1 Simple Hack to Test Your Digital Catalog’s SEO

Where do you go to hide a dead body?

Answer: Page 2 of Google search results.

By now, we all know that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is critical to driving organic traffic to your website and bringing your website up in search engine page rank. 

However, have you thought about the importance of SEO for your online catalog? It’s not uncommon for brand or business owners to overlook their online catalog’s searchability.

Put your catalog to the SEO test

Use this easy hack to find out how well your online catalog is performing in today’s search results.

First, open an incognito browser tab. This is an important step. The private browsing mode allows you to browse online without using the existing cookies your browser typically stores to tailor or personalize the web content you see.

Now, head to Google and search your business name brand PLUS a specific product in your catalog. For example, “ACME” “Widget” or “Apple” “iPhone”. Using an incognito or private browser window will generate a true, uninfluenced reading of how your catalog comes up, or doesn’t, in a search.

Does your catalog bubble up to the surface?

Ideally, you should see your catalog appear in one of the first few organic positions of page 1 of your Google search. As you can see in the graph below, the first position will have the highest click-through rate (CTR), and each position after that has a lower CTR. Click rate for listings on page 2 and beyond tend to dry up to a trickle. In fact, according to Backlinko, only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.

How close can you get to the product?

Once you locate your catalog in the search results (hopefully you do), click on it, then note where you are within the pages of your digital catalog. Did you land on a specific product page that contains the product you searched for or did you, instead, land on the front cover of the catalog? 

When your catalog is properly indexed, a “brand + product” search should bring your customer directly to the product page within the catalog that references the product.

If your digital catalog is not properly indexed or is in a format (like PDF) that doesn’t make for easy indexing, your customer may be sent to the front page of the catalog, but will then be required to search again for the product within the catalog pages; not an ideal customer experience.

If your online catalog today exists solely in PDF format, you’re already at an extreme SEO disadvantage.

As mentioned in our article: “5 Reasons to Ditch Your PDF Catalog… Sorta” (Dirxion, 2020), “PDFs are a great starting point when building out a catalog layout. In fact, we use our clients’ existing PDFs as a launchpad to build interactive, engaging and searchable online catalogs for them. But, in terms of SEO, PDFs aren’t easily crawled by spiders. So, a Google search on a product you promote in the pages of your online catalog PDF is likely not to return results that point directly to your catalog, or the catalog page where it exists.”

Note: keep in mind that Google’s algorithm is always changing and you are never guaranteed to maintain ranking position. It’s a good idea to perform this audit periodically throughout the year.

Alternatively, Dirxion’s HTML5-based catalogs pages can be crawled easily by search engines. The HTML5 markup has many great benefits that will help your catalog rank better than previous iterations or specifications — from helping with code validation to speeding up catalog page load times (a factor Google uses for its ranking algorithm). 

At Dirxion, our digital catalog software is updated regularly throughout the year to keep up with Google’s latest algorithm updates. Digital catalog SEO is a priority because we know this is a significant traffic (and ultimately, sales) driver for our clients. 

If you’d like a complimentary consultation to evaluate your catalog’s SEO, reach out to us here to set up a call.