Demystifying SEO for Ecommerce: Your Top Questions Answered

By | August 13, 2019


– [Alison] Hello everybody and welcome to
Demystifying SEO for Ecommerce, your questions answered. We have an incredible
turnout today and I really just want to start by thanking you guys for taking time
out of your busy schedules to join us. We said it was going to be awesome, it’s
going to be awesome. We promise to make it worth your time. My name is Alison. – [Grace] And I’m Grace. – [Alison] And we are both Search
Marketing Specialists on Volusion’s internal SEO services team. We work with
other SEO, social media, paid search, shopping feed experts and a team of
ecommerce marketing consultants. So out number one goal as a team is driving
merchant success. Here at Volusion, we do get a lot of questions from our merchants
about SEO. We actually asked our customer experience team for the most common
questions they get regarding SEO. And we’re going to start off by answering
those here for you today. – [Grace] Yeah, that’s right. We’re just
going to help you wrap your arms around it a little but better. Today we’re going to
start by giving you a brief overview of some basic SEO principles. So no matter
what your level is so far, we’ll get you up to speed. And then we’re going to cover
how you can use them easily and effectively with Volusion’s different
software fields. Then we’re going to discuss backlinks and how to get them. And
we’ll also give you some ins and outs on the popular Google SixPack. We’ll also be
reviewing some important metrics to keep in mind as you’re monitoring your store.
And then go through some easy SEO action items that you can do if you just have 15
minutes each day. So go ahead and message your question in as they pop-up and be
sure to stick around. Because at the end, we’re going to have a Q and A session in
case you still have any burning questions about your own situations. And we’re also
going to be sharing some exciting promotions that are going on. As well as
details on how to be entered to win some awesome free SEO audits and giveaways that
our team will be working on for you. So be sure to stay tuned. – [Alison] All right, so just SEO can be
confusing, we get that. There’s so much conflicting information and it feels like
things are changing all the time. So, we’re going to start by just breaking
it down to basics. We want to make this information just a little bit more
digestible. Only a couple years ago, SEO really could have been distilled down to
just filling in a keyword tag and building a bunch of links, the more the merrier. A
typical SEO campaign would really be rudimentary or paid link building. And
despite its crudeness, a website could really see results from that. But those
days are long gone. – [Grace] Yeah. We know that a lot of you
probably receive emails every day from people giving you conflicting information
and promoting their supposedly free SEO audit tools all the time. And we want you
to know that these are scare tactics that are sent out by SEO firms to source leads
for their own paid services. Typically this automated information lacks real
meaning without a little bit of knowledgeable SEO interpretation. The SEO
today is so much more complex than that and requires a real human touch. And to be
perfectly frank, a little bit of marketing know-how. The web is a much more
competitive place that it used to be. As a result of that, the search engines have
become a lot more sophisticated in how they’re going to distinguish the good from
the bad websites. Today, Google can sniff out an inauthentic link and manipulation
in the blink-of-an-eye. It’s not hard for them. They see it all the time. And now,
they even began issuing manual penalties last year. Meaning that, yes, there’s
actually real human being on the other end of it, running a quality check on your
store and your link profile. The SEO of yesterday was cut and dry, and dare I say
it, even easy. – [Alison] That’s right Grace, and
honestly to make things even more complicated, today’s SEO doesn’t stop when
the click reaches your website. Google is still measuring how that visitor behaves
on your site once they get there. So, that behavior has an impact on your SEO
performance. Remember, Google’s goal is to serve up results that real humans want
to see. The best results for that exact query. So you need to really approach SEO
from that perspective. Like how do you make your search result the best for a
particular question and what’s best for your perspective customers once they get
there. – [Grace] Yeah Alison, exactly right. It’s
about putting good information on your site and making it easy and most logical
for customers to find what they’re looking for. When people get frustrated and leave
your website, Google is going to see that or conversely when people stop to read,
view a couple products and then share it with their friends, Google is going to see
that too and it’s going to send a much better signal to them. SEO is all about
giving the search engine information and then constantly trying to improve the
shopping experience for your own customers. And we really think that that’s
what’s going to pay off on the long run. So remember that for most things you
should ask yourself, “Does this have real value of its own and value for my
customers or am I just doing it for Google?” Because keep in mind that Google has a commitment to
its own customers as well to bring them the best content as quickly as possible
which is why we all use it for everything. – [Alison] All right, so let’s just dig in
to our first question. What are the most important SEO fields? So the Volusion
software makes it really easy to populate the SEO fields on every page of your
site. So you’re not having to hand code those in. For some of your bigger pages
like the home page or the “About us,” you can find all these fields under the
marketing SEO tab in the dashboard. For other stuff like products and categories,
your SEO information can be accessed in the advanced info section of each of those
pages. So today, there’s really just three fields that we’re going to focus on,
the SEO Friendly URL, the Meta Tag Title and the Meta Description. – [Grace] So let’s start first with the
URL field. Having an SEO Friendly URL not only helps to give Google a good idea of
what’s on the page. But then it will also help people link that to your site because
the links are more clear and understandable and state what it’s about.
So, really try to keep them short and sweet. They can be a variant of the
product name or something that’s a little less branded: describing exactly what the
product is on or what the page is all about. So if you’re selling women’s running
shoes on the category page that would be the perfect keyword to put in as the URL.
