Some time ago, on our Facebook page, we invited eCommerce owners to talk with our Promodo SEO experts about the issues they face when promoting their website. Below you will find answers to the questions we received, with full-detail explanations.
1. Is it good for a website SEO to have two URLs?
If these are two different websites, there should be no problem. However, if they are identical, placed in the same region, and even in the same language, this would mean they are duplicates. This is a bad thing.
If these are two different websites in one niche, in one region and in one language, in theory, you could get them both to appear in the search results.
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However, there may be several problems:
- Under the fierce competition, you’ll need twice the amount of resources to promote both websites. Ask yourself: do you have enough resources? Wouldn’t it be more cost-efficient to create one website that would be well-optimised, useful to users, and effective in terms of conversions?
- Search engines have long been struggling with companies that are trying to take the top search results with their clones. For this purpose, Yandex has even released a special “Affiliate” filter, which checks websites for identical contacts, phone numbers, content, IP addresses, and so on. Next, the filter removes all but one website from the search results. Google takes a softer approach. They often allow websites to intercross in different ways. However, Google also seeks to offer users more variety in search results.
2. Let’s say there is a new online store. When does it make sense to start adding SEO-optimised content and acquire backlinks?
The sooner you start with building your website structure based on demand, as well as optimising the content, metadata, backlinks and internal links, the faster you will gain traffic. You can hold it off until you have enough resources — there will be no harm for SEO, but only a delay in achieving the results.
If the competition in your niche is very active, your online rivals will have time to do more than you, and then you will have to catch up with the following:
- the content they managed to create;
- the backlinks they managed to acquire;
- their webpages lifespan (since it takes some time for search engines to fully index and rank a web page, and therefore the page should stay up in the index for a certain amount of time).
3. What are the priority ranking factors for 2019 and how will SEO evolve in the next 3 years?
To put it short, the key SEO factors to pay attention to this year are the following:
- Technical ranking factors:
- Mobile-friendliness, that is, how well the website is optimised for mobile devices;
- Page loading speed;
- A secure https connection
- Content ranking factors:
- Page titles;
- Content relevance — you don’t necessarily have to cram in keywords, but generally, it’s useful to have relevant keywords in your texts. Your content should be not only unique and optimised but also relevant to your website.
- Behavioural ranking factors:
- Page titles and content for featured snippets which appear with your landing pages in the search results positively affect your click-through rate (CTR). Google used to deny the impact of this factor before, but the reality shows that it works this way. An above-average CTR improves ranking and increases traffic.
- Snippets should be eye-catching, with attractive layouts and well-structured relevant data.
- Link-based ranking factors:
- The number of links to a landing page;
- The quality of links (Google Penguin filters out spam links);
- Anchor links (make sure to maintain the safe ratio of branded and commercial anchors, as well as other factors).
- Ecommerce-specific ranking factors:
- The range of products/pages/services. Marketplaces and classifieds get ranked at the top of Google’s search results for a reason.
- Geo-related ranking factors:
- The ‘Contact Us’ information;
- The relevance of your content to the needs of local users.
At the same time, please, remember that analysing your competitors is the first thing to start with when promoting your brand.
4. How can a small-scale property rank in the top 3 search results if marketplaces are already there?
Indeed, SEO is really not the best way to promote a small ecommerce website within a niche where aggregator websites already occupy the top search results. Give a try to other traffic acquisition channels such as:
- PPC ads;
- Content marketing;
- YouTube channel in an appropriate niche;
- Social media marketing, if it fits your niche market. For example, Comfy, a Ukrainian multi-channel retailer of home appliances and consumer electronics, is using social media as a way to interact with their audience rather than as a sales channel.
5. What do you think the ideal product card should look like?
In SEO marketing, it’s a common practice to start by analysing how products are presented by competitors in your market niche. If product pages on your competitors’ websites look poor, then you’ll only need to make your own product pages look slightly better, without investing extra resources. If those product cards are rich in functionality, images and descriptions, your product pages should be at least that good.
If instead of typical product cards, competitor websites entice visitors with well-designed landing pages, like this one in the Three.co.uk electronics retail store, you’ll need to try your very best to get above them in the search results.
