Technical SEO for eCommerce Websites
Technical SEO is important for eCommerce websites to improve the visibility and get more traffic. With the increasing competition you need to offer the best user experience possible. You need to do technical SEO for your website to avoid any performance errors.
Even if you run your eCommerce store on a platform like Shopify you will still need to understand the technical tasks these platforms do for you. Technical SEO for eCommerce websites falls into two areas: Technical proficiency and Technical optimisation.
- The site architecture and the site structure should be right. The site architecture should be as that of a standard catalogue. Catalogues have been there for centuries and very little has changed in how the offline catalogues are structured and also the eCommerce websites. The site structure should be made as follows:
Homepage → Categories → Sub Categories → Products
Users are familiar with this kind of a structure and it also makes logical sense. This should be consistently followed in the URL structure also. Products should be placed in their subfolders and you should be able to pull them into the different relevant categories without having to create a product page duplication.
Category page: example.com/category
Subcategory page: example.com/category/niche1
Product page: example.com/p/product-name or
Platforms like Shopify and Salesforce Commerce Cloud provide URL structures that include subfolders and products SKUs. And these websites are able to compete just as others.
- Create a HTML sitemap as it provides the category and the subcategory pages with better internal linking. They help to organise and track your pages and help the users to navigate your website. You can create an XML sitemap as they help Google to discover the URLs.
When you crawl the URLs connected to the Search Console Inspection API it helps you find out the issues like category pages being found only via XML sitemap and not through internal linking.
To get insights into the quality of your pages and better data you should do the following:
- Submit XML sitemaps to Google Search Console
- Add Google Search Console property for each subfolder branch on your eCommerce website.
This will help you to know if you need to improve the value proposition or the quality of your category, subcategory and product pages.
You can use a form of the XML sitemap in your homepage design as this provides a natural crawl path to pass the PageRank for the homepage to the categories and subcategories. This way you can avoid spammy lists of links.
- When your products go out-of-stock your product page template should show it. Google can interpret it as a soft 400 error and stop indexing it. This will lead to you losing the traffic and the rankings for the search terms associated with the page.
When the users land on the page and find that they cannot buy the product then it will lead to a negative brand experience. This can be solved as follows:
When a product hits a zero it can display the out-of-stock message. Google will identify it as a soft 404 error. To prevent this you can bring in similar products and elements on the same page to create a different value proposition. Your users get guidance on what to do next and you can also avoid the soft 404 error.
If you own a physical store then you can add the message ‘Out-of-stock online’ and direct the users to the store locator.
You can use your PIM (Product Information Management) system to find the cross-selling opportunities for your other pages. If within your PIM system you use custom tagging then you can show products by different options like size, colour, shape, recent event and more. This will help you avoid the negative user experiences.
You should make using PIM data a standard practice while optimising your eCommerce stores. This can help your product pages stand out against your competitor if they have similar pages.
- Use structured data to improve the products in the search result by providing the Rich Snippets. It also presents the information clearly to search engines and helps them understand about the products. Rich Snippets can help to improve your click-through-rate in the search engine result pages.
For the product pages you can use the product schema to enable rich snippets. For the category pages you can use the ‘Itemlist’ schema. If you own a local store then you can add the ‘LocalBusiness’ schema to the individual pages.
The other schema types that you should include for your website are Website, Organisation, Breadcrumb and Sitelink Search box.
Implementing technical SEO can help to improve the user experience and can help you develop an edge. If you are interested in eCommerce search engine optimisation then check out Supramind.com, we offer SEO services.