When it comes to SEO for eCommerce, having good site architecture and on-page optimizations are key. You could have great keyword research that you’ve tried to implement, but without an easy-to-navigate site and good optimizations, your website will not perform well or get you the sales you want. So, how should you fix this? Let’s start by talking about site architecture.
eCommerce Site Architecture
What is Site Architecture?
Simply put, site architecture refers to the structure of a website. Good site architecture is well organized and easy to navigate. On a website with good site architecture, you will often find categories with subcategories underneath them. E-commerce websites often have more pages than other websites, so it’s especially important for you to consider how you can make your site architecture as easy to navigate as possible. Not only will this save you time down the road, but it will create a positive experience for site visitors, which is sure to lead to success.
Let’s break this down. If you are searching for dresses for your daughter on Presley Couture’s website you will be able to quickly navigate to the proper section due to proper site architecture implementation. Your navigation path broken down will look something like this:
This seems simple enough and it is for smaller sites. However, when it comes to larger sites with more products it might not be quite as straightforward.
Why Does it Need to be Simple and Scalable?
As your business grows, your products and website will have to grow, as well. Perhaps you start your business with around 10 products available on your site. As you grow, you will slowly start adding more and more products to be purchased. When you are dealing with thousands of potential categories, subcategories, and faceted navigation pages it can become extremely complex once you start adding in things like features, brands, uses, age, weight, color, etc. This is where having a scalable website becomes very important. As you add more products, instead of completely changing the structure of your website to accommodate the changes, you can simply file them away under a subcategory, or perhaps make a new category where the products can live on your site. Remember, simplicity is key to helping you grow in organic search. A good example of this is REI. Even though they have numerous categories and subcategories on their website, they have identified the key elements that are impactful for the business and have created simplified navigation and filtered pages that are very specific to their audience’s needs.
On-Page SEO for eCommerce
On-page SEO simply put is the tactic of optimizing specific web pages to rank higher and attract more relevant traffic in organic search results. Optimization can occur through a variety of tactics that we will break down below.
Title tags are an HTML element that details the main focus of your web page. Title tags can be found on search engine result pages (SERPs) as the main clickable element. Title tags are essential for SEO and social sharing.
How to Optimize Your Title Tags
To optimize your title tags, the first step is to use your keyword research to select the proper keyword to optimize for. Once you have selected the keyword, you can then add modifiers to your title tag to help show up for long-tail searches. Let’s give an example of a keyword modifier. If your keyword is “Turkish towels”, instead of making your title tag: “Turkish Towels Sold at Modern Home Decor.” you should consider adding a word or two that people would naturally use when they search for Turkish towels. Here are a few modifiers to consider including:
- Material – i.e. – cotton, linen, etc.
- Features – high-quality, beach towel, bathroom, linen, etc.
- Color – white, gray, multicolor, etc.
- Patterns – striped,, etc.
- Style – i.e. – fringed, bohemian, Moroccan, etc.
Look at what Google is showing in the image and product results to see what modifiers people are searching for to give you an idea of what to include in the title tags of your product, category, subcategory, and faceted pages.
As a general rule of thumb, I suggest a title tag length of 55-60 characters. Anything beyond 60 characters might get truncated or cut off in the search results. Try to stick to this character limit and include the most important keywords at the beginning of the title tag.
Description tags are a piece of HTML code that briefly describes what a user will find on your web page. These descriptions are commonly found SERPs and play a huge role in improving click-through rates.
Optimizing your descriptions to include keywords and effective modifiers will greatly influence a user to click and learn more. So, what is the difference between your title tag and description? Your description is longer, and it gives you more room to pitch your products and services. Here are some phrases to consider including in your description:
- Free shipping on all products!
- Check out our exclusive deals on ____.
- Find a large selection of ____.
- Save 20% off ___ when you purchase today.
Highlight why they need to consider shopping with you and use things that will encourage a user to click through to your site. Description tags are not a ranking factor by themselves so adding keywords in to the tag won’t get you any boost in rankings. However, having a good CTR will impact your SEO since Google uses CTR as a factor. I suggest you keep your description tags to 155 characters or less. Google tests description length and will sometimes show a longer description tag, however, it is best to keep it at the 150-155 character limit.
Product and Category Page Content
Invest time in writing 1,000+ word articles. Did you know longer content ranks best in Google?
Long-form content applies to the eCommerce vertical as well. The truth is, Google wants to understand what your page is about so they can better serve their search audience. In-depth content provides an extra layer of expertise and trust for your customers. They have a better idea of what they are purchasing and will have a better experience with their purchase in the long run. So should every web page be 1,000 words? Let’s be a little more realistic. Focus on providing extraordinary descriptions that answer all your user’s questions. Use as much content on that page that will answer a user’s questions succinctly and effectively. I don’t have a general rule for how much content is needed on a page. Some SEO experts suggest at least 250-300 words of text on category and subcategory pages for example. While the more content the better in most cases, I simply suggest having some content on that page. See how much content the top-ranking sites have on their page and use that as a general gauge for content length. Focus more on quality content than quantity and making it a good user experience. For starters, focus on your top 25 products and category pages, then focus on improving additional product and category pages. For example, this product page for the Airpods Pro boasts 1,304 words.
