Whether your ecommerce site is a small-time operation, or big enough to rival Amazon, it’s search engine optimisation (SEO) that can make the biggest difference in your online business success. And one of the first steps for ecommerce sites before keyword research and content creation is structuring your store in the right way. Over time it will help you achieve top ranking on ecommerce searches and rank consistently across search engines. So how do you get started? Read on to find out!
Optimising Categories for ecommerce SEO
A good place to start is by optimising your categories. It’s recommended that you group your products into sections that are logical and similar, so search engines can understand your purpose of the site. For example, if you sell headphones, it makes sense to have sub-categories for types of headphones (both wired and wireless) with more specific examples such as over-ear or in-ear being in the ‘headphones’ category.
Simple and configurable products
You can also establish whether you want to have simple or configurable products. Each simple product creates its own url, whereas configurable products live on a single url. Generally speaking, a simple product is easier to find and click through than a configurable one; but the latter can contribute more in terms of ecommerce revenue. However, if your main purpose is search engine optimisation then it may be better to stick with the simple type of product as these typically rank higher across search engines over time.
Consider USPs & brand terms
The search terms you use in your ecommerce store should be consistent with brand terms and not just what a customer would call them. For example, if your business is called ‘HatsAus’ then the words hat and Aus will stand as the unique selling proposition (USP) of your engine, rather than just using generic words such as: cap or sunhat. This way you attract more relevant traffic to your website; and this also ensures that people who are searching for ‘HatsAus’ on Google actually find the official page when they click through.
Also consider whether there are any USPs about your products i.e. various benefits or aspects that make them unique compared to other brands or competitors in their field. It can make a huge difference to your online presence if you add these aspects into the content as well – this way you will find that people are more likely to share your site with others and also link back to it too.
Use supporting content to help your main categories rank higher
Alongside products, blog posts and other content that directly relate to your ecommerce site should be used to build the search engine relevance of your overall site. This is because if you have an article about ‘how to wear a hat’ then you should make sure that you include links back to relevant product categories within this post – like ‘fitting hats’, ‘size conversion charts’ and so on. This will help your search engine rankings for each category as well; as Google takes into account the relatedness of your content with associated keywords. All of these factors play a role in helping search engines crawl your ecommerce site better – which helps you rank higher over time!
Connecting your site
The global navigation should contain links to the key areas of the website; but it should be aware of the search engine crawler. This means that you should avoid linking to every single category/subcategory via the global navigation as this can lead to choice overload for your customers.
Internal link structure
There should also be multiple links between categories and products within internal pages. This way search engines can find out how products and pages are connected to each other, which ultimately helps Google understand what your ecommerce site is about – leading to more relevant rankings over time.
Breadcrumbs are a navigational tool that help organise websites by displaying hierarchically all the links that lead to other pages from the page on which they appear. By establishing a hierarchy within your website, it is easier to understand for search engines and customers.
As well as including breadcrumbs on your homepage navigation menu, the preferred placement for the feature is also at the top of each product page, helping website visitors navigate easily between pages.
Keep your site lean
As part of optimising a site, we want search engines to crawl the pages we want to rank more frequently. Strategies to keep your website lean can include:
- Editing categories to link directly to the canonical version of product pages
- Editing filters to prevent the unnecessary URL creation
- Having a process for out of stock/deprecated products
Putting all of this information together gives you the basis for a fully optimised ecommerce site. The key is to consistently improve how your website looks and works for customers, and also ensure that you give search engines enough information to work out what your site is about – this makes sure that both parties are happy!
If you want help optimising your ecommerce site for SEO, get in touch with us today!