As eCommerce vendors it’s important to reach out to your customers, but much more important to enable your customer to reach out to you. One of the best ways to improve the visibility of your site is to optimize it for search engines; i.e., undertake Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is of great importance for all sites, but for an eCommerce vendor, with more than 90-95% of pages being sales opportunities, it can make a difference between success and failure. Its relevancy is far greater because each page has to be visible – if a customer searches for a product, and you want your site showing up right at the top of the results. This 2-part series on SEO for eCommerce will take you through the process of avoiding some common pitfalls and give you important tips to improve your search engine rankings.
The typical eCommerce site, whether B2C or B2B are challenged with the kind of information to share– especially since not all good information is SEO friendly. How you share the information is equally important for SEO – a pretty banner with product details may look appealing, but it does nothing for the site’s SEO. While such things are easy to spot and correct, there are a few pitfalls that sites need avoid.
We’re talking product titles here; many eCommerce sites describe the product in the title without naming it. This is a bad idea as it makes it really hard for your customers to identify the product they’re looking for is when looking at the search results. The customer usually searches for the product by the exact name as they know it to be, which is why it has to be clearly mentioned and be part of the title. Here are some examples:
- A bad title: ‘Blue standout standup stapler is soft, curvy and provides jam free performance’
- A good title: ‘Acme® PaperProf® standup stapler in blue color is spring-powered and staples up to 15 sheets.’
Original content is priceless and yet many vendors simply copy the product description off the manufacturer’s website. This reduces your site ranking, and has a negative impact on the manufacturer’s site SEO as well. Coming up with an original description isn’t hard, your customer is not looking for that level of detailed specifications that the manufacturer would have. They want to know what it can do and whether there are any compatibility choices they need to look into. A clean informative description does wonders and aids you achieve the SEO tenet – ‘Content is King’. Some examples:
- A bad description: ‘Extra-soft, tapered ear plugs.’
- A good description: ‘Acme® ear plugs are made of extra-soft, extra light foam. Their tapered shape fits easily in the ear canal, and seals gently and snugly without pressure. They’re so comfortable you’ll forget you’re wearing ear plugs.’
While the relevancy of interactions might be questioned by B2B vendors, it’s been shown that a product and its vendor are better trusted when there is a positive comment by a fellow customer.As a B2B vendor you want a potential customer on your site knowing that you’re trustworthy and the experience you provide is the best out there. Various studies have shown that customers trust the opinions of fellow customers, and providing a way for that to happen is in your best interest. Social links and integration is favorably viewed by the search engine, so it would be a good idea to have links to the relevant sites. Sample this:
- The average interaction: ‘Rate this product:’
- The improved interaction: ‘Rate the vendor: – Rate this product: – Review this product: – Share this product on Twitter, LinkedIn.’
eCommerce sites have hundreds, maybe thousands of product pages; this doesn’t mean that the URL has to be complicated. A good clean URL helps the customer immensely as it does the search engine. You can improve URLs by removing all those confusing numbers, letters and special characters mashed into the browser address bar by default, and replacing them with a simple category, brand and product name based URL. Here’s what we mean:
- A bad URL: ‘www.store1.com/18=?+dfu/sit*=?90dqbm/’
- A good URL: ‘www.store1.com/acme/wireless/gizmo/500x_blue/’
Customers often choose products based on color and shape, yes even B2B customers. Having fuzzy images or low resolution creates a bad impression for sure; these will be ignored by the customers. Images do wonders for SEO if they are of a high resolution, of a good size and contain good alternate texts (the text that shows when the image doesn’t load on the site). Though we want the images to load, there is occasionally an instance when it doesn’t, either due to server issues or because of some problem at the customers’ end; this is where the alt text comes in and helps out. It is also important to have other image attributes such as the description filled in.
A bad image: with alt text =pic_234975tughaefdf.png
A good image: with alt text = AcmeWirelessGizmo500XBlue.png
In part two of this series, we’ll give you some more tips on improving your SEO as well as some best practices that can help you establish a strong SEO practice in your company.In the meanwhile, you can tell us some of the other difficulties you face in optimizing your eCommerce storefront; we will try to address them in our later blog posts.