Understanding how SEO works is important to every business.
As a marketer, whether you specialize in SEO or not, you’re going to use it one way or another. I can say it is a lot to learn and you have to do it.
Learning and applying it to help your website, blog and or store gain content rank.
It’s a tricky thing, SEO. One day you can use long tail keywords to drive traffic, the next you receive large spikes of traffic without even knowing what caused it. Then you try and figure it out.
You definitely need to get an understanding of the basics. It can feel a bit bewildering trying to establish all the potential factors in play and see how it works.
Shopify has a great YouTube that explains SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization and it's a measurable, repeatable process that is used to send signals to search engines that your pages are worth showing in Google's index.
In this video Helen M. Overland from Search
Engine People examines SEO basics and what it means for your business.
E-commerce SEO 101: What is SEO?
So what is SEO?
SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization, and there is nothing really mystical about it. You might have heard a lot about SEO and how it works, but basically what it is is a measurable, repeatable process that is used to send signals to search engines that your pages are worth showing in Google’s index.
Basically, Google uses a complex mathematical formula called an algorithm to give a score to every website and every search people to do in Google to figure out which website should rank best for what people are looking for. Think of the algorithm like a collection of empty buckets. One bucket gives you a score for the quality of your site, one bucket gives you a score for how many sites link to you, one bucket gives you a score for how people trust you. Your job is to fill up more buckets in the algorithm than any other website. You can affect your search engine ranking by having the highest score in terms of quality of your site, of having the highest score in terms of the authority of your website, of having the highest score in terms of the most trusted store for that search that people are looking for. The good thing is that there are hundreds of buckets, and for every single one of these buckets these scores put together in the algorithm to figure out where you rank is an opportunity for you to fill it up and rank better. So optimizing your site for search results really means getting the highest score in as many of these points as you can.
Now, some buckets are worth more than others, and the three main buckets that you need to be aware of for search rankings are quality, trust, and authority. So quality: what Google is trying to measure when they’re trying to figure out what sites should rank is offering something valuable or unique or interesting to googles searchers. For example good content - if you are selling t-shirts and you are using the same description that every other t-shirt seller is using on their website then you are not offering anything unique to Google’s searchers. Even though your t-shirts might look pretty cool, the content is the same as everybody else’s, so Google has no way of telling that your t-shirts or your t-shirt site are better than anybody else’s. Instead, offer people interesting content. For example: offer them the ability to personalize their t-shirt. Give them information on how to wash it. What’s the thread count? Is it stain resistant? Is this something you should wear in the summer or is it heavier for winter? Give people information, or even be more creative. Get people to share pictures of themselves wearing the t-shirt. Create a community of people who are interested in your product. Get a famous person to wear it and share that picture online. Do something different, do something unique. Show Google that you are different and better than the other search results.
Trust is another important bucket that you need to be aware of when you are trying to get your site to rank in Google. Google doesn’t want to show just any website to its searchers, it wants to show the best website to its searchers, and so it wants to show sites that are trustworthy. One thing Google has indicated it likes to do is penalize sites or stores or companies that consistently have poor reviews, so if you have many poor reviews, in time Google is going to figure out not to show your site in their rankings because Google doesn’t want to show those sites to their searchers. So prove to Google’s algorithm that you are trustworthy. Get other highly authoritative websites to link to you. Get newspaper articles, get industry links, get other trusted sites to link to you: partners, vendors, happy customers - get them to link to your website to show that you are highly credible and trustworthy.
And finally, the other really important bucket is an authority. Google wants to show sites that are popular. If they can show the most popular t-shirt seller to people looking to buy t-shirts online, that’s the site they want to show. So you have to convince Google - send them signals that your site is the most popular site for the kind of t-shirts that you sell. Fill this bucket by building a fan base. Build a social network, get people to link to you, get people to share your t-shirt pages on their social network saying ‘I want this!’, get people to comment, leave testimonials, show pictures of themselves wearing the product or using the product, Create a fan-base and then rally them to link to you and talk about you. That’s how you prove to Google that you are trustworthy and authoritative.
So if you think about it, SEO is really just a process of proving to search engines that you are the best site, the most authoritative, the most trusted, the most unique and interesting site that they can offer to their customer - the searcher. Get people to talk about you, produce good quality content, get people to link to you, and Google will be more confident that you are the best result that they can offer to their searchers, and that’s when you will start ranking on the first page of Google.
Killer SEO Checklist [Infographic] by the team at Capsicum Mediaworks, LLP
Publish High-Quality Content
You could learn and apply every single SEO trick in the world, but it won’t help you gain traffic unless you publish high-quality content on your website. You just have to create relevant posts, explain niche-related phenomena, and solve users’ problems.
This is why blog posts are getting longer – it takes more words to write a good analysis and cover themes from every angle. According to the research, the ideal blog post length is now around 1,600 words. However, the plain text can only get you so far.
Exploit multimedia content to make your content more attractive for an average user. For instance, product reviews generate by far the best results for online retailers. This type of video content allows users to learn more about your products or services, encouraging them to complete the purchase upon watching.
Install Yoast SEO (or a similar SEO plugin)
Functionality wise, it does a lot like create sitemaps, optimize metadata, apply “no-index” attributes to specific areas of your site, and much more.
In other words, it makes the daunting technical stuff less daunting.
If you’re not using WordPress or any of the other CMS’ supported by Yoast, then head over to Google and look for the “best SEO plugin for [your CMS].”
Install Google Analytics
Google Analytics is a free tool from Google. It lets you see how many people visit your site and how they interact with it.
To install it, sign up and paste the supplied tracking code into your website.
A lot of studies already revealed the importance of SEO and here are a few stats to prove it:
- As much as 93% of all traffic comes from a search engine.
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
- More than 60% of marketers say improving SEO and growing organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority.
- The first position on Google’s organic search results on the desktop has a 34% clickthrough rate.
EMBED VIDEOS FOR SEAMLESS ENGAGEMENT
While many people do attach images with their articles, they don’t even give videos a second thought. And this is immensely flawed. Why?
- 87% of online marketers use video contents. (They would certainly be seeing some kind of benefit, right?)
- More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube every day.
Videos are everywhere. If you scroll through your Facebook newsfeed, every next content is in video format.
Now, this doesn’t mean you turn yourself into a YouTuber or something. The text is still #1 content format on the web.
What you should do is leverage on the trend and craze for videos. Use it to boost your key website performance metrics.
An easy way to do that is to embed (YouTube) videos in your articles.
Now you don’t necessarily have to be the creator or owner of that video.
Just embed it in the post and give the video owner a credit right below it or in the footnote.
If the video is relevant, people will watch it.
This will directly boost your dwell time. And will also possibly reduce your bounce rate because the more time people spend on your website, the more likely they are to jump on the other webpages of the site.
Bearing all these figures in mind, it is not the issue of whether you should create a good SEO strategy for your website but rather how to do it most productively. SEO is by far the most important strategy in online business. It encompasses an entire set of principles that make your website more visible and attractive for Google searchers. Implementing these basic SEO principles will help you increase your website traffic, improving the odds of generating more sales.