Written by Matt Warren
18th September 2015 • 28 min read
As a business owner you face many challenges when selling online. Managing your inventory across your sales channels, getting orders out on time and ultimately pleasing your customers.
Therefore subjects such as SEO can fall by the wayside. You know it’s important, but learning about the subject can be time consuming and you may be reluctant to outsource. Fear no more, as we’ve gathered 28 experts who have provided essential SEO tips which you can do yourself, today!
TAKESHI YOUNG, OPTIMIZELY
“If you are a reseller of other people’s products, try reaching out to your vendors and asking them to link to you from their ‘where to buy’ pages. If you sell original products, send free products to influential bloggers in your niche and ask them to review your product. Running giveaways and contests is another great way to build links and generate social media buzz.
JOE FLANAGAN, RANK EASILY
“Make sure your name and address across the web are the same as the name and address on the merchant contact page. Get some quick quality links by leaving testimonials on suppliers websites. Send out a business card with every order that has a QR code that customers swipe to leave a review on Google+ or the merchants website.
KASY ALLEN, ANNAPURNA DIGITAL
“One of the best ways to win with SEO, but so many eCommerce websites fail at, is having unique content on each and every product page. This could be the product description (which can be a painstakingly long process) or with user generated content – reviews, Q&A, etc. Another great way to win with SEO is to make sure that every page – category pages, subcategory pages, product pages, etc. – has unique meta titles and meta descriptions that accurately describe the page. Lastly, learn what pagination is and the best way to set it up on your site before HUGE crawl issues arise”.
SHABBIR NOORUDDIN, BOOTSTRAPPING ECOMMERCE
“A quick and dirty way to get a traffic boost to your website is to find long tail keywords related to your products/niche that nobody has really built a page for specifically. Once you’ve found some, create content around those keywords, and pretty soon, you’ll have a nice traffic boost
coming to your website. The less relevance there is in Google for those keywords, the quicker you will rank.
For more information on SEO, check out my recently published 12,000 word guide to SEO for ecommerce stores”.
JONATHAN SPEKTOR, LONG LIVE THE INTERNET
“One of the simplest SEO techniques is to name your images with keywords relevant to your product. The words should be separated by dashes. For example instead of keeping the original *DSC42534.jpg* file name that the camera assigns, your products should be renamed to friendly names like *best-red-gardening-shovel.
This simple step alone allows Google to index and understand your images and show them prominently in the image search results. This is a simple, beginners trick that has help tons of stores we work with.”
MARK PROSSER, FIT SMALL BUSINESS
“No matter what your industry, link building is always going to be a crucial strategy for increasing your search engine rankings and driving SEO traffic. One great way to get news links is by answering “Help-a-Reporter-Out” (HARO) requests.
You do this by signing up for a mailing list online that goes out three times a day with questions from reporters. If they select your response, they’ll usually link to your site. By keeping an eye on daily HARO requests, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to contribute your expert opinion and build up links to your site”.
ORUN BHUIYAN, SEOCIAL
“Internally link wherever possible. This means both suggested products on each product page and linking within text (for example, link to other products or pages describing a product category within your site).
Add a glossary of content. It could be a series on all the product manufacturers, materials used in a product or industry terms. This easy-to-create content is valuable because it attracts links.
And more technical, if two pages use 70%+ of the same words, specify one as “canonical” of the other so you don’t have a duplicate content issue, which hurts SEO efforts“.
STEVE MORGAN, SEONO
“An unusual but very effective ecommerce link building tip that I came across a while back was a client of mine who would make a donation to charity with every major sale. They sold high-end musical instruments, and with every large purchase they would offer to sponsor an orangutan.
They got picked up by the local and regional press, on various charity blogs and on the Care For The Wild website itself, all linking back to their website and boosting their SEO. It’s a tactic I recommend with caution: don’t just do it for the SEO, do it because you want to help – the SEO is an added bonus”.
BOB BENTZ, ATS MOBILE
“Look for organizations that you are members of such as the Chamber of Commerce or an industry-specific organization. Contact local directories such as Best of the Web’s regional directory. Get interviewed by local bloggers—they are always looking for content to write about. Be sure you are listed on local sites that are mobile-centric such as Yelp and Foursquare.”
