This article has been contributed by Ricky Hayes.
Setting up an eCommerce store and creating several hundred product pages may sound like a brand is on the path to becoming the next Amazon or eBay.
But is it really true? Is listing hundreds of eCommerce product pages the best way to go?
Heartbreaking as it may seem, it’s not. The power of SEO has spread across the internet and eCommerce businesses can no longer thrive without knowing common eCommerce SEO issues and resolving them.
Thin, duplicate, and too much content is not desirable for SEO rankings. But what do we mean by those terms?
- Web pages have thin content when there’s just a few sentences and maybe one or two images. This usually isn’t enough information for users to make decisions, and it isn’t enough for search engines to warrant ranking your pages in search results.
- Duplicate content occurs when you have the same content – usually text – repeated on several different webpages. This means that all these different pages within your own website are effectively competing with each other to rank for the same keywords, diminishing each page’s ability to successfully rank.
- Too much content is a problem if it’s not relevant to users’ searches. If it’s not what users are looking for and they don’t spend time reading it, search engines will see that activity and your pages won’t rank well.
To improve SEO performance, you need to emphasize content generation, communication, and security.
To help you find the remedy, in this article, we’ll guide you through some of the best ways to solve content issues for fast and powerful SEO performance. So, follow along!
1. Copying Product Descriptions from Other Sites
Your SEO rankings get seriously affected when you copy product descriptions from another site. If you’re a reseller, posting descriptions directly from the site of the manufacturer is not recommended.
Google does not like duplicated content across multiple sites. The search engine may lower your rank in search engine result pages (SERPs). Instead, write fresh, high quality content….
Write Fresh, Quality Content for Your Site
You will be rewarded by search engines for writing new and quality content for your products. Generating content from scratch may be challenging, but it’s worth it.
Try to think of different things to write about your products, like physical details that the manufacturer doesn’t mention, the benefits of using the products and reviews from your customers.
You will then have the opportunity to compete with the manufacturer’s pages and enhance your products’ SERP performance.
Prioritize New Content Creation for High-Value Products
Prioritizing your most popular products, or those with the highest margins, is really helpful if you’re low on budget.
Creating new content for your product descriptions and blogs is desirable but may require you to hire an expert freelancer to write it. Since this is not always budget-friendly, it may be suitable for you to prioritize product pages of high-value items. As a result, you’re not only getting SEO-friendly pages but are also aiming for higher ROI.
Create Discrete Content for Retail Sites
As a seller on Amazon, eBay, or any other renowned retailer, you’ve generally got a better chance of converting faster than selling on your own eCommerce site.
But remember that if you’re listing products on both a retail site and your own site, your own SEO rankings will be compromised. Here’s how.
Imagine that your products are listed on Amazon and eBay. The product descriptions that you originally wrote for the product pages on your site were forwarded to these platforms when listing your products on them. Since these large retail giants have strong authority in the SERPs, they will automatically outrank your website’s pages and your rankings may drop off altogether.
Users may initially find your product on Amazon or eBay, then search for your website, to compare prices or find similar products for instance. If they can’t find your site in the SERPs, it will damage your brand’s reputation and ability to convert at all.
As a remedy, be sure to create separate product content for your eCommerce product pages and third-party retailers. Avoiding duplication will save you from unknowingly competing with these sellers and affecting your SEO performance.
Ensure Different Content is Used on Affiliate Sites
If you’re prospering as an eCommerce store, you may reach out to small middlemen or even launch your own affiliate program.
Even though this is an opportunity to expand sales, you’ll need to be cautious with the content here as well. Eliminate duplication and generate new and engaging content from scratch that fosters quality SEO performance.
Don’t allow your affiliates to post a similar product description on their sites as this will hurt your ranking in SERPs.
Also, if they have posted an overview of your brand, make sure it is unique from the one you already have on your homepage. Hence, you need to invest in generating fresh content.
This may seem like a daunting task, but you don’t need to be doubtful. Remember, as per the affiliate agreement, you have every right to take action against violation of terms. You can enforce the use of unique content easily.
Avoid Content Syndication or Canonicalize
Content syndication is the posting of duplicate content such as others’ blog posts on your site. Some eCommerce stores use this arrangement to give their readers fresh content, by means of a license that allows them to publish content from other sites.
Even though you may acquire partnership rights to share content, this strategy of sharing quality content could backfire easily if the original content creator is an authority in the area.
Either avoid content syndication or use canonical links to communicate to search engines that you are not claiming to be responsible for creating the content.
Guard Against Scraper Sites
Scraper sites are the cruelest of enemies for eCommerce stores. These sites perform illegal activities of stealing original content and publishing it elsewhere. Since this results in duplication, it can indirectly affect your store’s SEO performance, thus pushing it downward in the rankings.
