Google’s organic search is and will remain an important visitor channel for online shops.
According to the SEO tool provider SEMRush, search engines, above all Google, generate 37.5% of e-commerce traffic. So if you want to build a really large and successful online shop, there is no way around e-commerce SEO.

Search engine optimization for online shops is used to design an online shop and its contents technically and in terms of content so that they achieve a better ranking in the results lists of search engines such as Google.

Content for online shops

The content of the online shop is a decisive factor for search engine optimization. If you do not include the optimization of your content in search engine optimization, you will not achieve any success in the ranking of organic search in the long term. In some niches it may be possible to be successful without great content. However, as soon as there are competitors who fight with you for the best places in the Google ranking and offer high-quality content, the ranking of your online shop will deteriorate.

Google rates how helpful and user-friendly the content of an online shop is. Google attaches particular importance to factors that can be summarized with EAT:

E = expertise
A = authority
T = trust

In order to evaluate these points, Google is increasingly using user signals such as the bounce rate or length of stay in an online shop. The search engine tries to understand whether the user found what he was looking for or expected and how much the user liked the content and offers of the shop.

How has the relevance of content in online shops developed?

While brand websites and blogs or other information portals have always placed great value on good content, this was not the case in the past with transaction-oriented websites, primarily online shops.

Many shop owners feared that extensive content would lead to potential customers being distracted from the transaction. The concern was that instead of buying a product, potential customers would get lost in the texts. That is why “SEO texts” were often hidden from users, for example with very small font or gray font on a white background. So the necessary text for the search engine was available, but the users could hardly see it.

These pure SEO texts weren’t really helpful anyway, because it was only about using relevant keywords as often as possible in a text. The so-called keyword density (i.e. keyword density) was one of the most important indicators for the quality of SEO content.

In addition, there were often separate pages for synonyms or even misspellings. In terms of content, however, there were hardly any differences between the texts.

Panda and other Google updates

All of that changed fundamentally in February 2011 with Google’s Panda update. Google had recognized the problem and wanted to improve the quality of the content with this update so that users can also benefit from the higher quality of the texts. Online shops with bad content were the clear losers of the Panda update. Up until 2016 there were always new versions of this update in order to ensure that the content was further improved.

Since 2016, the criteria of the Panda update have now been incorporated into the so-called core algorithm from Google. This means that they are constantly being refined and rolled out very regularly. The advantage is that you don’t have to wait for the next update to get ranking improvements through optimizations.

  • About the Panda update

    The Panda update is a filter that is regularly applied to the entire Google index and significantly reduces poor quality websites in terms of their visibility, i.e. shifts their positions in the search results pages significantly backwards.

    The algorithm change was first introduced in the US market on February 23, 2011 and then played out worldwide for all search queries in English on April 11, 2011.

    On August 12, 2011, the change to the ranking algorithm was adopted worldwide for all available languages, with the exception of Chinese, Japanese and Korean. In this context, one speaks of the worldwide release of the Google Panda update.

    Incidentally, the name giver of the algorithm change is not, as is often assumed, the panda bear but the Google engineer Navneet Panda, whose contribution was largely responsible for the completion of this filter.

New quality guidelines

With the updates of the Google search algorithm, the requirements for the content of a website have changed fundamentally. In order to take into account today’s quality guidelines from Google, you have to pay attention to the following points:

  1. Research the topics for your texts thoroughly – this is the only way to answer all of the users’ questions and completely cover their needs.
  2. Write unique texts and do not steal content from other websites.
  3. Don’t worry about the length of your texts: just write as much as makes sense for the topic.
  4. Write your texts for the users. So use the keywords as they would be used in normal parlance.
  5. Also use synonyms, related terms and keyword combinations. This contributes to the legibility of the texts
  6. Enhance your text visually: Use headings, lists, tables, images, videos and highlighting to present the content clearly and make it understandable to users.
  7. Build the texts into the page in such a way that they are easy to read and easy for users to find. Otherwise there is a risk that Google will not rank your website at the top of the search results. Although you are allowed to “collapse” your texts to a certain extent or put them in tabs, sliders or accordions today, too much of it can be a hindrance to good rankings.

