In this episode, Google Search advocate Daniel Waisberg discusses ecommerce SEO. You will learn tips for ensuring your website performs well, ideas for implementing SEO, and advice for creating good content. Watch the video now to learn tips on how to help your e-commerce website succeed in Google Search!

Video Transcript

DANIEL WAISBERG: Hi, I’m Daniel Waisberg, Search Advocate at Google. And in this video, I’ll discuss the main questions you should be thinking about if you’re responsible for an ecommerce website. Have you implemented basic SEO for your site? Can Google find and show your website properly in search results? And how is your website content performing in Google search results?

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Before we get into Search Console, I would like to give a few best practices for e-commerce websites to succeed in Search. Some of the tips here require changes to the website, so you might need the help of a developer to implement them. The first step to help people find and navigate your e-commerce website is to publish all of the products you sell, whether in-store, online, or both. These will help Google index that information and serve it to users searching for products to buy. Typically, this means creating pages on your site that explain the product to sell. These pages are commonly referred to as Product Detail Pages or PDP.

Creating Good Content for PDP

Here are some tips to create good content for those pages. Add product features that display the product, with muted or transparent backgrounds and from different angles. This helps your website visitors decide what to buy and may attract Google users searching for product images. Add a detailed description of the products and emphasize any features and specifications. This helps users find your products by searching for the details, both on your internal search and on Google. Add information on purchase details, such as availability, price, shipment, and taxes. These will inform users on how to pay and when they can get the product delivered. And add customer ratings and reviews to help shoppers with their product research and purchase decisions. While working on your product detail pages, we also recommend adding product structure data to them. These will enable Google to provide enhanced search and image results for your site. If we implement the markup properly, users can see price, availability, and review ratings right in Google search results. Read more about product structure data in the link provided in the video description.

Upload All Product Inventory

You may also want to upload your complete product inventory to Google Merchant Center, both for products sold online and offline. This approach has a few advantages. You can update data faster, like prices and stock levels. You can supply richer data, like locality information for inventory. And you have more control over data by pushing it to Google when it changes, rather than waiting for Google to crawl your website. In case you have implemented structured data and uploaded a feed to Merchant Center, Google will generally prioritize the data from the feed. Check the link in the description to learn more about Merchant Center and to find the supported languages and currencies. While not related to Search, you should consider setting up Google Analytics e-commerce tracking to better understand your users’ behavior. This will enable you to analyze your site’s average order value, e-commerce conversion rate, time to purchase, and other interesting information.

These are just a few tips on ways to optimize your e-commerce website, but there is lots more to learn. Check out the links in the description for more resources.

Search Console Tips

Now, let’s talk about the Search Console. I’m assuming you have verified your website in Search Console already. If not, check out my video explaining all ways to verify your website. It is important to make sure that your structured data is working as intended. When Search Console detects a new structured data type on your site, you’ll see a report summarizing errors, warnings, invalid items [INAUDIBLE] in your Search Console [? properly.?]. And site owners will get an email that Google detected a new data type on your site. After implementing product structured data, as I mentioned a while ago, open the Products report on Search Console. By default, you will see the trends for error items in the main chart. But it can also [INAUDIBLE] valid with warnings, invalid, to check their trends in the chart and more details in the table. Errors disqualify your structured data from being used in rich results, but the page can still be shown for relevant search results as a plain blue link. For example, if your markup is missing the Price, Currency, or Rating Value fields, those will show up as errors in Search Console, and you won’t get the fancy rich results. But it can still get a plain blue link.

Search Console Warnings

Warnings can provide a somewhat reduced experience for users. But your products may still show up as rich results in search. Examples of warnings would be missing description, review, URL, or brand. Check the link to the rich results status reports in the description to learn more about errors and warnings. To get more details on a specific issue, click an item in the table to open a detailed report. Here you’ll see the date when the issue was detected, the number of affected instances over time, and examples of pages where Google detected it. You can click a simple URL to check instances of the error in your HTML code.   Now that you know what needs to be fixed, you have two options– make the required code changes yourself or share the details with a developer that can perform code changes to your website. You can do that by creating a link using the Share button. After you or your developer have fixed the error, click Validate Fix, and Google will validate your changes. In addition to the Search Console interface, you can also use the rich results test to check the structured data validity of a given page on your site. This tool can check the syntax of your structured data, and in some cases, provide a sample of what the result might look like in Google Search. After setting up your pages and seeing them get indexed, your next step is to monitor their performance. You can check out my previous video on the Performance Report for a more comprehensive overview, but I thought I’d give some e-commerce-specific tips in this video.

E-Commerce SEO Tips

First, open the Search Console and navigate to the Performance Report. You’ll find a series of tables and charts showing how your website is performing on Search. You should look for patterns in the data that show how important a specific segment of traffic is. Here are four ideas you can start with. Check the queries driving traffic to your website. Are people searching for your business name, specific products, or the general kind of product you offer? Consider adding content to certain areas of your site to optimize your performance on Search for queries you want to focus on. Check the Click-Through Rate, or CTR, for your most important product detail pages. If you see that the CTR is low for those pages, meaning that users are not clicking on your search results, consider writing better descriptions or titles or adding structured data to those pages. Check if a specific group of pages is not driving product results, which could uncover opportunities to enhance your structured data implementation. For example, you might find that some products are not driving rich results, which could point to a specific template that is missing structured data. And check search appearance to see in a glance the volume of traffic coming to your website through product rich results. To understand your product rich result performance over time, click Product Results in the table to edit future, including only these search result types. These will update your performance charts to show your product results in traffic by queries, pages, countries, and devices. That’s it.

I hope this video helped you understand a little more about how to succeed in Search if you’re an e-commerce website. In summary, make sure to check the SEO basics in your product detail pages, consider uploading your complete product inventory to Google Merchant Center, implement product structured data to be eligible to Google search rich results, use Search Console to monitor structured data issues, and analyze your website performance with rich results.

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Don’t forget– subscribe to the Google Webmasters YouTube channel to watch our upcoming Search Console videos. Stay tuned.

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Allan McNabb, COO, Internet marketing by Image Building Media

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