How to Tackle SEO Challenges For Ecommerce Websites

SEO for ecommerce websites

We all know that most eCommerce websites have hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of web pages. It entirely depends on the range of their products.

I’ve experienced that many eCommerce webmasters don’t follow best practices when it comes to SEO of their eCommerce websites especially when their websites become giant (having a huge number of pages).

Perhaps, in some cases, they are not sure how they should manage the on-page SEO for their online store.

SEO for ecommerce websites

So, in this blog, I am going to share a real-time conversation with one of my clients who had a number of queries regarding his eCommerce website SEO & I tried my best to help him out.

Here you go!

Russell: How should I manage out-of-stock product pages?

Me: First of all, never consider deleting or hiding those out-of-stock product pages because it can affect your SEO adversely. There are a few options to handle out-of-stock pages in a better way. Let me explain:

1. You must still show the webpage to your customers but inform them when the product will be refilled in your inventory.

2. Allow users to place backorders. You can let your potential customers pay for their desired products and promise them to deliver as soon as the fresh stock arrives.

3. You can also offer similar products to your customers. For instance, the same product in different colors or perhaps, different products with similar quality and price.

Russell: I see. And what if my products will never arrive again? In other words, I don’t deal with those products.

Me: Good question. I would again suggest the 3 best options for deleted/expired products.

1. The first and most suitable option will be to redirect (Header Status 301 – Moved Permanently) the expired product URL to some other location. Maybe, to the category page, similar product page or even homepage. This way, the SEO value of your website will still be retained. If you’re not sure about 301, ask your eCommerce developer.

2. You can also reuse the existing page for any of your other products if it’s suitable. In some businesses, the products are so similar to each other that you can easily use the high SEO value page for any of the other products, instead of deleting it from the website.

3. Just leave it as it is. Sometimes, it’s better to intact the product page even if that product is no longer available to you. It won’t actually harm your SEO or users’ experience.

Russell: What do I need to do about seasonal products? Some of my products are sold only during Valentine’s Day.

Me: I understand. In fact, this is the most common question or rather a challenge that many eCommerce webmasters face.

The best way to deal with seasonal products is to mention the year in their URL and then redirect old links (with past years) to the existing ones. For eg. in the year 2016, you had a webpage which you can redirect (with header status 301) to the new URL If you have chosen WordPress for your eCommerce website development, then it’s actually fun to redirect URLs through the plugins like simple 301 redirect.

It’s actually very easy.

Russell: Oh, I never thought like this. Sometimes, I am scared to expand my product range because I am too busy to write unique content for every product page, which I believe is very important for SEO. What’s your take on this?

Me: Yes, I agree with you. There is actually no point to write content for each product page, especially when you have thousands of pages on your eCommerce website.

I would suggest three ways to overcome this problem:

1. You can focus more on your product category pages. In other words, strengthen your category and sub-category pages and link up your product pages properly with them.

2. You can also incorporate user-generated content. For example, you can encourage your existing customers to share their good experiences with your product and write about them on their respective pages. If you are using WordPress for your eCommerce website, then you can easily find plenty of free plugins to achieve this.

3. Use web analytic tools and find out the product pages that have more user engagement. Once you have the list of these important product pages with you, spend some time writing for those pages manually. It may take some time for you to write, but believe me, it’s worth it.

Russell: How does navigation help in the SEO of any eCommerce website?

Me: Internal navigation of an eCommerce website plays an important role when it comes to SEO. There are a few best practices to incorporate internal navigation.

1. Use breadcrumbs for all the categories, sub-categories, and product pages. This ensures that both users and Google can navigate to any level (parent or child) easily.

2. Use cross-selling products in the form of related products that link to other products under the same category. This will help not only for boosting sales but also help search engines to navigate the web pages easily.

3. Use a hierarchical linking structure which means showing top categories, and sub-categories on the navigation bar.

Russell: Does cross-selling (Related Products) really help?

Me: Yes, of course. As I mentioned above that using related product blocks appropriately will definitely help your online store to gain more traction from visitors and boost search engine optimization too. But at the same time, you must take appropriate precautions if you really want to get more out of related products.

1. Relevancy of related products is very important. It means when you show related products, they must be relevant to the main product page. For eg. your online store sells apparel, on a shirt page, it would be a great idea to show trousers, rather than shorts.

2. Clarity of related products block is also very important. This reminds me the location of related products can also affect your sales. You may do experiments by using your related products block on the right sidebar or at the footer and see the difference in overall sales.

Final Words:

Failing to plan is planning to fail. It applies to¬†SEO for eCommerce too. If you don’t follow the best SEO practices for your online store, you can’t really expect to get the most out of it. After all, eCommerce websites are meant to generate revenue for businesses.