Mistakes to Avoid When Optimizing an E-Commerce Website

E-Commerce Website

Believe it or not, getting search engine traffic takes more than simply listing thousands of your products. But yet, there are many Singapore business owners who assume that this is the only strategy they need in order to run a successful E-Commerce Website. The truth is, in comparison to simple websites and blogs, it can be much more difficult to optimize an e-commerce site for SEO. The sheer number of pages alone can cause big issues. So what are Singapore e-commerce website owners to do? Here are 7 mistakes that you can avoid.

1. No Product Descriptions

This is one of the biggest mistakes that online stores tend to make. Many fail to include a description of the product, so they completely miss out on the chance to be listed in the top 10 of the search engine–even if the keyword is low competition. Sure, the image may be great, but the search engine cannot see it. So in this case, a picture is not worth a thousand words.

So make sure you add a description. The best way to figure out how much content you will need is to exceed the default word count. This will give your content more weight. Though the perfect word count will depend on what converts the best. 

2. No Unique Product Descriptions

Another error that Singapore e-commerce site owners tend to make is that they use a product description from the manufacturer. Unfortunately, this is the best way to have your website filtered out and banned by search engines. Here’s the thing: there are a lot of stores that use the same manufacturer description and this means that Google would be filled with content that is not unique, so they have to get rid of them.  In fact, with each day, Google is becoming more efficient at identifying duplicate content. 

So the more unique your product descriptions are, the better. This isn’t to say that writing creative descriptions for thousands of products will be easy. In fact, in some cases, it can be downright impossible. However, in these times you should add a No Index meta tag. This also works when you’re out of inventory or have thousands of product pages that you’re unable to get to. Ultimately writing unique product descriptions ensures two things: that search engines won’t view you as a spammer and that you will be able to write descriptions that make people want to buy–something that most manufacturer descriptions don’t do.

3. No Product Reviews

When Singapore consumers shop online, one of the first things they look for is product reviews. E-commerce websites that don’t feature reviews miss out on a large chunk of their target audience. Not only that, but they also miss out on higher rankings, as pages that have reviews tend to make it to the top of the SERP. For instance, E-commerce giant Amazon.com is centred around the concept of customer reviews. They’ve crafted a community of people who are willing to share their buying experience with the next customer.

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Perhaps one of the best things about product reviews is that they create unique content for your website. And as discussed earlier, this is very valuable for an e-commerce store. Also, it helps to continuously breathe new life into the product page and search engines will continue to visit these updated pages. 

4. Ignoring Search Demand

Whenever you write a title, headline or product description, consider the words that people are using in order to find them. This helps you to avoid promoting a product that very few people are searching for.  The best way to optimise your pages is to include the model numbers and brand names in both your H1 Headings and titles tags. You should always remember to input the information for your alt tag.  Also, avoid keyword stuffing and only display content on the product page, not in iframes.

5. Duplicate Titles

While an e-commerce store may have unique product descriptions, many business owners completely ignore the titles. In fact, larger stores often resort to duplicate title tags. That’s because it can be challenging to create unique title tags when you are selling a large variety of items from the same company or items that are similar. It often leads to the site using the exact same keywords repeatedly. 

A good way to get around this is to combine the brand name, the model, and the item type. You could also pay close attention to the language your customers are using. What words so they use to describe your products? By speaking their language, you can better predict how they will search for them. 

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6. No Keyword Friendly URLs

What are keyword friendly URLs? These are URLs that tell you exactly what the page is about. At a glance, you know that the URL is a blog page from a bakery or that you are about to read 10 tips for finding the best digital marketing agency in Singapore. This is because the link actually includes keywords that are separated by hyphens. This is something that many Singapore business owners overlook. However, keyword friendly URLs provide several benefits: 

It gives the customer a good idea of what they should expect when they click on your link. It will make you much more trustworthy because the link is recognisable and does not come off as spam.

Luck With Keyword and Anchor Links: 
It’s very likely that your link will be reposted to another website. In these cases, its very important that the keywords are visible as they will be present in the anchor tag if your link is used as anchor text. And if this points back to your website, it can do wonders for your rankings.

Not long ago, companies used to go out of their way to include their keyword in their domain name. Google does not consider this as a top priority anymore. However, having relevant keywords in your URL can’t hurt your ranking. 


7.  Not Blocking Areas That Have Duplicate Content

Duplicate content doesn’t just come in the form of titles and descriptions, it can also come in the form of archives, tags, and much more. In a lot of cases, website owners don’t understand the importance of making sure that these pages are not indexed by search engines. Luckily, there are several ways to avoid this problem:

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You could use robots.txt to block areas such as tags, archives, and category pages, 

Canonical Tag
Indicate which pages you would like indexed with a canonical tag. For instance, if your shopping cart happens to create new URLs due to the comments or reviews, meaning your website includes more than one page that contains the exact same content, however one has customer feedback and the original doesn’t,  you can use a canonical tag to tell the search engines which pages they need to pay attention to.

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No Follow
You may also consider adding no follow attributes to all links that point to areas which contain duplicate content. However, this particular solution requires a certain amount of thoroughness. You can’t afford to miss a link because Google will inevitably find them.


The Most Important Rule of SEO – Ensure Usability

Google’s main priority is to ensure that its users have an excellent experience. So if you would like to experience the amount of traffic that comes along with this search engine, then you’re going to have to align your values with theirs. This means you need to make sure that your e-commerce store is both useful and convenient. If it’s good enough for your customer, then it’s definitely good enough for Google. The goal is to ensure that they spend as much time possible on your website.  This lets Google know that their search engine is sending them to the right place. You’ll get more backlinks and a higher ranking. 

About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


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