35 Ecommerce SEO tips collected from my nine years of consulting experience.

Ecommerce had picked up the trend and there are so many e-comm websites popping up. We are repeatedly asked for help on how to promote ecommerce websites. Unlike other website, ecommerce website promotion should be treated differently; It is not a good idea to build powerful links to each and every keywords and pages in an ecommerce website. When it comes to e-commerce website there are lots to do with onpage SEO and social promotions. I am listing down the steps below. These steps are not comprehensive but just pointers.

Analysis

In-depth Site Analysis
Just before doing anything I would start with website analysis, at this point of time, i would look at the website from a user perspective and check the flow and usability. Note down the issues which need immediate attention. Some of the common issues found while doing this audit is, many websites require 4-5 clicks before the actual payment and checkout. This is not a good user experience. Another common issue is Products not categorized appropriately and difficult to find the required products.

Duplicate Content Analysis
This very common and silly mistake many people does. Copying and pasting the description from some other sites is a big issue. Any website owner should take time and effort to write detailed, unique and descriptive information about the products listed on the website. Some of the sites create unnecessary duplicate pages due to improper usage of noindex tags and categories.

Initial Backlinks Analysis
Before starting a new task, I would collect all the information about the website such as earlier backlinks created, history of the domain name etc. This help is avoiding future issues, it also help us do corrective actions. Some of the common issues are anchor text over optimization and lack of backlink diversity.

Google Penalty Check
These days it is very important to have a check on existing penalty before we start working on any website. There are many ways to find penalties. If client already have a google analytics or GWT account, it would be an easy task. You may also need to do the index check by site:<URL> and analysis number of pages in google index.

On Page Optimization

As I have mentioned earlier; onpage optimization is crucial when it comes to ecommerce websites. If you do onpage correctly, many long tail keywords can be ranked by itself.  Let’s discuss few of the onpage SEO points below.

Canonicalization & Panda Check
Have a quick check on Canonicalization and panda penalties.

Website Page Load Optimization Recommendations
Make sure that your website is loading pretty fast. This is one of the key matrix for ranking your website. If your website is not ranking fast, users might move on to next website and your conversation rates will dip. Spend enough time in analyzing which element is taking more time to load your page. Sometimes it would be a small under optimized image which would be the problem.

Internal link structuring
check the bread crumbs and internal link structuring and make sure you are following a silo structure , which is helpful for website visitors and search engine spiders to rank your website. This is one most under looked onpage optimization topic.

Pages title & tags optimization
Titles and tags play a major role and I personally rewrite every title and tag as part of my SEO engagement.

Product Image & Hyperlink Optimization
Product images are the key for any sales, get the best image possible on your product page. Make sure that the size of the image is good enough to load it fast. Have a friendly hyperlink for your pages if your CMS supports.

HTML, XML Sitemap , robots.txt & GoogleBot crawls
Get the appropriate plugins to setup your sitemap , robots.txt and make sure you have a very good crawl rate. Have a tab on crawl errors periodically.  You also need to check basic html tags (h1/h2) are optimized well to get the optimum results.

Google / Bing Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics setup
Now it is time to get your Webmaster tools and Google analytics setup for your website.

Product Markup – Schema HTML tags
Many people doesn’t even know what a html markup is. In your ecommerce website, make sure you have your product markup setup correctly .

Competition Analysis
Go and find your competitors and learn how well and how bad they are doing. Adopt what good they are doing and avoid their mistakes. Get it to some of your competitors email list, setup google alerts for your competitors keywords and websites. Be creative in competitive analysis.

Initial Rank Report
Just before you start your offpage efforts, make sure that your rank tracking tool is ready and keep a track of your ranking report.

Keyword Research
Competition analysis can give you a good insight of keywords; spend time and energy to find more long tail keywords. When you optimize your product pages make good use of this.

Shopping cart funnel analysis and recommendations
Consider your shopping cart as a real business cash counter. There are many chances of upsell, side sell etc. Make sure the checkout is super smooth. There should not be any confusion. Show the related and recommended products while they checkout. Provide discount coupons for their next purchase. Several plugins are available depending on your ecommerce CMS.

OFFPage SEO

It is now time to discuss about offpage seo for your website.

