UnitedAds. SEO and Google Ads for more leads, more customers and more sales.

SEO for Online Shops: The complete guide

SEO Onlineshops 2

Google’s organic search is and remains an important visitor channel for online stores.

According to SEO tool provider SEMRush, search engines, led by Google, deliver 37.5% of e-commerce traffic. So if you want to build a really great and successful online store, there is no way around e-commerce SEO.

Search engine optimization for online stores serves to design an online store and its content technically and in terms of content so that they achieve a better ranking in the results lists of search engines such as Google.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym and stands for Search Engine Optimization. SEO is part of the Search Engine Marketingwhich also includes SEA (Search Engine Advertising). In contrast to placing Google Ads, as is practiced in SEA, among other things, SEO is designed to optimize one’s own online store so that it ranks as well as possible.

Ranking means that your online store for women’s shoes is displayed as high as possible among the organic search results for the search query women’s shoes. If your online store lands higher up in the search results, you will be seen by more potential customers. As a result, there is a higher chance that users will buy from you.

SEO für Onlineshops

In SEO, a distinction is made between OnPage and OffPage SEO. OnPage SEO describes all measures that take place directly on your website, for example the optimization of images for shorter loading times. OffPage SEO measures are measures that take place outside your own website, this includes especially link building.

There are three major sub-areas in search engine optimization:

  1. Content: Must be high quality and relevant to your target audience
  2. Technology: User-friendliness of your website and fast loading times are part of technical SEO
  3. Authority: Good and relevant backlinks and quality content confirm your relevance and trustworthiness for users.

However, there are many other factors that play into your online store’s ranking besides these three main areas that are responsible for your website’s performance.

So before you start and take any SEO measures, you should definitely perform an SEO check for your online store beforehand.

Why is SEO important?

As already described at the beginning, search engines account for a large part of the traffic of online stores, and the trend is rising. This means that a large proportion of your online store’s customers come to you via search, and not because they explicitly wanted to go to your store. For this, however, your online store must be high enough in the search engine results for potential customers to take notice of your store.

To increase the visibility of your online store, you need to take SEO measures. Otherwise, your competitors will pass you by and you will lose not only your visibility, but of course corresponding sales.

Content for online stores

The content of your online store is a crucial factor for search engine optimization. If you don’t include content optimization in your search engine optimization, you won’t achieve long-term success in organic search rankings.

Content is the entire content of a web page. This is usually text, but also images, graphics, videos or even online tools, such as a configurator. Content is essential for search engine rankings, for the duration of users’ stay and their interaction on the website.

While it may be possible in some niches, even without excellent
SEO content
to be successful. However, as soon as competitors come in to compete with you for the top spots in Google rankings and offer high-quality content, the ranking of your online store will deteriorate.

Google evaluates how helpful and user-friendly the content of an online store is. Google attaches particular importance to factors that can be summarized with E-A-T:

E = Expertise
A = Authority
T = Trust

To evaluate these points, Google increasingly uses user signals such as bounce rate or dwell time in an online store. Thus, the search engine tries to understand whether the user found what he was looking for or expected and how well the user liked the content and offers of the store.

Basically, content for online stores can be divided into three types:

Not all types of content play an equally important role in SEO for online stores. Classic “store content”, often also called transactional content, is usually displayed via category pages, product pages or even brand pages.

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

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

Transactional and informational content have a direct impact on sales via Google search from an SEO perspective. Branding content and social content, on the other hand, have only an indirect effect on organic rankings from an SEO perspective.

Transactional content for online stores

With transactional content, the aim is to generate sales as directly as possible. So the user is supposed to buy a product on your website, register for a seminar, fill out a form, sign up for a subscription, or something similar.

Transactional content is at the forefront of search engine optimization for online stores.

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

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

Transactional content is therefore mainly found on product pages, category pages, pages with buying advice, brand pages, etc.

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

The most important elements of transactional content are

SEO for product pages

If the user cannot find the product, he cannot buy it. But finding relevant product pages is only the first step on the path to the purchase funnel. While many websites have improved their information architecture and navigation, many product pages are still abysmal.

Product pages need to do more than just provide an image, a cursory product description, and an “Add to Cart” button: They need to sell the product. To achieve this, product pages need to convince or assure users that this product meets their needs. But many product pages fail to do this.

When users rely on a website’s product information, they don’t have the opportunity to touch the product, read the packaging, try it on, or ask a salesperson a question before they buy it. Clear, informative product pages are therefore essential.

