Online shopping has been gaining momentum ever since Smart phones captured the imagination of the population across the globe. Although desktop is used to carry out digital transactions, the ease and swiftness offered by mobile devices are far superior. The convenience extended to shoppers has given a boost to the e-commerce industry, which is flourishing and experiencing the addition of new websites every day.
The competition has increased manifolds and is making it difficult for marketers to drive traffic to their sites for higher conversions. Often many marketers disregard SEO as an essential factor for driving traffic as they are more dependent on social media marketing, email marketing and word of mouth publicity. However, they forget that millions of people are utilising search engines to compare product features, read product ratings and reviews, and search for other product details.
If your website’s name doesn’t pop-up on the first page during this search, then your business is losing out on a lot of potential buyers. This is the reason why many e-commerce sites usually overlook certain mistakes that can hamper their growth and popularity. Our SEO experts at Netvision have compiled a list of the common problem areas to help you identify the hindrances in the digital strategy.
1. Duplicate Product Descriptions
It is a gross mistake if your e-commerce website has duplicate content which is present on other URLs over the web as it can bring down your ranking on the SERPs. This often happens with marketplace model shopping sites because they have similar products showcased on their pages.
These websites have a large inventory and generic product descriptions which lead to duplication. The crawlers thus are confused about indexing the right content among the varied URLs with the same subject matter. The crawlers pick the one they consider is the best, but it can hamper the relevancy and show unrelated results for a search query.
Typically, search engines rank those URLs higher which add some value in terms of knowledge and information. Thus it is suggested to use canonical URLs which ensure the selection of the best URL, commonly the homepage of the site, from the list.
You can also use URL-rewrite to avoid duplication due to the domain name. Since creating customised descriptions for each product is not possible, the marketers can develop landing pages with CTAs for the products which have the highest demand and value. However, unique descriptions can go a long way in pushing your site up the SERP ranking ladder.
2. Missing Customer Reviews
Product reviews are a pre-requisite for getting more conversions as users are highly interested in reading these ratings and reviews. Since it is not possible for the buyers to touch or feel or actually look at the products being sold online, these reviews work as a firsthand report which demystifies their doubts.
As many as 84% people trust user reviews thus amplifying their importance during the buying process. Also, it allows the creation of unique content which keeps getting updated with recent reviews that help in ranking higher.
However, some marketers are sceptical about leveraging consumer reviews as they don’t want any negative feedback to be reflected on their sites which can put off the prospective buyers.
On the contrary, the reality is a bit different as people prefer to buy products with moderate ratings than the ones with only 5-star ratings which appear to be fake reviews. Genuine user-generated content helps in getting traffic as well as increasing sales.
3. Not Using Better Keywords
The main focus of the marketers while creating product pages on an e-commerce site is the brand and the model. They tend to forget about the relevant and most searched keywords which can get them higher traffic.
The consumers sometimes do search for specific brands and thus the brand name must be used in the title tags, but there is a significant chunk of the population which does not look for brands.
That is why there is a need to include generic keywords and phrases in the content. To do this, you must utilise keyword tools like Google’s Keyword Planner to find these search terms which must be incorporated in the above-the-fold region of the page.
4. Broken Links
Every website has internal links as well as external links. The internal links are quickly created by linking the pages of a site to each other and help in the navigation process. They also aid in improving the page authority. Similarly, the external links point towards a third party website (outbound) or are directed from a third party site to your site (inbound).
These increase the domain authority of the site. If any of these links are broken, it can impact the ranking of the site and deteriorate the user experience as well as hurt the sales in some cases. Broken links are the result of an altered CMS, deletion of content from the site, moving of the third party content, etc.
To repair these links, you need to constantly monitor the link activity of your site using tools like Google Webmaster and Google Analytics. For the broken outbound links, you need to remove them from your site or find a substitute for them.
5. Ignoring Alt Tags
Although Alt tags are a feature of HTML, they are essential in SEO as they provide an alternate text to the image which describes it in words. This helps in search as the crawlers can identify images on the basis of their description and show them in search results.
Also, image searches have become quite popular and appropriate Alt tags can help the marketers who are selling clothes, accessories, furniture etc. Optimised Alt tags can put you ahead of the competition and bring more traffic from the image search results. For creating relevant Alt tags, you need to write crisp, but graphic descriptions using the keywords.
6. Slow Loading Speed
The e-commerce websites are laden with a wealth of high-quality images and videos which can increase the loading time. Neither Google likes sites which take a lot of time to load, nor do the consumers. Thus you need to optimise the images to reduce the pixel size and minimise redirects so that they load faster.
You can also opt for dedicated hosting options where you do not have to share the server with other sites. However, this type of hosting means that you need to become accountable for its maintenance and upkeep. When you have gained considerable traffic with time, then it is a good idea to switch to dedicated hosting.
7. Not Optimising For Mobile
Mobile e-commerce is growing at lightning speed and is all set to soar higher in the coming years. With more and more traffic being generated from mobile phones, it is high time to make your site mobile friendly using a responsive design. The mobile searches have purchase intent and drive conversions, thus they are more significant.
You need to make the user experience seamless over the handheld devices so that the images and information are visible without scrolling or zooming in and out. Also, the loading time needs to be fast to ensure the retention of the customers.
If you own an e-commerce website which is not generating organic traffic, then you need to check these areas and get them fixed in time to avoid these pitfalls. The idea is to create high-quality content which encourages user reviews and loads faster on all devices with no broken links.