In e-commerce, many processes have to flow smoothly into one another in order to deliver a product to the customer quickly after it has been ordered. In order to optimally position the online shop as a sales channel, it is worth investing in search engine optimization. Birthe Stuijts from ranketing shows you in our guest post which 5 mistakes you shouldn’t make.

In e-commerce, the focus is on selling the product. Many processes have to flow smoothly into one another in order to quickly deliver a product to the customer after it has been ordered. In order to optimally position the online shop as a sales channel, it is worth investing in search engine optimization.

To be successful in a complex field like search engine optimization, there are many factors to consider. In the following, we’ll show you five of the biggest search engine advertising mistakes that prevent your products from ranking well – and the appropriate solutions that you can use to avoid these mistakes.

1. Dealing with unavailable products

“Product X is no longer in stock, the subsequent delivery takes two weeks, it is best to put this product offline.”

Google has high demands on the quality of its search results: the search engine’s algorithm rewards when an optimized page stays online. Such a page will quickly throw the search engine out of the index.

The search engines have to reread your product page. You need computing capacity to understand your page structure and you have to evaluate in which place the page with the search term X should appear again.

There is a simple solution and you can even use this situation to your advantage in the context of your customer communication. In addition to a note about the current delivery time, you can, for example, reserve the product. Inform the customer by e-mail when the desired product is available again. This shows good service and increases customer loyalty: the customer feels well looked after and is more likely to buy from you if he doesn’t have to look for the product again on his own initiative.

A tip at this point: remember to pause your Adwords campaign if the product is no longer in stock. Otherwise the performance of the campaign will decrease significantly at this point.

2. One product in several categories

“I have a product that fits into several categories. The best thing to do is to display this product in all of these categories. “

But be careful: if users find the same products in several categories too often, this can negatively affect their user experience. Also, be careful not to overwhelm the visitor with too many categories. After all, it should feel comfortable in your shop.

Sometimes, however, multiple categories can make sense. Please note the structure of your URL structure:

  • If the URL includes the category name, it is important that you assign a main category to the product. This main category is mapped in the URL so that the product can be found under an explicit URL. Otherwise, not only will “duplicate content” arise, the search engines will then also not be able to assign which of the two variants is the more important URL for the placement.

One solution is to duplicate the product and adapt and customize the text of the duplicate. However, you should pay attention to usability and meaningful navigation (such as breadcrumbs) in order to offer the visitor sufficient orientation.

3. Use of standard META data

“Metadata? You don’t even know how to do it right anymore. Everything changes so quickly. How good that my shop software specifies everything that should be entered. “

Ask ten SEO experts about the importance of META data in search engine optimization and you will get ten different answers. This is confusing and most shop operators stick to what the shop system specifies.

If you use standard META data, your system will generate duplicates for title, description and keywords. Since a search engine also uses these elements to differentiate between articles or categories, there is no way of distinguishing between automatically generated data.

The META data is your advertising platform in the search engines. The Title and Description are the elements that appear on the search results pages.  Invest in generating unique and appropriate META data. It pays off.

4. Sell products through affiliates or partner shops

“We have now also initiated a partner program. This is a good opportunity to increase our sales and turnover without much effort. “

Selling your own products in several partner shops increases sales and brand awareness. Shop operators like to enter into affiliate partnerships for this purpose. The product information is made available to the affiliates as XML files, for example.  It would be ideal here if all affiliates received individual product texts for marketing from you.

My recommendation: It doesn’t work without any effort. Offer at least one text for all products that differs from the one in your shop. In this way you avoid duplicates with pages in your shop and secure your ranking.

5. Dependency of the file name on the article name and category name

“When we started our shop, we didn’t really think about names. Today I don’t like many names anymore and I want to change them. “

It is not uncommon during operation that you want to rename an article name or correct a spelling mistake. However, there are shop systems that change the file name of the product at the same time.  The visitors, like the search engines, land on an error page. It gets even worse when you rename categories because the URLs of many products can change at the same time.

So before you change article names or category designations, clarify the consequences with your technician. If the URL changes, you should definitely set up a redirect for old URLs. Basically, however, it is important to avoid new URLs. Always change article or category names carefully, not too often and never only for your own personal beauty, but only when it is really necessary.


Individual texts and great care in product maintenance are the be-all and end-all of search engine optimization for a successful online shop. Review the way you work, keeping the five points above in mind. Gradually invest a little time in optimizing each product. It is worth it!

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