When it comes to your website, there’s never a bad time to think about about how to improve your search engine optimization (SEO). But with the holiday shopping season fast approaching, now might be the best time to start implementing some SEO best practices, especially if you operate an online store. It’s no secret that if your website employs good SEO, you’ll have a better chance of attracting visitors via search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo. But the thing is...not everyone knows how to do this.
In this example, the links “Home,” “Men’s Bikes,” “Women’s Bikes,” “Bike Accessories,” “About Us,” and “Contact” are all part of the universal navigation. Since any page you add to your website will include a link to those pages, they become your most important web pages to search engines.
So how do you know what links to put in your universal navigation? Website usability testing often includes a method known as “card sorting,” which helps understand potential product and category groupings. If you have an online store, or you’re looking to build one, start by writing out each of your products on individual note cards. Next, group different products together based on their similarities. Once you’ve done this, you should have a set of product categories. It’s these main categories that should become part of your universal navigation.
Additionally, online store owners should include sub-pages under each main category page, and then individual products under those sub-pages (e.g. Mountain Bikes > Trek Bikes > X-Caliber 9.). If your website and online store employs this style of navigation, you’ll help search engine crawlers, as well as visitors, easily understand how to navigate your website.
For product pages in particular, your on-page SEO should focus on the products themselves (not broader keywords). Here’s a best practice guide for product pages and on-page SEO:
If you’re a visual person, here’s an example page (with text bubbles) showing the page’s title tag, meta description, and H1 tag. Remember: on-page SEO is mostly behind the scenes in a web page’s source code; the title tag and meta description won't be readily apparent to most visitors.
In case you didn’t notice, this product page also has a unique product description. Product descriptions are another important part of on-page SEO, so let’s go deeper into that.
Another important step to remember when uploading images to your website is to keep the file sizes as small as possible (without compromising the quality). Google and other search engines use website speed as an actual ranking factor. If you need help with understanding image file sizes and how to lower them, visit our post: Web Graphics for Beginners: A Best Practices Handbook.
Note: Online store owners don’t need to be professional photographers or pay exorbitant fees for them—there are ways of shooting great product photos with your smartphone.
Social signals continue to be an important factor in how a website ranks within search engines. According to Searchmetrics’ Rank Correlation 2013 study, “well positioned URLs have a high number of likes, shares, tweets and plus ones and specific URLs stand out in the top search results with a very high mass of social signals.” So if you’re selling products in an online store, make it easy for your visitors to share your products on their social media profiles.
I would suggest taking the time to implement social media buttons on all of your web pages, including your product pages. On Jimdo sites, you can also make it easier to share on Pinterest by enabling Pinterest sharing in the Photo Element. If someone shares a page from your website, think of it as free advertising for you and your website. Jimdo users can visit our Support Center to learn more about integrating social media functions.
Even though there are many layers to good SEO, you really can take those first important steps without a lot of hassle. Do this SEO housekeeping now, and you'll set your site up for success in the future.
Questions? Let me know in the comments section.
Inbound Marketing at Jimdo
Jesse joined Jimdo USA in December 2013. He focuses on spreading the word about Jimdo with his inbound marketing skills. In his free time, Jesse enjoys trying new restaurants, planning his next international vacation, and reading Russian literature. He also loves everything Pittsburgh.