Why is SEO important for e-Commerce? Forty-four percent of each online purchase starts with an online search. Making certain that the products could be easily found on search engines, like Google could spell the difference between an e-commerce business that succeeds or fails.
THE RELEVANCE OF SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
A huge part of effective search engine optimization or SEO is to make certain that the pages of the website appear as relevant as possible to a search engine for the search terms or keywords that the prospective customers use. Most business owners could be unaware that their e-commerce platform may not be equipped with the needed features to make their online store search-engine friendly. Some software only offers the most basic SEO features, some at a premium cost while other packages do not offer them at all.
WHAT SEO FEATURES TO LOOK FOR
Majority of the most popular e-commerce platforms claim to be SEO-friendly. Yet, there’s no objective definition for the terms ‘SEO friendly’. Some platforms claiming to be SEO-friendly are actually lacking in important SEO features. Whether choosing a shopping cart, more customized e-commerce solution or hosted e-commerce, it is necessary to compare the SEO features, which the platform offers against the list of 20 SEO features.
SEO FEATURES THAT EVERY E-COMMERCE WEBISTE NEEDS
- SEO-Friendly URLs. Find an e-commerce platform that supports static, keyword-rich URLs.
- 30-1 Redirects. Select a platform that allows setting up 301 redirects. Most e-commerce websites often delete pages as categories are altered, products discontinued and more. 301 redirects enable redirecting the link juice and visitors form the page deleted into a new page.
- Granular Page Title control. Probably, the page title is the one most important SEO element on a page. It is paramount that the e-commerce platform allows editing individual page titles for each kind of page. Some platforms enable product page titles editing but not category titles.
- Search-friendly navigation structure. Visitors and search engines alike need an easy way of moving around the website. Find a navigation structure which meets the SEO criteria, such as:
- duplicate and superfluous links are kept at minimum
- primary navigation links are text and not images
- navigation menus may be edited at an individual link level
- Canonicalization. Canonicalization correctly rank and index content that could be seen using multiple URLs. For instance, a single category page can be viewed using various URLs.
- Selecting the domain. Choices include example.com or an http://www.example.com. 301 redirect is the alternate version to the chosen main version. In particular, the canonical link for every version of a page. Set a canonical URL for every page. The canonical URL is the URL one wants to be displayed in Google SERPs.
- Automated XML Sitemaps. An XML sitemap offers another way of making the website more crawlable. Adding an XML sitemap would not increase rankings, but does help Google locate, index and craw new pages faster. An e-commerce platform that has an automatic XML sitemap generation would make building and upgrading the sitemap easier.
- SEO Features that most websites would find useful. The features, although not essential are without doubt useful. The better e-commerce platforms also would have the features included as part of the package.
- Robust Taxonomy choices. The ability of creating a well-organized category and brand taxonomy would help in navigating the website and boost SEO. Brand pages could be optimized for branded keywords, which could often drive high visitors’ conversion.
- Robots Meta tag. The robots noindex meta tag is the preferred solution for keeping certain pages from appearing in Google search results. Choose an e-commerce platform that allows setting individual pages to display noindex meta tag.
- Custom landing pages. A platform which enables creating custom landing pages lets one target more keywords as well as to custom-tailor pages to reach specific market groups.
- Google Analytics for e-commerce. Although this feature may seem rather obvious, most platforms support basic Google Analytics code but not Google Analytics e-commerce tracking. When asking pre-sale queries, make sure to ask if the platform supports Google Analytics e-commerce transaction tracking. While this isn’t a strictly SEO feature, it helps in making better SEO decisions through linking revenue to certain keywords and landing pages too.
- Blog. Because Google has repeatedly recommended content marketing as effective strate3gy for creating backlinks, a blog is a vital tool in the arsenal of an SEO. Find a platform that provides full-featured blog that’s complete with commenting, anti-spam, social sharing and RSS feed features.
- Analytics enabled site search. The e-commerce website must let users search products on the website. Nevertheless, just returning results to the visitors is not enough. The platform must integrate with Google Analytics site search reporting feature. This allows seeing the keywords that visitors use when searching on the site and could be powerful data for keyword research.
- Frictionless social sharing. As social media continues to play a bigger role in SEO, it is necessary that the e-commerce site would be optimized for social sharing. This includes support for the Open Graph Protocol wherein one could specify the title easily, the image and URL that would be shared when a visitor clicks the ‘Share’ button and prominently displaying social sharing buttons to encourage visitors to share pages.
When it comes to choosing an e-commerce platform for SEO, it is necessary to balance the features required against cost and practicality.