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Consider the following:
- IMT Strategies reports that prospective customers find websites 10 times more often through search engines versus magazine ads, 38 times more frequently than direct mail, and 40 times more often than banner ads.
- Over 85% of the respondents to a Georgia Tech study indicated that prospects most often find websites through search engines and have intent to buy.
- More than 200 million searches are performed each day using the Google alone!
With information like this, it’s obvious that you can’t run the risk of your store not being ranked higher by the major search properties. Now consider these statistics:
- 78% of users will abandon their query if the first three pages of results do not yield an answer to their query.
- Fully 33% of users believe companies whose websites are found in top results are a major brand in their specific product/service category.
But with literally billions of pages indexed how do you make your site get higher rankings in organic search listings? This article summarizes some effective tactics you can employ for search engine friendly ecommerce.
Keywords are key
Your first step is to identify the major keywords that your customers will use in looking for your products and/or services. Tools like Wordtracker® (http://www.wordtracker.com/) can help you identify top keywords. Once keywords are established, you need to integrate them into the content present on your webstore and underlying code of the web pages in your site. This includes optimization of:
Title Tags: A brief description, that includes keywords, should appear in the tag for each page. Since search engines look in this tag and compare it with the content of that web page, all pages in your webstore should have unique titles. Your title tags should contain one or more keywords that are a reflection of what the web page is all about. Never use long, irrelevant titles.
Meta Tags: Meta tags, especially meta keyword and description tags, should be optimized with keywords that are consistent with the content of the web page. Again, you should write page specific meta tags optimized with right keywords for all the pages of your store.
Page Content: Content of the page plays a important role for generating search engine friendly ecommerce store. Your keywords should also be included in the text of your web pages that is visible to site visitors. However, this should be done in an optimal manner-instead of overloading the text on the page with keywords or not using them at all.
Filenames and URLs: It can really boost your rankings if your filenames contain important keywords. Note that most search engines are not able to index dynamic pages with variables like “%”, “&”, “$”, ” =”, “+”, or “?” in their web address. Therefore, if you have dynamic pages in your site make sure that you have mechanism to that make the dynamic page URL’s appear to search engines as static pages.
ALT tag: Search engines rely on alt tags to understand the contents of the images in your site. Always use alt tags wherever images are used.
There are a variety of additional tactics you can employ to make your website search engine friendly and get it ranked in organic listings of search engines. These include developing an effective site map and adding H tags to the breadcrumb trails that guide search engine “crawlers” through the key pages in your site. Getting quality links to your site from other sites such as online directories, link exchanges, and other websites can also boost the “popularity” score of your pages – in turn giving you better rankings. Search engines also assign greater value to sites that update content frequently, so be sure to keep your site fresh to help it get noticed by the engines.
Don’t get penalized
A word of caution: there are some technical factors that can prevent your web pages from getting a good ranking and in some cases may even result in your entire site being banned from a particular search engine. Things to watch out for include:
- Overuse or misuse of “doorway” or “cloaking” pages
- Slow web page loading time
- Junk code (such as overuse of keywords)
- Improper web page coding structure (e.g., bad HTML, CSS)