The more complicated a journey is, the more important it is that you have a map that can guide you to the end. If you’re just headed to the grocery store around the corner from your home, you can probably make it there on your own. But if you’re traveling to an unfamiliar metropolitan area, it’s a good idea to have a map with as much detail as possible to refer to. Maps are critically important in e-commerce SEO services, and the larger and more complex your e-commerce site is, the more important they are. Here’s why you and your e-commerce SEO services provider need to make sure your website’s site map is as helpful and clear as possible.
Make e-commerce SEO simple:
Who’s Reading the Map?
The site map of your e-commerce website is critical, but the fact is, few if any of your website’s human visitors will ever actually see it. No one arrives at Amazon.com and navigates to the site map page to find out where tennis shoes are located! Instead, visitors rely on the website’s search box, filters, categories, subcategories, or simply browsing through the items featured on the home page in order to find what they’re looking to buy.
The site map is designed primarily for a different audience: the search engine crawlers, also referred to as “spiders.” These crawlers are automated software programs that explore a website, assessing the content, keywords, structure, navigation, links, and other features of each page. The crawlers then pass this information on to the search engine’s ranking algorithm, which determines where your web pages will rank alongside competing sites in keyword search results.
Give your website the best chance at success.
The search engine crawlers typically don’t have too much trouble analyzing the structure and quality of a normal, information-centered website. Those sites have no more than 20 or so pages, and the internal pages tend to be related in similar ways, connected to each other through clear links. An e-commerce site, in contrast, can have hundreds or thousands of individual pages, depending on the size of its product catalog. Those individual pages can be related to each other in many different ways, and while a human visitor isn’t too worried about making sense of the catalog as a whole, that’s exactly what the crawlers have to do in order to index the website.
Use a great site map to discover e-commerce success.
A site map saves the crawlers the trouble of searching through those potential thousands of pages, figuring out how they are connected with each other. It displays all of the category pages, product pages, and other pages like contact, about, FAQ, blog, and the home page. The crawlers are then able to effectively compile the data from the site map and give the ranking algorithm the best chance at presenting the pages to the search engine users that are looking for those particular products.
More Important Than Other SEO Practices
If you’ve learned a little bit about SEO services in general, you have probably picked up on a few practices that are considered “best practices.” These include things like building valuable links with other high-quality websites, choosing a list of strategic keywords to focus written content on, and maintaining a regularly updated blog. With e-commerce sites, however, these best practices are actually much less important. A clear, easy-to-find site map is perhaps the most important SEO practice for an e-commerce site, followed by those other best practices. Even those, however, need to be modified by your SEO provider, since following standard SEO practices on the hundreds of pages of an e-commerce website can lead to penalties on the search results pages.
E-commerce SEO is a specific, complicated corner of the digital marketing field, and it’s best to entrust it to a professional service that has already proven its ability to accomplish it successfully. PalmettoSoft has been performing SEO services across all industries for over 14 years, and you can read a few of our success stories in the specific area of e-commerce in the Resources area of our website. We look forward to helping you set up your e-commerce website to move ahead of the competition on the search results pages.