Even though search engines have emerged as strong detectors of such scammers, capturing them and blacklisting these sites remains a challenge.
If you discover your site has been scraped, be sure to file a DMCA complaint on Google or claim Intellectual Property Rights Infringement with Bing. These actions can help you protect yourself against scraper sites.
2. Duplicating Content on Your Own Site
Another type of duplication that robs eCommerce stores of their potential to reach a greater audience is content being duplicated across a range of products within the site.
You may have generated new content that’s different to the manufacturer’s, but also make sure you publish different content for each product on your own site.
Product pages that only differ by color or design may otherwise show the same content. This can be limiting for your SERP performance. So, here’s what you should do.
Avoid Boilerplate Text
According to Google’s sources, more than 25% of content available on the internet is duplicated. This is a good reminder to scour your site for duplicate content.
A common source of repeated content is boilerplate texts. Boilerplate text is essentially template text that is used, unchanged, across a website.
Don’t Create Too Many Pages for Each Product
Instead of creating and managing too many pages for a single product, or variations of a product, you should consider making a single page.
This can really help in improving your Google ranking. We recommend using a drop-down menu for offering variety in size and color.
This will help to reduce several pages to one single page, which is user-friendly and can also improve the SEO performance of your eCommerce product pages.
Please know that some web hosts don’t allow this feature, so you may need Magento or Shopify to include a full variety in a single page.
Use Canonical URLs
A similar URL or multiple URLs for the same product may also affect your SEO performance and your eCommerce store rankings. Having a www and a non-www version of the same URL is a classic example. Likewise, a URL with capital letters and the same URL with all lowercase letters
This is certainly not what you want. As an alternative, we recommend you canonicalize URLs. Canonicalizing involves editing HTML tags (or settings within your CMS) to unify pages for SEO.
When you canonicalize, you’re telling search engines to combine the SEO strength of duplicate pages that have distinct URLs. This way, you don’t have duplicate pages on different addresses ruining your ranking.
3. Thin Content
Search engines prefers authoritative content. That is the reason why sites like Tesco, Amazon, eBay, and Walmart often rank high on SERPs even though they may have little content on their product pages.
The case probably won’t be the same for you, especially when you’re an emerging eCommerce store. Thin or light content on your product pages will only hinder your search rankings.
In addition, a lack of backlinks to your content will tend to move your page down in the SERPs. So, here’s what you need to do to enhance the SEO performance of thin content pages.
Include More Detail
Including more detail and adding more creative content will yield more organic ranking value.
Having more content on each page increases your chances of the pages being indexed for relevant keywords by search engines. It also boosts your chances of securing backlinks from other websites to your product pages, as there will be more content that other site owners will consider worth directing their visitors to.
Plus, the mere act of updating any content on your website triggers search engines to crawl your site again and reindex content for new keywords where relevant.
There’s another way to boost the content, that won’t involve writing new content yourself. All you need to do is share the user experience on your site by soliciting reviews and sharing them.
This has multiple benefits for your website, beyond just increasing your content levels. Customer reviews are social proof of your quality eCommerce store, which builds trust with your audience.
Revise Highly Profitable Pages First
If you’re a large eCommerce store with several hundreds of products listed on your site, you should know that ranking every page uniquely with new and innovative content is really hard.
Therefore, consider investing in product pages that carry better reviews and high-margin products.
Use Keywords Naturally
It’s important to use keywords contextually and naturally without compromising the readability of your content. Integrating keywords just for the sake of matching popular searches is not advisable. Adding high volumes of powerful keywords in your content won’t do any good to you.
Remember, there is no shortcut to quality SEO performance. An eCommerce store ranking high in SERPs is always a result of quality content and hard work.
4. Static Homepage Content
Most eCommerce stores commit the mistake of having very thin content on their homepage, that they don’t update regularly, if at all.
Regularly Update Homepage Content
Be careful in this regard and consider adding fresh content to your homepage on a regular basis.
Just like product pages, your homepage needs to be updated with unique, catchy, and creative content that engages your visitor instantly.
In conclusion, avoiding duplicate content and thin content are significant factors in enhancing the SEO performance of your eCommerce store.
Focusing on creating high-quality, fresh content on your own site will do wonders for your rankings. In addition, monitor for duplicate content on other sites like retailers, affiliates and manufacturers. Also develop a comprehensive content strategy that unifies SEO attributes for various links.
Natural use of keywords will open you to a wide range of searches and help you compete better in the race of Google SERPs.
Have questions? Drop them below. We’d love to hear from you.…
About the author: Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.