Nobody’s pretending eCommerce hasn’t been important for a couple of decades. But if the pandemic has taught businesses one thing, it’s that having multiple channels to sell their wares can only be a good thing.
The sudden need for customers to buy online has really shown up the eCommerce businesses that have been complacent. Overnight, search engine visibility became much more of a life or death factor, particularly for companies that had over-relied on footfall.
If you’ve found yourself left behind, you’re going to need to act fast to start clambering up the rankings and start winning customers back. The good news is that there are a few quick things you can do today that will start feeding into the search algorithms over the coming weeks. If they become habits, you should hopefully start strengthening your position even further in the medium term. Check them out.
Quick win 1: Do competitor research
Here’s a simple thing you can do – search for the things you sell in a search engine, and have a good look at the top results. Find the words you searched for, and look at how they fit in with the page copy, and how much copy there is. Do you see a pattern? Try applying it to your own site.
A common problem with eCommerce sites is that there’s not enough content for the search engines to work with for each product and category. You can use tools like SEMrush to help you here – it’s a paid service, but it could be worth it. But if you’ve got hardly any copy on each product page, that will be a big problem that you can fix without tools.
Quick win 2: Fix those meta and title tags
Don’t stick with default title tags, and make sure you have a different one for every page. It shouldn’t just be your business’s name – it should say what is on that actual page. The same applies to URLs – although it’s not always easy to give individual products their own URLs on eCommerce platforms, especially if they are filtered, you can still build static category pages that link to the products, and they can have optimised URLs.
The meta description is your first chance to talk to customers, before they’ve even visited your site, because that’s what they’ll see on the search engine results page. Use it, otherwise the search engine will decide what goes there, and it might not inspire clicks.
Quick win 3: Check your page speed
Page speed is almost certainly a ranking factor, but its importance goes much further than that, as we’ve already written. It’s also a factor in mobile friendliness, as users might well be away from their WiFi when they’re looking you up – and a slow page will just get them frustrated and they’ll head off to your rivals’ sites. Optimise all your images, remove unnecessary plugins, and look into things like lazy loading, where the browser only downloads what’s visible on the screen.
Quick win 4: Get a site map or update your existing one
You can download plugins and addons for all the major platforms that build an XML sitemap, so you don’t have to do it all manually. It’s a file the search engines check, and is basically just a list of links to all the pages on your site. If you add a page, it should update automatically, and sooner or later, the search engines will index it, even if it hasn’t been linked to elsewhere on your site.
… And keep it going
Once you’ve gone through your site making these changes, make sure you keep it up as you change and grow your site. They’re habits that will serve you well into the future, and will help to keep those rankings healthy. Just remember – with organic SEO, nothing happens instantly, but keep looking at your analytics and you should start seeing improvements over time.