Salesforce Commerce Cloud SEO: Important Considerations Before Your SFRA Launch
Colin McKenna, Sr. Digital Marketing Specialist – SEO, highlights the most important SEO steps to consider when launching your Salesforce ecommerce SFRA website.
It’s time to upgrade your customer experience with a shiny, new, highly functional ecommerce website on Salesforce Reference Architecture (SFRA). Whether your existing website has been in action for 12 months or 12 years, you no doubt have built some valuable Search Engine Optimization (SEO) during that time. These calculated and tireless efforts have helped your customers find your site pages through relevant online searches. The last thing you want to do is wipe the slate clean and start fresh. Thankfully, if you take the time and energy to address some key Salesforce Commerce Cloud SEO elements, you won’t have to.
It is important to consider SEO very early in your site upgrade process, to ensure all the SEO supporting data is properly and strategically transferred to ensure a smooth transition. Our Sr. Digital Marketing Specialist, Colin McKenna strongly recommends considering these critical steps as part of your SFRA pre-launch process.
Conducting an SEO audit will help you assess what SEO practices are in effect on your current site. It will provide a gap analysis between your existing functionality and what SFRA will give you the opportunity to implement. This is your chance to build the needs to maintain the current SEO value. It will give you clear insight into how your site is performing technically and among search engine keyword rankings.
For client iRobot, an SEO Audit helped us uncover a pretty extensive international SEO strategy that included the use of hreflang tags between their multiple national websites. Discovering this gap in existing functionality vs. Salesforce Commerce Cloud out of the box functionality allowed us to build a hreflang solution that allowed the client to preserve their strategy.
301 Redirect Strategy
When it comes to SEO planning and execution during an SFRA launch, we generally find 60-70% of our efforts are spent on a thoughtful 301 Redirect Strategy, particularly when a website has been around for multiple years and whose landing pages have amassed an impressive amount of backlinks and achieve high authority scores and rankings in Google. This makes 301 redirects the most critical SEO component to launch in terms of preserving organic rankings and traffic.
For example, when upgrading their ecommerce site to SFRA, iRobot had URL irobot.roomba for one of their most well known products. On the new site, this landing page and corresponding URLs required a change. We needed to thoughtfully redirect all the SEO value to the new product page.
We typically see clients looking to re platform with anywhere from 10K-100K URLs with some of the bigger sites closer to 1 million. A simple one-toone redirect strategy just simply is not feasible with large enterprise level brands so we utilize some of the redirect tools given to us within the Salesforce Commerce Cloud Environment to assist the workload. While working with the brand Yarnspirations we were tasked with redirecting about 80K URLs, many which were coming from a brand that they had acquired. Using some programmatic solutions we were able to successfully redirect the large quantities of URLs and help yarnspirations.com inherit all the SEO value of the acquired site.
If you don’t have a solid redirect strategy in place, you can tank your hard-earned SEO. A few things to keep in mind during this complex process are:
- Salesforce Specific Platform. When upgrading to SFRA, you need to implement your redirects specifically on the Salesforce Commerce Cloud platform, utilizing its full power to dynamically redirect thousands of pages at once, which not all platforms can handle. There are 3 different ways to do so. Since redirecting thousands of URLs manually is unrealistic, we utilize programmatic solutions using on-page data.
- URL Categorization It is helpful to take the time to differentiate your page URLs and categorize by page theme. Implementation of this happens before launch so you can properly test. At RafterOne, we create custom solutions for each unique site, tailoring redirect strategies based on how the current URL structure is broken down and provide a solution by page type.
- Quality Assurance It is imperative to run a multitude of QA tests and crawl all URLs to ensure your redirects are successful. You need to ensure your redirect strategy has been accurately implemented before your launch and should be able to prevent any fires by testing pre and post launch.
Keyword Research to Influence Taxonomy
Your website taxonomy provides a framework to guide your SEO efforts. It will help you effectively shape the use of your keywords, categories and tags in way that will continuously better your SEO and deter landing page competition within your site. To influence your new site taxonomy, you will want to assess the current rankings for your keywords and identify opportunities for improving your SEO structure that exist by leveraging the SFRA platform.
SEO Metadata Support
For some, metadata can be an afterthought when it comes to landing page copy writing. But corresponding metadata and metatags are important SEO elements. With years of SEO metadata and meta tags working their SEO magic for your pages, it’s vital to bring that data over to the new site to work in harmony with the redirects.
There are a few different tools in Salesforce Commerce Cloud that can help you with SEO metadata when you are launching on SFRA. We worked a top outdoor retailer to help them carry over their existing SEO metadata. This client had invested a lot of time and resources into writing custom SEO metadata including title tags, descriptions, header and footer copy. We helped them import their old data into Salesforce Commerce Cloud so that the new pages maintained key SEO ranking signals. Salesforce also gives you an option to add fallback rules for some SEO meta elements. These are helpful for clients that have large catalogs where new products are constantly going online.
Technical SEO Setup
Once these considerations have been thoroughly vetted, it will be time to start implementing the details of your SEO strategy utilizing the Salesforce Business Manager tool. “Business Manager is the gateway to all things Commerce Cloud…including SEO”, says Salesforce Commerce Cloud SEO Consultant Edwin Romero. This is where we set up the website structure and where we perform various SEO capabilities. For SEO purposes, Business Manager is were we address XML sitemap generation, robots.txt, canonical tag strategy, URL strategy and review the SEO schema.
Once your technical SEO setup is complete, additional QA will be necessary and you’ll be looking ahead to post launch support and index monitoring.
It’s a Collaborative Effort
As you can see, SEO is not something to be overlooked when upgrading your site to SFRA and here at RafterOne, we support a detailed, strategic and custom-tailored process resulting in a smooth and successful launch that will continue escalating your SEO gains, rather than losing them. If you are feeling overwhelmed in your transition, we are here to help.
Need support with your SEO launch strategy? Let’s Talk.