Different types of content for online shops

Basically, online shop content can be broken down into four types:

  • Transactional content
  • Informational content
  • Branding content
  • Social content

Not all types of content play an equally important role in SEO for online shops.

Classic “shop content”, often also called transactional content, is usually displayed on category pages, product pages or brand pages.

Informational content, on the other hand, is often covered by an online magazine, advice or blog article.

Branding content can be found on service pages such as FAQs and on the home page.

Social content can typically be found in a magazine or guide or on separate landing pages. Social content can also be integrated outside of a website, for example on Facebook, YouTube and other channels.

While transactional and informational content have a direct impact on sales from an SEO point of view, branding content and social content only have an indirect impact on organic rankings.

Transactional content for online shops

With transactional content, sales should be generated as directly as possible. The user should therefore buy a product on your website, register for a seminar, fill out a form, take out a subscription or something similar.

Transactional content is in the foreground in search engine optimization for online shops.

The task of transactional content is therefore to advise the user in such a way that he:

  1. can choose the right product,
  2. is convinced that you are the best provider for him,
  3. completes the transaction.

Transactional content can therefore be found primarily on product pages, category pages, pages with purchase advice, brand pages, etc.

Transactional content is typically the most important content type for SEO for online shops. This is mainly due to the fact that terms with a transactional character often have a high and constant search volume. The search terms of transactional content usually have a high commercial relevance. With this content you can generate permanent organic traffic for your website or your shop and thus sales.

SEO for item descriptions

You will generate more sales if good SEO ensures that users find your shop at the top of the Google search.

Google and Co. are smart enough to recognize whether your item descriptions actually offer the customer a high level of information and incentive to buy.

Customers often initially have a rather vague idea of which product solves their problems, meets your needs or is simply fun for you. The item description is therefore the decisive step in the purchase decision. Successful article descriptions inform and at the same time build trust.

Current studies show that online buyers place great value on comprehensive product descriptions. If they do not find sufficient information in the online shop, almost two thirds of potential buyers abandon their visit without even considering the purchase.

Show your customers that you have expert knowledge of your product range and that you can therefore optimally support them with all questions.

Of course, all texts in your online shop should be tailored to your target group. An online shop that sells computers and other technical accessories will use a different tone than a shop that sells surfboards.

In general, all statements in article descriptions should be clear and unambiguous. Use technical terms sparingly and explain them clearly if they are necessary to understand the products.

How is a good item description structured?

Every item description is preceded by a meaningful heading. This is provided with the H1 tag, which should only appear once on each page. It is advisable to structure the description with additional subheadings. H2 tags and, if necessary, H3 or H4 tags are then used for the subheadlines.

The introductory text – also known as the teaser – sets initial stimulus points and encourages you to continue reading by naming the most important product information.

Amazon puts several listings at the top of the product pages. These are several short texts that contain various product details that provide an overview of the benefits and properties of an article. Often given in bullet points, for example materials, ingredients, uses or certificates of a product are mentioned. Amazon also puts ratings, customer reviews, and links to customer responses at the top of the product page.

Basically, the most important information about each article should be legible without having to scroll down the page.

The main part of the item description is made up of the actual description of the product following the short description, prices and other teasers. The length of the description text should be appropriate for the respective product. Keep the paragraphs meaningfully concise and avoid long sentences. Emphasize important information by bold text and use subheadings to differentiate between different pieces of information.

The overall length of the product description is strongly influenced by the complexity, possible uses and special features of the item. But factors such as price also play a role. The more expensive the products offered, the longer the description texts can tend to be. Because anyone who pays a lot of money for an exclusive product or a status symbol also wants to feel fully advised. Remember: Informing is more important than advertising.

