By : Killian Kostiha
The ecommerce market is maturing. In Hong Kong, the ecommerce revenue is expected to grow by 8.9% in 2019 compared to 2018, according to Statista. Tools that can help brands to create and improve their e-shop is expanding.
All-in-one ecommerce companies are also entering the market, which makes it easier for entrepreneurs to start selling online. However, ecommerce websites serve a rather specific function, as virtual stores and the competition is intense, whatever the niche. As such, in order for a store to be successful, owners need to focus on how to leverage on the features that ecommerce stores offer in order to provide a unique browsing experience and, of course, to drive traffic and to sell.
Below we have listed some key UX and SEO related advice that will help owners to get the most from their ecommerce ventures regarding the categories and the product pages, which are two important types of pages but are sometimes under-optimized.
How to improve the categories?
Categories list products that you want to sell. In order to help users find the right products and to provide more information to search engines for ranking purposes, there are some tricks that you might want to implement.
Use effective title tags
Title tags are the headers that people will see when your page show up in the search results. It is important to get this right because Google takes the keywords into consideration to rank your pages, which influences traffic to your website and trust among the consumer following a search.
For instance, the title tag of the French online grocery Mordicus could be enhanced:
- It is too long so Google crops it.
- French words should be removed since the platform targets English spoken customers.
- Home page does not provide information about the products people can find.
Having a Title Tag like “French Online Grocery in Hong Kong – Mordicus” would be better.
Some websites do not include any keywords at all, which prevents Google from knowing what are the targeted keywords.
Regarding the categories of your e-shop, a rule like “Buy (Gender) [Category’s Name] in Hong Kong – [Brand’s Name]” is a great start. You can also add new terms to give more details about the products if it does not make the snippet too long.
Lastly, while CMS like WordPress, Shopify, Wix or Magento will allow you to customize the title tags, it’s important that they follow these best practices:
- Make sure to include keywords searched by your potential buyers.
- Add transactional and/or emotional terms, when possible.
- Remember that title tags have a limited length and should ideally be around 50 to 60 characters long, including spaces.
- Test different variations and use the one that has the higher click-through rate. For instance, studies have shown that adding parentheses to your title tags can significantly improve your click through rate (CTR).
Add useful descriptions
Category descriptions let shoppers know that they are in the right place and they will help search engines knowing the keywords you are targeting, so they will help your categories to rank higher in search results. The goal is to write functional descriptions that will both enhance your UX and SEO strategies.
- Trigger emotions: Describe what shoppers can find in the category and how these products can solve a problem.
- Answer questions: Add FAQ-like content on categories can help users to get more information to questions they might have about your products.
Including the right keywords in your category descriptions helps search engines to understand the terms you target. However, it should be done in a smart way and they should help your visitors. If so, descriptions will be optimized for SEO as well and contain the right words.
Properly name categories
It is so important that visitors to your site can find what they are looking for with ease. This means having comprehensive category names that make sense, guiding visitors to the specific products they are looking for. Some ecommerce stores make the mistake of trying to be too creative, but this often only makes things confusing.
Just keep it simple. Moreover, the name of your categories will most likely be the ones used to create the links that will lead to your products. Choosing them wisely will benefit your SEO strategy since Google will use them to rank your pages higher in search results.
How to improve the products?
Product pages need to convert. As a business owner, you need to give your visitors what they need to make a buying decision, but product pages can do more than just give information.
Most of the time, product pages are duplicated across different websites because owners do not have the resources to re-write the descriptions provided by the manufacturers. In terms of SEO, it is important to write unique descriptions whenever your can. If not, Google will visit X pages from different websites with the same information and will give priority to the most popular one. If your platform is newly launched and have duplicate product descriptions, Google might ignore your pages.
Cross-selling and up-selling
Studies have shown that product recommendations can drive around 26% of total revenue when done right (Salesforce). This is a revenue stream that you should not miss out on, and this means cross-selling and upselling. If you are trying to cross-sell, make sure try and personalize the recommendation as much as you can.
For example, somebody that has just bought a camera may also be interested in lenses and other peripherals, and Amazon is the perfect example for that kind of strategy.
Use Structured Data
Using structured data really helps ecommerce platforms to stand out from the other search results since Google will be able to better understand the content that should help increase your CTR.
“Product,” “Review,” and “Breadcrumbs” are the most common mark-up you can use but note that there are various possibilities. Google offers free tools to tests the mark-ups and guidelines while online store builders like Shopify have integrated features that will help you implementing the structured data without having to code.
Don’t forget to provide an outstanding user-experience
If users find your site is clumsy and slow to work with, it will not leave them with a positive shopping experience. It is important to make sure your site is a pleasure to use to encourage visitors to return as well as to have efficient marketing strategies to sell.
Calls to action
Call to action buttons are incredibly powerful. Not only do they encourage sales, but they also make it easier for your visitors to navigate your site. Make sure that any call to action buttons are always clearly visible regardless of which page people are viewing.
Create registration forms and encourage your visitors to use them. This will allow you to build a database of warm leads, and this can be very valuable for marketing purposes. Make them as easy to use as possible without getting in the way of a positive user experience.
A slow-loading website can be a real sale killer. People don’t want to have to wait for your site to load up and having a slow platform can drastically impact your conversions.
To improve them, the easiest way is to test your pages on platforms like Google Page Speed. Working on compressing your images on your server’s cache and cleaning your code should help to have better loading times. However, note that platforms like WordPress, Magento, Shopify, have extensions and apps to do so.
Ecommerce is a fascinating industry where data can be used to check if your efforts were successful. Selling online is not just a matter of adding products in categories but making sure that you provide a unique user-experience that will help increase your brand awareness and your online sales.
Killian Kostiha is a digital marketer specialised in SEO and Content Marketing with more than 10 years confirmed experience in different countries (France, Spain, Bulgaria, Hong Kong). He works in Hong Kong since 2014 and was SEO manager in iProspect and Lane Crawford before starting its own agency, Get Clicks. He now focuses on providing tailored solutions for companies that need to increase their organic traffic and sales.