Even the experts in eCommerce need to solve problems with Search Engine Optimization, as the field is always evolving and it's important to follow best practices. Last week, we reached out to 5 eCommerce entrepreneurs to share their experiences with SEO and the challenges they've faced, and most importantly, how to address those challenges. This week, we have 5 more experts weighing in.
1. Understanding and Using the Right Strategies
My biggest lesson was that I needed to learn SEO myself so that I could understand white hat SEO vs black hat SEO and not hire someone who can cause later damage to the site. Years ago I hired a company who was doing a sketchy YouTube linking chain and they turned out to be black hat so I had to fire them — with no SEO knowledge it would be really easy to get screwed and pay for something that is going to harm the site in the long term.
Also learning it myself and actually trying things myself before passing it to an employee has saved me a ton of money on payroll — I only pass SEO jobs that I have done myself and have seen actually work. I'd say a good 75% of what I've read and tried didn't work for my particular business and if I just told an employee to do everything in the articles I would waste a ton of money.
— Sarah Hannington, Owner at MyCustomCandy.com – Florida
2. Focusing on Quality Content
When it comes to SEO, anything in excess is always a no-no in the long run. In my 17+ years' building and managing eCommerce sites, I've seen plenty of SEO trends come and go. Metas, keyword stuffing, link farming, article pushing, whatever the SEO-du-jour, it's always going to change. But one thing is not: the value of quality content. By all means, understand the importance of targeting both short and long-tail keywords to your product or subject, but write for the reader. Don't over-stuff your product captions, descriptions, and blog posts with keywords and links. Use what makes sense in headers and body copy, then move on. Doing this ensures that, in the long run, your site’s content brings value to both readers and search. Plus you won't waste time cleaning, fixing, and tweaking copy for every short-lived SEO trend that comes along.
— Krista Fabregas, eCommerce Staff Writer at Fit Small Business – New York, NY
3. Efficient Keyword Research
I help a lot of e-commerce clients with their SEO including one of the largest rug retailers in the US called Super Area Rugs (https://www.superarearugs.com).
Never target keywords that you think people are searching for. Don't target brand names that you think people are searching for. Instead, take the time to do your research. Find the exact keywords and phrases that people use when searching on Google.
This is what the SEO industry calls "keyword research" and while there are a lot of free ways for you to do this yourself, you're probably better off hiring an expert to do this for you.
Check that they have a proven track record and ask for examples of clients they've helped in your niche. This ensures that you have the best chance of dominating Google, whilst freeing your time to focus on other areas of your business.
— Chris McCarron, Owner at GoGoChimp – Glasgow, UK
4. Unique Content across Multiple Sales Channels
I work for an MSP company where I support clients with website design, hosting, and consulting. I also spent 5 years supporting ecommerce sites. Here’s the biggest mistake I’ve seen with SEO and selling products online.
Your ecommerce business is doing well. You’re selling your products on your site, Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Google Shopping, and other online retailers. But are you using the same product descriptions and features for all those sites?
That’s a big SEO problem. Search engines can ding you for having duplicate content. To Google and Bing, seeing multiple sites with the exact same copy looks spammy, and it can hurt your site’s rankings.
The fix: create slightly different content for each website selling your products. It takes a little more time to tweak your optimized copy for each site, but it’ll help your SEO in the long run. You’ll also need to work with your vendors to make sure they only use the unique copy you provide them.
— Roslyn McKenna, Brand Manager at SH Data Centers – Knoxville, TN
5. Informative, Valuable Content
One of the biggest SEO challenges can be avoiding a thin content penalty. Often times there are products that there just isn’t much to say about. In our industry many times if you are looking for a product then you are already familiar with what it is and how to use it. The temptation is to leave out obvious information. However, for Google it is best to include enough information to give the page some substance. This is also great for users who may be new to the industry. You avoid the thin content penalty and everyone wins when you provide information for the product page.
— Dustin Montgomery, Digital Marketing Specialist at Shippers Supplies – Mansfield, OH
Beating the SEO Game
Any business owner knows they're going to encounter problems and obstacles along their journey to success, but thankfully we can look to the strategies that prosperous businesses have in place. This is true for all aspects of eCommerce, including SEO.
Don't underestimate the importance of good SEO and the difference it can make for your business. The majority of online purchases start out with a Google search, not with a customer directly typing in your store's URL. SEO is a vital part of running your business, and SEO capabilities need to be built right into your store's foundation so you can reach your full potential.
All challenges are easier with the right tools at your fingertips, and 3dcart includes all the tools you'll need to implement all your SEO strategies to best effect, making it the best eCommerce platform for SEO. With these built-in features and the knowledge to use them, you'll be ready to start your SEO journey with confidence.