Last week we published part one of our Ultimate Pre-Launch Checklist for E-Commerce SEO. Today we reveal part two of the series. This post digs deeper into the structural SEO of e-commerce and gives practical advice on making sure your website performs to its potential when launched.
Let’s get started with internal links.
The pages throughout your website should link together through internal links. Internal links help to provide customer journeys which will improve user experience. They will also improve the SEO value of your website as the anchor text is used by search engines to determine the relationship between the keywords and pages of your website.
Site load speed is essential for e-commerce websites. Consumers will often browse and comparison shop before they purchase. If your website is sluggish and takes a life time to load consumers may shop elsewhere. Read our post on website speed testing to find out how to test your e-commerce site speed performance.
Structured Data / Rich Snippets
Structured data is a way of organising data on your website for search engines. Most content management systems come with the required coding but some may need external plugins.
Implementing structured data can benefit your e-commerce website by:
- Improving click through rate in SERPs with rich snippets
- Keeping up to date with best practice SEO techniques
The following areas of an e-commerce website can be marked up with structured data:
- Shop location
Example of product review rich snippets
If your content management system isn’t compatible with structured data we recommend using Google Data Highlighter.
To help improve user experience we recommend using breadcrumbs on e-commerce websites. Particularly if your site has deep product level categorization it will help users navigate more easily.
Canonical URLs can be used to prevent duplicate content on your website. If you have multiple pages of the same products, the duplicate products should use a canonical tag pointing to the main product.
A Robots.txt file can be used to prevent duplicate content issues by stopping pages from getting indexed by search engines.
If you are replacing an existing website with a new one it is imperative that you use 301 re-directs to ensure old URLs get re-directed to new URLs. If you have thousands of URLs this may be a lengthy process but it will guarantee that you maintain your current rankings and visibility in Google SERP’s. We recommend that you re-direct the URLs page for page so that user gets re-directed to the most relevant products each time.
Here is the formatting of a 301 document:
Redirect 301 /oldproduct.html http://www.newwebsite.ie/new-product.html
Take care when developing your 301 re-directs as one extra space in a line may cause your whole website to break.
Once you have created your 301 re-directs they will need to be added to your .htaccess file. The file is uploaded to your root directory when the new website goes live.
While you don’t need to submit your sitemap to Webmaster Tools before your website goes live it is a good idea to test it and see if it works. The end result of your sitemap.xml file should be a full list of every page on your website. Once your website goes live you should submit your sitemap to the relevant search engines.
Are you thinking about launching an e-commerce website? Why not talk with our team and get expert advice before you go live?