In principle, all elements of the product page are important, i.e. item description, images, video, etc.. However, the item description still offers the greatest SEO potential, because this is where you can stand out the most from other online stores.

SEO for article descriptions

Google and other search engines are now smart enough to recognize whether your item descriptions actually provide customers with a high level of information and incentive to buy.

Customers often initially have a rather vague idea of which product will solve their problems, meet their needs, or simply be fun to use. The article description is therefore the decisive step towards the purchase decision. Successful item descriptions inform and build trust at the same time.

Current studies show that online shoppers place great value on comprehensive product descriptions. If you don’t find sufficient information in the online store, almost two-thirds of potential buyers abandon the visit without even considering the purchase.

Show your customers that you have expert knowledge of your product range and can therefore provide them with optimum support for all their questions. Of course, all texts in your online store should be tailored to your target audience. An online store that sells computers and other tech accessories will use a different tone of voice than a store that sells surfboards.

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

Onlineshop SEO Content

How is a good article description structured?

A good item description contains the following elements:

  • A meaningful H1 headline suitable for your product
  • Subdivision of the product description with further H2 headings, if necessary also H3 and H4 (e.g. technical information, scope of delivery, etc.)
  • An introductory text/teaser that sets the initial incentives for purchase
  • The detailed product description should be appropriate to the product in terms of length (complex products require more information)
  • Avoid overlong and convoluted sentences and explain complex issues as simply as possible
  • Use as few technical terms as possible and when explain them

A good inspiration for good product descriptions are the Amazon product descriptions of Amazon’s own brands. Amazon places several listings at the top of the product pages. These are several short texts containing various product details that provide an overview of the benefits and characteristics of an article.

Often kept in bullet points, materials, ingredients, intended uses or certificates of a product are mentioned, for example. Amazon also puts ratings, customer reviews, and links to customer responses at the top of the product page. Basically, the most important frame information for each article should be readable without having to scroll the page.

If you have other products that match the item, you can link to them in the item description. Meaningful links help search engine optimization. If possible, use no more than three to five related links per page. If there are a lot of suitable or necessary accessories for a product, you can of course link to all corresponding articles.

Prices and delivery times

It goes without saying that you place their prices clearly visible on your item pages. Very important is also information about the expected delivery time and any other delivery conditions. If the transport of an item is very time-consuming or even involves additional costs, you must inform your customers accordingly.

Dos and Don’ts for product texts

Non-optimized product descriptions that you can read on umpteen other stores that all offer the same or similar products can become a conversion killer.

Online stores should therefore answer the question, “Why should the customer buy from me if he can perhaps get the product a few euros cheaper elsewhere?” with an individual product text. This SEO measure enables better rankings for your online store.

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 emphasizes the benefits

  • Briefly list benefits

  • Answer possible user questions

  • If possible: use pictures and videos if necessary

  • Create trust through detailed descriptions

  • Demonstrate own expert knowledge

  • Offer comparison possibilities and show similar products

  • Recommend complementary products that may be of interest

  • Show reviews and customer ratings

  • Use of product videos

  • Show delivery date, availability, shipping method in the upper third

  • Use of inferior images

  • Copy product texts and images from manufacturers

  • Incorrect texts and descriptions

  • Not communicating one’s own values

  • Simply list facts or features

Checklist for complete article descriptions

  • How much does the product cost?

  • What materials is it made of?

  • In the case of foodstuffs or medicines: Which ingredients or active substances are contained?

  • What colors are available?

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

  • Does it still need to be assembled or put together, or is it shipped ready to use?

  • According to which standards is the article certified?

  • Are there any specific regulations or safety standards to follow when using it?

  • Are there any special warranty services? If so, how long is the warranty valid?

  • What 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

Frequently asked questions, ratings and testimonials

Buyers often want to know details – about patterns on the wallpaper, the dimensions of furniture, the care of clothes, the size of toys, and so on. However, many online stores focus only on basic information. Shoppers want to know how the product meets their needs, and they expect an online store to provide the answers.

Onlineshop SEO FAQs

A FAQ section under each product is a great SEO way to add content value to the customer and take away their reservations. Here, too, Amazon shows how it’s done – customers can ask questions about any item, which are then usually answered by other users.

In your own online store, you should answer yourself, if possible, to keep full control over the quality of the answers. Responses from customers are non-binding and must be taken with a grain of salt. Ensure FAQ sections are always accurate and up to date.

