How To Optimize An Ecommerce Site

If you have an ecommerce site - where you sell your own products, sell products as a reseller, or an affiliate site that is set up as an online store - you might be scratching your head trying to find ways to properly optimize it.

Experts will tell you that Content Is King! but its not always easy coming up with content ideas for an online store. And unless you sell one-of-a-kind items, even your product descriptions are probably duplicated across the web on other ecommerce sites.

Here are 7 simple ways to optimize an online store or ecommerce site, even if you sell a common product. Use these easy steps to get better search engine rankings, more links and more traffic...

1.

First, you want to make sure that each page of your online store is properly optimized. Consider creating a page for each individual product in your store so that you can take advantage of longtail keyword phrases.

2.

Keep in mind that on-page optimization is only a small part of the equation. Quality inbound links to each page of your site will carry even more weight with the search engines.

The goal is to get links. Of course, its harder to get links to sales pages than it is to get links to quality content - so your job becomes adding something link-worthy to your ecommerce site...

3.

For unique content, start with your product descriptions. Even if it is a common product, re-word the descriptions so that they are unique as possible. Add as much detail about the product as you can. Consider live chat software that allows you to interact with and respond to questions from your customers in real time.

4.

Cross-reference related items between individual product pages. You might mention accessories, or even similar products. This adds relevant content to each page, and also creates healthy internal linking.

5.

Product Reviews make for great content on an ecommerce site, and they also attract potential buyers. Use Social Q&A sites such as MyLot.com, Yahoo Answers and Askville.com to request reviews. You can post a casual query and ask for user experience & feedback (noting that you may reprint their answers on your-ecommerce-site.com).

Another option is to post a classified ad on Craigslist.org and offer a small fee for stories/reviews.

6.

Go ’social’ with it! Create profiles on MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and other social sites. Put feelers out on each of these sites to find people who use and love your products. Invite them to submit a photo & brief story/review to be featured at your-ecommerce-site.com

You might also consider running a contest and letting them vote for best photo or best story submission. Make it fun!

7.

Add quality content to your online store that will help your visitors make their buying decision. Ideas might include "how to choose your first __" or "how to use __ properly", just as examples. Get creative. If you sell camping gear, you can write a checklist for the products they will need for their camping trip. If you sell car parts you can publish how-to tips.

Of course, its always best to let your target market tell you exactly what they want to read. Use WordTracker to research longtail keyword phrases in your niche. Often these 4-5 word phrases that are being searched will generate great ideas for content that you can add to your website.

Best,

p.s. Want more great content tips? Sign up to get notified when I release Easy Unique Content at http://www.easyuniquecontent.com

About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 15 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»

Discussion

  1. Thanks for the great ideas!

    I thought of two other things that might help:

    1. You could social bookmark your favorite or best selling products. I realize that you wouldn't be able to do this with many products as you would look spammy, but a bookmark or two may be all you need to get them in the door.

    2. Optimize your images for SEO. The benefit is that you could be picked up in Google image search, Yahoo images, etc. and you can get some traffic from there.

    3. Create product reviews for specific products you sell in your store on Squidoo, Hubpages, and other content sites. You can typically funnel buyers to your store if you target specific products on these reviews instead of broad topics.

  2. Great ideas Lynn. I have forwarded your article to all my clients with online stores. Hope they will get more business applying these ideas.

  3. Thank you Arun ;)

    Great additions Marc - and I agree with #3 and with being super specific in your lenses & hubpages. People often create one or two general pages on these sites when the best practice is to create multiple pages on micro-topics within your niche.

  4. ShriNagesh says:

    Hi Lynn,

    Call it "Timing".

    Thx for the great tips. I'll take one tip at a time n
    strengthen my store.

