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9 SEO Tips For ECommerce Sites

9 SEO Tips For ECommerce Sites

Make sure your sitemap is up-to-date.

If you're adding, updating or deleting products on a regular basis, it's easy for your sitemap to get quickly outdated. Ideally, you should have an XML version for the search engine spiders, and an HTML version for your shoppers. And if you want your HTML sitemap to be the most useful, keep it organized by product catalog. If your online store is large, it can definitely get unwieldy to maintain the sitemap manually. Fortunately, there are several very good automated site map software packages available. A simple search for "sitemap software" should give you plenty of options to choose from.

Beef up your product descriptions.

It amazes me how many online stores I come across that continue to use the default manufacturer's product description. The biggest problem with this is that all of your competitors are now using the same text that you are, and it becomes very difficult to rank well in the SERPs. Be sure to write up your own unique product descriptions using your own unique keyword phrases. If your store is extremely large, this could be a monumental task, so create a prioritized product listing and start working from the top down.

Beef up your "read more" links.

For some reason, I'm starting to get hungry. But that's near the point that I want to make, which is … Do not use generic "read more" text to link to your full product description page. For an added SEO boost, take advantage of keyword rich linking text, such "more information on the premium 100% cotton Chicago Cubs cap". Remember, your anchor text is extremely important part of your overall SEO strategy.

Do not forget the plural version of your keywords.

It's true that the search engines rank the singular and plural versions of keywords as totally separate words. When working with e-commerce clients, we like to create a general rule of using the plural version of the keyword on the main category page, and the singular version on the individual product page. That way, we've got both keywords covered, and it also helps us stay organized when writing our content.

You'll definitely want to watch your traffic logs when implementing this technique. You may find that searchers who use the plural form are early on in their buying stage, while seekers using the singular form are more ready to buy. Be sure to plan your web copy and page layout accordingly.

Use simple URLs.

This technique will be dependent on your e-commerce software and / or database, but definitely avoid complicated URLs and session IDs at all cost. The search engines do not really like them, plus they are difficult for you to use in your own marketing efforts. After all, why would you want to send an email newsletter that links to mysite.com/products/category1/productid?id=2wsh543cd&department=54red32s&wh=rhed3440vnad87e421&code=87vb8frelmwq209637 when you could simply link to mysite.com/CubsCap.

Create unique Title tags.

Many e-commerce programs will automatically create your page Title tags, and unfortunately, it's often the same tag over and over again. Using the same title tag on every page of your website is a very bad move as far as SEO goes. In most cases, the authorized title tag can be edited, so be sure to use a unique keyword rich title on every page. Do not forget the general rule of plural keywords on category pages and singular keywords on product pages.

Create enticing Description tags.

It's true that your page's meta description tag will not really aid in your rankings, but it can certainly have an impact on your click-throughs. The description tag serves as the "mini ad" for your web page, since this is the information that the web surfers see when using the search engines.

Again, many e-commerce programs will automatically add a description tag based on the first content available on the page – or the program may not create any description tag at all. You'll need to check your e-commerce package, but opportunities are, the description tag can be manually updated (and if not, it might be time to search for a new e-commerce software). Add a unique, keyword rich description to each web page that is brief and accurate and will entice viewers to click through to your page over your competitor's.

Take advantage of product reviews.

Product reviews have become a huge marketing tool, but personally, I like them for their SEO-usefulness. Customer product reviews are a great way to boost the keyword density on your page, but they're also a great source for keyword research. It can be surprising to see the words and phrases customers use to describe various products – and it's a good bet that those are some of the same keywords and phrases that customers are using to search for those products!

If your e-commerce software does not allow you to accept or publish product reviews, check the manufacturer's site. They may have reviews available that you can republish on your site (be sure to get permission first).

Optimize your product images.

I'm not 100% convinced that viewers searching for images will actually become buyers (in most cases, I think they're just looking to use a particular image) but optimizing your images is such an easy step, there's no reason not to do it. Be sure each of your images includes a unique Alt tag and additional Title tag that are, whenever possible, keyword rich.

And, as always, remember that search engine optimization is an ongoing task. While it's important for every webmaster to engage in SEO on a regular basis, it's even more crucial for e-commerce sites that are trying to create a profitable online business. Never think of your keyword research and / or optimization program as a set-it-and-forget-it ordeal. Create a regular plan for yourself, include the above 9 tips, and you're sure to see results in no time.

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