Basically, a typical product page contains the same elements:
- Product price;
- Buy button;
- Returns, shipping and warranty Information
- Product description, characteristics, and customer reviews;
- Product photos, taken from different angles, video product review.
From this point of view, the Three.co.uk product page is perfect, although сreating such pages for each product category might be a difficult task. Moreover, landing pages for businesses in other market niches, such as seed companies, may look completely different. Therefore, (again) you should first analyse your competitors.
6. How should URLs be structured and what should they look like?
When it comes to SEO, it doesn’t really matter whether your URL structure is hierarchical or not. There’s a number of much more crucial for SEO indicators to pay attention to:
- The Click Distance metric shows the number of clicks a user needs to get to a target page from your homepage. For example, a page with a URL such as example.com/category/subcategory/tag/product, which has a link from the main page, will get higher rankings than a page with a shorter URL, such as example.com/product to which Google will be able to access at least on the fourth click.
- Keyword density. For instance, a URL like example.com/tvs/LCD/4K will work much better for the ‘LCD 4k TV’ search query than example.com/category=4&page=13.
There are more aspects to this, not specifically related to SEO:
- If page URLs reflect the structure of your website, this makes it much easier for you to track traffic in Google Analytics within various categories, filters, types of products;
- If page URLs are organised in a way like example.com/product, and the structure of the website suddenly changes, then you won’t need to do any additional redirecting, and the page won’t lose any of its SEO value.
7. There’s a specific content page on my website. It is indexed, it receives good organic traffic, but the bounce rate is about 50%. Is it worth working on internal links to improve the bounce rate?
In fact, the absolute value of this metric doesn’t play a role in how search engines rank pages. It’s the relative value that matters, compared to that of your competitors. Say you have a bounce rate of 50% but it’s still lower than your competitors’ 60% bounce rate. In this case, Google may decide that you’re doing a better job at meeting consumer needs.
What you should pay special attention to:
- Compare the article with your other pages. Is its bounce rate higher, lower, or the same? Please, pay attention to pages that share the same type, language, location and other factors.
- Measure the time visitors spend on a page. Do they immediately leave the page, unable to find what they are looking for, or they read the article for a long time and then leave, having received the necessary information but not taking the target action?
- Decide what further actions you expect webpage visitors to take — say, a purchase, a registration, or something else. In this case, you can play around with call-to-action content, usability, and placement of the website’s target blocks. Test different options and choose the ones that work best.
- Display the most popular, similar or complementary articles next to each other. This way, users will spend more time on your website.
- Try analysing your competitors using Google’s Benchmarking tool. This might give you some interesting insights.
The question of whether the bounce rate metric matters for website ranking remains open. For example, how would Google know this value if you have not set up Google Analytics tracking on your website?
What you really need to influence is the click-through rate in Google search results. You can check the data for each search query and page in Google Search Console. Page with a higher CTR will rank better for a specific search query. Therefore, attractive snippets with Structured Data are bound to rank better.
8. How can I use SEO to promote service business, say a washing machine repair services? Are there any specifics in promoting services?
Promodo mainly specialises in ecommerce projects, however, businesses in the service industry can also grow efficiently through the SEO tools. The main difference is that you will be promoting service pages instead of product category pages. And although product category pages don’t require a large amount of text (or don’t even need them at all), services web pages will definitely need to have more text content.
What you can do right now:
- To understand what kind of content you need, you should evaluate the competitors’ snippets in the top search results. Besides well-formatted text content on the landing page, there are likely to be reviews, contacts, and other bells and whistles.
- Create info sections to support your services.
- Register your business in Google Local Business to make sure you appear both in search results and on Google Maps. You can also add your business’ contact details, photos, reviews and opening hours.
- It makes little sense to promote your business for search queries outside of the geographical location of your business. Alternatively, you can check search results for your location in advance, to see how often people search for washing machine repair services. If local search results turn out fine, this would mean you can also work with such search queries.
The SEO promotion of websites offering services in other cases is quite similar to the promotion of e-commerce websites.