Now we’re going to talk a little bit about the other Meta Fields. So let’s start with
an example here. We all make searches in Google every day and you know what your
typically search result’s going to look like. The part in blue, that’s the link,
is your Meta Tag Title, and the part below it is your Meta Tag Description. The Meta
Tag Title should be shorter than the description and really be
attention-grabbing. Google uses the title field to figure out what the pages all
about. So, it’s a really awesome place to try to put some relevant keywords in. The
Meta Tag Description tells your customer why should they click on this link instead
of other ones. We usually recommend to use a couple of short sentences and then end
in a call to action. In this way, you can tell them something a little bit about the
page and try and get their click by letting them know that you have something
great to offer them like really affordable competitive prices or free-shipping on
their products. You should ask yourself when you’re going through and filling out
these fields in the dashboard a couple of questions like, “How am I enticing them to
click and am I accurately describing what’s on this page?” – [Alison] Remember, these are for the
individual page you’re working on. So try and talk as specifically as you can about
that page rather than the website as a whole as much as possible. We want the
different pages to show up in different results. So they shouldn’t all be exactly
the same. Tell the customer what they’re going to find on that page and why they
should go to you for it. Velusion also gives you a ton of space to fill in these
fields, but Google can only show so much. Actually the amount of Google can show is
a lot less than what’s in those SEO fields. So there isn’t actually an exact number of
letters. Google decides this space based on pixels. This means you can put a lot
more I’s in a row than X’s. So search simulator.com or the Moz title tool are
really great tools that you can use to get an idea of how these things, your writing
are really going to show up. So your text won’t be cut off. Using a tool like this
is going to make your descriptions look way more professional. We
also have a great couple of posts in the Volusion blog that go into a little bit
more depth about the Meta Title and description field. So that you can just,
you know, get really good ideas on how to write attention-grabbing content for these
fields. I want to go ahead and remind you that the links right now, you can’t click
them, I’m sorry about that. But they will be when we send out the slide deck after
the webinar, so you’ll be able to get to all those pages we just talked about. – [Grace] Another thing that we get a lot
of questions about from our merchants is the best way to fill out the keyword field
in your dashboard. There is a keyword field in there. However, in the past,
people used to use it to stuff in as many terms as possible. So it really didn’t
become a reliable place to get information. You know, they would put in
words that were maybe a little bit relevant or not even relevant to their
page to try to drive in traffic that wasn’t authentic and wasn’t right for what
they were selling. So instead, Google would prefer to see your keywords worked
into the content or descriptions on your page as naturally as you can. We know that
Bing may still be using the keyword fields in a couple of different ways. But
it is still a much stronger signal to try to include them naturally elsewhere. So
for the time being, our recommendation is to leave the keyword field alone. And
instead focus your time and your efforts on trying to include them in your title
tags, your URL’s and your product descriptions to get the most bang for
your buck there. Also, try experimenting putting them with the content of your
description fields and then work them elsewhere naturally into your sentences
describing the products on the actual web content itself. To create good keywords,
just try having a brainstorming session and think of words that people might be
using to find your item, besides what you might call the item itself. So as an
example if you sell car accessories, you might build search terms that you
include by using vehicle embellishments or automobile ornaments.
Since they all play at the same thing and you could get some similar traffic. – [Alison] All right, on to our next
question, this one comes from our support department a lot. Why doesn’t Velusion use
h1 Tags or Velusion can’t do h1’s? This is really a bizarre misconception that just
won’t seem to go away. But I’d just like to state for the record right now that
it is 100% false. – [Grace] Yeah, that’s right. You can put
an h1 anywhere that you can put HTML on your page. That’s just a basic fact of the
Velusion software. Now, as we mentioned before, there are some automated tools
that you’ll get emails about that you can pop your website into and it will run an
SEO audit for you. Typically, it will check for a laundry list of things, of
course without human logic behind it. And these tools might say, “Here’s a list of
pages that don’t have h1 Tags on your site.” But remember, it’s also important
to understand that the main goal of most of these tools is to find something to
tell you is missing, so that then they can sell you their SEO services along the
line. – [Alison] That’s right. So, one of the
reasons they probably choose an h1 is because it’s a bit rare for a website to
have an h1 on every single page of the site. So they can almost always say
something is missing. A missing h1 is not cause for alarm and it’s not a short
coming of the software. You can add h1 tags to any of your pages. But before you
do, it’s important to understand the logic behind what an h1 is intended to do, so
you can use it effectively. – [Grace] Yeah, and to add to that
honestly, h1’s are technically an SEO best practice and we always advise our clients
and our merchants to use them. But placing an h1 Tag is not going to make or break
your site. We really think that title tags are far more important. But h1’s can be
really useful when you’re trying to structure your page in a logical way for
your reader to understand the information. But to bring it back a little bit, what
really is an h1 anyways? An h1 Tag is your main heading tag and you should only use
it if it makes sense for the structure of that exact page.
To paint a picture that everyone can imagine to make it a little more
digestible, think about the heading of a magazine article. It’s going to summarize
and describe what you’re about to read and it should be the same way on your website,
the goal being to introduce the description, the content of the product.
