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Optimising E-commerce Sites in Edinburgh's Digital Marketplace

by  David Dwyer on  04/01/2024

If you've ever attempted to fight your way to the top of the e-commerce search results in Edinburgh, you'll know that it's a battleground.

With a city full of entrepreneurs, businesses, and customers who know their way around the digital marketplace, standing out can be a challenging task. Therefore, you might find that your business could use a helping hand.

This is where we at Inspire step in.

Our digital marketing expertise is tailored to assist businesses like yours to not just survive but thrive in Edinburgh's bustling online market space.

Let's now dive into how to improve your e-commerce website and search results in Edinburgh. 

e-commerce marketing Edinburgh

The rise of e-commerce in Edinburgh 

In Scotland, people are just as likely to do their shopping online as people from other parts of the United Kingdom.

According to Statista, at the start of 2023, an impressive 60 million e-commerce users were expected to grace the digital marketplace, leaving only a few traditional shoppers in their wake.

It's clear that e-commerce has become second nature for UK shoppers, and that includes the people of Scotland’s capital. But don’t just take our word for it! Let us look at the data to back this stance up. 

In July 2023, online shopping in the UK reached its highest proportion of total retail sales since February 2022, accounting for 27.4%.

This surge was driven by unfavourable weather conditions, which made shoppers turn to online platforms for convenience. Plus, increased promos and discounts in online shopping also played a huge role, attracting both traditional in-store and existing online customers.

This change shows the increasing significance of e-commerce and its transformative influence on online shopping trends in Edinburgh. 

online shopping trends

SEO challenges faced by e-commerce websites 

With this increasing demand for online stores in Edinburgh likely to continue, the need for a well-performing e-commerce website has never been greater.

But let’s face it, optimising your e-commerce website isn’t a walk in the park. It come with SEO challenges that are as unique as they are complex. 

To uncover the common SEO challenges faced by e-commerce websites, we’ve studied numerous large online stores to get an idea of the online landscape.

Our goal? To provide our readers with insights on how to spot and tackle these challenges, making your e-commerce business journey a tad smoother! 

Let’s explore some of the main takeaways: 

1. Product descriptions 

If you’re running an e-commerce website, you’ve probably got plenty of products to describe. And, let’s face it, some of these descriptions can be a bit, well, automated… the result? Less-than-stellar- content and not much attention from Google. 

Search engines like Google are all about that fresh and unique content! They’re like content connoisseurs, and when they come to your site, they want a feast, not crumbs. According to Backlinkio.com, pages ranking in the top 10 results on Google had an average word count of 1,447 words. 

The solution is to start by beefing up the info for the products that you want to rank for. 

2. Location pages 

Many e-commerce websites with physical store locations often overlook their location pages.

This can happen for various reasons, like dynamically generated pages that aren't easily discoverable during website crawls or inadequate content and internal linking. This can lead to poor local search rankings, which means you’re missing out on potential in-store customers.

To address this issue, create location pages with unique URLs that are well-integrated within your website's structure and included in your sitemap. Ensure these pages offer essential information like addresses, phone numbers, hours of operation, services provided, and customer reviews.

Google Maps optimisation

3. Website loading speed 

Another one of the things most people ignore is the importance of your website's loading speed, especially for e-commerce.

Slow load times can lead to frustrated visitors who abandon their carts. Every second matters, and the longer it takes to load your website, the higher the likelihood of reduced conversion rates and increased bounce rates.

To retain visitors and maximise revenue, aim for a loading time between 2 to 3 seconds. Any delay beyond 3 seconds can result in lost opportunities and revenue. 

To solve this issue, consider investing in reliable hosting services and implementing website optimisations by integrating cache plugins. 

For e-commerce businesses, optimising a website can be particularly challenging due to the large product inventory, often with multiple images for each product. The best way to solve this is to take care of this from the start through using image optimisation techniques such as compression

4. Content quality 

Having high-quality content is a vital aspect of effective SEO 

It's essential to provide valuable information on every page of your website, from the product benefits to the usage instructions together with relevant images and videos if applicable. 

To achieve success in search results and cultivate a loyal customer base, it's essential to prioritise accessibility, a positive user experience, and a clear path to achieving your desired goals on your website. 

5. SSL 

SSL Certificates are an indispensable component for all websites, but they hold even greater significance when it comes to website optimisation. This part of technical SEO not only enhances security but also contributes to improved SEO rankings in Google's view. 