You can incorporate the properties of the article into the article page both in text form and in the form of a list. In this way, you not only provide practical summaries of the content, but also appeal to different visual reading types. Anyone who is already somewhat familiar with the product in question usually only needs a few basic information such as price and delivery time for the purchase decision.

It is crucial that the product description leaves as few questions as possible on the part of the customer. Due to its length, the information content and the search terms it contains, the article description is essential for the search engine optimization of your online shop.

Information on the use or effect of your product is particularly helpful. How do you use it, what needs to be considered for optimal function or mode of action? For example, if you sell skis, explain their area of application. You don’t need to write a complete guide on all aspects of buying skis at this point. However, it makes sense to have a guide ready and to link to it in the product description.

Checklist for complete item descriptions

  • How much does the product cost?

  • What materials is it made of?

  • In the case of food or medication: Which ingredients or active substances are contained?

  • Which colors are available?

  • What is the product for and how is it used?

  • Does it still have to be assembled or assembled, or is it delivered ready for use?

  • According to which standards is the article certified?

  • Are certain regulations or safety standards to be observed when using it?

  • Are there any special guarantees? If so, how long is the guarantee valid?

  • Which accessories can be used for the product and also purchased?

  • For whom is the article particularly suitable and for whom is it possibly not suitable?

  • Why is the product the best possible choice?

  • Links to similar or complementary products are also useful

Product Description Best Practices

Under no circumstances should you copy product descriptions from the manufacturer or other online shops. In search engine optimization for online shops, product descriptions should always be unique and contain detailed information about the products. For example, you can answer typical questions about the product and place them under the description. In this way, you can also counteract a high return rate.

Appealing and high-quality product images are also essential. The resolution and the size are also decisive. The user should be able to look at the product very closely. A zoom function is ideal to enlarge the image if necessary. If the product is available in several colors, all variants should also be visible. Several perspectives of the product image also significantly enhance the species description.

Do’s and don’ts in product texts

Non-optimized product descriptions that can be read in dozens of other shops that all offer the same or similar products can become a conversion killer. Online shops should therefore answer the question “Why should the customer buy from me when they can get the product a few euros cheaper elsewhere?” answer. The more expensive and information-intensive a product is, the more important it is to trust the retailer. The user always wants to be sure that he is buying the right thing.

  • Create individual texts

  • Clear layout that clearly highlights the benefits

  • Briefly list the benefits

  • Answer possible user questions

  • If possible: use pictures and, if necessary, videos

  • Create trust through detailed descriptions

  • Demonstrate your own expert knowledge

  • Offer comparison options and display similar products

  • Recommend additional products that might be of interest

  • Show reviews and customer ratings

  • Use of product videos

  • Display the delivery date, availability and shipping method in the upper third

  • Use of poor quality images

  • Copy product texts and images from manufacturers

  • Incorrect texts and descriptions

  • Don’t convey your own values

  • Just list facts or features

Frequently asked questions, reviews and testimonials

An FAQ area under each product is an excellent opportunity to offer the customer added value and relieve them of their reservations. Here, too, Amazon shows how it works – customers can ask questions about each item, which are then usually answered by other users.

In your own online shop you should answer yourself if possible in order to retain full control over the quality of the answers. Answers from customers are non-binding and must be treated with a certain amount of caution. Make sure that FAQ areas are always correct and up-to-date.

Consider any reasons that could prevent customers from buying products from you. Your article descriptions including FAQ, product data sheet, pictures and graphics must be able to refute all negative arguments and dispel possible reservations of the users.

Testimonials and test results are a great way to gain consumer trust. If the product in question has been given awards or seals of approval, these should also be clearly visible on the product page.

Prices and delivery times

It goes without saying that you have their prices clearly visible on your item page.

Information about the expected delivery time and any other delivery conditions are also very important. If the transport of an item is very time-consuming or involves additional costs, you must inform your customers accordingly.

