Written by Raúl Carrión
In an online store, much of the success is linked to its visibility on the Internet, i.e. its presence in search engines, social networks and mentions on relevant websites. Focusing on search engine visibility, we must differentiate between paid ads (Google AdWords) and natural search results -what we usually call “search engine optimization”-. In this article we will see what search engine optimization consists of and what you can do yourself to improve the visibility of your e-commerce without the need to resort to a specialized agency.
What is search engine optimization?
Search Engine Optimization is a marketing strategy whose objective is to occupy the first positions in search engines for searches -words entered in the search field by our potential customers- related to the products or services we provide. It consists of making a series of changes and improvements in the structure and information of a website in order to increase its visibility in the organic results of the main search engines. Therefore, in order to be successful, we must have as much information as possible:
- The terms with which our potential customers search for our products / services.
- The aspects that Google values to position a website better or worse.
Definition of the target audience
First things first. For any marketing strategy it is a fundamental requirement to have a clear idea of who our business is aimed at. We must ask ourselves who our potential customers are and put ourselves in the shoes of those individuals or groups of individuals who might be interested in our product or service. What moves them, what their interests are, how old they are, where they are from, what they do, etc. are just some of the questions we have to ask ourselves to start to get an idea of who is part of our target audience.
In one of our previous articles we talked at length about defining our target audience and conducting a keyword study, a must read if you are still in your infancy on this topic.
Having this clear, let’s learn a little more about what factors Google takes into account to rank our website.
Disciplines of search engine optimization
If we want to work on search engine positioning we can improve three different disciplines of our project: indexability, relevance and popularity. We will discuss each of them below:
It is the ease with which search engines can find and crawl the content of a website. In general, it refers to the technical aspects of the e-commerce platform. If we are not programmers, our chances of improving in this field will be limited to choosing the e-commerce platform that takes the most care of the technical aspects recommended by Google: pages accessible by search engine robots, loading time of the online store, possibility of generating meta tags, compatibility with mobile devices, etc. and much more. Therefore, I recommend taking the time to analyze, research and ask questions about which platforms include search engine optimization among their priorities.
This refers to how relevant our content is to the searches of our potential customers. As administrators of an online store this is where we can work the most. As I mentioned before, the first step is to analyze what terms our customers can search for and whether those terms generate a sufficient volume of searches to make our project viable.
To perform this task we must put ourselves in the shoes of our customers and imagine what they would enter in Google to get to a website that offers the products or services we offer. After this study we will complete a column of a spreadsheet with all the words we have collected.
In a second phase, we will analyze the competition to note for which words they are positioning themselves. We have several alternatives to obtain this information:
- Use the SEMRush tool. Entering the competitor’s domain will list the keywords where they have the most visibility.
- See what words they use to write their page title goals.
This data will also be added to the spreadsheet along with the keywords we already had. Next, we will eliminate the repeated words.
The next step is to find out if these words are capable of generating a sufficient volume of searches and what level of competition they have. This information can be obtained from the free Google AdWords: Keyword Planner, or from other tools, such as Übersuggest.
Once we have a list of keywords used by our potential customers we have to check that for each of them there is at least one page of our website that can be positioned -it is relevant-. The blog is great for this if among our list of words, in addition to product names, we have forms of use and related questions such as: “What to give a baby as a gift”.
Finally, we must optimize the texts and metadata of the pages so that they contain the keywords for which we want them to be positioned.
Finally, let’s focus on developing the popularity of our online store. All the above mentioned steps play an important role in the health of the popularity of any website, but there are also other techniques with which we can supplement its growth. Let’s take a look at some of them:
- Links. We will get natural and quality external links from other websites to our online store related to our sector. We will avoid links located in common parts of a site, known as sitewide links and over-optimized anchor texts. We will also take care to make a correct internal linkbuilding strategy to improve navigation and usability within our online store.
- Presence in social networks. We will create profiles in social networks highly frequented by our target audience, in which we will interact with our customers, updating them regularly with special promotions and other content of interest to them.
- Contents. In addition to the content for our online store, we will write additional content of interest to the user, which we will publish on our blog, for which we will use the keywords with potential that were not assigned or classified to the rest of the web architecture.
- Reviews. We will find opinion leaders in our sector, with whom we can establish a collaboration agreement for them to test our products and write reviews about them.
It is important not to fall into the use of techniques that could be qualified as negative for our popularity, such as the exchange or purchase of links or other forms of gaining popularity that are penalized by Google.
Summarized SEO task list
Now you have a global vision of how to work on the search engine optimization of your own online store page. As you may be thinking, in any of the three disciplines you can go as deep as you want and more. But it is very important to know what the general rules of the game are.
Finally, I list the 6 key tasks to position your online store:
- Define your target audience by analyzing your customers and competitors, and generate a list of keywords for which you want to position yourself.
- Check that you have at least one page in your online store that can rank for one of these terms.
- Create new pages and blog articles for those search terms that are not yet present in your architecture.
- Optimize the contents of the pages to focus on these terms: content and metadata.
- Work on social profiles.
- Generate quality content that can be referenced by industry websites or social profiles.