I hope this article will help people that are thinking of starting an e-commerce web site. It is very important to begin with a good basic product structure. Even though these elements can be easily identified by analysing a popular e-commerce web site, I think it is better if you have them structured in one place. Also, I will comment a bit about the importance of each element (from SEO and Usability point of view). Click the picture above to see a graphic structure.
Usually reflects the official name of the product. However, for a better understanding, you can include more elements here.
Composed from: [Brand name] + Product name + [Code] + [Attribute] + [Collection] + Category name
- [Brand name] – Can be omitted if you are selling one brand or if you do not want to disclose manufacturer’s name;
- [Code] – Product’s unique identifier (like SKU). More details below;
- [Attribute] – An identifier which helps the user to identify user’s needs. If it is a clothing product for example, attribute can be the genre or colour: “Men’s Running Shoes” / “Red Dress”;
- [Collection] – Optional attribute, present for items belonging to collections;
- Category name – Like the attribute, adding category’s name in product’s title will help the user to understand if this product is what is he looking for. Also, useful for SEO.
Usability: The customer will understand from the beginning if he is on the right page.
SEO: You are building a powerful long-tail expression.
Tip: In an e-commerce web site, most of the URLs are built using the Product Title
Unique code used in your web site to identify the product. Can be the SKU (stock-keeping unit) code.
Usability: In case of phone orders, this is the quickest way to identify a product.
SEO: By adding manufacturer’s SKU, the Search Engine will identify your product and will be easier for data consolidation.
Path used for user’s navigation. Like in Hansel and Gretel’s story by Brothers Grimm, you can trace your way back home.
Usability: Reconstructing user’s path while browsing your web site. In case of landing on a product’s page from another web site, you will be suggested a default breadcrumb (home page > category 1 > category 2 > product).
SEO: Developing a good path can also be useful for Search Engine Crawlers to understand your web site’s tree structure.
Manufacturer / Brand
Link where you can browse all products from the same manufacturer.
Usability: Some people (including myself) have favourite brands. This will help in cross-selling various items.
SEO: By adding this field to your product’s details you will make things easy to crawl and consolidate.
Details used to describe all product’s features. Can be split in two: short description (used for listing the basic details) and long description (here you can write everything about the product, use it to convince the customer to buy it).
Usability: Like described above, customer will have all details listed here.
SEO: By doing a keyword research and after a good copywriting, with the description you can generate on-target relevant content, which will help you rank higher in SERP.
Images / Video
Product’s photos and videos. Better if present with captions and in hi-resolution.
Usability: A picture is worth a thousand words. Until you see it, you won’t buy it, right? By adding images of your product, even pictures for additional finishes, variants or close-ups, you can convince further more the customer to make up his mind. A short video demo can improve a lot the conversion as well.
SEO: Especially good for Image Search. For popular searches, SERP will include results from Images.
Shipping and availability information
Another factor that can be decisive for buying on-line. It is important to let customers know long will take until the product will arrive or how much they will be charged for transportation.
Usability: A factor in greater conversions.
SEO: With the introduction of Microdata, the Search Engine will offer this information directly to the end customer.
Maybe the most important factor of all, here you can include information about RRP (Recommended Retail Price), VAT, Sale etc..
Usability: By displaying price and availability information you show transparency towards the customer.
SEO: With the introduction of structured data / product schema / rich snippets, this field became very important cu SEO. Your products will convert more likely in SERP.
Buy / Add to cart / Add to favourites / Add to wish-list
This button provides great utility. You can place your order via phone or by visiting the physical store if any, but this is not how e-commerce is suppose to work.
Usability: The core button of e-commerce. Enough said.
SEO: No importance.
Other important entities
Social media sharing, product reviews, stock, cross-selling products, awards and certifications, warranty, FAQ, returns etc..