Duplicate content in product descriptions

Google wants to avoid that multiple search results lead to the same content. Duplicate content is a bad SEO mistake. If Google considers the duplicate content to be a deception, it can happen that the corresponding website is removed from the search results.

“Such unfair behavior can lead to a negative user experience, as visitors are shown basically the same content in a series of search results,” says Google. It is therefore important to find duplicate content and make it visible or avoid it.

Online shops will always show a certain amount of duplicate content if, for example, the manufacturer’s article descriptions are adopted unchanged.

This duplicate content will definitely not lead to a “penalty” by Google, but it can still damage your online shop because Google then does not consider you to be the original source and accordingly ranks worse. So be creative and only use the product information from manufacturers and other partners as a template to deliver outstanding, unique content.

The Myth of “Duplicate Content Punishment”

There is no Google penalty for duplicate content. That said, if you take an article from the Associated Press, for example, and post it on your blog, you won’t be penalized with something like a manual action from Google. However, Google will filter duplicate versions of content from search results. If two or more pieces of content are essentially similar, Google will pick a canonical (source) URL to show in search results and hide the duplicate versions. It is not a punishment. This is a google filter that only shows one version of a piece of content to improve the searcher’s experience.

If you have other products that match the respective item, you can link them in the item description. Useful links help search engine optimization. If possible, do not use more than three to five links per page. If there are a lot of suitable or necessary accessories available for a product, you can of course link to all corresponding articles.

With category texts for SEO success

Well-written category texts with a high level of benefit and information are indispensable for long-term success as an online shop operator. Because good category texts help your customers, you will also be rewarded by Google and other search engines.

With good category descriptions you can increase the visibility and reach of your shop, increase the number of visitors, achieve more conversions and acquire new customers.

If you want to be successful in e-commerce, you need good category texts. The description of product categories is about helping your customers to keep track and motivating them to buy in your online shop. Category texts are used to structure and describe the different types of products in your online shop.

Category texts are also ideal for increasing the search engine ranking of your online shops and improving the visibility of your offer. In contrast to the article description, which is only displayed well in the search results for very specific article names, eg “Nike Free RN 5 in blue”, category pages can also be displayed for more generic search terms, eg “Nike running shoes”.

For this, however, it is not enough to deal with the visitors of your shop with superficial descriptions like “these are great products, they are available in S, M, L and XL”. Your customers want to be convinced by the purchase or even seduced. That is why most customers attach greater importance to being informed in detail about the content of a category and about the properties and benefits of the products on offer.

Category descriptions are therefore just as important as the description of the products themselves. If you can’t find any helpful information in the category text, you will probably not click on a product anymore, but will try another shop directly.

If, on the other hand, you can score points with helpful and informative category texts and offer your customers added value, the chance of selling increases and thus your position in the search engine results.

As an online retailer, you should attach great importance to making your shop as clear, user-friendly and informative as possible. Answer as many customer questions as possible in advance. First-class category texts are ideal for this purpose.

FAQs on category texts

Informational content for online shops

Informational content (also informational content) is primarily about the provision of information. In other words, you want to answer users’ questions and thus influence their decision. So you have to think in advance what questions your users and potential customers might have and answer these questions as best as possible and comprehensively. Informational content can be divided into evergreen content and time-related content.

Evergreen content is always relevant, while time-related content is only relevant for a short time. Seasonal topics count as time-related content because they are only relevant at a certain point in time.

In contrast to current content, which is time-bound, the creation of evergreen content is about keeping the possible questions of the clientele or target group in mind. And precisely those questions that are not bound by time and that will keep users busy in a few years. In order to create evergreen content, precise knowledge of the target group and their information needs is required.
How important is informational content for shop SEO?

Evergreen content is very important for SEO. There can be a considerable search volume in evergreen content. For example, over 5000 users per month search for “properly dowelling”. Here you can create uniquely good content and thus achieve good rankings and traffic in the long term.

