Search Engine Optimization
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most powerful marketing tools.
Unfortunately SEO doesn’t bring direct results. You will only reap the benefits of what you do today in SEO in a few weeks or even months’ time. You will have to invest a lot of time but you get a lot back for it.
I distinguish two categories within SEO – on-site and off-site. Simply put, on-site is everything you do within your online store (urls, texts, titles, pictures, etc.). Off-site is about external factors influencing your SEO (mostly incoming links).
On-Site Search Engine Optimization Factors
Deciding with which keywords you want to be found is the basis and first step of a good SEO. With those keywords and/or short phrases in mind you will improve your online store. This can be done either on page level or on index level.
Keywords in the URL and domainname
Use your most important keywords in the domain name. Don’t make the url too long but do try to use your most important keyword.
Use the most important keyword of a page in the rest of the url. For example: shoulderbags.com/shoulderbag-converse
Keywords in the title tag
Make sure to place the keywords in the title tag. Also don’t make this title too long. Restrict it to about 10 words and preferably not much longer than 60 to 70 characters. Put your most important keywords first in the title. Prioritise and group them according to importance.
Keywords in the description tag
Not super important but it is never bad to place your keywords in the description tag. This description tag will also often be visible in the search results and may invite to click on the search results. Limit the description tag to about 200 characters.
Keywords in the keyword tag
The keyword tag is often described as important. It used to be in 200o. Today keywords are quite useless. Better focus your energy on other, important SEO points.
Keywords in the content
It is still important what people read in the tekst of a page itself. Make sure that keywords are part of the text and feature a couple of times in it. A density of 2 to 5 % is a good rate. Of course make sure that the text is still readable for its content as well.
Keywords in the H1, H2, H3 tag
The H1 tag is a title tag in the HTML. Search engines find words in the titles or subtitles of the text important, because they often reflect the essence of the text. Therefore, use your keywords in the titles.
These are the most important on-site SEO factors.
Off-Site Search Engine Optimization Factors
If you consequently do all of the above you will automatically start to rise in the search engine rankings. At a certain moment you will not rise any further. All top competitors obviously did the same. From this point onwards the amount of incoming links is important!
The Google ranking is primarily based on the amount of incoming links on your website. More links to your online store means that Google estimates the quality of your online store is higher.
Make sure there will be dozens, beter hundreds, of links to your online store. This will make Google regard your online store to be important.
Keywords in links from other websites
When your are building links to your own pages it is better not to use the domain name as a link but the keywords with which you want to be found. Therefore try to get a link whenever you can with your most important keyword as name.
Value of a link
A link from a valuable website (which is about the same topic and scores highly itself within Google) has much more value than a link from a “unpopular” website.
SEO is related to a lot of other website elements
The above SEO pyramid that is created by the authoritative SEO specialist Rand Fishkin shows (at least) two things: that it is best to start with great content, have a good and accessible site structure and then work your way up, starting to focus on Keywords after having completed the first steps, then on link building and then on Social.
What it also shows, is that SEO is related to a lot of other website elements. So make sure to have great, unique product descriptions, and develop a sound keyword strategy over time. Don’t try to do everything at once, but rather try out one or two things at a time. Work that also affects your SEO includes link building, devising and implementing a good social media strategy and thinking out a viral marketing campaign.
Again, don’t try to do everything at once, but take a step-by-step approach. To have a further checklist of what general marketing steps you can take, check this page.