Search engine optimisation has far greater bearing on e-commerce websites than non-e-commerce websites simply because e-commerce websites need to make money by selling goods and they can only sell those goods if they can attract relevant traffic from the search engines. But with most of the e-commerce items generated dynamically with search engine unfriendly URLs, how do you optimise your e-commerce website for the search engine crawlers?
It’s not as tough as it sounds. Follow some simple rules and the search engine crawlers will be eating out of your hands.
Include item name or category name in the page title
As I have mentioned repeatedly on this blog, your page titles are very important. Search engines sometimes use your title tag to figure out what your page contains. A good thing these days is people narrow down their searches to a great extent. Someone looking for a digital camera to buy won’t simply search for “digital camera”. He or she will most likely search for the brand and if possible, the model number. Make sure you have the exact name or the category of your product in your page title.
Have search engine friendly URLs
Although search engines these days are not finicky about dynamically generated URLs (so long as they can be crawled) you should keep your URLs as simple as possible and have minimum parameters after the question mark. A bad example of a URL is:
A good example of a URL is:
The second example is preferred by the search engine over the first one. You can easily turn dynamic URLs into search engine friendly URLs by tweaking your .htaccess file and I’ll write about how to do this very soon, in case you don’t know how to do it.
It’s a misconception that e-commerce websites cannot have textual content or shouldn’t bother with having textual content. Textual content gives you an edge over your competitors because it allows you to talk about the item present on the page. Take for instance that grinder model rt456. You can easily have a 100 or 200-word description of this model number on the page dedicated to this model number. You can mention the model number within the header tags. You can list the benefits and advantages of using the grinder. You can link to other resources talking about rt456.
Leverage your images
A few days ago I discussed how you can optimise your website for image search. Fortunately, an e-commerce website has images for every product or model number. Use the tips in the link to optimise your images for better search engine rankings.
Get quality links from external websites
This can be achieved by having quality content on your website. There must be many people interested in various grinders (if we continue the above example). Instead presenting drab technicalities, why not have interesting content about your company’s grinders? Recently a company demonstrated in a YouTube video how their grinder could grind even blocks of wood and still remain unharmed. That video fetched the company lots of hits simply because people wanted to see wood being grinded in a kitchen grinder.
Whenever you are leasing or purchasing an e-commerce management application make sure it has inbuilt features to generate you an SEO friendly e-commerce website.