The E-Commerce Guide to SEO

Apr 9, 2015 by Jesse Ness, Ecwid Team
Posted Apr 9, 2015 by Jesse Ness, Ecwid Team

Every day, tens of millions of people look for products in search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. Competition is high when you consider that almost every business has a website competing for top positions of search-engine results pages (SERPs).

However, done well, the presence of your website in search results is a great way to attract free targeted traffic.

So make sure that search engines know about your website and online store — the higher your site is ranked in the search engines, the more traffic and potential customers you attract. Here’s our simple guide on everything you wanted to know about search promotion, but were too afraid to ask.

To get to the very essence of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), consider how an average person commits to becoming a bodybuilder. If you’re just starting out, you might begin with simple activities like brisk walking, light jogging, jumping rope, etc.

Over time, your walks turn into a rhythm of more intense activities, weight-training, and healthy eating — then, after a few months you might notice significant progress in your body’s condition. But, if you suddenly decide to stop training, you might feel yourself quickly get out of shape.

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If you think about your website and online store, you can apply the same thinking:

  1. Start training — build the foundation from your initial work on your website. At this stage it is necessary to have the components on your website that will effectively introduce it to search engines.
  2. Intensive training and buildup of body muscles — work directly above the shop. At this stage, we are focusing on achieving maximum results. Search engines should not just be aware of your website’s presence, they must like it. And if they like it, they will recommend it to your potential customers.
  3. Maintaining form — is the work to maintain and continuously improve website’s position in search engines’ ranking, because there is no limit to perfection. At this stage, we are trying to do everything possible keep search engines interested in your store, and always be in a good position in search results.

Your duty as a website owner is to build and maintain interest in your store so potential buyers are easily able to find it in search engines. But first things first.

Laying the SEO Foundation for Your Site

Most people start with creating a website before developing their store. This is an important step, because not only does your website serve as a kind of calling card, but you are able to develop your image and identity (or what you would consider to be your brand).

The store component of your website can be added later (as in the case of Ecwid, which allows your store to easily integrate into any existing website). But, when it comes to search engine optimization, you should start with your website.

Use intuitive site structure

Everything should be clear. Build your site structure so that it’s simple and user friendly, and give each item some meaning.

In other words, make sure you start by building a great site that’s informative and convenient for your visitors to find what they’re looking for, then you can focus on the visual appeal. The last thing you want is for a search robot or, even worse, a real client, to get lost on your site.

One important element on your site is your contact information. All search engines pay attention to whether there is contact information on the site, so be sure to add the address of your office or offline store and include access to a map. Integrating maps from Google will go a long way.

Use original content and include keywords

It should be clear and obvious for your website visitors what your company does, what services you provide and what products you sell.

You can also include some interesting content on your website like information or history about the company, as well as something that describes your company on your home page.

Original content can also come in the form of a blog, which can help bring more traffic to your site.

Use your own photos

Add keywords or links to your page on to your unique photos. This will enable those images, with links to your store , to be found by Google Image Search. Remember, the more unique your photo, the more chances to get into the search results.

Use links that are easy to understand

Make sure that the pages (or URLs) on your website are readable.

For instance, instead a randomly generated string of charters to a particular link on your page like this: www.example.com/xi!m#kci/&&&dwe, take the extra step in renaming pages into understandable words like: www.example.com/about/vacancies.

These types of URLs will be more convenient to read and people will immediately understand to which page the link leads. Many website builders will allow you to name or rename the new pages you create for your site.

Remove all references to non-existent pages

Make sure to do a little house cleaning every now and then. There’s no need to send a search robot or user where nothing exists — not only is it frustrating to users, but can make your site look bad. For instance, remove any pages that lead to a “404” or “not found” message or at the very least redirect those pages to your home page.

Apply unique meta elements

Meta tags describe the content of each page of your site, making it easier for search engines to understand what they contain so that they can be displayed on relevant search queries.

Still, ranking in Google, for example, has more to do with relevance, reputation and popularity, but when used properly, can still be useful. For instance, a few general tips for navigating meta tags: be sure to add tags to your website pictures, fill out the file “robots.txt” to communicate which pages on your site should or shouldn’t be indexed, and update your sitemap adding new resource pages.

List your site in directories

Website directories are a basic, yet common way for a new website to develop traction in search engines. However, it’s not enough to just get your website listed in high quality directories,  we recommend that you maintain good quality content on your website and constantly update it.

