3 Ways to Optimize Your Ecommerce Store for People and Google

With the news of Google’s over-optimization penalty and webmasters losing precious rankings faster than they can check their stats, the word “optimization” has become a touchy subject.

Website owners want to “look good” in Google’s eyes but they are afraid that one wrong move will be detrimental to their business.

The days of keyword stuffing and link networks are long gone. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t tell Google what your site is about. The Google spider can’t read minds, so a little on-site SEO is needed. And sometimes optimizing your site for your customers will get you you a little boost in the search engines as well.

Here are 5 ways to boost your on-site SEO and please your customers in the process:

1. Reviews – Customer reviews provide exactly what the search engines love—more content! The fact that content creation is like food to Google will not change anytime soon. In fact, it’s the only strategy that has increased in importance over the years, even with Google changing its algorithms. Customer reviews also provide website visitors with more information about your products.

Tip: If you are trying to get more reviews for your site, consider a request via email. Send it a few weeks after a customer makes a purchase and offer an incentive such as discounts or free shipping.

2. Social Sharing

After the introduction of Google’s +1 button and the Search Plus Your World update, webmasters started paying more attention to social signals as it relates to ranking in the search engines. Though social reputation may not play as large a role as your link profile, evidence shows that it is still a crucial part of a well-rounded online marketing plan.

Implement social sharing at several different points of the buying process.

  • Products – Adding social buttons to your store allows your products to reach a larger audience.
  • Thank You page – Add social buttons to your “confirmation” email. Stress the benefits of joining your social community.
  • Blog posts – If you run a company blog, add social sharing buttons to each post.
  • Email newsletter – Accompany every newsletter with a small blurb about your “growing” social communities and how your subscribers can benefit from joining them.

3. Meta Data

Meta data was more popular than the Kardashians at one time since Google used this data to rank websites. Google doesn’t place as much importance on meta tags anymore but that doesn’t mean they are not needed. The trick is NOT to keyword stuff. And avoid duplication at all costs. This can be hard for Ecommerce websites that have thousands of products.

Here are some tips:

  • Add title tags and meta keywords to each page and use keywords naturally. Avoid repetition and stuffing. For product pages, a product name will suffice. If you add more versions of the product name, that may be considered stuffing.
  • The Meta description may not have ranking power but it will help increase your clickthroughs. Use your selling points and benefits to encourage more traffic.
  • Product Descriptions should be unique and different from the manufacturer if you are a dropshipper. You must stand out from your competitors online.
  • It is debatable whether H1 tags affect rankings. Some SEOs still tout their benefits. Regardless, H1 tags can make it easier for your customers to read copy. Use H1 tags for product names and as headlines for articles and blog posts.

Yes, Google has removed the ability for webmasters to use many of the biased techniques to manipulate rankings, but that doesn’t mean you should throw out the baby with the bath water. Focus on the benefits for your customers and telling the search engines what you are about with your content and metadata. If you stay within those boundaries and play by the rules, these strategies will help you in the long run, not get you de-indexed.

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