Blogs by author "oicadmin"
Whether you're unveiling a new ecommerce website or have been trying your hand at ecommerce SEO for some time, a thorough audit can reveal help get you on the right track to success.
Here at ClickCentric SEO, we conduct ecommerce SEO audits on the reg. Whether for new prospects or existing clients, providing SEO audits is an integral aspect to the service programs that we offer.
In this article, I will share three essential resources that we use to conduct ecommerce SEO audits. These resources are available to anyone and should be well-respect assets in your SEO arsenal.
1. Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Ttools is one of the best resources for a number of SEO-related insights. Below are a few key places to look when conducting a SEO audit for your ecommerce site.
Optimization -> HTML Improvements
Ecommerce sites are often common culprits of duplicate content. Under the HTML Improvements section, check for duplicate and/or missing Page Title and Meta description tags.
Health -> Crawl Errors
Page errors can hinder the crawling and indexing process of your ecommerce site. Take a look at the Crawl Errors section to pinpoint any ailments that might be diminishing the SEO-value and crawl-ability of your pages.
Traffic -> Search Queries
Take a look at the types of queries (keyword phrases) that are generating organic search traffic to your website. Keep in mind that this data is a bit loose and not the most accurate (queries account for phrase matches - which are difficult to define.) Nonetheless, you'll be able to understand which keywords your site is most relevant about.
Traffic -> Links to Your Site
Get an idea of who is linking to your ecommerce site. Backlinks are huge factor for SEO, so the more quality links you can earn, the better SEO potential your ecommerce site will have.
Optimization -> Sitemaps
Under the Sitemaps section, check to see if any XML sitemaps have been submitted. If not, this is a good opportunity to take advantage of. An XML sitemap submission tells Google of the pages on your ecommerce site that are ready to be crawled and indexed. The submission, which is simply a notification to Google, accelerates the process.
2. W3C Markup Validation Service
Ecommerce sites are often very deep domains with hundreds and thousands of pages. This makes it difficult to ensure that no code errors and warnings are present on the website.
The Crawl Errors section of Google Webmaster Tools is sometimes not enough. This when the help of W3C Markup Validation Service can help you pinpoint HTML code errors and warnings present on your ecommerce site.
After you submit your domain at validator.w3.org, the service will tell exactly which lines of code are problematic to your site's health. You can then work with your webmaster see that these errors and warnings get fixed.
3. Pingdom for Site Speed Testing
Parallel to minimizing HTML code errors is ensuring the load speed of your ecommerce website is fast and fluid. A slow loading website can hinder both SEO and user engagement.
Test the speed of your ecommerce site using a free tool like tools.Pingdom.com. If your site takes longer than one second to load, then it probably can be optimized.
There can be a number of reasons for a slow loading website. Often times it's the HTML coding structure of the site that correlates to load speed. So if your using an ancient CMS software platform to run your ecommerce site, then chances are it's inhibiting SEO performance and usability.
Diagnosing a slow ecommerce site is best when done with tech-savvy individual who can troubleshoot why things are slow going. The remedy can range from a simple website optimization tune-up or complete overhaul onto a new CMS platform.
Bonus: Tools for Backlink Portfolio Audits
Assessing a site's backlink portfolio takes ecommerce SEO auditing one step further. The tools needed to conduct a backlink scan of a website (as well as provide data about the sources' anchor text, Google PageRank, etc.) typically require payment to use.
A backlink portfolio audit is essential if your ecommerce site has been penalized by Google Penguin (which targets over-optimized backlinks with too much exact keyword match anchor text.) Two tools that I personally favor are:
- Open Site Explorer - Created by SEOmoz, Open Site Explorer is web-based tool that offers a wealth of data regarding a website's backlink portfolio. Test it out for free by visiting OpenSiteExplorer.org.
- SEO Spyglass - SEO Spyglass is an advanced software platform that's apart of the SEO Powersuite by Link Assistant. For search marketers, this tool is ideal for client management and auditing.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of digital marketing and branding, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media and content marketing. Tyler spearheads most of the ecommerce SEO audits at Click Centric SEO. You can k0eep in touch with him by following Tyler on Twitter.
Ecommerce website owners and marketers are constantly look for new ways to increase product sales and achieve sustainability in their online business. With Google Search continuously evolving, ecommerce marketers must adapt and re-vamp their strategies from time to time.
To realize success as well as support other search marketing strategies like SEO and PPC advertising, ecommerce marketers may find Google Shopping to be a powerful avenue to promote products. Google's Shopping results appear for almost any product-related keyword search. This offers this quite the marketing opportunity for ecommerce stores.
