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7 Common SEO Mistakes eCommerce Sites Make and How to Correct Them

Ben Jackson from NovosBen Jackson in SEO

26th November, 2021

Common SEO Mistakes eCommerce Sites Make

Getting your eCommerce business to succeed is a daunting task. With 68% of all online activities starting with a search engine, having a presence in the search engine results is an integral part of selling goods and services on the web.

Maintaining strong SEO on eCommerce sites isn’t always easy with changes to products, items coming in and out of stock and other moving parts which can make it difficult to stay on top of.

To help you on your journey to the top, here are our top SEO mistakes for eCommerce websites along with some helpful resolutions:

1) Not Including a Description on Product Pages

Mistake: Product pages without descriptions will rarely rank on page one. Whilst the page may serve its purpose to a human through the use of images and a simple title, Google struggles to understand images when crawling your site.

Solution:
Perform keyword research around the product you want to target.
Identify top keyword opportunities by relevancy and search volume.
Write keyword-targeted product descriptions.

By following these steps to create good product descriptions and including 1-3 keywords throughout, you will increase your chances of ranking in search engines significantly.

2) Product Descriptions from Suppliers Used On-Page

Mistake: An important part of performing well within the SERPs is being unique. When vendors share product descriptions with you they will more than likely be sharing them with several over retailers as well. By including unedited descriptions from manufacturers, there will likely be several other competitors with the same description. This will almost guarantee to get you removed from google as it will be viewed as plagiarism.

Solution: All content on-page should aim to be as unique and relevant as possible including product descriptions. Writing conversion-focused, keyword optimised content is the best way to ensure you are in the best chances of ranking well within the SERPs.

3) No Product Reviews

Ranking within the SERPs is one thing but attracting users to click on your link is another!

One proven way to improve click-through from the SERP is to include product reviews:

Product reviews in search results for eCommerce SEO

By including a product rating, we are showing transparency to customers improving their confidence and likelihood to click through.

Since the 8th April 2021, Google has encompassed reviews into its ranking algorithm making them an essential tool for eCommerce businesses looking to rank well.

4) Non-Unique & Missing Meta Titles

As has already been mentioned, being unique is key! Google doesn’t like duplication, so ensuring you have unique titles on every page is paramount to SEO success.

To create the best page titles for your site, you should look to include a relevant primary keyword and the start of the title followed by a secondary keyword (where applicable) and your company’s brand.

We would recommend that you try to fill as much of the title space as possible. This is measured in pixels and can be previewed using a tool like SERPsim. While it’s important to utilise the space available for a meta title, it’s also important that the title reads well and isn’t just stuffed with keywords as Google is intelligent enough to recognise this and it may have a negative impact on your rankings.

5De-Optimising a Page’s Meta Titles & Descriptions

Optimising page titles, H1s and descriptions with relevant & high search volume keywords is essential for organic performance, however, it is not always as simple as adding in the top keywords. One common mistake is to de-optimise pages by replacing keywords that are generating traffic to your site with higher search volume keywords. It is important to note that the highest search volume keywords may not be the most relevant to your page.

So, how can we avoid de-optimisation?

  • When conducting on-page optimisations, always check Google Search Console to view which keywords a URL is ranking for.
  • Filter the Google Search Console report by looking at the exact URL you want to optimise.
  • Below you will find all of the keywords for which the page ranks along with how many impressions and clicks the page receives during a given period.
  • These keywords give an excellent picture of what is generating traffic to your page.

6) Poor Out Of Stock Processes

A major part of technical SEO is ensuring that 404 pages are kept to a minimum. When a product goes out of stock it is common for retailers to allow the page to become a 404. As a general rule there are a couple of options for out of stock products that are useful in different circumstances:

  • When products are coming back in stock – keep the page active. This retains the traffic the page was receiving from Google and prevents customers from landing on a 404 page. You can also add an email notification module to remind users when the item is back in stock.
  • If the product isn’t coming back in stock – use a 301 redirect and direct the page to the next relevant product or category page.

eCommerce site out of stock example

 

By following these methods, you will help to retain link juice/authority built up from your product pages, keep users on-site and perform better in Google. To keep better track of your inventories, try the Novo OOS app for Shopify.

7) Unoptimised URLs

A common SEO mistake seen in eCommerce is the use of product codes rather than names in URLs. The code is normally the SKU or barcode and appears as a random series of numbers.

E.g. www.example.com/1039481309481309

An optimised URL should include the full product title:

E.g. www.example.com/blue-telescopic-umbrella

By using an optimised URL structure, users can clearly see the context of the URL which they are clicking on, and Google receives more keyword signals from other links to the page.

SEO can be a challenge for any eCommerce professional. But, by avoiding these common mistakes, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction towards organic search success.

Ben Jackson from Novos
Article by Ben Jackson
Ben is NOVOS' SEO Stragegist. Starting his professional journey with financial analytics, Ben has successfully transferred his skills over to his passion for digital with a career in eCommerce SEO. His experience covers a broad range of industries from eCommerce to travel and financial. His expertise lies in designing SEO content & tech strategies for medium to global enterprises.

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