    Additionally,

    1) Display products in various product based or country based directories.
    2) My store is built on zencart, so I could showcase my store on zencart website. Few other programs like Joomla have such directories.
    3) I participate on zencart forum and reply to few "how tos". This is helping with some traffic. 4) Zencart forum & 2 more forums have "follow" tag. so gaining some incoming links there.
    5) Just wondering how Google adwords will help.
    I'm yet to figure out tons of tweaks.
    6) Ebay

    I wrote a comprehensive tut on "how to setup download product in zencart" and complimented it with a screencast. This Q is raised hundreds of times in zencart forum. As this is my first attempt at serious tut, pl review it if you have 2 mins to spare.
    http://smartadvise.info

    Lynn,
    Can this be considered a reply to my Q from webinar email and ...? ;)

  5. Good one, Lynn!

    My experience with people using Virtuemart is: they don't use Joomla enough for their product pages.

    There's only so much one can do with VM's browse and product details (flypages) pages.

    VM offers just 2 product description fields in its MySQL tables: the "short" description field (max 256 chars) and the "long" description field.

    So it's hard to get beyond a "brochure" look with VM.

    Meanwhile, VM is a Joomla extension, and harnessing Joomla's power is the way to get beyond VM's two dimensional product presentation.

    Using Joomla's content articles, you can insert multiple pictures, unlimited content, videos, and image slideshows.

    In fact, you can create an entire area of your website devoted to each product in Joomla.

    Create a Joomla category just for your flagship product, and now you can have many content articles devoted to it, complete with its own menu.

    If you need it, you can have a Joomla template devoted for your products. You can certainly have modules published for your products, that are otherwise unpublished

    Using Joomla allsows you to blog about your product, complete with RSS feed, comment threads, FAQ, forum (ok, maybe I'm over-reaching with the forum!). Imagine the Google love!

    Use the VM mambot to insert an "add-to-cart" button to link to VM; or, as a fallback, you can always add the link manually (eg, if the link is in a module and not in the article).

    -Bob

  6. Thanks Lynn!
    Great simple suggestions that work regardless of the type of product. I've forwarded you tips along to friends about to open their online storefront.

    _j
    CorePage |Know more. Sell faster.
    http://www.CorePage.com

  7. GradeMoney.com says:

    Hey, this is so useful. I could seldom read such quality post on optimizing e-commerce sites.

    Great work

  8. Very helpful information. I will be implementing these tips. Thanks so much

  9. Lynn you were the inspiration to start my very first affiliate site (that was built just to promote products, not to provide content first) so I'm always all ears when you talk about this.

    I have to say that with my latest affiliate site, it never ceases to amaze me how much traffic this site gets to the product pages. They have precious little content. Sometimes, people just wanna buy stuff and don't have to be wooed in with free information. I love it! I need to tattoo that on my hand. I would be making so much more money if I focused more on building content around PRODUCTS.

    What a concept for an affiliate marketer. ;)

  10. Stefani says:

    Great post. I have wondered how to optimize e-commerce sites. I have bookmarked this post!

  11. Laurie Neumann says:

    Lynn,

    This is great information. I recently created a gift store website, kind of for the fun of it:-)

    I was never really sure how the search engines rank store websites that don't have much content.

    I'm going to take time on these tips and put them into practice.

    Thank you!

  12. Baby Boomer says:

    Hello,

    Signed up to get notified for Easy Unique Content.
    It will be great for my boomer newbies and they deserve only the best.

    Thanks,

  13. Laurie Neumann says:

    Hi Baby Boomer,

    I visited your site, and wondered if you could include my baby boomers home business site in your links.

    I couldn't find your contact info. on your site.

    http://www.babyboomers-athome.com

    Thanks!

  14. Thanks, these tips are pretty useful!

  15. Muzaffer_Bhat says:

    I would like to add more on reducing download time of your site by compressing images without deteriorating their quality, getting back links from authority and trusted sites, sell unique products and services, write convincing sales copy, use easy payment options, give out free bonuses but quality ones and not rubbish ones.

  16. Funny t shirts says:

    Great post, I have a small t shirt website that is very new and was glad that I am going in the direction of most of your points. I have not entered the twitter world but have been very active in social bookmark sites and facebook, myspace, etc. You are right about e commerce sites and being unique. Not as easy as it sounds sometimes. thanks

  17. Ironic timing - just this week I bought two tee shirts from @twittertees on Twitter! ;)

    He tweeted a one-day special on his shirts for Twitter followers only, and from what I understand he got quite a few orders from it.

  18. funny t shirts says:

    I am going to check them out tonight. I bet he sold a ton of shirts with the following that he gets.

