Having a good SEO policy is imperative for the growth of an e-commerce website. SEO is a huge mountain and sometimes it does give you the impression that it is impossible to scale. But it’s not as arduous as it seems. Here we’ll look to guide you on how you can take the first few steps to scale that mountain.
SEO is an area you need to be constantly updated on. You should have a firm grip on which SEO techniques can benefit your website and the latest updates on the algorithms used by search engines for SEO. SEO is useful in many ways, such as increasing the credibility, popularity, and user-friendliness of your website.
There are basically three different types of SEO:
- On-page SEO
- Off-page SEO, and
- Technical SEO
Almost every solopreneur is fairly familiar with the first kind, i.e., On-page SEO. This includes stuff that makes up the layman’s SEO handbook, such as keyword density, title-tag modifiers, multimedia and so on.
Off-page SEO refers to SEO activities done outside the website-boundary. This primarily includes link-building techniques. It also includes social media marketing.
Technical SEO includes aspects that are fundamental to the functioning of your e-commerce website. It’s also popularly referred to as the backbone of a website. Without implementing technical SEO, your business will, in all likelihood, fail.
Let’s explore these SEO aspects that are so critical to the success of an e-commerce business.
#1. Avoid Content Duplication
Duplicate content is a bane. There are two types of content duplication, one where the same content exists in two different locations within your website, and another where some other site has the same content as you. The second kind is plagiarism.
In the first case, the duplicate content could have been deliberately written. Try your best to not let this happen. It makes it too obvious to your readers that you lack ideas. But sometimes, content duplication can also arise from page refreshes or updates.
You can use a tool called Siteliner to check for duplicate content.
In case of plagiarism, you can use a tool called Copyscape.
#2. Optimize website text
Keyword density should be handled smartly. Keep your important keywords in the title tag and header (H1). You can place the more long-tailed keywords in the sub-header (H2).
Do a keyword research and place them in strategic points in various paragraphs in your content. You can also approach keyword usage from a different perspective. Ask your support personnel what keywords your customers use when talking about your business.
#3. Optimize images
Image files should be named since they are indexed by search engines. You should also add alt tags. This will be helpful in case the user’s internet connection is slow. Alt tags display some small text in place of the image to be displayed, indicating to the user that there is an image waiting to load.
Link building is arguably the #1 factor affecting SEO. Here you focus on getting your website referred to on other sites. They should publish your URL in order for link-building to be effective. You can look at it as a vote of confidence for your website.
Do not be misguided by thinking that the more number of sites that refer you, the better. Quality matters here. Spammy links can actually get your rank down. Link farming-the practice of spamming multiple internet websites with links to your website can hurt your SEO position.
Focus on getting reputable sites and sites which are related to your domain to refer you. This way you can widen your target audience.
Some sought-after ways of link-building include:
- Links on comments
- Forum signatures
- Blog directories etc.
#5. Reduce page load time
Take a look at this statistic.
The optimum page load time to engage your visitors is around 2s today. And it has been dropping since the time the internet was born.
You can have the most amazing content. You can have multimedia information that dwarves your competitors. But none of this matters if your page doesn’t load quick enough to engage potential customers. When your visitors abandon your page due to slow page load time, it’s called pogo-sticking and this is bad.
Your page speed impacts other metrics such as bounce rates, customer engagement and on-site time.
You can measure page speed using various tools – Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom or KeyCDN Speed Test.
#6. Mobile-responsiveness of your website
We are witnessing the days of Mobilegeddon. Yes, it’s the Armageddon of mobiles. Mobile-based browsing is becoming way too common. It has overtaken computer-based searches and Google altered their search engine algorithm to suit this trend in 2015.
The mobile responsiveness of your website is critical today and you should buckle up for this challenge. Your mobile site should be well structured and indexed, just like your site’s desktop version. You can use Google’s AMP to get your site to load quickly on mobile devices.
To determine if your website is mobile-friendly, use Google’s Mobile-friendly test tool.
#7. Fix your site errors
Website errors can sabotage your rankings. Site errors can result from broken links and incorrect redirects, more often than not.
404 errors cause pogo-sticking. Here’s a quick hack on 404 errors.
301 redirects are permanent redirects. 302 redirects on the other hand are temporary. 301 redirects will give the new redirected page the same trust as the old one, but it can still have a negative impact on your ranking. This is because the navigability of your website just became harder due to the redirects.
Here’s a nice diagram by Moz that explains the rules for these redirects.
Broken links can also cause frustration among users. Repeated instances of broken links can even make you lose regular visitors.
You can run regular technical audits to rid your site of errors. A popular tool used for running technical audits on sites is SEMRush.
Here’s a sample audit result.
#8. Buy SSL certificates
HTTPS is becoming more important as days pass by. Google has stood by its word that it will crackdown on insecure websites that have only HTTP enabled, whether transactional or not. Google said that it will rank them lower and show warnings to users when they try to access it. Your visitors will certainly feel uncomfortable accessing your site if it isn’t SSL certified, resulting in a considerable drop in the traffic that your site attracts.
There are lots of SSL certificates available in the market. Comodo and SSL2BUY offer some of the best, most economical ones.
SSL certification is an investment worth its weight in gold.
#9. Fix crawl errors
Crawl errors occur when bots crawl your website and find something wrong which makes it unable for Google and other search engines to index your website.
To avoid this, the first most important thing is to have an XML sitemap for your website. Also, make sure that your webpages are indexed. If you follow this consistently, you won’t face too many crawl errors.
Search and fix crawl errors on a consistent basis.
Every aspect of SEO should be given some significance and worked on to improve your website’s credibility and user-friendliness. Investing your time and effort in SEO is worth it. You will eventually see your site rank better and better.