E-commerce has launched into the market in a big way, from shopping carts hosted on platforms like eBay, Shopify and WooCommerce to fully customized e-commerce websites. Unlike ‘normal’ websites, online stores face unique SEO challenges because they have limited content and opportunity through which to effect the most commonly known SEO techniques, which makes SEO much harder for them.
Below are some aspects that present challenges for online store owners, as well as ways through which they can be overcome.
- Internal Linking
Because multiple people handle e-commerce sites, especially as they grow larger, inconsistency in the internal linking strategy is likely to crop up. The copywriters, project managers, social media marketers and designers will all go for links that are useful to them and may end up creating an internal linking web that makes no sense for search engines. This means your site doesn’t get the maximum value from the internal linking strategy and you’ll be sending out conflicting messages regarding your site’s most important pages.
Ensure that all your teams know what internal linking is and how to do it consistently in order to provide highest value for the site. Often, this will be the main navigation links rather than individual product pages. Set up your canonical tags, and have them allude to the canonicals instead of the front links.
- URL Parameters
Many e-commerce sites may not mind to the cleanliness of their URL structures. It’s much harder to limit the parameters on URLs of e-commerce sites, but if properly managed, you can still come out on top. Don’t rely solely on Google Search Console (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) for your URL parameter configuration; you may still be creating duplicate content without even knowing it.
While Google has advanced its abilities to sift through URL parameters, ensure proper management of your URL structure by indicating to Google which URLs to crawl and those to ignore. More often than not, Google will get it right, but there’s no need to take the chance.
- SEO and SEM
This one is not unique to e-commerce sites, but e-commerce sites stand to lose more money if their SEO and SEM teams are not putting up united front. By not collaborating SEO with PPC, you’re sacrificing a major opportunity for remarketing. This will likely affect your PPC campaign since you’ll be bidding on the wrong terms.
This is easy to solve, however. Have your PPC/SEM team rely on the SEO team for keyword data so that your budget is well spent on terms with good SEM ranking potential. For instance, there’s no need to bid for terms that have good organic rankings. If targeted keywords are not converting well in PPC, ditch them and put effort into SEO for those terms instead.