20 Reasons Your E-Commerce Isn’t on the First Page
by Ryan Tabassi
Home | Blog | 20 Reasons Your E-Commerce Isn’t on the First Page
If you are like most small business owners, you have worked hard, and you want to go to the next level and sell items online. Having an E-commerce store is a great endeavor that can do great things for your business and your brand. However, managing one can be difficult and time-consuming, especially when you are starting out.
You may have put up a bunch of pictures and product descriptions, but your site is not even on the first page of results, and, despite the hard-work and long hours, no one is coming to your online store and sales are slow. But don’t throw in the towel just yet! Read below to find out why your site isn’t ranking very well.
1. Not Having Goals
Regardless of whether you are operating an online or offline business, you must set some goals. Setting goals will propel you into action and help you attain long-term success with your E-commerce store. Begin writing down your goals. The goals could involve reaching a certain number of visitors within a specified time frame or selling X amount of goods per week by a certain date.
Now, obviously if you’re here you have at least one goal: to get on the first page of Google. However, you need to break this major goal down into actionable parts. How are you going to get there? What tactics are you going to use? If you make mini goals, you’ll give yourself an actionable way to make progress. If you don’t, then you’ll likely flounder and waste a lot of time not doing the things that are guaranteed to propel you to Google’s first page.
Make sure your goals have a specific criteria (“have 1000 visitors” instead of “have visitors”) that is realistic (i.e., achievable in your current situation).
2. Leaving Out Product Descriptions
You might have thousands of products but that is certainly no excuse for not having any product descriptions! In addition to putting up pictures and normal text, you need to vividly describe the product and its details. Include enough information in the product so you won’t leave any questions unanswered. You should be able to convince the customer to purchase the product through the info you provide.
However, don’t be tempted to copy content from other websites as this will hurt your rankings. Try and test different word counts for your product descriptions to see what converts best.
3. Light Product Descriptions
Although having some product description is better than nothing, you need to be sure to have at least 150 words to describe the product. Make sure that these words are unique. When counting the number of words, leave out the duplicated words you took from manufacturer descriptions or other sites. Use these 150 words to craft copy that will convince your customers to purchase.
If you have tons of products, this could be overwhelming. Lessen the workload by outsourcing the writing. However, review each piece carefully and use tools like CopyScape to verify uniqueness. Remember to insist on quality for the writing you outsource.
4. Duplicating Manufacturer Descriptions
Using descriptions from product manufacturers may help you save time on developing your website. However, it may cause ranking that may take even MORE time to resolve! Copying anything, even from a manufacturer’s website, is a big no-no for search engines. They can easily pick up duplicate content and punish your website’s rankings severely. Recovering from this can be a huge nightmare.
Besides issues with search engines, having unique product descriptions will enhance user experience and help you sell your product. Manufacturer descriptions are usually dry and boring. Add some copy-writing and unique details that serve your niche!
5. Missing Product Reviews
One of the easiest ways to generate content is to have user generated product reviews. If sites like Amazon have tons of user reviews, why shouldn’t you? Having product reviews, whether they are 1-star or 5-star, will earn you the trust of other shoppers and will provide you with fresh and free content.
To get some product reviews, you should invest in add-ons provided by your E-commerce platform. If you use Shopify, you could add the Yotpo or User Reviews from the app store for free (basic edition). This will make it easier for your customers to add reviews.
Despite how easy these apps make it for customers to leave reviews, customer’s often forget. In these cases, contact your customer directly and offer incentives, such as a coupon for the next purchase, if they leave an honest review by a certain date.
6. No Image Description
Nowadays, users are more likely to arrive at your website via image search. Because of this, you need to make sure to setup your images so that Google will understand them. The reason why you get correct pictures of dogs when you do an image search is because either the file name or alt text refers to the word dog.
Likewise, you will need to create sensible file names and fill out the alt text field. If you are selling boots, don’t name your files something like “img1.jpg”. Name them something more descriptive like “brown-leather-boots.jpg”. Use common file formats such as jpg, .png, and .gif. Also remember to add in alt text to describe your image. Alt text will help search engines as well as people who use screen readers to browse the web.