So again, just to be totally clear, anywhere you can put HTML code, you can
put an h1 Tag. We typically put these and see them in the product and category
description fields or in any other HTML friendly fields on your dashboard. Make
sure when you’re entering them, that you’re in the code view of the description
and you can put around your heading. We see here, we highlighted a little box that
you’ll click to get to the code view versus the easy editing view. And really,
you don’t have to be an HTML wiz to keep the code clean in your descriptions. You
want to have one h1 per page and then move on to other subcategories like h2’s, h3’s,
etc. So now, let’s take a little look of what a nicely coded description might
look like. – [Alison] All right, this shows you how
the code looks and a little preview of how it would show up more or less. So here,
we’re introducing the text with an h1 Tag. We try and keep this code as minimalist as
possible so the search engines don’t have to dig too much when trying to get to the
good stuff, your content. And you can see that this is readable even to a human.
It’s not just a whole bunch of code. We have a second section that’s introduced
by an h2 or subheadings. So that just keeps everything nice and tidy and breaks
it up for the reader. If you’re really worried about having clear coding for the
descriptions that you’re adding, here’s a good tip. When you’re pasting in your
descriptions, make sure that you’re pasting them in the code view. Because if
you bring in a description from something like Word in the normal editing view,
there’s going to be a ton of messy code that comes in with it, code on top of
code, which is what we want to avoid. So, this is going to keep all your code
easier to read for Google. It’s going to keep things looking exactly how you want
as HTML updates happen and there’s just going to be less room for
confusion overall. – [Grace] If you’re curious or you’re
still feeling confused and you want to learn a little bit more about basic HTML,
we suggest w3schools.com as a great free resource. – [Alison] So clean code is really just
about getting Google what it needs quickly and while having an h1 Tag is a best
practice. It’s important to know that this isn’t going to have a huge impact on your
search engine traffic just in and of itself. You really want the content to be
clear for the readers so use headings, use lists. Use anything else that’s going to
make the content easily digestible. That’s a good idea if it makes sense for your
page. Google is able to look at the context of your page and understand what
it is, with or without an h1. And the importance of just a singular piece of
code like that is really declining as a ranking factor in terms of, you know, how
much it matters. If the content on the page is good and people are interacting
with it well, Google is not going to stop showing your site just because you don’t
have an h1 Tag. So if you’re looking to make the most of your time and you can
just do one thing, working on those Meta Tags is really going to have a much
stronger impact for you. – [Grace] All right, so let’s move on to
our next topic now. What are Backlinks? Backlinks are a big part of SEO, but
they’re also sometimes the most controversial. A Backlink is basically
just a link on another website that points to a page on your website. And their
quality depends on what the website they originate from is. Is it authoritative and
is it truly relevant to the context of your website? – [Alison] So the most important thing
with Backlinks is there should be an honest connection between those two
websites. So two instances are a website selling hair care products, really
shouldn’t be getting a web’s links from a website about power tools, just has no
business being there. So a good rule of thumb is if you look at the website and
you can’t discern a real connection between those two, that link is bad
news. The search engines will likely view that as manipulative.
As in you, created that link intentionally just trying to gain the system or trying
to get numbers and so now there’s a real chance that you could be punished. – [Grace] Yeah. Google has really evolved
when it comes to quantifying the value of the Backlinks. For a while it was kind of
a, “The site with the most Backlinks wins” kind of policy. But of course that’s
not the case anymore. Google has a really complex and extremely accurate system in
place to determine if links are authentic or not. And what value those links bring
to a website or a specific page that the link points too. They even have penalties
like Alison mentioned, if they think the links are not relevant or if you’re trying
to gain the system. But don’t be nervous about it. Honestly, if you have good
content on your site and an interesting product, with the help of a little bit of
marketing and PR and continued SEO, people should be linking to it naturally over
time. A lot of professional SEO experts are shelving that traditional link
building strategy for other things like content development or social media
marketing. In order to facilitate that natural link building which tends to be a
lot more effective. – [Alison] Absolutely, but sometimes you
just can’t resist the urge to go out and get it. So if you’re planning to actively
try and earn links, it’s better to think about the humans that going to encounter
that link and not the search engine. So try to get links that you think will be
the kind of traffic you want on your own. You can show Google that your website has
authority by getting strong Backlinks from appropriate websites. So if you’re selling
kid’s toys, it would make sense to reach out to a mommy blog and ask for a link, or
maybe offer this in a product in exchange for a feature in a post. People that would
like your store may be on that site and you want to market your product to those
customers. The search engine part comes later. They’ll see those links and they’ll
see if the people following them genuinely like your site, so then that would be a
good link if they do. A few good links is worth so much more than a bunch of bad
ones. – [Grace] That’s right. And so, to give
you a little more details on how to do it. When you create a link to another site or
if someone creates a link to your site, there’s a few ways. If you just make a
link by default, it’s called a DoFollow Link. And you are telling the search
engines that you do want them to index it and learn what the relationship is between
those two sites. There’s also NoFollow Links where you add in a little bit of
easy code, telling the search engines that this link is not important. So if you are
going to link to a site that’s not related or sometimes even a page in your own
website, like for example the shipping page on your website. That isn’t really
that important for people to come up in a search result and you’d rather other
pages come up in a search result. You can and you really ought to
use a NoFollow Tag. And again, the links are not currently
live in the presentation, but later on you’ll be able to
follow the link to figure out how to do it on your own and grab that little
snippet of code. And if you did get some bad or spamming links in the past, another
thing you can do is to disavow them in Webmaster Tools. Use your Webmaster
Tools to see what’s linking to your site and if those sites make sense for you.
