September 19, 2021

SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

3 Ways Edge SEO Can Improve the Enterprise Ecommerce Experience via @sejournal, @TaylorDanRW

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, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs
, SEO, Wordpress Support & Insurance, Mortgage, Loans, Legal, Etc Blogs

Working with and optimizing large ecommerce websites comes with two major challenges: acquiring users through organic search, then converting those visitors.

While conversion might not strictly fall into the realms of SEO, unless the traffic we bring to the client’s website converts and helps them meet their objectives, it may as well not exist.

This is why it’s important that we don’t just look at traffic and keywords, but also the search experience from SERP to achieving their goal/endpoint on the client site.

Edge SEO uses edge computing technologies to create new SEO implementation, testing, and research processes outside of our current parameters.

In this column, you’ll learn about how edge SEO can help you automate and scale a number of optimization activities, to not only attract more traffic but generate more qualified traffic that converts and supports your business goals, as well.

Why Enterprise Ecommerce Needs Edge SEO

SEO can be uniquely challenging for enterprise ecommerce websites with large product catalogs and high levels of product turnover and rotation.

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Managing the search experience and maintaining consistent rankings and traffic levels can be problematic with ever-changing content and user value propositions of great scale.

This is then made more complicated with the expectation of organic “growth.”

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of edge SEO, I shared a primer here that you’ll want to check out.

In this piece, we’ll explore some of those capabilities and learn how they can be implemented through Cloudflare Workers, Akamai EdgeWorkers, various AWS and Lambda services/combinations, and Fastly’s [email protected]

How Edge SEO Works at the Enterprise Level

The principles of implementing edge changes are relatively the same, and there are three processing phases in which you can modify your underlying (origin) content:

  • Incoming – During this phase, you can change the request URL (e.g., a redirect), or add authorization headers and tokens.
  • Outgoing – In this phase, you can inject elements, such as Hreflang and canonicals, security headers, and additional code elements.
  • Response Body – Modifying existing body content, such as canonicals, meta robots, page headers, div classes, and title tags.

Depending on the change you want to initiate, you will need to modify the request/response at different stages. Here are three specific ways you can use edge SEO for enterprise ecommerce.

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1. Generating Dynamic Page Elements & Meta

Title tags have historically been an important factor in our optimization efforts, and in enticing user clicks.

Google recently made a change to the SERPs and now appears to be rewriting more title tags than they have previously. Nonetheless, title tags still will play an important role in Google’s processes, regardless of their SERP appearance.

As Google is now also looking to other content on the page to inform title tags and meta descriptions, with the same practice you can also modify:

  • Page headers.
  • Text overlays on images.
  • Page-level content.

These are modified in the Response Body phase and can be modified depending on page content to reinforce the content and improve the user experience.

This can be especially useful when trying to rank for — and appeal to users searching with — price modifiers.

Here’s an example from my BrightonSEO talk (slide 13), where I shared an example from a Travel Supermarket. They were modifying the title tag for destination pages to include [from + {lowestPrice}] elements from the page.

This allowed the cheapest price being loaded onto the page (which changed as the content is API loaded) to be reflected in the SERP. As a result, users searching for [cheap holidays to X] were given more information upfront relevant to their query.

2. Waiting Room Tokens

During major sales events or known high traffic periods such as Black Friday and the Cyber days, balancing traffic load and user experience can be difficult for some websites (depending on the stack). The last thing you want to do is provide a negative experience.

While waiting room tokens may not necessarily improve your rankings, you can bring this to the table as an option to help improve conversion and experience around these times.

This works by the CDN/worker assigning “waiting room tokens” to users, to reduce the number of requests to the origin server.

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This can also then be modified to filter out bot traffic during these times, and moving your customer-facing traffic management workflows to the edge servers.

The edge workflow for this would be that:

  • A large number of users all request the same URL(s), the sales URLs, and landing pages, in a short time period to take advantage of the low prices, and stock availability.
  • Users are given a waiting room token and held on the edge. This auto-refreshes and if the user continues to refresh the device and browser, they will retain the same token and not make multiple requests to the origin.
  • Once allowed, the user can navigate through to the website and subsequent requests go to the origin.

This can be built out with Fastly’s [email protected], which a number of companies have done, and can also be built out using the Amazon API Gateway, Lambda, DynamoDB, and a token service.

3. Modifying Page Content Based On Stock

Performing a search and navigating to a product page takes user effort. If they navigate to a page that is out of stock, it’s a negative user experience that can not only damage this specific user session, but also any future interaction the user may have with the brand.

The first use case I’m going to talk about is when you have a product that is out of stock but will be returning.

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Modifying Content for Products Temporarily Out of Stock

You’ll have messaging on the page to highlight that it is out of stock, and Google may flag this in Search Console as a soft 404. This can cause some concern for wider stakeholders but will return to “normal” once the page’s value proposition has been restored.

The alternative is to use edge SEO techniques to detect when the template (assuming stock control is in place) defaults to the out-of-stock template.

Here, we dynamically inject content into the page to maintain a value proposition for the user. Google doesn’t soft 404 the URL, and keeps it ranking so the website and brand remain in front of the user.

The second use case is to modify text on the product page itself when stock gets low.

Modifying Page Content for Low Stock

This can be something simple like changing the messaging and font color to highlight low availability, or adding messaging such as delivery times.

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Or, if you offer free delivery on orders over a certain value, highlighting this on a low stock item could remove more barriers and factors in the users’ minds as to why they wouldn’t make the purchase.

Use Edge SEO in Ecommerce Responsibly

Edge SEO offers a great route for implementing change, whether it be a short-term fix to alleviate development queue pressure or a (longer-term) new feature to improve user experience.

However, it is vital that you don’t do this in a silo. Make sure your development team is a part of and aware of the changes you’re making via the CDN. Follow their deployment and testing guidelines.

This communication is necessary as business-as-usual development could accidentally introduce bugs to the site, or even cause false issues in the testing phases.

More Resources:

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Featured image: yelosmiley/Shutterstock

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