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SEO for Ecommerce Websites


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At the 7th Think Visibility conference in Leeds in March 2012, I gave a talk about SEO for ecommerce websites. This is an expanded version of a talk I gave at the SAScon mini-conference in November …

At the 7th Think Visibility conference in Leeds in March 2012, I gave a talk about SEO for ecommerce websites. This is an expanded version of a talk I gave at the SAScon mini-conference in November 2011.

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  • 1. Barry AdamsSEO forEcommerce03 . 03 . 12#ThinkVisCopyright. All Rights Reserved Pierce Communications. 2012
  • 2. Barry AdamsSenior Digital Marketer @ Pierce Communications. Previously:
  • 3. Focus on where the money is• Identify your top revenue- generating keywords & focus your SEO efforts there• Encourage branded searches (i.e. old-school brand marketing); Branded keywords tend to convert really well Google likes brands
  • 4. Do you know your site’s strengths?• Find out which product pages you have (unexpectedly) good rankings for Google Analytics Searchmetrics• Consider increasing the price of these products and/or upselling People trust high rankings, so make use of that trust factor.
  • 5. Use your site’s internal search• Great source of keywords• Also a great source of promotional opportunities• Track this in Google Analytics
  • 6. Site structure is key• Search engines look closely at internal links & anchor text• Potential for a lot of semantic value; Fragrances > Men’s Fragrances > Joop!• Don’t forget your breadcrumbs• Follow solid Information Architecture practices
  • 7. Product images• Multiple hi-res images for each product• Don’t hide them in clever JS but make sure search engines can see them; Optimise your alt attributes. Build a GA filter to capture Image Search traffic
  • 8. Faceted NavigationA.K.A. faceted search / layered navigation / additive filters• Easy & intuitive navigation for large ecommerce sites• Name your facets appropriately (use keywords & brands)• Filter/block facets that don’t add semantic value (price, size, etc)• Caveat: can lead to duplicate content issues
  • 9. Content on Ecommerce sites• Don’t use standard products descriptions; Write unique descriptions as good as you can make them If your client can’t supply unique descriptions, spin the standard texts Incorporate (long tail) keywords that the manufacturer might not use, but people do actually search for; Manufacturer: “Fibre Lash brush-on Eyelash Enhancer” Average user: “lash extension mascara”
  • 10. Encourage Conversions• Free shipping! Count down to free shipping:• Delivery information If they have to go looking for it, you might lose them• Deals / Discounts / Special Offers Make them time-sensitive
  • 11. Out of Stock products• Temporarily out of stock: Keep the page and show relevant message with related/recommended alternative products• Permanently out of stock: As above, but after a grace period 301-redirect the page to replacement product or category page
  • 12. Top Tip: discontinued products• Keep track of which products are being discontinued by their manufacturers.• If you have stock of those, flaunt it: – There will be Facebook groups / forums / blogs about the product or brand; – Let these people know you still have stock.• Increase the price to capitalise on the product’s newfound scarcity.
  • 13. You are Google Shopping’s bitch
  • 14. Track traffic from Google Shopping• Build a filter in Google Analytics: – How-to guide on YouMoz:• Put tracking parameters in the URLs of your shopping feed – Beware, it might get messy: • Duplicate tracking in Analytics • Comparison sites may add tracking code of their own & this might break the URL entirely
  • 15. Shopping feed data quality
  • 16. Seller Reviews enhance your GoogleShopping visibilityImpact on universal shopping results and PPC ads viaenhanced CTR
  • 17. Where to get Seller Reviews?• Google aggregates reviews from multiple sources• Shopping comparison sites in general work reasonably well• Actively seek out reviews from your customers (via email/social media)• A balanced mix of review platforms is not required (but is recommended):
  • 18. Product reviews• Don’t need to be created on your site – get them from a 3rd party: Reevoo PowerReviews• Mark them up with
  • 19. Semantic mark-up (• Product microdata is primarily useful for those nifty Rich Snippet review stars:• If you have multiple store locations, list them with appropriate location microdata.
  • 20. Duplicate content issues• Especially common with faceted navigation and parameter-driven URLs• Potential for indexing loops• Can result in crawl budget running out before all pages are indexed
  • 21. Solving duplicate content issues• Prevention is best, but not always feasible.• Index Sculpting: rel=canonical “noindex,follow” robots meta tag robots.txt blocking hide links (facets) in JavaScript• XML sitemap; For large sites: multiple sitemaps (one per category) and combine in a sitemap.gz
  • 22. Manage URL parameters in GWT:
  • 23. Linkbuilding for ecommerce sites• Blogger outreach / awards / give-aways:• Invite them to industry events – Award ceremonies / conferences / product launches
  • 24. Linkbuilding for ecommerce sites• Social share buttons; – on every product page – on the order confirmation page (people like to show off if they bought something cool) – on product reviews• 50% of ecommerce shoppers are logged in to Facebook* – leverage this with Like & Share functionality – peer pressure FTW *Source:
  • 25. Linkbuilding for ecommerce sites• Linkbait (a.k.a. content strategy) – Most ecommerce sites don’t do this (!) – After the post loses popularity, embed links to your money pages or 301-redirect• Guest content for industry sites/blogs – Make it good & don’t be greedy with links• Press Releases – Make it genuinely newsworthy• Foundational – Article marketing / directories / social bookmarks
  • 26. Linkbuilding for ecommerce sites• Build links to product categories No dependence on a specific product Authoritive categories translate to higher rankings for specific products But only if you’ve done your on-site optimisation right (Information Architecture!)
  • 27. Copyright. All Rights Reserved Pierce Communications. 2012