In the ever-evolving landscape of e-commerce, achieving high organic search rankings is crucial for success. However, many e-commerce retailers encounter common SEO challenges that can hinder their online visibility and growth. To shed light on these challenges and provide valuable insights, we had the opportunity to interview Victor Karpenko, the CEO of SeoProfy, a Ukraine-based global leader in search engine optimization (SEO). Victor shared his extensive expertise and offered practical advice on addressing these issues.
Common SEO Errors in E-commerce
Victor Karpenko highlights that most SEO errors in e-commerce are technical in nature, primarily occurring during the initial setup and analysis phases. He emphasizes the importance of competitor analysis as a fundamental aspect of SEO research. By studying competing high-ranking websites, retailers can gain valuable insights into effective SEO strategies.
For instance, consider a client selling pillows and mattresses online through WooCommerce who contemplates migrating to Shopify for better rankings. Victor advises that the client should conduct a Google search using keywords like “foam pillow” and analyze the top 10 results. SeoProfy has a plugin that reveals the content management system (CMS) used by these websites. By examining the top competitors’ CMS, the client can make an informed decision.
Competitor analysis doesn’t stop at the CMS. Victor recommends evaluating various parameters of the top-ranking results, such as the number of links, content length, and page speed (referred to as Core Web Vitals by Google). Additionally, tools like Google’s Search Console provide crucial information about keywords, internal and external links, and more.
To gain a comprehensive understanding, SeoProfy relies on a combination of tools, including Ahrefs, Majestic, Semrush, and others. These tools help assess competitor link dynamics, which involves analyzing the number of links, the time it takes to accumulate them, and the impact on various pages. This analysis allows SeoProfy to estimate the effort required to rank on page one and the time it may take.
Another significant factor is URL age. If a competitor’s URL has been established for several years while a new entrant is just starting, it may take time to build trust and improve rankings.
Selecting the Right Tools for SEO
When it comes to SEO tools, Victor notes that SeoProfy employs approximately 200 employees, which allows them to utilize various tools effectively. For link analysis, they primarily rely on Ahrefs and Majestic. For keywords and search volume data, Semrush is their tool of choice. Victor emphasizes the importance of obtaining accurate data for both mobile and desktop search results. While Google prioritizes mobile-first rankings, it’s essential to evaluate both data sets.
Technical Aspects of SEO
E-commerce retailers need to pay attention to several technical aspects, as Victor explains. These include:
- Sitemap and Indexing API: Retailers should assess their sitemap and whether their site employs an indexing API to notify Google of page additions or removals.
- Robots.txt and .htaccess Files: These files play a significant role in controlling website access and functionality.
- Titles, Descriptions, Headers (H1, H2, etc.), and Breadcrumbs: Properly structuring and optimizing these elements is crucial.
- Internal Link Distribution: Analyzing how internal links distribute authority throughout the site can enhance SEO efforts.
Achieving High Organic Rankings for New Products
For established merchants launching new product lines, Victor suggests a systematic approach:
- Keyword Research: Begin by collecting keywords and grouping them by priority for the products you want to rank organically.
- Search Intent Analysis: Determine the search intent behind these keywords by conducting Google searches. If an article ranks in the top 10 results for a keyword, it may not be advisable to compete directly with it. Instead, consider reaching out to the article’s author to request a link to your product page, thus gaining immediate visibility.
- Competitor Analysis: Identify the top 15 competitors in your niche, narrow it down to five, and thoroughly assess their domain and URL parameters, focusing on trust and citation flow.
- Content Optimization: Analyze the content structure of top-ranking competitors, considering aspects such as page size, Schema.org markup, and heading tags (H1 to H6). Examine word count, formatting, and the types of content they use.
- Design After SEO: Victor underscores the importance of designing a website after implementing SEO strategies to avoid the need for redesign later.
In conclusion, Victor Karpenko’s insights shed light on common SEO challenges faced by e-commerce retailers and offer actionable solutions. By focusing on competitor analysis, selecting the right SEO tools, and addressing technical aspects, retailers can improve their organic search rankings and achieve online success. Additionally, Victor’s perspective on the resilience of SeoProfy during challenging times highlights the value of supporting Ukraine-based businesses in the global community.