Creating An Effective SEO Strategy For Large E-Commerce Websites

Most websites could benefit from a good SEO campaign, but e-commerce websites in particular can get a huge benefit from SEO traffic. Unfortunately, doing SEO for a large e-commerce site with hundreds or even thousands of products can be a big challenge.

When your site is too big to spend time SEOing each product, you need to come up with an alternative strategy. Here’s just how to do that:

Start With The Basics

It’s not going to be practical to do on-page SEO for every product page, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do some of the basics on the most important pages on your site. Start with your home page and your category pages.

Make sure you cover things such as:

  • Page Titles
  • Meta Descriptions
  • Unique Content
  • Headings (H1 tags)

Make sure that each of your category pages has at least a small amount of unique content and use clear, easy to understand headings.

When writing titles and descriptions, remember that this text will go into your listing in search results; you are effective writing advert text, so write a description that entices people to click through to your site.

Focus On Navigation

With a large e-commerce site, your biggest challenge is getting potential customers to the right products quickly and effectively.

You can use Analytics to find pages which are failing in this respect. Look for category pages with high exit rates and consider whether these categories need to be broken up or consolidated. If the products in a category aren’t total relevant you will lose customers and rankings.

The benefits of good navigation are three fold:

  • Good navigation lowers bounce rates which helps rankings
  • Good navigation gets users to the right products quickly
  • It also helps to ensure that all of your products get indexed

2 Tier category systems often work best for big stores, if you need any more than this, it may be worth considering a redesign. Above all else though, try to ensure that every product can be reached within 2-3 clicks of the home page. is an initiative released by the major search engines (and supported by all of them) which allows you to code structured data into your website. This makes it easier for search engines to understand what your pages are about.

It can be used for many types of data, but perhaps the best opportunity is on e-commerce websites and in particular, product pages.

With structured data you can add tags that detail things like:

  • Product Title
  • Manufacturer
  • Price Per Unit
  • Product Image
  • Product Code
  • And much more…

It is unknown whether structured data will have a direct effect on rankings, but if coded correctly your data can appear in search results pages, which is sure to improve click through rates and therefore should generate more traffic.


Google admitted a while ago that pagespeed can impact rankings. It is only a small factor, but for a large e-commerce site like yours, small changes can make a big difference.

Here are some key speed-optimizing strategies:

  • Save all images as Jpg @ 80% quality
  • Scale all images rather than re-sizing with CSS
  • Set-up htaccess rules to cache images and CSS
  • Minimize your HTML/PHP files

There are other advantages though! Having a faster site speeds up your user’s experience whilst browsing. This isn’t a big deal for blogs, but on an e-commerce site, users spend a lot of time flipping from page to page…

In short, a quicker load time means your users will stay and browse rather than getting bored and leaving.

Conversion optimization

Conversion optimization is particularly effective on large e-commerce websites because small changes to your pages can often result in big increases in sales. To find out what works you have to test different ideas and see what your users actually do.

Here are some things to test:

  • Color of add to cart button
  • Position/Size of images
  • Position/Size of headline text
  • Wording of add to cart section
  • Product details shown

Using split testing you can run the same test across all of your product pages. You can increase sales (pretty obvious benefit) but you can also test for interaction. Improving user interaction will reduce your bounce rates and should indirectly improve how your product pages perform in the search results pages.


  1. Steve Kenneth  August 24, 2013

    Great Article Adam!

    Lots of information and also very informative. I am Glad to have you aboard as a contributor to Canada Web Services. I am looking forward to more of your articles.


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