The Down-Low on Google Shopping
Do a Google search for any type of product, whether it's a general category (e.g. Men's running shoes) or specific brand, make, or model (e.g. Saucony ProGrid Guide 6).
The Google Shopping listings take a up a significant amount of real estate in the search results. This makes it a popular avenue for Google users who want to browse products they're interested in buying.
The Google Shopping platform helps direct customers to online stores by inviting the ecommerce owners to create ads for their products. Google shows customers the name of the store, picture of the product, and the price.
Customers interested in the products click through the link that opens the store's website to purchase the items. So although Google takes a cut on the sale, the process is rather seamless and easy to implement for ecommerce marketers.
Making the Most of Google Shopping for Ecommerce Marketing
If you're interested in Google Shopping for ecommerce marketing (or want to improve your existing campaign,) below are some tips to help you make the most of this great platform.
Optimize Product Data Feed
A business owner can fine-tune a Google Shopping campaign directly on the platform. Sort out the product database according to the relevant categories or departments. Find the most-searched and less competitive version of each of the categories using keyword tool and replace all instances of the original category name to further boost the effectiveness of the strategy.
For instance, improve the data feed by tagging high-margin items with labels and then bid more aggressively in AdWords. Other than optimizing page titles, descriptions, categories and product images, a business owner can include shipping costs and quality product images. Google is likely to identify a website's worth through its rich-content.
Frequently Update, Analyze and Test Product Feed
Improve Google Shopping search marketing campaigns by providing accurate and updated information. Update the data feed each time there is a change. Other than updating, the feed should be error free. Test data feeds to make it easier to remedy any errors after submission. Use the help center for troubleshooting information. Data feed errors and data quality errors can be identified and fixed before submitting the feed for indexing.
Add an Identifier for Tracking Purposes
Track the traffic reliably with Google Analytics to help in optimizing search marketing strategies. To help differentiate traffic from Google Shopping from other referring URLs and search engines, an ecommerce site owner can add an identifier to the product URLs.
Set up the ecommerce site for the Google Merchant feed to include UTM tags that instruct how to report data. The right string can separate Google Shopping results from Google organic results. Tracking results can provide information that can help in improving a marketing strategy.
Benefits to an Ecommerce Search Marketing Strategy
One of the benefits of listing products on Google Shopping is that Google is the top search engine used by millions of people daily. Opting for the service can create a wider audience reach and consistent traffic. The site can get more traffic because active buyers can search and find a store's items via the Google search engine.
Replacing free shopping placements with paid ads has lowered the number of retailers thus minimizing the competition. Other than being a comparison shopping engine, it also acts as paid search marketing strategy. A store that lists on the platform pays for results. This means a business owner is charged only when someone clicks on the ad and lands on the website.
There's no two ways about it: SEO for ecommerce sites is a challenge.
With (literally) thousands of pages to tend to, it takes a lot of resources to check off all the on-page SEO boxes that Google looks for.
Fortunately, you can get more traffic to your product and category pages by implementing these simple on-page SEO "hacks" courtesy of Backlinko.
While all of these SEO tips apply to ecommerce sites, here are the four strategies that can get you the most traffic in the shortest period of time:
1. Add modifiers to title tags: A common mistake that I see ecommerce sites make is to use short title tags. There's a large percentage of searchers who use long tail keywords, like "best blue widget", "cheap blue widgets", or "brand blue widgets". By adding these modifiers before and after your target keywords you can potentially wrangle in more search traffic.
2. Speed up your page loading speed: A study by Amazon found that they lost 1% in sales for every 100 miliseconds of site speed loading time. If you run an ecommerce site you literally can't afford to have a slow website. One of the fastest ways to boost site speed loading time is to switch over to a better hosting plan. It's usually more expensive, but the ROI is typically positive over the long-term.
3. Post long content: Google loves giving their users pages with lots and lots of content. Unfortunately, most product pages are fairly thin in the content department (mostly due to the sheer number of pages ecommerce sites tend to have). One way to get around this is to identify your top 5-10 pages that you'd like to get more traffic to. Then add more details and information about the product on those pages.
4. Lower your bounce rate: A bounce doesn't just represent a lost sale: it may also mean decreased visibility in Google search. One site way to reduce your bounce rate is to add multiple "related products" sliders. This is a technique Zappos employs on their product pages:
This can also boost page views and time on site: two important user-interaction signals for SEO. Stay tuned for more ecommerce SEO best practices.
When it comes to SEO, particularly SEO for ecommerce sites, sitemaps are one of the most important elements of a website.
