According to FEVAD, the e-commerce market should cross the 70 billion euro mark in 2016. It is therefore high time to understand the inner workings of search engines and to place your site in first position on these search engines …
In the SEO world, all websites are not referenced in the same way. A showcase site for example does not refer to itself as an e-commerce site, the latter having a higher volume of pages, a more complex technical context and relatively different issues.
Through my experiences as an acquisition manager and SEO consultant, here are my 8 tips to improve the SEO of your e-commerce site.
1. Understand Google
It may sound basic, but understanding Google helps you avoid making mistakes and getting off to a good start. During my experiences in e-commerce, I had to review my knowledge of how Google works to better manage my SEO strategy.
For information, Google has robots that come to your site, analyze and classify your pages according to their relevance. The quality of a search engine obviously lies on this crucial criterion for your SEO. So the idea is to make it easier for robots to access and analyze your site.
2. Take an interest in the passage of robots on your site
Once you understand how the engine of this Mountain View Giant works, you need to look at the passage of Google’s robots on your site: the Crawl.
The Crawl is a decisive step for your SEO. Indeed, it is at this moment that the robots try to understand your pages, gauge the quality of your site and classify you according to their criteria.
So there are a few questions to ask:
- How long does Google spend on my e-commerce site?
- How frequently ?
- Do bots come on all of my pages?
- What is the path taken by these automata?
These questions are very important, and not to ask them is to do “blind” SEO.
Tip: These questions can be partially answered via Google Search Console. However, to have a precise and quality vision, I recommend using the Watussi tool (from Jean-Benoît Moingt, SEO manager of the Yellow Pages) or Botify, which we no longer present. Otherwise, there is also the possibility of analyzing its log files (via your developers and a good Excel spreadsheet), but … good luck … 🙂
3. Take an interest in the indexing of its pages
This point is linked to the previous point, because if the robots cannot browse my pages, they will not index them. So you need to check if your entire product catalog is indexed on Google. If this is not the case, you will have to look at the quality of your tree structure. Keep in mind that Google allocates a limited amount of time during its visits. You must therefore facilitate access to your important pages and increase the quality of your site (so that this time spent can increase).
Tip: To control the indexing of your pages, use the Google Search Console. You can also preview the indexing of a page using the “site:” command.
4. Facilitate the passage of robots
To recap: the robots come to my site, analyze and try to understand it, all this in a short period of time, so let’s help them!
In SEO, there are several ways to communicate with robots, two of which are essential for indexing your e-commerce site: the NO INDEX tag and the Robots.txt file.
Little analogy to understand these two notions
You want to sell your apartment and you hire a photographer who will publish the photos of your accommodation on a magazine specializing in real estate.
This photographer only has 5 minutes (lasts the artist’s life), he must photograph the most beautiful rooms of your house so that you can quickly sell your property. However, it would be better for you if he did not photograph certain rooms such as the basement, the toilets and the garage that serves as a storage room.
The photographer enters your home and photographs the entrance (your site’s home page). In front of him are three doors: that of the kitchen, the guest bedroom and the living room; he enters and photographs everything. He realizes that in the living room, there is a door at the back which overlooks … the basement. He tries to enter, but the door is closed (thanks to robots.txt). He still tries to take a picture of the door, but he notices a post-it: “Please do not take a picture of this room … and even the door” (no index tag).
So he continues … He leaves the living room, goes into the garden, takes his photos and is in front of your garage. The door is open (so nothing is written on your robots.txt). However, there is still a post-it which says: “You can come here, but take no photo” (tag no index). So he crosses the garage and finds himself in your kitchen, ready to continue his work as a photographer.
- The NO INDEX tag is used to tell robots not to index your page;
- The robots.txt allows you to block access to Google robots (be careful, it is important to note that Google can index a page, even if it does not have access to it).
To improve the referencing of an e-commerce site, it is therefore necessary to know how to facilitate the passage of robots, to ensure that they pass on your interesting pages (product pages, category pages, usage tips, etc.).
5. Improve your menus and internal research
The worst thing about an e-commerce site is not finding what you want easily. This tends to scare people, increase your bounce rates and lose SEO.
The menu :
Beyond the internal network (which is a chapter in its own right in SEO), your menu is of capital importance in the shopping experience of your Internet users.
The latter should be clear, simple, intuitive, and intelligently designed. Work with product managers and developers should be organized. As an example, there is the Monechelle.com site which offers a very detailed, well-designed menu, allowing you to buy what you want with a few clicks.
The internal search engine:
If you have a site with a lot of references, it is essential to opt for the development of an internal search engine.
A real cornerstone of improving the user experience, the search engine will allow you to significantly increase your conversions.
Here is an example of a very powerful internal search engine, greatly promoting the user experience:
Finally, the internal search engine also makes it possible to refine a keyword strategy.
6. Choose simple and clear URLs
Which URL do you want to click?
Naturally B. Why? Because it is simple to read and understand. You will know the type of product you will come across when you click on the URL.
In addition, from an SEO point of view, search engines operate very semantically (that is, using keywords). So optimize the content of your URLs.
7. STOP duplicate content
Sometimes it’s tempting to “copy and paste” content that can be found on Wikipedia, on the supplier’s website, or on the competition’s site.
There are two types of duplicate content: internal (between your pages) and external (with other sites). Both are to be avoided to preserve the quality of your SEO; your content should therefore be unique.
at. “What if I need to cite another website”? Google has it all covered, there is a tag called “Canonical” which will tell Google that this content is already there and that it is a quote. To go further: Canonical
b. To check if you are a victim of plagiarism, there is the CopyScape tool.
8. Enrich your site with relevant content
Content has a very important place in the referencing of an e-commerce site.
There are several ways to enrich its content:
- Develop the description of its products;
- Develop customer reviews;
- Write user tips on each product sheet;
- Write buying guides (example: Fnac offers buying guides for its IT world);
- Write FAQs on each product sheet (this is the case on Amazon, for complex products);
- Write expert advice;
- On your “pages-list”, do not hesitate to write a range of presentation of the collection (on Rueducommerce, iPhone category, there is a paragraph presenting the range of products).
In conclusion, the referencing of an e-commerce site is based on the crawl of Google robots, the quality of your indexing and the quality of your content. After implementing these optimizations, I recommend that you tackle Netlinking… a subject that we will deal with very soon.
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