Beyond adding new pages with compelling content, you can also consider creating a feedback form or online chat to give visitors another good reason to stay on your website. The more time they  spend on your site, the greater the relevance of your site — this is one of the criteria that’s also important for search ranking.

Another way to add relevant content is by providing valuable information about the products in your store as well as your policy for processing orders or returns through separate legal pages. Finally, we recommend creating a page to share any updates or promotional items with your visitors — and be sure to add a link to the product page of this product in your Ecwid store.

SEO for Your Store

Once you’ve established your website and put in place all the necessary elements to be found by search engines, the next stage is to make sure it’s tuned just right to gain traction in search-engine results pages (SERPs) and begin driving sales to your store.

Imagine that a potential customer wants to buy a remote controlled toy plane online. He or she types into a search engine “remote controlled plane”, goes on a few sites, and finds your website to have the most compelling and in-depth information on the topic: full product descriptions, images, video and written reviews, price ranges and, most importantly, the ability to purchase a product.

Using a store builder like Ecwid, an AJAX application, allows you to add your store and be mirrored on several platforms (websites, blogs, social networks) simultaneously with a central point to manage each channel.

This type of solution is super convenient, however, until recently it has also been a problem, because historically, search engines would only see a store built on Ecwid translated as a few lines of code. The good news is that, Google started to offer the technology enabling content indexing for AJAX-applications, which has been adopted by the major search engines like Bing and Yahoo.

We at Ecwid have implemented this technology to made it possible to help stores get indexed by search engines.

Built-in SEO-function

Ecwid plug-ins for platforms like WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and Wix — are adapted so that the content for store pages meet the  requirements of search engines. As a paid plan Ecwid merchant, using  these plug-ins for stores embedded in these platforms will appear in the search results automatically with no additional required steps.

SEO for other platforms

If you have built your Ecwid store on your website using the code integration, you will need to perform some additional steps to get your store indexed by search engines.

Use the Knowledge Base article, which describes in detail each step required for this.

Remember that indexing is included on all Ecwid paid plans — Venture, Business or Unlimited.

Beautifying links in Ecwid

Earlier we talked about the fact that the site must have understandable URLs. In Ecwid we have already done that for your links — references contain the names of your products and categories.

This format of references has several advantages: first, the links of this type are better perceived by search engines; second, links are easier to spread through social networks; and third, links are more understandable by visitors to your store.

In addition to the above advantages in Ecwid, remember that your store can and should use the same techniques as in the site:

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Search engines pay great attention to indicators such  as the behavior of users on your site. Here are a few tips to get more visitors to your store and help your position in search engines:

Add your store on a separate page

Use your home page as a teaser of what’s in your store rather than showing all your products on your home page. Create interesting banners or ads with beautiful pictures of your products for your  the main page and mount them with links to pages or categories of products in your store.

Customize the details of your store

Ecwid stores seamlessly blend into any website, but the details can be further changed to better match the design of your website. To avoid the impression that your store is somehow divorced from the rest of your site, consider tweaking your store design.

Search engines see how users behave during the transition from one page to another, so a single site design and store not only keep visitors loyal, but also help ranking in the SERP — search engines will not see any major changes to the user behavior on the site when you go to the store page.

Read about how to change the design of our knowledge base or use the ready-made solutions.

Use search widgets and categories

Having a menu with tabs can help visitors navigate through a store by showing the main categories of products. While having a search field can help visitors quickly find specific products for which they may be searching.

Support for results

The competition is growing every day and, therefore, to stay in a good position takes maintenance. So, don’t let all your hard work to make it to the top of search results slip away. Keep track of what products resonate with your customers, from where your customers come, and their behaviors once in your store.

In assessing the behavior of users on the site, will find a variety of useful. Google Analytics is a popular tool, which you can easily integrate into your site and Ecwid store.

We hope that some of the basic advice shared in this post will help you adapt your website and store to be well positioned in the search engines. While it may not happen overnight, with a good plan and execution, in time  you’ll see an increase in site traffic and, more importantly, an increase in sales. Train and enjoy the progress!

Happy Selling!

About The Author
Jesse is the Marketing Manager at Ecwid and has been in e-commerce and internet marketing since 2006. He has experience with PPC, SEO, conversion optimization and loves to work with entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.

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