Distribute Keywords Throughout the Content
Ideally, you will optimize your content before it gets added to the site but let’s be honest, product teams usually push out new products and then the SEO team has to go through and rework or optimize it for SEO purposes. While not ideal, it is better to go back and optimize it after the fact. After your product team has completed writing in-depth category, subcategory, and product descriptions, it is crucial the SEO team or individual optimizes the content by including your target keyword(s) a few times within the content. Do not keyword stuff and add the keyword into the content just to get it in there. You are merely adding keywords into the text to help Google better understand what your page is all about. If your target keyword is “women’s scrubs” for example, then you will want to make sure to include the keyword (or a variation of the keyword) within your content a few times.
Google will place more weight on keywords that appear at the top of the webpage, so optimize your content to place your keywords at the top of the page or within the first 100 words on the page if possible.
In the example above, Scrubs and Beyond have created a short paragraph (287 words of text to be exact) discussing the styles, features, and benefits of their scrubs (a.k.a – nursing uniforms) for women in the medical field.
What is All This Talk About Synonyms, LSI Keywords, Semantic Keywords, and NLP Stuff
Whatever the terminology is these days, incorporating Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI), Natural Language Processing (NLP), or semantic keywords and phrases that are closely tied to the main keyword, will help you increase exposure and visibility. The main point is, Google has been leveraging technology to better understand the relationship between words and phrases. For example, there are very different meanings to the word “hot” based on its context -e.g. – hot oven, hot food (it’s spicy versus burn your mouth hot), hot costumes (when referring to the attractiveness of a person or thing), etc. In order for Google to know what information show they are working to understand the relationship between words and how they all relate to each other. Here are some examples of Google searches: Search for hot costumes for Halloween:
Versus “hot food” type searches
Versus “hot oven” related terms
Google is working continuously to understand the relationship between phrases based on how a user searches for things or how they refine their searches in order to pull back the most relevant results for a keyword search. Now that we have explained what LSI/NLP/Semantic keywords are, let’s show you how to find and incorporate them into your keyword research. Let’s look at how this could apply to an eCommerce business.
Browse Google to See What Shows Up
Type in your target keyword in Google and take a look at the results that appear in the search results. For example, if you are optimizing your eCommerce category page for children’s athletic clothing, think about (NLP/Semantic language) related to kids and clothing. You might want to consider using the following related keywords to help Google: athletic wear, activewear, athletic clothing, sports apparel, sportswear, etc. All or most of these phrases are being used by sites to describe their clothing line:
Next, take a look at the category or product pages showing up in the search results:
Kohl’s is using terms like activewear and athleticwear interchangeably in the content on the page. They also use terms like performance clothing to help Google understand that they are relevant to the search “boys athletic clothing”.
Consult Google Keyword Planner
After you have reviewed the Google search results, type in your target keywords into Google Keyword Planner to view the suggestions Google would recommend and see if there are phrases you missed or haven’t considered.
Incorporate Keyword Findings into Your Content
The last step is to take your findings and incorporate the additional (LSI, NLP/Semantic language) keywords in your product and category pages to help increase visibility in search.
Intentional Internal Links
Internal linking is when you link pages on your website to other pages that are also within your website. It’s a great way to help you rank for more keywords, and when you create internal links from your highest authority pages, you can see some pretty impressive results on your site.
Another great way to generate these high-quality internal links is by taking advantage of your content marketing. Often, a blog post on your site is the easiest and most effective way to generate these internal links to drive results. For example, let’s say you just finished up a post for your website that has quite a few backlinks, and that you’re ranking on the top page of Google for “Benefits of Moisture-Wicking Fabric in Your Workout Clothes.” One great way to bump your ranking up is to add some keyword-rich anchor text, such as “Moisture-Wicking Fabric for Workout Clothes” or “Odor control fabric for workout clothes” linking from your post to your related category pages. Dick’s Sporting Goods is just that.
Pro Tip: Make sure you are linking to your most important related category pages with internal links outside of the navigation menu and in the body of the HTML code. Body content links hold more weight and are therefore more valuable for SEO rankings than the header, sidebar, and footer navigation links.
In conclusion, keeping your site architecture intuitive and beefing up on-site optimizations is critical when getting maximum SEO value to your eCommerce site. If you’re looking for some help with your SEO, our team at Stryde would love to help. Schedule a free consultation with us today and let’s see what we can do for your business!
– – – – – – – – – –
Looking for more SEO tips to help you grow your e-commerce business? Check out these posts:
- Getting Started With SEO – How To Identify & Prioritize What To Optimize
- How To Do Keyword Research For An Ecommerce Business
- How To Tackle Technical SEO For Your Ecommerce Business
- Local SEO For Your Business That Sells Through Ecommerce & Retail Locations
- Getting Started With Link Building For Your Ecommerce Business
- How To Measure Ecommerce SEO Success