Ecommerce Replatforming: SEO & Content Strategy
When replatforming, it’s crucial to determine which existing content is worthy of the new site. This is important not only to start on a fresh note, but to provide relevant and engaging content to customers and to improve SEO equity. This excerpt from Gorilla Group’s Ecommerce Replatforming Checklist explains how to review and improve existing content and how to ensure that content is as SEO-friendly as possible.
SEO and Content Strategy
66% of marketers claim that improving SEO and growing their organic presence are their top inbound marketing priority.* (Hubspot)
Implementing the right SEO and content strategies can create brand differentiation, drive new and repeat visitors, and increase search visibility and engagement.
Review, Edit, and Revise Existing Content
Typos are inevitable. Information becomes dated. Links decay. Multiple writers will touch the site, potentially straying from the brand voice. Customers’ needs change. It would be a mistake to address every other aspect of the site and simply migrate existing content as is.
Review each site page/article/post for relevancy. Archiving content that is underperforming and/or no longer relevant reduces the effort involved in content migration, which in and of itself can save time and resources, and recasts the focus on the great content that remains.
A streamlined shopping experience alone is no longer enough to drive lasting engagement. Identify content gaps and create content initiatives that go beyond the commerce funnel. Content initiatives will vary by business needs and industry. Content needs to help customers achieve their goals during the awareness and consideration process, and give them a reason to engage with your brand during the 99% of the time they aren’t shopping. New content initiatives can begin once the sitemap and wireframes are complete, so you’ll know whether you have the resources on-hand to hit the launch, or if you may need to find additional help.
Preserve SEO Equity
Replatforming entails site changes (e.g. URL changes) that could negatively impact organic search rankings if not addressed properly. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, apply key technical checks and balances across the board to transfer SEO equity during a site migration.
Implement schema.org best practices and canonical tags as necessary (particularly on filtered pages within the product catalog) to avoid duplicate content issues. Improve URL structure to incorporate natural language terms. Use relevant anchor text for inbound/external links, and regularly review the site for “link decay” (i.e. broken links).
Identify key site pages and plan to set up 301 page redirects accordingly. We do not recommend setting 1:1 redirects for every page, especially if the site requires login before accessing catalog pages. For high traffic pages and those with many inbound links, creating 301 redirects from the old to the new URL is beneficial. For all other site pages, redirecting users to the new homepage URL or to an appropriate category page will ensure current and potential customers can still find your site, regardless of what Web address they are using.
Enhance Discoverability and Crawlability
Make sure your site information is easily indexed by search engines. During platform selection, evaluate any native SEO features that provide control over your HTML components and site architecture. For example, does the platform enable granular control over page titles and page URLs? If the functionality you need to optimize content is missing or not applicable, then enhancements will be required.
Optimize HTML components. To provide visibility in search, start with metadata elements, such as page titles, page descriptions, and image alt tags for all potential landing pages. Such tasks may seem tedious, but failing to address basic SEO issues puts your site at a major disadvantage.
Update site taxonomy / information architecture to incorporate natural language terms. For example, many apparel brands tend to lump jackets and coats into an “outerwear” category, while almost all search queries for these product types are the products themselves, i.e. jackets and coats. As we move further into an AI-driven commerce world where voice search will play an even bigger role in product discovery, don’t ignore how your customers actually speak about the products they are searching for.
- Make sure every page/article/post serves a distinct purpose that benefits the user.
- Create content for people, not search engines, but don’t ignore baseline SEO requirements. Remember, customer-first content = improved SEO performance.
- Follow SEO equity transfer best practices.
- Optimize HTML components and site architecture to improve a search engine indexing.
“It’s essential to understand how your customers naturally think and seek out information when it comes to site content. You want their journey to feel organic. Make it easy for them to find what they need and you’ll build trust from the start.” – Debbie Williams, Director of Digital Marketing
Download the full ecommerce replatforming checklist for dozens of tips covering Planning & Strategy, Business Enablement, User Experience, Content & SEO, Data, Development & Architecture, Site Security, and Launch/Post-Launch Activities.