Nothing in life is perfect. Likewise, nothing is perfect when it appears for the first time. Similarly, no e-commerce site can be said to be 100% perfect when it goes LIVE for the first time.
There will be odd mistakes here and there. And then there will be mistakes that will come to light when they are brought to notice by the customer.
Now, we all know that the customer is the ‘KING’, and when the customer says it, it must be taken seriously and acted upon. That’s because they are the ones who make or break your business.
Ignoring mistakes completely will be fatal for they will drastically affect the performance of your e-commerce website and eventually, affect your bottom line.
The credibility of your e-commerce website is important. It is what that will determine the success of your e-commerce brand in the long run.
But they can get derailed by mistakes. One among them is not following SEO practices. Many e-commerce businesses are guilty of making such a mistake and ignoring them completely as well. That is the biggest mistake of them all.
Here are 11 of the most common mistakes committed in e-commerce SEO which must be avoided at all costs.
A very common e-commerce SEO mistake that most e-commerce businesses make is using lots of duplicate content for product descriptions. What happens as a result of this is that when the website is optimized, archives, tags, printable pages, and other such miscellaneous pages, tend to produce duplicate pages in the website that generally should not be indexed by search engines.
Ecommerce websites are most vulnerable to this problem. The reason is they tend to have many product pages and categories inclusive of shared attributes. A good example is of an e-commerce website that contains 50 products. The problem will start when they all share the same kind of description and features, which can be misinterpreted by Google search bots.
According to Google, duplicate content means substantive blocks of content within or across domains that either completely matches other content or is appreciably similar. In other words, it refers to identical content that appears in different locations (URLs) on the web. They confuse the search engines which will not know which of the URL are correct and are fit to be shown in the search results.
Too much duplicate content can eventually hurt the web page’s ranking.
The mistake can be rectified by having content, as unique as possible, for product pages as well as category level pages; preventing all duplicate URLs from getting indexed by using the robot.txt file, and having canonical tags to describe which among the URL is original.
Most e-commerce stores often make the mistake of providing product descriptions/titles that are either insufficient or non-existent. That’s a mistake for they will only end up not convincing the users.
To reverse this mistake, ensure that your product pages have the right content with description and title containing relevant and genuine information in-depth inclusive of keyword terms that are most searched by the users, and presented in a way that convinces the users.
Good quality product images are also essential. Make sure to check their quality before uploading them onto the website, keeping in mind the file size and they do not affect your site’s speed. Finally, ensure that the alt-text and the file name contain primary keywords.
Often some e-commerce companies forget to properly optimize product pages, including the category and sub-category pages, of their websites.
This is a mistake for these are the pages that will compel site users to trigger the purchase process.
To avoid making this mistake, it is important that they are properly optimized. This can be ensured by
Avoid stuffing the product page content with keywords that are repeated many times, for they will only dilute the very purpose of the content. Finally, make sure that the whole of the product page appeals to the search engines.
Product reviews help customers get an idea about the actual worth of products. Such is their importance that about 90% of the customers make their decisions only after reading online reviews, while 72% of them prefer to go ahead with their decision only after reading positive reviews, (as per an Invesp research study). The past few years have seen an 80% surge in online searches for the ‘best’ and ‘top’ product review videos.
If your e-commerce website has not included product reviews then it is a mistake. They will only drive potential clients to another e-commerce platform.
The credibility of the products matters to the customers and they are particular about reading their reviews before making up their decision.
Apart from getting to know customers’ impressions, product reviews will also help your e-commerce store to get the benefit of unique user-generated content on the product page. They also help to frequently update product review pages thereby attracting search engine crawlers more often to the web page. This will result in a higher indexing rate which will be beneficial for the overall SEO campaign.
However, extreme care must be taken to ensure that the product reviews are genuine and not made-up stuff. That’s because Google has a way to find valid reviews and ratings on a website and feature them in organic listings. Such reviews get automatic star ratings in SERPs.
An ‘out-of-stock’ page in an e-commerce website is often not given the prominence that it should get. Too often, such pages simply depict the word ‘OUT OF STOCK’. Beyond that, there is nothing else mentioned.
That’s a mistake. It will only ensure a bad user experience and also project a poor image of the e-commerce store.
To avoid this mistake, the page could mention an exact back-in-stock date, if possible; or suggest an identical product as an alternative to the customer; or mention when the product is likely to be available in stock. Anyone or all of these will keep the customer interested and come back to the site when the stock is available.
Some e-commerce websites make the mistake of stuffing their product pages with excess keywords. At times, such sites go overboard, by stuffing the pages with keywords everywhere from tags to meta tags, and even at times, the URL itself.
This is nothing but spamming the site’s pages. As a result of this, the website pages become unreadable, not worthy of reading. They will send across a wrong message to not only the site visitors but also to Google. The impression will be one of the excess attempts being tried to get Google to rank the page high up in the search results.
