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Improve your eCommerce Website’s SEO by Handling Products Correctly

Increasing relevant users from organic traffic can directly increase your sales, which is why making your eCommerce website search engine friendly is extremely important. Search engine optimization for online stores can be far more complex and challenging compared to blogs and regular websites. ECommerce websites have numerous different products and pages, new products are frequently added and removed, and there are often promotions and price adjustments. Ultimately, eCommerce websites tend to be bigger and more dynamic.

Constant changes to the website can affect the way your website is crawled or indexed. It is extremely important to address product pages in the correct fashion, to help facilitate the process of crawling and indexing for search engines. The easier it is for search engines to crawl, index, and understand your website, the more likely search engines will grant it higher rankings on the search results page.

In this post we will address two common issues with products we often see on eCommerce websites and provide solutions to improve your visibility in organic search.

Unique Product Descriptions Increase Organic Visibility

Products added to your online store will require unique product descriptions with a marketing spin. This tactic has two purposes:

  1. Improve the organic visibility of your website over your competitors.

  2. Entice users to purchase your items.

Use Product Descriptions to improve SEO

Common SEO mistakes we often see in eCommerce websites include the use of manufacturer product descriptions, or no descriptions at all. Not using product descriptions can be detrimental to your SEO. Having less content than your competitors will put you at a disadvantage when it comes to search engine rankings. The search engines will have less content to evaluate your website with, which may make your website less desirable for a higher spot on the search engine results page.

Don’t Use Manufacturer Product Descriptions

This route can be just as problematic as not using any product descriptions at all. It is likely the content will be used and duplicated on other websites. The manufacturer descriptions will not add any additional SEO value to your website. Differentiating your online store from the others through unique product descriptions will provide your website a competitive advantage compared to those who use duplicated content. In the worst case scenario, using manufacturer descriptions could even lead to a penalty from Google’s Panda algorithm for having extreme amounts of duplicate content.

The Ideal Solution

We strongly urge you to update your product descriptions to be unique with a marketing spin for every product. This will show search engines that your content is unique and can help differentiate your website from competitors. The more persuasive you are with the words on your site, the more likely users are going to convert as a sale.

What if there are too many products for unique product descriptions?

We also understand that it may not be possible to always have unique product descriptions for your products, and fortunately we have two alternatives. You can write a custom template paragraph with dynamic fields that pulls the unique selling points from the manufacturer product descriptions for the product pages OR create unique content on the category level. On the category level you can briefly describe the products in a general manner and persuade the customer to view and buy your products.

Bottom line: The more unique content the better for SEO!

How to handle discontinued and out of stock products for SEO?

Removing products could potentially hurt your search engine rankings and website usability if the process is not addressed correctly. Users could hit 404 error pages, which is not ideal for visitors or search engines. Some users may even think that your website is broken and cause search engines to think that your website visitors are not finding what they are looking for. This is a serious issue that can cause your website to lose authority and search visibility.

There are two main reasons why a product may be removed from a site, and we will show you how to address each of them:

  1. Products Permanently Discontinued

  2. Products Out of Stock

Permanently Discontinued Products

Products that are permanently discontinued should be redirected using a 301 redirection to a related product page, category level page or the next best product page. There are two reasons to why it is important to set up proper 301 redirect the pages to another page on the website:

  1. 301 redirecting to a product page, category page or next best product is the best way to handle a discontinued product because it helps retain any link value on your website. The more link value your website retains, the greater the authority.

  2. Redirecting to an internal page prevents the user from leaving your website, especially if you are able to provide a similar or even better alternative product. The redirection also helps with usability so visitors don’t end up on a 404 error page.

Temporarily Out of stock

Products that are only temporarily out of stock should not have their pages removed. Instead, the product landing page and category page should indicate to the user that the product is out of stock and when to expect it to be available again. There should be a section to guide users to the next best product, or similar product.

In summary, if you would like to keep your website search friendly, making sure that addressing new products with unique product descriptions and redirecting removed products from the website are set up correctly.

If you have any further questions with regards to this article or e-Commerce SEO in general, feel free to give us a call. We would be delighted to help!