It is no news that ecommerce continues to grow massively every year, allowing businesses to reach a larger audience than a traditional storefront location. Online shoppers love the convenience of being able to buy things anytime anywhere, having access to a broader range of products, exchanging information about products with other consumers and compare prices online.
According to data from Eurostat ecommerce sales in Europe have generated more than €500 Billion in 2016.
This is why our goal for this blog is to help you increase and monetize your traffic.
SEO for Ecommerce
While SEO or Search Engine Optimization is important for any website, it is absolutely imperative for an online store. Search Engine Optimization and Conversion Optimization can be one of the most time effective ways to increase your online sales.
Optimizing ecommerce websites has always been perceived as a time consuming and complicated endeavor. From optimizing hundreds of product pages while avoiding duplicate content, to battling with your store’s loading speed.
So, what are some of the most important SEO factors ecommerce webmasters should consider in 2017?
Top 10 SEO Factors for Ecommerce in 2017
Looking ahead, the time for universal ranking signals is long gone. Google’s search algorithm now gives you different search results depending on your location, your device and the industry.
In this blog, we analyze the first industry-specific whitepaper done by Searchmetrics, covering the top 10 most important ranking factors and takeaways for ecommerce websites. The study is looking at online retailers on the first page of Google Search results. So here are the top 10 SEO factors for ecommerce websites that will get you on your way to ranking first.
#1 Ads and Ad Links Not Recommended
The analysis showed that only 3% of all top-ranking ecommerce websites have any ads or ad links. Surveys by Journal of Usability Studies and the Nielsen Normal Group have showed us how much customers dislike unsolicited advertisements on websites. Although for some platforms, like publisher websites or blogs, ads are an accepted form of monetization, the ecommerce pages ranking on top of Google Search have far fewer ads then the average across all industries.
#2 Facebook Signals Matter Less for Ecommerce
On average, online retailers among the top 10 search results have significantly fewer social signals from Facebook (roughly 25% less) compared to other sectors. This is due to the type of content they offer: products. Something that naturally users are less likely to share on social media platforms.
#3 Ecommerce Pages Can Be Larger
Although loading times are a pivotal factor, the data shows that landing pages in the ecommerce sector can be larger than the average trend across all sectors. This can be attributed to product category pages containing numerous products and images. This means that ecommerce websites can generally get away with larger size pages than the average across other sectors.
#4 Use More Interactive Elements
We see 40% more interactive elements on top ranking online retailers, compared to the average among all other sectors. High ranking websites in ecommerce have significantly more menus, buttons, hover states, sliding interactions and more. ecommerce landing pages should therefore use enough interactive elements to direct users intuitively through the buying funnel.
#5 Use More Bullet Points to Structure your Content
Across the top 10 highest ranking positions, ecommerce websites show to have on average 70% more bullet points per list than the overall benchmark. The content in the ecommerce sector is much more structured and generally consists of longer bullet point lists. So, structure your content better using bullet points and making your content easier to process at a glance.
#6 You Need Better Internal Linking
Top ranking online retailers have considerably more internal links than the average for websites in other sectors. The data shows up to 70% more internal links than the overall benchmark. It is important to note that quality and structure are the crucial factors here, and simply increasing the number of your internal links will NOT result in higher ranking. Your internal links should allow site users to easily navigate the website and intuitively find what they are looking for. They should also be used to help give your information structure and hierarchy.
#7 Your Online Store Should Be Above the Fold
This has been a long-debated topic. Should you have your CTA’s (call-to-actions) and other important content above the fold, or is it simply a myth? The data from this study shows that among top 20 search results, more than half ecommerce websites have an online store above the fold. This is well over 50% than the average across all other sectors.
#8 Choose The Right Domain
Another ranking factor we see in this field is domains. If you are considering setting up an ecommerce website in your country, it is important that you have the corresponding TLD (top-level domain). For example, .ch in Switzerland; .de in Germany and .com in the United States. In the US, the data shows that the top 10 URLs in Google’s SERP in the ecommerce category are almost exclusively .com. Similarly, in Germany, they are predominantly .de.
#9 Do Not Overrate Video Integration
According to the data collected, video plays a less significant role in ecommerce than for other websites in general. The study shows that only 35% of online retailers ranking in the top 10 positions use embedded videos. This is significantly less than the average across all industries, which is about 50%. Whilst it seems to have less of an impact, video integration remains an important tool that can be used to review products or highlight certain features.
#10 You Need More Content
Top ranking ecommerce websites have 25% higher word count than the average, attributed to things like detailed product descriptions and other structured data. Similar to internal linking, this only factors in when done in line with user intent. Large quantity of poor content will not result in an instant spike in rankings. Instead, webmasters should aim to provide useful and quality content, answering any questions a potential user may have.
It Is All About User Experience and Usability
The most important insight for 2017 remains user experience and usability. Your customers should be able to conveniently find all the information they might need before they commit or make a purchase. Things like better navigation, more internal linking as well as more quality content all play an important part of providing great customer experience.
The highest ranking ecommerce websites analyzed for this study have all of this in common. They answer potential customer questions, they are easy to navigate, provide detailed information and no or just a few ads.