eCommerce Hosting News, Guides By Eshop Hosts 16.4.2013 No Comments
SEO Tips for eCommerce Start Ups

SEO Tips for Starting your First eCommerce Website

Many ecommerce start ups have heard of and are aware of the need for website ‘SEO’. Many don’t actually know exactly what SEO is it and how to actually do to implement it for their new online shop. Any quick research done will often throw up articles and schemes that are woefully out of date and very dangerous to carry out due to the many recent changes made by Google and can cause far more damage to the new website than good.

We are often asked by our web hosting clients for advice on what they should be doing to ‘SEO’ their start up ecommerce website and how to implement the SEO techniques with a small budget. With this in mind we have created a short guide that outlines some basic SEO tips for eCommerce Start Ups which should give an insight to some basic free or low cost ecommerce SEO techniques and the order in which carry them out.

What is SEO?

SEO is a broad range of methods and activities that result in your website ranks higher in the search engine result pages (SERPs) which generates more traffic to your ecommerce website and in turn creates more sales.

In general terms there are two aspects of SEO that a start up ecommerce website owner needs to understand and implement. They are ‘On Site SEO’ and ‘Off Site SEO’, both are important and go hand in hand with On Site SEO being the first to understand and carry out, then regularly reviewing and modifying and Off Site SEO also being an activity being done on an ongoing basis.

With this in mind we have created a short guide that outlines some basic SEO tips for eCommerce Start Ups which should give a route map and insight to what is involved to optimise your online shop with some basic free or low cost ecommerce SEO techniques that you can utilise.

SEO for eCommerce

Customer and Competition Research

As with any business venture, its important to research at an early stage to understand your competitors and potential customers. For a new ecommerce website owner, seeing how established websites in your product sector (your competitors) websites appear eg. their style and layout and also knowing the keywords they are promoting will help you understand which keywords to use for your own online shop.

Keyword Research and Analysis

Free tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool will also help you analyse certain keyword phrases that are benficial to include within your website content. The data displayed will help you establish what and how many times related keywords and keyword phrases are being used in Google Searches by potential customers looking to buy products you intend to sell, these should where possible be used within your website content.

Create Good Website Content

Good website content is a must for SEO, without it, promoting your site becomes very difficult and good content covers everything from the design and layout of your ecommerce website to the actual text and images displayed on it.

Some key areas of website content to consider are:

  • Uncluttered, and easy to navigate pages with well placed calls to action and easy access to ‘Buy’ buttons.
  • Descriptive, well worded product descriptions and good quality product images
  • Well placed Social Media ‘Share’ and ‘Like’ buttons
  • Customer Reviews are good to display for promoting confidence in your online shop to new customers
  • Concise website Terms of Conditions, Privacy Policy and Postage charges that are easily found
On Site SEO

Optimising your website pages is an ongoing activity. After researching the popular and most searched keywords you should be including these on the relevant pages where possible. A mistake made by many ecommerce websites is poor quality product descriptions with a low word count, Search Engines look at and assess the HTML to text ratio on each of your website pages so you should ensure that each of your products have a decent amount of text that includes what you think are the best keywords. Good quality product images can be optimised by setting alt tags that include your chosen keywords.

Utilising videos on product pages are a good way to increase the page viewing times as well as gaining sales.

Using your Keyword research you should set unique Meta Data for each of your website pages we did an article that goes into more detail about Understanding Meta Data for eCommerce Websites which should prove useful.

Adding Social Media buttons to your product pages is a great way of allowing your vistors top book mark your product page or sharing their purchases with their friends, these likes and shares will also gain more customers as well as valuable backlinks for your web pages.

Sitemaps

Having sitemaps for your ecommerce website is a must. Ideally your ecommerce website will have a publicly viewable sitemap page that your visitors can view to help them navigate your website and you shouls also have sitemap file in XML format that lists all of the url’s to your website pages. XML is the format that Search Engines require and having a sitemap.xml file means you are giving the Search Engines a directory file of all your web pages that allows them to find, crawl and index them much faster meany more of your pages will appear in search results quicker. More information about XML Sitemaps for eCommerce Websites.

Free Google Tools

Google offer some very good free utilities for website owners. Google Analytics is a tool that generates data that will help ecommerce website owners guage how much traffic their website gets along with how long the visitor spends on each page, how many pages they view, where they came from and more.Google Webmaster Tools generates SEO related data such as how many times your different website pages appear in search results, the position they are displayed, how many ‘clicks’ your pages have recieved and the Keywords used by the visitor that prompted Google to display the page in the Search results.

Social Media Accounts

Social media can be a great way to promote your online business. For ecommerce websites, setting up a Facebook Business page and accounts on Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, LinkedIn and others will allow the store owner post product details, blog articles, comment and interact and engage with both potential and existing customers. Social Media activity is good for raising awareness and trust for your ecommerce website and increasing sales.

Videos

Using videos on your website and social media websites is a good method of promoting your website or products. If you are lucky you may have access to videos from your product suppliers or if not then there are ways to create your own videos for free on Animoto. You can also create your own Youtube Channel to show case your videos.

Blog

Adding a blog to your ecommerce website is a great way of adding keyword rich content to your online shop increasing your on site optimisation. It is also a good way to engage with your website visitors as it allows them to post comments, suggestions and feedback. Creating and posting blog articles such as industry news or opinions, product guides or how to’s is also popular and also posting your own reviews of the products you are selling is a good way to promote sales. Other popular features of having a blog on your ecommerce site are competitions or polls.

Business Directories

Listing your website on Directory type websites can be a good way of achieving referals and website traffic. Sites like Yell and Thomson Local offer free and paid for directory submissions for business that allow you to add a brief description of your ecommerce website and a back link.

Product Comparison Websites

Listing your products on Comparison websites can generate decent amounts of targetted customers to your ecommerce website. Shopzilla, Hotfrog and Google Shopping just some of the low cost solutions where you can submit and list your products.

Business and Brand repution

Business reputation is very important online so establishing your ecommerce Brand as a trusted authority within your product sector is crucial. Using Social media, relevant forums is a good way to establish yourself and/or your ecommerce websites knowledge and experience within your sector. Publishing your customer reviews, issuing press releases and creating quality articles on your own website as well as submitting them to reputable publication sites or as guest blog posts on reputable blogging sites is a good way to promote your brand.

Backlinks

Some of the above points will start gaining your website backlinks which are links to your website pages placed on other websites. These help increase your website Page Rank which is used by the Search Engines to ascertain where in the search results your website pages appear. Google likes and prefers backlinks to occur naturally and quantity isn’t necessarily a good thing if the quality or page rank of the sites they are on is low or deemed as spammy. A good way to gain backlinks to your ecommerce website is to participate on forums or commenting on blogs (where allowed) and priority should be given to popular quality and relevant sites. Each time you post a link back to your website you should also use varied anchor text, these would usually be relevant keywords for your website page that you are linking to.

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