7. Slow Website
If you are using shared hosting to host your E-commerce website, you may be making a big mistake! A crucial factor in search rankings involves user experience. If your site takes too long to load, then it will not achieve the same ranking as a quicker site.
To find out your site’s load time, input your site address into Pingdom or Whichloadsfaster. After you find out your site’s time, find out your competition’s time and compare. If your site’s load time is too slow then try looking into alternative hosting plans (either a dedicated server, VPS, or plans with sites like Shopify).
If you have a great hosting plan and your site is still slow, then you may need to look into optimizing your add-ons, caching, or compressing your pictures.
8. URLs Not Tied to Keywords
Another reason why your site may not be ranking well could be a result of a lack of keyword-friendly URLs on your website. When you create a link to a product such as headphones, make sure that the URL includes most of the keywords.
This will help the user easily identify the product and know what to expect immediately without having to read additional text. In addition, there is a chance that this link may be posted on another website. If no anchor text is added, you will automatically have your target keywords in the URL, which helps with rankings.
9. Duplicated Titles
Because many brands produce similar products, it can be difficult to come up with some unique titles and keywords. For example, many companies manufacture cell phone chargers and cases. Even though the users may use the keyword “cell phone charger”, you should not keep using the same keyword phrase in your title.
Instead, use a keyword phrase that includes the keyword. Format keyword phrases to include the brand name, model, and item. This will help make your titles unique and avoid punishment by search engines. In the case of cell phone chargers, you could have a title like “Samsung Galaxy S3 Android USB Charger”.
Another way to create unique titles is to engage customers and see what type of language they use to describe products. Add some of these elements to your titles.
10. Not Blogging
Did you know having a blog will make it more likely that customers will buy from your store? If you don’t have a blog, then you are missing out on a lot of sales! Not only should you have a blog, you must post to it regularly (at least once a week). Having a blog will allow you to target additional keywords to bring traffic into your website. In turn, you can add links to your products on the blog posts and increase sales!
In addition to increasing sales, having a blog allows you to deliver content your users are craving. You can include articles on why you created the store, how to use various products, product reviews, and industry changes. Blogs can also be a forum to announce product updates or encourage readers to sign-up for your mailing list.
11. Not Using Informational Keywords
As an E-commerce store owner, you will probably write product reviews to help increase your sales. However, just writing product reviews does not fully take into account the steps consumers take when purchasing items. Many consumers love to research the industry and its products before making a final decision.
Make yourself the go-to expert in your industry. Don’t worry if the articles don’t include keywords targeting your products. Your goal as a business is to give value to your customers. When you deliver over-the-top content, most of your customers will want to find ways to pay YOU back.
When writing posts, also include general terms. For example, if you sell gaming desktops, include a buying guide or information about the latest popular games. Try and include articles on the latest industry news or trends. Even though these types of articles may not help sell products, it will convince your customers that you are trying to deliver value.
12. Poor Customer Service
Although this may seem obvious, many online store owners neglect customer service due to a lack of time or simple oversight. When a customer has a reasonable complaint about your product or service, make sure to follow up. Rectify the situation quickly or improve your process the next time. For example, if shipment was delayed, investigate potential causes, look at other options, and possibly give some percentage back to the customer.
On the other hand, if your product got damaged or was defective, offer a full refund, return, or exchange. In the case of physical products, come up with a streamlined return process the customer can easily follow. Although this may cost you in the short-term, you will end up having loyal customers. Bad customer service experience spreads quickly and may even go viral!
If you don’t make customer service a priority, then bad reviews may bring down your Google rank. No one knows for sure how Google penalizes bad merchants, but after a 2010 case involving an eyewear reseller, Google made it a priority to penalize Ecommerce stores that didn’t take care of their customers.
13. Not Optimizing Pages
Many E-commerce site owners fail to optimize their pages. You need to gear your pages to the typical user to grab their attention and have them browse your website for a longer time. Think of your website as a physical storefront. Something brought you into the store and the items you saw made you want to stay a bit longer.
