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Running an ecommerce site? Then you’re probably aware of how competitive it can be, battling with rivals in the search engines and competing for your share of those online sales. In order to be competitive in this market, you need an effective search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy in place and, as a site owner, you need every bit of help to give you that competitive edge. There are common mistakes which can reduce the effects of your SEO efforts within your basic site maintenance.

Product Descriptions & Maintenance

One of the most common areas where site owners can improve their site's SEO is with their product descriptions. Many site owners fall into the habit of copy and pasting product descriptions provided by product manufacturers and distributors, though this may be a time saving method, it goes against the guidelines of SEO.

Google likes good ‘unique’ content and using the copy and paste method is placing content onto your site that is identical to that of other ecommerce sites that may sell the very same products. With other site owners utilising these time saving methods, you’re potentially publishing duplicated content and this can have a detrimental effect on your search engine rankings.

Product descriptions don’t need to be pages of text but, by writing your own, you can publish better optimised and unique content, offering a much improved user experience. You can emphasise your brand and selling points within your descriptions and, in some cases, utilise niche keywords tailored to your target market. This will provide a better buying experience for your customers as your descriptions will match the style of your site, appealing to your target market and you won't be seen as just another site using a generic description.

Aside from product descriptions, many ecommerce systems allow you to maintain product titles and meta tags, so try to include product keywords in your title and meta descriptions. Though these efforts won’t send your site rocketing to the top of the search engines overnight, some products in less competitive markets may move up in the search results and, in some cases, an increase of one or two positions may be the difference between page one or page two in the search results.

Product Images

You can optimise your product images for search results too, as search engines now index images found on websites and can therefore refer more traffic. Images can be optimised by labelling them with descriptive alt tags. Image alternative text should provide an accurate description of what the image is, making any user aware of what an image and its context are should it not load on a web page. Including keywords and product detail in your image alt labels can help with SEO. Many ecommerce sites may utilise your product titles to populate this attribute for you, or may offer a field for you to do this manually for each product image. Adding alternative text to images will not only provide more content for search engines, but will again improve the user's experience of your site.

If your unsure as to weather you're publishing good, accurate content within your product descriptions, ask your web designer or SEO consultant for advice.

Categories: E-Commerce, On-line Marketing, SEO, Articles

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