Search Engine Optimisation

Introduction

Search Engine Optimisation describes the process of setting up the content on your store, such as your Product Names and Descriptions, in such a way that makes it easy for search engines, such as Google, to understand what your store and its pages are all about. It also relates to the on-going process of making tweaks and adjustments to your content to see if you can improve your ranking on search engines.

But wait, we're getting ahead of ourselves !

Submitting a Sitemap

Before we need to think about improving our search engine rankings, let's just make sure we're listed on them at all!

We recommend that you take a look at the Search Engine Optimisation Help Video to find out how to do this.

Search Engine Optimisation Tips

Once you have submitted a sitemap to Google, let's take a look at a few things we can do to potentially improve your ranking on search engines. From here on in, we'll refer to Search Engine Optimisation as 'SEO'.

There's no easy way to say this - SEO is a tricky process. Search engines are constantly changing the way they operate and determine ranking in order to try to give their visitors the best, most relevant results.

They also need to keep the exact inner workings of their search systems a closely guarded secret because, if everyone was to suddenly learn how to get their website to the number 1 spot, everyone would most likely abuse it, and we could all end up with plenty of irrelevant results when searching.

Keywords

When talking about SEO, people often refer to "keywords". Keywords are words or phrases that people may search for on search engines. For example, if your webstore sells electronics, some possible keywords you might want to rank highly for on search engines could be "Television", "MP3 player" and "Digital Camera".

There are two main points that you should think about before writing product information: firstly, put yourself in your potential customers' shoes and think what they might search for when they are looking for your products, then try to include those words as you write; secondly, think about the variations of a keyword someone might use (instead of "television", someone might search for "32 inch TV", "Plasma Television" or "Buy Cheap TV").

Once you feel you have an idea of what people might search for, try to ensure your product names and descriptions include as many keywords and variations as possible without repeating yourself too much. On one hand, your text should be keyword-heavy to help search engines; on the other, it should be as easy as possible for your visitors to read and digest.

Another factor that can help is having keywords in your domain name, like www.my-television-shop.com.

Our system will automatically optimise all of your pages based on the content, but you can further optimise your webstore by adding general information to the Marketing > Search Engine Optimisation section of your Control Panel. You can also add specific keywords and descriptions to any product page by using the Search Engine Optimisation panel while editing a product. You can also add SEO information to your Categories (by clicking the SEO button while in the Manage > Categories section) and Pages (by clicking the Settings link in the Manage > Pages section).

Links

Another factor that can help boost the ranking of your webstore is Incoming Links. This is when another separate website links to your own.

Search engines pick up on these and use them to determine how useful and relevant your website is. Relevancy is the key, though - if you sell electronics and a page about animals, for example, links to your webstore with the phrase "badger sanctuary", search engines will see that it appears to be irrelevant.

Ideally, if we use our Example Electronics store as an example, we would want a page about electronics - a blog or forum perhaps - to link to our webstore using a phrase like "electronic equipment" or "cheap electronics". If you can build up a large number of these relevant Incoming Links, it can have a significant impact on your search engine ranking.

Beware of link exchanges, though. Link exchanges are when people simply swap links to each other, regardless of relevancy, in an effort to boost their search engine ranking. When a search engine sees a link pointing to your webstore, it will check to see if you link back. If you do, it can devalue the incoming link (and if this happens too much it could even damage your SEO efforts); if you don't link back it can be seen as proof to the search engine that your website must be useful.

Summary

In summary, SEO is a difficult and complicated process; however, Free Webstore does plenty of behind-the-scenes SEO to help you out. You do your bit, we'll do ours, and hopefully we can get your webstore out to the widest possible market.