Search Engine Optimization
When you have a web store, you want your customers to be able to find you. One of the ways they can find you is through a search engine, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. Of course you can pay for an AdWords campaign, but the best way to be found is still through natural (or ‘organic’) search.
Search engines use a load of different factors in their ranking algorithms, but there are a few that stand out as being pretty easy to optimize for web store owners.
- Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics
- What we do for you
- Do not try this
- Do not try this
First of all, it’s really important to have relevant content in your web store. This means that you want to give your products a proper description, a relevant picture (if available of course) and maybe you should think about adding a nice welcome page where you explain what your store sells and how you sell your products (shipping and payment options, your return policy). An ‘About us’ page is also great for telling your customers about the philosophy of your store or the origin of your products.
Google says the following about content: “Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. This could be through blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means. Organic or word-of-mouth buzz is what helps build your site's reputation with both users and Google, and it rarely comes without quality content.” (Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide, Google.com)
The more relevant the content you put on your website, the better search engines can index and find it. If you sell fair trade handbags made from Guatemalan goat fur, a customer that searches for a fair trade goat fur bag will find your web store way easier when you include the words ‘fair trade’, ‘goat’ and ‘bag’ on a few pages. When you put your products in the web store with just the word ‘handbag’ in the description, the search engines will only display your site when a customer searches for ‘handbag’ and in that case your site will probably be overlooked by the customer because it’s not on one of the first three pages of search results.
Another thing that will make your web store get noticed is through the use of tags for your products. By tagging products, you create links inside your web store that make it really easy to navigate through, if you also provide your customer with a navigation menu. These links inside your web store can increase your visibility in search engine results.
Consider adding a blog to your web store. Here you can announce new products and discounts on products. If you don’t want to create an entire blog, you can always change your welcome page to display new products and such. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are a great way of promoting new products too, but make sure not to spam people with a load of messages about your business.
If you want to know more about the way your customers exactly find your store through Google, you can use Google Webmaster Tools. You can see how Google indexes your store, what search queries work for people to find you and what sites link to your store. From here, you can use these cues to make your store stand out even more to the public. You can also use Google Analytics, which you can access through your Google account. Google Analytics shows you how people find your site and how they navigate through it. It also shows how many people actually buy stuff from your store as compared to how many visited it.
After signing up for Google Webmaster Tools and/or Google Analytics, it might take some time before data about your web store shows up on either of those sites. That’s because they need some time to collect and analyze data for you. About this, Google says: “Google's spiders regularly crawl the web to rebuild our index. Crawls are based on many factors such as PageRank, links to a page, and crawling constraints such as the number of parameters in a URL. Any number of factors can affect the crawl frequency of individual sites. Our crawl process is algorithmic; computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. We don't accept payment to crawl a site more frequently.” (Google Webmaster Central, Google.com)
You're not alone in optimizing your store, because Enstore tries to optimize your content as well. Some of the stuff we do:
We make sure the URLs are easy to read for humans and search engines alike by writing them like this: http://yourstore.com/item/ipod-40-gb and not like this: http://yourstore.com/action.php?id=xY87. We also make sure every page gets its own unique descriptive title. Besides that, the linking inside your web store between pages and products is consistent, which makes it easy for search engines to navigate through your site and index it.
Our templates respect the natural text levels (h1, h2, h3, p) which makes them really easy to read. On top of that they are search engine friendly HTML templates. We also make sure that your web store has a fast response time (<200ms), which means that search engines will rank them higher than slower web sites.
We also plan to implement a few extras:
- Automatically generated keywords and description on your product pages from tags, brand, name and description.
- Automatically generated sitemaps and robots.txt. This makes your web store very accessible for search engines.
There are a few things you want to avoid when trying to optimize your content for search engines, the first of which is paying shabby companies to get your website a high ranking in the search results. Just don’t waste your money on any SEO company that promises you a high ranking for the low price of $150.
Second, don’t give all of your products the same name only to explain what they are in the product description. If you do this, all of the links and all of the text on your site will look alike, and the search engines won’t be able to distinguish anything.
Third, you don’t have to fill the product descriptions with a load of keywords to make the search engines notice you. They may even mark you as a keyword stuffer (i.e. a spammer) if you do, so try to avoid only using keywords in the product descriptions.
- Do: Make sure you have detailed content
- Do: Get others to link to your web store
- Do: Tag your products
- Do: Use a blog and/or social media to promote your products
- Do: Use Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics to get to know your store and your customers
- Don't: Pay shabby companies to get your store a high ranking
- Don't: Give all of your products the same name
- Don't: Only use keywords in your product description