Most online store owners understand the value and importance of optimizing their ecommerce websites for search engines. Search engines are known to be very valuable referrers of qualified traffic to websites which follow their quality guidelines and standards. High rankings on major search engines for product related keywords can significantly boost online sales and profit. However, if you are a novice in the field of online business and SEO, you can find it difficult to understand and implement all the intricate aspects of an ecommerce SEO. But, it really isn’t so difficult. Especially as search engines don’t want you to optimize your website for their robots. They want you to optimize websites for people. According to Google, they like to return in their search results web pages that are compelling and rewarding for the users.
So, what can you do to make your online store customer-friendly? Here are 15 tried and true ideas:
1. Allow visitors to easily navigate your web shop
A website structure directly impacts user experience and conversion rates. Are your products clearly displayed or buried on some shelf in the darkest and farthest corner of your shop? The best practice is to create a website structure in which a visitor can reach each and every product page in only 3 clicks from the site’s homepage. Provide your users with website breadcrumbs to help them find their way around your site.
2. Let users search your web shop
A search box is a must-have feature for every website, especially for a web shop with hundreds and thousands of pages. Add the search box in a prominent place on your website and let your users quickly search your site from each and every page.
3. Describe your products accurately and elaborately
Product descriptions are very important in web-based shops. Potential buyers can’t touch the shoes or furniture that you are selling, so they rely on the text you use to describe products. Most shopping websites simply copy the manufacturers’ generic descriptions. That’s faster and easier, right? But savvy online businessman go the extra mile and write detailed, informative, accurate and unique product descriptions to help their shoppers to get the right feel of the product and to add their personal touch, which so often makes all the difference to people and search engines.
4. Suggest related products
If you visited Amazon at least once in your life, you have probably come across the “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought…” section. Help your potential customers to discover similar products and make decisions on what to buy by linking from your product pages to other products with similar characteristics. Make sure to suggest additional products and accessories. For example, help the customer who is buying a laptop to quickly find a proper bag, cover or mouse.
5. Enable customer reviews and comments
Customers often like to share their experiences with the products they use as well as suggestions and even usage tips. Not only that, but most potential buyers like to read reviews of the products they are interested in purchasing. Enabling customers to write reviews and leave comments on product pages builds trust, fosters interactivity, increases sales and provides relevant, on-topic content.
6. Enable product comparison
The ability to compare products is a very customer-friendly feature. People like to compare products with similar features and prices. This helps them to make a decision.
7. Use multimedia
Images and videos have taken over the Internet. If you have any doubts, just think Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. High quality, rich, authentic and compelling product images, as well as videos of products in action, will improve customer experiences and increase interaction, time spent on the site, and most likely, boost sales.
8. Make sharing easy
The Web has long gone social. People enjoy sharing the products they like, want or use with their friends. Add social buttons to your web pages and encourage visitors to spread the word about the store.
9. Enable and encourage users to contact you
Offer your visitors and customers multiple ways to contact you – by email, phone or live chat. Adding live chat to your ecommerce website is like saying: “Hey, we are here for you – tell us what we can do for you right now.” Of course, making sure that someone is really available for chatting with website visitors and potential customers goes without saying. It’s just a great way to show that the eShop is alive and bustling.
If you have a physical address, include it on your website as well. Offer your visitors a chance to visit your brick-and-mortar shop. This also sends a message that you are a serious and established business. It is also helpful to add a map of your physical location along with pictures of your offline stores. These little things help you to build trust.
10. Provide help and support
Create and maintain FAQ and support pages to help them find answers to their questions and learn how to use your products. Also provide user guides in multiple formats, like video tutorials, PDF manuals, etc. Update support pages and documentation as often as necessary.
Consider setting up and running user support forums.
11. Educate, inform and update always
Regularly create content around the interests of your target audience to keep them updated on the latest trends and news. Share usage tips and tricks that can improve their experiences with your products and ensure that money spend on your site is money well spent.
A regularly updated blog is a great way to keep your customers and users in the loop.
12. Use special offers, discounts and coupons
13. Provide different payment and shipping methods
14. Add a Print button
Some people prefer to print out pages with product descriptions and detailed info.
15. Offer value-added functions
Enable your users to add products to their wish list; offer to let them know when the product becomes available, etc.
These are some of the most important features that will transform your online store into a more customer-friendly place – a place where shopping feels just right. In turn, search engines will most likely take notice and reward your efforts.
And remember, people always come first.