On Page Optimization is the most effective and least expensive SEO process you can do for your store. Today, I will attempt to give shop owners a crash course on how to optimize your pages. The elements for optimizing pages in really very deep… But lets scratch the surface and get you started.
First and foremost, toss out your 1997 thoughts on search engine optimization and read the collective wisdom of 37 leading SEO professionals. I promise you will be shocked and educated. I honestly believe the biggest factor holding back shop owners is a mess of misinformation and “good old fashioned” failure to move forward from initial and outdated beliefs regarding SEO. Lets get started.
When optimizing a page…. The single most effective element is your title tag. This is the words between the <title> tags in the head of your page. Yep, really, not the keyword tag. When optimizing your title tags the rules for success are really very simple, so don’t over think them. Keep it short and sweet, avoid junk words like and/or/if and make it relevant. The reasons for each of these metrics is really very logical. Keep it short to help keep it potent, 65 characters or less. Junk words, or words you really have no desire to rank for, have no business here. Lastly, write the greatest page title ever and it means NOTHING if it is not highly relevant to the page’s content.
The next most effective page elements are heading tags. Heading tags are most effective when short and relevant as well. Many people will tell you to make your heading tags match your title tag… But I beg to differ. I suggest your heading tags be relevant to the text following them. The page’s main heading, <h1> should be about the page as a whole. This tag can match your title tag if you insist, but I rather suggest you use a different phrase construction than your title tag contains for maximum effectiveness.
Next, look at your page containers (paragraphs). Are your thoughts logically separated in to these containers? Or are your paragraphs a jumbled mess of tidbits with no real thought process? When writing paragraphs for SEO and users too, the paragraph text should be all about the same or closely related subject. Any decent writer can tell you this. The last thing you should note with regard to your paragraph structure is the first sentence. The first sentence of your paragraph is very important for many reasons, including engaging the reader, allowing scanning of the page by the reader and giving Google a great snippet to display for key phrases in that paragraph. Many times, Google and other search engines won’t display your Meta description as its just not relevant to the search query and they will grab a snippet to display instead.
Apples and oranges. Pages are documents, not books. So if your product pages, for example, contain too much unrelated text about other products or subjects, then you have not only confused your visitors, but likely Google as well. Simple rule of thumb…. If you are getting off topic on a tangent, then create that copy on a different page and link to it.
Link text is a very sore subject for me. I see shop owners spamming directories with 5 word, completely useless spam titles for their link, but very commonly fail to link well to themselves on site. So spamming is out, keep your link text short simple, descriptive and relevant. Do not link to your pages with link text like “here” or “click here”. At least use a proper link text when linking to yourself.
The amount of content on a page is a constant struggle for shop owners. We know that many times too much text can harm the page real estate and flow… But we also know that doesn’t matter if visitors never find the page either. Add the fact that shopping cart software predominantly uses a dynamic template to display pages, creating mass duplication for pages lacking the proper amount of unique textual content and we really have a paradox. My suggestion is that you create the most unique content you can, without damaging the shoppers ability to shop. Only you can decide this ratio and it will likely be different from page to page. Quick hint here…. Copying manufacturers descriptions is duplication as well. So, no excuses, to rank well and provide the necessary content to be successful…. You will have to write it.
Optimize your images for search and load speed. The web is very unforgiving with regard to slow pages… Lets face it, if you visit a restaurant and have to wait, you are not likely to chuck the idea and leave to find another… Web pages, not so much, they do not have to get in their car and drive away… CLICK and Goodbye. Keep images as small as possible (file size) and make sure you limit the images on your pages to a reasonable number. Name them logically without spamming and set them to display the size they are or thumbnail.
Lastly, I suggest you use a unique and helpful Meta description for your pages. This description should be relevant to the page’s content and contain less than 200 or so characters of natural language to help generate a click through from search results. Your Meta description is your opportunity to get that click. This text is not used to rank your pages, and has no bearing on SEO in that manner… But, this can be the saving grace for any page. We know that people click in to pages from search results which grab their attention…. So here’s your shot.
Notice I didn’t mention your Meta Keyword Tag? Well, okay to be fair use it… But limit your hungry spamming tendencies to 10 keywords or less.
I know I say this all the time, but if you answered our phone here you would understand…. Your online store is a business, it requires hard word and dedication. You are not entitled to search rank and success, you must in fact earn them.