It’s a good idea to check your link profile every once in a while so you have
a sense of what’s going on and who’s sending traffic to your store. – [Alison] You know there’s a variety of
reasons that bad links can happen. We definitely have stores that have come to
us and they had some bad links that they got in the past and they’ve had to go
through this process. So you can first ask those sites that are linking to you to
remove those links if they’re no good. And if not, if they don’t reply, you can let
Google know that you don’t want to be associated with those links. So you can
definitely get ahead of it if you find anything that looks strange, don’t worry.
Again, this is just first step, but it’s not relevant. If the website is in your
industry, there’s some context for the link. That’s exactly what you want to
happen. Like, that’s what you’re going for.
So, try to check your links maybe every month or so, so you know what’s going on
and you’re going to stay ahead of the curve. – [Grace] The clickable text that makes
the link is called the Anchor Text and gives a little bit of information to the
search engine. So try to mix up what you’re doing, you might sometimes have it
say, “click here” or you might make your store name the URL. If you’re asking for a
link, you can use your company name with a link to the homepage or a more descriptive
link with that Anchor Text that might lead to a deeper page in your website. Make
sure that the Anchor Text makes sense in the context of the sentence that it’s in.
And don’t worry, don’t spend too much time trying to cram those keywords in. The main
thing that we want to caution you to stay away from is paying money for a bunch of
low quality links or pursuing links that are not relevant to your store as these
are the main practices that these days will earn you a penalty from Google. – [Alison] Yeah exactly, but the goal here
is for things to look naturally. So if you aren’t just letting it happen on its own,
try to think about how natural it feels for a given site to be linking to yours.
So you really need to make sure that that relationship makes sense. All right, so
back to the seven results, so basically, Google is always testing search results.
And recently they’ve been exploring a few different, you know, fancy search results
when they feel like they already know exactly what you’re looking for. You know
some of those are even like a search bar, it’s pretty cool. The biggest one we get
asked about is the seven results SERP, also known as the SixPack Search Result.
So that’s the one where it shows the webpage and then a list of six links
within the same site below, which takes up a lot of space. It’s really nice. So, you
guys have have been asking us how to get this to show up for your store and we can
understand why. It’s some really great eye catching real estate. It’s a
huge piece of real estate. – [Grace] Yeah, and these usually show up
most often for branded searches, like when a customer is typing the name of a store
or a product for example. They usually aren’t appearing for keywords
like women’s dresses or pool supplies, even though they sometimes might. And even
if you are searching for a brand, they won’t show this way all the time. It is
much more likely to come up if you are a bigger store or if you dominate in your
niche. This is usually just for the top spot when you search for something. – [Alison] Yeah, essentially, you know,
Google has a mind of its own. It decides when and how to show it. They even pick
what categories are included based on their information of what they think
people are going to want to click to. So you don’t need to go in and change the
code. Volusion doesn’t need to go in and update the code. Google is making this
decision for you. That being said, if you do notice these search results showing up
for your store and they’re listing something like, I don’t know, the login
page or something that you don’t want to show there or you don’t feel like is that
important, you can demote that page in your Webmaster Tools account. And Google
will replace it with something else of their choosing, hopefully a better
option than that first one. So Google really just likes to try out new things and this gives them a better
clue of, you know, where you really wanted to go before you even leave the search
engine. Sometimes you’ll see results like this with 10 links or sometimes it will
have six. Ultimately we really like this one and we hope it’s here to stay. We
definitely, definitely expect Google to continue playing with fun features like
this that give you different real estate in that search engine result page. – [Grace] So even though you can’t force
Google to show that kind of result, it will happen as branded searches increase.
Also, some industries are more likely to be displayed with a six or 10 result SERP
like apparel or general merchandise for example. To our clients, what we advise is
that you continue to build your brand through strong marketing. Keep working on
that SEO and providing good information to Google. And to really demonstrate that
you’re the authority in your industry. It will happen with time, unless of course
Google discontinues the SixPack, which is always a possibility ’cause they’re
always changing things up and they love keeping us on our toes. – [Alison] All right, so this is a big
question. Hands down, the biggest thing that all of our clients want to know and
that support gets calls about all the time is, “When will I see results?” People
really want to know when to expect their changes are going to start making
a real impact on their search traffic or rankings. Sadly, it’s a little more
complicated than that. So our answer is it depends. You know it depends on your
industry, the competition, your current state of optimization, you know the work
you’ve done on your site. So the first thing we want to just make sure we’re all
clear about is what are results? The main thing you should be looking for is to see
if your SEO is working. That should show an increase in organic traffic. This
represents your unpaid search engine traffic. So in your Google Analytics
account, you can take a look at the amount of organic traffic you’re getting overall
or look at the traffic and sales from specific pages you’ve been working on. But
it’s a little more long term. So you want to check on this month over month, or even
year over year just because of seasonality to watch that organic traffic
grow and see the impact you’re making. In order to get this at all, you need to add
the tracking code from Google to your website, so they can start collecting that
data. We have a really great knowledge base article at support.volusion.com that
can help you set up analytics on your own. And that one is going to be hyperlinked up
here when we send out the slide deck. – [Grace] Yeah, Alison is really right,
adding little analytics is so important. Because that enhanced analytics is
literally part of every single marketing service that we offer. It’s so vital to
understanding what’s happening on your site and how people are interacting with
your pages. You can add the basic tracking on your own with the help of that support
article we just mentioned or we even sell the setup by itself as a service, so we
can make sure that everything is tracking properly for you. – [Alison] Exactly. And optimization, it
builds on itself. So you’re going to see incremental results that
compound over time. And if you really think about it, that
makes perfect sense. It would be so weird for the search engines to totally change
all the search results based on the changes to one website. They really want
to test a website and its pages to ensure that it is a good result of the
search. They want to see that these changes you’ve been making, they really
are relevant, and that customers are finding what they’re looking for, now that
you’ve given Google more information on what the page is about. – [Grace] Yeah. So just play around
with your keyword diversity and see which ones are converting. Those items and your
increased traffic and conversions are going to be so much more important for
determining the success of your SEO than just looking at your rankings. So I know
we’ve been talking about on-page optimization things like your tags, and
your description and your content. This almost will immediately communicate to a
search engine what that page is about. The search engines will make mild adjustments
to their search results to reflect the new information and serve up that page to
someone if they believe that it’s a relevant result for that user. They’ll
also monitor what people do when they get to the website after making that search.
