Today, if your online business is selling products online, SEO is crucial for your success.  Your goal for selling online is to rank highly with top search engines like Google.  Being placed well in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) will work best to bring new business your way.

As technology advances, more and more customers are becoming tech-savvy and able to use their smart devices for search.  Turning your visitors into paying customers is referred to as “conversion rate.”  This measures the number of visitors who go on to buy the product.

Optimizing for keywords

A great strategy for eCommerce sites selling products online is a process called “optimizing for keywords.” Use longtail keywords (phrases) that clearly describe each product in detail.  Include unusual and creative product and category descriptions for all products.

Don’t forget about the non-product pages such as the Home page, About page, F.A.Q. page, the blog page, and other non-product pages. These pages include metadata and search criteria which should be optimized to cover all bases.

With all products optimized, you will begin to draw traffic from search engines. Tools that are found in the Google Keyword Planner could help with your keyword search project. Next, we will be discussing situations that could hurt your eCommerce website.  Any of the following items could tank your SEO rank:

  • A bad navigation system (difficult to understand)

Having a bad site menu (navigation system) is like the “kiss of death” for site useability.  To the contrary, creating an easy to use navigation system which is intuitive and user-friendly will work best to improve your SEO rank.  None of us have the free time to figure out how the website works.   We want to visit and find what we are looking for quickly and efficiently.  If not, we will simply leave the site and go elsewhere.

  • Having an insecure website

The next item which would drive folks away is to have an “insecure website.”  This is a website that has no valid SSL certificate.  This can easily be remedied by contacting the hosting company and arrange to have an SSL Certificate connected to the site (securing the site.)  Google Chrome has warned us recently that a website is not secure if the site owner is not using an HTTPS protocol.  This will clearly be designated in the URL at the top of the page.

  • The current website is not responsive

Older eCommerce websites were not built on a responsive platform.  When a user tries to access the site using a smart device, the website is very hard to read and it is very obvious that the site is outdated and old.  Newer sites are all built on a responsive platform.  This approach for website development uses dynamic programming to change the appearance of a website to respond quickly to the size of the viewer’s screen.

This responsive approach for eCommerce web design allows the site to appear correctly.  It is easy on the eyes and is updated to today’s smart technology standards.  The mobile site content will match the desktop version of the website.  The site will load quickly and bring up information and images which are optimized to fit all screen sizes.  This is a “responsive design strategy.

The speed of your eCommerce website:

It has been noted that at least 50% of your visitors to the website will leave the site if the site takes longer than a couple of seconds to load.  If you are selling products online today, you will soon learn that no one wants to wait for a slow-loading site. It is too easy to move on to find a site that loads faster.  This will result in a large reduction in your total visitor conversions.

Losing even one visitor could cost your business needed revenue.  If your site loads slowly, contact your webmaster right away and have him determine the cause.  A well-designed and updated site should load quickly.  Google prefers to list sites that load fast.  So get to the bottom of your problem and fix it immediately.

Choose a virtual private server for best results:

To sell products online your site must load quickly for those searching the web.  One of the top reasons your site could load slowly is because you chose to select a cheap server to save hosting costs.  This type of server is called a “shared server.”   It shares resources and for this reason, runs slower than a virtual private server that does not share resources.  To run faster it is a good idea to choose a “virtual private server.”  This type of server (VPS) has the ability to run its own applications and operating system and is much faster than a “shared server.”

Here are a few more reasons your site could be loading slowly:

  • Outdated CMS
  • Too many ads
  • Too many plugins
  • Images (that are not optimized)
  • Too many extra-large images
  • Code density
  • JavaScript issues
  • Flash content (no longer supported)
  • Content imported from outside sources

Some things have improved since broadband but the following rule of thumb still applies:  Stay away from really large images.  Optimize each image and use smaller ones.   Larger items are always going to take longer to load.  Less imagery is a better strategy to keep load time to a minimum.

The file format is also important for fast loading sites.  JPG, PNGs, and GIF image load quickly.  Avoid heavy formats like TIFF files and BMP files.  Check the items listed above and use this list to improve your eCommerce site.  Be sure to contact our design team to discuss ways we can improve your eCommerce website.  Thanks for stopping by and enjoy your week ahead.

Jean Holland-Rose
Chief Creative Officer & SEO Professional