CHAD REID, JOTFORM
“For DIY tips, really consider the content you create. If you’re selling something that’s already on the market, don’t use manufacturer’s copy for the product description. Be inventive and explain the product in your own words. That tip might seem simple enough, but it will demonstrably increase the searchability of your pages“.
ALAN GREER, FUZE
“All popular ecommerce platforms (e.g. Magento, Shopify) include the ability to add or edit the most basic SEO elements. Basic page-level SEO is fairly easy to understand, and implement, and there are many fantastic online resources to use as guides.
At a minimum, do some keyword research, get familiar with what search engines require in terms of structure, character limit and best practices, and add a unique Title Tag and Meta Description for each page of your website.
NICHOLAS NOBLE, VERSIQUE
“If all of your individual item pages have similar title tags you are going to struggle at winning within search results. I recommend optimizing for manufacturer and part number if applicable. These terms have higher purchase intent and are more specific to the product than “Air Filter 24×24”. (Note: Do your research! Use the Google AdWords free Keyword Planner to make sure the manufacturer and part number have search volume.)”.
DAVID HUNTER, NOOGA LABS
“Good news! Tools exist to check if content is considered duplicate content. My favorite is probably SEM Rush – you use the Audit feature to uncover any potential issues. Another great tool is Copyscape. This will allow you to see if the same copy/content is on another site.
There are many different ways someone can navigate to a product on your site. Some examples being holiday promotions or product spotlights, on-site searching by product name or brand, or by clicking through a product category. All of the individual paths you take to a product has it’s own URLthat is competing with other URLs, so you inevitably lower the search rank for these items.
A way around this problem is to identify a canonical URL.
BRITTNEY HANSEN, FREELANCE SEO SPECIALIST
“There are a number of great tools a small eCommerce business can use for SEO. A really great free SEO toolbar I have used is SEO Book Toolbar. It basically does everything the SEOMoz toolbar does, but it’s free. I use this tool to evaluate websites to partner with for link building to improve our organic search results.
Here are some other free SEO tools I used to check backlinks Majestic SEO, which is a really helpful backlink checker, you can use this to go after sites that link to a competitor another good one is Backlink Watch.
ERICA TEVIS, LITTLE THINGS FAVORS
“A tip is not to delete discontinued items from their catalogs. First, old pages may rank well within the search engines and may still get visitors. Customers could still be looking for the product long after it has been gone. Capitalize on this opportunity by suggestive selling them other items that may be similar in nature.
SEO is always changing and if you plan on doing it in house, invest in something like MOZ – for a monthly subscription it can help you better understand how to get your landing pages optimized, where traffic is coming in from and help you monitor your competitors”.
BRANDON MACIEL, BRIGHT HAUS
“When utilizing DIY SEO, ecommerce merchants often overlook the importance of keyword research. Use a tool like Google’s Keyword Planner, identify 5 to 10 relevant keywords that you would like to target. Be sure to include both short and long tail keywords. After identifying your target keywords, implement them throughout your content, page titles, meta descriptions, etc. This will help convince search engines like Google, that your website is more relevant to your targeted keywords than your competitors, in return, helping you rank higher in search engine results”.
BRIAN NIEBLER, THE SITE EDGE
“Let’s say for instance one of your products is a “travel mug”. If we look up “travel mug” in the Google keyword planner, it shows there’s over 22,000 searches per month and is highly competitive. It’s going to be very difficult to rank your product page for such a broad and competitive keyword term.
However, say your product is a “ceramic coffee travel mug” which is a lot more specific and less competitive. I see in the keyword planner that this term has only 590 searches, but you can rest assured these searches are all laser targeted for that specific type of travel mug.
KARI DEPHILLIPS, THE CONTENT FACTORY
“First, it’s absolutely critical that you research the right keywords before you get started. We’ve written a complete guide for people to follow, which can be viewed here.
Use HARO to increase your brand’s exposure and secure a network of high quality backlinks. I recently conducted an experiment where I “went hard at HARO” for a month and kept track of the results. In that month, I was quoted in six stories for different publications — some of those got republished, so I ended up with 11 high quality backlinks from reputable websites.
MICHAEL PEGGS, MARCCX MEDIA
“According to the 2015 Ranking Factors report by Moz links continue to show one of the strongest associations with higher rankings out of all ranking factors. Seek links from bloggers, influencers and social media stars within your industry. You can also use tools like Ahrefs to analyze the links of your competitors and attack those sources as well.
