No matter where your eCommerce store is located, having it properly optimized is one of the crucial things you need to do, if you wish to sell online successfully.
For you, the most important task, and especially if you are a beginner in the world of online shopping, has to be – ensuring you can be found.
Remember, having a crowd at your checkout will not happen on its own.
And even though we can claim with certainty that you have made a great choice when you decided to go with Magento, there are still a few things you need to be reminded of.
That is why, with today’s post, we wish to help you ensure your store will be loved by search engines. And Magento, by default is, which a great starting point.
Still it would be too easy if you could get everything set up straight out of the box, and that is why this is a great moment to open your online store and check for potential problems, as you need to detect mistakes you may have made while setting up your store, that are possibly having a negative influence on your online business.
So, the question is – how often do you feel as if you are walking on a tightrope trying to play a perfect tune?
If the answer is “many”, keep reading and find out how can you ensure clean start for your online store when it comes to search engine optimization.
1. Not filling out alt tag when adding images
Product photography is vital for many reasons, the basic one being – it is the only way to showcase what you are offering.
We emphasized many times how important it is to have high quality images and present your products the best way possible. But there are some image related mistakes that you might be making without even knowing.
And not using alt tag on your images is definitely one of them, so make sure you go through your images and fill in your alt text tab.
Many are ignoring the fact that photos have a significant role when it comes to your online store’s SEO. Since search engine spiders cannot possibly know what your picture is about, you need to (preferably) write the description for your image – alt tag.
Even though it is not really a tag, it is the most common way to address this small portion of text that explains your image and its purpose closely.
And not only that you will make your image possible to appear in search results, making it easier for visitors to find your online store, you will also be helping visually impaired readers since alt tag is the only way for them to get insight into what your image is all about.
Next time you are setting up images on your online store or blog, make sure your alt tag is properly filled.
2. Not changing default name of your online store
If you are dealing with a fresh Magento installation, you will notice (once you head over to System→Configuration→General→Design→HTML Head) that default title of your online store is Magento Commerce.
Go ahead and proudly change it and let search engines know that you are real and ready to get on top!
And while you are there, make sure you add a nice favicon to your store and make it more appealing and noticeable.
3. Ignoring staging server once everything goes live
This is a big one!
If you decided to go with Magento, you probably chose to use staging server for your online store’s development. If that is the case, you need to ensure that mistakes are reduced to bare minimum and this is exactly where the staging server has main role.
Doing great job in being an exact duplicate of your actual online store, staging server is making it possible for store owners to make sure that there will not be any hiccups once it’s up and running.
One thing you should have in your mind is that once your online shop is live, you need to create your XML sitemap with proper keyword rich URLs and remove the old ones.
Advice? Add noindex/nofollow using the meta tag before you even start working on your staging server and prevent crawlers to index your pages. It is a great way to avoid possible mistakes occurring in future.
A better one?
Great precaution measure can be – ensuring that your staging server is password protected. After all, not only that you wish to disallow others to peak into your work half done, you also wish to prevent creating duplicated content and facing penalties coming from search engines.
4. Neglecting your product description
We already wrote how neglecting product description can bring damage to your store. And how, on the other hand, fun, unique and inspiring product descriptions can not only enhance customer’s experience on your online store, but ensure a good spot when it comes to Google search results.
That means you should once and for all forget about boring descriptions given by manufacturers, come up with something groundbreaking and wait to be rewarded by search engines.
5. Ignoring title tags
When it comes to content – not covering title tags can definitely cost you good position.
And you should definitely master this one!
Nothing difficult though – you simply need to understand the fact that they will contribute in making your content well structured.
They will also let search engines understand what you are all about and that is what it is you wish to achieve.
There are several indications that Google will start ignoring title tags in the future, but for now, make sure you ensure that your title tag is optimized in terms of relevant keywords.
6. Not removing stop words from your URL
Not removing stop words such as “for”, “and”, “or”, “the”, from URL can definitely harm the way search engines index your online store. It is not tremendously important by no means, and you will not destroy your business in the eyes of search engines if you use stop words in your URL.
But if we are nitpicking (and you have to when it comes to your online store), it is good to remove them as the only think they will do is – make your URL longer.
Since these are not keywords that are relevant to your store in any way, and they most certainly do not bring any value, you can go ahead and remove them without having second thoughts.
Another thing you need to be careful about when it comes to your URLs is making sure that they are keyword rich.
7. Not adding nofollow to non content pages
Failing to add nofollow to non content pages is another thing that you need to prevent.
Indexing non content pages such as checkout page, cart, wish lists, contact forms or filters is completely redundant. After all, you wish search engines to index valuable pages, and you will not benefit a lot by indexing the aforementioned ones, so make sure you avoid it by adding nofollow tag.
8. Ignoring user generated content…
…is another one you should not miss.
Search engines simply adore user generated content, and your buyers will find it easier to decide to buy from you after reading great reviews on your website.
And not only you will social proof your store completely and in the best way possible, you will get involved into this amazing statistic coming from eConsultancy:
“Site visitors who interact with both reviews and customer questions and answers are 105% more likely to purchase while visiting, and spend 11% more than visitors who don’t interact with UGC.”
9. Not using video on your online store
Video has so many benefits that it seems completely ludicrous not to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
According to Acronym – “webpages with video are 50x more likely to show up on Google’s first search engine results page (SERP).”
10. Failing to formulate content strategy
This is a rather common mistake. Believing that it brings loads of hard work, store owners are reluctant to write and publish.
Not creating content and not connecting with your customers on a more personal, friendly way is a way to damage your rankings.
Write a blog, give useful advice to your customers, show them how they can benefit or use your products, show them behind the scene details of your latest product launch or campaign.
Motivate them to comment, share thoughts and engage. There is no greater benefit for your online store, as it will not only increase your store’s visibility, it will most certainly boost your sales.
Remember, this is just a beggining. Your product has to be impeccable, your customer service assertive and attentive, but more important, your website has to be far ahead of your competitors in terms of ranking.
Whatever you do in future, make sure it is done with one aim only – offer smooth, seamless and secure experience for your customers.
It is the best recipe for success of your online store.