E-Commerce SEO: 6 Mistakes that Stifle Rankings & Sales
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Starting a simple blog or local service business website is one thing, but when it comes to starting and running a full fledged online store, you are in a whole different ball game. Here are 6 too common mistakes you need to be on the lookout for.
Even though it’s widely known to SEO professionals, an overwhelming number of online stores are still copy/pasting descriptions from the manufacturer, especially on stores that dropship products. If you have 1K,10K, or 100K products, writing descriptions for all of them can be costly, time consuming, or both.
Fortunately, the only products that need unique descriptions are those you want to rank. Start by re-writing your main product pages. If you have hundreds or thousands of products with duplicate content, simply set those pages to ‘no-index’ so that they aren’t be counted against the overall quality of your site. Over time, as you correct product descriptions, switch the pages back so that they get picked up and can potentially rank.
Copying and pasting descriptions from the manufacturer is a good example of content that is duplicated from an external website. However, that is not the only type of duplicate content you must be on the lookout for.
Another common issue with ecommerce websites is duplicate pages within your own site. There are several reasons this could happen, but, most commonly it is one of the following:
▪ Lack of Canonical Tags
▪ Failing to No Index Dynamic URLs
▪ Short or Thin Content Pages
In some cases, a combination of all three can be found on a site. This is where the technical site audit becomes important as a correct review will pinpoint the cause and provide a sitewide solution in many cases.
Sometimes you may have more than one page on your site that talks about a keyword. If you do not interlink those pages correctly, Google may be confused as to which page you actual want to show up for that specific keyword. What makes this even more confusing at times is that creating multiple pieces of content around a topic can be beneficial when done correctly.
To avoid competing pages, you must be mindful of how you internally link to competing pages and how “optimized” they both are for the same keywords. If you are currently having issues with competing pages, you could also consider merging them into one stronger page.
Not be able to manage a multi-language website correctly
Having a multi-language website is an opportunity that should be underestimated. This is especially true for e-commerce, where having a multi-language website dedicated to foreign users can be a double-edged blade. Beside website localization, which should always be entrusted to mother tongue professionals, you should be well-prepared to assist and support users from all parts of the world: from price conversion to the local currency, to shipping fees that, if too high, could negate possible price competitiveness, the website should be equipped to offer complete service to everyone.
Even though it is not a strictly SEO requirement, building a website in several languages is something you should carefully analyze based the competitive context and the markets of reference.
While smaller websites can also have this issue, large online stores are notorious for it. A redirect chain is when a page redirects to another page, that in turn redirects to the destination page. While people don’t set out to create these chains, it is something that can easily slip through the cracks.
For example, let’s say you get rid of a certain watch on your store. A few months later, you get rid of that entire brand, but you do have a very similar product people will love. Chances are, when the first watch was removed, the product page was redirected to the brand category page. Once the brand was no longer carried, you redirected the entire category to a similar new category page. Boom, now you have a redirect chain.
Like internal duplicate content issues, this is something that can be discovered while performing a technical audit on the site. Once found, fixing this one is straightforward.