Sitemaps are an easy way for retailers to directly tell search engines about the product pages on their websites that are available for crawling. You can use a WordPress plugin like Yoast to set-up a sitemap and then sign-up for Google Webmaster Tools and submit it to Google. The entire process should take you 10 minutes”.
WAYNE BARKER, BOOM ONLINE
“When running competitions, instead of hosting them on your blog, or on a standalone page, feature them on a (relevant) product or category page so you can bring link equity into the areas and pages you want to rank.”
DANIELLE HOHMEIER, ATOMICDUST
“Use plugins like Yoast for WordPress to easily update the meta titles and descriptions on your website to include those key words and phrases. Claim your social media accounts or directory listings to include accurate information and a link to your website.
Try to update your website with 2,000 words per month. This could be blog posts, or one long white paper, or adding descriptions to products and services. “Content” can take many forms, but search engines like when websites are maintained and updated frequently with updated information”.
BROCK MURRAY, SEOPLUS+
“In terms of mobile searches, it is critical to make sure your e-commerce website is mobile-friendly. I can’t emphasize this enough. People not only do product research on their mobile device, they’re ready to buy. If your site does not offer a friendly experience, the customer will go somewhere else. There’s no excuse not to be mobile friendly, because all you really need is a product image, a simple description, and a way to buy now.
MARCUS MILLER, BOWLER HAT
“Look at your site using a crawling tool such as Screaming Frog and optimise all page titles and meta descriptions. This is SEO 101 but whilst looking at the big picture these granular details are often overlooked.
Pay attention to Google Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools) – the information provided here is direct from Google. You can spot problems with optimisation, site speed, mobile friendliness, securityand implement simple changes that will make a difference.
Conduct a content audit – the latest version of Screaming Frog allows you to link Google Analytics and view engagement data for each page. With this simple tool you determine which pages users are engaging with and derive opportunities to improve content and maximise potential of pages that are already performing well.
ROB WATSON, CLICK TO SALE
“To write a good title tag you should start with the specific, and then add generic words afterwards – eg “Samsung LED TV – LED Television”. This will give you a good chance of ranking well for specific terms, whilst also ranking reasonably well for more generic terms.
If your site has very specific products with SKUs or product codes that are the same for competitors, you should even consider getting these in to your title tag. For example if you stock a product like “Samsung UE32H6400” you should include this as part of the title tag“.
RYAN BERKNESS, PR CAFFEINE
“Internal Linking – link to relevant pages within your own content naturally. 1-3 times per article on your site to the pages you want to rank well. Hunt down and remove pages with less than 200 words of content – Google will penalize your entire domain if you have too many of these pages. Install Google+ Authorship on the site by applying the rel=author to ensure scrapers can’t rank for your own content. Use GTmetrix to test, get it to load in less than 2 seconds.
FARHAD DIVECHA, ACCURACAST
“Structured data is a markup language that allows search engines to recognize certain snippets of information on your website (such as the pricing, rating, shipping info, etc. of a product); it then present these snippets on the search results pages without the user having to click through to your website.
This is a great way to catch the user’s eye and encourage them to click through to your website: for example, if you type “LG 32lf580v” into Google, you will see that Tesco, LG and PriceSpy all have structured data markup on this product, which provides useful information about the price and the customer rating”.
MARK WILSON, ACRO MEDIA
“Make sure your title tags and meta descriptions are descriptive and makes your users want to click. A great site for testing how they will look in Google is the search snippet optimization tool.
Something technical that every ecommerce site owner should do is make sure that the foundation of their site is strong. The main things I immediately look for whenever a new client comes in is site structure, crawlability and backlinks. Any problems with those 3 things can really hinder any sort of SEO work done on top of them”.
DALLAS MCLAUGHLIN, THE JAMES AGENCY
“The best way to measure your SEO results is to build an SEO Dashboard within your existing Google Analytics account. Google Analytics is a daunting platform, so having a go to resource to monitor just organic search traffic is extremely helpful in quickly gauging your SEO success, as well as generating new content ideas for future blog posts and content marketing.
Not sure how to build your own dashboard? Feel free to use my template here.
Written by Matt Warren
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