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25 eCommerce SEO Tips

by Justin Palmer - November 12th, 2007

In some ways, it seems search engines have a grudge against eCommerce sites. Often times, I don’t blame them. Many online stores offer little useful content, including drymanufacturer product descriptions, poor internal linking, and no unique, user generated content. Without a doubt eCommerce sites have unique challenges when it comes to SEO. Below I’ve gathered 25 tips that I’ve successfully used while optimizing eCommerce sites in the past.

    1. Avoid Manufacturer Product Descriptions: It’s tempting to just copy and paste from the manufacturer’s website, but resist the urge. At the very least, re-write the description in some way to make it unique.
    2. Create a SEO Keyword Field in Product Database: Just as every product record in your catalog has a name, price, and other attributes, you should also create a SEO keyword field that is displayed in the title tags, meta tags, and preferably the body as well. As you add products to the site, enter commonly search for keywords in this field. Not everyone will search by the brand name or item number, so this will greatly help your product pages rank for long tail searches.
    3. Focus on Singular Keywords on Product Page: As a general rule, I try to optimize for plural keywords on the home page or other SEO landing pages. Focus on singular terms on the product pages by using the SEO keyword field mentioned in step 2.
    4. Simple Product & Category URLs: Ideally, URLs should consist of keywords, not useless ID’s or other parameters. If you don’t have the option of using URL re-writing software, at least limit the number of variables passed in the URL.
    5. All Products 2 or 3 Clicks from the Home Page: Keep your product pages as close as possible to your greatest source of PageRank. Many sites bury part of their product catalog deep within dozens of pages of categories and subcategories. This can be accomplished by using SEO friendly rollovers or increasing the number of products per page.
    6. Unique Title Tags: While it’s debatable whether the company name belongs in the beginning of the title tag, most agree you should not include extra keywords that are repeated in every tag. For example, if you company name was XYZ Travel, include only the company name in title tag, not “XYZ Travel Agency and Vacations.” Use as little duplicate content as possible in order to prevent diluting the value of the rest of the text in the title tag.
    7. Unique Keyword Meta Tags:Meta tags, including keywords and description, should be entirely unique on every product page. Though meta content likely doesn’t directly affect your ranking, unique tags will prevent duplicate content penalties. In addition, don’t stuff keywords into your meta tags that aren’t relevant to the specific page they are on.
    8. Unique Description Meta Tags: Personally, I like putting the same product description that appears on the product page in meta description tag. This will ensure unique content on each product page.
    9. Product Reviews: A great strategy for guaranteeing unique content is displaying user generated content from your customers. Allow customers to review products they’ve purchased or comment on one’s they haven’t.
    10. Pass PR Wisely: Obviously, not every page on your site deserves the same link juice. While your Return policy page is important, it likely won’t bring in loads of revenue driving traffic from organic search. Make sure your primary SEO pages, (category and products pages) receive most of the PR flow by capping PR flow on less important links. You can accomplish this via Javascript links, form submit links, the no-follow tag, or the robots.txt file.
    11. Internal Contextual Links: Site navigation links don’t tell search engines very much information about the page. Within a paragraph of text, link to a relevant page using keyword rich anchor text.
    12. Avoid Session IDs in URLs: Many ecommerce software platforms use cookie-less unique session IDs in the site URLs. Unfortunately, this creates an infinite amount of duplicate content for the SE’s to crawl. There are ways to prevent this using an ethical type of cloaking which serves URLs to spiders without the session ID.
    13. Create a Product RSS Feed: Create a product feed and submit it to relevant content aggregators. Google Base accepts an XML like product feed and displays your results for Google Base searches. Product feeds can be a great way of picking up free backlinks directly to your product pages.
    14. Product Tagging: With the advent of social media, customers have become accustomed with the concept of tagging. Allow your customers to tag products with their own keywords. When you allow users to tag your products, you’ll likely start ranking for slang keywords that you would have never thought of on your own.
    15. Page File Names: If possible, use keyword rich page file names. A page files name such as tells Googlebot a lot more than a URL such as

