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7 Proven Steps for Improving Ecommerce Homepage SEO

ecommerce optimization

Is your homepage attracting customers to your eCommerce store?


An experiment by KISSmetrics shows that most times the homepage receives the most of your website’s traffic.


You can also try to view this from your Google Analytics by clicking Behaviors => Overview and you should see something like this:


While there are several optimization tips for converting visitors to customers, it’s important you consider search engine optimization as well.


An analysis of over 18,000 small to medium eCommerce websites by KISSmetrics shows that 30.5% of eCommerce website’s traffic comes from organic searches on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines.


Truth is, 30.5% of traffic is significant, so, optimizing your homepage to enhance its search performance is an indispensable optimization tactics, as it can help increase your website traffic, improve conversion rate, and increase your revenue.


In 2016, another study by Wolfgang Digital shows a little increase in the percentage of traffic from search engines — from 30.5% to 43%.



It’s important you remember that your homepage is your only chance to show your visitors your unique offers. Make a that first impression stick.


To quickly get you started, here are my 7 proven ways for improving your ecommerce homepage — if you want to drive more targeted organic traffic:

1.  Write a killer title and meta description for your homepage

To measure up to the high competition in the eCommerce industry, you need to continually attract and retain customers. Your competitors might not care about their metadata because they already have the bigger part of the market share.


For example, Amazon has a really awful meta title and description. Look at this:


Yes, they’re a trusted brand but you shouldn’t copy their clueless strategy — it’ll likely not work for you as a sole entrepreneur or small business owner.


Your meta title is important for search engines and searchers (humans), because it gives them a quick view of what you have to offer even before they click-through to your web page. Here is a good example from zappos.com:

Zappos’ title and meta description is fair enough — short, simple, and informative. Your prospects are not patient enough to wait and try to understand what your page is about, they’ll more likely ignore your result in the organic search even if you are ranking higher at the number #2 position.


Side note: Number #1 ranking website will always get the most click — the title can be boring for all I care. It can’t be ignored.


The title tag has always been a very important SEO element and even today it still is. According to Moz, the title tag is the second most important on-page SEO ranking factor aside from content. A study by Backlinko also confirms that your title tag has some correlation with your ranking.




There are too many good reasons you should spend some quality time drafting a great SEO friendly title for your homepage. More than likely, this title will act as your value proposition.


Remember also that you need your potential customers to click-through to your website because the higher your click-through rate the higher the possibilities of converting them to customers, the higher the engagement the higher your page is perceived to have valuable content.


So, keep your title under 70 characters and your meta description under 160 characters — it should tell your prospect what to expect and who you’re at a glance. If it doesn’t, then try to edit it until you get the one that works well.


Essentially, you should be doing this for all your pages, including your product pages.

2.  Heading tag

Your homepage should contain at most one relevant “H1” tag to show off who you are and what you do at a glance. This will help improve user experience and you know, a good user experience can earn you more CTR and higher rankings.


Although H1 tags are used sparingly and doesn’t affect your SEO directly, but it’s a surefire way to help readers scan your content page and quickly get what they want.


3.  Page load speed

Page load speed is another important ranking factor you need to consider for your homepage. Several studies have shown that 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if it takes too long to load.


Another study by Gomez also shows that 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.



But does your website speed have an impact on your SEO? In 2010, Google announced that about 1% of your website’s rankings will be affected by your page speed. So, obviously, speed is an important ranking factor.


You should consider improving the speed of your website not just because of SEO, but because a fast loading website and web page means happy customers — slow websites sucks. What’s the cause of a slow loading website? Let’s consider a few issues:


i). Cheap or unreliable web host: Using a cheap web host can really affect your website speed — depending on your business size choose the most suitable web hosting company that’s credible and caters to your needs. Essentially, your web server’s performance will depend largely on the amount you are ready to pay.


ii). Too many ads: Are you using ads on your eCommerce store? I see a lot of top eCommerce websites accepting third-party ads — all in a bid to make more money. Well, it’s not really a big deal, but if you have to use ads on your homepage, it should be moderate.


