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How to Make Your E-commerce Website Google Friendly with Onsite SEO

How to Make Your E-commerce Website Google Friendly with Onsite SEO

In case you missed Brooklyn’s largest gathering of e-commerce professionals at JCON last month, our very own Founder + Chief Strategist Danny Gavin spoke at the conference on all things SEO for E-commerce. Specifically, how to optimize and make your website Google-friendly through keyword research, what page factors you should consider and how to deal with duplicate content in the current realm of SEO and e-commerce. So let’s dive right into a few excerpts from Danny’s talk!

A Quick Guide on Digital Marketing Today

Traditionally marketing was interrupting people with advertisements – billboards, commercials, etc. Along came the internet, which allows us to be in front of people when they want something and are looking for it. Marketing needs to adapt to this. This doesn’t mean to throw away traditional marketing though. Marketing is kind of like investing in the stock market. To put all your money into SEO or all your money into Google Ads would be silly because often things change and therefore strategies have to change. With online marketing, it’s an open playing field and it is permission based. You’re speaking to people when they want to be spoken to. You’re not interrupting them.

Why is SEO important?

Moving into search, it isn’t about what you are offering, it is about what people are searching for. This concept can be hard for businesses. Imagine if Coca-Cola put two billion dollars into its website, but they forgot that in a certain part of the country, people don’t refer to Coca-Cola as Coke but they refer to it as Pop. So, what happens when that guy in his college dorm room in Chicago is searching for the best Pop drink? Is Coca-Cola’s website going to show up? Now, this is just a parable – we know Google is much smarter than that and they can figure this difference out. However, this example gives you an idea of how businesses are so often stuck in their own head. ‘We know what our product is. We know what people are searching for.’ They forget to look at what people are actually searching for and making sure that those keywords and that content are found on their website.

What is SEO? It is a process where you can influence natural search results so that your web pages appear higher for the keywords you would like to rank for. In other words, what this means is making it very clear to Google what your site and what your web pages are about. If it is very clear to Google, then when someone is searching for a red shirt and your page is about a redshirt then there’s a good chance Google will show it. But if Google doesn’t clearly know what you are about or your website doesn’t have specific pages on individual topics, then why should Google show your site?

It is important to remember though – SEO is not a fast thing. Not about buying keywords. It’s not shady and it’s not about calling up Google and asking how to get your site to the first page.

The Foundation of SEO – Keyword Research

Keywords are the building blocks of search. In e-commerce, it is important to think about product pages and the keywords on the product pages, but don’t forget about all of the research that people do. What is the content that you should create to answer those questions people are asking?  People aren’t always directly saying “I am looking for X product for the best price.” They could be saying “What is the best type of phone for a doctor?”, etc. Thorough keyword research and grouping is crucial for successful SEO, below is a brief outline of this process:

(View Danny’s Talk to learn more in detail of this process)

  1. Conduct keyword research: through keyword discovery, and utilizing tools like UberSuggest, Answerthepublic.com, etc.
  2. Choose keywords with three essential qualities: high search volume, how easy is it to compete in search engine results and intent.
  3. Group keywords: Ideally, you should gather three to five keywords in each group (sometimes, however, it could be more). Ideally, there should be some sort of common denominator or relationship among the keywords of each group.
  4. Add contextual keywords: This is the idea of filling the gaps in the visitor’s knowledge.

7 Page Factors You Need to Know to Make Your E-commerce Website Google-Friendly

  1. URL structure – A URL should be relative to the page’s content. A shorter URL is much better.
  2. Meta title tags – “Pump up” your titles. Use words like guide, awesome, new, fast, crazy, etc. which helps motivate people to actually want to click on your site’s listing in Google.
  3. Meta descriptions – Think of these as advertisements. They can even include promotions to get people to click to go forward.
  4. Body copy – Have good product descriptions, key features, benefits, customer reviews, and frequently ask questions. Google favors pages with more content than less.
  5. Rich snippets – Markup the page so that all of the product’s attributes, details and information is very clear to Google because then Google knows “Oh, you’ve got a 5-star review, now let’s show these 5 stars in our search results on top of your listing!”
  6. Image optimization – Never have an image labeled as ABCD123.jpeg. Even the filename itself needs to contain the product name and/or keywords when uploaded to your site
  7. Internal linking –  It’s important to have links going from one page to the next, one topic from the next etc., especially on and between different blog posts. When the site is interlinked, Google has a better idea of what each and every page is about.

What is Duplicate Content and How to Fix it

Duplicate content is a serious issue that a lot of e-commerce websites experience especially those that are on the Magento platform.

Google sends its spider to a website where it goes around and searches the pages, reading what each page is about. Imagine if it goes to one page and thinks ‘Great page.’ Then it goes to the next page and says ‘This second page is very similar to the first page.’ And then it goes to a third page and says ‘Oh man, this page is very similar to those first 2 pages. It looks like everything here is kind of similar. I’m going to leave now.’ What this means is you could have 10,000 pages but Google’s only looked at 5 of them because it appears that there are many duplicates.

In order to fix a duplicate content issue you need to use one of the 4 possible solutions: Remove, Redirect, Block or Clarify.

  1. Remove: If there is a duplicate, remove the duplicate page and replace it with a 404 page.
  2. Redirect: a 301 redirect is a way for you to tell a user’s browser that a page no longer exists and instead redirects it to another page.
  3. Block: There’s a file called the robots.txt file where you can actually tell Google’s (or any other Search Engines) spider where it can and where it can’t go. Alternatively, there is a way to block individual pages by adding a meta no-index tag onto the page.
  4. Clarify: One of if not the most popular fix is the Canonical Tag. This clarifies to Google what is the true source of a page, thereby telling Google, “yes we know this is a duplicate page, however, here is the original page. Please go ahead and give all the credit and index that page.”

In short, by understanding the ever-changing state of internet marketing, conducting keyword research and understanding the page factors that make your website Google-friendly –you too can optimize your site’s SEO for E-commerce success!

Click here to watch Danny’s talk in full at JCON in Brooklyn: Making the Most of SEO with Danny Gavin

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