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Fundamental SEO Tips for eCommerce Conversion - Part 2

In the following paragraphs we will continue into analyzing fundamental points focused on SEO, that will help boost your site conversion and in the case of an eCommerce site bring in the desired conversion of users actually placing an order. We will cover a lot of basic knowledge along with some useful do’s and dont’s that will help you implement your strategy and increase your chances for optimal results! Let’s do this!

5. URLs

URL or Uniform Resource Locator is the unique address of a page or piece of digital content on the Internet i.e “www.example.com/products”; e.g. “Dear John, you can access my website by typing the URL into your browser.”

The URL of a page is usually displayed in a search result in Google below the page title. Google is good at crawling all types of URL structures, even if they’re quite complex, but spending the time to make your URLs as simple as possible is a good practice.

WordPress offers the ability to set clean Permalinks out of the box so from a technical point of view this is not something difficult, the challenge is to include useful keywords to your URLs that can boost your SEO.

5.1. Use words in URLs

URLs with words that are relevant to your site’s content and structure are friendlier for visitors navigating your site. Creating descriptive categories and filenames for the pages and posts of  your website not only helps you keep your site better organized, it can create easier, “friendlier” URLs for those that want to link to your content. Visitors may be intimidated by extremely long and cryptic URLs that contain few recognizable words.

Avoid

  • Using lengthy URLs with unnecessary parameters and session IDs.
  • Choosing generic page names like “page1.html”.
  • Using excessive keywords like “baseball-cards-baseball-cards-baseballcards.htm”.

5.2. Create a simple directory structure

Use a directory structure that organizes your content well and makes it easy for visitors to know where they’re at on your site. Try using your directory structure to indicate the type of content found at that URL.

Avoid

  • Having deep nesting of subdirectories like “…/dir1/dir2/dir3/dir4/dir5/dir6/page.html”.
  • Using directory names that have no relation to the content in them.

5.3. Provide one version of a URL to reach a document

To prevent users from linking to one version of a URL and others linking to a different version (this could split the reputation of that content between the URLs), focus on using and referring to one URL in the structure and internal linking of your pages. If you do find that people are accessing the same content through multiple URLs, setting up a 301 redirect from non-preferred URLs to the dominant URL is a good solution for this. You may also use canonical URL or use the rel=”canonical” link element if you cannot redirect.

Avoid

  • Having pages from subdomains and the root directory access the same content, for example, “domain.com/page.html” and “sub.domain.com/page.html”.

6. Content

Creating compelling and useful content is of utmost importance and will influence your website more than any other factor. This could be through page content, blog posts, social media services, email, forums, or other means.

Users know good content when they see it and will likely want to direct other users to it. Knowing what your readers want and thinking about the words that a user might use to search in order to find your content is one of the best approaches. Taking this into consideration and using a good mix of keywords can product positive results.

Google Ads provides a handy Keyword Planner that helps you discover new keyword variations and see the approximate search volume for each keyword.

6.1. Write easy-to-read text with quality

Creating high quality content takes a significant amount of at least one of the following: time, effort, expertise, and talent/skill. Content should be factually accurate, clearly written, and comprehensive. So, for example, if you describe your page as a recipe, provide a complete recipe that is easy to follow, rather than just a set of ingredients or a basic description of the dish. Users enjoy content that is well written and easy to follow.

Avoid

  • Writing sloppy text with many spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • Awkward or poorly written content.
  • Embedding text in images and videos for textual content: users may want to copy and paste the text and search engines can’t read it.
  • Providing insufficient content for the purpose of the page.

6.2. Organize your topics clearly

Having a structure for your content is important. It’s always beneficial to organize your content so that visitors have a good sense of where one content topic begins and another ends. Breaking your content up into logical chunks or divisions helps users find the content they want faster.

Avoid

  • Dumping large amounts of text on varying topics onto a page without paragraph, subheading, or layout separation.

6.3. Create fresh, unique content – no duplicate content

New content will not only keep your existing visitor base coming back, but also bring in new visitors. Duplicate content is content which is available on multiple URLs on the web. Because more than one URL shows the same content, search engines don’t know which URL to list higher in the search results. Therefore they might rank both URLs lower and give preference to other webpages.

Avoid

  • Rehashing (or even copying) existing content that will bring little extra value to users.
  • Having duplicate or near-duplicate versions of your content across your site.

6.4. Optimize content for your users, not search engines

Designing your site around your visitors’ needs while making sure your site is easily accessible to search engines usually produces positive results. It is easy to get caught in the fever of using keywords in an abusive way and thus creating content that is not really focused on your users needs; this should be avoided. Search engines are getting smart and are penalizing this kind of behaviour.

Avoid

  • Inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users.
  • Having blocks of text like “frequent misspellings used to reach this page” that add little value for users.
  • Deceptively hiding text from users, but displaying it to search engines.

7. Links

Links are an important factor for your content ranking. Google finds your posts and pages easier when they’re linked to from somewhere on the web. Internal links also connect your content and give Google an idea of the structure of your website between pages and posts. They can establish a hierarchy on your site, allowing you to give the most important pages and posts more link value than other, less valuable, pages.

Links on your page may be internal—pointing to other pages on your site—or external—leading to content on other sites. In either of these cases, the better your link text is, the easier it is for users to navigate and for Google to understand what the page you’re linking to is about.

There are several types of internal links. In addition to links on your homepage, menu, post feed, etc, you can also add links within your content. Those are contextual links. Contextual links point your users to interesting and related content. Moreover, they allow search engines to find out what content on your site is related and to determine the value of that content. The more links an important page receives, the more important it will seem to search engines. Always make sure that the number of links to a page reflects the importance of that page. Therefore, good internal links are crucial for your SEO strategy!

