The lure of the internet is almost too strong to resist if you are a technologically-savvy entrepreneur. Each holiday season you watch as Cyber Monday expands in leaps and bounds, with the writing now on the wall declaring someday it may be an even larger commercial juggernaut than Black Friday. More and more people around the world have access to consistent internet service, and are now comfortable with the security websites put in place to handle banking and other financial transactions. So if you have products to sell, building an e-commerce site is truly a no-brainer. It’s a fantastic way to reach a massive consumer base on a mom and pop shop budget, and you can easily set up credit card and shipping access for all of your customer’s needs. But there’s a ton of competition out there, so you can’t expect to build your site and see the revenue just roll in without any work whatsoever. You’ve got to utilize a smart and targeted SEO strategy. And since the search engines are constantly updating, it’s all too easy to make missteps that cost you time and money. Here are five of the most common SEO errors you should be aware of when running your e-commerce website.
One of the most common issues you’ll come across is if you don’t properly structure your domain name. Basically consider your homepage (and therefore your domain name) the hub off of which everything else builds. You’ve got to have landing pages that link back to the homepage. The more redirecting pages, the better the search engine rankings. You’ll also minimize any red flags due to duplicated content. So get those redirects in place, linking through to a clear and quality root domain.
Next, be careful of overstuffing your site with keywords. This is something that’s changed significantly since the ’90′s, when SEO work really took off. Back then you could improve your search rankings by packing your site with keywords. The more you had in place, the better your chances of a page one ranking in an organic search. But the algorithms of Google, Bing and the other search engines have changed. If your meta keywords are overboard, the search engine will recognize your efforts and cut you off. So cap your keyword phrases at seven or less, and don’t use the same keyword more than three times to insure you aren’t flagged.
On today’s internet, content is truly king. Original content is what brings people to websites and gets them to share it with friends. The SEO expert often couldn’t care less about content, but you’ve got to make sure your navigation landing pages feature original work. The better and more unique the content on your page, the better your ranking will be. Obviously this doesn’t come up as frequently with an e-commerce site, at least not as often as it would with a blog. But that also makes it harder for you to take advantage of search rankings. So don’t worry so much about links, and focus on unique content.
Another frequent error is holding an unrealistic expectation about the keywords and phrases you target. You may zero in on keywords that provide you with a ton of traffic, but that doesn’t mean your little site can compete in that market. The goal is to create a website with the highest authority possible, and that comes from dominating certain keywords even if they are niche. Focus on the long tail and be as targeted as possible, to make sure your work is quality.
Finally, make sure the image files you use for your products are correctly labeled for SEO. There’s a right way and a wrong way to name the image files as well as the attributes. So instead of using the product SKU number as the image name, use a phrase that describes the product. Think about the keywords you are going after, and the market you are hoping to lure with your e-commerce solution. If the image names and descriptions will also appeal to those parties, they’ll help your search results.
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This post was submitted by Sarah Harris.