Search engine optimization (SEO) is a critical issue for any online store. Whether you're new to eCommerce or have been selling your merchandise over the Internet for years, you simply can't afford to overlook the importance of SEO. Without strong search results, you'll miss out on countless opportunities to catch the attention of consumers who have never heard of or considered your brand but who are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
To help ensure this doesn't happen to you, consider implementing these five tips for elevating your online store's SEO.
Research and revisit keywords
Identify your best performing keywords and find ways to integrate them naturally throughout your site.
Keywords are still central to suceeding at SEO. SEO is, after all, the process of improving how high you rank in search results for specific search terms. The first big step in improving your SEO should be to focus on keywords. You need to do two things: identify the keywords that customers are using to get to your site and figure out which of those keywords is the most valuable to your business. To that end, research is key - in fact, Entrepreneur contributor Jayson Demers emphasized that an SEO campaign is doomed to fail if you skip this step. Only research - which should include Google Analytics, among other tools - will reveal what keywords your target audience searches for. With that information in hand, you can focus on incorporating these keywords more heavily throughout your online store's website, which will boost your results for those terms.
However, you can't become complacent. Frequently check to see what kind of impact, if any, your keyword strategy has had and whether adjustments are needed.
Moz has an excellent guide to keyword research that you can check out here.
Regularly check your site speed. It is an often overlooked component of SEO
Site load speed is an underrated but important factor for determining search page rankings. Obviously, a fast-loading online store is good for business, as many consumers will abandon a website if it takes too long for the site to load.
But as Demers pointed out, Google and other search engines take website loading speeds into account, making this an important SEO consideration. The writer noted that there are a number of tools available that allow you to identify images, videos or other elements that cause pages to load slower than others. You can then modify or remove the problematic components, making your online store faster and more search engine-friendly in the process.
Google provides a very easy to use tool that will help you check your site speed. You can find it here.
Create quality content regularly
Invest the time in creating original, high quality content and you will reap rewards.
According to Michigan Technological University, high-quality, relevant content is thesingle biggest driver of search engine rankings. Search engines pay close attention to the content that is on your website, and they will reward you with better results if that content is relevant and original. What does that mean? The content cannot be copied and pasted from other websites, and it should feature - but not be overwhelmed with - your keywords. You'll also need to create new content regularly to continue to improve your SEO.
Following these steps will not only improve search results in and of themselves, but it will also encourage more social sharing and linking from site visitors. This will also lead to better search rankings, while also generating a lot more interest and engagement from customers and site visitors.
Don't neglect your meta descriptions and titles. They convince searchers to clickthrough to your site.
In this context, metadata refers to information that describes the contents of your online store's various webpages. This includes two elements to SEO: your page title and meta description. These two pieces of information comprise each individual result you see on a page of search results. It's a great practice to review your existing metadescriptions for product and category pages to ensure they're optimized with a valuable keyword. It's also helpful to think of these two elements as mini search ads. They should be written in a way that will compel the searcher to click through to your page.
This article from HubSpot provides some excellent best practices for writing compelling titles and metadescriptions. You can read it here.
This article from Splash Copywriters also does a great job of explaining the value of meta descriptions, while providing concrete recommendations for writing effective ones. You can read this article about meta descriptions here.
Focus on internal links and navigation
Indentify your highest converting pages and find ways to link to them from other pages naturally.
This is another general website best practice that can do wonders for your online store's SEO. Demers explained that website structure will influence search results, as the more links a page receives, the higher it will show up on relevant searches. When internal links and navigation are designed correctly, you can boost the results for your most important pages. Done poorly, though, and less relevant pages can eat into your overall SEO performance.
With the right website design and links, you'll see better search results while also making the browsing - and shopping - experience smoother and easier for your site visitors.
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