Consider all the reasons that might prevent customers from buying products from you. Your item descriptions, including FAQ, product data sheet, images and graphics, must be able to refute any negative arguments and dispel any possible reservations users may have.

Testimonials and test results provide an excellent opportunity to gain consumer trust. If the product in question has received awards or seals of approval, these should also be placed in a clearly visible position on the product page.

Reviews and testimonials can also contribute significantly to the relevance of a product page and are therefore important for search engine optimization. Read more in the section
User Generated Content

Our Shop Software SEO Guide

With category texts to SEO success

Well-written category texts with a high level of usefulness and information are essential 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.

So with good category descriptions, you can increase visibility and reach of your store, increase traffic, get more conversions and attract new customers.

If you want to be successful in e-commerce, you need good category texts. Describing product categories is all about helping their customers keep track of what’s going on and motivating them to buy from your online store. Category texts are therefore used to structure and describe the different types of products in your online store.

However, category texts are also excellent for increasing the search engine ranking of your online stores and improving the visibility of your offer. In contrast to the item description, which is only displayed well in search results for very specific item descriptions, i.e. “Nike Free RN 5 in blue”, category pages can also be displayed for more generic search terms, i.e. “Nike running shoes”.

However, it’s not enough to send visitors to your store off with superficial descriptions along the lines of “these are great products, they come in S, M, L and XL”. Your customers want to be convinced or even seduced to buy. That is why most customers attach increased importance to being informed in detail about the content of a category as well as about the features and benefits of the products on offer.

Category descriptions are therefore just as important as the description of the products themselves. If you don’t find any helpful information in the category text, you probably won’t click on a product again, but try out another store 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 making a sale increases, and with it your position in the search engine results.

As an online merchant, you should place great emphasis on making your store as clear, user-friendly and informative as possible. Answer as many customer questions as possible ahead of time. First-class category texts are quite suitable for this purpose.

Category Text FAQs

Informational content for online stores

Informational content is primarily about providing information. That is, you want to answer the user’s questions and thus influence his decision. So you need to think in advance about what questions your users and potential customers might have and answer those questions in the best and most comprehensive way possible.

How important is informational content for store SEO?

Informational keywords usually have a high search volume. It is true that purchase intent is not as high for informational search terms as it is for transactional search terms, since searchers are still in the research process and only want to find out about certain topics first. Nevertheless, you should also be on top for these terms, because this way you can pick up your potential customers directly at the beginning of their customer journey.

What could content for guides or blog sections look like?

Instructions, such as “How to properly care for wooden furniture”.
Information, such as “How to dowel properly?”

Informational content has a great importance for SEO. As previously discussed, there can be significant search volume in informational content. For example, over 5000 users per month search for “dowel correctly”. So here you can create good content once and get good rankings and traffic in the long run.

Evergreen Content vs Seasonal Content

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 period of time. Seasonal topics belong to time-related content, as they are only relevant at a certain point in time.

Unlike topical content, which is time-bound, evergreen content creation is about keeping the potential issues of the clientele or target audience in mind. These are precisely the kinds of questions that are not time-bound and will continue to occupy users in a few years’ time. Therefore, in order to create evergreen content, it is necessary to have a precise knowledge of the target audience and their information needs.

It’s a different story for time-based content. For example, “oktoberfest” is searched for intensively every year, but the search volume drops sharply as soon as the festival is over. That’s why time-based content is not so relevant for SEO, because you can’t get long-term traffic with it. But if you are working this niche with seasonal offers, it is obviously important for you to address this seasonal traffic with good time-related content.

Evergreen content creation

However, if you want to use evergreen content on your website and achieve good rankings with it, you should be aware that it is not enough just to produce this content once. Constant demand for this topic alone is not a ranking factor. Google re-evaluates how relevant a landing page is for each search query and also take into account criteria such as the publication date or the timestamp of an update.

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

Onlineshop SEO Evergreen Content

Evergreen content optimization

Use of keywords: You should use the keywords that have search volume in prominent places. However, since the main goal is to answer users’ questions, you should focus especially on covering the topic comprehensively.

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

Content enhancement: Informational topics typically benefit enormously from vivid images or videos. So invest in good images and videos to stand out from your competitors who are working on 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 in appropriate places.

User-generated content for online stores

User-generated content (UGC) includes everything from product ratings, product photos, reviews and Q&As to unboxing videos on social media. User-generated content is therefore not only a highly influential advertising medium, but also a comparatively cost-effective marketing measure across various channels.

