E-commerce is now a real battle for hundreds of merchant in thousands of categories of products. That is why getting a prospect to find and land on your website in the right time and place is a real challenge for every shop owners and SEO is the top-of-mind answer.
SEO can never die, however the SEO tips and tricks now no longer the same as those in a couple years ago. That is why I will update out new 38+ quick SEO tips that work in 2013-2014 below for e-commerce web owners of all platforms (including Magento) to check again to make sure you do not miss the important points. A pretty long list but I think you can scan the words in bold to get the main points and skim the rest to have more ideas for your next actions.
On Page Optimization
1. Diversify keywords: In the e-commerce site, the primary keywords are usually the product/categories page names, but don’t just limit around them but also use synonyms and word families.
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2. Leverage long tails: searchers now tend to prefer specific queries than general ones, so care about this fact, long tails can also filter qualified visitors for conversion. Use keyword suggestions and keyword planner to help you.
3. Craft targeted, compelling page titles: That is the most important element to rank and first thing catch the searchers’ eyes when they on the search result pages so use it wisely for both human and robots.
4. Avoid duplicate content issues: Don’t lazy and copy and paste manufacturer’s descriptions. Instead write your own words. Focus on informative and educational contents and pages which your customer really need.
5. Use relevant rich snippets: Rich snippets make you outstanding in the SERP page and increase CTR.
6. Schema.org and structured data: Structured data helps search engine can better crawl and collect information for your website.
7. Update your content frequently: Website without a content update is a dead website. Use value added content and user-generated content and review to keep the pages fresh.
8. Optimize your images: Use attractive high-definition but low-sized images. Pay close attention to file names, alternative text and surrounding text to increase the traffic that you receive through Image Search.
9. Control bot access: Ensure that search engine spiders can’t access the various e-commerce features/functions such as Add to Basket, complete purchase, add to wish list etc. through the robots.txt file.
10. Use SEO friendly URLs: Targeted products/categories keywords included in the URL will more attractive for a user than boring numeral parameters.
11. Be aware of multiple categorizations: Prefer the “example.com/product1” URL structure over the “example.com/cat1/procuct1” to avoid duplicate content issues.
12. Organize product links cleverly: Link directly to your strategic products from your homepage. Recommend similar products to your visitors.
13. User bread crumbs: Users might usually want to switch back to category pages when they are on a specific product. Let them do this with ease.
14. Use canonical URLs: Sometimes products with different versions can cause duplicate content problems. It is better not to create multiple landing pages for minor product differences (color, size for example).
15. Fix broken links: Check regularly for links that no longer work and remove or redirect them to relevant pages.
16. Have a healthy link profile: Use a variety of anchor text. Make use of deep links. Don’t just focus on the homepage. Research competitors’ link building strategies.
Design & User experience
17. Use call to actions properly: Keep them clear and place them strategically on your pages. Steer visitors to a single primary CTA in one page and lead them to other secondary CTAs to offer more useful options and help increase conversion rates.
18. Use “security badges”: Leverage the authority of third parties McAfee, VeriSign, Better Business Bureau or Direct Marketing Association to build the trust of visitors.
19. Use more rich visual content: A picture speak a thousand words so invest more in informative and compelling images and videos to grasp more visitors on site.
20. Ensure cross browser: We are now living in a multi-screen world so make sure to give your users seamless experience on your store when they move from PC to mobile phones or tablets, from your websites to your social channels.
21. Keep your check-out and payment process simple: Minimize the requirements to switch pages to increase your conversion rate and reduce the Shopping cart abandonment rate.
22. Reduce the loading time: Minimize the size of CSS/JS/image files and use caching mechanisms. Try flat design.
23. Use A/B and Multivariable Testing: and monitor your site performance regularly to improve user experience and sales.
Website Structure & Architecture
24. Choose suitable the Ecommerce platform: Ensure that it is regularly updated and ease to customize for your specific needs and goals.
25. Create and submit HTML & XML sitemaps to search engines: This is an old tactic, but I think I must remind about it.
26. Avoid AJAX, Flash and other non SEO Friendly technologies: They can cause low page load, and search engine can read them well
27. Remove session IDs from URLs: This can create duplicate content issues.
28. Improve your on-site search and filter system: Your users always want to search for particular products based on their name, brand, price and characteristics. Don’t let them disappointed.
Social Media & Promotion
29. Embed social media tools: Add the social share and follow button every possible position on all your pages. Use social comment box to help you expand your reach. Keep the conversations between you and your audience going on and on.
30. Run a blog and encourage sharing: Update it daily with useful and relevant contents to engage visitors. Show your expertise in the industry and give answer to your prospects’ questions. The more sharing, the more reputation you are regarded to have. No doubt that social reputation now is a very significant ranking factor.
31. Offer free stuffs: Almost all people love free products. Provide an e-book or free trial to potential customers who are not ready for a purchase to help them stay in contact.
32. Create promotional campaigns: Hold seasonal contests, events and sale-off deals to attract more customers. Use all online and offline tools and channels to buzz your industry.
33. Enhance your email marketing efforts: Encourage your visitors to subscribe and send them relevant campaigns. Segment your customers, prospects and leads and learn about their concerns as detailed as possible. Integrate social media in your email marketing.
34. Use targeted paid advertising: with optimized landing pages to drive relevant traffic.
Off page factors and other must-have Features
35. Have a different URL for different language version: Decide the languages to support on your website and which should be the default one.
36. Improve local SEO: Provide correct and complete physical contact information in your website and every other online channels. Have your business listed in local business directories, Google local, and other popular online listing services.
37. Give your customer multiple checkout options: Provide various payment methods to your customers (Credit Card, PayPal, Direct Bank Transfer etc). Offer different shipping methods and reach to as many countries as possible.
38. Be aware of security and privacy issues: Safeguard your whole system with anti-virus solutions and security encryption methods.
and… there is a last point I don’t know which category to put it in, but I think it is really necessary for you so I gave it a plus.
38. Keep track. Monitor your work over and over. Stay updated with changes in user behaviors and search algorithms. Those 34 stuffs I wrote above might work today but who know what will happen tomorrow?
So… what next?
We have talk a lot about technical issues but never forget that techniques are invented for human, so treat your visitors as human and do SEO for human.