Search engine optimization (SEO), the process of adapting your website to the algorithms used by search engines to rank websites based on the “signals” given by the site, is one of the primary Marketing Strategies That Can Help Online Retailers Build A Successful Internet Business.
However, search engine algorithms continue to change over time as the web evolves, so online retailers must evolve with the engines. We need to make sure we stay up to date with best practices to claim the best possible rankings for relevant keywords.
If you want your website to rank well in 2012, here are 6 SEO elements that online retailers need to know when optimizing their ecommerce website to rank well in the top search engines:
- Keywords. Keyword research is the first step in a successful SEO strategy. Those who are successful with SEO understand what people are looking for when they find their business in a search engine. These are the keywords they use to drive targeted traffic to their products. Start brainstorming potential keywords and see what the competition looks like using Google AdWords keyword generator. If you notice that certain keywords are too competitive in your niche, go for long-tail keywords (between two and five words) which will be easier to rank for you. The longer the keyword, the less competition you will have for that phrase in the engines.
- Meta tags. Meta tags still play a vital role in SEO. If you type a keyword into a search engine, you will see how that keyword is reflected in the title of that page.
considers the title of your page as a signal of relevance for that keyword. The same goes for the description of this page. (Don’t worry about the keyword title tag – Google has publicly stated that it doesn’t care about this tag because it has been abused by webmasters and anyone trying to rank for certain words – keys.)
- Contents. That’s right, content is king. Search engines have said that creating quality content is the best way to not only rank for keywords, but also create positive user experiences. It will also go a long way in educating your consumer, and being an authority in your niche will lead to increased sales.
- Back links. If content is king, then backlinks are king. Remember, it’s not about which site has the most links, but who has the most quality links pointing to their website. Build backlinks by submitting monthly or bi-monthly press releases on any exciting business and contacting popular blogs in your niche to see how you can work together to get a backlink from their website. Create the best product site possible, so that people who are talking about the products you sell are getting back. Try to create some cool graphics or content that will influence bloggers and news websites to link to that content.
- Social media. Algorithms have really changed since the emergence of social media. Many content websites are community driven – Digg has started letting users vote for top stories, and YouTube takes users’ views and ratings into account in their front page rankings. Therefore, e-commerce stores need to establish a strong social media presence on sites such as
, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. These social media sites send signals of influence and authority to search engines.
- Product images. If you think images don’t play a role, think again. When many consumers search for products in search engines, not only are they looking at “web” results, but they are also looking at “images” results. If you have quality images of this product on your site – and the filenames contain relevant keywords – those images will rank well in search engines. This avenue will drive a lot of traffic to your site because potential customers will click on this image to find your store.
In addition to optimizing these six areas of your site, analyze your competitors and see what they are doing in terms of on-page optimization, off-page optimization (competitive link analysis) and social media. While you can do a lot of things like them, it is extremely important to think outside the box to stay ahead of the competition.
Pablo Palatnik is the founder and CEO of ShadesDaddy.com, one of the world’s largest online sunglasses retailers.
the Young Entrepreneurs Council (YEC) is an invitation-only, non-profit organization made up of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and get young Americans back to work.