SEO in eCommerce Development Process

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Olga Demidenko
Author, Geomotiv
Published: Oct 15, 2021

SEO in ecommerce can be defined as a digital marketing strategy aimed at helping retail platforms rank higher in the search results. When the website is correctly optimized and contains high-quality content, it has more chances to perform better in search systems like Google and various local search engines that enjoy popularity in different regions. As a result, an ecommerce store can achieve better visibility and attract more traffic.

However, it is important to understand that when we are talking about SEO for ecommerce sites, we should have a look at much more aspects than just publishing texts with the correctly chosen keywords. In order to achieve the best results, it’s crucial to concentrate on the SEO requirements already at the stage of custom ecommerce development.

And that’s exactly what we are going to explain in this article. We would like to focus on the features that you will have to consider for eCommerce SEO optimization already at the earliest stages of the project. So, just keep reading to find it out. And before we proceed to this question, let us start with some basic things.

SEO for eCommerce sites: why does it matter?

But actually, why should you care about SEO? Is it possible for an online platform to succeed without the application of any special digital marketing practices? Though we can believe that, regardless of what skeptics say, miracles do exist in the world, probably search engines - that’s not the right place to wait for them. And the best way to prove it is to provide some statistics and facts that you can find below.

  1. The research has shown that over 75% of users never even go to the second page of the results (SERPs) shown by search engines (not to mention the third page, the fourth and all the rest).
  2. A significant part of all user activity on eCommerce platforms is search-based.
  3. Organic traffic growth is practically impossible without applying SEO principles.
  4. A website that is not SEO-powered has no chance to compete with those built according to these requirements.

In other words, an appropriate eCommerce SEO strategy is the first step to the digital visibility of your platform and, consequently, to the general success of your business. That’s why it is quite obvious that if you want to build an eCommerce store (here you can find some tips on how to do it), you need to pay attention to the specific requirements that will help you to succeed.

eCommerce SEO tips

To help you better understand the core features and parameters that impact your digital presence and website indexation by search engines, we’ve prepared the following shortlist for you. So, what should you pay attention to?

  • The architecture of your eCommerce website. As we’ve already mentioned above, everything starts even before you have a ready product, which means that you and your developers should think about SEO for eCommerce sites already at the planning stage.

The idea here is to simplify the crawling of your website by search systems via its architecture simplification. It will be beneficial not only for making your website visible but also for ensuring the user-friendliness of your product. In other words, the navigation should be intuitively clear and logical. Do not make users make thousands of clicks to get to some products from the homepage. Following the modern web design principles, an appropriate number of clicks produced from the homepage to reach any product should be three or fewer. Let’s admit, even from our personal experience, we all know that frustrating navigation is one of the reasons to leave a website without buying anything.

If the architecture of your platform is simple and scalable, if navigation is well-thought-out, you will manage to kill two birds with one stone: you will reduce the bounce rate and ensure simple crawling (and consequently, ranking) by search engines.
  • Responsive design. This approach to web design presupposes creating products that can adjust themselves to all types of devices that visitors can use. And as well as clear architecture, responsive design will be suitable for both users and search engines crawlers. Today, the central part of searches in Google and other search engines comes from mobile devices. Consequently, search engines consistently rank higher those websites that ensure an excellent mobile experience for users.

Responsive design means that you will have a single product for both desktop and mobile users, and you will have to promote only one URL per page (earlier, we used to have two separate products for mobile and PC users, and as a result, there was a necessity to promote them both separately).

  • Good URL structure. While many people today clearly understand that texts published on websites should be SEO-optimized, the idea that SEO principles should be applied to URLs as well may seem quite surprising. But it is so. All URLs should be relatively short, relevant, and straightforward. It is also recommended to include names of categories and products and target keywords in those cases when possible.

If your URLs are written under these rules, it will be convenient for users and search engines to read them. For example, www.yourperfectshop.com/dresses/white-dress-flower-print is something that you should try to create, and www.yourperfectshop.com/1983mswuavr1/white-dress1826hjkw is definitely not the best idea.

