billboard_ecommerce SEO Checklist for Ecommerce Websites

When it comes to SEO, many companies are still ignoring the type of business that they run and focusing more on basic tactics. While SEO is similar in all industries and for all types of companies, there are things that differ based on whether you own a franchise, a blog, a B2B versus a B2C company, and finally, an Ecommerce website. Once you have a basic understand of how SEO works, it’s important that you understand how it pertains to the type of company you own. Creating a checklist is a great way to do this.

Ecommerce SEO Checklist: 13 Things in 2013

An Ecommerce website essentially means that your company is selling something online. When it comes to SEO, there are many things to keep in mind that are specific to this type of website. Below is a checklist to help you get started:

  1. Minimize load time. Nothing is more annoying to a customer shopping online than a website that just won’t load. Believe it or not, this is in the control of the webmaster. Make sure that you are removing any unnecessary plugins, decreasing HTTP requests, and using external CSS files. You can learn more here.
  2. Create something interactive and engaging. This might sound obvious, but it’s not as easy as you think. You want to put a lot of effort into making sure that you have an attractive website design, polls and surveys to get people to participate, interactive infographics, and a short and easy way for someone to sign up to make a purchase.
  3. Think mobile. More and more people are beginning to shop on their smartphones, so you want to make sure you have a web design that caters to this. Make sure that your buttons are large enough for people to click, that your reading isn’t too small, and that you have a responsive web design that doesn’t cause one picture to take up the entire mobile screen.
  4. Remember social media, and consider Pinterest. Most companies know by now that some of the big networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are incredibly crucial when it comes to gaining clicks and visibility. For Ecommerce websites, Pinterest is an important one that people often forget. This is a great place to show off your products.
  5. Optimize title and description tags. Optimizing these tags with a keyword helps tell the search engine bots what your website is about, and that’s crucial when it comes time to rank and index a site.
  6. Put your products on your homepage. Your homepage is the number one way that search engines analyze your site and give you a PageRank (not to mention it’s the first thing customers see). Good Ecommerce SEO means having a product no more than two or three clicks away from your homepage.
  7. Start a blog and guest posting strategy. Now is the perfect time to create a guest posting strategy as well as a blog in order to gain backlinks and increase visibility. Doing so usually involves hiring a writer to pitch different websites and write content related to your niche.
  8. Have lots of product reviews. You want to give your customers and outlet to discuss your product or service. Prospective customers will likely trust your current customers’ opinions and Google likes to see the interaction, so if you’re getting good reviews, it’s a win-win-win situation.
  9. Create a product compare option. This is one place that works particularly well for Ecommerce website. It is obviously great if your users are able to look at your products and compare them with others, but it’s also great for SEO. This will help you generate very important internal links.
  10. Apply rich snippets. Rich snippets are little graphics, videos, or extra pieces of information that show up on a search engine results page. These work great because it helps to differentiate your results from the rest, and it allows search engines as users to see what your website is about without having to actually click.
  11. Use CMS systems. Companies are still ignoring content management systems (CMS) that work well for Ecommerce sites. CMS systems made it easy to update your products as well as add content about those products onto your sites. The most popular CMS system for Ecommerce sites is Magento. You can learn more about CMS and how to get started here.
  12. Optimize all your images for search. Make sure that the search engine bots know what your photos represent by putting alt tags in the images. It might not seem like much, but it does make a huge difference when it comes time for Google to analyze your site. It shows every part of your site is important.
  13. Have an XML or HTML sitemap. This is crucial if you have a large Ecommerce site (more than 100 items) because it will automatically update whenever you need to revise or change your products.

Many of the items included in the checklist will work for other types of businesses just as well as they work for Ecommerce sites. Still, it’s important that you put these things on your list in 2013 as priority because SEO is only going to get more complicated and more important as the year continues.