SEO Tips and Tricks for your Online Stores
Looking for the guide on how to use the new SEO options for individual product pages on Zepo? Follow here.
So you’ve gone ahead and created a Zepo store for your brand, set it up on your custom domain, added all your products, customized the look and feel of your storefront to make it look appealing to visitors, integrated your payment gateway account with your store, and are all set to deal with the flurry of online orders that you were expecting. Everything is in place, except that you have started noticing that there aren’t any visitors coming to your online store!! Let alone orders coming in!
Now what??? You go to everyone’s favorite answer bank, Mr Google, type in your website URL and are shocked to see that it doesn’t even show up in the search results! What could have possibly gone wrong, that even the omnipotent & omnipresent Mr Google cannot find your website??
This dilemma is not an unusual one to have, and we come across alot of store owners who have the exact question as posed in the example above. And the most likely cause is that some elements of your store have probably not been set up the way Google likes to see them.
The truth is that while SEO is considered to be a specialized area, which requires engagement of SEO specialists (read ‘Incur More Cost’), there are a variety of simple things that can be done right at your end as a store owner, without having to incur any more costs than you already have.
While these best practices that I’m about to share won’t tell you any secret formulas that will automatically rank your page right at the top in Google search results, following these guidelines will definitely make it easier for search engines like Google, Yahoo or Bing to start relating relevant keywords to your website or products, and improve your brand’s listing on the results page.
So here are some the proven best practices on SEO that have worked well for many of our stores
1) Register your website through Google Webmasters Tools
This is probably one of the first things that one must do after setting up the website/store. Google Webmaster Tools is a free toolbox that Google provides. All you need to use it is a valid Google account (your Gmail ID will work just fine).
Just visit the Webmaster Tools page, login using your Gmail ID, add your site, and verify it using the simple steps on the page. It could take about a day or two for this to happen after you have registered your website. And as time goes by, and you will have more visitors connecting to your store, either directly or through other links or search results. And Google starts recognizing the relevance between those links and is able to better connect search queries with your online store.
2) Generate, upload and submit your XML Sitemap
Once you have verified your website through the Google Webmasters, the next best thing to do is create an XML Sitemap for your website. Sitemaps help Google to discover pages on your website that may not be discoverable otherwise. In the simplest of terms, a sitemap is a list of pages on your website, much like an index at the start of a book. And when you create a sitemap, you give Google an index of all your pages which makes it easier for the Mr. Know-it-All to show you up in the relevant search results.
Step 1: Generate an XML SiteMap for your website using any of the SiteMap Generators.
Step 2: Upload the sitemap (.xml file) on your Zepo dashboard under Advanced Features » Google Webmaster SiteMap.
Step 3: Find your sitemap URL at www. custom-url .com/sitemap.xml.
Step 4: Submit the URL to your SiteMap to your verified Google Webmasters account, to complete the process.
Click here, for steps to guide you through submitting the URL to your Google Webmasters Tools A/C.
3) Create a Unique & Accurate Title Tag for your Store
This is one of the most important things that helps Google relate search keywords to the content on your store and is also probably one of the aspects which most store owners overlook. The trick is to ensure that the title tag is brief and unique, but descriptive of the content on your store. Using generic terms like “Buy The Best T-shirts online” does not help Google relate the search word to the content on your store.
The Title Tag appears next to the page title on your browser tab, and is a brief one line description of your store/brand. When creating this tag, keep in mind though that if it is too long, Google will only show a portion of it in search results, which is not helpful, as users are more likely to click results where the complete title and description is visible.
To add a Title Tag for your store, log on to your Zepo Dashboard, and look for “Your Online Store’s Tagline” under Content » Store Info.
4) Enhancing searchability through the “About Us” field in the footer section
In addition to the Title tags, Google also looks for other keywords or relevant terms on your website, to be able to link it to what users may be searching for. What you enter here gives Google a summary of what your site content is all about. It is always a good idea to include keywords unique to your brand, along with a brief description of your brand name or product range. Again, it is important to take care that you don’t add too much or too little text.
Well, we’ve already taken care of the “too much” problem for you, by having a limit of 400 characters :), so you wouldn’t have to worry about that.
