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4 ways bad SEO is ruining your eCommerce site

If you’re trying to optimize your eCommerce site for search engines, you need an SEO strategy that isn’t just another tired old SEO pagerank solution. There’s lots of SEO advice out there… unfortunately the so-called search engine optimization experts often rely on outdated SEO practices and SEO tips – they don’t know the SEO secrets that will improve your Google search results.

Don’t worry, all this terrible, keyword-bloated intro exists to make a point: your current SEO strategy might be actively hurting your site… especially if it looks anything like this!

#1. Copy brimming with keywords

While we began this article with a joking take on bad SEO, the reality is there are thousands of websites with such terrible keyword density. Often, they’ve hired SEO experts whose knowledge comes from the turn of the millennium to fill their page with as many search terms as possible. As a result, their on-site copy becomes an illegible, un-navigable mess of hyperlinks.

Yes, keyword-fueled internal links are still important for search engine optimization, but there are better methods to boosting your Pagerank than the spray-and-pray approach. Pick one or two important terms as anchor text (after careful keyword research), then find a natural location to drop your links. You’ll still get a small search bump without annoying your visitors.

#2. Product page identity crisis

If you have a lot of categorization or filtering, or if you’ve created duplicate products for any reason, it’s possible that you have multiple URLs that point to the page of any given item. Not only is it potentially confusing for your customers, it can also impact the way Google organizes your product pages’ value.

Make sure your products (and your website pages overall) each have a single URL that’s always used to reference them. You’ll be able to increase search engine focus to a particular page with particular keywords, plus your site will generally feel more cohesive.

#3. Cat-on-a-keyboard URLs

Click on a random product on your storefront. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

Now, which of these most closely resembles the URL of the page you landed on?

  • www.store.com/products/storagesolutions/bananabox
  • subdomain.store.com/54&t7php-rev/whole-76+proID=7432BB-deal/ref234+box+banana?redo

If your store’s structure looks more like the latter, it’s bad news. Complicated dynamic URLs are off-putting to potential customers and do absolutely nothing for your site’s search engine optimization. Just like your users, Google can’t make odds or ends out of what your URL is supposed to represent, so it can’t push your page for relevant searches as easily as you’d like.

For these reasons, it’s important to rewrite your URLs to be as literal and straightforward as possible. If you have a handful of products, that should be a relatively fast process. If you have thousands of items for sale, you might need to use an automated tool.. but it will still be worth it.  If you do make some changes to your URL structure, be sure to use a 301 redirect on your old URLs to send them to your new URLs or you’re going to wind up going backwards with your SEO.

#4. Duplicate duplicate titles titles

Just like URLs, page titles (the “name” of your page in search results and in browser tabs) impact how your eCommerce site is perceived by both visitors and search engines. If you’re using a commonplace CMS like WordPress or Magento, or if your web developer was simply lazy, it’s entirely possible you have a few pages with identical page titles. This can impact how your pages rank in relevant searches, it also gives your customers less-than-optimal information about your website and products.

Avoid this problem by either manually updating your page titles or using a formula to write them. For instance, you might try something like:

Page or Product Name | Category | Company Name

You’ll obviously want to optimize each section for keywords related to your products and company, as well as title character length, but you get the idea. Start implementing all four of these SEO practices today and you’ll find your site in the better graces of Google and shoppers alike.