THE STRATEGY BEHIND EFFECTIVE SEO FOR eCOMMERCE – PART 2
It’s one thing to have an eCommerce site where buyers can shop and purchase your products; but if your site is hard to view, slow to load, or difficult to navigate, you might as well go back to taking phone orders. A website’s usability plays an important part in digital commerce success, yet many businesses don’t put the effort into measuring and improving their site’s performance.
Consider the potential lost sales and missed connections because a website does not provide an optimal user experience:
- 40% of people will leave a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load (Econsultancy)
- 50% of B2B search queries are made on smartphones, and this percentage will grow to 70% by 2020 (Boston Consulting Group)
- Mobile drives or influences an average of more than 40% of revenue in leading B2B organizations (Google)
- 37% of site visitors will leave because of poor design or navigation (MarketingProfs)
Our first article on search engine optimization (SEO) for eCommerce did a deep dive into successful ways to provide rich content. Here, we’re going to focus on the user experience, and how your site’s usability factor can affect your search engine ranking.
Usability is highly important for SEO, and for creating a great user experience. If your eCommerce site has great usability, chances are your customers will be repeat visitors. The key to usability is making sure there are as few steps as possible in the checkout process, giving your visitors easy ways to contact you, making it simple for them to navigate to pages, and guaranteeing your site loads quickly – no matter what type of device they are using. Take these usability factors into consideration when building your website:
Search engines are placing an increasing emphasis on having fast-loading sites; speed affects both search engines and customers, not to mention your site’s conversion rates. The ideal page-load speed is between one to three seconds. If your eCommerce site is slow to load, front- and back-end issues could be to blame. Make sure you’re using a fast web host who can handle the amount of products and content on your site. Additionally, reducing the file sizes of your images can increase load speed without compromising their quality.
50% of B2B search queries are made on smartphones, and this percentage will grow to 70% by 2020.
OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE
Search engines consider your site’s usability on all devices, and so should you. Since the number of people using smart devices is on the rise, it’s imperative you design your website for mobile devices that can also be viewed on desktops, rather than the other way around. An adaptable site is better ranked simply because it increases the customer’s convenience and, as a result, their number of visits. Optimizing for mobile is necessary when building a site, so make sure that your eCommerce software vendor offers mobile optimization options. Unilog provides a mobile-optimized version of with their CIMM2 eCommerce platform, ensuring customers can purchase your products anywhere, anytime.
Breadcrumbs allow a user to retrace their steps from your home page to the page that they’re currently viewing. They can reflect the structure of your website, a logical path, or attributes of the current page.
Location breadcrumbs are the most common types of breadcrumbs, and they trace back through the different layers of your website. Breadcrumbs help site visitors understand how your website works, and makes it easier for them to navigate to find similar products or services while staying on your site. They encourage positive actions, like delving deeper into your website and finding other pages or products that will likely interest them. These positive actions reduce your website’s bounce rate and increase your page rankings in search engine results.
A sitemap is, in essence, a table of contents for your website. XML sitemaps can help search engines like Google understand your site and find all of its content. In addition, they are a great tool for customers because they provide a quick overview of your site, and lead them to more content. As an added bonus, sitemaps use those important keywords you need for SEO.
Having all of your major web pages included in search engine databases via the sitemap will give your site more prominence in search results, and those results will point customers to the specific pages of your site instead of making them hunt for links.
Providing better usability of your eCommerce site does wonders for the user experience, and a great user experience typically leads to higher conversions. It’s important to find the balance between enhancing the user experience and keeping your site running properly. Don’t forego speed and ease-of-use with too many bells and whistles that don’t add value.
Look for the final white paper in our three-part series which focuses on effective SEO through the power of engaging customers.
Unilog is a global technology company that delivers powerful, affordable eCommerce solutions for the B2B marketplace. Our cloud-based eCommerce platform and product data enrichment services help distributors, manufacturers, and wholesalers increase online sales, reduce cost to serve, and enhance their digital channel. Unilog is an ISO 9001:2008- and ISO 8000-certified company with North American headquarters outside of Philadelphia, PA and international headquarters in Bangalore, India. For more information, visit www.unilogcorp.com.