Blog Writing
Having a blog attached to your ecommerce store helps you in different ways. This Blog help you to explain your company better. Blog can be used to showcase and review new products. It improves users engagement. Opportunities are endless, so make use of it.  It is also a very good marketing strategy to make other bloggers write about your store or products, be creative with this idea, don’t just go the plain route of guest blogging services.

Informational Article Writing & Submission
This is extension of earlier point we discussed, you may write useful information and get it published in other websites would increase the visibility of your website.

Press Release Writing & Submission
Get help of professional agencies to get your PR written and submitted. This improves your brand value and visibility.

Coupon Distribution
Deals and coupons are another stream of visitors, make sure that you have enough coupons and deals released. Find the best coupon and deal sites suitable for your products. There are many JV opportunities which can be made use of.  Wednesday deals were one of the successful strategies I could employ for one of my latest projects.

Social Bookmarking
Old method; still effective if done correctly. Go and get your bookmarking done on Top 20 bookmarking sites.

Social Media Optimization

From 2012 onward another great new door of marketing opportunities are available with all lot of social media sites. Let’s not get over excited and loss focus. Just take top 5 social media sites and make sure we are active on those.

Google Plus Business Page Setup
Make sure you have claimed your business page on Google plus and all the relevant details are duly filled. These pages need to be monitored on a regular basis and moderate the review and activities.

Facebook & Twitter Account Setup
Make sure you have claimed your Facebook and twitter accounts and all the relevant details are duly filled. These pages also need to be monitored on a regular basis and moderate the review and activities.

Facebook Wall Updates and Twitter updates
Getting facebook, Twitter and G+ account is one thing, now we also need to maintain a steady flow of information on these channels,  these are two way communication to your clients. Make sure you are not over doing it by pushing marketing messages alone. Include surveys, questions, suggestions, informative tips in your updates.

Custom Twitter/Facebook /G+ Designs
Make your social profiles are in align with your brand image.

Pinterest
Pinterest is another social media which need to be considered depending on your niche. If your products talk more with images Pinterest is a good medium. Photography, Cooking, Fashion are few niches ideal for Pinterest.

Local Search Optimization

Getting added to that sweat seven spot on google is a nice thing to have. Since the spots are limited, competition would be extreme. Following simple times could help you to optimize your website for local market.

NAP Syndication & Citation Building
If your business is concentrating on a particular location or multiple locations, then you should concentrate on local SEO. Name, Address and Phone number also known as NAP should be published to different business directories consistently.

Classified Submissions
Classified submissions are old methods which are still effective, if done correctly. Be consistent with your submissions. It is important to know what you submit and how you submit.

Mobile Friendly
Every day mobile internet users are getting multiplied, make sure you are not missing that crowd. Get your website ready for mobile users. so called responsive themes might not be really mobile friendly. Check it yourselves and make sure you can use your website on your mobile devices.

Tracking

Monthly Reporting and Rank Tracking
It is equally important to track the progress and keep a tab of every activity you do on a monthly basis, so that we can adjust the parameters according to the results.

Recap

Analysis –> Onpage SEO –> Offpage SEO –> Social Media Optimization -> Local SEO –> Tracking are the different elements to be considered.

Analysis

In-depth Site Analysis
Duplicate Content Analysis
Initial Backlinks Analysis
Google Penalty Check
Competition Analysis
Initial Rank Report
Keyword Research

Onpage SEO

OnPage Optimization
Canonicalization & Panda Check
Website Page Load Optimization Recommendations
Internal link structuring
Pages title n tags optimization
Product Image & Hyperlink Optimization
HTML, XML Sitemap , robots.txt & GoogleBot crawls
Google / Bing Webmaster Tools & Google Analytics setup
Product Markup – Schema HTML tags
Shopping cart funnel analysis and recommendations

OFFPage SEO

Blog Writing
Informational Article Writing & Submission
Press Release Writing & Submission
Coupon Distribution
Social Bookmarking

Social Media Optimization

Google Plus Business Page Setup
Facebook & Twitter Account Setup
Facebook Wall Updates and Twitter updates
Custom Twitter/Facebook /G+ Designs
Pinterest

Local SEO
Local Search Optimization
NAP Syndication & Citation Building
Classified Submissions
Mobile Ready

Reporting and Tracking
Monthly Reporting and Rank Tracking