How is your e-commerce website doing? Does it seem to be stuck in Google and not ranking? You are not alone. It is simply not enough just to have an e-commerce site in order to be profitable online. You need to spend alot of time working on SEO. Even with SEO your e-commerce may still be blacklisted by Google if you make a few common mistakes.
Your e-commerce store needs to be high quality or the Google gods will forever exile you to the land of poor rankings, low traffic and no sales. I am going to assume you already know the basics of search engine optimization and that you have already done the basic work for your site. If you are still having problems ranking then check out these ways you might have accidentally signaled to poor quality to Google and got blacklisted.
Content First, E-commerce Second
When people are in a shopping mall they walk into pretty stores filled with lots of great things. Imagine seeing a store with nothing in it just 4 items on a shelf and a cash register. I think we can agree that is pretty pathetic. Is your e-commerce site making the same mistake? Do you only have product listings with no unqiue content? You should have significant content that shoppers will find interesting. Including details product listings with as much information for each item (cleaning instructions, storing tips, maintenance pictures, technical specs, tips for combining with other items, etc). This will make your e-commerce store unique and more useful than the other hundred stores all selling the same item. It will also send an important signal to Google that your site should be in the serps.
Functional On-Site Shopping Cart
Don’t assume it is working and especially don’t assume there are no problems. Make sure to check out your error log to see if there are any problems. Your cash register may work every time except when someone enters in a discount code. If you don’t test it and keep an eye on your error log you will never know this. A non-functioning shopping cart is a huge signal to Google that your e-commerce site should not be ranking. I am not even gonna mention all the sales and profits you are losing. Make sure your shopping cart is functional and on your site. Why did I say “on your site”? If you are using an off-site solution Google may confuse you for an affiliate site (especially if you are weak on content). Affiliate websites are not exactly given a helping hand by Google if you know what I mean. Make sure you avoid this potential issue which can hamper your efforts to rank well.
Return Policy & Physical Address
Is your return policy so obvious that a blind grandmother can find? A return policy is a very big signal to a quality website. If you do not have one or Google can not find it they may think your site is poor quality. The same goes for your physical address. I know many of us want to only interact online but if you are trying to do e-commerce you should make sure your have a physical address that is easily spotted on your pages. A physical address and return policy will help to increase the quality signals for your e-commerce website and avoid you getting blacklisted. Plus having your physical address appear on your page helps you to attract more local business.
What Other Quality Signals?
I could make this into a long, long, long article. But I think you get the general point that Google is looking for certain signals that they feel will generally make users happy. Here are some other quality signals that you should think about because I am too busy to explain why each of them would be a good quality signal to Google.
- Shipping Calculator
- Customer Support
- Order Tracking
- User Registration
What Does It All Mean?
In case you haven’t noticed the quality signals Google are looking for, are most of the times also good for your customers. By working on these quality signals you can increase the positive quality signals Google is looking for and also likely increase your profitability by improving customer satisfaction. In case you are thinking that your particular customers would not really benefit from those items #1 you are probably wrong and #2 don’t forget this is not just about customer satisfaction. This is about making Google think you are providing a good customer experience on your e-commerce website. The more that you can make Google think your website will satisfy web users the more rankings and web traffic Google will be inclined to send your way.
PS If you are really smart you’ll have realized that mimicking these quality signals can improve the chances Google will like your affiliate websites too