95 percent of consumers use user-generated content to learn more about the quality and condition of products and base their purchase decisions on that. So it stands to reason that marketing strategists would take advantage of this preference.

The advantages of user-generated content for search engine optimization are obvious:

  1. You don’t have to worry about creating this content yourself, your users do it for you
  2. Users create content in “their language”, potentially adding terms and topics to your keyword portfolio that you missed in your keyword research
  3. Moreover, you will get interactions with your website, also the dwell time will be comparatively high

However, you also need to pay close attention to what users post on your site. Apart from the legal aspect, it is also important for the search engine to continuously monitor these pages.

User-generated content is not just cost-effective product promotion for online stores. UGC also helps online stores generate a high level of engagement, authenticity and trust on the part of consumers. Thus, user-generated content also offers high SEO potential

At the same time, customers’ product experiences boost the conversion of other consumers, which simultaneously leads to higher sales. All the more reason for brands to take advantage of this form of marketing and incorporate it into their own strategy.

However, it is necessary that you moderate and control user-generated content. Accordingly, user-generated content will also produce a certain amount of effort.

SEO Error: Duplicate Content

Google wants to avoid that several search results lead to the same content. Duplicate content is considered a bad SEO mistake. If Google considers the duplicate content to be a deception, it may remove the corresponding web page from the search results.

“Such unfair behavior can lead to a negative user experience, as visitors are essentially shown the same content in a series of search results,” Google states. Therefore, it is important to locate duplicate content and make it visible accordingly or avoid it.

Online stores will always show a certain amount of duplicate content if, for example, the item descriptions of the manufacturers are taken over unchanged.

This duplicate content will definitely not lead to a “penalty” by Google. However, it can still hurt your online store because Google will not consider you to be the original source and will rank you lower accordingly. So be creative and use the product information from manufacturers and other partners only as a template to deliver excellent unique content.

The myth of the “penalty for duplicate content”

There is no Google penalty for duplicate content. This means that if you take an article from the Associated Press, for example, and publish it on your blog, you won’t be penalized with something like a manual action from Google. However, Google filters duplicate versions of content from search results.

If two or more pieces of content are substantially similar, Google selects a canonical (source) URL. This is displayed in the search results and hides the duplicate versions. This is not a punishment. This is a Google filter that displays only one version of a piece of content to improve the searcher’s experience.

How often do I need to update my content?

Besides writing new texts, search engine optimization should also deal with revising already existing texts. In principle, users understandably prefer up-to-date texts to outdated ones.

Who wants to read a text about fitness trackers from the year before last when searching for “fitness watch”. But how important timeliness actually is depends a lot on the topic. Not every topic develops as dynamically as fitness watches, for example.

Basically: To ensure that your text then remains current and your users are always up-to-date, you need to revise your texts as soon as the topic has evolved. To do this, you should consider right at the beginning which topics need to be updated frequently and which not so often.

How has the relevance of content evolved for online stores?

While brand sites and blogs or other information portals have always placed great emphasis on good content, transactional websites, primarily online stores, did not used to.

For many store operators, there was a fear that detailed content would cause potential customers to be distracted from the transaction. The concern was that instead of buying a product, potential customers would get lost in the copy. Therefore, “SEO texts” were often hidden from users, for example, with very small font or gray font on a white background. So the necessary text was there for the search engine, but users could hardly see it.

These pure SEO texts were not really helpful anyway, because it was only about using relevant keywords as often as possible in a text. The so-called keyword density was one of the most important metrics for the quality of SEO content.

In addition, in many cases there were separate pages for synonyms or even misspellings. In terms of content, however, there were hardly Differences between the texts.

Quality guidelines for website content

You should always follow these Google quality guidelines when creating content:

  1. Thoroughly research the topics for your texts – only in this way you will be able to answer all the questions of users and fully cover their needs.
  2. Write unique texts and don’t steal the content together 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 speech.
  5. Also use synonyms, related terms and keyword combinations. This contributes to the readability of the texts.
  6. Add visual value to your texts: Use headings, bulleted lists, tables, images, videos and highlighting to present content clearly and make it comprehensible to users.
  7. Build text into the page so that it is easy for users to read and find. Otherwise, there is a risk that Google will not rank your website on the top positions of the search results. While you are allowed to “collapse” your text to a certain extent or place it in tabs, sliders or accordions today, too much of it can be a hindrance to good rankings.

