Getting good ‘natural’ or unpaid search results means that your site arrives at the top of the results pile when anyone uses Google (or Yahoo, Bing) to find information related to your business. Using these Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) techniques can be a very effective way for e-businesses to gain visibility. And the price is right too - these techniques are free!
The infographic from BlueCaribu gives us an idea of the current impact of SEO on the Internet.
Infographic "How big is the SEO Industry"
This infographic reveals just how big the SEO industry has become. In fact, there are more than 863 million websites that talk about SEO, with 3.5 people searching Google for the term SEO every single second!
So today we’re going to take a closer look at SEO, with 3 ways to optimise your site to get better search engine results of your own.
I- Optimise the technical side of your e-store
Your first goal is to make sure that the technical aspects of your website are optimised. This will require a bit of techie expertise, particularly with HTML.
a. Organise your meta tags, giving them names that include previously established key words
These meta tags translate content into HTML code, although the code remains hidden on the site’s pages. Only search engines read meta tags, using them to index your e-store and list it on their pages. That’s why it’s important to carefully consider the key words you use here.
The most important meta tag is the H1 tag, or main title of your page; it’s this H1 tag that the search engine crawlers read first when deciding how to categorize your site. That’s why the title of each page must indicate the page’s content as well as your business type.
But before deciding on your meta tags and titles, you’ll need to define a list of key words – those words and short phrases that define your business and what you do. If you need a helping hand you can use a key-word generator like Google Adwords– it’s free and easy to use.
b. Carefully structure your website
Make sure that your website is well organized, and has a logical information hierarchy. Consider carefully how to organize and categorize your content. A well ordered site is easier for users to navigate and will have a positive impact on your search engine rankings. So ensure your site structure is streamlined and well organized.
A sitemap can be very useful: it’s a blueprint listing all the pages and architecture of the site, usually in the form of a web page. A sitemap will enhance SEO and help site visitors access pages quickly and easily.
The following diagram is an example of a sitemap from the French e-store, Smallable:
II- Develop your site content
Now you’ve optimised the technical side of your e-store, you can focus on the content. As soon as you’ve made a complete list of key words, you can start using them in your e-store’s content (in the product descriptions, on your homepage and even on your blog!). The more you use your key words, the better your ranking in the search results will be.
And you can use these key words in your meta descriptions too. Here’s an example of what they look like in the source code of your web page:
For these to have the biggest impact on your search engine results, follow these few simple rules:
- Create original content for each of your site’s pages.
- Write clear and relevant texts that can be easily read by users and search engines.
- Your description must be genuine and related to your business activity: don’t use words just because they generate traffic – the search engines will find you out and you’ll be relegated to the last page of the results!
III- Your description must be genuine and related to your business activity: don’t use words just because they generate traffic – the search engines will find you out and you’ll be relegated to the last page of the results!
Link building is a vital part of your SEO strategy. By increasing the number of external links to your site, you can increase its visibility to search engines.
This technique evolved from the observation that search engines tend to trust others’ opinion of you more than your own. That’s why they look at the number of sites that talk about your e-store.
To make the most of this strategy, you can list your site on the free directories and the comparison sites. This is a completely free technique that will increase your site’s popularity.
Having said that, you should be aware that if you list your site too quickly on too many directories, you run the risk of a search engine crawler finding you out. Two directories a week is a good number to avoid being detected. As well, it’s important to use original content for each site description – a good way to avoid setting off the search engines warning bells.
Finally, keep in mind that SEO is a long-term project; you’ll need patience and persistence to get the ranking you deserve. But the results are definitely worth it! For more information about Search Engine Optimisation, download our Practical Guide to SEO !