As one is in the beginning stage of running an online store, the first things that come to mind are having a fantastic idea, creating an online store, listing a large number of products, and then waiting for Google to send them their potential customers. The problem is, that rarely do you find a product that no one except one is selling online. Almost every product has so many sellers, that a search engine has to do its own math to decide which search result to put on which page.
And that’s exactly what Search Engine Optimization is all about – cracking that math. You need to have certain tricks up your sleeve and certainly avoid some common mistakes in order to make it up to top search results.
So here are 10 of the most commonplace mistakes that entrepreneurs make in the process of running their online venture:
No Product Description
Content is, without an ounce of doubt, the King. And what really makes it the King, is its uniqueness. When it comes to giving your product an apt description, the only thing that’s probably worse than copying a text from another website, is not writing any description at all.
Leaving your product’s description blank makes you as good as being invisible on a search engine, in addition to not providing any information that any customer would deserve to know before buying your product. So, providing no product description is no option at all.
Duplicate Product Description
Still better than writing nothing, yet worse in every other way is writing content that’s not optimized – as it wouldn’t do you much good too. Copying text from a similar website, or even worse – directly putting the content provided by the manufacturer – will do more than good. So, the key to writing a description that will catch the attention of the search engines, and finally your potential customers, is a piece of well-thought content, which gives to-the-point information about the product, and is packed with the right keywords. You’d also need to get acquainted with the minimum and the maximum word limit, as well as the keyword frequency, that you should be aiming for. Because too short a content might not get you in the top 10 search engine results, while a very long description will certainly not help you either.
Lack of Well-Written Content
Aside from using keywords and focussing on the word limit of the content, there is also the need to write well written meaningful content. Writing something that doesn’t make sense, is too difficult to understand, redundant, or not of any use to your target readers, or worse – boasts of grammatical errors – can really hurt. So, instead of spinning an already written article, you absolutely have to design your own unique content in such a way, that first it gets picked up by search engine, and next – people actually find an answer on reading it.
No SEO-friendly Product Title
We already know that almost every product is available under plenty of brand names, and being sold by quite a large number of online sellers – your product is usually only as unique as it’s product title. That sure puts one in a bit of a conundrum – how do you give a unique title to a product that is not unique in itself? One of the rules to follow here is, use a phrase instead of a single word title. This gives you more room to use different keywords, and if nothing comes to mind, then at least juggle the words without distorting the meaning of the phrase. Also, customer surveys could be of help here. The trick is to know how people structure the search phrase while searching for the product. Knowing this would help a lot. Finally, do not forget to include your keywords in the Title tag and H1 headings, even if you’re not able to use them in the H2 and H3 headings.
No Image Alt Text
Have you ever searched something like “black and white image of dog looking out the window”, and Google answers you with a host of images – even though most of them wouldn’t have even a little bit similar image title to your search phrase?
How do you think, then, that Google is able to judge which images have a dog, and a window, or whether they are black and white or not?
That’s what an alternate text for an image, or image alt text does for you.
In addition to giving an appropriate title to your image, you also need to never overlook the alt image text space. Not only does it raise the chances of your image, ranking better on the search engine results – it also makes the image more accessible to people who can’t see properly as well as screen readers. As much important providing an alternate text for your image is, it is one of those things that tend to be forgotten quite easily.
So when it comes to content generation, you can not take your image content to go for granted, at all.
No Product Reviews
A product review page is one of the most user-friendly feature that you can include on your website. Think of this from a customer’s point-of-view. What is the first thing that you like to see, after being fairly certain on buying a product? The reviews. And that is the reason why search engines give so much more preference to review pages than selling pages!
Plus, even in terms of originality of content, you cannot get any better than customers’ reviews. And what’s more? The more reviews people share, the more they visit your store, and the less you have to work towards keeping your website alive!
No Keyword-Friendly URLs
How do you like to see URLs which are really long, and are made up of random letters and numbers, that give you absolutely no idea of they might lead to on clicking? Even an extremely useful site looks spammy this way, doesn’t it? Underestimating the importance of web URLs is really an extremely common mistake that most ecommerce venturers make. Great thing about having a URL that literally speaks to your customers is that it increases the chances of it getting posted and further re-posted. You can also use keywords in the anchor text or the clickable text of the hyperlink, making it even more optimized for the search engines to pick it up.
