Peripheral Visions

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SEO for E-Commerce

SEO On-Page Optimization Basics

Search Engine Optimization, SEO, is the scientifc process of improving a website’s traffic (both quantity & quality) from search engines, which is originated from human initiated search queries.  The overall goal of SEO, is to achieve the highest possible search engine results positions, SERP, and click-through-rate for targeted and relevant keywords.  SEO differs from other search marketing iniatives (PPC, CPM advertising, paid inclusion, etc.) in the fact that SEO is “natural” or “organic,” with SEO you aren’t directly paying for web traffic.

On-Page optimization, specifically means optimizing the HTML content and structure of a website, which is just one variable in the  SEO formula. That said, due to the increase in competition among e-commerce sites across nearly every industry, it is important to differentiate a webpage’s content from competitors, and On-Page SEO tactics are a great starting point.  When analyzing your e-commerce site’s on-page optimization, invest the majority of your time in the following eight areas.

  1. Keyword Selection

    • Don’t go overboard on targeting a large volume of keywords per page, this strategy will generally result in poor SERPs. Think quality over quantity.
    • Target your 4-5 most relevant and best converting (or whatever metric you are focusing on) keywords on any given page.
    • These keywords should be unique to that particular page to avoid keyword cannibalization.
      • For example – a product page should feature keywords that focus on bottom-up or longer tail keywords, consequently a brand page should focus on top-down or broad keywords.
  2. URL Structure

    • Eliminate product IDs and undesirable characters such as (#,?,$,&, etc.) that can be created from dynamic pages, by using a URL re-write script.
    • Be sure to insert relevant keywords into the URL with enough detail, so that a visitor could describe the page’s contents by scanning the URL.
  3. Title Tags

    • Between 60 – 70 characters, including spaces in length,  is recommended.
    • Always keep the user in mind when creating title tags.
    • Insert relevant and targeted keywords at the beginning of the title tag.
    • Focus on longer tail keywords to drive relevant traffic.
    • Strategically use dividers (|) to separate keyword groupings.
  4. Meta Description Tags

    • Between 160 – 170 characters, including spaces in length, is recommended.
    • Treat meta description tags as an advertisement. Keep it relevant, honest, and compelling.
    • Always include relevant and long-tail keywords in meta description copy.
    • Avoid universal descriptions. If using a dynamic script, then make sure to insert product specific keywords to differentiate. Always aim to be unique.
  5. Heading Tags

    • The H1 tag tends to be the most important from a search engines perspective, however don’t forget about H2 and H3 tags.
    • Again, include relevant and long-tail keywords in heading descriptions.
    • This is especially important on product pages that are prone to duplicate content issues.
  6. Internal Linking

    • Create an internal linking strategy that enables synergy throughout the site and provides deeper links with the ability to “piggyback” off of a higher trafficked (and relevant) page’s PR.
    • Keep this strategy consistent and precise throughout the scope of the  site.
    • Always provide keyword rich, and relevant anchor text.
    • Use a combination of linking to top-line pages with broad keywords, coupled with linking to complimentary products which a user could find of interest, using bottom-up keywords.
    • Link within informational content such as on page product reviews, product descriptions, and customer reviews.
    • Add links pointing to other relevant informative sections (such as company blog postings, FAQs, etc.) within the footer and or along the right and left panels of the page.
  7. ALT Tags

    • Reinforce the targeted keywords of the page by inserting them into image alt tags.
    • Beneficial as Google Image Search and other Image Search Engines become popular.
  8. Body Text

    • Reinforce the page’s targeted keywords by inserting them into product descriptions, customer reviews, and throughout the copy of the body. It is essential to create unique content rather than relying on manufacturer descriptions, as you will be plagued with internal and external content duplication issues if you rely on these generic descriptions.
    • Focus on inserting these keywords closer to the top of the page, rather than at the bottom. Search engines tend to recognize keywords at the top higher than they do of keywords buried throughout the page.
    • Strive for keyword density to make-up 5 to 9 percent of a page’s copy. However, don’t micro-manage this factor.


SEO References & Resources:

Palmer Web Marketing’s article.

Art of SEO, 1st Edition by Eric Enge et al.


Categories: Business Tips


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