Many eCommerce companies give higher importance to only product descriptions for SEO effectiveness and give lesser thought to the structure of the product data itself, which is the biggest mistake in the digital commerce space. Also, instead of creating a proper eCommerce product catalog structure, many companies end up uploading a simple PDF file of their product catalogs. In doing that, they are missing out on the key benefits of a well-structured and organized product catalog.
An ecommerce product catalog should be created with SEO in mind from the very start. It also provides better results from the beginning. Integrating initial SEO best practices with existing inbound marketing activity will help to supercharge overall digital marketing efforts.
How to Structure eCommerce Product Catalog?
All eCommerce businesses battle to get their web pages and products to appear in the top results on search engines, drive higher organic traffic and offer their best product categories and products to potential customers. Many companies make the biggest mistake in thinking that only keywords are at the forefront to win the internet search battle.
Yes, while healthy keywords are important, but they not the only parameter. The most important for a better SEO is a product catalog structure.
A well-organized product catalog structure is required for:
- An authoritative content scheme for search engines
- Coherent internal linking
- The right product data to meet customers’ expectations
- Lower maintenance costs
What are the elements of eCommerce Product Catalog That Impact SEO?
As we discussed, the optimization of the digital product catalog begins with structure. The way the overall content is organized into categories, subcategories, product groups and tags determine how easy products will be to find through an online search engine such as Google or Bing.
Once you are ready with keyword research to identify which keywords and related phrases work best, you can include them in the content of your catalog and adapt your content to what your customers are searching for.
Here’s an example of an online sports shoe store.
You have the option to structure the product catalog based on age or gender (women, men or children) OR based on the sport or activity (football, basketball, fitness, running).
On analysis, you will find that while most users search for shoes by brand or gender or age, users also search for shoes by their activity (running shoes/yoga shoes, etc.) This would indicate that the ideal primary and secondary structure to be followed. While the primary may be managed through the menu at the top, and secondary may be managed with the help of navigation filters.
This analysis will help make the ecommerce product catalog SEO optimized. The content should contain the most popular search terms on the product page. Search engine robots will identify which pages are the most relevant and show them in search results so that they match the best interest of your shoppers.
Once an SEO-friendly catalog structure is created, you can begin optimizing the content.
As an SEO best practice, it is not advisable to repeat product titles in an online product catalog.
Try using unique names for each product. Try not to duplicate or stuff keywords to prevent Google from penalizing you. The Title tag is displayed on SERPs as the clickable headline. After the URL, the second most important place on a page to have the keyword is the Title tag. The Title tag is the first description of the page that search engine users will read, and it is imperative to both users and search engines that contain the keyword they are searching for. This will not only help to improve rankings but can significantly enhance click-through rate as well.
Duplicate Title tags make it difficult for search engines to determine which of a website’s pages is relevant for a specific search query and which one should be prioritized in search results. Pages with duplicate titles have a lower chance of ranking well and are at risk of being banned. Moreover, identical Title tags confuse users as to which webpage they should follow.
Redirects for Discontinued Products
The biggest headache for ecommerce marketers is that products disappear over time. This is either because they are no longer popular or there is no inventory, or you cannot continue selling them.
In most cases, for pages that are no longer on the site, a 404 page is created. However, a 404 page is not much effective. Try using 301 redirects that lead the visitor to a similar product, category or product group.
Using Variation of Keywords in Strategic Places
Apart from choosing well-targeted keywords, do not copy the descriptions/content as mentioned by the manufacturer or the competition. Have unique texts. Duplication of content leads to lower rankings on search engines.
Following are the best keyword locations in a product catalog:
- Categories: Using main keywords in categories helps the search results. Example: Shoes for Men, Men’s Shoes
- Products: Use more specific keywords with their variations to differentiate your products, such as model, brand, material, color, size and use them in titles, H1 tags and descriptions. Example: New Balance M90 Running Shoes for Men
- Images: Filenames / Alt tags influence when the search engines read and identify your content. Name the images used in the website correctly.
- URLs: They are unique addresses of products for search engines. Hence a very clear and organized structure is needed that identifies each page with meaning. Example: www.xyz.com/athletic-shoes/men-running-shoes/adidas.html
Schema is structured content that helps Google understand how a website is put together. Adding schema markup to product pages allows search engines to identify them easily. According to Moz.com, Schema.org (often called Schema) is a semantic vocabulary of tags (or microdata) that you can add to your HTML to improve the way search engines read and represent your page in SERPs by enhancing the rich snippets that are displayed beneath the page title.
Although catalog structure is important as an initial step for SEO optimization, constant analysis of content is also highly recommended.
The Enhanced Ecommerce feature of Google Analytics allows to access the performance of an ecommerce store, such as page speed, which pages are most and least visited, which products are more and less sold, and by what search terms your web traffic arrives. This data is a cornerstone to help you make changes and content adjustments to improve conversions.
Exceed your buyer’s expectations by optimizing their shopping experience. Always keep your web store meeting the current market trends by improving the product information. TransForm Solutions help you convert all your catalogs from a print medium or legacy format to the newest digital format to enable your audience with easy access to the product information and better visibility.
An optimized eCommerce Product Catalog helps achieve increased conversions leading to improved sales and ROI.