Optimizing Your Store For the Search Engines
Right at this moment, there are people searching Google, Bing and other search engines for the EXACT products you’re selling in your store. Question is, are they going to find your site at the top of the search engines… or your competitors’ sites?
If you want to get your store to the top of the search engines, then you need to use SEO (search engine optimization).
This is a two-step process:
Step 1: Determine what your prospects are searching for.
Step 2: Optimize your store and blog for these keywords.
Let’s take a closer look at these two steps…
Step 1: Pick Your Keywords
What you’re going to want to do for this step is grab a good keyword tool and use it to figure out what words your prospects are typing into the search engines. All you have to do is enter a broad keyword (such as “gardening” or “women’s fashion”), and the tool will deliver hundred if not thousands of related keywords
You’re not going for the big words, the ones with the most traffic. That’s because there are big sites with deep pockets and teams of SEO specialists who darn near work around the clock to corner the market on words like “weight loss” or “women’s fashion.”
Instead, what you’re going to do is locate VERY specific keywords with small to moderate amounts of competition, and then optimize your pages around these keywords. Generally, these keywords will include:
· Very specific product names, such as: “Nike men’s Revolution 3 shoe.”
· Very specific produce reviews, such as: “Nike men’s Revolution 3 review.”
· General product searches, such as: “men’s running shoes.”
· Buying-related searches, such as: “buy men’s running shoes” or “men’s running shoes free shipping.”
· Information searches, such as: “top men’s running shoes.”
· Location-specific searches, such as “men’s running shoes Los Angeles.”
The more specific your keywords, the more targeted your audience. For example, if you’re selling Nike men’s Revolution 3 shoes, and you optimize for buying related searches (e.g., “buy Nike men’s Revolution 3 shoes”), you know you’re bringing some relatively warm traffic into your site.
So the point is, forget about the broad (vague) and highly competitive keywords. Instead, focus your efforts on highly targeted keywords.
Step 2: Optimize Your Pages
Now that you know what words you’re optimizing for, you’ll do this in two places:
1. On your product pages. You can put prospects right in front of the products they want to buy.
2. On your blog pages. Here you can post product reviews, product demos, and even “how to” information related to your niche, and then bring traffic in from the search engines by including your keywords in this content.
TIP: Don’t stuff your pages with keywords, as the search engines may rap you on the knuckles for it (meaning your page will appear low in the search engine rankings, or maybe not at all, if the search engines think you’re spamming). Instead, inject your keywords into your content at a rate of 1% to 2% (meaning your keywords will appear once or twice for every 100 words of content).
Here’s a checklist you can use to optimize your product pages. Include your keywords (such as the brand name and type of product) in:
· The page title. HINT: Use 70 characters or less here so that the search engines don’t truncate your title.
· The page URL.
· The H1 tag (the header on the page).
· The image alt text.
· Image captions.
· Image filenames.
· Navigation links or other internal links.
· Within your product description itself.
· Meta description tags, which is the content appearing under your page title in organic search results.
NOTE: Not all search engines use these tags, but it doesn’t hurt to include them. Keep the meta description length to 150 characters or less so that search engines don’t truncate it.
Then walk through these other points on the checklist to ensure your product pages (and blog pages) are optimized for the search engines:
· Keep your focus on your human visitors, not the search engine bots. Write for humans first, and bots second (as long as writing for the bots doesn’t diminish the experience for the human visitors).
· Make sure you’re using a mobile-friendly theme/design.
· Be sure your site loads fast.
· Create content-rich pages (especially with blog posts, where you have more leeway to expand).
· Include synonyms and words related to your keywords. For example, if your keyword includes the word “housebreaking,” you might also use words such as “house training,” “potty training,” and “
· Set up related social media pages and link back to your store.
· Install social media
· Set up review pages on sites like Yelp and Epinions, and link back to your store.
· Create an XML sitemap.
· Use canonical tags if you have duplicate content (such as similar product descriptions), or avoid the issue altogether by changing the descriptions.
· Create original content. Don’t use product descriptions from dropshippers. (Not only does original content help you with SEO, it also helps with conversions and sales.)
· Use redirects for pages that no longer exist.
· Check your site regularly for errors, such as broken links or scripts that don’t work.
· Offer videos, interactive features and other “rich snippets.” These snippets may appear in the search engines, which will have your page standing out from among the text-only pages.
SEO is your key to ranking well in the search engines, and it doesn’t take too much extra time to include keywords in your product pages. As always, however, you may decide to outsource this task to someone else.
For more information about tools to help you optimize your pages for the search engines, be sure to check out the bonus resource document included with this guide.