About the author: Dan Cannon is the Lead Web Applications Developer for Nicasio Design and Development. Nicasio provides web based solutions for both individuals and businesses. Nicasio is highly proficient in WordPress design and development. Nicasio also owns and operates the E-Commerce solution NicE-Comm.
There is no doubt that if you are running an e-commerce website (or are thinking about starting one) search engine optimization is one of the foremost things on your mind. After all, what is the point of offering your products for sale online if no one can find them? You may be taking steps to make your e-commerce website more search engine friendly, but undoubtedly, you can do more.
The Complete SEO Approach
There are 3 main areas you are going to want to focus on to make sure you e-commerce site is search engine friendly. These are code, content, and links.
Search engines love structure when they are reading a website. Each page on your site should read like an outline to a search engine. The main topic of each page should ideally be in an H1 heading tag. A search engine will recognize this as the page’s main heading and weigh the words in this tag more heavily. Any sub-topics should be in an H2 tag and so on.
Unless you are making each page of your e-commerce site by hand using HTML, you will probably be counting on your e-commerce solution to ensure that your pages are setup in a search engine friendly manner. Make sure that your e-commerce solution is incorporating this structure.
You will also want to make sure your e-commerce solution is creating dynamic titles and meta descriptions for each page on your e-commerce website. The title is the first thing search engines look for in their outline structure. The meta description is what most search engines will show the user in search results.
You will also want to make sure all of your pages are compliant with modern web standards. While this may not help you shoot up the search engine rankings, it will decrease the chances that a search engine spider will encounter an error while indexing your site.
The final technical issue you will want to make sure you address is that of search engine friendly URL’s.
Like I said before, search engines crave structure. Which of the following URL’s, which point to the same content, looks more structured and descriptive?
If you are like most people (or a search engine) you will say that the bottom URL is more structured. It is also much easier to determine what the content of the page is with the second URL. This is a fairly advanced technical issue, so you will want to make sure your e-commerce solution incorporates some type of URL re-writing.
When it comes to search engine optimization, content is still king. You will want to do some keyword analysis (or have a marketing professional help you with this) to determine what keywords people are searching that are relevant to your products. Then you will want to try to incorporate these keywords in your product descriptions and on your content pages. BUT, and I cannot stress this enough, DO NOT just load your pages with keywords in the hope of getting a ton of traffic to your site.
You want to have very informative product descriptions and content. It does you no good if you manage to get 10,000 people to your e-commerce site, but make no sales. It is much better to get 5 people to your e-commerce store that are likely to buy something. You may want to seek the assistance of a professional copywriter to make sure your content is both informative and search engine friendly.
Many modern search engines (including the big one, Google) have added another dimension to the algorithm used to rank websites in search results. This is the addition of taking links into account. This is a very complex process, but at least being aware of it can help you when you are trying to improve your search engine optimization can be beneficial. You will want to be selective about what external sites you link to. You want to limit your links to sites that share similar content to you. You are also going to want to have your site linked to. While you will probably have little control over who links to you, it is worth trying to get some high profile sites within your industry to link to you. It also better if anyone that is linking to you does so with a descriptive link. For instance Click here, is horrible for search engines. It does very little in letting the search engine spider know what the link is about. However, Visit Bob’s Discount Televisions Online Store lets the search engine know what the link is about. This will in turn help your search engine ranking.
While this is one the more highly rated areas of Google’s algorithm, it is the one you have the least control over. However, there is one thing you can do to try and ensure you get some quality links to your site. It goes back to content. If you write good enough content people will want to link to it. If you load up your content with so many keywords that it no longer makes sense, chances are you will not get many sites linking back to you.
As you can see, modern search engine optimization is a tight-rope act. You want to use good keywords, but not too many. You want to link and be linked too, but only by certain sites. You need all of this automated, but still need control.
So, do your homework, read all you can, consult with professionals and make sure you are using a complete SEO approach on your e-commerce site.
If you are looking for a solution that automatically addresses the issues in this article and are interested in partnering with a firm that can assist you with the design & deployment of your e-commerce site, content writing, keyword analysis and the promotion of your e-commerce site, you are encouraged to check out our e-commerce solution, NicE-Comm or Contact Nicasio Design & Development.