4 ecommerce optimisation tips for online retailers
Ecommerce websites are typically a lot more complex than brochure websites. For one thing, ecommerce websites require some kind of online payment system
, but there's also the issue of sheer size - by dedicating an entire page to each and every product you sell, you're potentially saddling yourself with a website that's hundreds or even thousands of pages deep.
And, as you can imagine, organising and optimising that many pages can be a mammoth headache. Fortunately, our website optimisation experts
are here to share a few tips and suggestions that will help you to both climb the Google rankings and
do a better job of satisfying your customers. If you're serious about optimising your ecommerce website, here are some things to bear in mind:
Every page should have its own unique title tag.
Google's guidelines demand "distinct, descriptive titles for each page on your site", and this includes the many product pages that form the bulk of your ecommerce website. The page title tag is an extremely important ranking factor for search engines, and since you ideally want all of your product pages to rank highly for relevant search terms, it's a good idea to come up with a different title tag for each and every one.
Let's say, for example, that your company sells decorative lampshades. Your lampshades come in dozens of different colours and designs, so it doesn't make sense to use a generic title tag like Buy Cheap Lampshades for Your Home on every single product page. A better approach is to craft title tags that give a more detailed description of each individual product; for example:
- Dark Blue Lampshade | Buy from Spiffing Shades
- Bright Red Pendant Lampshade from Spiffing Shades
- Black & White Lampshade for Floor Lamps
- Gingham Lampshade | Order Online with Spiffing Shades
These page titles tell search engines (and the people who use them) a lot more about each of your products, and this will make it easier for Google et al to index your product range and list your pages on relevant SERPs. Each title tag should also be accompanied with a unique meta description that offers a little more information about each product. For instance, here's what the description for that dark blue lampshade might look like:
This dark blue lampshade is handmade by the experts at Spiffing Shades, and includes a dual purpose fitting that's compatible with ES and BC lamps.
The recommended maximum length for a title tag is just 55 characters, so the meta description is a good way to go into greater detail about the page you're optimising.
Avoid duplicate content.
You might think that, once each of your product pages has its own unique title tag and meta description, you don't have to worry too much about what's actually on the page. Unfortunately, if you're serious about conquering your competition in the Google rankings, you'll need to write unique copy for each of your product pages as well.
This task can be particularly tedious if a lot of your products are very similar to one another, but it still has to be done. If Spiffing Shades sell a hexagonal lampshade in five different colours (red, blue, white, yellow and black), the company's copywriter will need to write five different descriptions to give each product page the best chance of ranking. Of course, Spiffing Shades could simply choose to list the hexagonal lampshade as a single product, with customers selecting their preferred colour via a drop-down list; this would mean less work for their copywriter, but that single product page would struggle to rank for colour-specific terms like 'hexagonal red lampshade' or 'black lampshade hexagon shape'.
So why can't the Spiffing Shades team just create five different pages and re-use the same product description on all of them? Because search engines don't handle duplicate content well. Each of those hexagonal lampshade pages will look practically identical to Google's bots if the same text is used on each one (and no, changing 'red' to 'blue' won't make a difference!)
If Google finds multiple pages that all look alike, it will usually only index one, which means that all the other similar pages cannot possibly appear in search engine results. Too many identical pages may even result in an outright Google penalty that affects your entire website - is it really worth taking that risk just to save a little time on writing product descriptions?
Put your most important products on the homepage.
We at Designer Websites have created a lot of ecommerce websites in our time, and one thing we've noticed on numerous occasions is that product pages seem to rank significantly higher when linked to directly from the homepage.
This may be because putting a product on the top page of your website makes it much easier for bots to find, crawl and index; whatever the reason, it seems to work, so if there's a particular product that you'd like to see on the first page of Google results, we'd always recommend including that item among the products listed on your homepage.
Put some effort into your images!
Images are an absolutely crucial factor for any ecommerce website - whether you're selling cookers, toys, laptops, or combine harvesters, nobody will be interested unless they can see what they're buying.
But that's not the only reason to make sure you've got high-quality images for each of your product lines. There's also the small matter of Google Images; we've seen websites pull in thousands of visitors every month from image searches alone, so it's well worth getting your pictures done properly. Attractive, eye-catching product images will help you to stand out from all the other image listings (they're also essential for a successful Google Shopping campaign), and adding clear, concise alt tags to each of your images will help them to get closer to the top of the results page.
Need more help with your ecommerce website? Get in touch with Designer Websites for a quotation - whether you need some website optimisation or a brand new website design, we'll listen to your requirements and work to achieve the results you want!