Guest Post By Hazel Raout
SEO can either break or make your business.
Not sure what to make of it? Have a look at these stats:
- 68% of online experiences start with a search engine.
- SEO drives over 1000% more traffic as compared to organic social media.
- SEO leads see a 14.6% close rate.
And there are more.
If your e-commerce website has been seeing low traffic or if there has been a slump in sales, it is time to reconsider your SEO strategies.
There are plenty of e-commerce SEO mistakes you could be making that can ruin both your rankings and sales. In this article, we will be focusing on the 10 gravest SEO blunders so that you can avoid or correct them.
What exactly is E-commerce SEO?
E-commerce SEO involves the practice of improving your online store so that your web pages will rank better in search engines, gain more visibility from your potential customers, drive more targeted traffic, and increase sales.
10 E-commerce SEO mistakes to avoid
1. Not adding product description
A study found that 98% of buyers were discouraged from completing a purchase as they could not find complete content concerning the product. The penalty of not adding product descriptions doesn’t end here.
When there is no text description of your product, your page will not get ranked in the top 10 of a search engine query. Though a picture speaks a thousand words, when it comes to search engines, they don’t recognize images.
So make sure to add product descriptions and keep them unique.
Don’t just copy and paste the text from your vendor site. The more unique the content for your product is, the better it is for your SEO efforts.
If you have thousands of products, it won’t be easy to create unique content for each product. In such cases, consider placing a NO INDEX meta tag on product pages without unique content. It will prevent the page from appearing in Google Search, and it is better than having them compared to only a few pages that have unique product descriptions.
Or you can keep an in-house content writer to write unique product descriptions for the products. Another option is to hire a company to create product descriptions, but it is going to be expensive.
You can also consider using fulfillment services to take the extra burden off your shoulders and invest your time in more important business matters. Thankfully, most top fulfillment services, provide your customers with prompt order fulfillment without you having to lift a finger.
2. Not using keywords your target audience is looking for
This is one of the gravest SEO blunders you could make. Many SEO marketers focus on keyword research but neglect to find keywords that their target audience is looking for.
Keywords are the main ranking factor, and if you make wrong use of them, they can ruin your e-commerce store visibility in front of search engines.
You can use keyword research tools such as Google Search Console, Google Keyword Planner, and Ahrefs Keywords Explorer to find relevant keywords that you can use in your content and drive results.
3. Keyword stuffing
Focusing on maintaining the keyword density rather than crafting high-quality content is a thing of the past. If you want to succeed in e-commerce marketing today, you need to pay more attention to creating premium content. Only then aim for perfect optimization.
Google algorithm keeps changing. And if you are still following those outdated keyword-stuffing methods in 2021, be prepared to see a visible slump in your rankings. Also, keyword stuffing contributes to a bad user experience. You want to give your users the best experience possible.
One of the best ways to keep keyword density natural is to increase the word count of your content. Also, conduct effective keyword research to add high-value keywords to your content and avoid using incorrect phrases.
4. Not including product reviews
As per stats, 95% of shoppers look for online reviews of products prior to making a purchase. What does that mean? If you are not adding reviews to your site, you will be missing out on a very large percentage of potential clients. Besides, your review pages will reach the top of search results more easily as compared to selling pages.
If you look at MVMT Watches store, they allow their users to leave reviews on their product pages.
When customers leave product reviews, they are crafting unique content for your e-commerce store for free. It keeps the product page live and allows search engines to find the page. The more you update your site, the better it is for your SEO efforts.
5. Using non-unique titles
Many large online stores use duplicate title tags. It’s not easy to come up with unique title tags when you are selling numerous items from the same brand or comparable items from several brands.
It is unavoidable to repeat identical keywords over and over again. Search engines will penalize you for that. Thus, it is important to focus on creating unique key phrases.
Many online buyers are searching for a key phrase against a single keyword. Consider structuring your title tag in this manner: Brand — Model — Item Type. An example could be the Porsche Panamera 4s 2016.
Tools such as Ubersuggest can tell you if your titles are non-unique so that you can tweak them.
Also, consider using Squarespace website builder to inculcate best SEO practices in your site. It comes with all the SEO features that SEO plugins offer, such as page title customization, meta description, personalized URLs, SEO-friendly heading structure, and more.
6. Building a poor website architecture
Since online stores usually have more web pages as compared to an average blog, website architecture becomes exceedingly important.
When your website architecture is laid out well, it will ensure ease of use and offer your customers a better user experience. It also makes it easier for search engines to find and index your web pages.
Here is a rule of thumb.
Keep things simple, straightforward, and provide every web page less than a few clicks away from your homepage. In fact, it’s suggested to keep all your web pages only 3 clicks (or less) away from your main landing page.
Below you can see an example of a poor site architecture:
On the other hand, a well-optimized e-commerce website architecture should look something like this:
You can clearly see that the latter is properly interconnected, easily navigable, and simple. With a site structure like this, your website visitors will have little to no trouble while browsing your site and reaching any information they’re seeking.
The same goes for Google’s indexing robots. They’ll also be able to scythe through a site like this more easily and index it without any hassle.
7. A slow loading site speed
Load speed is a crucial factor when it comes to e-commerce. Your web visitors will abandon your site if a page takes more than two seconds to load and go somewhere else — possibly to your competitors.
According to statistics, the chances of the bounce rate increase by 32% if a page takes one to three seconds to load. The bounce rate takes a more exponential jump if your page load is even slower.
Conversely, most online shoppers perceive a business as a trustworthy and professional business if they have fast-loading websites.
8. Not having mobile-optimized sites
In this digital era, online buyers are no longer limited to their laptops and desktops. In fact, more than 230 million consumers in the U.S. own smartphones, and people are using their smartphones to shop online.
Consumers also use their mobile phones to search for product reviews and choices rather than visiting your actual store. Thus, the need to have a mobile-optimized site is crucial.
Shutterfly is a great example. They make it easy for users to find out information about what they are offering. And they sell that info through stunning imagery.
If you visit their mobile site, you’ll see their latest promo front and center and also a visible sign-in button for returning members.
If you scroll down, you will notice large buttons making it easy for users to choose the type of product they like quickly. Once users select an option and click, they can view large photos.
A mobile site like this is going to keep your visitors hooked to your site and nudge them towards making a purchase.
What’s more, having a mobile-optimized site can not only give your users the best experience, but your site will be ranked higher by search engines. When Google crawls websites, it uses mobile-first indexing. It means Google uses the mobile version of a site when it’s assessing a page.
9. Not optimizing URLs for the right keywords
This is another major SEO mistake you could be making. The keywords that you include in your URL allow Google to understand what your pages are about. Many e-commerce stores that have an extensive product range fail to use descriptive URLs for their product pages. The URLs usually include product codes incomprehensible to clients.
The latter gives a clearer picture of what’s to expect from the page by looking at the URL alone. It also makes it easy for search engine robots to determine what’s the page all about.
10. Low-quality backlinks
Domain authority is of top concern when it comes to SEO. Instead of focusing on quantity, go for quality while you add backlinks to your e-commerce store.
You want to add high-quality backlinks on your site that come from the high domain authority websites. Definitely, it will take time to accumulate high-quality backlinks from high domain authority websites, but it is better for the long run. Don’t succumb to the temptation of getting paid links for your website. If you are unlucky, you will end up paying a hefty penalty.
Search Engine Optimization can easily get intimidating and overwhelm you. However, by avoiding the 10 mistakes, you can save your e-commerce store from getting penalized and rank higher in search results while increasing sales. It is advisable to invest in an e-commerce SEO services subscription so that you will stay ahead of your competitors.
By Hazel Raoult
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.