If the visitors appear to be happy with the result, visibility will increase for
those kinds of searches. If they can tell someone goes to page and immediately
leaves, what you may have heard as a bounce rate, or they seem to struggle to
navigate and find their way around your website, you might be penalized. If all
these signals look good, then they’ll show the page to more and more customers
and it really becomes like a looping cycle that builds on itself. – [Alison] Absolutely, and you know
another thing is just time. Time is a variable that search engines monitor. So
the amount of time that your site’s been live, how long you’ve been pushing out
new content. That can signal quality, commitment and stability. And all
of those things together impact the perceived authority and the
trustworthiness of your website. Another kind of variation that we get in
terms of, you know, when you want to see results is how long is it going to take
for Google to index and update its information. We get this question a lot.
Like, a site goes live or a store owner changes all their Meta tags, and then
they go do a search, and they’re still seeing that old information in the search
result. So if you change your Meta Title or your Meta Description, and you look it
up on Google and you’re not seeing that new information, just be patient. You can
see how Google is indexing your site in Webmaster Tools, so you can get a better
idea of whether Google’s sort of overriding that information, or if it’s
just hasn’t been by your site to make a change yet. Over time, it is going to update. Use that
time that you have to add in some new content or work on other parts of the SEO,
so when Google does come by to crawl your site, it’s going to have even more great
information. Ultimately, this just depends on when Google decides to crawl your site.
This is not something that you can force them to do. But they have spiders and if
you’ve heard of spiders, it’s just like little robots going through all the
websites on the internet regularly. So it could be 10 minutes, it could be 10 days
before Google comes back to your site and updates what it’s showing
in the search results. – [Grace] So, just to say it another way,
you can’t force Google to come crawl your site. But there are still things you can
be doing in the meantime. – [Alison] Absolutely Grace, if you want,
you can kind of politely let Google know that you made some updates. It’s up to
them again to come crawl the site. You can definitely let them know or give them a
little nudge by submitting your site map to Google and Webmaster Tools and letting
them know, “Hey a change has been made.” – [Grace] And sometimes, our merchants
might see that Google’s showing something else entirely in the search result. – [Alison] Well, sometimes Google just
does that. I mean, they have a lot of good information on similar sites and sometimes
they think that they can write a better Meta description or title, so they’ll just
substitute their own. If that happens, you might want to spend a little time and try
out some new Meta information. Make sure it’s extremely relevant to the page and
hopefully they’ll prefer that new information.
But honestly, sometimes those search engines, like, they just think that they
know best with these things. – [Grace] All right, so let’s move on. We
know that this is something that a lot of you are excited to hear about today. We
know that as a business owner, your time is really valuable. Alison and I do SEO
every day as a full-time job. So we know sometimes how deep in the rabbit hole you
can go. You’re running a business, but you might also be the head of logistics, or
product sourcing, or customer care. You really wear a lot of hats. And then
on top of that, you know you have little things like your own life, and family, and
friends you’re thinking about in the meantime. – [Alison] Yeah, no kidding, SEO can be a
beast. But it’s really, really important. The good news is, you can make a big
impact with systematic smaller changes over time. So let’s just dig in and talk
about what you can do if you have 15 minutes a day to dedicate to your SEO. The
first and probably biggest thing you need to change, if you haven’t already, is
just kind of the way that you view SEO. So don’t think about the huge pile of things
that you could be doing for SEO. Don’t get bogged down in those details. We’re going
to tell you exactly what to focus on. You can chip away at a little bit each day and
it is going to have a positive impact. Any time you want to make a new habit, tie
it into something you’re already doing. So when you go in and you’re checking your
orders every day, try and do a little SEO work before you log out
while you’re in there. – [Grace] Okay. So let’s get into some
specifics. We would really say that the best thing you could do with your time is
to go through your site and create some unique Meta Tags and also some really
great unique content. We’ve already talked a little bit today about the Meta Tags,
the Meta Descriptions, those advanced info fields and your product and category
pages. I know that a lot of you have thousands of products on your page and
that can seem like a lot to write. So to begin, just start with those products that
are your top sellers or may be items that have especially high margins for you and
that goes out first. If you only upload a couple of products at a time when you’re
adding new inventory, try and fill out those fields as you’re adding them in.