Need help creating an SEO optimized content strategy? We help you!

Technical SEO for online stores

With technical SEO, your online store will be optimized for the search engines so that they can easily access your website and also read it better. If your online store is also technically SEO optimized, search engines like Google will honor this as well and index your website faster and rank it better.

When creating an online store, technical difficulties can arise, so that it is then technically not always ideally optimized for search engines. These include product listing filters, which often lead to duplicate content issues. Since filters are indispensable for online stores, we have compiled four solutions for you below, among others, for this frequently occurring problem, with which you can easily eliminate this problem.

With the algorithm update in June 2021, Google has once again strengthened the user experience as a ranking factor. Among other things, fast loading time is more important than ever. Because potential buyers love online stores that lead them to the product they are looking for as quickly as possible. But this is of course not the only thing that you can optimize in a technically uncomplicated way to land as high as possible in the search results

To quickly identify what you can improve on the technical side of your online store, have a tool like Screaming Frog or Google Search Console examine your store. The analysis of all your web store pages shows the weak points of the store.

What are the Core Web Vitals?

With Core Web Vitals, Google provides consistent quality signals that reflect the user experience on a web page. In other words, site operators can use the metrics to rank and evaluate the user experience of a website. At its core, this is about the loading process of a page, the interactivity on a page and the visual stability of a page.

Google introduces these metrics for this purpose:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This metric measures the amount of time it takes for the main content of a page to load. The search engine specifies 2.5 seconds or faster as the ideal value.

First Input Delay (FID): FID describes the amount of time from when a user first interacts with a page (such as tapping a button or clicking a link) to when the browser shows a response to that interaction.

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): The CLS metric measures how stable the layout of a web page is and whether individual layout elements shift during use. Google specifies 0.1 or lower as the ideal value.

Google plans to expand and add to the metrics that make up Core Web Vitals in the future. At the same time, the values should not be set in stone. If the user’s expectations of the experience on a website change, the search engine wants to adjust the metrics accordingly.

Four SEO solutions for filters & pagination

Filters are an important feature in many online stores so that the selection of products can be tailored to the needs of the customer. However, filters bring a few peculiarities that should be taken into account in search engine optimization.

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

Color: 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 create countless URLs for the same content (after all, 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 store produces plenty of duplicate content.

Besides, Google’s crawling budget is also wasted, possibly causing newer pages to be delayed or not crawled and indexed 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 is distributed on numerous URLs, of which then often no URL can achieve really good positions in search engines.

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

The advantage is that the URL set of the online store is kept quite narrow. At the same time, it is also a disadvantage because a great ranking potential is given away. This one URL can never cover all keywords related to the topic ladies pants.

The page will rank for “women’s pants” and a few combinations like “buy women’s pants”, etc., but not for relevant keywords like “red women’s pants”, because the page can hardly offer relevant content for that. This is bad for online stores, of course, because traffic and sales potential are lost.

Another problem arises: If the category page www.meinshop.de/damenbekleidung-hosen/ should rank well for search queries such as “blue ladies’ trousers”, users would not find exactly their desired results 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 store, whether by manufacturer, operating system or features, the view for the user changes, but not the URL. This way, a large number of URLs can be avoided. However, you will need some developer resources for the technical implementation.

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

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

You can block crawling of URLs that contain certain parameters, for example /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 duplicated pages indexed by Googlebot will appear in your logs, with all duplicated pages differing only by different URL parameters. Example: example.com?product=green_dress and example.com?type=dress&color=green)

Beware of incorrect use

Use the URL parameter tool only if your website meets the above requirements and you are an experienced search engine optimizer. If you use the URL parameter tool incorrectly, Google may ignore important pages of your site without generating any warning or reports about ignored pages. The reason for this approach is that many users use the tool incorrectly or unnecessarily. Use the tool only if you know for 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 whose content has search volume and also brings 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 has a benefit for the user, it should 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 in the store are very popular and also have a good search volume, these should be included in the index

But attention:

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

This is how many big online stores do it

For those who have enough technical resources, controlling indexing using 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/womenswear-pants/ana_blue_size-36/. All other filters are excluded from indexing by means of a canonical tag.

The content of the URL, page title, meta description, h1 and, in the case of colors, the body text are adapted to the filter selection.

But be careful: URLs with sizes should only ever be indexed if they are actually relevant to the user. Here, an analysis of the search terms in Search Console can provide information.

