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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 2011.

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SEO for Ecommerce Websites

  1. 1. Barry AdamsSEO forEcommerce03 . 03 . 12#ThinkVisCopyright. All Rights Reserved Pierce Communications. 2012
  2. 2. Barry AdamsSenior Digital Marketer @ Pierce Communications. Previously:
  3. 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. 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. 5. Use your site’s internal search• Great source of keywords• Also a great source of promotional opportunities• Track this in Google Analytics
  6. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 13. You are Google Shopping’s bitch
  14. 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. 15. Shopping feed data quality
  16. 16. Seller Reviews enhance your GoogleShopping visibilityImpact on universal shopping results and PPC ads viaenhanced CTR
  17. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 22. Manage URL parameters in GWT:
  23. 23. Linkbuilding for ecommerce sites• Blogger outreach / awards / give-aways:• Invite them to industry events – Award ceremonies / conferences / product launches
  24. 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. 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. 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. 27. Copyright. All Rights Reserved Pierce Communications. 2012