Are eCommerce Websites Really Harder to Get Rankings For?

Jul 24, 2007 • 2:43 pm | comments (7) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under SEO - Search Engine Optimization

So are eCommerce sites really harder to rank than other websites? There is a thread on High Rankings Forums where one of the members asks "How do ecommerce websites, that don't have the articles and content, become successful?".

In my opinion these types of sites are not much more difficult to rank rather they just require some special attention and tactics that are different than what you would do for a blog or content website. Jill says many of these sites become successful with "Advertising, marketing, public relations. Just like any business".

If you have been doing SEO for sometime for other people, you are invariably been approached by the little known and struggling eCommerce site who desperately wants your attention to SEO their site for top rankings in Google. You know that website created by some awful excuse for an eCommerce system selling Nascar commemorative plates or better yet army knives or some dropship website from eBay that no one wants. They tell you they feel downright maligned because Google won't rank their website. How unfair! Why it may be harder for a Nascar commemorative plate site to rank in some reasonable time, most eCommerce sites are not too difficult to rank, but just require some old fashion elbow grease and dedication to get them high in the search engine results.

Torka posted some great thoughts on the subject how eCommerce sites can rank just as well as any site out there. She says

"When you talk about "ranking highly" one has to ask: for what terms? I mean, somebody has to rank well for search terms related to the products you offer. And if you're actually selling the items, then your pages should be highly relevant for those products, no? So why would you assume you can't rank well for those terms?"

IMO, one of the biggest things people have to get over is the idea that ecommerce sites can't have "content."

She makes an excellent point about the mentality some people have towards their website. Another poster follows and says: "Ecommerce owners generally spend a lot of time loading the database and can't be bothered writing their own content (the usually use manufacturers' content)".

Torka follows saying:

Exactly my point! If they can't be bothered to spend the time writing original, benefit-focused content (or justify spending the money to have a professional copywriter create it for them), then they shouldn't complain when they get mediocre results.

So its a matter of how much you want to rank and your dedication to getting the job done. Good information.

Continued discussion at High Rankings Forums.

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Brian Mark

07/24/2007 07:53 pm

eCommerce sites can't rank. Give up now. I am the only one who can sell power tools online! [Insert evil laugh here] Or, you could take a look at the results for product related searches and see Amazon all over the place and realize that an eCommerce site without much content can indeed rank.

Greg Howlett

07/24/2007 08:13 pm

I think that it is harder for ecommerce sites to rank well for one reason--it is harder to get authoritative links to them.


07/24/2007 08:35 pm

It's not that much harder to get incoming links on e-commerce sites, with the order confirmation just ask happy customers to link to you. Word of mouth does wonders.

Ben Pfeiffer

07/24/2007 10:32 pm

Greg, you make a great point. This was in the thread and also my personal experience, but its still possible as Wendy said. Brian, I almost mentioned ToolBarn in the post as a successful example of an eCommerce site.

Jaan Kanellis

07/24/2007 11:44 pm

LOL @ Brian

Chris Beasley

07/25/2007 12:04 am

I find ecommerce sites much easier to rank well with. Every Indian with a computer and an Internet connection can make a content site to compete with you, but ecommerce has geographic limitations and higher startup costs. This means there is less competition than there is with content sites. Drop shipping business, affiliate sites masquerading as ecommerce sites, these can be harder to rank with, but true ecommerce sites I have nothing but an easy time with. An additional factor is so many shopping cart products are search engine unfriendly, so if you know what you're doing you can easily bypass a hurdle keeping many of your competitor's back. When I first launched my first ecommerce site I had #1 rankings for every term I tried for within 3 months, and it really hasn't gotten much harder since.


07/25/2007 06:48 am

A product description = content... Makes no differnece imho.. If the content is good then the links will come.. People link left right and center to where to buy a item e.g. blogged about.. Of course if you sell a branded items and opinion of that brand is great content..

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