How to Optimize Your Online Store
Optimizing your online store requires a well-designed SEO strategy, consistent effort, and regular monitoring to make sure everything you are doing is working as planned. The internet is so vast that you can’t expect to open an e-commerce store and have it rise to the top of Google rankings with buyers immediately flocking to your website. Google has 200 (give or take) metrics that it uses in its algorithm to rank websites, but you don’t need to focus on every one to optimize your online store.
Follow these 9 strategies to optimize your online store for organic search success:
Keywords are what your readers are putting into the Google search box. Every website needs to think about the best keywords that represent what consumers are looking for. For an e-commerce website, this is even more important because every product will need to have its own keyword research conducted to properly optimize the product page.
Keywords should be utilized in the product description, meta description, and tags for the product page. This provides the maximum SEO results for specific products that help the overall SEO optimization of your e-commerce store in 2019.
How to Find Keywords for Organic Traffic
Identifying keywords doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are a lot of free programs out there including Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest. When looking for keywords, think about what the customer will type into a search bar as they are shopping for a product. For example, if you are selling print on demand t-shirts, you’ll want to use a keyword that covers more than just t-shirts.
Describe the style or brand and something your buyer might be looking for such as men’s v-neck t-shirts. If you sell zombie themed, print on demand shirts, maybe include zombie as part of the keyword description.
When looking for keywords, you want there to be enough volume that suggests people are searching the term while also being less competitive with another store for search results. Keywords are usually more than one word and the best keywords for SEO are called long-tail keywords with three to five words in the phrase. These convert more often because they more clearly match what readers are searching for.
What a Meta Description Is
A meta description is a small snippet that describes a page’s content that is seen in organic search results under the page title. Try to limit these to 155 characters to ensure that Google picks up the entire snippet. Your SEO optimization greatly improves when you write clear meta descriptions that contain a keyword. The meta description is also called a meta tag.
What a Tag Is
A tag is a word or phrase that describes the website or webpage content. Essentially, tags are keywords you want to optimize for SEO organic search purposes. As described, the meta description (or meta tag) is the snippet that describes the page. You will also find alt-tag describes an image on your webpage, probably the product images.
As far as SEO optimization for your product or e-commerce store, alt tags can make a huge difference to improve your overall rank. Many people leave them blank even though this is part of web accessibility requirements. Describe the picture as accurately as possible in alt tags to get the most SEO optimization.
Other tags include basic page tags. Use more than one tag per image, page, product, or video to maximize your results. For example, if your product is a POD hoodie, you may want to include hoodies, men’s hoodies, women’s hoodies, children’s hoodies, lightweight hoodies, and so on as potential tags for the product.
More and more consumers in 2019 are purchasing products from e-commerce stores and more of them are doing it via mobile phones or tablets. This means e-commerce stores, print on demand shops, and online businesses need to have a website that is optimized for mobile devices. Mobile optimization refers to how your website is seen on a mobile device.
With every second that passes, e-commerce stores lose customers who bounce from the site and go elsewhere at a rate of 20% per elapsed second. In fact, Search Engine Land reports that 95% of all paid search ad clicks come from mobile devices where consumers don’t want to spend extra time to scroll and search. Mobile optimization speeds up page loads and makes the user experience with your online business easy and better.
While most website templates in 2019 are designed for a good mobile experience, it is important that you spend the time to look at your website on your phone. In order to grow your store, you need to understand what your customers see online. Product descriptions and images should be easily read with clear font and crisp high-quality photos.
Product Descriptions and Images
Product descriptions and images are the best way to help you build an e-commerce brand and tell the story of your products in a way that relates to your buyers. If you are a dropshipping or print on demand (POD) e-commerce store, you want to get rid of the standard descriptions that come from the product wholesaler. Imagine the 50 other e-commerce stores using the same description to generate sales.
Setting yourself up as unique is the best way to grow your store and descriptions give you that opportunity. Have fun with product descriptions to show your online store’s personality and brand.
Proper HTML Site Map
To be properly optimized, your online store must have a site map that is indexed and crawled by the search engine spiders. This is the technical aspect of SEO that involves your site structure and architecture, not the content or keywords. If Google can’t see your pages or has trouble moving through the site map because it isn’t flat, meaning people can’t easily get from landing page to product and are redirected to multiple places, your site won’t rank very well.
Double check for HTML errors, images that are too large, and broken links. Fixing these issues helps improve page speed, the customer experience, and helps Google see what you are doing thus improving SEO. The spiders going through your pages is how Google reads those keywords you spent all that time to research and build. Help Google optimize your store for you with fixes to the HTML site map.