The sitemap is considered by many search marketing experts the second most important page of a website (next to the homepage as number one.) If you think of your website as a book, the sitemap serves as main reference point, or index.
In its very essence, a sitemap contains links to all primary pages of a website. Although not commonly used by typical users for navigation, the sitemap serve as a roadmap for search engine spiders, giving direction to all of the rich, rank-ready content that needs to be crawled and indexed.
As a result, sitemaps are absolutely essential for SEO (specifically "on-page SEO"). Most websites only need one sitemap to fit the bill; however, larger ecommerce sites can be an exception.
Because ecommerce sites are deep and often contain thousands of pages, one sitemap can pose some limitations for SEO. In short, one sitemap with thousands of links is a bit much. That is, the value of each link is significantly reduced when spread amongst thousands of counterparts.
Using Segmented Sitemaps for Deep Ecommerce Sites
There are no rules as to how many sitemaps you can have. Deep ecommerce sites with thousands of pages should take full advantage of segmented sitemaps. These are more focal sitemaps that are broken-down based on specific product categories, brands, and other characteristics that make logical sense.
For example, an online electronics store that specializes in hi-def TV's may want to create dedicated sitemaps for each brand it offers. This retailer could create segmented sitemaps for Samsung TV's, Sony TV's, Toshiba TV's, and so on.
Perhaps the ecommerce retailer only offers a few select television products per brand, in addition to many other electronics. In this case, they might simply have one sitemap for TV's, and additional sitemaps dedicated to other product categories, such as PC's, MP3 players, smartphones, etc.
The main idea is be logical about the segmentation process with respect to your ecommerce SEO strategy. If "Samsung TVs" is the keyword you want to rank for (and you have a ton of Samsung televisions in-stock,) then it would make logical sense to build a dedicated sitemap for this brand.
Leveraging XML Sitemaps SEO Empowerment
XML sitemaps are a little bit different. Unlike "HTML sitemaps" (which are visible to website users,) XML sitemaps are a files that are uploaded to your website, but invisible to the common visitor.
These XML files also contain links to your primary pages (and can also be segmented,) however they carry a different purpose for SEO. XML sitemaps are submitted to Google (via your Google Webmaster Tools account) to notify Google spiders of all the pages that you want crawled and indexed.
Because some pages of your site may not be easily discoverable by Google's normal crawling process, regular XML sitemap submissions are good way to ensure that Google is well-aware of what needs to be crawled and indexed. This is particularly important when you add new pages to your website.
To learn more about sitemaps and Google's guidelines on
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of Internet marketing, including organic SEO, PPC advertising, social media, and content marketing. Keep in touch with Tyler by following him on Twitter or encircling him Google+.
Ecommerce sites are often massive and complex domains containing hundreds and thousands of pages. It's thus important that someone on your SEO or Internet marketing team understands the intricacies of technical SEO for ecommerce sites.
Although technical SEO focuses on the nuts and bolts of a website (typically the elements that are invisible to users), these technical elements can significantly impact a site's performance in countless ways.
In essence, technical SEO addresses the fluidity of crawling and indexing, the quality of user experience (or usability), and the overall SEO-friendliness of the website.
If you're interested in learning more about various aspects of technical SEO, then read on, my friend. Below I educate you on how technical SEO influences ecommerce site performance and SEO potential.
Find & Fix HTML Errors
There are a couple places to pinpoint HTML coding errors on a website. The first is Google Webmaster Tools, where you can look at the "error reports" feature. The second is W3C Markup Validation Service, a free tool that scans and lists all of the HTML errors and warnings that are present on a site.
Google Webmaster Tools only shows errors that are picked-up by Google bots, so this data might pose some limitations. So in addition to the W3C tool, you can also check Yahoo and Bing webmaster tools to pinpoint all potential errors.
The most critical issues that can impact SEO performance are crawl errors, like DNS lookup errors and 404 pages. These can be common on ecommerce sites, so take the time to address any significant HTML errors that arise.
There are two main types of sitemaps: HTML sitemaps and XML sitemaps. And using each type of sitemap correctly is critical for SEO success.
The HTML sitemap is a visible "index" on the website that contains links to almost every page of the site. I say "almost" because in some cases of websites with thousands of pages, many pages are left out. A big mistake I see with large ecommerce sites of the like is that they fail to include key product pages on the HTML sitemap.
Because product pages are the bread and butter to ecommerce SEO, it's important to include these pages on the sitemap (or at least those that you're trying to rank in search.) For very robust sites that face this issue, often times segmented sitemaps are a sound solution.