SSL serves as a protective shield for the data exchanged between users and the website. Additionally, the presence of an SSL certificate on a website instils confidence in visitors, particularly on e-commerce platforms, because it assures your visitors that their payment information is safeguarded from potential data breaches. 

6. Website design 

Another significant challenge faced by e-commerce websites lies in crafting a well-thought-out web design that is not only responsive but is also optimised for different screen sizes or devices.

Many newly established e-commerce websites prioritise their online presence but often overlook the critical aspects of website design and its optimisation for SEO and user experience. 

The biggest challenge comes when a website requires a redesign after gaining substantial traffic and content. But a correctly executed design or redesign initiatives can lead to significant growth in organic traffic. The above listed points are just a few common SEO challenges that frequently impact e-commerce websites, especially as they experience increased traffic, product demand, and competition. 

SEO marketing

Key strategies for optimising e-commerce sites for search engines 

In the competitive digital marketing world of e-commerce, it's important to keep these strategies in mind to help enhance your website’s visibility, attract more organic traffic, and ultimately, drive sales. 

Our recommended strategies include:

1. Keyword research 

Start by conducting thorough keyword research to identify the most relevant and high-traffic keywords in your niche.

Use tools like Google Keyword Planner or SEMrush to discover search terms your potential customers are using. Incorporate these keywords naturally into your product descriptions, meta titles, and meta descriptions. 

2. Mobile optimisation 

Ensure your e-commerce site is not just desktop-responsive, but also mobile-optimised. With the growing number of users shopping on mobile devices, a mobile-friendly site is essential for SEO. Google prioritises mobile-first indexing. 

mobile optimisation for ecommerce

3. User-friendly navigation 

Create a clear and intuitive site structure. Implement user-friendly navigation with logical categories and subcategories. Use breadcrumbs to help users easily navigate back to previous pages. 

4. User reviews and ratings 

Encourage customer reviews and ratings, especially in Google Reviews. Positive user-generated content can improve your credibility and click-through rates in search results. Address negative reviews professionally to maintain a positive online reputation. 

5. Link building 

Build high-quality backlinks from reputable websites in your industry. Quality over quantity is essential. Avoid black hat techniques, as Google penalises such practices. 

By implementing these key strategies, you can position your e-commerce website for success in search engine rankings. Keep in mind that SEO is an ongoing process, and staying updated with industry trends and search engine algorithms is essential to maintain and improve your online visibility. 

the importance of good UX web design

The role of user experience in e-commerce SEO 

The role of user experience (UX) in e-commerce SEO cannot be overstated. It's not just about search engines, it's also about providing your customers with the best possible online shopping experience–just like you would in a brick and mortar.

Here's why UX is a critical component of e-commerce SEO: 

1. User engagement 

Search engines, especially Google, take user engagement into account. Metrics like bounce rate, time on site, and click-through rate are indicators of how engaging your website is. If visitors leave your site immediately or don't click through to product pages, it can negatively affect rankings. 

2. Easy navigation 

A well-structured and easy-to-navigate website is not only appealing to users but also to search engines. A clear hierarchy of categories and subcategories makes it easier for both users and search engine crawlers to understand your site's structure. 

3. Images and videos 

Visual content is key in e-commerce. Optimised images and product videos enhance the user experience. Ensure your images are high-quality and use descriptive alt tags for SEO. Videos can provide additional value to users and help in SEO as well. 

4. Checkout process 

A lengthy and complicated checkout process can lead to cart abandonment. Streamlining the checkout process improves user experience and helps in converting visitors into customers, which is a positive signal for search engines. 

5. Content accessibility 

Ensure that your website is accessible to all users, including those with disabilities. This not only expands your customer base but is also considered a good SEO practice. 

Staying competitive in Edinburgh's e-commerce landscape 

This may all sound and look overwhelming but unlocking the potential of e-commerce SEO is well within your reach. With a firm grasp of the fundamentals, a well-crafted strategy, and the right guidance, you can elevate your e-commerce store's search engine ranking and organic traffic. 

It's all about crafting exceptional content, mastering technical SEO, conducting thorough keyword research, and harnessing the power of social media to communicate your brand's identity effectively. These combined efforts ensure that search engines not only recognise your target audience but also understand their needs when they visit your e-commerce site, whether it's to explore product pages or delve into your blog 

And with that, we hope that these strategies will help you rank your e-commerce website and boost your sales with less effort. Looking for a hand to improve your SEO?

Get in touch with us today for expert digital marketing help in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

Digital Marketing, e-commerce
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