Recently, we received requests for client cases, corporate training, or consulting services about operating online stores and eCommerce. Some clients have had their online stores for some time now. With business up and smoothly running, management is keen to expand.
SEO is the Crux to an Online Web Store’s Internal Architecture
Aside from developing and proposing marketing strategies, we have analyzed many different online stores. We found that some may have been launched in a hurry due to business transformation. While such websites may appear to be complete, many problems are lurking underneath. Imagine opening a physical store, where goods are placed on the shelves. After the general layout and structure on the surface, the store looks complete. Yet, the construction of the ground floor of the store may be far from done.
For a business, starting is not typically a problem. Rather, it is expanding the business that’s often the bigger hurdle. When I speak about an online store with well-designed website architecture, I am referring to its search engine optimization (SEO) performance.
Your Website Should be Designed to be Easily Found by Customers
If you use a website builder, this issue can be managed. The platforms may offer SEO-friendly features. However, if you’re not satisfied with this standard set of features that cannot be changed, you could always choose to migrate your website. Likewise, if you build your own website, you need to be very mindful of its internal architecture. Bosses may pay more attention to product photos, user experience, website design, and so on. But they often ignore whether the online store has been designed to appear or rank highly in search engine results.
I have come across online stores with websites that are built from scratch. The degree to which the website architecture has been thought through really depends on the programmer. It’s how skilled he or she is, as well as the amount of effort put in. I hope that such web stores will incorporate “Product Schema” in their architecture so that search engines, such as Google, have the opportunity to publish your product pages in their search results.
Product Categorization Is a Test of Skill
Launching a web store on WordPress is relatively easy. What online store owners should focus on next is product categorization. Products shouldn’t simply be categorized by their function but by how other businesses or customers perceive them. The most basic is to categorize by product type. If you are a grocery store owner, consider how supermarkets classify and display daily necessities. If you are a specialty store selling coffee, for instance, coffee can be classified by the origin of the beans, although you could also consider factors that matter to users when choosing coffee, such as the taste of the brew. For wine merchants, apart from classifying by place of origin, you could also classify your wine selection according to the recommended occasion. It may be before and after meals or as part of dessert or food pairings. These categorization concepts help to greatly boost a site’s ability to meet the search intent for SEO purposes.
Strategy for an SEO-Friendly Product URL Structure
After you’ve planned your strategy, consider how to put these categorized texts into the URL of the product on your website. If you have a limited number of products on your online store, it is helpful to include the category and details of the product in the URL. For example, a URL may show if a piece of clothing is long- or short-sleeved, its color, size, and cut. This is especially useful for showing up in search results for long-tail keywords.
However, if you have a large product listing, this tactic isn’t suitable. Instead, details and available options of the product should be included in the product description on the webpage. Otherwise, duplicated content could hurt your crawl budget. The crawl budget is the number of pages on your website that search engines will crawl. If it is exhausted, there will be products on your site that are not included or indexed.
Internal Links Affect the SEO of Your Online Store
Besides the URL structure, internal links are also conducive to SEO. In recent years, websites may or may not show breadcrumbs, since simple navigation menus for simpler websites may suffice. Not only do breadcrumbs ease users browsing products on a website; they also strengthen internal links. These are the many small design details that may have been overlooked when an online store was first launched. At this juncture, when making plans for expanding your online business, it is also time to consider revamping the website architecture of your online store.