It looks different with time-based content. So although “oktoberfest” is searched intensively every year, the search volume drops sharply as soon as the festival is over. This is why time-based content isn’t that relevant to SEO as it won’t drive you long-term traffic. But if you work on this niche with seasonal offers, it is of course important for you to address this seasonal traffic with good time-related content.

Creation of evergreen content

However, if you want to use evergreen content on your website and thus achieve good rankings, you should be aware that it is not enough just to produce this content once. The constant demand for this topic alone does not represent a ranking factor. With every search query, Google evaluates again how relevant a target page is and also uses criteria such as the publication date or the time stamp of an update.

This is intended to present the user with an optimal search result. You should therefore regularly check your supposedly timeless content for possible updates or improvements. This applies not only to technical topics, for which a high level of dynamism ensures regular updates, but also to content that appears timeless at first glance. The higher the competition between websites for a certain evergreen content, the more criteria have to be optimized.

Optimization of evergreen content

Use of keywords: The keywords that have search volume should be used in prominent places. But since the main thing is to answer users’ questions, you should focus particularly on mapping the topic comprehensively.

Structure: A clear and logical structure is just as important as with transactional content

Content upgrade: Informational topics typically benefit enormously from clear images or videos. So invest in good pictures and videos to differentiate yourself from the competition that deal with the same topics.

Internal links: Since the user does not want to buy or order anything here, you should use conversion elements sparingly. Instead, you can place internal links to your transactional pages at appropriate places.

User generated content for online shops

In addition to the types of content already described, there is another type of content that is important for online shops: user-generated content, i.e. content that is provided by your users. This can be done, for example, in the form of comments or within a forum on your site in which users can exchange ideas. You might even give users the option to upload photos.

The advantage of user-generated content for search engine optimization is obvious:

  1. You don’t have to worry about creating this content yourself, your users do it for you
  2. Users create the content in “their language” and thus expand your keyword portfolio with terms and topics that you missed during your keyword research
  3. You will also receive interactions with your website, and the length of stay will be comparatively long

However, you also need to be very careful about what people post on your site. Apart from the legal aspect, it is also important for the search engine to continuously check these pages.

The following issues can occur with User Content

  1. Duplicate content: Many users generate similar content or the same that they have already created. Google may evaluate this as duplicate content with the corresponding problems.
  2. Problematic Links: Some users may post links to other websites that Google declares as spam. This, too, can damage your website if you don’t label it appropriately.

User-generated content therefore offers high SEO potential. However, it is necessary that you moderate and control user-generated content. Accordingly, user-generated content will also produce considerable effort.

How often do I have to update my content?

In addition to writing new texts, when doing search engine optimization you should also deal with revising existing texts. Basically, users understandably prefer current texts to outdated ones. Who wants to read a text about the fitness tracker from the year before last when looking for “fitness watch”? How important the actuality is, depends very much on the topic. Not every topic develops as dynamically as, for example, fitness watches.

Basically, so that your text remains up-to-date and your users can always be up-to-date, you have to revise your texts as soon as the topic has developed further. To do this, you should consider right at the beginning which topics need to be updated frequently and which not so often.

Technical SEO for online shops

Filters are an important function in many online shops so that the selection of products can be tailored to the needs of the customer. However, filters have a few special features that should be considered when optimizing search engines.

Typically, the user can filter the range of an online shop based on various criteria. For example by color and price. A separate URL is created for each new filtered view.

Colour blue
Price: 89 – 149
New URL: https://www.meinshop.de/damenbekleidung-hosen/_blau/?price_from=89&price_to=149.

The following problem arises here: The extensive filter combinations result in countless URLs for the same content (the products do not change). If there is no control of the filter URLs here, all these URLs end up in the Google index and the online shop produces plenty of duplicate content.

In addition, Google’s crawling budget is wasted, which may delay newer pages or not crawl and index them at all. In addition, the power of backlinks and other ranking-relevant factors is not bundled into a few, defined, so-called canonical URLs, but distributed over numerous URLs, of which often no URL can achieve really good positions in search engines.

