Optimise your online shop: improve your Google ranking with SEO
Since many users search for desired products through Google and other search engines, such as Bing and Yahoo, search engine optimisation (SEO) helps broaden a web store’s clientele. The higher your store ranks in the search results, the more customers you will acquire. You don’t need to have programmer knowledge or be a marketing expert to optimise your store for Google. We reveal what you need to pay attention to in order to improve your online store with SEO.
Reach new customers through Google
Google is by far the most popular search engine in the UK, generating 88 percent of all search queries as of January 2017 (Source: www.statista.com/statistics/280269/market-share-held-by-search-engines-in-the-united-kingdom/). This fact alone demonstrates the importance of optimising your online store for Google. It is best to rank as highly as possible in the search results for specified keywords. Your website should then be classified by Google as being relevant. If you want to optimise your online store, you should make yourself familiar with Google’s criteria and adhere to them when creating your website.
Google has developed a working system that can automatically detect good sites from bad. It doesn’t just rely on the popularity of a website to make its decision. The search engine can even judge the quality of a text: the grammatical accuracy, taking things like easy readability and keyword density into account. A text that is stuffed with potential search terms will be classified as dubious. A well-structured, informative text can help to improve a site’s ranking by Google. Google tweaks its rating system in regular intervals in order to further optimise the search results. There are still so many other aspects for ranking a website. Through SEO you can improve your online store’s Google ranking; the next steps show you how.
Navigation, design and content
It isn’t just the content that needs to be well-prepared in order to make your online store SEO-suitable; a clear navigational structure also plays a part. Will the user find what they are looking for? Do they get tips for additional information? The different subpages should link to each other in a meaningful way. Another deciding factor for the ranking is the expected benefit for the user. “Responsive web design” relates to how well a website works on different (mobile) devices and also has an influence on the site’s ranking. You can find more information on responsive web design in the second part of the series “Web design: online user-friendliness". Here are some tips on how to optimise your online store:
- Pay attention to responsive web design or mobile compatibility and make sure you have informative and well-structured content. What is good for the customer is also good for Google. A customer-friendly store design also wouldn’t hurt when it comes to the search engine, so check out the online store construction kits that offer lots of design templates.
- Integrate customer reviews into your site. The most effective is a Trusted Store rating.
- Include informative, well-structured product texts. Depending on the product category it can contain tables or lists and should be divided by sub-headings.
- Multimedia elements such as product videos are also well-received by Google.
Important search terms
Always make sure your product texts contain keywords. Carry out a keyword research and check which phrases that are relevant to your store are searched for the most. The Google Keyword Planner from AdWords is a helpful tool for this task. You can use the autocomplete function (Google Suggest) to find out which keyword combinations are frequently searched for. Multiple keywords (e.g. “shoes women sale”) aren’t as competitive as single words (e.g. “shoes”).
It also helps to orientate your store to that of your competition. Check out the site of an online store that sells the same product as you. You can recognise a search engine optimised text since a keyword and different variations appear at regular intervals. You can choose the same keyword as your competition, but never copy their texts since Google can identify duplicate content and will penalise it. Compose your own individual product texts and add your keywords in a natural way. Keywords should not make up more than four percent of the text.
Other measures for optimising your online store
As well as keywords, there are other website components that are important for your store’s Google ranking. The following elements should be optimised accordingly:
Under no circumstances should you take a product description from another website even if it is the supplier’s website. Make sure that every page of your website contains individual content and no duplicates.
Internal linking helps the user to find all subpages of your website. A well thought out menu navigation and the clever implementation of internal links in your texts means that Google finds its bearings.
Google is a fan of websites that contain images, but don’t forget to add the alt text (the description text) to the image. Google can only read the alt text and not the image file. By having an alt text it also means that Google is able to show your product images in its image search.
Mobile compatible display
It is important to shape your online store around the responsive web design principles in order to avoid display and user difficulties on mobile devices. This refers to the user-friendliness and automatic adjustment on the smartphone or tablet.
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Conclusion: owners should adapt their online stores for SEO
In order to optimise your online store, you have to invest a bit of work. Since this increases your chance of attracting new customers, it normally pays off in no time. Moreover, the measures needed to make your store SEO-suitable are by no means just for experts. Even beginners can use the tools to make their online store SEO-ready. There are numerous online store construction kits available that allow you to optimise your store for Google. It is definitely worth using SEO in e-commerce - every online store owner should carry out the necessary steps.