Aside from the fact that most ads are annoying, it can also slow down your homepage speed. Wal-Mart is doing this in a nice way, though.


iii). Dense HTML, JavaScript, and CSS codes: It’s important to know that your page HTML, CSS and Javascript code can impact its load time. So organizing and compressing (you can use Gzip) them can help improve your page speed.


iv). Too many plugins: Did you install plugins that you’re not using at the moment? You should uninstall them as they also affect your overall website speed.


There could be several other factors that can affect your page speed. Consider consider using tools like PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom or Webpage Test to analyze your page speed, so you can make improvements.

4.  Extend your SSL certificate to your homepage

While you may have an SSL certificate on other pages of your website, it’s also important you extend it to your homepage as it now serves just more than a security strategy but also helps in improving your page SEO.


Brands like Amazon and Wal-Mart are examples of eCommerce shops that have SSL certificates extended to their homepages. However, I’ve seen a lot of brands that are neglecting this secure layer (i.e., https://).


Take advantage of this website measure to — just remember that a 1% increase in ranking can boost your bottom line.


Here’s my advice: Stand out — Extend your SSL certificate to your homepage like right now. As Google has said recently that an SSL certificate is now part of their algorithm ranking factors.

5. Navigation

When visitors land on your homepage you want to help them easily navigate to your product pages, the more user-friendly your webpages are, they better and easier it will be for search engine crawlers.


Here’s what Web strategist Andy Crestodina has to say:


“Put your most important items at the beginning of the navigation and the least important items in the middle. “Contact” should be the last item on the list, putting it at the far right in top-level horizontal navigation, a standard location.”


Here are some tips to help you improve your homepage navigation and improve its performance in the organic search:

  • Use a meaningful page labels
  • Keep it simple.
  • Enable breadcrumb links.
  • Make top-level navigation clickable and tappable (on mobile phones).

6.  Optimize images

HD images are good for your homepage to showcase your products at a glance.

Trust me, this is what customers want, we want to see different styles of a product appearing the way we’ll have it. The more appealing and real it appears the more we want to have it.


Almost every eCommerce website uses HD images. But most HD images could affect your homepage SEO (particularly, speed) if not optimized properly.


But not to worry, follow this simple optimization tips to help improve your homepage search engine performance, with respect to images you use to communicate the value of your product:


i). Use Image Sitemaps: Do you want Google to index your images? Of course you do. After all, images can drive targeted consumers/search users to your website.


Sadly, images may not be crawled and indexed by Google if it’s not called out in the page’s source code. To help Google to crawl your images effectively, you should list them in your sitemap.



This will essentially allow users to find your images from image search and of course, that can improve your website visibility in the search engine.


ii). You can host your images with a CDN (content delivery network): Hosting your images with a CDN can make your homepage load faster. You can learn more from this resource.


iii). Use meaningful titles and alt for your images: To further help search engines easily recognize your images, it’s important that you use meaningful Alt (alternate text) like so:

<img src="your-picture-name.jpg" alt="Your Picture Name" />

iv). Compress image size: As you already know, your website speed is important for search users. If your images are too large, then certainly it will slow down your website speed.


You can use graphics tools like Photoshop — the online or offline tool, paint, or any photo editing tool to compress the size and still retain the image quality.

7.  Link to Products pages from Homepage

Considering that a page with several quality links will rank better in Google search results than a page with no activities at all. Internal linking of your products on your homepage could help improve your homepage’s search rankings and traffic.


Basically, your best products should be on the homepage. Internal linking has several benefits which goes beyond improving your organic search, but also also it also helps users find related products easily.


If you’re selling a particular product, interlinking can equally boost your sales as it gives you the chance to upsell your customers.

Conclusion

While your product pages might seem to be more important for optimization than any other page, it’s important to note that your eCommerce homepage is also important as it receives much of the traffic as well. In other words, it’s your sales billboard.


Don’t neglect your homepage or consider it a less page on your website. By now, you’re aware that it controls what happens on product pages, category pages, and even your checkout page.

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