How to Optimize an E-Commerce Site

An e-commerce site could have thousands upon thousands of pages of products. Just look at the online shopping giant Amazon; they probably have millions of product pages. E-commerce sites that only sell one kind of product (cameras, shoes, furniture, etc) might have fewer pages overall, but by no means is it a small amount. On-site optimization is the process of going through you site, page by page, and tweaking each page so it is more search engine friendly. Many e-commerce sites fail to fully optimize their site mostly because of how large they are, but it still has to be done. It takes a lot of time, but it is almost always worth the effort.

Here are 3 ways you can better optimize your e-commerce site:

Create unique product descriptions
One of the biggest problems with many e-commerce sites is duplicate content. You might sell a lot of products that are very similar (or came from the same manufacturer) so the product descriptions are very formulaic and repetitive. For instance, a clothing retailer might describe one pair of pants as “Our boot cut jeans are designed to flatter your curves without losing their shape!” and the second style of pants as “Our wide legged trouser jeans are designed to flatter your curves without losing their shape!” It’s the same content, just the product changed. Each product page (boot cut jeans vs. wide legged trouser jeans) has its own URL; it needs unique content. Search engines are known to penalize sites they find guilty of duplicating content.

Simplify your internal linking structure

Most traffic doesn’t come to an e-commerce site through the homepage, they arrive via one of the product pages. You have to make it easy for them to navigate your site regardless of how they got there. You want to minimize the amount of clicks it takes your visitor to get from one page of your site to another. A dropdown menu is a great way to help flatten your site structure. That way, if your visitor wants to jump from jeans to blouses, they don’t have to go all the way back to the homepage to do so.

Another way to simplify your linking structure is to recommend product pages to your visitor based on what product they are currently looking at. They might need a new purse to match the dress they are looking at, or maybe a pair of earrings. For instance, Amazon has a “customers who bought this item also bought” section. It’s a good way to keep visitors clicking through your site and filling up their cart.

Include customer reviews
Another major problem with e-commerce sites is that they don’t have a lot of content to begin with. Other than the product description, what else can you say? You need to give the search engines enough content to read so your site will get pulled to match more searches. One way to do this is to include consumer product reviews on the product page. This gives the search engines more content to read and also creates a 3rd party endorsement for your product. People are very social when it comes to shopping online. They want other people’s opinions before they buy. A real consumer review goes a long way in convincing someone to act.

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