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Some Basic Rules of eCommerce SEO

In a world where eCommerce is taking the precedence over standard brick and mortar sites, many have no clue how to even start making their products visible on search engines like Google, or Bing. Here are the 5 basic places to start.

  1. Naming – Your product names are just as important as your site url names if you had just an informational site. In fact with most eCommerce hosts like Shopify the product name ends up actually being the URL for your page anyway. Therefore these should be descriptive, unique, attractive, and most of all written in a way that people might actually look for it. For instance maybe you are selling a product like a cellphone skin for an iPhone that looks like my favorite intergalactic bounty hunter from Star Wars (like the one Killer Duck Decalssells). A bad idea would be to call it “IPhone Skin” and then describe it somewhere else. A good name (like they did over there) would be something like “Intergalactic Bounty Hunter iPhone 4, iPhone 4s Skin”. Descriptive, unique, and straight to the point.
  2. Descriptions – Every eCommerce site relies on some sort of product description to display information on your product page. It is important to understand how people might look for these, just like your product name. Include in them things like vendor names, product numbers, and other unique properties of your item. This is why sites like lists as much relevant information there. Additionally it is important that this information (or at least a subset of it) is posted to the <header> description that search engines look for (this is a little techie so consult with your neighborhood SEO expert or web developer).
  3. Tags – Tags are an easy way to create keywords, or other information related to your product. These are typically very easy to add, unique, and descriptive, but they differ in the fact that they should be shared across products. In most cases these tags can also be used to do things like “other related products” or to create “smart” collections of products on a page. Then just like your description information they should be added to the <header> information of the page.
  4. OpenGraph – OpenGraph is a standardized method (also added to the <header> information) that allows most social channels, like Facebook, to understand the important information about your product. You tag things here like the image that should appear when someone “Likes” something, or the title, and description that should appear. It is important to ask your developer to ensure that these are created, on every page, automatically by what you enter into the other fields we mentioned before. But also be aware that this can be different dependant on what type of product you are selling
  5. Connect, Connect, Connect – Remember that most online sales start with a search from the primary engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo). Each of these has a unique model that you have to submit information to the search engine, and your eCommerce platform should do this for you (at least almost automatically). You can find a wealth of information online about how to do this, but some platforms (like Shopify) make it a bit easier. Regardless of how easy this is, it is important to follow the rules. You likely will have to tag each and every product or variant with certain properties (like Brand, or gender) which might be mandatory based on what you are selling for Google to allow them to appear.

And there you have it. The 5 basic rules of making your web shop more easily found (and therefore productive). But remember these are the basics anyone can do with a little work. There are a ton more that we might get into, but start here first!