7.1. Write descriptive, concise text

The anchor text you use for a link should provide at least a basic idea of what the page linked to is about. Use short but descriptive text; usually a few words or a short phrase are advisable.

Avoid

  • Writing generic anchor text like “page”, “article”, or “click here”.
  • Using text that is off-topic or has no relation to the content of the page linked to.
  • Using the page’s URL as the anchor text in most cases, although there are certainly legitimate uses of this, such as promoting or referencing a new website’s address.
  • Writing long link text, such as a lengthy sentence or short paragraph.

7.2. Format links so they’re easy to spot

You should make it easy for users to distinguish between regular text and the anchor text of your links. Your content becomes less useful if users miss the links or accidentally clicks on them.

Avoid

  • Using CSS or text styling that make links look just like regular text.

7.3. Think about link text for contextual links

You may usually think about linking in terms of pointing to outside websites, but paying more attention to the anchor text used for internal links can help users and Google navigate your site better.

Avoid

  • Using excessively keyword-filled or lengthy anchor text just for search engines.
  • Creating unnecessary links that don’t help with the user’s navigation of the site.

8. Images

An often overlooked but really important part of an SEO strategy is how you handle your images, videos, and media content. To make sure that search engines can understand your images, you need to think about how you name and format your files. Writing descriptive filenames and descriptions helps a lot and can improve your performance significantly. Also, using the proper “alt” attributes for images, and transcripts of videos is something that boosts your SEO by making it clear to the Search Engines what your image is about.

8.1. Use descriptive filenames

Like many of the other parts of the page targeted for optimization, filenames are best when they’re short, but descriptive. Image SEO starts with the file name. You want Google to know what the image is about without even looking at it, so use your focus keyphrase in the image file name. It’s simple: if your image shows a sunrise in Paris over Notre Dame Cathedral, the file name shouldn’t be DSC4536.jpg, but notre-dame-paris-sunrise.jpg. The main keyphrase would be Notre Dame, as that is the main subject of the photo, which is why it’s at the beginning of the file name.

Avoid

  • Using generic filenames like “image1.jpg”, “pic.gif”, “1.jpg” when possible—if your site has thousands of images you might want to consider automating the naming of the images.
  • Writing extremely lengthy filenames.

8.2. Use descriptive “alt” text

Adding images to your articles encourages people to read them, and well-chosen images can also back up your message and get you a good ranking in image search results. But you should always remember to give your images good alt attributes: alt text strengthens the message of your articles with search engine spiders and improves the accessibility of your website.

Google’s article about images has a heading “Use descriptive alt text”. This is no coincidence: Google places a relatively high value on alt text. They use it to determine what is on the image but also how it relates to the surrounding text. The “alt” attribute allows you to specify alternative text for the image if it cannot be displayed for some reason. Why use this attribute? If a user is viewing your site using assistive technologies, such as a screen reader, the contents of the alt attribute provide information about the picture.Another reason is that if you’re using an image as a link, the alt text for that image will be treated similarly to the anchor text of a text link.

When choosing alt text, focus on creating useful, information-rich content that uses keywords appropriately and is in context of the content of the page. Avoid filling alt attributes with keywords (keyword stuffing) as it results in a negative user experience and may cause your site to be seen as spam.

  • Bad (missing alt text): <img src="puppy.jpg"/>
  • Bad (keyword stuffing): <img
    src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy dog baby dog pup pups puppies doggies pups
    litter puppies dog retriever  labrador wolfhound setter pointer puppy
    jack russell terrier puppies dog food cheap dogfood puppy food"/>
  • Better: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="puppy"/>
  • Best: <img src="puppy.jpg" alt="Dalmatian puppy playing fetch"/> 

8.3. Use standard image formats

For images, the right format doesn’t exist; it depends on the kind of image and how you want to use it. Commonly supported file-types supported by the modern browsers are the best bet. Most browsers support JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP and WebP image formats. It’s also a good idea to have the extension of your filename match with the file type. In short, a good approach is to:

  • choose JPEG for larger photos or illustrations: it will give you good results in terms of colors and clarity with a relatively small file size;
  • use PNG if you want to preserve background transparency;
  • or, use WebP instead of JPEG and PNG. It will produce high-quality results with smaller file sizes. You can use tools like Squoosh to convert your image into WebP.
  • use SVG for logos and icons. With the help of CSS or JavaScript you can manage images in SVG format, for instance, resize them without loss of quality.

8.4. Reduce file size

The next step in image SEO should be to make sure that the image is compressed so it is served in the smallest file size possible. This is known as “Image Optimization” and refers to the balance between the proper needed image quality and minimum image size possible. There are many tools that can help with this both online as also offline (see graphic design software like Photoshop for example).

Another top tip here that relates to reducing image size is to be aware on the how this image is going to be displayed. There is no point uploading an image with huge dimensions, and thus bigger size, if you know that this image will only show as small thumbnail. Re-sizing this image to the proper dimensions will surely reduce it’s size and still look good in the place where is supposed to be displayed.

Conclusion

And this wraps it up! With the above practices you will be well on your way on establishing a solid SEO strategy overcoming the technical challenges as also the content related decisions that will dictate how you should develop your content and thus your overall approach to SEO.

Although this was not an exhaustive guide, as there are quite a few more points regarding the vast world of SEO Optimization, the points analyzed here are fundamental and establishing good practices towards SEO from the beginning will only increase your chances for ranking better in Search Engine’s results.

Improving your SEO is an ongoing process, and with a can-do attitude, a solid plan and some dedication you will for sure see an improved ranking for your desired keywords that leads to more conversions, establishing your business or eCommerce site on the web and reaching your goals.

Good luck!

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