Additionally, you'll want to link the sitemap on all pages, such as in a site-wide header or footer. The HTML sitemap is your search engine spider food for SEO. Google spiders eat up sitemaps, which aids more efficient crawling, indexing, and ranking of your pages.
The XML sitemap, which is submitted to Google Webmaster Tools, is a list of all the pages on a website that instructs search engine spiders precisely what to index. In short, the XML sitemap helps search engines find all of the pages of a site. XML sitemaps are also very important in monitoring a website's index-levels, or to ensure key pages are being crawled and indexed.
When new pages are added to an ecommerce site, they should also be added to both the HTML and XML sitemap. Additionally, the updated XML sitemap should be re-submitted in Google Webmaster Tools to notify search engines to crawl and index these pages.
Pinpoint Duplicate Title Tags and Meta Descriptions
The uniqueness of each page's title tag and meta description is very important for ecommerce SEO. You can detect duplicate title tags and meta descriptions using Google Webmaster Tools or other crawling tools, such as SEO Powersuite's Website Auditor Tool.
Aside from being unique, title tags and meta descriptions should:
- be compelling, relevant, and incentivizing
- contain primary keyword targets
- be no longer than 70 characters for titles and about 155 characters for meta descriptions (to ensure all appear in the search results without being cut-off)
Utilization of Canonical Tags
In some cases with large ecommerce sites, the same content is on more than one page (or even worse, the same content is duplicated across multiple pages.) SEO-unfriendly scenarios like these call for canonical tags.
A canonical tag tells search engines which page is the preferred URL (or "canonical URL.") This will ensure the correct page is indexed and ranked according to your ecommerce SEO strategy.
For example, if the "money page" (as we like to call it) is www.ClothingStoreBrand.com/outdoor/north-face-jackets, but the same content is present on other URLs (such as www.ClothingStoreBrand.com/mens/north-face-jackets and www.ClothingStoreBrand.com/north-face/coats-jackets), then the rel=canonical tag needs to be applied.
Google itself has stated that it cannot guarantee to follow the canonical URL, so it's wise to completely eliminate any duplicate content found on the website.
Optimize Page URLs
The URLs of your pages should be short. (Shoot for less than 115 characters if possible). URLs should also be static in that there should only be one static URL for each page of the website.
Ecommerce sites are often built on a CMS (content management system) which can adversely impact the best practices of URL naming. For instance, some CMS platforms automatically generate URLs with excessive parameters, such as:
These cumbersome URL parameters make it difficult for search engine spiders to crawl and index the URL's content and, in some cases, can result in problems with duplicate content.
Similar issues can stem from ecommerce sites that assign session IDs. When users visit a website they are assigned a unique session ID (which is then included in the URL.)
For ecommerce SEO best practices, URLs should be keyword relevant and readable. The goal is to include the primary keyword targets, while ensuring URLs are short and unique from one another. Here's an example of a SEO-friendly URL naming convention:
Or to offer a real world example:
Ensure Proper Indexing
Indexing simply refers to URLs or webpages that have been successfully recognized (crawled) and stored (indexed) by search engines. It's important that all optimized pages are indexed in order for them to appear in the search results.
To ensure key pages have been indexed, it's useful to refer to Google Webmaster Tools where you can view the URLs that have been crawled. Uploading an XML sitemap helps to carry out proper indexing of the ecommerce site.
Another option, although a bit less efficient for technical SEO purposes, is to perform a Google search as follows:
Be sure to have no space between "site:" and the domain. The number of pages that are shown in the results reflects the URLs that Google has crawled and indexed. If there's a big discrepancy between the number of indexed pages and what's included on the sitemap, then further investigation is needed.
Implement or Correct Mishandled Redirects
Particularly for online stores, it's important to check existing redirects as they may be using 302 redirects (which are temporary) instead of 301 redirects (which are permanent.) Unlike 301 permanent redirects, 302 redirects do not pass link value for SEO.
If the site has an abundance of redirects, the technical SEO team should address any mishandled redirects as soon as possible. It's important to avoid removing redirects, as there may be backlinks pointing to a page (which may be providing SEO value.)
There are a few special tools that you can use to determine the nature and type of redirects being used. Here at Click Centric SEO, we use Website Auditor, one of the four awesome programs in Link Assistant's SEO Powersuite.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic SEO for ecommerce sites, as well as PPC advertising, content marketing, and social media marketing.
Relentless use of keyword optimized anchor text no longer works for SEO and link building. Many SEO companies have gotten their clients in trouble because of this.
After Google's major algorithm update in late 2012 (targeting websites with "over-optimized" backlinks [or too keyword rich of anchor text,]) many website have plummeted in the search results
Now more than ever, it's critical to create a balanced link building strategy for your SEO efforts. This more natural approach will ultimately lead to more sustainable keyword rankings.
