Posted on 7/22/2015 in Business and Strategy

By Dean Dorazio

For my last blog post on SEO for eCommerce, I told a story and gave tips that were made to show the importance of the user experience (UX) and how to improve it for e-commerce. To compliment these tips, Mike Dickson, a SEO specialist here at Wakefly, made a great list of e-commerce best practices that covered a wide range of suggestions.

Usability, which makes a website easier to use, crosses over with conversion optimization. Together, these help you convert more sales from the traffic you already receive, while being critical to SEO as engagement metrics are ranking factors. Here are some tips on how to use technical SEO to increase your websites usability.

Use Structured Data

Structured data is any markup that defines rich information for the search engines. Rich information is anything that goes beyond that in a normal search result, like the title, the URL, and the meta description. Structured data is most effective when used in an e-commerce setting, since it allows you to display customer reviews with your organic listing.

To get the most out of structured data and display the reviews with the listing,  you need to add a way for customers review for each product. Third-party solutions such as Trustpilot give one option, but you can also use a feature that a web developer would create just for your website. You can then markup features such as the average rating, which give eye-catching stars in the search engine result.

Structured data will allow the rich snippets to show for ratings, number of reviews, etc

structured data review

Make Sure to Add Image Attributes

The image filename, alt text, and title for each image on your website should contain keyword phrases that describe both the general theme of your page and the image accurately. Focus first on writing alt text. This is the best description the search engines have to understand an image. The image filename also matters, as mentioned in the SEO Starter Guide from Google. The title has no SEO benefit but may help by giving a sort of caption when the user hovers the cursor over the image, when can help with usability in some cases.

Adding image attributes will both increase searches for images while also adding a slight ranking boost to the regular web results for the keywords used.

Add Long-Tailed Keyword Phrases and Synonyms in the Product Descriptions

Search engines do not know all of the features for all of the products on your website that a user conducts a search to find. For example, a searcher is looking for plus-sized dresses, and you have a whole category of them on your website called “plus-size dresses”.  Without them searching “plus-size dresses” in exactly this order, the search engines would not understand that the products on your site are relevant to what they are looking for. To help them understand, it would make sense to include this phrase in the individual product description as well as the category title. Using Google’s Keyword Planner as a free Google Ads tool can help you to cover a breadth of keywords under a topic.

Another way to find out how searchers find it is to simply ask them. This will also help you to make sure to use language your audience uses.

Semantic search is not perfect yet, so you will also need to use keyword synonyms. For example, prefab homes will bring slightly different results compared with prefabricated homes in the search engine results. You should try to naturally include both if targeting this keyword theme on a page.

Have HTML and XML sitemaps

As e-commerce websites grow, the structure can grow complicated. These sitemaps help both the search engines and users find all content. They act as an insurance policy if either party gets confused.

The XML sitemap can be built in a variety of ways you can find with a quick Google search. You can then upload this to the server. Make sure to submit it via Google Webmaster Tools after making it though.

HTML sitemaps can be built best manually in most cases. Keep in mind that users will head to the footer to find this when they get confused, so they should feel easy to navigate. I would suggest to include all products if having 100 or less, otherwise should just include categories and subcategories for your e-commerce store.

This list focused on more in-depth, traditional SEO tactics. By combining these SEO tips with usability and conversion optimization best practices, you can improve in all forms of non-paid digital marketing. Get in touch with our digital marketing department at Wakefly to discussing getting help with a complete solution.

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