  1. Use iframes for Duplicate Content: If you have repetitive content that must appear on every page, or your product descriptions are not unique, consider placing them inside an iframe with an invisible border. Users will not know that they data technically resides on another page search engines will not penalize you for duplicate content.
  2. Links in Product Descriptions: Create keyword rich links from within the product descriptions of one product linking to another. I’ve found this is a very effective strategy for targeting long-tail keywords. Here’s 25 more e-commerce link-building tips.
  3. Crawl-able Navigation: Avoid JavaScript or css based navigation structures that don’t allow spiders through. If you’re stuck with one, at least duplicate your navigation in the footer of every page with normal hyperlinks. In additional, don’t rely on form based navigation such as drop down lists since the SEs can’t follow them.
  4. Don’t Stuff Keywords in your Nav: This is useless and very tacky. Keywords that show up universally in the navigation on every page are not as important as they used to be. Instead, use keyword rich anchor text pointing to your important pages within a paragraph of relevant text.
  5. Don’t Use “View” or “More”: On your product category pages, make sure you link to the individual product pages with anchor text that contains more than just words like “View” or “See more”. Vague terms such as these tell spiders nothing about your products.
  6. Optimize your Images: With images now popping up in the regular SERPs, every image on your site should be optimized. Make sure all your product images contain unique alt text attributes. By simply populating the alt text with the product and brand name, I’ve seen a huge increase in traffic from Google Image search. In addition, you’re making your site more useable for the vision impaired.
  7. Optimize your Internal Site Search: This is more of a usability tip, but it applies perfectly within the context of eCommerce SEO. Because your visitor found your site via a search engine, they will likely expect your internal site search to work as well. I’ve found that many first time visitors landing your site from a SERP will search for the exact same term they typed into Google.
  8. Create Brand Landing Pages: If your site sells branded products that customers may be searching for, setup a optimized landing page for every brand.
  9. Use Title Attributes in Links: For all anchor text on your site, be sure to use appropriate title attributes (e.g. <a href=”page.html” title=”keywords here”>) in order to provide search engines more information about what the page contains. Although not nearly as important as the actual anchor text, title attributes are factored into the ranking algorithm in some way.
  10. Track Page Yield: In order to determine the effectiveness of your site as a whole, take the number of unique keywords you are found for during a given time period. Then, divide that by the number pages indexed by Google. This will give you your page yield, a good metric for measuring the length of your “long tail.”

Like these 25 tips? Here’s 192 more.

About Palmer Web Marketing

Palmer Web Marketing offers Ethical SEO services and Expert eCommerce consulting for small to medium size businesses. Justin also owns several other websites, including and

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51 Responses to “25 eCommerce SEO Tips” by Justin Palmer

  1. qzchannel » 25 eCommerce SEO Tips Says:

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  3. Ash Says:

    What a great write up and overview for someone starting out in ecommerce, and a great bookmark for a checklist for us more experienced users.

  4. Charles Says:

    a helpful post, I am translating into Chinese.

  5. Matt Ellsworth Says:

    great tips – keep up the hard work on the blog.

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  8. Richard Lewis Says:

    Good overview on SEO.

  9. ~ EJ ~ Says:

    Here is another ecommerce SEO guide that covers some additional points, with some being a bit similar as well.

  10. Kristen Says:

    Will be adding links to important pages within my optimized, relevant text. Thanks for the comprehensive list.

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  13. Rahul Says:

    great tips – keep it up

  14. How To DO SEO Says:

    SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and this technique is used to promote the websites on the internet.

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  17. Steven Russo Says:

    Awesome blog! Is anyone here familiar with cookie injections? If so, please hit me up! Thanks!

  18. Great Seo Tips Says:

    Awesome tips. all tips are easily understandble.
    great blog.

  19. SEO Consultant Joel Says:

    Great POST! Could not have said it better myself. All Too often I see e commerce web sites with products using ID numbers instead of keywords and with a duplicate title throughout the entire site. Sad…

  20. seo submissions Says:

    well said. i Focus on singular terms on the product pages by using the SEO keyword field mentioned for

  21. Lessons from 12 Years of Building E-commerce Websites | The Invesp Blog: E-commerce and Landing page Optimization Says:

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    25 eCommerce (comert online) SEO Tips

  24. Riza - eCommerce Blog Says:

    Very cool article. Need your permission to translate for Indonesia People. Thank you

  25. Directory Submission Says:

    Very helpful article. Are there any e-commerce website scripts which you recommend – which could be easily tweaked for SEO features such as creating unique titles and other meta-tags. Thanks for your advice.