But the underlying question is: what exactly makes a balanced SEO link building strategy?
In essence, rather than building links with exact keyword match anchor text, you'll need to take a more creative and natural approach.
Think about what makes a completely organic backlink portfolio. There are many different types of links, such as:
- blog comment links
- directory listing links
- in-copy links from articles and blog posts
- guest blogger (or "about the author") links at the end of articles/blog posts
- social profile links
- footer links
- blogroll links
- DoFollow and NoFollow links
5 Different Forms of Anchor Text
In addition to the different types of links, there are also various forms of anchor text.
Below we've grouped the various types of anchor text into five categories (using Click Centric SEO as the example:)
- Brand Name Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here the anchor text used is the name of the brand or business. You'll want to use brand name links about 30% of the time when building links.
- Generic Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here the anchor text has no real SEO focus, but it's natural as can be. Focus on using generic links about 10% of the time.
- Naked Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by visiting www.ClickCentricSEO.com." Naked links are simply the URL of the domain or specific page being linked to. Use naked links about 10% of the time.
- Optimized Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here we're using exact phrase match of the keyword in the anchor text. This is still important for SEO, but only use these links about 25% of the time.
- Semi-Optimized Links: "If you're looking for trusted ecommerce SEO services from a professional company, learn more about Click Centric SEO by clicking here." Here you can get creative. Use can use longer forms of anchor text that include some keyword targets, or just one word of your full keyword target (such as "SEO" or "ecommerce"). Semi-optimized links should be used about 25% of the time.
Keep mind that the percent distribution I suggest above is only a guideline. Google is continuing to evolve, and one element that's growing in importance is the contextual relevancy of the content that surrounds links (also referred to as "co-occurrence.")
That is, if a in-copy brand name link is surrounded with specific keywords, Google will recognize the surrounding text and find the link relevant to those specific keywords. It's not easy to explain in text, so I suggest checking out this video all about from Rand Fishkin of Moz.
If you do have any questions, or would like me to run a scan of your site's backlink portfolio, hit us up.
About the Author:
Tyler Tafelsky is the lead SEO analyst at Click Centric SEO. Tyler is well-versed in multiple facets of organic search marketing, particularly link building and content marketing strategy.
SEO for ecommerce sites is often insanely competitive. With authority domains like Amazon and eBay owning the top spots in Google for any keyword that's product related, outranking them can seem unrealistic.
Well muster-up some courage and confidence, my friend. Because outranking these intimidating authority figures can be done using the best practices of ecommerce SEO.
Below I outline a winning process to help formulate your ecommerce SEO strategy. These best practices will guide your SEO efforts holistically, demanding the support of you entire ecommerce marketing team.
So roll-up your sleeves and open your mind. It's time you learn the best practices of ecommerce SEO for better rankings and more conversions.
Obsess About Usability
The manner in which users interact with your ecommerce site is paramount. Sure, this might not be focal to ecommerce SEO, but what good is your search traffic if visitors aren't taking the steps to convert?
Usability flows with conversion rate optimization (CRO), which should also run parallel to your ecommerce SEO efforts. Some best practices to consider for usability include:
- Designing and testing call-to-action and sign-up buttons
- Ensuring the check-out process is fluid (e.g. allowing customers to buy without needing to register)
- Utilizing breadcrumb navigation links, which not only aids usability, but also SEO
- Offering a secure and easy-to-manage shopping cart
- Making sure your site's search functionality is easy and intuitive
Usability is paramount to your ecommerce store's success. These elements should be at the forefront of your concerns to ensure your site's traffic potential is maximized.
Write Your Own Awesome Page Copy
Although it may be legal and convenient, never use manufacturer-generated content for product descriptions or other aspects of your page copy. This will lead to duplicate content and diminish the SEO value of your pages.
Whether you recruit someone creative on your team, or hire a quality SEO copywriter, unique and engaging copy is more important than many think. Shoppers do actually read copy on your site, especially the product descriptions. When page copy speaks truly about a product while resonating with your brand, you can really grab their attention.
Respect Technical SEO
The techical SEO aspects of your ecommerce site are critical. Technical SEO focuses on elements like:
- Finding and fixing HTML coding errors
- Creating sitemaps and optimizing internal linking
- Pinpointing duplicate content, specifically page title tags and meta descriptions
- Determining where to utilize canonical tags
- Optimizing URLs that are non-SEO-friendly
- Ensuring proper crawling and indexing of the ecommerce site
- Implementing redirects and correcting those that have been mishandled
Respecting technical SEO demands the skills and expertise of a coding guru (or ideally, a "technical SEO expert"). Some SEO specialists center their practice on the strategic and creative side of SEO, whereas others have knack for analytical and technical aspects of ecommerce SEO.
