Ecommerce and SEO

- April 22, 2010

Search engine optimization (SEO) varies by site and industry. Some industries are extremely competitive in the online space, whereas others may be less competitive. With ecommerce sites in particular, there are often challenges when discussing SEO. As a result, we find that many ecommerce sites instead turn to paid search as the quick solution.

Why do ecommerce sites typically have a difficult time for SEO?  
First, there is often very little content on these site’s pages. Usually the pages consist of images, product names and manufacturer information that are used as product descriptions.   Due to this lack of unique content, ecommerce sites at times have a difficult time attracting inbound links (although this isn’t an issue for the giants such as and Another problem is that on ecommerce sites, non-SEO friendly URLs may be dynamically created. These are URLs that are tremendously lengthy or URLs that don’t contain keywords.   And, to top it off, sometimes the URLs are duplicated, which is where there is more than one URL for one page of content. Multiple URLs create duplicate content on one site, and using the same manufacturer information for product descriptions creates duplicate content across many sites.   (If you’re familiar at all with SEO, you already know that this is not good for your SEO efforts).

So, what can be done to overcome these obstacles?
The good news is that even though these issues mentioned above are commonly seen, there are ways to help ecommerce sites compete in the organic search results.   First and foremost, the site must have a well organized and logical structure for users and search engines. There should be levels of your site — such as category and product level pages.   You should also take into consideration the assets you have available. Ecommerce sites have many pages. Use these to your advantage. Add unique content to category level pages. Content is still one of the most important aspects of SEO, and giving the search engines lots of it will be to your benefit.   Also, creating content that your competition does not feature can give you a distinct advantage. Don’t forget about those product pages that contain the generic (duplicated) manufacturing information. Try incorporating customer reviews. This way your customers will do the work for you.

Also, don’t forget about other opportunities to add unique content.   Blogs, articles, how-tos are all great ways to accomplish this.   Keep in mind, your customer should be at the heart of all of your efforts.   Therefore with blog posts, how-tos, etc. create content that people are searching for or that will encourage them to share that info elsewhere on the internet (helping you to build your inbound links, which can be viewed as “votes” for your site).

Although not always easy, SEO can be worked into ecommerce websites with a little time and effort. Adding unique content and following SEO Best Practices will lead you to positive results.

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