How To Keep E-Commerce Pages Fresh For SEO

Okay so if you’re a blogger, you’re probably quickly becoming aware that the more blog posts you write, the more long tail search traffic you can sweep up. If you write high quality, regular posts then you will sweep up long tail and build a community of returning visitors. If you write regular, high quality guest posts including trending topics and seed them out via social media – it’s game over for your competition and you’ll on your way to an early retirement.

All of this is great for anyone who has information or service led website and who only has a relatively limited amount of pages to update and who can afford to spend that extra time utilizing their blog to full effect. But what happens if you run an e-commerce store? It seems Google isn’t making any compromises and the freshness update is having a huge impact on SEO strategies for e-commerce stores.

The Challenge

So, with the Panda update and subsequent freshness update towards the end of October 2011, there are a tonne of e-commerce store owners scratching their heads, rapidly updating the copy on their product and category pages, then sitting back and wondering what the hell they do next. There’s no real understanding at this stage from site owners as to what Google expects and there are a few unanswered questions which require some heavy testing from search engine optimization companies.

How often should category or products page copy be updated? Do Google make allowances for duplicate product descriptions across e-commerce sites? How long should category or product page copy be?

At this stage, there’s no real answer to any of these questions. It’s all about testing on your own site and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It certainly doesn’t seem to be doing e-commerce stores any harm in updating their page copy once a month and writing unique product descriptions rather than listing manufacturer copy. Site owners would argue that it’s just not feasible having to update their page copy for all products, maybe it isn’t, but as a site owner you can either sit and complain whilst your SEO sales plummet, or you can start scheduling in some copy time into your monthly schedule.

How To Keep Things Fresh

With all that being said, it’s time to look at ways to keep your pages fresh with content and most important, better than your competitors.

Let’s start with the copy. If you DO have the time to re-write category and product copy on a monthly or even more regular basis, do it. It’s going to do NO harm. Landing page copy should always be a minimum of 300 words and include best practice SEO formatting and page structure.

If you are regularly blogging on another part of your site you might want to use a categorization feed system whereby the excerpts of posts in certain categories within your blog appear on the landing pages of the corresponding products or categories.

Facebook and Twitter feeds which utilize certain hashtags in relation to a particular brand or product you sell may be pulled onto the relevant landing pages, though this might take some moderation to ensure that the social media comments are suitable for the tone of your site.

User reviews can also be particularly useful and many e-commerce stores are turning to systems such as Trust Pilot to both increase the quality signal of their site and business as well as pull in fresh content to product landing pages.

Scott is a writer who would suggest e-commerce stores should look at Trust Pilot as an option for user reviews.

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