The one secret behind building a sustainable marketing strategy for your online store is to make sure your site ranks higher in search engine results. Unlike Pay Per Click (PPC) whose traffic results decrease when you slow down on it, traffic results continue to grow for a properly optimized site even when you take a break in the optimization.
As an online store owner, you don’t have many cost efficient marketing options out there that beats Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the process that will improve your site’s visibility and make it easy for potential customers to find you online. Despite the benefits of SEO, there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ strategy. Business owners will have to adopt tips and positive tricks in order to rank higher.
This post lists out some tips that will help you optimize your online store and achieve higher ranking which will result in an increase in traffic.
Tips that affect your site directly
These tips are the changes you can make directly to your online store and its structure in order to start ranking in search results.
— Check page loading speed
How fast your pages load can have an effect on whether visitors to your site stay long enough to take an action you want them to. In other words, slow loading pages will cause visitors to your site to leave faster and this will affect your ability to convert them.
To speed up the loading time of your pages, do the following:
1- Optimize the images on your site – If you have 1000 x 1000 sized images but can do with 500 x 500, scale down those images. If you have large image sizes, compress them to smaller sizes using free online tools like tinypng.com.
2- Reduce the number of plugins/widgets you use on your site. Too many widgets can slow your site and cause other technical difficulties. Vet all the widgets you have and remove those that you can do without.
— Write unique meta title and description
Your main site and product pages will need good and unique meta titles and descriptions. The meta title and description is what appears in search engine results when someone searches for a product you have on your store or related products.. How good this information is will influence whether your site would be clicked on out of the other sites on a search result page.
For product descriptions, there is the temptation to use what is provided by the manufacturer of your products. Avoid this temptation and write original product description which contain keywords for that particular product.
— Add alt and title to image tags
Google and other search engines use alt texts to identify an image whilst image titles provide additional information about an image. To allow search engines to understand all the elements on your site, add alt and title text to image tags.
— Remove excess H1 and H2 tags
H1 and H2 tags are among a list of tags called heading tags used for the creation of headings. The most important of the heading tags is the H1 tag. Google uses the H1 and H2 tags to identify the main topics and subtopics of a page. Using them unnecessarily will confuse Google about what the main topics of your page really is.
Go through your source code to see which excess heading tags can be removed. If you’re not good with HTML, you’ll need an expert to help you do this.
— Include customer testimonials
Customer testimonials or reviews add new and fresh content to your site and product pages. This fresh content is rewarded by search engines which could see your site rank higher. Using rich snippet for reviews will also greatly improve how your site ranks in search engine results.
Tips that do not affect your site directly (Offsite Tips)
— Generate more content often
Google loves sites that update or publish fresh content frequently. More fresh content on your site leads to more frequent indexing by search engines. When search engines look at (index) your site more frequently, you have the opportunity to achieve higher rankings.
Also, the more content you have on your site, the bigger the opportunity for you to present search engines with more keywords which is great since keywords are high on the algorithms used by Google and other search engines for indexing and ranking.
For an online store, content shouldn’t be limited to only your product descriptions, it can include blog posts, press releases, events information and several others.
— Create links to your site
Search engines use the number of external links pointing to your site to determine how useful or relevant your site is when people search for keywords related to your business. If you want your site to be regarded as a relevant site to people searching online, use link building strategies (some of which are mentioned below) to achieve higher ranking.
1- Submit your site to directories or pay for online listings
2- Reach out to bloggers in your market space to link to your store or link to articles on your blog
3- Go to ecommerce forums and leave useful comments and sign off with a link to your site
4- Write articles and share it on the blogs of other businesses and ask for a link to your site
— Take social media seriously
Search engines now consider social signals in their algorithms. Your social media activity now matters to SEO. This means Google and other search engines are monitoring how effective your Facebook or Twitter page is and how your followers are engaging with it.
To boost your social signals which will in effect improve your chances of ranking higher,
1- Link social sharing icons to every product page
2- Add social media icons to your site
3- Add your site to your social media accounts and make sure the description about your site is consistent across your social platforms.
All these tips when properly done will significantly improve your chances of ranking higher in search engine results. Whilst some of the tips will take some time to implement, others can be worked on right away and the earlier you do this, the faster you will start to reap the benefits.