SEO Friendly Shopping Carts
With a Shopping Cart there needs to be a balance between functionality and efficiency.
Who by and how products are added. How images are created (how many for each product) are among the key choices a business makes.
Organic search engine results will be an important source of sales. The structure and quality of your Shopping Cart is the most critical factor in SEO success. Just as you may use 'loss leaders' to attract customers to a retail store, the keywords you promote can make a huge difference to your online visitor numbers.
Transactions need to be traceable. If an issue occurs the ability to trace a transaction from individual logs through to the Payment Gateway is important.
The design of the Shopping Cart needs to be enhanced for SEO. The Shopping Cart should not be an add-on but integrated into the entire structure of the site from an SEO point of view. Products provide infinite SEO possibilities with keywords for suppliers and categories or styles.
Additional custom product information fields are added to allow enhanced HTML content to be added to the product listing. HTML allows you to add titles, bolding, any content you see on a webpage.
Best Practise Product SEO
The mistakes many 'one size fits all Shopping Carts' make is not to be designed around the actual keywords used for searches. Many searches involve a brand name and style of product-:
The brand is Phonak, the style is Audeo Paradise, the product detail includes P90-R which are keywords for those looking for a Phonak Audeo Paradise P90 R Hearing Aid. These are seperate database fields. Notice we do not use the words 'view details', 'buy now' or similar generic words. Every word relates to a keyword. The add to cart icon is an indicator to buy the product. That link is not indexed in searches. It is given a 'noindex' tag because we only want pages indexed that are valuable SEO assets. We do not want to weaken important pages ability to rank by having many other similar pages on the site. Google uses a finite amount of resources to crawl your site. The pages you want crawled need to be prominent.
Then the page goes to the description page where the brand name is further enhanced for searches and unique detail is created.
Duplicate content is avoided. An original product description is used instead of the standard manufacturers description (you will be flagged for duplicate content - or simply not stand out).
Images are named with SEO friendly alt tags like in this case "Phonak Paradise Housing Colours".
Tables and comparisons are used to show unique content.
Other Product SEO considerations-:
- Does the page word count exceed the standard page count?
- Is the page useable creating a pleasant experience? (retaining visitors)
- Is there sufficient detail to make a purchase choice?
- Do titles, H1 tags and descriptions enhance SEO?
- Can relevant reviews be accessed?
- Are images uniquely named with keywords?
With our custom Shopping Cart we have multiple database fields that can be used to construct information in an informative SEO Friendly manner. Certain fields can be searched (site search) and others can be used for unique styling of information using HTML. SEO software company Ahrefs call this a templated approach because some of the structure is derived automatically.
Using JSON fetch (Javasript that can query a database live) to update information on the spot, allows the visitor to have postal information at every step of the Shopping Cart process (there are no confusing update buttons). This reduces abandonned of a Shopping Cart.
Should the Shopping Cart display related products?
Some 'one size fits all Shopping Carts' display 'you may also like' information. This often slows the site down because large volumes of images, descriptions and scripts are loaded. Also the site can jump around (CLS - Cumulative Layout Shift) as the information renders in the browser. Have you noticed some sites bounce around as ads and product information are displaying? This CLS is caused by unstable scripts rendering information after the initial page content has loaded. It is actually flagged by Google (CLS speed metric Core Web Vitals) when it measures the user experience.
One Payment System many Payment Methods
Many Shopping Carts appear to have multiple payment options. This is possible using one Payment Gateway rather than trying to configure multiple external systems.
Although you can offer multiple payment options handled by different external systems eg PayPal and Stripe, you would need to monitor both if there was a transaction. Complex systems relying on external connections can cause problems.
Advantages of a full-stack web developer
An experienced web developer will understand how to handle data. Data is key to everything where multiple products are concerned.
JSON is a popular, universally accepted format of text data. It can be passed from various layers of your Shopping Cart. It can also be used to make bulk fast updates, or allow your system to talk to any other compatible system.
Say you had a Shopping Cart and a seperate email system to connect to your clients. JSON can be used to pass new clients between the two applications.
A new product becomes available, you create an email informing your existing clients. You may offer an incentive in the form of a Coupon with a "limited offer". An experienced full-stack web developer can help in every step of this process.
Some common Shopping Cart tasks can be automated with up to a 1000 times saving in time
Design of the Shopping Cart
Most Shopping Cart designs are systems. Every screen must work on multiple screen sizes. Hence you may choose a Shopping Cart design and then tweak it to best fit your brand, your logo etc.
Systems like Bootstrap allow code to morph effectively to different screen sizes on various devices.
Your pages need to validate (have no errors) and not load scripts that are unneccessary. Both of these will help with SEO.
A Shopping Cart may look similar and may even be made from the same template (theme), however how well it performs in search engines can be very different.
Future Design Upgrades
A system that retains your back-end structure but allows for new font-end designs allows your Shopping Cart to be future proof. Even structural changes are possible whilst retaining the same URL structure indexed for a particular query (Google likes consistency). A new back-end would usually present a different URL structure and require extensive 301 redirects with some SEO value lost in that process. Whilst a completely new site can work well in Google - upgrading a site may work better when the same URL structure is maintained.
Your Menu and it's SEO value
The trade off with a menu is to create a readable easy to use experience across multiple devices with logical navigation and emphasis on keywords.
Items in your menu are valuable. It is worth including menu items with the keywords you wish to attract. Hence keyword research before you create the menu is important. Some menus can be used as snippets in a search.
Too many internal links on a page dilute its value. Links give an indication to Google of the structure of your site. Emphasis your main pages is also important. Also the listing of many links, either in the menu or on the page is not necessarily good User Interface Design. A level of testing is required to get the right balance.
Integrated Blogging Platform
A BLOG is a great place to demonstrate what your products can be used for.
Shopping Cart Success
Our first custom Shopping Cart was a massive success. The first of its type. An industry disrupter. We have had follow-on successes that have also disrupted industries.
The single most important factor in success is your idea. If you pick the right idea in the right niche with "barriers to entry" your chances of success improve dramatically.