Advanced guide/documentation for e-commerce websites from Google.

September 27, 2021, Google Search Central added new documentation and guides for best e-commerce practices for google search. These guides are a part of Google’s Advanced SEO documentation and are meant for developers who build e-commerce sites.

Even if you are not a developer you can extract tidbits that will help you with your e-commerce website.

Best Practices for Ecommerce in Google Search

John Mu tweet 9-9-21

Advanced Ecommerce SEO Guides

Where ecommerce content can appear on Google

Understand the different surfaces where your ecommerce content can appear.

Your e-commerce content can appear on a variety of surfaces* on Google:
Search
Maps
Images
Google My Business
Shopping

Each of the “surfaces” requires you to follow certain steps that are specific to that surface to help your e-commerce site reach and get found by new customers.

*Surfaces simply mean the different places or locations available on Google search.

TO DO:

Choose the right Google surface/s for your business to help new customers find you!

Create content to meet customer needs.

Share your product data with Google

Decide which method to use when sharing your product data with Google.

Two things.

1. Structured Data

2. Merchant Center

Structured data helps Google understand your pages better. Google uses this data to display product rich results., which means that adding this data help you get your products featured.

Uploading your product data to Google Merchant Center is required if you want to have your products displayed in some Google surfaces e.g. in the Shopping tab.

TO DO:

Add structured data to your website’s product pages.

Upload a feed to Google Merchant Center telling Google which products you want to show on Google.

Include structured data relevant to ecommerce

Help Google understand the meaning of your page with structured data.

Use structured data to help Google understand your web pages content and intent!

In order to do this correctly, it’s important to understand how structured data works. The structured data has to be relevant to e-commerce (there are other types of structured data as well).

E-commerce structured data types include:

LocalBusiness
Product
Review
HowTo
FAQPage
BreadcrumList
Website
VideoObject

TO DO:

Add structured data – specific to e-commerce – to your web pages.

How to launch a new e-commerce website

Strategy + Timing

Follow specific steps laid out by Google to make sure that Google can find your website when you launch your new site.

These steps include:

Verifying your site ownership
Asking Google to index your site
Tracking how Google is indexing your site
Establishing business details with Google if you also have a physical store
Signing up for Google Merchant Center

And finally decide what type of a launch you want to do: soft launch, grand reveal, homepage launce, or launch without product availability.

TO DO:

DO the steps recommended by Google!

Verify your site ownership
Ask Google to index your website
Check that Google can and is indexing your website
Sign up for Google Merchant Center

and

If you have a physical store also, establish your business details with Google

Designing a URL structure for e-commerce sites

Avoid issues related to crawling and URL design specific to e-commerce sites.

URL structure matters – A LOT – for all websites.

Make sure your URL structure is created in such way that Google can find it and read it correctly.

There are several things to take into consideration when building the URL structures. Follow the best practices.

For example.

Do this
URL: /product/black-t-shirt-with-a-white-collar

Not this
URL: /product/3243

TO DO:

Create URLs based on the best practices!

Help Google understand your ecommerce site structure

Design a site navigation structure and link between pages to help Google understand what is most important on your ecommerce site.

We want Google to find important pages on an ecommerce site, including product pages. Google looks for the relationship between pages.

However, Google doesn’t automatically know what the relationship is. So, it’s important that you create a navigation and cross linking in such way that it makes easy for Google to understand your website and crawl your pages.

The navigation on your website needs to be Google crawler friendly. You can also add structured data to help Google understand the purpose of your pages.

Use strategic linking to pages of higher importance.

TO DO:

Make sure to build strategic navigation linking to the most important pages.

Interlink pages and create more internal links pointing to the more important pages.

Pagination, incremental page loading, and their impact on Google Search

Learn common UX patterns for ecommerce sites and understand how UX patterns impact Google’s ability to crawl and index your content.

Page experience is a Google Search ranking signal.

There are a few things you can implement to help 1) Google find your content and 2) User Experience (UX).

What the best UX pattern for your website is can depend on your website. For example, you may choose to use pagination, load more, or an infinite scroll to display a subset of a larger list. Each has its pros and cons.

If you choose to use pagination follow Google recommendations!

  • Link pages sequentially
  • Use URLs correctly
  • Avoid indexing URLs with filters or alternative sort orders

TO DO:

Choose the best UX pattern for your website.

If you use pagination make sure to follow Google recommendations.

If this seems like a lot of nuanced information, you are not wrong.

This is advanced SEO.

Implementing these best practices for your e-commerce website can make a difference in whether people find you in Google search or not.

Alie Jules

Author
Alie Jules
Founder of Strategy x Creative