Where Does Ecommerce SEO Go Wrong?

Posted by on October 2, 2017

Where Does Ecommerce SEO Go Wrong?

Competitive research is a critical component of SEO—and not without reason. After all, search rankings represent a zero-sum game. If your competitor is ranked #1 on the SERP, it means you’re not. So it’s smart to keep tabs on what the other guy is doing, and to take note of the SEO lessons that seem to work.

Ah, but here’s the thing: competitive research can mislead you. Just because the other guy is doing it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the smart thing to do. You’ve got to be judicious, and to know when you should and when you shouldn’t follow the leader.

This is especially important to ecommerce SEO, where there tend to be a lot of moving parts, a lot of pieces of content, and a lot of unique hurdles. Even the people who are leading in ecommerce SEO make plenty of mistakes—but if you can avoid those mistakes, you can overtake them in the rankings.

With that said, here are five common ecommerce SEO flub-ups—instances where, again, you really don’t want to follow the person out front.

Common Ecommerce SEO Screw-Ups—and How to Avoid Them

Faceted Navigation Issues

When you don’t control your faceted navigation, you can actually end up with more URL categories than there are products on your site—clearly a wonky situation.

But the flipside is also problematic: Some ecommerce sites have far too many products that end up noindex, which means potentially valuable content isn’t indexed at all.

The best approach, of course, is to shoot for the middle—perhaps by using sorting capabilities to let the consumer refine their product search without needing to change the URL.

Slow Site

Did you know that the average online shopper is only willing to wait three seconds for a page to load—and if it doesn’t load in that time, the shopper is likely to just leave the site altogether? The moral of the story: If you have a slow website, it’s costing you customers—period.

Even so, many online retailers load their sites with external scripts that cause the page to lag. Don’t do this. Focus on speed. Keep your site as light and as nimble as you can. Make user experience your primary driver.

Streamlining your site may be the best thing you ever do to improve rankings.

XML Sitemaps

Another common problem with ecommerce SEO: reliance on XML sitemaps for indexation. The thing to remember here is that every page should have a crawl path if it’s going to have a chance to rank well in competitive queries. There are a lot of things that can go wrong here for ecommerce sites with a lot of product pages—including broken pagination, nearly infinite URL spaces, and really any form of link generation logic that prevents this crawl path. Frankly, there are a lot of ways to screw up here.

It’s always worth crawling your site to make sure all the important, valuable pages show up. If you’re unable to do it, it could be that you don’t have a good crawler—but it’s just as likely an issue with the site itself.

Misuse of Tags

Still another ecommerce SEO concern is tagging. It’s far too common to see ecommerce sites that either have bad or conflicting tagging structures in place.

Frankly, a lot of SEOs assume Google to be basically omniscient. It’s just assumed that, if you get those tags pretty close, the algorithms can figure everything out. But this isn’t always the case, and you definitely don’t want to leave it to chance. Invest some time in rigorous and consistent tagging.

Bad URLS

Big, unwieldy, ugly URLs can also cause problems with ecommerce stores. The takeaway point here is simple: You need short, straightforward, and succinct URLs—ideally, URLS that actually contain some readable and useful information for consumers. Your competitors may not take the time to clean up their URLs, but you definitely should!

Get Your Ecommerce SEO Right

There are a number of ways in which the common ecommerce SEO practices aren’t necessarily the right ones. If you can avoid these widespread errors, however, you can position your ecommerce store for search engine dominance.

Our Orange County SEO team would love to assist you in this endeavor. Ecommerce marketing is our bread and butter here at EverythingOnline—and we’d love to show you how to make your site the true leader in its field. Start that journey today. Reach out to EverythingOnline directly.