Last week I wrote about how redesigning your Website is not always the best way to go. It is just sometimes not worth the trouble to completely reinvent the wheel if you already have an existing website business. Sometimes it is better to get an overview from an Internet Marketer to know where you are and what to do next. SEO site reviews are always a good start to get an idea what to do next.
Some of my friends ask me what I think are the most common mistakes e-Commerce sites do to limit its search engine visibility. I will list 5 most common mistakes I encounter while visiting e-Commerce sites on a daily basis. I will use examples from www.frontierpc.com since this company is a typical e-Commerce site that is trying to overachieve without fixing the basics first.
The page title is there to attract visitors to click through your site. Okay, none of the sites here has thought to make the page title less than 66 characters to make it fit nicely on to the search results. A good page title also includes a call to action and some branding for your own company, that helps if somebody uses your page title as anchor text for a link. This will give the visitor a sense of recurring focal points. We humans do not like new things if we get used to something. Emphasizing the brand names and trust symbols will ensure visitors load your site faster and in turn will improve your conversion rate. My suggestion for the page title would be something along of this:
Buy Linksys SPA-2102 VoIP Gateway for only $74.98 – FrontierPC.com
Remember this is a product page, for category pages and other pages it should be more fitting to the content on this given page. Another thing that you need to keep in mind is the conversion cycle when customers look up product names. Customers are now looking for the most trusted source to get the product for a good price so give them what they ask for. Questions to ask yourself are: What is the action on the page the visitor should do? What is the name of the product and price? Viewing the name or url of your business on that page will help to give visitors a sense of reoccurring corporate identity.
There is no perfect or best way to do page titles but to put yourself into the shoes of your potential client. You could also ask some of your clients how they would react to a page title of a product page.
In addition to this, remember that over 60% of all clicks going to the top 3 organic search results is where you get most of your clicks.
Buy from real-time stock, we ship Linksys Linksys SPA-2102 VoIP Gateway, 1 | 2 Port(s), 10/100Base-TX Interface(SPA2102-NA) from Toronto, Vancouver, …
This is the meta description of Linksys Gateway in the search results. Yet again, the number of characters is much higher than the recommended 150 to 160 charters so it is cut off again from Google. However, a problem with this meta description is that it does not give any kind of information that would help me to know immediately what to expect on this page. I think using the meta description to provide more detailed information on what to expect on the page is a good practice here.
One day shipping to most Canadian cities of Linksys SPA-2102 VoIP Gateway, 1 | 2 Port(s), 10/100Base-TX Interface(SPA2102-NA) buy it from FrontierPC.com
You can still automate the creation of a Meta Description like this, but if you do so try to bring together the most important information. For example, FrontierPC.com offers one day shipping to most cities in Canada. That is a great selling point since you often end up for a long time if you live in Canada. Test the Meta Description more than once and get some of your colleagues to read over your Meta Description to see how they react to it.
In the above screenshot you see how the top two search results have the name of the product inside the url.
Both are not very pretty but compared to what FrontierPC.com has in place, almost a quantum jump in evolution.
Not helpful to identify where I’m on the site or what I should expect from this page. In addition, all search engines put a lot of value in finding keywords in the url of a page. For example, the Linksys SPA 2102 Gateway at FrontierPC.com page url should be like this:
A better way to create your urls is to align them with your site structure. In the case of FrontierPC, I could not really figure out their site structure. I will give some examples how you could place a product page into the site structure.
You could create your site structure based on brand names, e.g. brand names are your categories:
Alternatively, you could make your structure based on category names:
This really depends on how you choose to organize your website. I will elaborate on this in the site structure part of this article.
The navigation on www.FrontierPC.com is more or less a little difficult, like most PC e-Commerce sites are. However, I will not talk about the user-friendliness of the navigation since the navigation builds your site structure. I will talk about it from an SEO point of view. Most people don’t realize that making something easy to read for search engines often means it makes it easier to read for humans as well. Both don’t react positively on information overflow, both like to follow an easy to use route that does not make them work hard and both hate to get deceived.
The homepage offers a large list of random items. If a visitor lands on your homepage, you could perhaps classify this visitor as a lead. Stuffing random products right into his face could easily let him bounce back and look elsewhere for the product. A better practice is to rather focus on the categories to drive the traffic and page rank downwards into the category pages.
The VoIP Gateways category page does not offer much better navigation than the homepage. If I have no clue which brand I at least prefer I have not much of a chance to find what I’m looking for. At a glance, I can already expect quite a lot of duplicate content in this area of the site. Again, choose to make it simple or as the designing principle goes “Don’t Make Me Think.” Subcategories would be a great way to organize products and the pages can bring you a substantial amount of organic traffic.
The product page from FrontierPC.com does not seem to have any kind of navigation. That is not a bad idea but breadcrumbs would be useful to put in place all over the site. The rest should be determined by some focus groups that test the design.
I could probably go for another 5 pages about how important site structure is and how to implement it but then nobody would read any of my following articles anymore.
The perfect way to structure a website is in a pyramid with the homepage on top, the category pages building the first level, the subcategory pages on the second level and the product pages being the foundation.
As you can see, the deeper one goes into the site, the more pages of the same kind are in place. This means as farther away you go from your homepage, the lower the page rank should be for the pages. As I mentioned earlier in this article, it is suggested to align your site structure with your keywords. This means that should put the high value keywords on top and work your way down from here. Product pages don’t need as much page rank as a category page doe. For example, it is quite impressive how often people search VoIP Gateway.
Websites like FrontierPC.com that have been around for a while now rank well for many keywords but are often far away from ranking as number one with a lot of pages. If they would manage to get ranking in the Top 2 for around 30 – 50 % of their products they would be happy. Right now, I don’t foresee this achievement anytime soon with the current SEO strategy. I would suggest to them to contact an Internet Marketer first to help them improve their site immediately before spending thousands of dollars on a redesign of the site.
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