Every eCommerce business relies on search rankings for success. If over a third of all online purchases start with a Google search, then ranking higher than the competition should be the goal of every online retailer.
You have a great logo, beautiful branding, and a storehouse of great products, just waiting to be discovered. So why isn’t your eCommerce store ranking above the competition? It probably doesn’t have anything to do with your products, and everything to do with your web pages. If you’re making these mistakes, it’s time to tweak your site to get the search rankings you want.
If your site is too slow, your visitors are going to leave, and your ranking is going to drop. Research shows that even a one-second delay in load times can drop your conversion rate by 7%. If you haven’t already tested your site speed, use a simple tool like Google PageSpeed Insights.
So what do you do if your page speed isn’t up to par?
First, check the image sizes on your site. If they are too large and loading slowly, try a service like TinyPNG.com to compress them without compromising image quality. Secondly, if your hosting service doesn’t have an uptime rate of at least 99%, it’s time to switch to one that does.
While your eCommerce store is certainly a place to display your creativity and unique brand, certain rules must be followed to ensure search engine optimization for your content.
First, avoid using duplicate content. Use a tool like Siteliner to pinpoint any duplication and then rewrite it to convey the same idea with different words.
Next, do some research to choose the right keywords, and then place those keywords in the optimal spot to get noticed by web crawlers. Ideally, keywords should appear in your headers, subheaders and the first paragraph or two of your website for best SEO results. And don’t forget to tag keywords in image descriptions for an added SEO boost.
Another way to optimize your content for better search rankings is through the use of more long-form content. Studies show that longer content has a direct correlation to higher search rankings. If you don’t already have a blog, start one. It’s the easiest way to publish long-form content to boost your site rankings.
Backlinks are links from other (reputable) sources that point back to your URL. Link building is the top factor that Google uses in their algorithm when displaying search results. Make sure you use quality links over the practice of “link stuffing” unrelated, broken or spam links. To build backlinks to your site, start by posting links on reputable industry sites through forums or blog comments.
Metadata is how you describe your web content in a way that the search engines understand and reward. First, you need to create the right title tags to describe your store. They should be short (60 characters or less) and appear in your browser tab, in social media page links, and in search engine results.
Secondly, make sure your meta description (your brief description of your page) is appealing to consumers. While the search engines don’t consider these descriptions for search rankings, they are crucial in getting consumers to click on your site or not, which has a huge impact on rankings.
If you haven’t checked your site to make sure it’s mobile-optimized, try a tool like Google’s Mobile Friendly Check. If you aren’t convinced that mobile optimization matters, consider that nearly two-thirds of internet traffic comes from mobile users. It matters.
Google has started penalizing sites who use intrusive popups (also known as “interstitials”). Your popup service should offer options for when and where you display popup ads. If your popups cover too much content, you’re likely to be dinged by the search engines for compromising the browsing experience.
Google gives preference to sites with SSL certifications. It protects the personal information of your customers during the checkout process. If your domain doesn’t start with “https,” then you aren’t SSL certified and will need to activate an SSL certificate.
The SEO war isn’t won in a day. As you work to improve search rankings, focus on one area of improvement at a time and measure your results. With an intentional focus on the improvements listed above, your search rankings will start to climb steadily.