Complete Guide To Ecommerce Website Design – Part 3
4. The SEOrest Way to Success
As much as you need a fabulous home page for your website, you probably need top notch SEO for your website even more. As much as you need a responsive theme, you need SEO equally as much, if not more.
Good SEO is crucial to the success of your website. It will ensure your potential customers find you when they make search engine queries for products that you sell. SEO is a vast topic and there are on-page and off-page SEO aspects. SEO these days has moved far beyond ‘keywords’ though keywords continue to be one component of SEO.
Here are a few website SEO aspects to keep in mind as you go about planning your ecommerce website.
A. Hit the sweet spot of Google with original product descriptions. Whether it is clothing, jewelry, bakery products, baby gift items, wedding gifts or anything else, make the product descriptions creative and original. If the product is manufactured by someone else, you can go the extra mile by creating your own product description for that product rather than simply copying the manufacturer’s verbiage.
If it is your own creation, then you can always tell the story of how that product came to be and why it is a great product.
B. FAQ Pages and Blogs for more original content. What are the most frequent questions from your customers? Perhaps you get asked those questions via your customer care email or contact number. Capture those queries and answer them all and put the Q and As on an FAQ page. The FAQ page will be usually located on the ‘About Us’ main menu option or a ‘Support’ link on the home page or under the About Us option.
If you have lots of products or lots of questions and answers on the FAQ page, then you should categorize them in a user-friendly manner. May be include a search box on the FAQ page. At any rate, the FAQ page should be accessible from any page on your website. So, it can be a link in small font in the header or footer area of the website. Here are a few FAQ pages of the likes of Spotify, SoundCloud, Pinterest, Vimeo, McDonald’s Canda and others.
Apple has different FAQ pages that deal with different aspects of Apple such as the Mac App Store and Apple ID but their central support page starts here. Samsung’s FAQ page is pretty detailed.
Fitbit’s FAQ page is simple and helpful.
(Fitbit’s FAQ Page offers multiple support options for users)
A link to your product delivery info and Returns Policy can be put on the footer of your home page.
Ikea says on its Returns Policy page that it’s okay to change your mind.
(Ikea says it’s ok to change your mind)
Apple details its Returns & Refunds policy here.
Amazon’s Returns & Refunds policies for its bewildering variety of products including virtual products such as Kindle eBooks are detailed here.
A website blog can contain original and fresh content for an SEO boost.
(Fitbit’s blog has interesting content for fitness enthusiasts)
You can update it frequently with content about the latest product additions or other helpful info — say, recipes of the cupcakes and bakery items you sell or helpful articles about hiking the Appalachian Trail or how to do whitewater rafting safely if you sell hiking or rafting gear or camping or adventure sports gear.
You can add or attach a WordPress blog to your Magento ecommerce site. If you are planning a Magento ecommerce site, your Magento ecommerce development partner will or should take care of adding the free WordPress blog to your site.
C. Short and Descriptive Keyword-Rich URLs Give You An SEO Boost. Most website URLs these days are keyword-optimized and semantic. Ecommerce websites are no exception. Your website’s product page URLs should contain the relevant keywords and not much extra. The keywords need to be in the product page’s Title as well as in the image Alt tags which will also help in case of Google image searches.
Be as specific about the product as possible. If you have two separate product pages for two items of clothing that only differ in color, have their page URLs specify the color in them. See how Bergdorf specifies burgundy vs. brown vs. black leather shoes or loafers for men.
(Bergdorf Goodman Product Page URLs specify designer name and colors)
This will improve your chances of figuring in the organic search results when someone searches for that item with that specific color or designer in mind. After all, someone looking for a burgundy colored slip on shoe may not be satisfied with a black or brown alternative. People are choosy and colors have to match and this probably applies to women’s clothing even more.
D. Get SEO Boost From User Generated Content. Make the most of user-generated content such as product reviews. If you are confident about the products you sell and the level of service you provide, you should be confident enough to let customers write about their shopping experience as well as review the product or products they have bought from your site. Product reviews are growing more common by the day on ecommerce websites.
(Amazon sets the standard in customer reviews)
The fresh content will get you an SEO boost. This is also a product page best practice as customers these days like to read online reviews before making a purchase. Online reviews are even more important for local businesses as 92% of consumers read the online reviews. And these online reviews do impact customers’ purchasing decisions. So if you are planning a local ecommerce site such as florist or bakery shop and so on, you have to take care of local SEO and online reputation management of your business. And here’s a nice listing of online review sites for collecting business & product reviews. With good online customer reviews for the products on your website and a good overall customer rating for a product, your chances of more customers picking the product up increases.
E. Say NO to duplicate content and YES to internal links. Duplicate content is a ‘No-No’ if you want to rank well in search engine result pages (SERPs). By using unique product descriptions, rather than manufacturer-supplied or boilerplate content or product descriptions, you already cut down on the duplicate content risk.
Archives, product filtering, etc. may also generate duplicate content. Make sure to block these pages from being indexed by using the robots.txt file. Your Magento or Shopify ecommerce development partner should take care of these aspects of your site.
These problems will crop up as your site grows old.
On the other hand, internal linking between different product pages and ‘similar items’ recommendations will keep customers on your site for longer and reduce bounce rates. You can also show what other items were bought by other customers who bought that item.
F. Do not delete pages with out of stock items or items that you no longer sell. This is even more important if that page ranked well and had a lot of traffic or brought a lot of customers to your site. Deleted pages will mean broken links and an SEO penalty.
Use ‘301 redirects’ instead. If you no longer stock a particular item, you can instead link to a page with a similar item or link to the category page with lots of similar items.
G. Use Meaningful Page Titles and Creative Meta Descriptions for Higher Click Through Rates (CTRs). The page title is the clickable phrase that shows up in the SERPs. If it is optimized well, you can increase your CTR by more than 20%. It should be from 50 to 60 characters in length so that the page title is displayed completely in the SERPs. Similarly, meta descriptions also affect CTR by letting the audience know about the content of that link. Google has confirmed that meta content do not affect ranking algorithms. However, an excellent meta description can still help in increasing your site CTR. It can be up to 160 characters in length.
5. No Compromise on Kick-Ass Images
This applies to the images on the home page as well as the multiple, zoomable 360 degree images on the product pages.
Raise your image game.
The cost of professional quality photographs has gone down and network bandwidths have gone up. Hence, you have no reason to have poor quality, low resolution images on the home page or the product pages.
Porsche not surprisingly is good at showcasing its cars using images.
(Choose your model and click on the Explore button to visit the page for that particular Porsche model)
But you don’t have to be Porsche to use nice imagery.
(Click on the guitar image on a product page and an expanded view opens up on the Rogue Guitar Shop site)
(Fun4Kids has superb product images that are zoomable using your mouse)
(Brilliant.co uses superb images and lets users pick their own colors)
So, whether you are planning an online wine shop or fashion clothing or ladies bags or bakery products, you need great images.
At the same time, site load times impact the site’s SEO. Google keeps tabs on how fast a site loads. Images are one factor in determining how long it takes for a site to load. So, keep in mind that the images need to be optimized.
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