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For each and every website owner, SEO is the most critical aspect. However, very few know its importance as far as ecommerce marketplaces are concerned. Studies have suggested that 44% of all online purchases begin with an online search. This means that every other order placed on your ecommerce store originates from search results.
Despite this, most business owners are not aware of necessary SEO features while looking for an ecommerce platform. While some of these platforms offer just basic SEO features, others charge a premium for add-on options.
Why is SEO important for ecommerce platforms?
Let us look at an example of an average online store selling home décor items. One of the products is a vintage chandelier. Consider that you have named the 60’s era chandelier as “Peacock”. Because of the limitations of your ecommerce platform, the name might automatically become the title of the product page, the page URL as well as the name of the product in site navigation.
Many customers might not search for that particular phrase i.e. “peacock chandelier”, but instead, might use “60’s era vintage chandelier”. Ecommerce store owners discover this issue mostly after they have invested substantial time and money in their marketplace. SEO has become a critical aspect of ecommerce as far as product discovery is concerned, so ignoring such issues can be detrimental for a business.
Here is the list of SEO ranking factors that are highly recommended for every ecommerce platform. When it comes to choosing the right platform, these features must be taken into account.
1. Navigation Links
This is the text appearing for the products as well as categories in the navigation menu of the website. Most of the ecommerce platforms tend to automatically generate the text in accordance with the name of the products. In order to optimise your ecommerce store for search engines, it is advised to have an independent control of navigation links.
2. Page Titles
This is by far the most important aspect of any product page. Often it is advised to have a strong correlation for Page Titles; including a key search term is the right way to do it. However, some ecommerce platforms automatically generate page titles with respect to the name of the product as well as product categories.
3. Page URLs
It is the location of the page as shown in the address bar of the browser. The fact remains that having a search engine optimized URL results in superior ranking of the page. However, most of the ecommerce platforms do not bother much with their permalinks. They would automatically generate page URLs with regard to the product names and categories. For SEO, there must be independent control of page URLs.
4. Meta Descriptions
The main aim of meta tags is to provide a brief summary of your webpage’s content in the search listing. It can have a considerable impact on whether search visitors click on the link or not. Most of the ecommerce platform do not offer independent control over Meta tags and automatically use the description shown on the page itself. An effective Meta description should be different from the description used on the product page. Here you need to focus on adding both the searchable key terms as well as unique offering.
5. Image ALT Tags
It is the text added to a product image, for describing it to the search engines as well as users, who are unable to view images in their browser. It surely has a strong correlation to the ranking of the image in the Google image search. In many cases, some ecommerce platforms either do not have an option for changing ALT tags or don’t even have the option to add it in the first place.
6. Canonical Tags
Most ecommerce stores have to face a predicament of similar content of multiple pages. For example, a green unisex shirt might be displayed in men, women, shirt as well as brand name section.
The search engine will see these URLs as separate pages, with identical content. This might go against the ecommerce platform as per the duplicate content policy of search engines and in turn, can hurt the ranking of the page. In order to overcome this, ecommerce platforms must use canonical tags.
7. Integrated Blogging Platform
Every ecommerce store wants traffic and the best way to generate traffic is blogging. A blog lets you share engaging stories that might convert visitors into customers. However, as far as ecommerce stores are concerned very few platforms tend to provide an integrated blog as a standard feature.
8. Social Sharing buttons
In the current online dynamics, social media plays a critical role in connecting businesses with customers. It is important for ecommerce marketplaces to incorporate huge social media marketing strategies to gain new customers. The platform you choose must have essential features that encourage social sharing like providing your customers a simple tool for sharing your web pages can result in huge traffic. It can also expose your website to prospective customers not familiar with your store.
Choosing an ecommerce platform for your online store is a decision that should not be taken lightly. While you must focus heavily on customizations and cutting-edge features, you must also keep the above-mentioned points in mind. While design and advanced features might help you convert a visitor to customer, SEO is the key factor behind bringing visitors to your marketplace.