I have had the opportunity to work with many online store owners. What I have noticed in many cases is that many of them heavily rely on PPC (Pay Per Click) programs for advertising their online store, while completely ignoring the SEO part. However, I advise each ecommerce entrepreneur that gets in touch with me to pay careful attention to optimizing their online stores for organic search rankings as well.
There are many ways in which you can optimize your online store for better visibility in search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing. However, the extent of your ecommerce store’s SEO also depends on the kind of features your e-commerce service provider offers if you are working with platforms like Shopify, Volusion, Big Commerce, Spiffy Stores or Goodsie among others.
For example, Shopify is excellent in terms of design, running your store, ecommerce hosting and mobile commerce. But I think it lacks many features that an online store owner actually needs to improve their site’s SEO.
Recently, I was in touch with a client who had chosen Shopify to build their online ecommerce store. But when I took a look around, I found the options very limited when it came to optimizing the store for better search engine rankings. So, I advised them to look for another suitable third-party ecommerce site builders. Finally, we agreed to host the online store with BigCommerce, which offers strong SEO features.
OK, let’s get back to the main point now.
SEO is vital to your online store’s success, because it increases the visibility of your business in search engines. As you obtain higher search rankings, you start to drive more traffic and potential customers to your store. But how do you start to appear at the top of search engines?
Given below are eight important tips that every online ecommerce store owner should abide by to achieve higher organic search rankings.
#1. Have an On-Site Blog
Google loves to see fresh content on your site. Attaching a blog to your online store is a surefire way of adding that fresh content. It’s best if you could install a WordPress blog on your online store (Google adores WordPress). Otherwise, you can also use the self-hosted blog of your ecommerce website builder. Once you have set up the blog, you should consistently publish articles on the same. In any case, you need to make sure you cover relevant topics and that your blog posts are keyword-optimized.
To keep your blog up and kicking, it’s advisable to hire a blog writer.
#2. Say ‘No’ to Duplicate Product Descriptions
Copy-pasting product description from the manufacturer’s site to your site is the worst thing you can ever do, as far as the SEO of your online store is concerned. No matter what type of products you are selling on your online store, make sure you write fresh descriptions to avoid search engine penalty.
#3. Don’t Use Same Meta Tags for All Pages
Every web page of your store should have unique meta data. When you build an online store with BigCommerce, it provides you with the option of adding your own custom meta info to the homepage as well as each of your product pages. If every single page of your online store carries the same meta data, you are making a huge mistake as far as search engine optimization of your site is concerned.
#4. Optimize Product Images
Since it’s an online store, you’ll definitely need to place images of the products that you want to sell. Having short but descriptive alt tags for the product images you use can quickly give you an extra edge in terms of SEO. Don’t forget that a good number of people who want buy a specific product or item use image search feature.
#5. Set Up a Clean URL Structure
When you want to improve the SEO of your online ecommerce store, you should also pay careful attention to the URL structure. While working with a third-party ecommerce website builder, you should make sure it offers you full control over the structure of your web page URLs. Short, keyword-rich URLs will enhance your site’s SEO.
#6. Pay Careful Attention to Internal Linking
Internal linking is an important part of the SEO process as it allows visitors to find relevant content on your site. On an individual product page, you should never forget to include links to other related products that your store features. While linking internally, it’s a good idea to use add keywords. But don’t overdo it.
#7. Build Quality Backlinks
Apart from featuring great and keyword-optimized content on your online store, you also need to gather lots of high quality backlinks. Google scans a site’s backlink profile to gauge its overall authority on the web. Therefore, you should never forget to have a white-hat link building strategy in place.
To build backlinks, you should –
Submit your website to search engines
Add your website to top quality web directories
Publish press releases
Post to relevant forums
Exchange links with other sites
Build Squidoo lenses
Most importantly, you’ll need to feature top quality content on your site on a regular basis. Otherwise, nobody would want to link to it [You don’t actually build links but you earn them]. In any case, you should never engage in any type of link schemes. Many online store owners are so desperate that they want to build hundreds of backlinks overnight. Beware! It can lead your site to serious search engine penalties.
#8. Go Social
SEO of an online store also includes participating at social media platforms. Make sure your business has a presence on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter Pinterest and YouTube among others. By actively participating at these social platforms, you’ll be able to create social influence, thereby benefiting your SEO.
Do you have an online store? If yes, pay careful attention to its SEO aspect so that you can beat out the competition quickly and increase your sales. Also, please feel free to share your opinions.