It can be frustrating to put a huge amount of effort into developing an online store, only to not have it show up in Google searches. If you’re looking for some simple ways to help make sure you get seen by search engines, you’ve come to the right place.
Every day, Google crawls millions on millions of different domains; getting spotted can seem like a daunting task, but don’t worry! There are a number of known factors that can help improve your store’s Google ranking, and help propel your eCommerce store to the top of the web rankings. We’re specifically going to be talking about onpage optimization today; it’s an overlooked-but-crucial part of SEO strategy that we feel doesn’t get the love and attention that offpage techniques do. Without further ado:
9 Effective Ways to Improve your Store’s Google Ranking
1: Use Relevant Product Titles and Unique Descriptions
Every online store should contain a product section. Every product should have its own page where the buyer may be able to see an array of product images, pricing details, and a description of the product. Each product should contain a specific title that is relevant to each item. This is great, because it lets you put a lot of keywords down without getting into trouble with the algorithm. Now, that’s not an invitation to start spamming or otherwise abusing keywords, it’s just a reminder that there’s a goldmine of legitimate keyword locations if you look in the right place.
2: Check Website Content Relevancy
The overall content of a website plays a major role in Google rankings—Google wants you to do one thing well, rather than doing a million things poorly. If your content is spread too thin in terms of subject matter, you’re going to run into serious issues because the topics interfere with each other: if you have the best cupcake recipe and the best article on debugging centOS servers, Google can’t decide which one you’re about and that’ll damage your ranking.
What is the best way to increase your website’s content relevancy?
Blogging is a great way to fill up your site with relevant content. WordPress is the number 1 content management system today that provides an easy way to publish content. By adding WordPress to a second directory, you’ll be able to easily write blogs that are only relevant to your website’s keyword targets.
3: Meta Tag Optimization
Meta tags will show search engines your title, your targeted keywords, and a description of the page. Your online store should contain unique meta tags for each product that is for sale on your site. In the bad old days, SEO marketers would stuff every single keyword they could think of into the metadata, but Google are onto that now—you should choose a small number of accurate keywords that help the crawlers navigate and understand your store.
4: Improve URL Structure
The type of URL format plays a big role in the index rate of a web page and its search engine rank.
What structures should I avoid?
First Url Structure: www.yourcompanystore.com/web/products/?isting_id=3198414124
Problem: The first URL contains a very long listing id reference that has no keyword relevancy.
Second Url Structure: www.yourcompanystore.com/02_04_2016/products/jason_clothes.php
Problem: The second URL contains unnecessary and lengthy information.
Third Url Structure: www.yourcompanystore.com/clothing/2016/main/bag/abluebag.php
Problem: The third URL contains too many subdirectories.
What is the most recommended URL type for your store to use?
Recommended Url Structure: www.yourcompanystore.com/bag/blue-bag-edition.html
Solution: The above URL contains only 1 categorized subdirectory, keyword relevancy, and hyphens between text.
5: Perform a Broken Link Check
Broken links are frowned upon by search engines. Too many broken links will result in a website being seen as unreliable, and the smallest character capitalization can result in a link not working. After uploading your e-commerce website to your server, perform a full broken link check to ensure that all your links are up to date and working.
6: Mobile Friendly Design
With a large number of web views coming from mobile users, there are new design standards to meet this change; a website now must be mobile friendly. Makes sure that your store works perfectly on any mobile device. The top 2 ways to make your store mobile friendly is to start by converting to a responsive layout and increase your font sizes. These days, it’s almost impossible to improve your store’s Google ranking significantly without a good mobile design.
7: Sort out HTTPS
If your website doesn’t have an SSL certificate installed, many browsers and virus scanners will prevent access entirely. This is especially important for stores: if you’re expecting to handle financial transactions, you’re hurting yourself and your users by not providing that extra layer of security. And of course, Google pays attention to it: stores without certificates will suffer in terms of ranking, both from users themselves and from the algorithm.
8: Social Media Consistency
Always stay active and post consistently on your social media accounts. Algorithms tend to favor regular, frequent posts, and a higher post volume also increases the odds of one particular post taking off. Be careful: if you post too often, users will get annoyed and might unfollow. The roof on what counts as “too often” is a lot higher than most people think (users are seeing a constant stream of advertising from 1000 different sources—it’s quite hard to tip the needle into being The One That Does It Too Much) but it’s still something to be mindful of when organising your social media strategy.
9: Sitemap Creation and Submission
Sitemap submission is one of the most important things to do to improve your store’s web visibility. An XML sitemap includes all the links inside a website, organised in a way that makes it easier for crawlers to understand and navigate. Always remember to update your website sitemap for every new page that you add.
And that’s it! If you apply those nine steps, you’ll see your rank start to go up in no time. A lot of SEO these days is just about configuring your site correctly and, thankfully, the things users like to see and the things crawlers can understand are starting to converge. If you want to know more on the topic, you need to read our Honest Guide to SEO, and maybe check out our Guide to Recovering from Google Penalties.