As an eCommerce entrepreneur, you know you need a website that’s been designed well, perhaps even exquisitely. On the other hand, you also need your shiny website to be something that gets discovered in what’s a very crowded field of play.
Have you ever taken the opportunity to ask yourself just how prospective clients might find you online? Do you really expect to be able to sell things if no one can find your eCommerce site? It should be obvious that the answer here is a resounding no, and that’s a big reason why so many other eCommerce websites wind up shutting down. The sites looked great and worked well, but no one found them.
The answer to this is known as SEO, which stands for search engine optimization. It’s a critical step towards the success of your e-commerce store. The process involves enhancing the visibility of your website in the unpaid and natural search engine results. When you better optimize your eCommerce store, the higher you’re going to rank in the results of that search engine, meaning your website gets more prospective clients to do business with.
SEO isn’t magic. When your eCommerce SEO strategy is carefully laid out and executed over time with diligent effort, then results happen. As the entrepreneur behind your eCommerce site, there’s only a single choice to make if you want your business to be free of pay-per-click traffic, or PPC. That choice is that you must begin the optimization of your website immediately. If you’re not Google’s first page for keywords related to what you sell, what chance do you have of ever being discovered? Is there anything you can do about Google’s Instant Results except optimizing your website?
If you want to do this, use the eight following pieces of simple SEO wisdom and advice:
1) Plot Your Plan
Audience keyword and industry analysis should always happen before an e-commerce site is designed. If you do this, you’ll have SEO optimization built in from the get go. Onsite SEO can actually happen during your site’s very design and construction!
Regrettably, most entrepreneurs either didn’t know or skipped the eCommerce keyword analysis so they could get a site up and running. Another good habit that many skip over is the regular addition of high-caliber content to their site. It adds value for clients and serves practical SEO purposes.
Avoid using manufacturer product descriptions. Some owners do this to save time and money, but it’s duplicate content against other sites and not original. You have to put in the resources and time to have every description rewritten to match your site and theme. Also, make them unique and SEO-optimized. Using the wrong keywords doesn’t get you anywhere.
2) Phase Out PPC
Your whole goal might be getting away from PPC, but remember that SEO results take time. So don’t just drop your PPC campaigns right away. PPC is a great way to jumpstart traffic early on, but depending on your keyword costs and daily budget, you’ll likely vanish off the Internet daily. Also, many consumers do not trust sponsored banners or links. Organic search results are seen as more trustworthy, and so as you start getting such results, scale back your PPC or find a practical balance between the two.
3) Avoid Any Duplicate Content, Ever
Duplicate content is anything that appears on more than just one single page. It might seem like an easy way to fill up your website, but it’s also the worst enemy search engines can have. If you run an e-commerce store with many products, then duplicate content is a huge risk between similar product descriptions. However, search engines penalize for this big time. One thing you can do is making use of the rel=”canoncial” tag, which is helpful in minimizing any impact from duplicate content. Of course, unique content with the right keywords is optimal.
4) Optimize Your Product Image
Image search is a growing way for Internet consumers to browse the products they are considering purchasing. As such, it’s critical that you add relevant keywords to every ALT tag across your store images. It’s not enough to just add keywords, as they have to be the right ones. Otherwise, you’re spinning your wheels.
5) Get Inbound Links
Talk to friends and family, business partners, and professional or industry colleagues about who might create hyperlinks pointing to your site from theirs. One great way to do this for an e-commerce site is to talk to your suppliers. Ask them to put your site on their dealer’s list. That step is free and usually an easy yes.
6) Incorporate Product Reviews
On quite a few sites that wind up being unsuccessful, their product pages get buried too deep down in the link structure. Not only does will that make things needlessly complicated for online shoppers browsing for things, it also impacts the Page Rank Score Google uses to calculate for pages inside a site. These are listed 1-10, and careful planning lets you look good and enjoy better performance.
7) Make Every Webpage Meta Description A Unique One
Every single page of your e-commerce site should contain its own meta description unique from all others. Thinking and creativity need to go into it with the final goal of convincing an Internet user to click on the link that brings them to your website.
8) Don’t Skip Anything
Never skip any step in the planning or execution of your eCommerce SEO strategy. Taking every step in order will drastically improve your chances of being successful. It’s also important to be diligent in following your SEO plan and keeping up to date on the latest trends and philosophies governing today’s SEO. By doing that, you’ll head into 2018 with a proper SEO plan in place.
Author Bio: Lori H. Morris is a digital marketing specialist and content writer for a Toronto web development company and specializing in marketing, SEO and social engagement.