Produce Great Content
Whether product profile videos, educational articles and blog posts, producing great content extends beyond the webpages of your ecommerce site. To maximize ecommerce SEO value in today's social age, you need a hub to publish interesting content, such as a blog or media center page.
Producing and sharing great content plays a two-fold role in your SEO mission:
- By keeping your ecommerce site fresh with newly published content on a consistent basis, search engine spiders are apt to crawl and index your site more frequently. Additionally, you create content that's keyword relevant (and links to your optimized inside pages) which can bolster your ecommerce SEO efforts.
- By sharing, promoting, and marketing your content on social media platforms, you site adds a layer of social credibility and authority (via mechanisms like social signals and the volume of social followers). These new social mechanisms have been said to help with SEO and search rankings.
Diversify Your Backlink Portfolio
There's no questions that building links for SEO still works. It's just a matter of how and where you building links. I recently wrote an article called Tips to Create a Balanced SEO Link Building Strategy, and I highly recommend reading it if you need a primer on link building.
For ecommerce sites, link building is entire SEO strategy in itself. Not only do you want to balance the types of links (as well as the anchor text of those links), but you want to link to a variety of your pages (and not just your homepage). For some, this might be a no-brainer, but it's not uncommon to see SEO service providers pointing every backlink to the homepage.
Remember, product pages are your bread and butter. Once you've optimized a product page with alluring (and keyword-friendly) copy and media, sending some backlinks to that page can truly empower its rankings. Based on my experience, product pages can withstand a greater volume of backlinks with exact keyword match anchor text. Of course too much exact keyword match anchor text much can be risky, but I think the true ratio and balance of anchor text (before a red flag is raised to Google about your site being over-optimized) stems primarily from the domain.
Use a wide range of backlink sources to diversify your site's portfolio. Directories are a good place to start, in addition to reaching out and gathering prospects suitable for guest blog posts on product reviews. Offering contests and other forms of link bait is equally, if not more effective. And of course, start getting social!
Be an Educator & a Social Butterfly
Late last year I wrote a post at CPCStrategy.com about how socializing on Google+ can influence your SEO efforts. In the article I describe how the more people that encircle your brand's page on Google+, the more control you'll have over their search results. The concept is based on Google's "Search, plus Your World" which integrates a social element to search.
Although this concept is still emerging and has yet to fully bloom, it should not ignored in your ecommerce SEO strategy. There's also the element of "social signals," which are the Facebook "Likes," Google "+1's," "Pins," "Tweets," and other social attributes that can be given to webpage. Based on several studies on this topic, a high volume of social signals correlates to better search engine rankings. I like to think of it as Google's way of attributing a legitimate, human-based ranking factor to its algorithm.
But the big question is: how do you gain a lot of social signals? Like I mention above, you need to produce great content that truly resonates with your target audience. For ecommerce sites, being an educator is a winning strategy. Some of the most successful and highly ranked ecommerce sites will create videos that educate shoppers about a product, or set of products. Not only does this practice help generate social signals, but the videos themselves can rank atop the search results.
Imagine this: what's a high margin product that you want to sell a lot of? Start be optimizing the product's page with unique content and optimized images. Next, produce a video, image gallery, blog post (or all three) about that product. Share (or upload) the latter content on YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and any other social media sites your brand is active on. And lastly, build a few links to that product page.
Using these ecommerce SEO best practices is a winning strategy, so long as you're mindful during each step of the process. All the while, always focus on improving the usability and technical aspects of your website. In a matter of time, your ecommerce site can evolve into a true online authority figure
About the Author
Tyler Tafelsky offers over five years of experience as an organic SEO specialist. Tyler is highly-engaged in social media, link building, and content strategy. You can learn more by connecting with Tyler on Google+, or following Tyler on Twitter.
Are you using modified broad match keyword bidding in your Google PPC advertising campaigns?
Do you even know what modified broad match means?
If "no" is your answer to any of these questions, then get ready to learn this simple yet game-changing keyword bidding technique.
What's Modified Broad Match & Why Use It?
Never in my experience of being introduced to an existing PPC account that needs optimizing have I seen modified broad match keyword bidding in action. For this reason alone, I am compelled to write about it in this here blog post.
Modified broad match is the middle ground between using exact keyword match and broad match.
Exact phrase match can be too restrictive, especially given that a vast number of search engine users are typing highly-descriptive, long-tail keyword queries.
