E-Commerce SEO: Challenges and Solutions


My first few years of professional SEO experience was purely automotive e-commerce. It wasn’t until years later where I’d begin taking on SEO projects for other types of sites (local businesses, startups, etc) that I’d begin to understand how different and unique e-commerce SEO was in relation to other sites. The sheer number of factors and potential mousetraps is is astounding. Fortunately there is an answer for every problem.

The sheer number of pages

Whereas a local business or SaaS website might be a few pages (occasionally, a single page), e-commerce sites generally have thousands, sometimes millions of pages. What this means is that one small change can have resounding effects. This makes it even more important to correctly silo your pages and still make them crawlable.

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Checking your Canonical Link Element En Masse

Auditing your website’s canonical link elements

The ability to cite canonical URLs can be a great asset for an SEO. Unfortunately it can also have negative impacts if used inappropriately. Between site migrations, the creation of new pages, switching to https, misuse or bugs in an SaaS, domain name switches and just the everyday grind of making changes that are due yesterday, it’s not that uncommon for an SEO or webmaster to use the canonical link element in a counterproductive fashion. Since it’s not visible and its effects are behind the scenes, incorrectly used canonicals can go unnoticed for years. Fortunately, finding bad canonicals can be rather simple.

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SEO for 2015: The State of SEO and some Predictions

SEO predictions for 2015

2015 is here and SEO is barely recognizable from SEO in 2005 (the year I began doing this professionally), when carpet bombing link and article directories, adding some keyword-stuffed”rich” landing pages, and making sure you weren’t doing anything stupid (like blocking your site via robots.txt) was enough to dominate the SERPs. Today, good (even decent) SEO requires addressing so many non-traditionally-considered-be-a-part-of-SEO-things that some no longer call it SEO (hence, the increase usage of titles like content marketers, growth hackers, digital marketers, etc).

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Stop Saying SEO is Dead!

SEO is not Dead

It seems that every time Google deploys a major change in their algorithm, a few authors/bloggers proclaim the death of SEO, and marketing websites/blogs are awash with titles like “SEO is Dead” and “Is SEO Dead?” In most cases they admit (later on in their piece) that it’s not really dead, but rather that “SEO as we knew it is dead.” In other words, their blog/article title was mainly hyperbole (no doubt meant to increase click throughs and serve as link bait).

SEO is Dead

SEO just keeps dying!

However, some authors/bloggers appear to really believe that this is the case. Never mind that it was supposedly dead in 2009 when Google began to place more emphasis on personalization. And before that, it was dead in 2007 when Universal Search became more prominent. This time it’s for real! And no doubt, SEO will continue to suffer more fatalities in the years to come.

So why did SEO die this time?

All that’s happened is this:
Google has gotten better at weeding out gimmicks meant to ‘trick’ their algorithm into giving a page/wesbite more relevance and/or authority than it actually deserves. For years Google has been giving SEO people mixed signals. On one hand we’ve been told time and again that useful and intuitive content is the way to improve rankings and we’ve been told to avoid gimmicks. On the other hand, we’ve had to watch competitors climb the SERPs by gaming the system through link networks and other schemes. Google is simply doing a better job of putting into practice what they’ve been preaching for years.

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