  19. I imagine so. I was referred by a new friend who has bought from him before, so started following on Twitter.

  20. OMG...I feel like I am seeing the light. I have a new weblog I worked so hard on the content and style, but HOW was I going to get anyone to see it? As a newbie it is hard to understand all the terms used. I will let you know how I do with all your graet tips.

  21. Hi, this article is very informative. all the tips are very useful. "Content is king" is very true. Good content can help people to get decision of buying. thanks.

  22. Olive Kids Bedding says:

    Thanks so much this is great information!!

  23. Traffic Matters says:

    Lynn I only just found your site but am fast becoming a huge fan!

    Keep up the great effort.

  24. Hi, I used your tips for my site and really its works. I changed the affiliate contents of the product and start social groups, its working fine.

  25. UK Webmaster Forum says:

    Informative post! Really linking strategy is important, a website can increase its ranking by building quality inbound links. If possible, getting links to a specific page instead of a homepage because this will boost the ranking of one specific page.

  26. Lynn, great tips, Really informative ideas!

  27. great tips. What do you think about applications that integrate Facebook to the e-commerce website and allows the user to purchase in Facebook?

  28. Thanks Lynn!
    Great simple suggestions that work regardless of the type of product. I’ve forwarded you tips along to friends about to open their online storefront.

  29. Hey Lynn, I just recently went over your above list again and really focused on #4. It's already making a difference. Your posts make such good references ;-)

  30. @mondex1 says:

    Nice ideas Lynn. I have applied already some of your tips and it really works. Thanks a lot. I hope to read more about on how to become successful on this field. Thanks again

  31. kaiserthesage says:

    It's also good to add a blog section on an ecommerce site. it gives a lot of advantages to site for the fact that it can:

    1. bring more relevant traffic to the site
    2. it strengthens the site's interaction with customers
    3. it can go viral if you put some killer contents on it.
    4. build strong and quality internal links directing to product pages. very effective if you'll make entries like "10 great gadgets..." and link those items to their product pages.
    5. search engines love blogs! simply because of it's recurring updates which makes bots keep on coming back to your site.
    6. can definitely make a solid impact on your keyword campaigns :)

    Anyway, great tips you have given here Lynn. I enjoyed reading this one.

    Regards,
    Jason

  32. Thanks Lynn, I appreciate the product review sites you reference. I've been looking for that sort of thing. Thanks so much!

  33. that is really helpful but one thing i could not understand, if i put questions on sites like yahoo answer could i use that feedback pasted pasted in testimonials or not and if not how can i get benefit from it
    thank you

  34. As we all well know, ecommerce sites are one of the taskiest sites to optimize when it comes to SEO. These are great tips to keep in mind. Thanks Lynn. You've done the SEOs working on ecommerce sites a big favor.

  35. I find it's much harder trying to get links to online stores than it is to regular websites.

    You just need to think of something you can offer that will encourage people to link to your website, such as free guides, free information etc.

    It's worth giving away something for free to achieve some quality backlinks.

  36. Hi Lynn,

    Yes it's true that Ecommerce websites are harder to optimize than a regular blog. In a shopping/service offered site on site is really a must and you will need a tons of quality backlinks to outrank your competitors. Using long tail keywords will also help you with a good start.

  37. I've found quality content to the most important factor of making a sale more often. As a reseller of many different products online, I've also experienced that a short click-to-buy serie is very effective. In other words; No registration required for the buyer, why not make it easy?

  38. I beg to differ on tip #2.

    Instead of building links to all of your subpages - build it to your front page. That way, you domain authority rises and the pagerank will eventually flow all the way to your subpages if your link hierarchi is good which it often is not.

    Building links to categories and such takes an awful lot of time. And time consuming tasks are never fun! :D

    /Nabil.

  39. I agree with Nabil that thinks building links to the front page is the best way to make the trust for the whole site better. I never build links though - I just do branding.

    Do you think one can combine branding and SEO with an Ecommerce site?

  40. It never really occurred to me that "its harder to get links to sales pages than it is to get links to quality content' but thanks to your actionable steps to work around it.