SEO for filters and pagination

Filters are an important function in many online shops so that the selection of products can be tailored to the needs of the customer. However, filters have a few special features that should be considered when optimizing search engines.

Typically, the user can filter the range of an online shop based on various criteria. For example by color and price. A separate URL is created for each new filtered view.

Colour blue
Price: 89 – 149
New URL: https://www.meinshop.de/damenbekleidung-hosen/_blau/?price_from=89&price_to=149.

The following problem arises here: The extensive filter combinations result in countless URLs for the same content (the products do not change). If there is no control of the filter URLs here, all these URLs end up in the Google index and the online shop produces plenty of duplicate content.

In addition, Google’s crawling budget is wasted, which may delay newer pages or not crawl and index them at all. In addition, the power of backlinks and other ranking-relevant factors is not bundled into a few, defined, so-called canonical URLs, but distributed over numerous URLs, of which often no URL can achieve really good positions in search engines.

4 solution approaches for SEO for filters and pagination

Many online shops set all filter URLs to noindex and only the unfiltered category page is released for indexing on Google. In the example mentioned this would be www.zalando.de/damenbekleidung-hosen/. All filter URLs are therefore excluded from indexing.

The advantage is that the online shop’s URL set is kept quite small. At the same time, it is also a disadvantage because a large ranking potential is wasted. This one URL can never cover all keywords related to the topic of women’s pants. The page is ranked for “women’s pants” and a few combinations like “buy women’s pants”, etc., but not for relevant search terms like “red women’s pants”, as the page can hardly offer relevant content. This is of course bad for online shops, because traffic and sales potential flounder.

Another problem arises: If the category page www.meinshop.de/damenbekleidung-hosen/ ranks well for search queries such as “blue ladies pants”, users would not find the exact results they want on this page. It would be more user-friendly if a suitably filtered URL such as www.meinshop.de/damenbekleidung-hosen/blau/ were listed as the search result.

With this solution, the filters do not generate their own URLs. As soon as the user wants to filter the selection of products in the shop, regardless of whether by manufacturer, operating system or features, the view for the user changes, but not the URL. In this way, a large number of URLs can be avoided. For the technical implementation, however, you need some developer resources.

URLs can be excluded from crawling via the robots.txt. With the command:

Disallow: / filter / you can give Google the command to exclude these pages from crawling.

You can block the crawling of URLs that contain certain parameters, e.g. / filter /.


Requirements for using the Google Search Console URL parameter settings

Use the URL Parameters Tool only if your website meets ALL of the following requirements:

  1. Your website has more than 1,000 pages AND
  2. A significant number of duplicate pages that are indexed by Googlebot will appear in your logs, with all duplicate pages differing only in terms of various URL parameters. Example: example.com?product=green_dress and example.com?type=dress&color=green)

Beware of incorrect use

Only use the URL Parameters Tool if your website meets the above requirements and you are an experienced search engine optimizer. If you use the URL Parameters Tool incorrectly, Google may ignore key pages on your site without warning or reporting on ignored pages. The reason for this approach is that many users use the tool incorrectly or unnecessarily. Only use the tool if you are sure how it works and how to use it.

Targeted indexing of relevant filter URLs – best practice

Indexing all or nothing is usually not the optimal solution. Filter URLs, the content of which has a search volume and also bring added value to the user as a search result, should be crawled and indexed by Google and ultimately achieve good rankings. The rest of the filter urls should be set to noindex.

Whether a filter URL should be indexed by Google can depend on several factors:

  1. Search volume: If the keyword combination has a high search volume, it can be included in the index. Others can be excluded
  2. Added value for the user: Only if the filtered page is of use to the user should it be indexed.
  3. Content customizable: If page content can be matched to the selected filter URL, it should also be included in the index.
  4. Top seller products: If individual products are very popular in the shop and also have a good search volume, they should be included in the index.

