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SEO for eCommerce Part One: Content Woes

Jun 3, 2010 / by Dustin Williams

ECommerce website optimization and search engine optimization strategies are very similar to other types of websites. However, there are some common mistakes that prevent eCommerce sites from achieving top search engine rankings for their targeted search terms. The focus of my next few blog posts will be on these common mistakes starting with the biggest one: too little or no unique content.

We've Heard it Before -- Content is King

Search engines rely on website content to determine what search terms a specific page of a site should rank for. The search engines use "crawlers" to read content in various elements of Web pages, and then use an algorithm to rank the page based on that content. Problems occur when the only content on the site is the generic product descriptions that have been copied from different manufacture sites.

The Conflict

ECommerce sites that lack unique content cause a conflict for the search engines try to rank the pages of the website. The conflict occurs as the search engine crawlers discover several pages that are very similar, with the only difference being the type of products displayed on the page. The images and brief generic descriptions simply don’t offer enough information to help the crawlers know what the pages are about. In the end, the similar pages of the site cause the website to never get top rankings for any relevant keywords.


An end to the Conflict -- Unique Content is the Real King

The way to end the conflict is to add unique content to the pages of the website. If you have a product category page with several sub-categories linked from it, a couple of paragraphs of content will be the only thing that will let the search engines know that page is different from the sub-categories.

Don’t be afraid to push the products down to allow space for a couple hundred words of content. Pushing the products down will have little to no effect on conversion. Without the content, the page will not be able to rank well and there will be no visitors to convert.

If you have featured products at the top of the page and don’t want to push them down, then break up your content. Include a couple sentences at the top and place the rest of the content below the products.

Final Thought

It is very easy to copy product descriptions from manufacturer websites and past them on to the product pages of your site. However, if you take the time to write your own product descriptions, the end result is well worth it. Copying product descriptions is quick and easy, but the search engines know which website had the content first. If your competitors write their own descriptions, and you copy the manufacturer’s descriptions, you will never rank better than your competitors for the best converting keywords -- the product specific keywords.

Topics: ecommerce search engine optimization seo ecommerce ecommerce seo Blog seo for ecommerce ecommerce website seo ecommerce website optimization ecommerce site seo On-Page Optimization

Dustin Williams

Written by Dustin Williams

Dustin is a former SEO specialist for SEO.com. He has been actively involved with web design and website promotion since 2001.

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