Three approaches to deleting products

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

Keep in mind that each article is part of the overall ranking of your online store. Product pages are often externally linked and have valuable backlinks or are shared via social media channels and generate traffic regularly. There are several approaches to this issue. You just have to decide which solution is the most suitable for your own online store.

If there is a suitable product category in the store for the deleted product, it is recommended to set up a 301 redirect directly to the category. In this case, the visitor has the option to buy a similar item, which promises a satisfied user as well as a low bounce rate.

Both not only prevent the drop of the own search engine rankings, but additionally increase the probability of a conversion in the store.

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 page to the new page. In this case, the user can make a purchase directly without having to search the store first as in solution 1. This solution is preferable to solution 1. Because the deleted article could show a domain value in the search engine, there is now the possibility to transfer this at least proportionally to the new article.

The new product should be very similar to the deleted product. If you were to redirect the user to any other product, they would likely leave the page, sending a bad SEO signal to Google.

In online stores, it also often happens that a product is only temporarily out of stock. 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 is no longer available. There is a solution for this case as well: It is best to inform the user on the product page about the new delivery date or until when the item will be available again. Or you inform the user with a text field and point him to the successor product.

It is also advisable to give the user the option to leave their email address to be notified when available.

Which solution you choose always depends on the case. Not every solution makes sense for all online stores. If you have few resources available, you should automate as much as possible.

The right way to handle items in the sale

You would like to sell your products and have your own SALE category in the online store? Undoubtedly a good idea, but even here there are some things to consider in terms of SEO.

Many online stores mark their products as SALE and at the same time copy the product to the SALE category. This often creates a second URL. That is, you use 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 SALE with their own URL, you can redirect them to the correct product URL with 301, for example, or you can set a canonical to the “original” product.

Internal linking for online stores

Links are known to be one of the more important ranking factors in Google’s algorithm. While there is a lot of talk about external links, i.e. incoming links from other domains, and their acquisition is sometimes done with a lot of effort, the internal linking of a website receives relatively little attention. Thereby, internal linking is a powerful SEO tool and should not be limited to the navigation and the use of the keyword 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. It would be an oversight to focus only on external linking and disregard internal linking opportunities.

The practical thing about internal links is that you are completely free to define them yourself. When it comes to the number of placement and the design of the link texts, you can implement your own plan.

Moreover, there is no need to worry about Google filters. While the excessive use of keywords in the anchor text is problematic for external links at the latest since the Penguin update, the opposite is more the case for 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 page being linked to is about.”

Most online stores only insufficiently exploit this possibility. However, remember that the linked pages must still be relevant to the user.

How many internal links should I use?

Unfortunately, there is no guideline for this either. Put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Can you still read the text with the links or are you just distracted? Again, the top premise is, the text must be better because of the internal links.

Linkbuilding for Online Shops

Google itself has always been very sparse on the subject of backlinks. However, there are increasing signs that backlinks are no longer the dominant signal.

But it is also a fact that the linking of your online store is still a very important ranking factor.

A good onpage 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 store for Google. The more of these recommendations you have, the more links pointing 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 store.

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 not easy to get to. Exclusive linking opportunities with cooperation partners should therefore be used.

Link building checklist

Only thematic matching links are considered a real recommendation and improve their ranking.

Only backlinks that deliver real traffic and relevant users are really valuable for link building.

You should not use too many keywords in the anchor texts for the links from external websites. Google may possibly punish this with lower rankings.

Automated linking and link exchange systems violate Google guidelines.

The pages you link to should also be relevant and appropriate to the content of your site.

With PR you also manage to get linked from particularly valuable websites.

Structured data for online stores

When it comes to SEO for online stores, rich snippets play an important role. Rich snippets can be used to significantly enhance Google search results with extensions using structured data and make them more informative. This can increase the click-through rate in the search results. Online stores that are clicked on by an above-average number of users 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.

For stores, especially the sitelinks, rating and product data extensions are interesting. In the search results, these are then marked with asterisks and prices for individual products are displayed.

Structured data for products can be used to store data about a product (price, availability and ratings), 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 Google can provide detailed product information in rich search results (including Google Images). 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 searching for items they can buy on Google or images with the items you offer. Your product information must always be accurate and up to date so that users are shown relevant and current items.

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

In addition, it is also recommended to mark up the internal search (SearchBox), breadcrumb markup, social media profiles or size table markup.