But be careful: Just because you set pages to noindex doesn’t mean that Google won’t crawl them. The crawl budget is the maximum number of pages that Google crawls on a website. And that’s limited. Therefore you should also make sure that irrelevant pages are also excluded from crawling, e.g. via the robots.txt or the parameter settings in the Google Search Console.

This is what many large online shops do

If you have enough technical resources for you, controlling the indexing using a canonical tag is usually the best solution. The filter URLs of the brand, color and size filters are indexed – even in cases of multiple selections, such as www.meinshop / damenbekleidung-hosen / ana_blau_groesse-36 /. All other filters are excluded from indexing using a canonical tag.

The content of the filter selection is adapted to the URL, page title, meta description, h1 and, in the case of the colors, partly also the running text.

But be careful: URLs with sizes should only be indexed if they are actually relevant for the user. An analysis of the search terms in the Search Console can provide information here.

What happens to deleted products?

A challenge in SEO for online shops are products that are removed from the range or deleted. The 404 errors that this creates are often ignored, and the number of errors increases and increases over time.

Remember that every item is part of the overall ranking of your online shop. Product pages are often linked externally and have valuable backlinks or are shared via social media channels and generate regular traffic. There are several possible solutions to this issue. You only have to decide which solution is the right one for your own online shop.

Solution 1: 301 redirect to a similar category
If there is a suitable product category in the shop for the deleted product, it is advisable to set up a 301 redirect directly on the category. In this case, the visitor has the option to buy a similar item, which promises a satisfied user and a low bounce rate.

Both of these not only prevent your own search engine rankings from falling, but also increase the probability of a conversion in the shop.

Solution 2: 301 redirect to successor product
If there is a successor product for the deleted product, such as a new model, a 301 redirect should also be set up from the deleted to the new page. In this case, the user can make a purchase directly without having to search through the shop as in solution 1. This solution is preferable to solution 1, because if the deleted article was able to show a domain value in the search engine, it is now possible to transfer this at least partially to the new article.

The new product should be very similar to the deleted product. If you were redirected to any other product, the user would likely leave the site and send a bad SEO signal to Google.

Solution 3: don’t delete the product
In online shops it often happens that a product is only temporarily unavailable. In this case, the product does not need to be deleted. For the user, however, it is often annoying when he wants to buy the product and sees on the product page that this product no longer exists. There is also a solution for this case: It is best to inform the user on the product page about the new delivery date or by when the item will be available again. Or you can inform the user with a text field and point out the successor product.

It is also advisable to give the user the opportunity to save his or her email address in order to be notified of availability.

Which solution you choose always depends on the particular case. Not every solution makes sense for all online shops. If you have limited resources, automate as much as possible.

Correct handling of items on sale

Would you like to sell your products and do you have your own SALE category in the online shop? Undoubtedly a good idea, but there are a few things to consider when it comes to SEO.

Many online shops mark their products as SALE and at the same time copy the product into the SALE category. This often creates a second URL. That means you are using two URLs for the same product. In this case, duplicate content is created again. Therefore, always make sure that the URL of the product, even if the product is now in the SALES category, always has the same URL.

If you already have products in the SALE with your own URL, you can forward them to the correct product URL with 301, for example, or you can set a canonical to the “original” product.

Internal links

Links are known to be one of the more important ranking factors in the Google algorithm. While a lot is said about external links, i.e. the incoming links from other domains, and their procurement is sometimes carried out with a lot of effort, the internal linking of a website receives relatively little attention. The internal linking is a powerful SEO tool and should not be limited to navigation and the use of the keywords in the link text.

External links increase Google’s trust in the domain. The higher the trust, the more Google trusts the internal links. In this respect, both types of links are important and it would be a mistake to concentrate only on external links and ignore the possibilities of internal links.

The practical thing about internal links is that you can freely determine them yourself. You can implement your own plan for the number, placement and design of the link texts.