Internal and External Link Building
One of the key metrics that the Google algorithm looks at is your link building, both inbound and outbound links. There are a few ways to look at link building, some are easier but don’t provide the same SEO optimization for online stores as others.
Consider internal links where you link your own content on your website. This might be a link from a blog product review to the actual product and vice versa. This is easy and helps Google see how your website all fits together but gives the least amount of “link love” since it is only the webmaster controlling his own content.
Outbound links are places you send readers to get more information from other authoritative sources. The best links have a .gov or .edu extension but other site links are great if they are large authority sites with high Domain Authority (DA) ratings. This shows Google that you aren’t making things up and use high-quality resources to create content.
An outbound link that comes from another website to yours is called a backlink. Backlinks are the best type of links to help you optimize your website and get a higher Domain Authority (DA) for your online store. When other websites link to your content, they are giving you the social proof that Google wants to deem your articles and content as authoritative. While these give you the most value, they are the hardest to get.
These links take work but are worth it. Reach out to influencers to rate your products or pitch a guest post topic to a site your consumers go to.
Unique Meta Descriptions
You already know that meta descriptions are critical to help optimize your online store but how do you create meta descriptions that lead to clicks to your website? It’s challenging to meet the 155 character limit and be intriguing at the same time. You’ll need to include your keywords as well as qualifiers. A qualifier basically tells the Google reader something more specific about your product.
Qualifiers could be words like cheapest, top-rated, luxury, or unique. The meta description could also note a money back guarantee or free trial to entice those on the Google search page to click through to see what the offer is.
Essentially, the meta description should address two fundamental questions: what are you selling and why should the person reading the meta description buy from you. This is the commercial to keep your audience from changing the channel (going to another website) so choose words carefully. Some great meta descriptions actually have a call to action such as, “Get your free trial.”
Give the consumer a reason to you go your online store and not your competitors. When you achieve a great meta description, you will see more reach become clicks to your site. From there, the rest is up to you to deliver the best products found online.
Open a Google merchant account to quickly get Google to recognize your online store. The Google Shopping search result is a bar at the top of any product search that lists various things for sale. If you type in trucker hats, you’ll see a carousel pop up at the top of the search results. Make sure you have high-quality images with great product descriptions utilizing the right keywords to get Google Shopping to help you get seen.
This is also helpful for local businesses with an online store presence. Google uses GPS to determine where buyers are and point them to the closest retailers. Ultimately Google Shopping as an SEO tool helps products rank faster and optimizes your store.
Build Blog Content
Blog content is a great way to optimize your online store with SEO keywords, relevant content, and link building for domain authority. Use blogs to create product reviews, how to guides, and offer insight to typical consumer issues or questions that help add value to your online store. New product reviews with user testimonials can grow your store.
Online stores with blog content generate 67% more leads and have 434% more indexed pages. It increases inbound link opportunities and sets your online store as a resource for information with products to purchase. Plus, you can share blogs across multiple social media channels such as Twitter and Instagram to help you optimize to the top spot on Google.
Set a content calendar with articles that revolve around the same keywords you researched for your tags and product descriptions. Blog topics should be focused on your niche and how what you sell makes life better for your customers. Articles and blog topics can be short posts but are better optimized when you have at least 1,500 words per post with three to four keywords highlighted within.
Social Media Integration
More research and data collection suggests that a strong social media presence for a website or e-commerce store increases the top search engine results (SEO) for an online store. In other words, the more followers, fans, and likes you have, the more likely you are to rank higher than your competition without that integration. As engagement grows, the Google algorithm connects the dots of relevance with potential readers.
Spend the time to share specials, promotions, testimonials, and blog content online to build a bigger following and better optimize your online store. Some social media channels hold more weight than others when it comes to ranking. Linkedin has the least linear relationship between rank and engagement while Facebook is the strongest. Pinterest is close to Facebook with Instagram and Twitter below.
Use social media to drive traffic to your site with enticing promotions, free offers, and great content. The more you can leverage your social media, the more likely you are to continue to build a stronger digital footprint.
Last Thoughts on Online Store SEO Optimization
Improve your ranking and product sales by using proven SEO methods to integrate keywords based on what consumers want, build a website that is fast and pleasing to the eye, and look for ways to promote your content. Even a business owner on a bootstrapping budget can do all the tips outlined in this article.
Take the time to tackle each one and you’ll start to see your ranking build. If you aren’t selling with more traffic coming to the website, that means you have an issue with your pricing or your products. Monitor your progress and create a checklist to help you keep track of successes. Build on wins and adjust what isn’t working.
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