When it comes to laying the groundwork for your website, ranking high on Google and landing yourself on the front page of a search query is a top priority. Because let’s face it when was the last time you looked at the second page when using your preferred search engine?
That’s right, the front page is where it all happens.
Ranking well on the search engine results page, or SERP, means higher discoverability, and getting on the first page can have a lot to do with SEO.
For the uninitiated, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Simply put, it’s the process of refining your website to make it more visible when people use Google or other search engines to search for products and services related to your ecommerce store.
Search Engines like Google use crawlers to “read” your website, ranking your site based on its keywords and relevance of its content.
The great thing about working on SEO is that it’s never too late, whether you are working to build a new ecommerce store, or trying to improve your existing online business, we have got you covered on the top tips you can use to improve your SEO game and the overall performance of your online store.
Here are our tips:
1. Don’t Forget Keyword Research
The first step to every SEO strategy is keyword research. It is when you search for and conduct an analysis on search terms that people type into search engines, with the intention of optimizing your site based on and around those terms.
For example, if you’re looking for SEO tools online and type “best keyword planner” then you have just typed in a few choice keywords into the search bar.
The reason why online businesses need to conduct research boils down to the need to understand what your target customer is searching for. If you know the answer to this question, then you can start building a strategy for making your website more visible on the SERPs by using the relevant keywords across your website’s content that will help you rank.
Keyword research gives you direction in building your site’s content—You’ll be able to understand what your target customer is searching for, and not simply what you think they’re searching for.
2. Title Tags & Meta Descriptions
Your site's title tags and meta descriptions are important features in SEO. They are a tool for you to provide value and information to your target market or audience from a search engine, a tool that gives them significant reasons to click on your link.
Think of the title tag as a headline. When you type in a search query, title tags are that clickable headline and are also the title of the webpage that it leads you to from the SERP. It’s vital to the user experience of search engine users because it gives a concise description of the webpage.
According to Google "Title links are critical to giving users a quick insight into the content of a result and why it's relevant to their query. It's often the primary piece of information people use to decide which result to click on, so it's important to use high-quality title text on your web pages."
A typical title tag usually consists of 50-60 characters.
Meta descriptions on the other hand are the texts you see underneath the titles and URLs of the search results. Meta descriptions are the summaries that you see from your search engine that describes the contents of a website. They are about 155-160 characters long, but their brevity can act as a powerful hook for the people out there in search of something on the internet.
When writing title tags and meta descriptions, it’s important to include your target keywords, while keeping things concise, clear, and relevant to the webpage that it leads to.
3. Optimize Images
When it comes to SEO, we tend to think about written content first and foremost and forget to optimize our images. When done right, the images you use on your website can play an important role in how you rank.
It’s important to note that more than 20% of all searches conducted in the U.S. happen on Google Images. This means that if you aren’t thinking about optimizing the images on your site, you’re ignoring a rather valuable asset for your online store.
There are several things you can do to optimize your website's images, and one is to use unique images for your site whenever possible. Providing Alt text that describes the image is also important. When providing the Alt text, make use of words that clearly describe what is in the image to help search engine crawlers understand the content of the image.
Another important note for all ecommerce store owners to consider is the image size and to make sure images are compressed. When image sizes are too large, this can decrease a site’s load time, which subsequently decreases your search engine rank, as SERPs tend to favor sites that load quickly.
4. Improve Site Speed
Does site speed really affect SEO? The simple answer is that it does. How long it takes to load your site pages is a direct ranking factor since Google's Algorithm Speed update. Moreover, how fast a page loads can also indirectly affect ranking by increasing bounce rate, meaning customers who click off your site because they aren’t willing to wait.
A site that is slow to load will have your customers walking off in another direction because people can’t be bothered to wait. New research has found that 9 out of 10 site visitors are likely to leave your site if it takes more than 10 seconds to load.
This means that no matter how cool your web design is, and how awesome your web content and products are, you will be making far fewer sales because people don’t have the attention span or the focus to wait it out.
You can check your site's loading speed on of Google’s PageSpeed Insight—the closer your score is to 100%, the better.
Google simply prefers websites that load quickly. The faster your site loads, the higher your chances of ranking well on the search engine results page.
5. Link Building
One way to optimize your website is to make use of both external and internal links.
Internal links are hyperlinks on your site that redirect a user to another site on your website. For instance, you run a blog about pet care with an article that hosts links to products on your product page.
Clinking on an internal link does not redirect your customer to another website. Internal links are great because they help you engage customers in your site longer.
The reason why internal links are great for SEO is that it helps search engines understand your website’s internal structure. According to Google themselves:
“Google must constantly search for new pages and add them to its list of known pages. Some pages are known because Google has already visited them before. Other pages are discovered when Google follows a link from a known page to a new page.”
External links, on the other hand, are hyperlinks that direct a customer to a new site. External links or backlinks may seem counterintuitive, but they are great for referencing information from reliable material. Adding trustworthy and informative backlinks to your website is a good way to gain credibility and authority for your site.
Better yet are the backlinks from other websites that redirect to your site. This can happen when you post useful content that another company finds valuable and provides a backlink to the information as a source for their blog or articles.
Probably one of the most important factors to improving your rank is getting those backlinks from other sites. The idea behind it is that external links are one of the hardest metrics to manipulate, therefore the more backlinks you have, the more popular and reputable your website appears to search engines, prompting them to assign a higher rank.
There’s more that goes into SEO that goes beyond keyword insertions and we have provided some tips to help you improve your search ranking and acquire those customers organically.
Search Engine Optimization takes quite a bit of time and some serious dedication. It takes research and some trial and error, but it's all worth it to find your site on the first page on the SERPs!
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