Like the physical store front, your homepage is a magnet for users. Have an awesome design and answer potential questions quickly. All pages, including your homepage, must have a call to action. For example, if you are selling products, you might have a featured list or if you sell software or services, you might have a button to sign up for a free consultation or trial.
14. Product Keywords
Many E-commerce store owners struggle with product keywords. They either try to overdo it or not do enough. For example, optimizing for every single product you have may not feasible in a short time-span, especially if you have thousands of products!
Make use of the Pareto principle, which states that 80% of the output comes from 20% of the input. In your case, 20% of your products may make up 80% of your revenues. To keep a long story short, work on optimizing keywords for top sellers FIRST since they already have good momentum. Once complete, then move on to your other products.
15. Keyword Optimization
Another reason E-commerce stores rank poorly is because of poor keyword optimization. Instead of targeting short keyword phrases, your store should target long-tail keywords. This is important because many niche E-commerce sites get traffic through long-tail keywords.
Coming up with ideas for long-tail keywords can be tough, but using FREE tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner make it easier. Go and setup an account, type your product in, and look at the Keyword Ideas tab for some suggestions. Target your content on your blog and product pages for these keywords. Start with the keywords having the highest Global Monthly Searches and the least competition.
16. Industry Backlinks
Having little or no backlinks to your website will guarantee poor rankings for your website. Despite search engine updates, backlinks give authority to your site and drive traffic. However, you need to get backlinks from reputable sites within your industry.
To get backlinks, you need to write top content that will wow your readers and thereby encourage linking and sharing. This is why having a blog is so important! Contact leaders in your industry for guest posting opportunities. In the article you write, have the site owner post a link back to your site and use target keywords as the anchor text.
17. Poor User Interface
In addition to looking at keywords and related content, search engines also evaluate the user experience. One major part of the experience is the interface. Poorly designed interfaces will have your customers leaving in a heartbeat!
When you structure your website, put yourself in the place of the user. Are the navigation menus and categories obvious and clear? Does your content show up correctly on the major browsers? Once customers navigate to a page, can they get back to any other page easily? Go through your website and ensure that this is the case.
Since a great deal of traffic comes from smart phones, you need to be using a responsive theme that displays content properly on mobile devices.
18. Social Media
With the rise of social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter, it is increasingly important for E-commerce site owners to market their websites on social media accounts. Having a social media presence helps to increase traffic and rank with search engines. It is also a great way to drive sales and build a brand.
Start by putting up your company profile on social media sites like Facebook. If you struggle to get customers to link to your account, then get your friends and family to link up. Call up customers and other industry leaders to get Likes on Facebook. Feature products on your social media pages and add links to your website.
19. Non-Obvious Duplicate Content
There is obvious duplicate content that can plague your website rankings, such as copying product descriptions from manufacturers. However, there is a hidden form of duplicate content that occurs when search engines index your pages. They can be a result of varying search parameters or categories that lead to the same page. Also, duplicate pages could be generated from multiple search pages.
Even in these cases, search engines will penalize your website. To address this issue try one of the following:
Use the robots.txt file to tell search engines not to index or crawl through certain files or directories on your website
Use canonical tags to tell search engines that you want a particular version of the link indexed
Use nofollow tags to tell search engines not to follow a particular link and use it to determine PageRank
20. Offline Marketing
Another way to help your site rank well is to do some offline marketing. One way to perform offline marketing is to sponsor events or conferences. When you sponsor events, event organizers end up placing a link to your website and do some advertising for you. Though sometimes expensive, this can be a great way to gain brand recognition and get more traffic to your website or blog.
Running an online store is basically the same as running on offline store. In both you have to attract visitors to your store, satisfy customers, and have great products to sell. In an online store, however, you site has to look good for both the customer and search engines in order to rank well. Even if your site is not on the first page yet, avoiding these common mistakes will help your site rank well soon!
Share this article
Don’t Miss Our Next Article
Get the Visiture Newsletter
5000+ marketers are already subscribed.
Conversion Rate Optimization for Lead Generation Sites
August 15, 2019
Visiture Named to 2019 Inc. 5000 List for Third Year
August 14, 2019
Going Digital: How Brick-and-Mortar Retailers Can Set Up an Online Shop