5 Ecommerce SEO Mistakes That Hurt Your Rankings

While there are many different ways of driving visitors to your online store, search engine optimization (SEO) is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way of generating high-quality traffic to your website.

Even though SEO is so important for having a successful ecommerce website, many businesses neglect their SEO, which ultimately hurts their rankings and makes them miss out on potential revenue.

In this guide, we talk about the five most common ecommerce SEO mistakes and how to fix them.

1) Thin Content

One of the biggest SEO issues today’s ecommerce websites are faced with is thin content. Since most ecommerce businesses sell a wide variety of products, it’s hard to devote enough time and money to produce content around every product they sell.

This leads to websites having a lot of pages with very little content, something Google doesn’t exactly love.

If you want to gain an SEO advantage in the crowded ecommerce space, you need to find ways to add more content to your pages. You can do this by creating or expanding your existing product and category descriptions, as well as getting more product reviews.

Product and Category Descriptions

Many ecommerce businesses neglect product descriptions, thinking that their product photography and technical specifications will do all the selling. While your product photos and specs are important, they won’t get your website ranking any higher in Google.

Creating or expanding your existing product descriptions is a great way to add more content to your website and start ranking for more search terms in Google. Apart from providing an SEO boost, high-quality product copy can also help increase your conversion rate. If copywriting isn’t your strong suit, consider hiring a professional copywriter to create descriptions for your products.

product-description Source: allbirds.com

Your product category pages are another great opportunity for adding more content to your ecommerce website. Use your category descriptions to let customers know more about your products and their benefits, the brands that you stock, or any other information your visitors might find relevant or helpful.

category-description Source: asos.com

Take the time to write a description for each of your category pages, and you’ll increase the chances of getting them ranked higher in Google’s search results

Product Reviews

Product reviews are an important part of every ecommerce website. Getting a substantial amount of reviews for your products will help show Google that your website is relevant and trustworthy.

The star rating and review number for your product pages shown in Google’s search results will also make your website and products seem more credible to shoppers.

product-reviews Source: amazon.com

Not only do reviews help you add more content to your website and get more love from Google, but they can also help increase your sales. As much as 61% of shoppers consult reviews before making a purchase, and it’s been shown that reviews can increase your conversion rate by up to 74%.

So how do you get more reviews? You need to ask for them. Use apps such as Yotpo to help you get more reviews by sending automated review requests to your customers’ email address. Consider giving a special discount to everyone who leaves a review to incentivize customers to review their purchases.

2) Duplicate Content

Google prioritizes websites with unique and relevant information. If your website displays the same information that’s available on a lot of different websites, Google won’t consider it to be helpful to users and most likely won’t rank you on the first page of its search results.

You should avoid using content from other websites, as well as featuring your own content on your website multiple times.

Product Descriptions

Ecommerce businesses often make the mistake of using their manufacturer’s product description, and this creates a lot of duplicate content issues. This is quite simple to avoid. Take the time to write unique product descriptions so that you can stand out among all the other websites that are selling the same products.

If you sell a large number of different products, it might not be feasible to write unique descriptions for all of them. In that case, you should focus on writing custom descriptions for your best-performing products.

Meta Tags

Duplicate page title and meta description tags are another issue. These can especially be problematic if you have multiple pages on your website with the same title or meta description since Google won’t be able to know which one is the most relevant for a particular search query. This can also cause confusion among users.

duplicate-meta-descriptions Source: google.com

Large ecommerce websites often use templates for their title and description tags. This is something you might want to consider yourself if you have a large number of products.

You can use a tool such as Screaming Frog SEO Spider to check your website for duplicate content. Once you find all the pages with duplicate content issues, go through them one by one and make sure to rewrite their meta tags.

When writing meta tags, make sure that they’re:

Relevant - Your meta tags need to be relevant to the content that’s on the page. Don’t try to stuff irrelevant keywords into your meta tags because it will do you more harm than good.

Engaging - You should try to entice shoppers into visiting your pages by using engaging meta tags. Put emphasis on benefits (such as free shipping) and add a call-to-action to increase your click-through rate.

The right length - Google displays the first 50-60 characters of a title tag, and the first 320 characters of a description tag, so make sure that your tags stay within that limit.

3) Broken Links

Links can become broken due to deleted pages, changes in URL structure, and a variety of other reasons. Google doesn’t like broken links because they mislead users and waste their time. If you have too many broken links on your website, this can hurt your rankings.

While actively looking and dealing with broken links with something like Google Webmaster Tools is the best thing you can do about this, it’s impossible to prevent every instance of a shopper clicking on a broken link and landing on a 404 page. Your website visitors are still going to end up on one of these from time to time.

You can take advantage of this by creating a custom 404 page and using it to direct visitors to other pages on your website that might interest them. Your 404 page should also contain an apology or use humor to ease shoppers’ frustrations about not seeing the content they want to see.

404-page Source: bluenile.com

4) Lack of an Internal Linking Strategy

If you have a lot of pages on your website, and you keep adding new ones all the time, it can be hard for Google to keep up and index all of them quickly. This is where internal linking can help. Not only do internal links help Google index your pages faster, but they also help to show relevancy and can provide a boost to your rankings.

Additionally, internal links can help visitors discover other products and content on your website that might interest them. An added bonus of this is that it will reduce your bounce rate, which can further improve your rankings in Google’s search results.

Ecommerce websites frequently suffer from the following internal linking issues:

Hard to reach pages - If you don’t carefully plan out your internal linking, you might end up with pages on your website that are very hard to reach. If it takes more than 3 or 4 clicks to reach any page on your website, you should reconsider your internal linking strategy.

Pages with too many links - Having too many internal links on every page can also be an issue because you end up diluting your page authority and not giving priority to any particular page.

Pages with no links - Having pages on your website that can’t be reached at all through the use of internal links is also a bad thing. If you have pages like this, you’ll need to find a way to connect them to the rest of your website.

5) Bad URL Structure

We frequently see ecommerce websites using long, non-descriptive URLs that can only hurt their SEO and the click-through rate they get in search engine results. Google uses the URL of a page to help determine its ranking, with the first 3 to 5 words carrying more weight than the rest of the URL.

url-structure Source: google.com

Additionally, it’s been shown that short URLs frequently rank higher than longer ones.

When looking to create SEO-friendly URLs, try to keep them under five words, include your main keyword, and avoid using unnecessary words such as conjunctions. You might also want to look at the top-ranking pages for the keyword you’re trying to rank for and see what kind of URLs they’re using.

Apart from helping to improve your rankings, SEO-friendly URLs will allow users to understand what your page is about quickly, making it more likely that they’ll visit it and buy from you.

Stop Making These 5 SEO Mistakes

It’s hard to get noticed as an ecommerce business today. You shouldn’t decrease your chances any further by making basic SEO mistakes. Make sure to continually add new content to your website and keep an eye out for any duplicate content issues. Create a custom 404 page and take care of any broken links you find. Devise an internal linking strategy that makes sense and make sure to use SEO-friendly URLs for all your pages.

Looking to Improve Your Ecommerce Website’s Rankings?

Our SEO Kickstarter package can help you improve your website’s search engine rankings and drive more high-quality organic traffic. What’s included? An SEO review of your website, keyword research, specific recommendations for improving your SEO, and more.

Interested? Get in touch for more support from our experts