SEO isn’t always about what to do – in fact, a large part of my “job” is about undoing the mess which someone else has created (albeit unintentionally). If you own an E-Commerce website then you will typically have your work cut out – e-commerce websites are, on the whole, that bit more difficult to optimise, mainly because you are presented with issues you otherwise wouldn’t be confronted with on a standard services website (at least not on as large a scale) e.g. pagination, categorisation, hierarchical issues, canonicalization etc.
In this post I will run through a few basic issues with e-commerce websites, and these are common issues we often find across most e-commerce websites which haven’t really factored SEO into the equation – we will use NewLook.com as an example.
Pagination: Pagination is a bit of an irritation for search engines – why? Mainly because it gives them a lot more work to do when a web crawler lands on a website. For example, and looking at NewLook.com, if we head to the “dresses” section, we will see circa 37 pages of pagination (at the time of writing).
Now, with some simple categorisation of content, we can markedly decrease the amount of time the search engine has to spend working its way through the infinite layers of pagination. For example, if we were to increase the number of products displayed per page, then we would reduce the click depth (the number of links the search engine has to make its way through) three-fold. So, in this instance we could just increase the products displayed per page to 100, which would reduce the pagination to just seven pages.
Duplication of Content: Another issue with pagination, and again looking at the dresses section on NewLook.com, is that it has managed, in this instance at least, to create a mass of duplicate content. So, on each of the pages (paginated pages) in the dresses section, we have the same snippet of content at the bottom of the page.
We have two options in this respect – create a new snippet of content for every page (which isn’t really the best option) or simply re-categorise the content. We have reduced the pagination from 37 to 7 pages, the next step we could take it provide each dress with its own sub-category, and then link to that sub-category from the main dresses category. So, we could create a category for each type of dress e.g. maxi dresses, summer dresses, floral dresses and so on – not only would this make the content more relevant to a user’s query, it would be a lot more beneficial from an accessibility point of view, too.
We obviously covered a few more advanced accessibility tips in this post, however when it comes to NewLook.com in particular there’s a lot more we could cover (i.e. the fact that each of the filtering options on the left-hand side of the page generate a new and superfluous URL), however we can save that for a future post.
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