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  27. Bulk USB Flash Drives Says:

    Read to the very end, very helpful. Will try a bunch of strategies from here.

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  29. Ronecy Says:

    Very helpful.

  30. Hoskins Says:

    Hi-ya, I was searching on the internet for some tools that automatically could submit links to various social bookmarking sites. When searching I came past a tool called “Bookmarkwiz”. This dude’s site is bookmarkwiz. com (this tool is not live yet) Myself, I think it looks really attractive. Manually submitting my webpages to propeller and digg and others is taking weeks of my time and outsourcing it isnt really cheap aswell. Some automatic solution will solve my issue. I’ve seen alot of commenters here speak about socialbookmarking.. what do you guys think? perhaps some of you have any experience with tools like this? I think social bookmarking is a easy way to optimize links, traffic and even more…..

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  32. SEO Agency Says:

    Building an ecommerce site can be tough to manage especially if there are a lot of products. If you can enable product reviews this will help to build unique content.

  33. Joanthan Says:

    Thanks your tips.I will test them.

  34. Paul Says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I’m struggling to get anywhere optimising my site to be SEO friendly so hopefully your advice will help.

  35. HR Jobs Says:

    Great Tips…will really help in improving the business for e commerce website.

  36. Frederik Trovatten Says:

    Thanks for sharing.
    You have some very useful tips – simple and useful for every ecommerce store.

    Especially the “Avoid Manufacturer Product Descriptions” this is a classics “mistake/slack” every ecommerce store makes.

    - Frederik

  37. Rasmus Says:

    Excellent list – though meta keywords doesn’t effect your rankings several cms and webshop solutions uses them for internal search, so they may benefit the users in that way.

  38. Ecommerce Development Guru Says:

    Great list of tips. In essence want you are saying is its all about relevant content and good backlinks. Thanks a very well thought out and professional view on better SEO.

  39. Ecommerce Development Guru Says:

    Its great to read blogs and advice like this that educated website users as to how important SEO is and what they can do to make their websites more search engine freindly. Great work!!!

  40. Nathan Ketsdever Says:


    What e-commerce platform do you recommend for usability, conversion, and SEO?

    A friend is putting together an e-commerce platform and wants to use an out of the box platform like Shopify.


  41. Supplies Guys Peripheral-Visions Blog » Blog Archive » SEO for E-Commerce Says:

    [...] Palmer Web Marketing’s article. [...]

  42. Says:

    could you (or someone) explain “14. Product Tagging”?
    how do you do that? do you have a sample site?

  43. Justin Palmer Says:

    Amazon does a great job of this on their product pages.

  44. Barb Says:

    What about links for ecommerce sites? I always find it more difficult than for blog sites. Especially, if you want them to be relevant.

  45. gave bent Says:

    great list, thubs up to palmer

  46. Nikhil Agarwal Says:

    I m doing Ecommerce SEO first time. I am sure, this comprehensive list is going to help me a lot………

    Many Thanks Justin…………….

    Please provide me more points as I am beginner for Ecommerce based websites SEO. I have done SEO for & and they are performing very well.

    I want atleast similar performance on my Ecommerce based websites.

    Thanks & Regards

  47. Page yield and other SEO tips | Sequence Factory Says:

    [...] Justin Palmer explains 25 SEO tips for Ecommerce. [...]

  48. Robert Says:

    I feel like I have been spending years on optimizing my e-commerce website to no avail. This SEO situation is very frustrating. Trying to find a legit person to help is even harder to come by. I thank you for taking the time to list these suggestions. I will continue to march on with optimizing my site.

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  50. readymadewebsiteforsale Says:

    Definitely going to have every new designer read through this. It’s amazing how many times things have to be explained sometimes. This is an old post, but will remain relevant for a long time.

  51. w3-logics Says:

    I’m really impressed. A very good E-commerce SEO post. One of the best reads i have had in a long time. Well done!

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