What is SEO — Search Engine Optimization?
Each day, people make millions of searches in Google, trying to find goods and services. The process that allows the given page to reach a good position on a search engine results page (preferably, in the top ten), is called SEO. It marries internet marketing with computer science, giving us a powerful tool to promote our stores. Many e-commerce sites compete with each other to achieve the best position. The higher you are in Google, the more visitors you reach, hence the greater income. Nowadays it is a common marketing practice not only among the e-commerce giants, but also for small, local businesses striving for more profit.
What is optimization?
In order to increase the visibility of an online store, it is necessary to optimize it. SEO agencies can conduct comprehensive audits, but many changes can be made by the website’s owner or his employees. SEO can be divided into two basic sets of operations:
- content analysis & development, as well as the changes in the structure of the page (this affects the visual appearance),
- technical changes, often concerning code improvements (it often does not alter how a website looks).
Content analysis & development
Changing or simply improving the text on the website can be crucial to better your rankings. It can be done on your own (preferably after receiving an audit, i.e. recommendations from an SEO specialist). This includes, among others:
Title tags optimization
A good title is like a signpost. It describes to the user (and to the Google bots) what can be found on the given page. Descriptive tags that include the most important keywords can give your website a head-start to better rankings.
Choosing proper headers
Good headlines describe the content of the following paragraphs. By breaking up the content in smaller parts, they make the website more readable. They are marked in HTML as tags: H1 (the most important, usually appears only once on a given page), H2 or H3. Headers H4-H6 are used rarely. Each article should be carefully structured — just as any document. H2 should appear after the H1, and H3 should follow the H2, if needed. This makes the pages more easy to follow and understand. All headers should contain important keywords and phrases.
Even if all relevant categories in your e-commerce store have a thorough description, it is still not enough. Consistent content development is the key to better rankings. Regularly updated blog or advice section will help you rank better on various keywords. With the help of an SEO specialist describe the most relevant topics that your users are interested in. Meet the expectations of your customers, and they will be more inclined to buy your product.
Proper arranging the structure of a page makes it as readable as possible. The customer should be able to easily and quickly navigate through the e-commerce store. The site should also allow for making a purchase in about three clicks (the three-click rule). Implementing systems of internal linking between various pages is crucial. Better structure allows for faster browsing and reaching all your relevant content in fewer clicks.
Technical changes and code improvement
Broad knowledge is required to recommend and implement core code changes. That is why they are most often conducted by skilled webmasters that are in turn being guided by SEO specialists. The changes include, but are not restricted to:
Technical changes of the website include
- code validation (according to W3C standards)
- CSS stylesheet optimization
- solving duplicate content issues
- friendly URLs
- implementation of Google Analytics and Google Search Console
- other changes concerning page speed and responsive design (briefly described below)
The loading speed of your store is crucial for SEO. Now, more than ever, Google pays attention to cues coming from the users. Increasing Page Speed is extremely important to achieve better results. Websites that quickly display content show a lower bounce rate (i.e. percentage of the exits from the page without reading its content). Users are often impatient or in a hurry — they will leave a website that won’t load and go to another, that will swiftly provide an answer. That is why you need to make sure your store is fast — especially on mobile.
Another important aspect that promotes better SEO results is responsive design of the page. A good mobile website adapts to various sizes of screens and appears well on any device. The store should be accessible not only on desktop, but also on smartphones, iPhones or tablets. We should strive to achieve a fast mobile page, which displays all relevant information. In addition, the mobile website should download as little data as possible to not charge the user’s transfer. People are using mobile devices more and more. That is exactly why you should adapt your website to modern standards.
Search Engine Optimization — Summary
SEO is one of the most popular and cost-efficient internet marketing service. It consists of several steps. Some can be implemented on your own. However, it is always advised to hire a skilled SEO specialist to guide the changes. For the steps to be successful, you need to receive a comprehensive audit, that will be a blueprint for all recommendations. Good SEO consists not only of fixing the issues at hand, but also of planning ahead.