Over the past couple of years the search engine optimization landscape has been dramatically altered thanks to Google. On the one hand it’s become easier to find reliable sites and avoid the shady ones, on the other you need to pay more attention to what you’re doing on your site if you want to reach the right people. SEO helps eCommerce vendors reach potential customers when they are in the process of researching their product. It can also help reach those who want to make an immediate purchase and convert them into customers.
So let’s have a recap of what used to work and what is now important, and we’re sticking to Google because it’s still the biggest search engine in town and so will help you reach the most potential customers.
What went out?
- “Incoming Links”: Those not so real incoming links that made the not so honest sites appear earlier in search results have been given the boot. This means you no longer need to worry about some fraudulent site turning up on the first page of your search results just because they’ve managed to get a hundred other fraudulent sites to link back to them. This saves your customers from having their data of money stolen through unsecured transactions on harmful sites.
- Paid Links: The not so shady brother of the fraudulent links was the paid link. The one where a site could simply pay another site to place a link. It doesn’t work anymore unless it is through ads on a site. If you’re planning on advertising online, make sure it is on a reputable site – like maybe on the site of the local or regional association of manufacturers or distributors.
- Keywords Galore: This is the one that put a dent even in the best of the real websites. With keywords not holding the power they once used to, even honest sites saw their rankings drop when Google changed the rules. The upside was that just cramming keywords onto pages and blogs no longer helps third rate sites in outranking the brilliant and the original. But don’t abandon keywords because they’re still relevant, just don’t spend as much time on them as you used to. Where you might have originally focused on have keyword heavy product titles and description, you can now focus on presenting content the way you want to.
What came in?
- Content: You’ve already heard the phrase ‘content is king’ and know that we think eCommerce is queen. Content’s word is law. If your content is weak it will be irrelevant. If the content is good, your site shall shine. So great original product descriptions are likely to help your site ranking improve.
- Blogs and EBooks: A great way to get legitimate links is to write guest blogs on other sites. Offer to write one on a partners’ site about how great your relationship with them has been. See if you can get experts in your company to write for business blogs and online magazines, even if they’re only local editions. Create eBooks on relevant topics and share them on sites like Issuu, Scribd and SlideShare. You could use this opportunity to create product showcases, and maybe something that your customers would find interesting like a ‘Top 10 Most Amazing Features in a Lawn Mower’ if you handle landscaping supplies for example.
- Social Media: Social Media has a rising relevance on your SEO checklist. Since most of today’s top social media sites are considered reliable, links from them are considered worthy of notice. So increase your social presence and reach out to your customers online. This will not only help better the relationship, but also make it obvious to any prospects that come across your social account that you keep in touch with your customers and pay attention to their needs.
The changes that came with the Google updates last year might well be the beginning of a greater change in SEO – remember to stay up to date on SEO trends and changes on all major search engines and start creating great content.