Q and A : How do I optimize an e-commerce store?

QuestionDear Kalena…

I have a friend who asked me to look at a site (designed but not launched yet).

The question I have is about optimizing a shopping cart. It uses a CMS and they have the ability to change the tags for each product but not a lot of other flexibility. Is there anything else that can be done for cart optimization?


Dear Nancy

It’s good that you have control over the product titles because having unique and keyword-rich titles and descriptions is one of the most important things for a well optimised online store. For product images, make sure you use ALT tags and ensure the the site has a search-engine friendly structure (ie. design, architecture and navigation).

Avoid dynamic URLs and use a logical directory structure to break-up products into their appropriate categories (although when doing this, try not to bury the products too deeply in sub-directories as the search engines will often only crawl the top few layers unless there are enough deep links forcing the spiders to dig a bit deeper).

Use a sitemap, breadcrumbs and show visitors other related products by using links like: “people who purcahsed this also bought…”

If possible, try and incorporate a social media aspect to the site where users can add reviews and other product feedback. Setup a blog and/or a Twitter account and use these tools to help promote your products (without spamming people of course).

In conjunction with the social media and organic search engine optimisation, it’s also a very good idea to run a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaign. PPC campaigns are great for e-commerce sites because it’s quick, highly customisable (in terms of budget, geotargeting etc.) and incredibly measurable allowing you to further refine the keywords, titles and other content by monitoring click-through rates and using A/B split-testing tools.

All of this will improve usability, reduce bounce-rates, ensure the search bots will be able to find everything (and index it accordingly) and if done well, hopefully even improve conversions.

For a more detailed and comprehensive list of other things to look at, here are 50 SEO tips for online retailers.

Hope this helps!

Peter Newsome
SiteMost SEO Brisbane

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