.
Do you know of any e-commerce SEO mistakes? Let us know in the comments below.
About The Author –
Hazel Raoult is a freelance marketing writer and works with PRmention. She has 6+ years of experience in writing about business, entrepreneurship, marketing and all things SaaS. Hazel loves to split her time between writing, editing, and hanging out with her family.