SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a process that many shop owners are obsessing over… But few begin to understand. Many shop owners spend countless hours tweaking and modifying their web sites, adding keyword rich content and spending hours creating back links, so that their site will rank higher with search engines. It is no myth that over 90% of all web users use search engines to find and visit websites on a regular basis, but should shop owners and web developers build and optimize sites for search engines, or for their visitors?
The answer to this question is very simply, when you build an online store, you are not targeting search engine crawlers, you are targeting real people… You know human visitors. You should build your website for humans, not search engines. The whole purpose of building an online store is so that you can get traffic and sales. Without traffic, your store is worthless. No matter how many gadgets, features and functionality you add, without web traffic, your design and functionality are lost. Sure, search engines can bring in traffic, but stores that are designed for search engines, are often not at all designed for human visitors and all the traffic that your store will be worthless. Shoppers will visit and then soon leave your store and not return again. Return visitors are critical for the success of any store, they initiate high quality word of mouth traffic and continued sales growth.
One great, and unfortunately a SERIOUSLY common example of optimizing for search engines without regard to visitors is shop owners who still tend to stuff tons of keywords in to their Meta-Tags. This 1997 style technique is a very bad practice, very ineffective and can even harm your current and future search success. Moreover, this technique formally know as black hat technique, now known as antique as well, does not benefit the users and will yield no measurable benefit for search rank.
Build your store for humans. If you have pages that are overly keyword dense, the quality of the writing will not be as high as it should, and quite frankly, many of your visitors will be annoyed if you keep overusing words to get your web site higher in the search rankings for these terms. They will leave your web site and most likely never return. If you create excellent content for people to read and it is well written, chances are you will get many more return shoppers and sales too. The more people that visit, share and link to your store, the more popular it well become and naturally, it will not only rank better in search, but be able to sustain its rank better long term.
Also another irritating thing we see shop owners doing, is spending hours building links for SEO, when honestly, that time could be better spent on adding features and content to your shop which would prompt more people to link to you naturally… You know, because they like your site.
In conclusion, although spending tons time on SEO can increase search engine rankings in the short run, the visitors you get from your SEO efforts will not be very helpful if they find a shell of a website to actually use when they arrive. If you build your web store for people, your traffic will grow organically and search engine rankings will rise naturally and in a more sustained manner. Create content and features for your visitors and reap the benefits in your search rank. Understand, the need is for both…. But we see shop owners get their teeth in to SEO and never EVER consider a shoppers experience again. For the humans first…. Always. Make this your rule and grow your search rank naturally.
There is no magic trick to rank and convert sales…. Too bad there isn’t just a pill you can take? C’mon… This is your business we are talking about right? Ask any successful business owner and you will find one common trait in the success of their business… Hard work. Web stores are not the exception to the hard work rule…. There is no free lunch. Work hard and grow your business with the dedication it deserves.