If your ecommerce business is already selling great products, it’s easy to think that the search engine optimisation (SEO) part is going to take care of itself.
The truth is that all businesses, especially those in ecommerce, need to be careful to make sure they are doing everything right to rank on search engines like Google. And it can be very easy to make mistakes when it comes to SEO.
SEO is not easy, but it can be worse when you are making mistakes, especially if you are not aware until it is already too late.
Ecommerce brands that can do the right things, aligned with their goals, can see significant increases in sales. That is why doing this the proper way is vital for your overall bottom line.
With that said, here are seven of the most common mistakes that ecommerce brands make when rolling out their SEO strategies.
1. Recycling Vendor Descriptions
One of the most prevalent mistakes that ecommerce brands make with their sites is when they recycle vendor descriptions.
In an effort to quickly increase the volume of products posted on their website, some ecommerce brands will bypass making their own unique product descriptions. What they often do is simply opt for the ones that were provided by the manufacturer.
These same product descriptions were likely supplied to many other websites as well, who may not have made changes to the content either.
The bad news is that you will not get far following this approach. All you did was simply scale out several duplicate content pieces that could harm your whole website. It certainly won’t help.
Although some of these pages may eventually see the light in the search engine results pages (SERPs), they usually bring little traffic. Why would Google rank your duplicate version over so many others after all? Imagine how much more you would earn if you decided to add real value to your product descriptions instead.
The main challenge here is meeting the right balance of being able to scale out your products without sacrificing the content quality of your website. For ecommerce brands with limited budgets and resources, this is an obstacle that they often encounter at some point. But the time and effort invested in making your product descriptions unique and high quality is often worth it.
2. Neglecting Title Tags And Meta Descriptions
Besides your product descriptions, two vital on-page elements that you can control are your titles tags and meta descriptions. Both these elements are needed to display the text you want to show up when people conduct a search relevant to your ecommerce brand.
The best practice here is to always create unique title tags and meta descriptions for every page on your website, especially those that drive organic traffic. But for those who are working with a big ecommerce site, this can be quite daunting.
Many websites find that it is simply easier to reuse general meta descriptions and page titles across their websites to overcome such challenges. This is better than nothing but only resolves the problem temporarily. The practice is also associated with many pitfalls that search engines are not particularly fond of such as overuse of templated content.
If you want your website to really make the most of opportunities and improve rankings, you will need to put some effort into making sure your page titles and meta descriptions are of good quality, use relevant search terms and are very clickable (in other words, they stand out).
3. Poor Application And Understanding Of Keywords
In our digital world today, the game of using keywords has changed significantly over the past few years. That is why ecommerce business owners need to adapt their own SEO strategies accordingly to keep up.
Keywords are still vital, which is why it is important that you consider how you are using them. It can be very easy and tempting to misuse these keywords. Falling for such temptation can be very harmful to your SEO campaign.
Keyword stuffing used to be very popular many years ago. People were used to hitting a certain percentage of keywords on every page, which also worked. It was very common to see badly written content since the same keywords were applied to almost every sentence.
Google’s Panda algorithm change eliminated this approach years ago. Keyword stuffing is no longer a thing but it can be very tempting for ecommerce brands to add their target keywords to content as much as possible.
This habit can sometimes be hard to break so it’s best that you are aware of this mistake to avoid it.
4. Not Having A Responsive Ecommerce Website
If you are unsure if your website is responsive, just use your mobile phone or any mobile device to check it. Try navigating around the website, add items to a shopping cart and visit the most vital pages that you want your customers to check out. Do this on different devices and see how it works.
How does your website look and perform on different devices? Do you see the same content as you would on a desktop? These are two important questions that you need to assess since not having a responsive ecommerce website can be a huge mistake when it comes to both SEO and usability.
Google has been giving priority to mobile for some time now and it was back in 2016 when they officially announced that they would focus on the mobile version of a website to determine its ranking within their search index (mobile first indexing).
So, is your ecommerce site mobile-friendly? Many ecommerce sites these days are seeing more traffic from mobile that from desktop, yet brands often still focus on testing things on their desktop. When was the last time you gave your site a real good browse and test on your mobile device?
5. Incorporating Intrusive Pop-Ups
With regards to mobile-friendly websites, it can be surprising to know that there are still many ecommerce sites that continue to use intrusive pop-ups. We all know what an annoying pop-up looks like at this point, and such annoyance can be exasperating when browsing through a mobile device.
Since Google always wants to give the best user experience, the search engine giant announced in late 2016 that it will begin penalising websites that have intrusive pop-ups. Yet even after several years, many ecommerce sites are still making the same mistakes.
A lot of the time, these pop-ups are not even mobile-friendly, leading users to other irrelevant pieces of content or are difficult to remove.
This mistake can easily frustrate your website visitors and can turn them off from interacting with your site further.
That’s not to say pop-ups are useless. They can be great for collecting emails and presenting an offer for first time customers for example. But be wary about how and where you use them. I recently saw an example, where I hit a content page I wanted to read and was immediately presented by a pop-up, then a cookies permission pop-up, then another pop-up, then a video take-over… infuriating. This was all before I’d been able to read a single word of what I went there for.
6. The Domino Effect
This can be a tricky problem that many large ecommerce websites do and can still happen within the smaller, ambitious brands. If this is not addressed accordingly, it can result in some serious damage.
For bigger operations, it is very easy to get lost in the smaller tasks where you lose focus on the overall picture of what you want to accomplish with your SEO changes. As teams grind through their tickets/tasks, it is very possible to make changes without fully understanding how they can have a domino effect throughout the site.
This can be a huge problem with ecommerce brands that have little oversight on how and why these changes are to be made on their sites. When many users have access to make site adjustments, mistakes are bound to happen at some point.
Once these errors happen, they can quickly snowball and harm your SEO and traffic if not addressed immediately.
7. Failing To Leverage Schema
Did you know that schema is a huge aspect ecommerce websites can benefit from when applying technical SEO? Yet many brands fail to take advantage of this.
Basically, schema is a kind of structured data that allows Google to easily understand the content of your website. It is often used to display certain pieces of data within search results.
Schema can make a website stand out on search results pages. Ecommerce brands that have amazing reviews that they want their visitors to see, should consider promoting with Schema.
Besides letting a website be noticed in search results, it is also a signal to customers that a brand understands their needs.
According to estimates, less than 1% of sites today are using schema. This makes it one of the most under-utilised yet valuable ways a website can stand out in Google searches.
As you can see, there are many mistakes that ecommerce brands can make when they begin their search engine optimisation strategy.
Since Google wants to give its users the best search experience possible, it makes sense to follow best practices.
Avoiding these 7 mistakes can go a long way towards improving your site’s performance in search results.