Remember that you’re trying to get the user to click on your link instead of
someone else’s that’s a substitute. So try and make sure that you’re really
accurately describing what’s on the page and include as much valuable information
as that space allows. Another thing that you’ve probably heard all the time is the
phrase that, “Content is king.” Every website should be built on the good
on-page optimization with those fields that is true. But at the end of the day,
content is really the most valuable thing that you can be doing for SEO. And
honestly, that’s not something that’s going to change with the next search
algorithm update. Content is always going to be a hugely important part of telling
your own story. So you should start making that investment in your site now and you
will be reaping the rewards well into the future. – [Alison] Okay, so real quick. What
kind of content are we talking about? So the text on the pages of your website is
probably the singularly biggest piece of information that you can control in terms
of SEO that’s going to make the biggest impact. So that’s the most bang for your
buck. You want to take the time to fill in, like, the product, the category
description fields with unique content. So it’s different on each of those pages,
and it’s speaking to that page specifically. So if you’re using the same
description across a few products, you’re using manufacturer’s descriptions that can
be found in other parts of the web, that field is blank or maybe it’s only a couple
sentences long, or maybe it’s just a technical specs. Your priority here really
should be to go in and write some better descriptions. – [Grace] Yeah, so start with the bigger
pages like your homepage and your main category pages, and then work your way
down into products, kind of like a funnel. Even if you just do one product or
category page each day, I mean just think that after 365 days, you’ll have amazing
content for a large chunk of your website in a year. That will then improve the
rankings. But you don’t necessarily have to get all that at once. Get the important ones done first and try
to make it a regular habit of going in and writing content for a couple of pages at a
time. And remember that these can go right into the category or product description
fields in your dashboard. Also, Google is going to be reading your page to get the
best possible idea of what it’s about. So if you have a product page, when you’re
writing your content, try to ask questions like, who’s going to use this? What might
they use it for? What kind of problem does it solve for my customers and why is this
better than an alternative product? And then write descriptions based around that
to give your customer a better idea of what each page is about and show up for
more searches. If you’re showing it to customers and it has value to them, Google
is going to think that it is the most important thing and it will treat it as
such. As with everything, we’re still trying to create a good user experience.
So make sure the text is really easy to read. Try to break it up into small
paragraphs and consider using lists and other kind of devices to make the
text more scanable. – [Alison] Another quick and easy to use
thing is social media. Social media is a huge part of SEO and it’s a pretty quick
way to spread things out. It’s important to remember that, you know, sites like
Facebook and Twitter are kind of search engines of their own. People go in there
and discover things anew. So if you wrote a blog post, go ahead and share it on
Twitter, Facebook, Google+, all your other social profiles. This is a really
safe way to link back to your site and it’s a quick way to spread the word about
your new content. So I like to say if a tree falls in the forest and nobody is
there to share it, does it make a sound? I mean share… it doesn’t. So sharing on
social media is the quickest way to get people to start interacting with that
content, so Google can see that people like it and those positive signals like we
talked about help you. So always make sure that you write a thoughtful little
description before putting that link on a social site and that gives Google some
context and lets them know what that link means.
And this gives them even more information about your page. Honestly, websites like
Twitter they get crawled by Google faster than anything else. It’s getting crawled
faster than your website. So it’s a good place to have some real estate. Also,
social media, sometimes they rank really high. So it gives you a couple more spots
where you can show up in search results and you can get people back to your site,
sort of indirectly from search engines that way to you by simply finding your
Facebook profile then clicking your site. – [Grace] Yeah, that’s completely right.
We really think that with some simple steps like this, you really ought to see
an improvement in your organic traffic and ultimately sales and convergence as
search engines are able to put your products in front of the audience that’s
perfect for you. – [Alison] So there’s a lot to know about
SEO. You can work on the things that you know make an impact like content. Not
something with negative repercussions. You know your brand. You know you products.
Spend your time trying to describe them better. Add more information for your
customers and Google is going to be able to use that same information to get things
to the right place, in front of the right customers. If it’s good enough to show
your customers on that page, Google will understand that that content is important
and it will use it to understand your site better and try to show it where it really
belongs. – [Grace] So just take it one step at a
time, break things down into little bite sized pieces and try to tie them into
activities that you’re already doing. I mean after all, you have to come in all
the time to your store and update your stock, fulfill orders and make a Facebook
update. So try and take a couple of extra minutes whenever you’re working on your
site or on a product and add a longer description, maybe craft a short little
post that can be a landing page or craft a few great Meta Tags when you get in there.
And if you do a couple at a time, you’ll have that groundwork laid really
before you know it. – [Alison] Absolutely, and doing all those
things it’s important just keep in mind SEO’s an on-going process. So it’s just
something that you want to build into your work. Do it a little bit at a time, but
plan on doing it long term. I really don’t want after this webinar for
you guys to go and burn yourself out trying to do everything at once. See this
as routine maintenance for your store. – [Grace] Right. And when in doubt,
remember to try to do what’s best for your customer and not what’s best for Google. I
mean, oddly enough, that’s exactly what Google is looking for most of the time. So
you used to be able to gain the system a little bit more and have some sneaky
tricks. But remember that the people that are doing that are now starting to be
penalized. – [Alison] Yeah, so just keep it focused.
