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E-commerce SEO Tips and Tricks #semrushchat

Elena Terenteva
E-commerce SEO Tips and Tricks #semrushchat

Hello dear SEMrush Blog readers!

Online shopping today is a fast-growing trend. And as popularity of buying online increases, the e-commerce websites are springing up like weeds. Each of these websites has to force its way through hundreds on competitors to the top of SERPs. That's why well-implemented search engine optimization is crucial.

In our last Twitter Chat, we discussed SEO tips and advice for e-commerce, and our participants and special guest Nick Eubanks, SEO expert and consultant for online businesses, shared their experiences of working with e-commerce clients and ideas about the most effective techniques and practices. So, let’s start!

Biggest SEO challenge when working with e-commerce clients

Optimizing an online store can be a much more complicated task than doing it for, let’s say, a few-page consulting agency website. There are some typical problems that SEO-specialists face.

First, you need a good understanding of what type of business you’re dealing with. Every industry has its peculiarities, and you have to know what they are if you’re going to conquer the field.

If your customer does not offer an extremely unique product, they will obviously need to struggle for aplace in the market. “Many sites offer the same service or product so getting your site to rank in a competitive field is hard.” Marty.B.Trent ‏@Marty_Marketing. So how can an SEO expert help? You have to find features that differentiate a business from its competitors, as Simon Swan suggests:

How often do we see websites that look like countless other pages, stuffed with products all with the same description? The major problem of most e-commerce websites is “lack of understanding of the role of quality, unique content”Writing For SEO ‏@writingforseo.

The article ”Why You Should Write Your Own Product Descriptions,” which was shared by Ecreativeworks ‏@ECWseo, can teach you more about the importance of unique product descriptions. Poor content logically leads to another problem – a lack of backlinks. To get quality backlinks, a website needs to provide something truly worth linking. And, as Marty.B.Trent ‏@Marty_Marketing points out, “if your site lacks great content, it's hard for people to want to link to you.”

Poor design is another common problem for e-commerce websites.

SEO success doesn’t depend solely on the work of SEO experts; it is also influenced by some of the website’s technical aspects. That’s why misunderstandings between SEO specialists and development teams may lead to problems with website optimization.

On-page SEO elements for e-commerce

Check out a list of SEO elements that every e-commerce website should have:

Unique title tags and meta

SEO for expired product pages

It is no surprise that product pages make up a considerable part of any e-commerce website. But what should you do if a page isn’t relevant anymore, e.g., the product is only available during certain seasons, is temporarily out of stock, or the company has simply stopped selling it? Here are some suggestions from our participants:

If a product is temporarily unavailable, but is expected to become available in the near future, it would be reasonable to keep its page in place and simply mark it out of stock, and offer links to similar or related products.

It is important to keep pages up, especially if they drive significant traffic from search engines, if they already rank well, and if a lot of external links point to them. As Nathan Sheusi ‏@NathanSheusi  suggests, "keep that product OUT of on-site search, but keep it IN external searches."

A good way to deal with expired pages is to set up a 301 redirect to another page – for example, a relevant category page.

A well-organized campaign can’t be launched in a moment. It’s better to start your seasonal SEO efforts before the season actually begins; and pages from previous events, actions and campaigns can help a lot.

Generally speaking, “focusing your energy on pages that aren't converting due to seasonality is a bad waste of SEO time and budget,” as Marty.B.Trent ‏@Marty_Marketing points out.

Site search on e-commerce websiteNow let’s talk about how to create handy and effective on-site search. First advice: place a search box on every page of a website, so that users can reach it from any location. Make it stand out from other fields and boxes on the site.

Ensure that you make the most of a website’s search by tracking it with Google Analytics Site Search. This is an awesome way to discover valuable keyword opportunities – words that users have actually searched for on this website. So do not miss the chance to “configure analytics to track site search GREAT place to find some "'hidden' kw data,” as Altos ‏@altos suggests. It can also help you to reveal some less evident problems.

No one wants to search for a product for hours, looking through countless results. Make the search process as fast and easy as possible! A good way to accomplish this is with faceted search, which allows the use of multiple filters – “make it easy to find/use and have the ability to filter by price, review, product, etc. Make it easy or me to spend my $$!” - Jenny Foster ‏@LocalSEOJenny.

The option to search not only by keyword, but also by product code can be really handy, especially when the user already knows exactly which product they’re looking for.

You have a variety of options at your disposal to implement the search. And it is hardly possible to predict which one fits your site best, so you must experiment.

To get more insights into implementing site search on e-commerce websites, check out the article 7 Website Search Hacks to Ace E-Commerce Conversions by Rohan Ayyar ‏@searchrook

E-commerce tracking

An owner of a clothing store around the corner has a significant advantage over an owner of an online clothing shop – they can see their customers face to face. They can observe their behavior, how they choose their purchases; they can also speak to them directly. And how can an e-commerce website owner better understand their customers? That’s where site analytics comes into play. Let’s see how you can use Google Analytics to leverage your SEO.

Google Analytics provides a number of reports that you can use to analyze user activity as well as your website’s overall success.

One of the coolest features of Google Analytics is ability to set up Ecommerce Tracking – a report which delivers the most significant data on purchase activity on the website – the products that users buy, as well as their quantity, revenue, time to purchase and more.

To get a better understanding of Ecommerce Tracking, read the guide provided by Google. Thanks to Tripp Hamilton @Tripp_Hamilton for sharing this link! By using Google Analytics reports you can better understand all of the customers’ actions, so make the most of this data:

Tracking the goals and conversion is undoubtedly useful. Knowing where customers leave a website and analyzing why may bring even more benefits.

Effective e-commerce technics

Now let's take a look at the most effective e-commerce tips and techniques that our participants shared:


That’s it for today. We hope you found some useful tips in this post and hope to see you at our next Twitter Chat!

And special thanks to the following participants whose tweets we used to create the images:

@onreact_com @HermanTinkura @rajeshseosem @seonow @LWilson1980 @nick_eubanks @AndrewDennis33 @MediumBlueSEM @webbeeseospider @riskycontent @Diana_at_Work @searchrook @GameofJoes @SeoKungFu @MilwaukeePPC @rjonesx @TonyMcCreath @SEOcial @altos @JoeRega @EricCozart @JuliaEMcCoy @PaulBradish @writingforseo @callis1987 @JRiddall @Marty_Marketing @Tripp_Hamilton @Tony_DWM @directom @mbellingerx @narenism @mcalicreative 

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Elena Terenteva, Product Marketing Manager at SEMrush. Elena has eight years public relations and journalism experience, working as a broadcasting journalist, PR/Content manager for IT and finance companies.
Bookworm, poker player, good swimmer.
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Tate @ Striving For Freedom
This is an incredible post! Thanks for putting this together. Will be using this as my go to.
Elena Terenteva
Tate @ Striving For Freedom
Thank you for a nice feedback :)