But it will only backfire. Such pages will become unworthy of being read and difficult to comprehend as well, thus compelling site visitors to bounce from them. It will also be detected by Google as a result of which they will get penalized in the search results. In case, the bounce rate turns out to be high, then Google will get the message that the e-commerce website is not what the searcher is looking for.
A long and lengthy checkout process can be a put-off. Users will simply come out of the site and move onto other sites. There are many e-commerce sites that contain such checkout processes asking customers for irrelevant information.
If your e-commerce site happens to offer such a checkout process, then it is a mistake. It will only increase its abandonment rate.
To avoid this mistake, ensure the checkout process is flexible, reasonable, and limited with relevant information asked for. In addition, also make sure it comes with a hassle-free payment process with options. Above all, ensure your site has a single-page checkout option. Also, avoid forcing users to register for the sale to be made.
If done, it will make the checkout process a breeze and simple. It will also improve your site’s conversion rate.
Some e-commerce sites do not perform well as they are expected to. The cause of the problem is shoddy and poor website architecture.
By nature, e-commerce websites generally contain lots of pages. Hence, it’s vital that their architecture is sound. A good example of this is an e-commerce site that sells clothing. The site has three categories – men, women, and children. But the range offered is too many which will make the task of users difficult, which is a mistake.
To ser right, the mistake, ensure a proper architecture. By this, it is meant proper sub-categories. For instance, on the same site, you can categorize men’s clothing into pants, suits, shirts, etc., and likewise, women’s clothing into sarees, tops, salwars, etc; and children’s clothing into boys and girls. Then similarly, under boys - shirts, pants, shorts, etc, and under girls - frocks, jeans, etc.
In addition to categorization, helpful filters that allow the users to list the items into sub-categories by brand, price, range, color, etc, will only enhance the site’s usability value while improving its architecture.
However, excess categorization and listing must be avoided, for they will make the site slow to load and browse.
It is vital that an e-commerce store offers proper security and guarantee the safety of customers’ personal details. Market research studies reveal that around 30% of online buyers are apprehensive about website security while deciding to buy.
If your e-commerce website happens to be one of those, then it is a mistake. It will only make the users cagey and compel them to move onto competitors’ sites that assure authentic security.
To avoid this mistake, ensure your website is properly secured and comes with an SSL certificate which will confirm that your website is secured and hack-proof.
Too much focus on a particular thing can be bad. Similarly, focusing only on SEO ranking factors is improper. Most e-commerce websites are guilty of having excess content on category pages or query rankings or titles and such likes.
This is a mistake because most in fact happen to be low-ranking factors.
There should be a balance somewhere. The focus instead should be on understanding why customers prefer to use other similar products selling e-commerce websites. They go because they find the competitors offering a better range of products and pricing.
To find out the reasons that make their products and pricing more favorable, you need to crawl their sites and understand their product range and pricing. This way, you will get to know the reasons, and once done, then tweak your e-commerce website.
Listing of products is also important. The idea is to list those products that are popular with the customers. To know which of the products are popular, keyword research tools can be leveraged. Once the listing factor is rectified, then your e-commerce website will earn more traffic.
Today’s net users are an impatient lot. They cannot tolerate a website that is slow to load. Research studies have proved that users tend to leave websites that consume more than 3 seconds to download.
Also, know that Google considers a site loading speed as one of the premier ranking factors. Websites that download quickly are given more prominence by Google in ranking.
Now, if your e-commerce website is too slow and takes a lot of time to download, then the users will bounce off and move onto other e-commerce websites. Your e-commerce website too will get downgraded by Google in the ranking order.
To avoid this mistake, get the e-commerce website speed checked with the PageSpeed Insights tool. You will get to know which of the pages are causing the problem, with tips on how to rectify the problem. In addition, you also should optimize the images, videos, and backend code in the website to reduce the page’s size. This will get the page to download quickly later, and use a fast VPS to host the e-commerce store website.
It is also important to note that search engines today give utmost priority to websites that are user-friendly, device and browser compatible, and deliver a good user experience. Ensure that your e-commerce store complies with the same, and is also fast-loading, SEO-friendly, and quick to navigate.
Along the way, also make sure to avoid making e-commerce SEO mistakes. Once you have done that, you can witness a marked change in your e-commerce website for the better. Eventually, you will begin to reap the fruits of your efforts in the form of more customer conversions, healthy sales, and sound business revenues.
Mistakes happen and no one is immune from them. But what is important is that one should learn from mistakes, take steps to reverse the mistakes, and ensure that such mistakes never happen again.
If you adhere to this, then your SEO strategy too can work wonders for your e-commerce website, and produce the results that are valued for your money.
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