Broad match is typically far too broad and can result in unwanted impressions and clicks. For instance, Google might trigger your PPC ad targeting red wagon for keyword query like 2011 burgundy subaru wagon for sale.
So what is modified broad match bidding?
When implementing your keyword bids, you put a "+" symbol directly in front of the words that must be used in a search query to trigger your ad. Take a look at the image.
I bid on the keyword +acu +jacket (a particular type of camouflage military jacket for U.S. Army personnel) using modified broad match. My ad will trigger if someone searches army acu jacket or acu jacket for sale.
Unlike using exact match [acu jacket] which will only trigger my ad when people search acu jacket and only that two word phrase, modified broad match ensures that I capture related long-tail search queries.
However, it's good to have a blend of exact and modified broad match. This will help you capture desired ad exposure while promoting optimal quality scores.
Be Sure to Do Some Negative Keyword Research
Even with modified broad match keyword bidding, you're bound to get some unwanted expsoure. Using the example from above, my ad will appear for keywords like acu jacket regulations or where to sell my acu jacket. For this reason, I will want to conduct some negative keyword research, and add these unwanted variations in the negative keyword list.
There are couple places you can find negative keywords. I describe this process in this insightful article.
Start experimenting with modified broad match with your PPC campaigns. It's a pretty cool bidding strategy that can really help you make the most of your paid search marketing efforts. If you have any questions, let me know in the comments section below, or shoot me an email at tyler(at)clickcentricseo.com.
This blog post was written by Tyler Tafelsky, lead ecommerce SEO and PPC specialist here at Click Centric SEO and founder of Yisoo, a training platform for individuals looking to learn Google Ads. Tyler spearheads PPC advertising campaigns for a number of ecommerce brands and offers over five years of experience in search marketing. To keep in touch, connect with Tyler on Google+.
Having a successful website that provides a great amount of value isn't as hard as many people think. There are plenty of ways to attract new audiences and hold their attention; it just takes some time and effort. Another big part of having a site that is successful is making sure it is optimized as best as it can be for search engines. Now SEO isn't the easiest thing to do, but once you are ranked high in SERPs, you will see much more traffic and it will have been all worth it. So to help you out, we are going to take a look at 7 tips that will not only increase the overall value of your site, but also help you get ranked higher.
Use a Great Navigation Structure
The spiders that search engines sent to crawl through our sites rely on our overallnavigation to be able to index everything properly, so when there isn't a good navigation system put in place, we risk our pages getting ranked incorrectly.
Unfortunately, there are millions of sites out there that have pages that aren't connected to their site or may have accidentally placed a broken link, making it impossible for spiders to crawl and index them. We can ensure this doesn't happen to us by creating a great navigation structure and also including a site map. Once your navigation is complete, you should run an audit on your site to ensure that spiders are able to easily access all of your content.
Navigation also helps people find the content they are looking for. It helps to decrease your bounce rates, increase conversion rates, and gives them a much better experience in the end.
Ensure Fast Loading Times
Having a fast website is very important due to the fact that so many people use their phones and other devices to load up websites. This means that their internet connection could be running much slower than the average person on a regular computer. If they start to see that the site is taking way too long to load, you can expect them to just leave and find another site that is more reliable. Search engines are starting to take this seriously as well and have implemented load times in their algorithms, so if your site is slow, you are going to get punished for it. As much as possible, stay away from cheap web hosts and optimize your images to help make your site load faster.
Add Social Media Aspects to Your Site
Don't forget to add social media into your site. You can have your own social media profiles, add social media widgets to your content, or anything else you may want. It's important to have these types of things on your site because social media is such a big aspect of our everyday lives, that people now expect to be able to like and share content directly from your site. The shares and likes that you get are all counted by search engines, so the more interactions you get, the better you will be ranked.
Create a Community
Let people talk to each other! It doesn't matter what type of site you have, you should allow people to comment on your content, have a forum, or allow reviews on products & services. By having these things, you are letting people create their own personal connections to the site, which will help you have steady traffic and more conversions. If people are able to read product reviews from other customers they will see that they have had a good experience, trust your website much more and buy your stuff. If you are just trying to have people subscribe to a blog, allowing people to express themselves will create a much more welcoming atmosphere and will convince them to sign up. Search engines will also look highly on sites that allow these types of interactions because the site is always being updated, and they provide more value and a better experience.
Use Plenty of Internal Links to Connect Relevant Content
A great way to keep people on your site and engaged with your content is if you use internal links to help them find other pieces of content they would be interested in. If they know that your site has more content available that they like, then they are more likely to be converted once they gain more trust in your site. If you use relevant anchor texts, implementing an internal link strategy can be quite easy and will help with your bounce rates, overall navigation, and conversion rates.
