What SEO Mistakes to Avoid While Developing Your Content Strategy

This is the third post that our team prepared for e-commerce projects about how to avoid typical mistakes in a content strategy. Sometimes,  manipulations with content are done to mislead search engines, which is inappropriate and may cause penalties. This Friday, we will share some insights that we got by studying the websites in terms of content used for SEO.

Unsuccessful Adaptation to Mobile Traffic

This issue can be considered as a failure to meet the technical requirements of search engines. For instance, you may have trouble when clicking on a link, viewing an image, or selecting a product category.

Conversion rates of online shoppers on smartphone and tablet are still lower than for desktop, as the data shows. However, most people  use their mobile devices to search for products, so e-commerce websites should be mobile-friendly:

  • • Website loads fast. Avoid posting high-resolution, “heavy” photos, use flash technology smartly, and try minimalist design.
  • • Easy and convenient navigation. Ensure that your visitors can easily understand where to find what they need and how to complete all the activities they want.
  • • Menu and forms should be easy to click on. Check whether it is easy to hit links.
  • • Content should be concise and readable. Use less text and increase the font instead.
  • • It should be easy to select a product, add it to cart, and make a purchase.

Incorrect Settings of Webpages with Pagination

Almost every e-commerce website has a number of category pages with pagination. Such pages are indexed and shown in search results by Google without any troubles. The system does not require any additional settings. However, it recommends using a “Select all” page as canonical. You can also add pagination attributes rel=”next” and rel=”prev”.

At the same time, Yandex recommends using rel=”canonical”  to specify a canonical address. In this case, the search engine indexes all the product pages and shows only the first canonical page in the search results. You can check these settings by inspecting a page code.

When working on the Russian-speaking market, it makes sense to keep in mind the recommendations of Yandex since it receives about 55% of search queries. Otherwise, the system may be confused by the duplicated meta tags. So, set the first numbered page as canonical. All the other pages should include the indication to the canonical URL, i.g. to the first page of numeration.

Spam in Meta Tags

Meta tags contain service information that helps search engines index web pages. However, if meta tags contain irrelevant information, this is called a search spam.

Attribute ALT in IMG tag is an alternative text that describes the content of photos for users who cannot open images for any reasons. Search bots index this text as well. If a provided description does not match the content properly, this is considered a search spam. However, you can add keywords in tags if appropriate.

Keep in mind that spam text in ALT attribute will not affect a website’s ranking. But for spam in meta tags, you may get a penalty from search engines. A good description should help people and machines, so forget about using keyword-rich descriptions unreasonably. Check out the good sample from Amazon:

Lack of Micro Markup

Micro markup is something that bots use to structure and systematize content on websites. Structured data help search engines understand content. E-commerce sites often ignore micro markup because they do not understand what benefits it provides.

In truth, well-structured sites have extended snippets in search results and links to them look more attractive in social media. Moreover, you have control of how the link will appear in a post feed.

It is recommended to make your links look human and apply “Products” and “Reviews” markup.

To check how your data is structured, use one of the tools like Google Structured Data Testing Tool:

Slow Page Speed

Do you remember a situation when you left a website because it loaded like forever? We do. According to data, 57% of visitors leave the page that loads more than 3 seconds. Usually, a user waits for 2 seconds and then can leave the page.

Try one of these services to test your site speed load:

This is the example of using PageSpeed tools:

It’s also interesting to note that 85% of mobile users expect that websites will load as fast as on desktop. So, consider the following suggestions on how to make your page speed faster:

  • • Make your content “lighter”, e.g. optimize your images’ size, use JPEG format instead of PNG, minimize the size of text content using data compressing of the HTTP protocol, etc.
  • • Optimize JavaScript and CSS code.
  • • Decrease the distance between your website and the target audience if possible, i.g. use content delivery networks, such as Akamai or Amazon CloudFront.
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