Guest Post: Overcoming the Difficulties of SEO for eCommerce

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I’ve gotten the help of the very talented freelance writer to write up a guest post about SEO for eCommerce, as I have recently been experimenting a lot with selling physical goods online, and have always been a fan of the idea, You all might know that I have been selling web hosting services for a while now, and i wanted to try my luck with physical goods.

But since I don’t have a warehouse to put a lot of products in, I went for a more Individual-Friendly method of selling online; Dropshipping.

I will do a tutorial on dropshipping in the near future as well as show how to apply some of the techniques in Michael’s guest post.

Michael is a writer for Write For Money Online where he gives tips on … you guessed it, Writing, go check out his site, it’s quite nice :)

Here is what he wrote for me:

Search Engine Optimization is one of the most effective ways of driving traffic to any website.
the specific strategies used to drive traffic are constantly changing based on updates to Google’s search  algorithms, it is typically not too difficult to drive steady traffic to websites from search engines.

When it comes to eCommerce, however, it can be quite a bit more difficult. Search engines have a natural bias against eCommerce sites, which often means normal SEO techniques won’t work.


Why Search Engines don’t like eCommerce

When google is determining which sites to rank for different search terms, they factor in dozens of different pieces of data.
eCommerce sites, by their very nature, often go against some of the guidelines Google suggests for improving rankings.

The following are some of the biggest difficulties that need to be overcome when working on SEO for eCommerce:

  • Unoriginal Content – When you’re selling a product, you’ll often need to use some standard language.
    If you’re selling a product that is produced by another company, for example, you will normally use their description  on your site.
    You’ll also need to include a variety of specs about the product, which can’t be adjusted.
    Google and the other search engines don’t like copied or duplicate content, which can make it more difficult to rank this type of site.
  • Low Word Count per Page – Google prefers each page to have as much content on it as possible.
    The rule of thumb used by most SEO experts is to have at least 500 words on each page, on average.
    A product description on an eCommerce site won’t typically have that many words, which means that Google won’t be as likely to rank the page.
  • Constantly Changing Pages – For many eCommerce sites, a product is put up for a time, but then as the inventory changes or a product is updated, the page will be either removed or adjusted.
    Google recommends  websites sites keep adding new content, and keep the existing content stable, which is not usually possible for eCommerce pages.
  • Difficult to Optimize for Keywords – When selling a specific product, it is not possible to properly write content to target a specific keyword.
    The title of a page, for example, will typically need to be the name of the product itself.
    This isn’t always the ideal term that needs to be ranked for, so it is difficult to properly optimize for the search engines.

How to Overcome these Difficulties

When running an eCommerce site, it is important to start out by acknowledging that it will be more difficult to rank this type of site.
Following the same optimization methods that are typically used on other types of sites is not an option, so it is best to think of alternative strategies.
Fortunately, there are quite a few options that can help to rank an eCommerce site well.

The following are some fairly simple tips that can be implemented to help improve SEO for eCommerce sites:

  • Build a Blog – In addition to the main ‘store’ section of a page, make sure there is also a blog.
    The blog posts should be about the products that are being sold, but in a more casual way.
    Writing 500+ word blog posts will help get a site ranked for Google.
    Another benefit of having 
    an eCommerce blog is that it is possible to fully optimize the blog posts for specific keywords.
  • Harness User Comments – When Google looks at the total word count for a post, they look at all the words on the page.
    This includes visitor generated content like comments.
    visitors to post their thoughts, opinions and experiences about each product.
    When people 
    post, make sure to go in and reply to them. This can be a very effective way to get more content on each page, which Google will love.
  • Make it Easy to Share – Every product on an eCommerce site should have a series of social sharing buttons available.
    Getting people to share a link to the product on Facebook, Twitter, or 
    any other social networks is a great way to drive traffic.
    The search engines also love sites that 
    get shared extensively on social networks, so this can help to overcome any bias from the search engines.
  • Leave Out of Stock Pages Up – When an item is changed or goes out of stock, leave the content up, but with an “Out of Stock” banner over the top.
    In addition to the banner, add in a list of 
    similar products that  visitors might be interested in.
    This way Google can see a growing number 
    of posts, and visitors won’t be left stranded if they find themselves to a page for a product that is no longer available.

While there are certainly challenges with SEO for eCommerce, it is not as difficult as many people might believe.

With a little bit of extra planning, it is possible to rank any site well.

Just make sure to keep the overall user’s experience in mind, and focus on taking steps to compensate for the disadvantages eCommerce sites have.


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