Just try to make sure you’re telling your customers what you have, why they want it,
what they’ll use it for. All that’s going to help Google show your site in the right
places, so you can get more traffic and sales. – [Grace] Alison and I both think that SEO
can be something that can be really energizing for you. It’s another way that,
on a lot of different ways on your site, you can describe to the customer what
you’re selling, who you are and tell them your story. So talk like you’re talking
right to them and they’re really going to understand you better. – [Alison] Exactly. So we really hope that
in going through a few of these that we’re able to answer some of the questions that
you guys came in with today. And maybe help demystify SEO a little bit for you. – [Grace] But don’t worry, if you’re still
feeling overwhelmed or you don’t know how you can fit SEO into your busy schedule,
we’re down here to help you. And we, as a matter of fact, have a lot of really
exciting promotions going on for the month of March and we’re also excited to share
that for the first time, we’re offering a complimentary social media profile
optimizations for packages, purchased before March 13th. – [Alison] Yeah. SEO and social media are
good friends. So be sure to ask about our exciting new style marketing bundles.
That’s going to be perfect if you’re in like, the clothing, the jewelry, the home
goods markets. It’s a hybrid of SEO and social media, so that’s a really good way
to, like, propelyou and get your name out there. Finally today, we are going to be
raffling off five free SEO audits for your store, so you can find out exactly what
you need to do and create a really good plan of action. So send us a tweet
@Volusion. Or post a message on the Volusion Facebook
using the hashtag sell four times more to be entered to win. – [Grace] So we’re going to take a little
bit of a break now to review those questions you’ve been sending in. So if
you have something else that’s still burning on your mind, pop us a
message right now of your question, and we’re going to try to get to everyone today with the little bit
of time we have left. But if we run out, we’re also going to be posting answers to
all your questions as a blog post on the Volusion business blog in the near future.
So hang tight for a couple of minutes. We’ll be right back with you. All right,
see you soon. – [Alison] Okay everybody we got a lot of
questions. So you know, like we said we’re going to try to get through as many as we
can. This one came in a little bit earlier from Eric. I’m just starting to learn more
about SEO, Google AdWords and advertising. I have a couple out-of-the-box ideas,
but I worry about them failing. Will targeting my advertisements toward
definite annual searches that aren’t tied to any product or service in an attempt to
gain branding recognition, turn out to be a shot in the foot or wouldn’t the
company gain from this? Some ideas I had, relate to Father’s Day or the Super Bowl.
I would use the buzz generated by these yearly events to capitalize on other
searches that are a by-product of the event. So what Eric is trying to say here,
it sounds like is should he spend some money taking out Google Ads that are just
for like something like Father’s Day or Super Bowl and get people to his site in
hopes that they get to know his brand a little bit better? So the short answer is
that’s not a great idea. We really do, anytime we bring somebody new to your site
we really want it to be somebody who has a chance of having a good time there. That
being said, there are… we love thinking outside the box and there are some really
cool other ways of accomplishing this. So the first thing that you could do is you
could create a landing page. And you could create something that’s, you know best
Father’s Day gifts and create a little collection of your products that you think
could be applicable in that context. You can also create a blog post where you
talk about, you know, maybe the history of the Super Bowl or something that could
maybe tie into, in this case what he sells is a good supply for maybe tailgating, so
he can talk to that aspect of it. And you know, find a way to create a context that
makes sense. Finally, definitely social media is kind of a place where you can do
this. If something is “trending,” it gets shown up more. So for example, Facebook
is going to show that post to a lot more people, if a lot of people are talking
about it at once. So there’s no problem in saying. Happy Father’s Day or here’s a
great way to use this product to try to create a buzz around your website. So
ultimately just to summarize, the short answer is don’t do something unrelated. As
we talked about a lot in the webinar, we want the user to get to your site and like
it. Not just bounce off or be confused. But there are tons of ways that you can
frame the things that you have through landing pages, through blog posts and
through social media to make them applicable to stuff that you already know
there’s going to be an increase in volume for it. So take that creativity and get
out there and go write some stuff. I think you’re going to do really well with this. – [Grace] All right, so another question
that we had come in that I think is probably going to be relatable for a lot
of you out there is should I focus on ranking for a keyword for a brand I carry
or should I focus on a more generic keyword? So we know that there’s a lot of different
websites out there. Some of you guys are certified distributors for one kind of
specific brand. Some of you are selling your own hand made goods, or some of you
might carry a bunch of different brands and this is something regardless that all
of you can be thinking about. So if you’re carrying one kind of specific brand on
your page, definitely make sure that you use that brand name as a keyword all over
the place. You want to have it on your homepage, on your category pages and on
your product pages. If you’re someone that’s selling a lot of
different kinds of brands, maybe if you’re like a shoe seller, or clothing, or
different things like that and you’re carrying a lot of different brand and
manufacturers. Make sure that you A: have landing pages or category pages by brand.
That’s something that’s really going to help people navigate around your store. And on those brand category
pages, be sure that you’re using that brand name in the
keywords and in the titles, descriptions and on-page content. That’s going to help
get people to your store as opposed to a competitor and help them find what they’re
looking for. I will say though that you do want to have a mix. Typically we advise
to people that you try to hone in on between three and five keywords per page
of your site. So if it’s for a category page that’s just that brand, make sure you
use the brand names. But if you just want to focus on something, throw in a couple
of each. Like someone who is early in the buying process who doesn’t know what
they’re looking for necessarily might search for generic keywords. And then
later on, they might search for a brand name if they know exactly what they find,
but they want to find that people who can have the fastest shipping or lowest price.
