Launching an ecommerce store is a smart first step for entrepreneurs interested in building a retail empire. Ecommerce allows a business to access a wider audience than a physical store; it is less expensive than opening a brick-and-mortar, and, perhaps most importantly, ecommerce allows for convenient and inexpensive marketing.
An essential marketing component for an e-commerce business is search engine optimization, or SEO, yet it is a marketing component that too many ecommerce entrepreneurs get wrong. Beginner entrepreneurs hoping to succeed in their first online retail venture should consider adopting the following essential SEO rules that will allow their digital store to thrive.
eCommerce SEO Tips
Identify Effective Keywords
Keywords are the foundation of effective SEO, but not all keywords are created equal. Identifying useful keywords takes time and expertise; most entrepreneurs would be wise to work with SEO resellers to take advantage of their knowledge and skill in distinguishing the best keywords for their unique ecommerce store. SEO experts understand how to sift through keyword data to find optimal target terms for specific pages across a website. Entrepreneurs who cannot afford an entire suite of SEO services should at least invest in professional keyword research.
Organize Site Architecture
The easier it is for a search engine’s spiders to crawl around a website, the higher that website is likely to rank. Fortunately, crawlability is also linked to accessibility by users, so entrepreneurs can kill two birds with one stone by simplifying their URL structure and website architecture. Concise and descriptive URLs, which use keywords, when applicable — are more attractive to users and search engines alike, which is a major SEO win.
Draft Meaningful Product Descriptions
In a bookstore, customers are more likely to purchase front-facing books that are accompanied by short blurbs or staff recommendations. Likewise, in ecommerce, users are more likely to checkout when the products they are perusing include detailed descriptions that provide meaningful information. Depending on a store’s wares, descriptions might include product dimensions, ingredients or materials, instructions for use or something else. Descriptions are handy blocks of text for SEO, as essential keywords can fit comfortably into them, but search engines will punish keywords stuffing in product descriptions, so entrepreneurs need to be careful to keep descriptions natural.
Never Duplicate Content
When content appears multiple times across the web, that content is considered duplicate content. Search engines dislike duplicate content because it is unoriginal and confusing. As tempting as it might be to copy and paste product descriptions from vendors, entrepreneurs need to draft their own descriptions — at the very least to avoid SEO ramifications. Ecommerce sites should also be careful with what they publish on blogs, relying on paid freelancers if entrepreneurs and their staff are unable to produce unique content.
Consider Anchor Text
The words and phrases that make up links are called anchor text, and what is included in anchor text is surprisingly important to e-commerce SEO. Because ecommerce sites should be riddled with internal links directing customers to additional pages, there are plenty of opportunities for e-commerce sites to make good use of anchor text. Instead of relying on meaningless phrases like “click here,” entrepreneurs should try to integrate keywords into descriptive and attention-grabbing links.
Give Images Alt Text
Images are undeniably important for users, who rely on them to understand products and engage with brands. Yet, at present, search engines cannot see the images present on a website. To give images some SEO power, ecommerce companies should add alt text to any image present on their site, describing the image to search engines — and to users with visual impairments relying on screen readers. This provides another opportunity to introduce keywords that boost search rankings.
Eliminate Broken Links
Broken links are incredibly frustrating to web users, and because they interfere with a search engine’s ability to crawl a website, they are typically causes of reduced ranking. Ecommerce entrepreneurs need to be militant about eliminating broken links and creating redirects to live pages. Fortunately, there are several tools available to simplify link monitoring.
Invest in Website Speed
Finally, speed matters. Today’s web users are notoriously impatient, with the majority of users unwilling to wait more than a few seconds for a webpage to load. Therefore, websites’ up- and download speeds are considerably weighty in search engines’ ranking algorithms. Ecommerce sites in particular need to take several actions to keep their speed fast, such as optimizing images, caching, superior web hosting, limiting plugins, regularly updating and more.
E-commerce is an excellent opportunity for beginner retail entrepreneurs, but only if they understand the fundamental components of a digital marketing strategy. SEO is crucial for almost every business in the Digital Age, so mastering these simple SEO tricks will be key to entrepreneurial success.