Implement More Multimedia
Using videos, images, and audio in our sites is a must because of how popular they have become over the last decade. People would much rather interact with a website full of multimedia than just sit there and read an endless amount of text, so give them what they want. Search engines also understand how important multimedia is to a website, so they have started to index them and rank them very high based on their success. So, if you can come up with a great video, you can expect some good results.
Use Call to Action Buttons and Other Techniques to Increase Your Conversion Rates
It's important to always have your ultimate goal in mind when changing your site around. If you have an online business, then you are probably looking for more sales, while a blog would be looking to have people subscribe. Either way, both need to have strategies implemented to help new visitors become converted. You can use call to action buttons, catch people's attention by using contrast effects, or any other technique you feel would work best for your site.
The important part is that you use these techniques to make your site more appealing to your viewers, which will keep them on the site much longer. Since they are interacting more with your site once they start to be converted, you can expect that search engines will start to increase your authority.
There's no doubt that the SEO playing field is drastically evolving. This stems into many facets of SEO, spanning from local SEO to ecommerce SEO.
As a result, here at Click Centric SEO we are mindful of these changes, and we set out to ensure our ecommerce SEO services adapt to the changing standards of organic search.
So how exactly do we redefine our ecommerce SEO services?
In short, our ecommerce SEO programs run parallel to what Google wants in quality, high ranking websites. That is natural authority that derives from the following elements:
- a quality ecommerce site that offers valuable content, intuitive structure, and rich user engagement.
- a socially active brand that is present on primary social media networks like Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
- a natural backlink portfolio composed of diverse and relevant links from various sources.
While the first element focuses on on-page SEO, web design and development, the latter two elements are primarily off-page focused. And that balance of 1/3 on-page, 2/3 off-page is quite similar to how Google and other search engines value websites and their rankings.
On-Page Ecommerce SEO Services: Laying the Foundation
More than 'keyword optimizing' the content of a website, thorough on-page SEO for ecommerce sites must focus on offering a rich user experience. This includes:
- presenting a clean, attractive, and well-branded design.
- providing an intuitive and easy-to-use navigation.
- showcasing rich content like hi-res product images and videos.
- scribing unique and awesome page copy that's both keyword relevant and resonates the brand's tone.
In essence, the objective behind the on-page element of an ecommerce SEO campaign is what gives users what they want. So beyond SEO, much of the on-page element centers on CRO (or "Conversion Rate Optimization.") This entails ongoing testing and optimization of the latter components that make up on-page SEO for ecommerce sites.
Off-Page Ecommerce SEO Services: Getting Social
Social media is an up-and-coming element that's growing in importance for SEO. This is particularly the case for ecommerce SEO, because online stores must focus their efforts on branding and establishing a good reputation on the web.
A strong and authoritative reputation is often earned via social media, and such online recognition and social credibility can transcribe to greater performance in Google search. More shares on Facebook, re-tweets on Twitter, pins on Pinterest, and +1's on Google+ - all of these social signals empower a brand's SEO potential.
So when it comes to offering ecommerce SEO services, getting social is a must. Here at Click Centric SEO, we go through a basic checklist to determine if an ecommerce client (or prospect if they're still in the assessment phase of our process) has active accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+. We then assess the strength of their following and how to best leverage their social media presence to benefit SEO.
Off-Page Ecommerce SEO Services: Building Authority
If you know a thing or two about SEO, then you probably understand the importance of backlinks (that is, the links pointing to a website from external sources.) In short, backlinks are the bee's knees to building authority and growing a website's ranking in search.
In an effort to ensure the quality of its results, Google has severely cracked-down on the practices of link building. Now, having a very natural looking backlink portfolio is crucial to minimize risks of over-optimization penalties. In short, a natural backlink portfolio consists of link sources that are highly relevant to the topic or ecommerce brand. Additionally, link diversity is key. In addition to a balanced blend of text-based links that use a different form of anchor text, image links, blogroll links, directory listing links, and social links all ensure that a backlink portfolio appears perfectly natural through the eyes of Google.
At Click Centric SEO, we stay well abreast Google crack-down efforts and algorithm updates, and we tailor our ecommerce SEO services accordingly. We understand that achieving SEO goals (and sustaining them) center on building a strong brand, not just a handful of links. So when you work with us in creating an ecommerce SEO strategy, we mindfully tailor our services to achieve sustainable results for your online store.
Receive a free SEO assessment, and contact us today to learn more.