Due to the madness that ensued once the coronavirus emerged, ecommerce has never offered as many options for digital shoppers.
And with this online wave in mind, Google Search Central recently revealed new guidelines to help developers improve the search visibility for ecommerce websites.
“When you share your ecommerce data and site structure with Google, Google can more easily find and parse your content,” according to Google’s new guidelines, “which allows your content to show up in Google Search and other Google surfaces. This can help shoppers find your site and products.”
The guidelines are quite comprehensive, and cover a broad range of topics, which are the following:
- Share your product data with Google
- How to launch a new ecommerce website
- Design a URL structure for ecommerce sites
- Where ecommerce content appears in Google
- Include structured data relevant to e-commerce
- Help Google understand your ecommerce site structure
- The impact of pagination and incremental page loading on Google search
Areas where content can appear
According to the guidelines, ecommerce content can appear in more results than just the traditional search section. These alternatives include Google Images, Lens, the Google Shopping tab, Google My Business, and Google Maps.
“Product data is the most obvious type of ecommerce related content, but other types of information can also be useful to shoppers at different stages of their shopping journey,” the guidelines state. As such, Google recommends ecommerce stores promoting their content such as offers, product reviews, customer service touchpoints, and – increasingly – livestreams.
Add product data
Something else that can boost ecommerce stores in appearing in Google search categories is structured data. Here, Google’s recommendations include adding structured data on the site’s product pages, as well as telling Google which products you want to show on their search engine by uploading feed to Google Merchant Center.
Use the URL structure fit for ecommerce
The guideline states that a good URL design structure will help the tech giant crawl and index your website. Conversely, a poor URL structure design causes confusion and means that crawlers will believe the website has infinity pages.
Best practices here for a URL structure that helps the search engine understand your content and pages better include minimizing the number of alternative URLs that return the same content (this avoids Google making more requests to your website). Also, ensure that every page in paginated results has its own unique URL.
Thirdly, good practice is to add descriptive words in URL paths – the specific words within a URL can help Google understand the page better. And finally, when it comes to URLs, convert all text to the same case if a URL is a mixture of uppercase and lowercase text. This makes it easier for Google to determine that a URL references the same page.
Design crawler-friendly site navigation
It’s not only digital shoppers that need to be able to understand what is happening on your website as well as be able to find out what they’re looking for. Search engines also need to know.
The site infrastructure for ecommerce needs to be crawler friendly. Best practices here include adding links from menus to category pages. And also, include links from sub-category pages to all product pages.
Why care about Google’s release of new guidelines? Well, with the sheer amount of ecommerce businesses competing for customers, Google’s blueprints can help some rise above the others by following best practices to display their products across a broad range of Google channels.