E-commerce websites are among the best sites to optimize because naturally their owners are the ones who are most likely to value the importance of visitor traffic, the bottom line of high search engine visibility. And for good reason: the more visitors these e-commerce websites attract, they benefit in various forms.
Some visitors reach them by accident through links elsewhere and leave immediately. But even these accidental visitors have become aware such website exists and so there goes the brand awareness benefit.
Some visitors were led there from an advertisement or a forum link promotion. They aren’t ready to make a purchase but remembers that they have friends who may be interested in certain products sold there. So they click on “Recommend to Friend” button and indirectly become sales people for the website.
Still, other visitors look for certain products using appropriate search queries: album title for CDs, book title or authors for published books, and so on. Once they find these items on websites that sell them, conversion takes place. Maybe not immediately but the promise of getting back to the site and making the purchase is bright.
So I decided to pick one local e-commerce site website Paddyfield.com and hope to provide recommendations based on a brief site review. Paddyfield.com is a Wanchai-based online book seller that has been online for many years.
Its homepage attracts the attention with a categorical listing of books. Discounted ones for members (one should be enticed to be a member so discounts will be his/hers), international best sellers and popular books. In case your interest isn’t in those featured, you can easily browse book genres through the middle section of left-hand menu. (I wish it was placed on the upper left corner though.) Of course, to those who have specific book titles and author names in mind, search form is a handy tool available in all pages.
Unique Page Titles
Perhaps it is time consuming to do so, but crafting page titles always bring benefits to websites, and Internet users who are looking for them. In the case of Paddyfield, the page title across all pages is “Books & more from Paddyfield.com”. Such title may be good fit for the homepage. But I am sure there is a better page title for a specific page, say for “Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat That Touched The World“. Fortunately, resolving this issue shouldn’t be too cumbersome. I believe that the site is managed by a content management system (CMS). This enables Paddyfield.com webmaster to automate the generation of page titles. In the case of a book detail page, Paddyfield.com can map the page title with the book title so that the page title of “Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat That Touched The World” book detail page becomes “Dewey, The Small-Town Library Cat That Touched The World | Paddyfield.com”. This also applies to meta description, whose example from Sasa.com should be applicable.
Keyword rich URLs are given weight by search engines as these pages imply relationship of page content. This is not the case for Paddyfield.com, as well as other sites like Amazon.com. The URL http://www.paddyfield.com/mainstore2/details.php?prod=9780521898102 refers to the book details page for “Capitalism with Chinese Characteristics” but we can hardly tell the connection because the URL hardly provide hints. A more search engine friendly URL may look like
1234 represents a unique number (or ISBN) that ensures the URL is unique in cases when there are two books (I don’t know if this happens) have the same title.
Add More Content
Content is king. Probably you have heard about it many times, and it is what search marketers have been harping for years, because a site rich in content is definitely more useful than a site with poor/copied content. Creating rich content provides value to readers, who may be willing to pass this nugget of knowledge to others through links on their blogs, forwarded e-mails or simply word of mouth.
In the case of Paddyfield.com, its bare book details page means it has room for improvement in terms of building content:
* Make book descriptions longer
* Add facility for visitors (ideally members) to provide their reviews
* Cross-selling of other related products as it not only give suggestions to undecided buyers, it also encourages a healthy internal linking structure (from one book page to another).
Content ideas can be hashed from list of keywords as suggested by Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool and Search-based Keyword Tool. Using the latter, we found out the following search suggestions/patterns:
* New book of [name of author], ex. New book of George Soros
* [Book title] book report, ex. Tuesdays with Morrie book report
* [Country] comic book, ex. Japan comic book
* [Language] story book, ex. Chinese story book
* [Category] books , ex. Architecture books
While I can’t provide a longer list, I hope we understand that there are a lot of page content that can be developed out of such book-related search patterns.
There are still other recommendations for the website to improve its visitor numbers (and hopefully online sales too) but for now, this should be it.