No or Lack of Social Share
In a world where everything important as well as unimportant is taking place over the social media, where every ad war, customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction is being expressed over one of these platforms – is there any way you can ignore them? The answer is, obviously no. You ignore social media, your business gets ignored in return.
So, you need to focus on the kind of products that you’re selling, and know which social media platforms would promote them the best, and have at least the share buttons pertaining to those platforms.
For example, if you’re selling kitchen supplies like dinner sets, or running a boutique, or if you’re into designing jewellery, or something else for which you must have put up great product images – Pinterest and Instagram will work wonders for you. Plus, if you’re supporting your store with a blog too, you’ll see Twitter and Facebook are definitely what you need. Not just for your own followers, but these platforms have a great tendency to increase the traction of ranking better in search results too.
Lack of a Blog
We have already seen how important content is from SEO point of view. And what better space will you get to create all that content? Creating a blog of your own, and most importantly, keeping it updated day after day, is what helps bringing traffic to your website.
You don’t just have to write about your products, but everything related to your ecommerce platform, and the industry that you’re dealing in, and especially the latest trends related to your field. Then you could even share your wisdom on the various core competencies of any business like ecommerce digital marketing, talk about the dos and dont’s of running a business – bring your experience, mistakes, and your accomplishments into use.
And eventually, you could link various product pages or your other published blog articles to your current article. Just like below:
Read more about this at 7 Reasons Why Every E-commerce Owners Should Start Their Own Company Blog
So, write, link, and take advantage of content-driven SEO to further promote your store.
No Schema markup
When you want to buy a certain product, and you search for it on Google – don’t you just love it that a few of the online stores give you some of the information, like ratings, price, etc., without even having to open the link to their websites. That, is what Schema markup looks like.
The sheer simplicity that it brings to the search results of each and every query is probably enough to soar the rankings of those who use schema.
https://www.schema.org, the brainchild of a collaborative team from Google, Bing, and Yahoo, is what helps you markup those HTML codes that you’d want the major search engines to recognize. And the best part is, you don’t need to learn coding for this. This is how you use schema markup for your website:
- First, go to Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper.
- Select the type of data that you’d be marking up. Out of the 10 options, that include Articles, Book reviews, Events, Movies, and so on. Choose your data type. And finally, enter the URL of your page.
- In the next step, you’ll see your page on the left hand side of your screen. You’ll need to tag or highlight the content that you need to markup – the content could be text or image. On the right side, you’ll see the data Items related to your article – like its name, author, url, date published, etc.
- Now, as you go on highlighting on the left side, you select the item corresponding to it on the right side. For example, you add the name tag by highlighting the title of the article, and then clicking on “name” on the right side.
- Once you have finished adding all the markup items, you will click on “Create HTML” on the top right corner. Now you will see the html code, with yellow highlighted snippets representing your added schema markups, on the right pane of your screen. You’ll also see yellow markers on the scroll bar, wherever there are schema markers present.
- Now, you will just download this html code, pressing the “Download” button on the panel above, and copy/paste it to your CMS or source code.
- As you click on the “Finish” button, you’ll see something called “Structured Data Testing Tool” . Clicking on it will let you see how your page would now look like with all the markups in place – a sort of preview – to make sure you taught the search engine well.
- If all’s good, then you’re done for good. If you see something you want changed, you can make the necessary changes to the html code, and check it again on the testing tool.
Schema is an extremely important Ecommerce SEO tool, that you absolutely need to get acquainted with, and definitely use it to make your web store rank better on SERPs.
However good your products might be, if your target audience is not able to see your listed products, and hence not get redirected from a search engine’s results – you’re not making money. Optimizing your store for search engine is like the final set of revision that you do before an exam – without it, you lower your chances of achieving good results, manifold. So it’s important that you understand the nitty-gritty of Ecommerce SEO and use it to your boost your sales and benefit your store.