Common Ecommerce SEO Issues
Ecommerce sites can be more challenging for search engine optimization than other sites. Typically, ecommerce sites have many more web pages, and the page URLs frequently change with new or updated products. You also might have the same type of product information as other ecommerce sites and have complex product or service categories on your ecommerce site. All of this can make it tricky for Google and other search engines to rank your ecommerce site without a good SEO strategy in place. But, hear this, it’s not impossible to achieve solid SEO for ecommerce sites! Let’s dive into common ecommerce SEO issues we see and how you can resolve them.
Subcategory and Facet Pages Not Indexing
For ecommerce sites, subcategory and facet pages are not automatically indexed, meaning these pages can’t rank in search engines. The problem is there can be popular search terms that lead to these subcategory and facet pages. Typically, people doing these searches that lead to subcategory pages are seriously considering purchasing. So, if these pages can’t rank, usually, you’ll see the product pages or main category pages rank instead, but these pages may not be relevant to the searcher. So, subcategory and facet pages need to rank for relevant terms.
Instead of relying on no indexing by default, the solution for this issue is to look at each subcategory page and determine if you should index it based on supply and demand. Ask yourself if there is enough search volume for this subcategory or facet page and the inventory to keep up with the demand. Then, index those subcategories or facet pages if the supply and demand are appropriate.
Indexing Internal Search Result Pages
Although it’s not as common anymore, there are still ecommerce sites that index their internal search result pages to rank higher and gain more website traffic. The problem is that you could start ranking for non-relevant keywords, which can bring performance issues with your website. Not to mention, internal search result pages can frustrate potential customers. They go from a search engine result page to your site’s search result page without quickly finding the content they want.
Instead of indexing internal search result pages, you should index subcategory and facet pages. These pages often produce the exact results the user is searching for. The best solution is to 301-redirect the internal search result pages to their relevant category, subcategory, or facet page.
No Unique Commercial Content on Category and Facet Pages
We see that category, subcategory, and facet pages often show the products the potential customer is searching for. Still, these pages don’t always have enough descriptive text to rank well as a commercial page. However, since these pages can have a significant role in conversion, we need them to rank well for those popular search terms!
You could add descriptive text at the bottom of category pages, but this doesn’t always provide a commercial value, instead just informational value. Google could get confused as to what this page truly is. If there is too much informational text, Google could think it’s not a commercial page and, therefore, not rank as such.
So how do we fix this? It all goes back to good keyword research. Research keywords that you might find in this customer journey phase and include those naturally in your content. Also, consider what questions or doubts the potential customer may have and answer those. Finally, once you have stellar content, make sure the content is organically placed that’s easy and natural for the user to read.
Lack of Unique Descriptive Content on Product Pages
Product pages can generate most of your traffic because of the long tail searches it targets. Plus, people tend to share product pages more, leading to a lot of direct traffic and backlinks. That means there is great potential with product pages with your ecommerce SEO! The problem that occurs a lot with product pages is they usually don’t have much unique content, so Google doesn’t index and rank them because there’s no unique content.
The solution for this is to provide valuable content on your product pages. Of course, a well-written product description is essential, but also consider things like reviews, product comparisons, and complimentary products. Even if you have similar products, it’s necessary to have unique content for better ranking potential.
Unavailable or Out of Stock Product Pages Generating Errors
Surprisingly, product pages can still rank or promote traffic even if the link generates errors. This is a widespread issue with ecommerce sites because there may be products that aren’t sold anymore or have a short lifespan. It’s critical to address this issue because not only is it frustrating for your potential customers, it can also affect your ecommerce SEO.
If your product is just temporarily out of stock, keep the page indexable, so you don’t lose the SEO, but clearly state the item is out of stock on your product page and through structured data. Give the customer an option to be notified when it’s back in stock too. If the product is permanently out of stock, you must use a 301 redirect toward the new version product or the category page. Also, make sure your internal links, search result pages, XML sitemaps, and feeds remove the unavailable product URL.
Seasonal Pages Generating Errors
It seems logical to remove the URLs for seasonal pages like holiday sale pages because they are no longer relevant. However, it’s important to leave these pages indexable because they will return errors that will impact your overall optimization. In addition, using the same URL each year for seasonal promotions will help generate more ranking over time. So, how do you keep the URL without causing frustration with customers?
One way to prevent this issue without confusing your potential customers is to change the content during those out-of-season times. This could give information about when these seasonal promotions or products are available and answer frequently asked questions. You can also point customers to any current promotions or popular products you currently have available.
Not Including Other Page Types for the Overall Customer Journey
An easy situation to fall into as an ecommerce website is only prioritizing category and product pages for optimization. There is still great potential for ranking and traffic with other page types! Think about the overall customer journey. Many potential customers want to gather information about the brand, different product comparisons, or read guides and articles about the products. You can provide an improved user experience by including various informational resources for all customer journey phases.
You can get started with this by conducting keyword research to look at all the different query types from all phases of the customer journey. From there, you’ll be able to discover what content is most relevant and valuable to your potential customers. This will enhance your customer’s experience on your website and position you as the expert in your area.
Ecommerce websites have more unique qualities than other websites, so they require specific SEO strategies to succeed. If you’re looking for a solid plan and long-term partner for your ecommerce SEO, you need a team specializing in ecommerce SEO. Suite Edge has the experience and passion for ecommerce SEO, and we can help provide the strategy and tools you need for winning results. Contact Suite Edge today for more information.