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3 Common SEO Mistakes We See On eCommerce Websites & How To Correct Them

  • Written By Grace
  • Posted September 30, 2018
  • 6 minutes Read Time

Let’s face it – people make mistakes. However, some mistakes can be more detrimental than others such as major SEO don’ts!

We are going to talk you through some of the key mistakes we see websites suffer in terms of SEO to ensure you give your site the best possible chance of ranking highly and encouraging high-quality organic traffic to your site. Recommendations on how to put each mistake right have also been given so you know exactly what to do to fix them.

Running A Site That Is ‘Not Secure’

In 2014, Google announced that running a secure site would now be seen as a positive ranking factor for SERPs. However, SEO specialists didn’t really put much importance on this SEO opportunity until recently.

Why the change recently? With the launch of the Chrome 68, Google has now started calling out websites that are still not secure by showing detrimental “not secure” warnings in the URL bar, like this:

The move flips how Google sees the security of sites on its head. Previously, HTTP sites had a small icon in the URL that you could click to find out more information; when you did, it would read “Your connection to this site is not secure. You should not enter any sensitive information on this site (for example passwords or credit card details), because it could be stolen by attackers.”

It’s a warning worth paying attention to. Under an unencrypted HTTP connection, a hacker or other bad actor has the ability to intercept any information that you send across the web. In extreme cases, someone has the potential to pose as a destination site – tricking you into handing over your credentials, credit card information and other such sensitive information. It’s a move that in our eyes should have happened a long time ago.

What this new warning has done, is spark questions around users confidence and trust in a site that is not secure. It is unlikely they will feel safe putting their personal information in the checkout fields on your site now, right? This means that not only will having a secure site potentially help your rankings, but it can also assist with your website conversions.

To make your site secure, you will first need to purchase an SSL Certificate from your website host or domain name registrar. This will need renewing every year along with your domain name. Once you’ve purchased an SSL Certificate, you then need to install it on your website which can get a little technical if unexpected issues arise. Usually, your website host is on hand to help you with the installation, or alternatively, you can hire a website developer to do the installation for you.

To make your website secure, you will first need to purchase an SSL Certificate from your website host or domain name registrar. This will need renewing every year along with your domain name.

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An important part of the installation of an SSL is to ensure all of your non-secure URLs (HTTP://) all point to your new secure URLs (https://). This is very important for website usability, as otherwise when a user clicks on one of your old URLs in a search result, they will be faced with a dead page that no longer exists and will incur an error which you definitely do not want.

Often website CMSs will come with a plugin that will make the 301-redirect process a lot easier for you. If not, we recommend hiring a website developer to ensure all loose ends of changing your site from a non-secure to a secure site are tied up correctly. Considering the recent importance of making your site secure, it is essential this process is done correctly and professionally, so make sure your secure site switch is in good hands.

Suffering From A Slow Site Load Time

Unfortunately, Google is yet to set specific metrics to say what is classed as ‘too slow’, however, it does say that 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if the site takes longer than 3 seconds to load (Google Data, 2016).

Not only will having a poor load time lose you, customers, your rankings could also take a hit. This is because Google favours sites that make users happy and fast loading sites do exactly that. If your site is very slow to load, you will likely see a drop in your rankings and it may be difficult and take some time for your site to recover.

As an easy way to test if your site speed is sufficient is via Google’s Site Speed Test. Simply enter your website URL and Google will award your site two scores out of 100 – one for mobile and one for the desktop. Alongside each score, it will also detail tips on exactly what fixes you need to make to improve your site speed score.  

Not Using Image ‘Alt’ Tags

Alt tags are Google’s best practice and one that all SEO specialists should be using. Why? Google ranks websites based on their relevance to the given search terms. It determines this by crawling your website for key indicators of what the page entails, such as keywords. However, Google, unfortunately, cannot read images. Instead, Google relies on image alt tags to tell it exactly what the image is of. Therefore, if you reward Google with alt tags on your images, it will be able to better determine your page relevancy to the search and subsequently reward you with rankings.

When deciding what to use as an alt tag, make sure you are describing exactly what the image is and not what you wish the image was showing. For example, do not just stuff your alt tags with a bunch of keywords you wish to show for in order to help you rank. Google is clever and will know that not all images on your site are your three top keywords. However, we do recommend your image files are rewritten to include keywords that describe the photo as opposed to the randomly generated image file name given by either your camera or stock photo.

It is worth noting when you are writing your alt tags, you also do not need to include dashes in between your words. Instead, we suggest writing alt tags as if you were writing any other short sentence.

SEO Mistakes Happen But It Is Important They Are Put Right As Soon As Possible…

Follow the above tips to ensuring you are not making some major SEO mistakes and work to implement best practice. Good luck!