Guest Author: Kristin Kizer
Your website is where you shine. Your graphics are on trend, your images are crisp and descriptive, and your merchandise is organized in a consumer-friendly way, just waiting to be slid over into the cart. But if no one is coming to your site then all of your hard work is wasted effort.
Optimizing your online store to capture the attention of organic searchers is as important today as it’s always been; it’s just a little trickier. The following 5 strategies will help you get your optimization strategy started in the right direction.
Keywords used to mean everything in optimization; that’s changed a bit, but they are still very important. They let the consumer and the search engines know what you’re selling.
Long tail keywords. Today’s keyword trends lean toward long-tail keywords that go into detail about the product. For example, in the past “sundress” was a perfectly good keyword. Today, more description is needed. A better choice now is “floral knee-length girls’ red sundress”.
Keep track of keywords. It’s important to keep track of the keywords you’re using and the ones that are attracting visitors. An excel spreadsheet is a great place to store keywords and their predicted volume. Then you can compare that to your analytics results and fine-tune your strategy.
Google Keyword Planner. Google’s keyword tool is a great way to learn what keywords are trending, what your competition is using, what the competition level is and more. They’ll even suggest keywords if you’re running out of ideas. The basic tools are pretty easy to figure out with a little practice. The more time you have to devote to the keyword planner, the more useful it becomes.
Outside Research. Google is great, but it shouldn’t be the only place you’re looking. Knowing what your competition is doing and how your business compares is essential to better position and sell your products. Enter their page urls into Google planner or simply check their leading pages to see what keywords are used in the product descriptions and page headers.
You’ve now curated a list of keywords for your website’s backend and the on-page content. While popping them into the keyword area on the back end is easy enough, how do you make them consumer-friendly?
Natural labeling. Long gone are the days of keyword stuffing, today’s keywords need to look and feel natural – which can take a little creative writing but it’s possible.
Other SEO labels. Beyond just labeling the product and adding the long-tail keyword to the product description, you have other opportunities to work it into your website. Look to include keywords in image labels, product video descriptions and labels, customer reviews, and in Q&A if your website has that feature.
Blogging and Social Media
Promoting your website and getting others to do the work for you helps build your reputation and boost your search results. It’s more important than ever and it’s fantastic when your work is shared, and you can sit back and watch the sales roll in.
Blogging. Writing articles that talk about your product, give demonstrations, include images, and provide links to the retail pages is one of the best ways to boost your website and your sales. These are your commercials and you get to sell your products the way you see fit; whether you’re funny, informative, controversial, or packed with video drama – regular blogging is key to getting people talking and establishing your site as a sales leader.
Social media integration. Making it easy to share content is one of the most important things you can do. We have just surpassed the 4 billion mark with people worldwide who use online social networks and you want to bring them to your website. In the past follow bars along the side, top, or bottom of the page were where your social buttons lived. The trend today is to have floating mobile bars that crop up at key shareable locations in your content.
Google has always stressed that having the right inbound and outbound links is important to a good SEO strategy, but this area is often overlooked. Prioritizing link building can really pay off.
Inbound links. An inbound link is when an outside source links to your website. When an influencer or a reputable company uses a link to your product or blog it holds more weight in the search engine world than when your Aunt Sally links to your page. It’s always worth pursuing these top trendsetters to establish a connection. It’s basically your celebrity endorsement.
Outbound links. When your blog shares a link to another page, that’s an outbound link. Consider it the karmic good zone of SEO. It’s not necessarily a tool designed to boost your SEO, but it boosts the connectedness of the web overall. On a more practical level, linking to authoritative sites adds more value to your page so you get a little boost there.
Current Site Improvements
Finally, it’s back to the drawing boards to review your website and make sure it’s where it needs to be. Your website needs to be “touched” regularly. The following site improvements should be analyzed every year and they give you an excellent reason to touch the site and make changes.
- Page load speed
- Detect issues with SEO audit software
- Fix your HTTP 404 Not Found errors
- Fix broken and dead links
- Always update for the user experience (UX)
- Mobile formatting is not just required – it’s vital
- Concise headings that are easy to read
- Update content with current data
- Provide your local business information
Search engine optimization for ecommerce websites has certainly evolved. Gone are the days of keyword stuffing and grainy images. Today’s audience wants relevant content, interactive visuals, the ability to share information, and a constant stream of new products to buy. Staying on top of your SEO strategy will help you give them exactly what they want and will in turn give your business the traffic it needs to thrive.