- by Mike
Selling a product online is simple isn’t it? You simply upload products to your sleek new website using a content management system like Wordpress (WooCommerce) or Shopify and then users can make a purchase, right? Wrong!
To use a classic, overused, SEO analogy, your e-commerce website is just like a car. It may look sexy on the outside, but look under the hood and you notice that there are serious floors that will prevent you from even starting the car let alone getting from A to B!
As with most cars, you can’t find an SEO problem unless you know what you’re looking for. Here are 4 classic SEO issues that aren’t immediately obvious to those who don’t know where to look (unless you’ve been to one of our ecommerce SEO training courses!)
1. Out of stock products returning a 404 error
Congratulations! Your product is so successful that you’ve ran out stock! Many storeowners will be tempted to delete the product only to revive it at a later date on a new URL…
This situation calls for caution as many potential buyers are still accessing the original page via social, SEO or even via blog posts on external websites. They may even have this page saved in their favourites! Removing products from your website when they are out of stock is a bad idea when you’ve built authority and traffic back to a product URL. If you then upload the same product again under a different URL you’ll have to build re-build those blog posts, links and social post from scratch. Just don’t do it!
2. Lack of ‘product categories’ on the site
When users search for a particular product such as 'gold football trophies', you’ll notice that the top ranking search results displayed are category pages i.e. /football/gold-trophies, not the home page or a pre-filtered page. E-commerce webmasters often attempt to get filtered pages to rank for these phrases, however, unless this is done in a very specific way, the chances are your filtered page doesn’t follow Google ‘best practice.’
The URL may contain parameters and query strings that Google will turn its nose up at and leave you on page 10 with the rest of the SEO offenders. One way around this is to create optimised category pages with clean URLs with plenty of useful content and internal links.
3. An insecure site (no HTTPS)
From October 2017, Google has announced that if users are visiting your website via Google Chrome (Google’s internet browser) your site will display an ‘un-secure website’ warning if it does not have an SSL certificate (also referred to as ‘upgrading to HTTPs’). This is a pretty big deal, as visitors will be uneasy, thinking that you’ll steal their credit card details or suspecting other sinister activity. If this is the case, you can expect fewer purchases and a higher bounce rate as buyers flee from your site. Don’t fall victim to this change! Upgrade to HTTPs - but don’t forget the SEO considerations involved with this upgrade.
4. Optimising for SERPs
Do you know how your product or category pages appear in search engines? To continue the overused car analogy, optimising your search results is like getting a car wash or even upgrading to that brand new model that has everyone’s heads turning. Upgrading the appearance of your site in search engine results will help it to stand out and appear much more attractive to searchers. Out of these two examples, which one would you rather click?
Estate agents in Ashford, Ben Siggins:
Gould and Harrison estate agents in Ashford:
Optimising your site content with the appropriate meta titles and descriptions, aggregate reviews and ratings and even Emojis can really draw the searchers eye - even if they’re ranking in a higher position!
There are several other ‘unseen’ factors that can determine the success or failure of your ecommerce store. What is the best way of learning these factors? If you’re based in the UK, Reflect Digital offers ecommerce SEO training courses whether you’re a beginning or already know your alt tags from your H1 tags!