Keep in mind though, that this description needs to be written keeping your potential target audience in mind, and not Google, as Google is just the bridge that connects your audience to your store, by linking what they are searching for to the content on your site.
To add a description for your brand, log on to your Zepo Dashboard, and look for the “About Us” section under Content » Manage Footer.
5) Promoting your Store through Social Media Networks & Blogs back-linking
Another key area, which a lot of people don’t exploit fully, is the power of social media and blogs. While most links to your store/site will be gained gradually, as people discover your content through searches or other ways and link to it, Google understands that you would also like to let others know about all the great stuff you have on your store. Effectively promoting your brand through your Facebook page or Twitter Stream, would lead to faster discovery by users who are interested in that subject.
Also, start writing a blog for your brand. Having your blog on your sub-domain helps in better discovery of your brand and your URL.
For e.g. Adding a link to your store or website on your brand’s Facebook page & vice versa increases the chances of users linking back to either your store or your FB page. New announcements being made regularly on your FB page or your blog is a great way to let users know that you have added something new and want them to come check it out.
6) Register your physical store on Google Maps
If you also have a physical store, like some of our existing store owners, adding your store details to Google Maps, as well as embedding your Google maps location on your store is an excellent way to reach customers through Google Maps as well as Google search.
7) Your Product Names and Descriptions
Again, an important aspect, which will help Google identify and link search terms to your store and products. And while it may not be absolutely necessary to have uniquely named products, provided you have done a great job on your Title Tag and About Us (and another aspect which we will see in the next point) it would certainly help enhance search results.
Write detailed information about your products and add relevant tags for all your products. These tags will help specifically identify your products for search engine results. Your product descriptions on your Zepo dashboard automatically convert to Meta tags for SEO of your online store.
For e.g. Try searching for “Aum Kurta” or “Blue Mojari” or “Dabbang Soft” in Google and you would see that the Zepo stores these products are being featured on would be listed on Page 1 of the Search results page.
Now Try searching for “Car Signs”, which is a far more generic term than the ones cited above, and you will see that the results page still lists the Zepo store where these products are sold. To know how, move on to Point 5.
We recently rolled out a complete new SEO section for Upload Product on Zepo. Which gives you utmost control over search engine optimizing your individual product pages.
So what is this new SEO module? You can now define the following for all your products, with a brief description of “how-to” do it and why is it needed:
A: Title Tags : Title tag is the clickable headline that you see in search engines. It’s a 70-character-long selling pitch of your product and the most important part of optimizing your product pages.
It is advised that you target your keywords within the title tag, alongwith your brand’s name at the end of the title.
B: Meta Descriptions : Meta description is a mini ad about your product, that will show up in search engines. It gives your customers a quick overview about the product. Search engines only index around 156 characters.
Write compelling and clear product meta descriptions, as this is what will get a prospective customer to click.
C: Keywords : These are the keywords people are likely to enter to search for similar products. As a store owner, you want to target exactly these keywords so that your product shows up in the search results. For example: Blue Kurta, Blue Men Kurta
You can use the Google Keyword Tool to find keywords around your product. Keep a balance between high and low competition keywords.
D: ALT Tags for Product Images : ALT stands for nothing else but “alternative”. So in short, this is the text that will show up just in case your image does not show. From an SEO point of view, Google or any other search engine can’t read an image. And that’s why ALT tags for images help. To tell search engines what the image is about.
Keep your ALT tags short and sweet and you can ignore unwanted words like “a”, “the”, etc. For example: White Round Color Tshirt
E. Custom URLs for Product Pages : You now have the liberty to customize your product page URLs to give you better search engine results. Page URLs are the key element for search engine optimization.
Keep your page URLs short, get rid of unwanted words and keep it keyword rich. Insert your most important keywords in the URLs.
For instant reference, here is a great infographic, “Recipe for SEO Success in 2013”.
All of the above, are proven best practices, and will definitely help you, as a store owner, to help your customers find your brand and your products more easily on Google. It is also important to understand that one may need to tweak any or all of the above in order to fine-tune the effects. But we would recommend that you go ahead and try these out, and see how Google Search starts liking your brand and products more and more over a period of time :)
Open for discussion? Drop us a line in the comments, and we’ll be more than happy to help you out or discuss the importance of SEO for your online stores.