In addition, there is no need to worry about Google filters. While the excessive use of keywords in the anchor text has been problematic with external links since the Penguin update at the latest, the opposite is more the case with internal links. Google recommends in its PDF “Introduction to Search Engine Optimization”: “… the better the anchor text, the easier it is for users to navigate and the better Google understands what the linked page is about.”

Most online shops make insufficient use of this option. But remember that the linked pages must still be relevant to the user.

How many internal links should I use?

Unfortunately, there is no guide value for this either. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Can you still read the text with the links or are you just distracted? Here, too, the top priority is again that the text must get better through the internal links.

Structured data for online shops

When it comes to SEO for online shops, rich snippets play an important role. With rich snippets, you can significantly enhance the search result on Google with extensions through structured data and make it more informative. This increases the click rate in the search results. Online shops that an above-average number of users click seem to be more relevant and therefore also offer added value for the user from Google’s point of view. The result is better rankings in the long term.

The sitelinks, rating and product data extensions are particularly interesting for shops. These are then marked with asterisks in the search results and prices for individual products are displayed.

With structured data for products, data on a product (price, availability and ratings) can be stored, which can then be displayed in the search. This markup is used on product detail pages and shopping aggregator pages.

Add markup to your product pages as this is the only way for Google to include detailed product information in rich search results (including Google Images). In this way, users can see price, availability and the rating results directly in the search results.

Markup can be used to display rich product results to attract potential buyers looking for items to buy on Google or images of the items you are selling. Your product information must always be correct and up-to-date so that users can see relevant and up-to-date articles.

With the rich snippet for frequently asked questions (FAQs) you can answer customer questions directly in the search results.

It is also advisable to mark up the internal search (SearchBox), the breadcrumb mark, social media profiles or mark up size tables.

There are two options for implementing rich snippets in SEO for online shops. Either the microdata in the page source text is marked with a special HTML code according to schema.org or it is specified using the data highlighter in the Google Search Console. Exact information on this topic can be found on the Search Console help pages.

Link building for online shops

Google itself has always been very sparse when it comes to backlinks. However, there are increasing signs that backlinks are no longer the dominant signal.

But it’s also a fact: the linking of your online shop is still a very important ranking factor.

A good on-page optimization alone is often of little use if the competitors are clearly better linked. Every link from an external website is like a rating for your shop for Google. The more of these recommendations you have, the more links point to the website and the more trustworthy they are, the higher the chance that the above measures will significantly improve the rankings of the online shop.

However, it is no longer about having more backlinks than the competition. The better links lead to long-term success, and the best links are the ones that are typically hard to get to. You should therefore use exclusive linking options with cooperation partners.

Link building checklist

Only thematically appropriate links are considered a real recommendation and improve your ranking.

Ease of use of the online shop

Your online shop, your technology and your texts are perfectly optimized, but the conversions are missing? Good usability is an essential part of SEO for online shops, otherwise many online shops struggle with a high bounce rate. The hurdle to cancel the purchase prematurely is particularly low on the Internet. Because the competition is just a click away.

Basically, depending on the user type, you should use the typical shop layout in an online shop. The user shouldn’t have to search in the shop, but should find all functions where he expects them. These expectations also change over time and are also slightly different depending on the end device.

Basically, you should keep these topics in mind for good shop usability

  1. Clear and simple navigation
  2. Internal search that works well
  3. Easy navigation through the shopping cart
  4. Short and understandable checkout
  5. Use quality seals such as eKomi, TrustedShops or TÜV Süd
  6. Set buying impulses with a call to action button such as “order now”
  7. Optimization for mobile devices

Conclusion

In SEO for online shops there are many points to consider in order to achieve top rankings for the most important keywords. Solid technology always serves as the basis. It is best to do a short, free onpage SEO check to get a clear picture of your onpage optimization.

Always remember that there are always people behind the clicks and that your online shop should therefore always be geared towards the needs of these customers. What are my customers interested in? What are my customers looking for? And how can I tap into the needs of my users? These questions are decisive for a successful SEO strategy in order to sustainably improve the awareness, traffic and sales of your online shop.