Natural referencing optimised for an e-commerce site guarantees visibility, traffic and sales on the Internet. By improving your position on search engines, especially Google, you increase your chances of selling the products of your commercial activity on the web. To do this, there is no secret: an e-commerce site does not escape the attention of the search engines. SEO optimization rules. However, these are more complex than for non-merchant sites and require certain indispensable rules to be followed.
Let's check together your best SEO e-commerce practices in 15 essential points.
- 1 1. Work on your long tail keywords: the secret of e-commerce SEO
- 2 2. The Title and MetaDescription tags
- 3 3. Optimize the weight of your images
- 4 4. The Alt tag on images
- 5 5. The time it takes to load a page
- 6 6. Rewriting or simplifying complex URLs
- 7 7. Take care of your product sheets
- 8 8. The structure of the URLs of your product files
- 9 9. The canonization of URLs: category pages
- 10 10. The canonization of URLs : The product pages
- 11 11. The pagination of your category pages
- 12 12. Create a mesh with internal links
- 13 13. The blog: your content marketing asset
- 14 14. Think Mobile First
- 15 15. Use social networks
- 16 2019 for ecommerce: The key to success lies in m-commerce SEO
1. Work on your long tail keywords: the secret of e-commerce SEO
Relevant and well-defined keywords will bring you significant traffic without being too competitive. Concretely, by positioning yourself on less generalist requests, you will capture fewer prospects but they will be more qualified.
Don't waste time placing your products on basic keywords. These are the most complex keywords that will help optimize your conversion rate. For example, you will prefer to position yourself on "light blue skinny jeans" rather than "women's jeans".
Our advice: The long tail is particularly conducive to vocal SEO, an element not to be neglected in 2019.
2. The Title and MetaDescription tags
When you want to highlight a product on your e-commerce site, you work on the title and its meta description. These are the first elements that the Internet user sees. These tags must be attractive and unique to keep out the competition and increase your CTR (Click Through Rate).
The Title tag
As the name suggests, this is the title of your page. Ideally it should not exceed 55 characters so as not to be truncated by search engines. It appears in search results, so it should be optimized for several reasons:
- First, this Title tag is taken into account by Google's algorithm. It helps to improve the SEO of your products.
- Second, Title must be both descriptive and motivational. Don't forget that the objective is to attract the attention of Internet users. It must therefore contain at least the name of the product and a prominent feature.
The MetaDescription tag
Its function? Describe precisely the content of the page to make the user want to click. It contains between 155 and 160 characters and is displayed under the title of your product file in the search results. You must write it carefully and it must contain your keyword.
When a query is entered and your product file appears in the results: the more clicks it receives, the better your CTR will be and consequently the better your positioning.
3. Optimize the weight of your images
Images are most often responsible for the slowness of an ecommerce site. And what could be more unpleasant than a web page that doesn't load, right? By optimizing the weight of your images, you will ensure that your pages load quickly. Here are two ways to achieve this:
- The larger the size of an image, the heavier it is. It is therefore recommended that you change its size before uploading it to your server. Be careful, optimizing its size directly in the CMS will not change its weight supported by the server.
- There are plugins on some CMS such as Smush Image (WordPress) that allow to optimize the weight of the images. It is also possible to use free online tools such as ILoveIMG or TinyPNGwhich reduce the weight without altering the quality.
4. The Alt tag on images
The images of your products also play an important role in the natural referencing process. Attributes such as file name and Alt tag must be taken care of to be relevant to search engines.
Renaming your file: an essential point often neglected
It's a shame because Google's algorithm takes into account the name of the image. Therefore, its optimization helps to increase the visibility of your pages. Thus it is recommended to customize the name of the file. It must contain keywords and describe the content, all separated from the dashes of the 6.
The ALT tag of the images
An algorithm cannot interpret the content of an image. This is why this tag is essential in the product sheets of an ecommerce site. The trick is to add a description of the image in the " Alt " tag which can be filled in as soon as the image is loaded on the editing software. Without accents or spaces, the description is similar to the file name by describing the content and integrating keywords.
5. The time it takes to load a page
It's an undeniable fact for any Internet user: a web page that doesn't load is annoying... Slowness harms your SEO, the user experience and consequently the act of buying.
Take Amazon, for example, which estimates a loss of 1.360 billion euros in 2016. The cause? The increase in loading time of 0.1 second, which is equivalent to a loss of 1% of sales. (Source: Plezi.com)
Loading time can be measured with tools such as Google Page Speed Insights or Dareboost (which is French!) Just enter your domain name, the tool analyzes your website and gives you a performance rating. The Google tool will enlighten you on particular points to be improved.
In addition, here are some basic rules to significantly reduce the loading time of your pages:
- Optimize your images (file name, size, etc.)
- Compress your images
- Optimize CSS files
- Placing scripts below the waterline
- Using your browser's caching
Our advice: The most important thing is the start of the web page display, which should not exceed two seconds. Otherwise, you risk increasing your bounce rate.
6. Rewriting or simplifying complex URLs
You've probably seen some very complex URLs like :
Hard to read, isn't it? Besides not being at all SEO friendly because without keywords, you clearly complicate the task for your Internet user who would like to return to this page from his search bar.
We advise you to create simple and understandable URLs by editing them yourself. This is called rewritingYou will ensure that they are readable by your visitors and search engines. URLs should be short, descriptive and represent the structure of your site, such as the following example:
Here, in both cases the user has a clear idea of the content he will find on this page. The URL rewriting will thus allow him to easily find the product page he is looking for, as in this example :
Our advice: Usually you can only change the last part of your URL, "/product-name/". You'll need to go to the general settings of your URLs to find and define the structure of your permalinks.
