What is the central driving force behind a successful e-commerce website? While every detail about your business website counts, proper search engine optimization is a critical driving force toward business website success. Successful online businesses use SEO to drive targeted traffic to their website. When it comes to e-commerce websites, there are two types of SEO: on-page optimization and off-page optimization. I’m going to take you through on-page optimization. Also known as SEO for website development.
On-page optimization includes title tags, header tags, anchor text, and overall content. As a business website developer, your goal is to make sure search engines can see your website and index it under relevant search terms. To accomplish this, there are three important SEO tips every web developer should know.
1. Market research. Study your market niche inside and out. Who are your most successful competitors? Follow them and learn from the best. I’m not saying to go be a copycat. I’m telling you to find out what works and do it better. Find out how your competitors are succeeding. For example, what keywords are they using? Are they driving traffic through free or paid methods? What do their websites have in common? Look for similarities like layout, color scheme, title, header text, anchor text, and so on. All of these will clue you in on how you need to build your website.
2. Keyword research. Find out what keywords successful competitors are using in your niche. Their keywords are the first few words in the title, header, and even domain name. Find out the keywords people are typing into major search engines such as Google and Yahoo. This is very important. Ideally, you’ll want to spend about 3 days gathering sufficient data. It helps to take notes and organize them using excel. Also, keyword tools like Google’s own keyword tool and SEO toolkit are perfect for this job. They contain recent and accurate data and they’re free.
As a guideline for choosing keywords, try to focus on more specific keywords in your niche. Choose keywords with less competition. This will tremendously help your website get found in search results. For example, say you’re selling shoes. “Shoes” is a general keyword that you’d have a really hard time popping up in search results for. Choose relevant keywords with less competition such as running shoes for men, women’s tennis shoes, dress shoes for prom night, sandals for the beach, kitchen clogs, children’s hiking boots, 2 inch pumps, petite high heels, etc. One thing you must be aware of is using name brands like Nike or Reebok. You could use them for organic search results, but for paid ad campaigns such as Google AdWords certain name brands are not allowed.
3. Maintain keyword relevancy. Now that you’ve done keyword research, the third thing you need to do is maintain keyword relevancy. Google, Yahoo and other major search engines rank highly for relevant content. Relevancy is the foundation to success as a business website. Your title, header tags, body content, anchor text, the content of all websites linking to yours, they should all be keyword rich and share a common theme.
SEO for website development is critically important, but it’s only maybe 30% of overall SEO. As an internet marketer, off-page SEO is a grueling, never-ending journey through trail and error where winner takes all. For the dedicated marketer, it’s a rewarding addiction.