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5 avoidable SEO mistakes retailers make

5 avoidable SEO mistakes retailers make

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Brianna DiPanni

Ecommerce is continuing to grow in popularity worldwide and that growth isn’t showing any signs of slowing. According to eMarketer, ecommerce will account for 16.1% of all global retail sales in 2020—up from 14.1% last year and rising to 22% by 2023.

Despite playing such a critical role in propelling lower-cost top-of-funnel traffic, SEO is not always treated as a vital digital marketing tool in today’s digital world. But when you consider that Google is responsible for almost 75% of all global desktop search traffic—and that the first five organic results take 68% of all clicks on the first page—a healthy SEO ranking is crucial to being clicked through.

If you’re committing any of the following SEO faux pas, you are doing more harm than good to your business. But there’s no need to notify the SEO Hall of Shame just yet: these issues are fixable! Here are the top five costliest SEO mistakes made by ecommerce websites and online stores—and ways to avoid these damaging errors without scaring off potential customers.

  1. Low-quality content

    Strong, unique content is critical for good SEO performance. One more time for the people in the back: strong, unique content is critical for good SEO performance! You simply can’t pull a fast one on Google. Your titles are not unique? The search engine takes notice. Thought you could get away with duplicate pages? Not a chance. When trying to upsell yourself, avoid repeating yourself. Having duplicate content can split signals and ultimately cause sites to compete with themselves.

    Internet shopper entering credit card information using Mac computer keyboard for online shopping

    Also consider the kind of keyword searches people type into Google when you are writing headlines, title pages, and product descriptions. If you pay no heed to the data, you could easily promote a product or service no one is searching for.

  2. Inadequate or missing product descriptions

    Product descriptions are an often-overlooked asset in your SEO arsenal, and leaving these descriptions as an afterthought will cost you. Writing optimized content is fundamental to ranking higher in the search engines, so if you have zero content, you are hurting your SEO strategy. In all likelihood, the less content you have, the lower you will rank, which means fewer potential customers will find and click on your website.

    Create unique product descriptions that are geared towards helping customers make purchase decisions. But don’t simply copy content from other websites or you will face the risk of legal action against you. Besides, Google will attempt to identify the original source and rank their website instead of yours.

    Meta data for Vera Bradley's Glenna Satchel product page

    Schema markup is also a critical consideration. Implement the correct Product markup as part of your product descriptions and Google will have a much easier time parsing your content. The result? You’re much more likely to appear in SERPs as “rich snippets”. Schema markup on its own won’t improve your overall rankings, but it will provide Google with a better understanding of your site—and rich snippets are a priceless way to secure the coveted “position zero” on Google.

  3. Misuse of keywords

    When in doubt, follow the golden rule of SEO: when its users are satisfied, so is Google. That means no keyword stuffing. And if you’re only optimizing for one keyword, reconsider your approach. There are multiple ways to tell Google you need something. Think like a customer and conduct your own keyword research. You should also visit other sites selling products like yours, which could spark some ideas to incorporate into your customer-facing content.

  4. Not optimizing for mobile

    Nowadays, many people do their shopping through their mobile devices. Adhering to this logic, you are excluding a large customer base if your website is not mobile-friendly. Fortunately, it’s becoming increasingly clear that SEO and web dev are a match made in heaven.

    UX designer sketching out mobile experience wireframe on paper

    Most search engines prefer responsive design, which not only accommodates multiple screen sizes but is far easier to maintain. Unlike dynamic display, you don’t need to update CSS or generate a separate URL when updating mobile and desktop versions: with responsive design, all versions use the same code.

  5. Low domain authority

    Good content increases your domain authority, but it’s not the only way to improve your standing in Google’s eyes. High-quality backlinks, for instance, are looked upon favorably. Create linkable content and strong internal linking to direct customers to useful resources and other relevant pages on your own site. If you have toxic backlinks from questionable sites, it’s time to get rid of them. Google prefers you to contact these sites directly (either manually or using an automated tool, such as SEMrush’s Backlink Audit Tool) before resorting to the disavow function.

    Finally, nothing will drive shoppers away faster than an unsafe user experience. If you don’t have an SSL certificate to verify that you protect user data, get one. Not having this certificate means you lose the ability to keep the communications between the user and your site private from attackers, which is a guaranteed way to lose customer trust and, as a result, conversions.

Want to learn how to avoid the deadliest SEO pitfalls to drive growth for your retail business? A smarter strategy awaits. Give us a shout!


Brianna DiPanni
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