Search engine optimization or SEO is incredibly valuable to you in the world of online marketing today. Not to mention that it is essential to make your website visible on search engine results.
So, in the process of creating your online store, you need to be sure that the e-commerce platform that you pick has all the necessary features that will let you implement the best SEO practices.
Keep in mind that although a lot of e-commerce platforms out there promise so many things, all are not created equal, especially when it all comes down to implementing SEO.
So, how do you pick the right e-commerce platform that will be great for your search engine optimization?
Here some of the features that you need to look for when making your final selection:
Ability to Customize
A lot of e-commerce platforms vary in flexibility, especially in letting you make changes in a couple of key areas. Generally, you want your page titles, page URLs, and navigation links to integrate key search terms.
Meanwhile, in other platforms, the system will utilize the listings that you have on your site automatically.
But if you want to integrate a complex description or a brand name that is little known in your catalog, you will easily clutter up what search engines will see. As a result, this will push you down on the SERPs.
Aside from being able to customize your page URLs, titles, and navigation links, you should be able to make these changes quickly and easily.
Navigation links are texts that show up in your products and product categories on your website’s navigation menu.
Other e-commerce platforms will automatically generate these links by utilizing the same names with your product categories and products in your online store.
To get the best results, you should have independent control over these navigation links.
Rewrite Meta Description
Some e-commerce platforms do not let you rewrite your meta description. They will just generate it automatically based on your product description or homepage’s content. But the problem is that it is not usually spot on when conducting an individual search.
That’s why you need to look for a platform that lets you rewrite these essential introductions to your business and products.
Remember these two lines are responsible for forming the first impression to an online buyer who is merely skimming over a list of results.
A page URL is the location of a particular page as viewed in the address bar of your browser. Page URLs that have key search terms have a better SEO and CTR advantage and will fare better on search results pages.
Some e-commerce platforms generate a page URL automatically by utilizing the same product names and categories in your online store. But it is better to have independent control over these URLs. Otherwise, you will end up hurting your rankings if the URLs that you are using are irrelevant or too long.
Also, you might probably need to have a different title that needs to be shown in the URL.
Option to Add Image Alt Tags
The function of alt tags is that it makes search engines “see” pictures and images. It also aids internet users who are visually impaired.
Again, there will be e-commerce platforms that will not let you place alt tags in those images, so it eliminates you from being found by other users that are searching via Google image.
Some will generate these alt tags automatically by utilizing irrelevant information, which does not really do much on letting searchers find you. Other platforms will let you pay extra, or require you to download an app, to allow you to use alt tags.
There will be cases that the product that is listed in multiple areas of your online store is the same.
Let’s say you are selling pens. It may be listed under “school supplies” or “office products” on your site. When these links vary in the department that they appear in, Google might mistake them as duplicate entries, and you could potentially get penalized.
So, ideally, you would want your e-commerce platform to let you indicate your canonical URLs. That way, only one will show up when a user is looking for a particular product.
A canonical tag will also let Google know that although in a way, it is duplicate content, you are giving credit to the original source. There are some cases, though that this is not possible simply because the platform will not let you.
So, you need to evaluate your e-commerce platform first, as well as its ability to let you make a change.
Enable 301 Redirects
There are e-commerce platforms that will tend to take off product pages, especially if these are no longer available. The same thing goes for category pages.
That’s why it is crucial to see if 301 redirects are possible. That way, dead links could be redirected whenever necessary.
Generate XML Sitemap
Sitemaps are there to help search engines look for your products and services online. So, if you have hundreds or even thousands of products, the last thing that you want to do is to do this task by hand.
It is best to check if a particular e-commerce platform automatically generates sitemaps when you place or remove products. Or whether they are part of the standard or upgraded package services.
Integrated Blogging Platforms
Aside from making your site look relevant for search terms that are used by your prospects, the most vital factor that affects how your site will prominently appear on Google’s search results is the quality and number of links that point to your site.
You will be attracting a larger set of external links if you have a good blog that has an engaging, informative, and shareable content in the long run.
Social Sharing Buttons
More traffic is now generated from social media. That’s why it is crucial to add those social sharing buttons so that visitors can “tweet” or “share” easily.
So check with various e-commerce platforms and know if they offer that particular feature. Even if it costs you more, you need to look for a plug-in that can help you to do so.
Support Google Analytics for Ecommerce
Most platforms usually provide Google Analytics, but sometimes, it is not enough for e-commerce. When choosing a platform, see if it supports Google Analytics Ecommerce Tracking.
Through it, it can be easier to harness the data of your transactions, source of traffic, and other aspects that help you maximize your return on investment. You need analytics so that you can make better decisions when it comes to SEO.
Own Domain Name
Most of the time, your domain name is the same as your company name, which significantly helps users that are searching for you on the internet.
So, make sure that the e-commerce platform that you pick lets you utilize your own domain name. If it is offered as a premium feature, then it is still worth the investment.
Do not use a free subdomain, because it generates more traffic to your e-commerce provider than your own business.
With a lot of online businesses available on the market today, it is crucial that you get picked by relevant searches by your prospects. So, choosing an e-commerce platform that is SEO-friendly is crucial.
About the Author
Juliette Anderson is an Outreach Community Specialist for an e-commerce fulfillment company that specializes in partnering with online sellers who have an average parcel weight of 5+ pounds or greater. She works hand-in-hand with e-commerce stores to achieve optimal sales for four years already. Her specialty lay in social media marketing and paid promotions.