This guide will focus around optimising your ecommerce websites category SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) settings, specific to our gCart ecommerce solution. If you are looking for general introduction to SEO then I’d recommend you first read our beginners guide to SEO.
Before you get started it is good to have a clear idea of what search terms will yield the best results for your website. Investing some time in keyword research is a vital part of SEO on any part of your ecommerce website. Knowing what people are looking for can help us provide the search engines with the right content, and provide customers with content using terms they understand.
SEO & Ecommerce Category pages
Besides your website homepage, the second most important pages of the site are your category pages. They are generally at the top of the hierarchy when it comes to website structure so carry weight when it comes to ranking.
It is therefore important to spend some time making sure you are achieving the most impact, by ensuring they are properly optimised.
Category pages allow you to target more generic search terms – rather than your product pages which tend to target specific items – especially useful when your customers don’t use the individual product names to search but instead use more general terms.
How to optimise your category pages
Your category URL should describe exactly what the page is all about without additional characters or unnecessary information. For example, if you have a category for men’s shoes your URL should be: http://www.example.com/mens-shoes
Avoid using ‘stopwords’ (like a, an, and, the) in your URL wherever possible.
Category SEO Title
The category title is a great opportunity to give Google strong signals about the page and its contents. It, along with your heading, is one of the more important elements in your website ranking.
When writing category titles we recommend you start your titles with your target keywords and then add your brand name. Keyword research is essential for this stage.
Category META description
Whilst the meta-description has no impact on your SEO it can help improve click through rate so spend some time to entice your customers to your website instead of your competitors. If this field is not completed then Google will automatically create one for you and it does not always make sense.
Ideally the category meta-description should summarise your categories products, if you offer free shipping, free returns etc. say so in the description to encourage users to click on your entry.
Whilst this does not appear in the SEO fields section of your store content can never be overrated when it comes to SEO. If appropriate include a paragraph or two of relevant, useful text for your customers, but remember your website content needs to be written for your customers first and the search engines last! Don’t fill it full of keyterms to the detriment of usability.
Another item which is not strictly a SEO factor but is essential to encourage people to browse is to make sure your product photography is up to scratch. Are they all a consistent shape & size? Are they of good quality & uniform (ie all on white backgrounds / all lifestyle). Attention to detail here is critical to make sure your website performs – it won’t affect your SEO but if you are putting all this work in to get customers to your store you want to retain them and encourage them to buy!
If you edit images regularly then I’d recommend investing in software like Photoshop Elements which is an excellent piece of software at a reasonable price for its functionality (we also have a guide to optimising & editing images using this software).
Your store will automatically optimise your images (for speed of loading), add alt tags and rename them to match your product for you so you do not need to worry about that side of things, we have already taken care of it for you.
SEO & Website Speed
One of the factors Google has been using for some time now in it’s rankings is website speed – it’s no surprise as a slow loading website can often have customers clicking away, and Google wants to provide you with useful links relevant to what you’ve been searching for – this is how they keep customers coming back to use them instead of other search engines!
Our ecommerce store solution has been built to be super fast loading. All images are optimised for web use, and your store will automatically resize and optimise your products when you upload them.
Mobile Ecommerce SEO
Mobile use is so widespread now and statistics show that ecommerce transactions have been following this trend – with around half of ecommerce website transactions now taking place on a mobile device it is absolutely essential that your website works well across all devices!
With the rise in mobile use, Google has updated its ranking patterns and now factors in whether your website is mobile compatible or not to how it ranks – thanks to this you may find that searches made on mobile devices show different results to those made on a computer.
All of our ecommerce websites have a full featured, fast loading mobile version to enable your customers to easily browse & buy and ensure that your website ranks well, no matter what device is being used. No additional work is required from you – everything you load into your ecommerce store will be included in your mobile store automatically.