  41. These are all great ideas Lynn but I find that doing them all can be a little overwhelming. I've recently got active with the social Q&A sites, I'm hoping with several days of working at it I'll see some positive results. Thanks so much for the great tips :-)

  42. I do have an online store, though it isn't selling anything right now. I made it as an experiment to see how it goes. The conclusion i reached is that if you're not serious about it, you should just forget it. Imagine having over 1k products in store, adding a comprehensive description for each and than not selling anything is a waste of time.
    Building a blog for the store also helps a lot, i just haven't got to that part yet.

  43. marshjosem says:

    hi Lynn,
    i have read through your lines and i admired by your writings. I have an E-commerce website which consists of 100000 pages, can you tell me how to optimize and make all of them indexed by search engines.

  44. Good post - it may seem like a lot of work to optimize your e-commerce products but it is something definitely worth doing, now with all these Google Panda updates.

  45. When writing the description of your product, it's easy to get lazy and copy and paste product descriptions word for word by your product supplier. Avoid this and you will avoid having search engines disregard your product page as duplicate content. A little extra time goes a long way to helping your SEO efforts.

  46. Web Design says:

    What I find the most annoying is the URLs of these websites. Can you please give few tips on how to optimize the URLs of the dynamic websites?

  47. I have such a hard time optimizing the individual pages of my ecommerce site. Even though it only consists of 20 pages, I run out of steam on the pages that I don;t think are as important. Maybe that's my problem - I don't give equal importance to all my pages ???

  48. This post made me think hard about the two ecommerce sites that I am currently working on. My practical experience is that my site with relatively weak non-unique content and many inbound links is ranking far higher than my other site with unique content and fewer links. Seems to me that it is the link juice that really matters to the search engines whatever they say about the panda updates.

  49. Great tips Lynn. In my experience coming up with quality content on e-commerce sites is a challenge ... one that I've worked on for a few years. I've developed some ways to create outstanding and informative content for e-commerce and/or review sites. The following are a few additional tips:

    1. Write buying guides. I like multi-page buying guides extensively covering every aspect of a particular product.

    2. Publish comparison charts. These are easy to create if you've already covered a product line.

    3. On any product page, add a Pros and Cons section. This is easy to do, builds credibility, and adds unique content to the page that isn't set out on the merchants' sites. A similar technique is a 5 Reasons to buy this product section.

    4. Create a video review and then have it transcribed and publish the transcription on the same page.

    I always put myself in the consumers' shoes and think of the types of information and questions I would have. In fact, when I research my own purchases, I pay attention to the questions I have as a consumer, and note them as ways to improve my niche sites.

  50. Nice tips, however something that I feel you've overlooked is to ensure you are including each item's title within heading tags (e.g. ). Google really loves these tags and pays particular attention to the works sitting between them.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] gone ahead and opened up your own based on my recommendation, you’ll love this next part. Lynn Terry wrote a post this week about the 7 things you need to do to optimize an ecommerce [...]

  2. [...] Now for my last bit of advice comes from the wonderful Lynn Terry of http://www.clicknewz.com/ A few weeks ago when I was in one of her webinars, I having a product based site, felt alittle out of place with all the internet marketers there. Lynn sent me a link to her wonderful blog post on how to optimize an ecommerce site. Here it is. Read and enjoy: http://www.clicknewz.com/1479/how-to-optimize-an-ecommerce-site/ [...]

  3. [...] I often set up affiliate sites that look like online stores, where the product image & link takes you to the internal page about that product on the merchant’s website. This works great if the merchant offers what is called “deep linking”. I optimize each page of the site of course. See: How To Optimize An Ecommerce Site [...]

  4. [...] It was originally a virtual product, or instant download. I printed my copy and put it in a 3-ring binder, which I still have on my bookshelf - and still refer to. I don’t mind to admit that it influenced much of my work since, including such pieces as How to Optimize An E-commerce Site. [...]

  5. [...] see: How to Optimize an Ecommerce Site 6. How do you determine what type of site to set up based on “Your market, your choice of keyword [...]

  6. [...] all of my niche affiliate sites are content-based. Some of them are set up more like a basic ecommerce site or online store that features specific [...]

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