  • Pagination instead of scrolling. It will be much more convenient for visitors to press a “Show more” button than to scroll the page till the end of the world. Moreover, do not forget that too lengthy texts prevent search engines from crawling and ranking your pages high.
  • HTTPS (HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure). It is a protocol that is used for sending data between a browser and a website. And the type of protocol is now taken as a ranking factor by Google. All the pages that do not run on HTTPS are considered to be unsafe, and if a search engine ranks them, users will see a notification about the security of the website, and their browser may even deny access to it. If you are building a website now, we recommend opting for HTTPS only without any doubt. If you already have a website that relies on HTTP, it’s high time to think about all pages migration to HTTPS.
  • Avoidance of Javascript. A significant part of SEO efforts is facilitating crawling for search engines and making it possible for them to index content correctly. But using Javascript, you do not help search engines render your pages quickly and accurately. Therefore, it will be much more sensible to rely on HTML and ensure that your content will be crawled without any delays. If you can’t avoid using JavaScript for some reason, we recommend applying pre-rendering or server-side rendering solutions to prevent any possible issues related to your content indexation and ranking.
  • XML sitemaps. A sitemap will help search engines to understand better what content you publish on your website. In other words, XML sitemaps can be viewed as a very efficient tool in getting your content crawled as soon as possible after you update or post it. Sitemaps are an efficient way of telling search engines about the content you have on your website. Also, make sure that your content is not duplicated. Otherwise, it can spoil all your SEO efforts.
  • Meta title and meta description. Meta titles and descriptions are exactly those types of content that appear in the search engine results, which means that they play a massive role in encouraging users to visit your page. Each title and description should be individual for each page. They should contain primary keywords and meet the length requirements (under 60 characters for a title and nearly 150 - for a meta description).
  • Product review sections. For eCommerce SEO, these features are essential for two reasons. First, people better trust websites that have genuine reviews from buyers, and, secondly, Google also ranks higher in the content generated by users.

You’ve just found the right team for your needs. At Geomotiv, we are always ready to provide our help.

eCommerce SEO guide: additional points to bear in mind

Though our eCommerce SEO checklist is already rather impressive, we have some more issues to add that you should also focus on. However, you should understand that they do not directly impact your ranking in Google but can also influence it as additional factors.

  • Page loading speed. Just imagine, a 2-second delay in load time makes bounce rates grow by 103%. Moreover, according to the statistics, nearly 50% of visitors will leave your website if page loading takes more than 3 seconds. Therefore, to ensure an appropriate page loading time, first, do not forget to optimize the images used on the website.
  • Up-to-date keywords. If your pages are ranked based on the initially chosen keywords, that’s great. But we recommend you regularly monitor the keyword rankings to update your content with the most relevant and most popular keywords related to your products.
  • Unique content. Forget about copy-paste practices. The impressive range of high-quality is what you should try to create.
  • Easy ways of social sharing. Let’s admit: even if a visitor wants to share your content on social media but can’t find a way to do it in a couple of seconds, this desire will vanish, and the content won’t be shared. Bright social sharing buttons that are easy to notice will solve this problem.
  • Link-building. Guest posting, publications on review websites, paid ads - all this will help you to acquire hyperlinks from other pages to your ones.
  • Long-tail keywords. While some people try to avoid long-tail keywords as they usually bring less search traffic, these keywords shouldn’t be ignored. Thanks to being more specific, they typically have a higher conversion value.
  • Schema markups. They help to structure your content and make it better readable for search engines. These schemas represent the vocabulary of tags added to HTML.

eCommerce SEO: conclusions

The price of the eCommerce SEO strategy may greatly vary depending on a wide range of factors. First of all, it is crucial to understand what it will include, what type of eCommerce project you have, who will work on the SEO optimization (your marketing specialists or you will turn to outsource services). However, according to average estimates, the costs of SEO services for small and medium-sized businesses in 2020 ranged between $750-$5,000 per month.

If we compare SEO with other popular marketing strategies for eCommerce, like SMM and SEM, we will see it is the widest and most efficient one.

For example, SEM (Search Engine Marketing) will drive traffic only when you pay for advertising. On the other hand, SEO focuses on organic traffic and is significantly better if you are interested in long-term results.

SMM (Social Media Marketing) is also a long-term game. But for an eCommerce website, it is not the best idea to prioritize this marketing strategy. Yes, social media can bring buyers to your website, but it’s better to use SMM tools as supportive ones. The combination of SEO and SMM will help you get organic traffic and build a community of loyal clients.

With solid expertise in the eCommerce domain, we will help you start implementing SEO-friendly features already at the initial stages of product development.

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