When implementing Rich Snippets in SEO for online stores, there are two options. Either the microdata is marked in the page source text with a special HTML code according to schema.org or it is specified via the Data Highlighter in the Google Search Console. Detailed information on this topic can be found on the Search Console help pages.

User friendliness of the online store

Your online store, your technology and your texts are perfectly optimized, but the conversions are missing? SEO for online stores necessarily includes good usability, otherwise many online stores have to struggle with a high bounce rate. Especially on the net, the hurdle to cancel the purchase prematurely is low. Because the competition is just a click away.

Basically, depending on the user type, you should follow the typical store layout for an online store. The user should not have to search in the store, but find all functions where he expects them. This expectation also changes over time and is also slightly different depending on the end device.

Basically, you should have these topics in mind for good store usability:

  1. Clear and simple navigation
  2. Well functioning internal search
  3. Easy navigation through the shopping cart
  4. Short and understandable checkout
  5. Use seals of approval such as eKomi, TrustedShops or TÜV Süd
  6. Create buying impulses with call-to-action buttons such as “Order now
  7. Optimization for mobile device

The best SEO tools for your online store

Free SEO Tools:

  1. Google Search Console
  2. PageSpeed Insights
  3. Google DevTools
  4. Think with Google Tools

The good thing about Google tools is that they are completely free for you as a website owner. In addition, the Google Tools provide you with all relevant information to derive the right SEO measures. In PageSpeed Insights, you are even given concrete suggestions for improvement for the technical optimization of your online store. With the Think with Google tools, you can check, among other things, whether your store is mobile optimized and which markets might still be of interest to you. In any case, for the beginning, it is enough to familiarize yourself with these tools.

Paid SEO Tools:

  1. SEMrush
  2. Sistrix
  3. ahref
  4. Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Paid tools are useful precisely because they allow you to check all SEO factors in one place. You don’t have to constantly switch back and forth between individual tools. Nevertheless, these SEO tools all have slightly different focuses. Also, you need to realize that each of these tools aggregates different keyword data, as they draw on different data sets, among other things.

Before you decide on a paid SEO tool, you should always create a free trial account the first few times and test the tool extensively. Some SEO tools have features that work without the purchase. However, you do not get the full potential of the tool. Nevertheless, you can already get an impression of the user interface and user-friendliness.

In the end, you need to choose the SEO tools that are easiest for you to get along with and that will give you the best results.

Even more about SEO for online stores

In-house or agency?

Many online stores are faced with the question of whether they want to implement the SEO for their online store in-house or would rather work with an SEO agency.

As is often the case, there is no definitive answer to this question, but there are definitely clear advantages and disadvantages to both approaches that can help with the decision.

The advantages of an SEO agency

SEO know-how and knowledge transfer

A good SEO agency bundles a lot of SEO know-how. As a rule, several SEO experts work there at the same time, exchanging information and passing on their knowledge. This knowledge transfer is one of the main advantages of an SEO agency.

Agencies often work for many different online stores. As a result, they are usually well versed in the field of online store SEO. They understand the requirements of good search engine optimization for online stores.

SEO agencies typically use various SEO tools and know how to use them optimally in practice. This allows them to perform far-reaching and differentiated analyses and view the customer’s website from different angles.

Flexible resources

The time budget of an SEO agency is usually individually negotiable. With most SEO agencies, a minimum number of person-days must first be booked. The hours and days beyond that can then be adjusted to your business goals and requirementsl as needed.

From the one-time creation of an SEO strategy to a comprehensive SEO audit to continuous SEO support for your online store, everything is possible. This gives you the necessary entrepreneurial flexibility to work on individual SEO topics, to call on additional resources at short notice or even to take a break now and then.

The disadvantages of an SEO agency

Of course, an SEO agency has several clients and customers – so it’s not all about your company. Accordingly, the key to the success of your online store search engine optimization lies in effective communication and clearly defined projects.

SEO agencies usually have little concrete knowledge about their products for new customers. This makes it all the more important to provide the agency with as much knowledge as possible about your company and your offering, as well as to create functioning interfaces with important departments. For example, regarding text creation or cooperation with IT. Here it is important that your employees support the SEO agency’s input and do not see it as an unwanted nuisance or even competition.

When working with multiple service providers, a lack of expertise on the customer side can complicate decision-making.