7. Take care of your product sheets
To improve your classification, the authenticity and quality of your product sheets are essential elements. We advise you to detail your descriptions and to insert your keywords. Relevant product pages will set you apart from your competitors. This is how you will reach as many consumers as possible.
The more you write, the better! Google estimates the interest of an e-commerce page from 300 words. If your product pages contain too little text, they will not be indexed.
Our advice: Add your customers' opinions. Too few e-merchants do this, even though it is necessary to display all the opinions and comments of your consumers. Today's visitors consult the opinions of other Internet users before making a purchase. In addition, Google's robots review them as well. Your pages will be regularly updated and your ecommerce site will gain visibility.
8. The structure of the URLs of your product files
One page = one single well-structured URL.
That is to say, if you offer the same products in several different categories, it is better to opt for an independent product URL. Independent product URLs are web addresses in which the product name immediately follows the domain name. For example: " www.mon-site-ecommerce.fr/nom-du-produit/ ".
If the same product is offered at "www.mon-site-ecommerce.fr/categorie-1/nom-du-produit/" and "www.mon-site-ecommerce.fr/categorie-2/nom-du-produit/", this indicates that two URLs point to the same page. Google considers this to be duplicate content (duplicate content) when positioning your products on the results. This is very bad for SEO and can lead to penalties in some cases.
The choice of dashes
An explicit recommendation from Google is to choose the middle hyphen (hyphen 6) rather than the bottom hyphen (hyphen 8) to be included in your domain name and URLs.
They are used to separate the words of your web address for two reasons: to make it readable to Internet users and to make Google understand that it is not a single word. Instead, you'll write :
Note that if the domain name is already taken, in this case it is possible to remove the hyphens or choose another name.
Our advice to take care of the structure of your URLs:
- Take care of the content
- Include the main keyword
- URLs must be readable by everyone
- Avoid capitalization
- Prefer dashes to underscores
- Add a favicon
9. The canonization of URLs: category pages
Are you familiar with the SEO technique of canonization? This process, which is essential for e-merchant sites, tells Google which page should be considered as a master copy of a web page. When the content of two pages is almost similar, this technique avoids duplicate content which is very bad for SEO as we saw above.
To indicate to search engines that a page is a copy of another one, here is the code to insert generally under theor
This URL is canonical, i.e. the main URL, the one to which Google must refer. The other pages will be duplicates of this reference page.
Let's take as an example a category page of a jeans site. Filters make it easier for the visitor to find what he is looking for, but they generate other pages with their own URLs, which creates duplicate content. This is where the canonical tag comes in, telling Google that all the pages belong to the same category page.
The canonical URL is the URL of the category page before the filters are added. This is always the one that will appear in search engines.
10. The canonization of URLs : The product pages
This process also applies to product pages that offer variants of the same product. For example, jeans in blue and black will result in two URLs. These pages will be almost identical, which is why the use of the canonical tag is also recommended.
11. The pagination of your category pages
In e-commerce, when a catalogue contains too many references, the pages are numbered to avoid infinite scrolling. This is what makes it possible to sequence the content of a single page. However, we are faced with a problem: the product listings are different but the pages are very similar.
We advise you to go back to the canonization technique. The difference is that we will not use the rel= "canonical" tag but the rel= "next" and rel= "prev" tags.
You will thus add on Page 1 the tag: " rel= " next " href=URL of Page 2 ".
Google helps you set up these tags with the Search Console Help.
12. Create a mesh with internal links
A golden rule in SEO, especially in ecommerce: internal netlinking. Your pages must contain several internal links. On the one hand because they improve the navigation on your site, on the other hand to make your weak pages benefit from the notoriety of your strong pages. Through the blog for example, you can implement internal links to product pages of your shop.
Our advice: Make links from your home page to the strategic pages of the moment. For example, if you want to highlight products for a certain period of time, this method will boost your SEO.
13. The blog: your content marketing asset
A particularly effective strategy to boost the referencing of merchant sites. In particular by regularly updating content and optimizing it with long tail keywords. You will attract visitors to your website and even reach a new audience that will be sensitized by your expertise and advice.
Our advice: Get inspiration from frequently asked questions about your products. You'll have plenty of material to write your blog posts.
14. Think Mobile First
FEVAD's report on ecommerce in 2016/2017 reveals that the French buy more on smartphones. The turnover for this period was 11.2 billion euros out of the 72 generated by French e-commerce.
Today, according to the Global Commerce Review of Criteo, the number of transactions on smartphones in France grew by 33% between 2017 and 2018. This is a figure that e-merchants need to take into account in their ecommerce development strategy in 2019.
Google's decision in March 2018 to launch its ranking algorithm Mobile-First Indexing (MFI), is undoubtedly a direct consequence of these studies. No more "Mobile Friendly" strategy. From now on, the ability to respond to the requests of Internet users on mobile phones has become THE main criterion for good natural referencing.
15. Use social networks
Social media platforms facilitate the sharing of BtoC and CtoC content. We are already familiar with the capabilities of Twitter as an after-sales service and Facebook as a virtual shop on Pages... Why not exploit the potential of Pinterest?
By sharing your products on this social network, you will increase conversion on your site. In addition, each product registered by an Internet user creates a new incoming link to your online store.
2019 for ecommerce: The key to success lies in m-commerce SEO
As we have seen above, Google now favours Mobile First online stores in its positioning algorithm. But what are the criteria to take into account as an ecommerce, in its natural referencing for m-commerce? They are aesthetic and functional, focusing on the mobinaute user experience such as :
- Text size
- Adapted CTAs
- Forms optimization
- Content optimization for voice SEO
- Ultra-customization of the experience
The personalization of services (augmented reality) and the personalization of customer service such as the use of chatbots (see our list of 15 best chatbots on messenger), are just as many good practices to fluidify the user experience and increase your natural Mobile First referencing in 2019.