There is no doubt about it: The degree to which people encounter your online shop and website via search engines – particularly Google – plays a decisive role in the success of your e-commerce activities.
This article cannot provide an exhaustive analysis of search engine optimisation (SEO). We would simply like to offer you some advice, and recommend that you consult the document ePages 5 and Search Engines for more details.
As the software manufacturer, we have already laid a solid SEO foundation for you. In addition, you have a wealth of options at your disposal – as shop or website operator – which will also attract the attention of search engines to your site. Here are our pointers:
• After completely setting up your online shop or webiste, you must register it with Google so that it can be indexed. Google and other search engines ignore online islands: your site must be linked to by other Internet pages (backlinks). The more pages on other websites which link to your site, the better. Go one step further by ensuring that linked websites focus on similar content (e.g. an article about housepets with a link to your shop’s page featuring pet food). Keep in mind that Google prefers pages it knows to ones it does not.
• Use networking platforms to publicize your shop or website. Bookmarks at stumpleupon.com and del.icio.us, as well as intelligently placed comments in industry-specific forums and blogs attract the attention of data disseminators and encourage additional links.
• You must never use unfair methods, which violate the policies of search-engine operators. The consequences of using unfair methods can be truly severe, as shown by Google’s recent punishment of link sellers.
• Use your own domain for your shop: If your shop is the main page of your company on the Internet, then the home page’s URL should be www.myshop.uk, for example. If you also have your own website, then you should at least create a subpage – such as www.shop.mycompany.uk or www.mycompany.uk/shop – which in turn links directly to your shop’s home page.
• Content, content, content: Not only flesh-and-blood visitors but also search engines like content. If a webpage has little truly interesting and utilizable text, then even Google will get bored! Therefore, describe your products clearly and accurately. Be sure to include in your text the same main terms which your potential customers will enter into search engines.
• Optimise your categories: Just as many humans navigate via categories to find products, so do search engines. Here, too, it is to your advantage if search engines become interested in a category because of its descriptions and images.
• Complement your actual offers (your products) with additional information in the form of content pages with general topics about your industry. And on these pages, you should – in turn – link to relevant products. Be sure to always use meaningful link labels instead of merely “Please click here!”.
• In the case of textual content, use keywords which clearly but not too narrowly relate to your product. Most search engine users enter phrases (e.g. “used car inexpensive”). Place your keywords at the beginning and at the end of texts.
• Modify and revise your pages regularly. The more frequently search engines detect changes, the more often they will visit your page; similar to people, engines prefer up-to-date websites to neglected relics.
Analyse your site’s content on the basis of the advice in this article and in the document referenced above. So every time you work on your shop or website, keep in mind that search engines are also key “customers”!