A typical example: Many small online stores are unable to set up their own IT department and therefore commission a web agency to create and maintain the store. If this web agency then meets the SEO agency that has also been commissioned, there can be a tussle over competence and conflicting recommendations.

To ensure a smooth process and quick decisions, it can be useful to build up a certain base of expertise in-house as well as to appoint a clear lead agency.

The advantages of an in-house SEO

In the best case, an in-house SEO will consider your online store as his or her project and will be motivated to improve it accordingly. After all, the success of your online store is its figurehead in the SEO community and may well influence your professional career.

The in-house SEO is your employee. In this respect, you can schedule his or her entire working time for the SEO tasks at hand. The corresponding working time is of course much more expensive with an SEO agency.

In-house SEO is part of your business. Thus, he or she knows your product, your target group and all important KPIs often better than external SEO consultants.

Ideally, the SEO employee is well networked within the company and has direct contact with his or her colleagues. He or she attends marketing meetings and should also be invited to IT meetings. Thus, he or she can quickly identify problems and address and solve them through short official channels.

The disadvantages of an in-house SEO

Of course, there are disadvantages to in-house SEO as well. With a permanent in-house SEO, you make your company’s search engine optimization dependent on a single person (or team) for the long term. However, if the new hire chooses an incorrect or poor SEO strategy, it will negatively impact your rankings in search results and you will lose valuable time while your competition makes progress. Under certain circumstances, countermeasures could be taken more quickly in the case of cooperation with an agency (or the replacement of the same in the case of failure).

In addition, after a certain amount of time in the company, many employees begin to experience operational blindness. And that is bad. In-house SEOs then no longer have a sharp eye for new opportunities and risks – and even emerging problems are no longer recognized in time or to a sufficient degree. Ingrained processes and routines also block the way to creative approaches to solutions.

It becomes even more problematic if the in-house SEO only receives insufficient further training. Because he or she is exclusively occupied with their own online store. Accordingly, there is a risk that your SEO staff will become increasingly blind to operations. In order to counteract this, targeted SEO training courses are offered.

The in-house SEO has a certain amount of time to do his job. For a full-time contract, that’s 40 hours a week. For large pages, this time might not be enough. This can be especially the case if the in-house SEO also has to oversee link building or content and landing page creation.

For smaller sites, the problem is reversed: as a full-time employee, the in-house SEO may not be working to capacity and then again, compared to SEO agency, too expensive.

SEO agency vs. in-house SEO: costs

The salary of an in-house SEO depends heavily on the financial capabilities of the company as well as the experience and market value of the new desired employee. Usually, you can assume a monthly gross salary between 3,500 and 5,000 euros.

In addition to the mandatory non-wage costs, there are additional costs for content, SEO tools and link acquisition. There are also costs to consider for your IT department. SEO measures typically use many IT resources.

In total, the costs for the in-house SEO program add up to at least around €7,500 per month.

Now about the prices of an SEO agency: The price in this case is determined either by the service for a particular project (e.g. SEO audit, relaunch support, keyword analysis) or by the person days booked.

Thus, the cost depends on the requested service. For an SEO audit, for example, reputable SEO agencies estimate around 5,000 euros. One person day costs 900 to 1,500 euros, depending on the agency.

Conclusion: In-house SEO vs. SEO Agency

So it always depends on your goals and the specific situation. If your business is “dependent on SEO,” you probably need a strong in-house SEO team, while an SEO agency is only called in temporarily.

If SEO is only one of many marketing channels, an SEO agency can usually help you faster and cheaper.

In addition, agencies are important sparring partners for medium-sized companies with only one or one in-house SEO, as otherwise lone warriors quickly run the risk of operational blindness.

The in-house SEO can exchange ideas with experienced colleagues and has quick access to additional SEO tools. Besides, four eyes see more than two. The agency has one or a professional contact person in the company and both pursue the same goal: the SEO success of your online store.

Conclusion: Without online store SEO, no success

In SEO for online stores there are many points to consider to achieve top rankings for the most important keywords. A solid technique always serves as a basis. It’s best to do a quick free Onpage SEO Check to get a clear picture of your onpage optimization.

Always remember that there are always people behind the clicks, so your online store should always be focused on 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 crucial for a successful SEO strategy to sustainably improve the awareness, traffic and sales of your online store.

Backlinks pointing to your website are also supportive for a good ranking. The more trustworthy they are, the higher the chance that the above measures will significantly improve the online store’s rankings.

How online stores save CPC on Google Shopping s

Recent Posts