So definitely make sure you have a mix. And if you’re trying to pull traffic away
from that brand or that manufacturer’s page and you want to tell people like,
“Hey, we know you could buy it straight from the source, but here you should come
over instead and buy it from us.” In your Meta Description, try to put in something
that’s really enticing like if you have fast free shipping for example. – [Alison] Yeah, absolutely. So we just
got another one. It says, I’ve been thinking about adding some videos to my
product pages. Is it a problem if I link to a video on YouTube or is this going to
take people away from my website? So first of all, when you’re on YouTube and you’re
getting a link, there is an embedded link and you can put that right in the code
view. The code view, always a code view of the
product description, that’s going to allow them to sort of have that YouTube player
right on the page. And hopefully, you know there is always that risk when they see
the related videos afterwards and leave. But the thing I really want you guys to
focus on is, is this going to be the thing that tips somebody over the edge. Like, if
they’re just browsing, is this going to give them that piece of information that’s
going to make them say, “You know what, now I have a way better idea of how to use
this. I have to have it. I’m going to buy it.” So you really want to answer this
question by just saying, “What’s the best user experience?” Is this going to be
valuable information for your customer? Is this going to be something that’s going to
make them more likely to buy, enjoy and understand your product? If that’s the
case, then absolutely you should put that video there. And honestly, if you’re linking to
other videos like this and you know that your product is really demonstrable that
way, you may want to think about making some of your own YouTube videos. I mean
that’s another kind of more social piece of real estate. But those are links back
to your site, that’s more content. And that’s more information that is saying
that you’re the authority on this product. So just think about what’s going to be
best for your customers. Honestly, having something visual, something fun tends to
do well and be helpful. So take a look, have fun with it. Enjoy it. – [Grace] Yeah, I completely agree with
that. And a lot of times people even remember context from video better than if
they’re reading the text. So if you can include videos that are relative, then
it’s definitely a great thing to do. So moving on to another one, the question
was, “Is it okay to repeat Meta Tags like for example the about us or the homepage?”
And for there, we really want to say that it’s not going to hurt you if you have
duplicate titles and descriptions on your pages.
I know that sometimes you can set one and have it work for the whole website. But
we really can’t emphasize enough that, it’s going to be great for you to have
unique content. And not only is it going to help get more people to your store, but
you’re going to come up in more searches if you’re demonstrating through your Meta
Tags that you have different kinds of things available other than what you can
say, you know, in the limited amount of pixel space of your title and description
that you might have on your homepage. So don’t worry about it if you do. But I
really can’t say enough about trying to make sure that you have unique tags. – [Alison] Absolutely. All right, we just
got one. Okay, it says, “Is it worth it to invest in SEO even if my site can’t get a
number one ranking in search results?” Okay, so the short answer is yes. You need
to make an investment and whether that’s your time or whether that is having an
expert like us do it for you. Organic search traffic is for a lot of our stores,
that’s most of the money that’s coming in to their store. So if you were to cut that
out completely or you were to even cut it in half, that would be a significant
effect on your sales. A number one ranking is not necessarily the
right thing to focus on. The most important thing is making sure that you’re showing up for the right
customers, the customers that are really going to buy your product. I mean, if you
show up as number one for something, that’s a lot of people browsing or you’re
showing up as number 15 for something, that’s a lot of people who are really
interested, committed life long people. We can all agree that that second thing is
more valuable. So don’t focus on the ranking. I mean, especially for you guys.
You tell how successful you are by your sales. And the biggest indicator that
that’s going to happen is your traffic. So the ranking is sort of a separate thing.
I’d really don’t want you guys to look at the ranking
The traffic that you’re looking at in your Google Analytics should be increasing. And
getting more traffic is more important than getting a high ranking. So that’s the
metric that we’re looking at. And yes, it’s definitely still worth it to spend a
little time getting a bigger piece of that traffic, for sure. I think that’s super
helpful for your store. – [Grace] Yeah and another thing that…
I’ll add onto what Alison just said is that, we mentioned earlier that you should
try and diversify the keywords that you’re using and that is completely
true in this case. So, you might be able to come up for something that’s a little more descriptive
in a longer keyword if you’re doing a search result in Google. Like, there are a
lot of results where, like let’s face it, you’re not going to come up above Target,
or Walmart, or these billion dollar stores with crazy amounts of traffic. But if you
get a little more specific, that will connect you with the people that are
exactly right for your product. So like Alison was saying, don’t worry if you’re
not number one. If people want to find you and they are looking for what you have
exactly, there’s a really good chance you’ll connect. – [Alison] Yeah, I mean even though the
number one spot gets a lot of traffic, it’s not like people on the second page of
Google, it’s not just crickets. You’re still getting traffic. So our goal is to
increase your traffic. We can help you do that and these tips can help you do that
and those are really going to be helpful to you. All right, so we’re running out
of time. We got so excited with all your questions. I really just want to say thank
you so much for everybody for joining us today. Honestly our hearts are so warm and
we’re so happy that we got to share this time with you. We had so much fun sharing
our passion for SEO. Please be sure to visit the Volusion business blog at
onlinebusiness.volusion.com. That’s a great resource. We write blog posts on
there, our whole team does. And hopefully we can help continuing to give you guys
some good tips to help you make your store even better. So happy selling, good luck,
best wishes and take care. – [Grace] Thanks again.

One thought on “Demystifying SEO for Ecommerce: Your Top Questions Answered

  1. Trevor Shipp Post author

    Great video! SEO doesn't have to be complex. Great breakdown. 

    Reply

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