SEO. The mere mention of it can illicit a groan from even the most enthusiastic online shop owners. That, or a puzzled look. It’s unfortunate that such an important part of getting your online brand’s name on the map is shrouded in such mystery -- and it doesn’t have to be that way!
We’ve compiled The Beginner’s Guide to SEO to give you and all SupaDupa online store owners a reference guide that you can refer back to again and again. Part 1 will cover the basics, while Part 2 will give you tips, tricks, and suggestions for how to execute your own SEO plan to boost traffic to your website and ultimately boost sales at your online store!
When I was first starting out in the wonderful world of online marketing, I asked an ecommerce expert to explain SEO to me. He started with the usual “optimising your site so it can easily be indexed” bit, and my eyes started to glaze over. “Can you try explaining SEO to me like I’m 5!?”
His answer was perfect, and I’ve always kept it in mind since then:
“SEO is what we do to get Google to like us”
Getting search engines like Google to ‘like’ you -- that is, to think that you are relevant enough to rank you high up in the search results when someone searches for your branded keywords -- is an entire industry, and for good reason. You probably do at least 5 Google searches a day, easily, but when’s the last time you clicked on to the second page of search results? Google prides itself on delivering not just websites that might contain the words you searched for, but the most relevant results, and there are tons of factors (called “ranking factors”) that Google uses to decide who is the most relevant. Generally, websites that have a lot of views, a lot of outside links leading to it, and a lot of content rank higher than websites that don’t. There are loads more SEO “ranking factors,” but we’ll get to those soon.
Being on the first page of Google search results drastically boosts traffic to your online store, which means more potential customers. That’s what people on the internet mean when they tell you they can boost your SEO ranking, and that’s why it’s so important!
We already know that we want search engines like Google and Bing to rank you higher, which will cause more people to visit your online boutique and increase both your brand’s relevance and revenue. As an online brand, SEO is important for your success, full stop. But can’t you just describe your jewellery descriptions so Google knows you’re a jewellery shop?
No, and here’s why:
Imagine you post a picture of your jewellery, and describe it as “a beautiful, 24k gold bangle that evokes Bollywood and the Nile.”A jewellery-lover would know exactly what that means, but even today’s sophisticated search engine algorithms can’t parse that sentence. The picture of your gold bracelet would never get seen.
So, how do we ‘talk’ to Google and Bing instead? Keywords are a huge component of optimising your website to make it as easily as possible to be indexed by search engines. SEO keywords are clues about your website’s content that you leave for search engine “crawlers” (the Googlebots who are “crawling” around looking for websites that are relevant to a user’s search query). Without these clues, your website can easily get snubbed by Google, Bing, and the other search giants that you need to drive traffic to your online boutique.
Example by drinks company, Innocent use strong keywords in the product description which best describe their Perfectly Pink smoothies.
If you’re a SupaDupa shop owner, you can breathe easy -- you’re already halfway there. We want you to succeed, which means we’ve already done a ton of things that we know search engines like to see from online stores, so you don’t have to worry about them. If you’re not with SupaDupa yet, see if your ecommerce platform offers these two important features:
Search engines like sites that give visitors a positive visit, which means fast loading times. SupaDupa websites are Gzipped on the fly for fast loading.
All themes come with SEO keywords and tags built in and put in all the right places -- such as on images and links -- as any good SEO expert would advise. This means when you list a product like a pair of shoes, and choose that category, there is already a space for the material, shoe size, etc. You just need to plug the information in and your website makes itself indexable to Google all by itself.
There are literally thousands of “ranking factors” that search engines like Google and Bing use to determine whether a website is relevant to a certain query, and some of them you can’t even control. But here’s a list of the biggest factors to watch out for when you’re planning an SEO campaign.
Decide On The Things You Want Google To Index
Your content needs to be keyword-rich, but not spam
Always make content that makes sense to users and that your customers would actually want to read, instead of posting article after article packed with keywords. In fact, a really high keyword density can sometimes reduce your search engine ranking, as Google’s algorithm “punishes” pages that are packed with keywords but don’t offer any actual valuable content.
Find The Right Keywords!
Make sure that the keywords you’re paying attention to are actually what people are searching for.
Produce Fresh Content Regularly
This boosts your SEO because the more useful content you put out, the more relevant you will seem to search engines. It also offers more ways for people to find your online store, more links for others to link back to on their own websites and share -- all things that boost SEO.
Anchor Text, Meta Text, Titles And Headers Should All Have Your Keywords In Them
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. For more specific details about how to make these ranking factors work for you, and more factors that impact your SEO, head over to The Beginner’s Guide to SEO Part 2.
First, you’ll need to establish a baseline -- that is, see how well you are currently doing in regards to SEO -- so that you have something to compare to.
To do this, you’ll need to pick an SEO analytics programme. SupaDupa offers a very easy way to insert Google Analytics
You’ll want to record your current metrics for these categories:
This would be the number of visitors that your site gets.
Keyword Ranking Metrics
These metrics would show you how you compare to other websites when it comes to a specific keyword. This is huge for fine-tuning your keyword choices, as you might find that “artisan woodworking” isn’t working as well as “handcrafted wood carvings,” or something similar.
Number Of Keywords Is Also Important
You want to find out how many keywords are being used by search engines to index your site and sending people to your online store. The more, the better.
Number Of Link-Backs
Links on other websites that link back to your website, also plays a huge part in SEO. The more link-backs you have on blogs, social media, and other bookmarking sites, the more your SEO will improve. So, in turn, if your SEO is improving, you should see your link-back numbers increasing.
Conversions are a metric that you should check when trying to see if any new marketing, SEO, or social media campaign are working? Your conversion rate is the number of visitors to your web shop who turn into customers, so calculate it by dividing your total number of visitors by the total number of sales. The best way to see if your SEO strategy is working is to keep your eye on the bottom line, and see if it improves!
You’ll need to come up with a plan, which is where Part 2 of SupaDupa’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO comes in. We’ll have tips and tricks you can implement to let Google know you’re what customers are looking for, and cover the most important on-page ranking factors (the factors that you can control) that determine your SEO ranking. This includes how to optimise your headers, links, headlines, titles, meta descriptions and more to boost your search engine ranking!