How can I make my webshop SEO-proof?

SEO, which is short for Search Engine Optimization, can make a big difference when it comes to brand awareness of your webshop and to stimulating the revenue of your webshop. SEO means the optimization of the content for your products in your webshop so that your web pages will get a better ranking from search engines.

From our experiences with customers, we’ve discovered that a lot of webshops barely optimize their webshop’s content. Because of this, the companies miss out on a great opportunity to distinguish themselves from the others. The biggest problem is the fact that most of the webshop owners don’t know what the requirements are for optimizing their content for the search engines.

Optimizing your webshop has a couple of great benefits:
1. It gives your webshop more organic traffic
2. The advertising costs decrease
3. More relevant content for the visitors
4. It makes the competition more dependent to their Adwords because of their lowered SEO-ranking

To help you with optimizing your webshop, we put together a list with the most important things to keep in mind when writing the content for your website. There are eleven SEO components which have to be included into the process of writing good content for your webshop. But before we can start with the eleven components, there is another step which we have to do first before being able to continue. And that is to choose a keyword.

Choosing a keyword

As mentioned earlier, the first step in optimizing the content for one of your products in the webshop is to pick a keyword of which you think that it fits with the wishes of the customer. In other words, the keyword that you choose for your product should correspond with the keyword that your potential customers will use to search for your type of products.

For example, we are the owners of an online coffee store, called ReloadCoffee. One of our products in our webshop is real American Coffee. Because we think that our (potential) customers will specifically search for American coffee, we decided to use ‘American Coffee’ as our keyword. Now that we’ve chosen our keyword, we can start with optimizing our content.

Don’t try to optimize your whole webshop on the basis of just one keyword. This will result in the fact that your own products will compete with each other. Furthermore, it’s unknown which of your products will be the one that the customer is looking for. So you also don’t have a clue which one you want at the top of Google. Keep in mind that the chosen keyword has to match with the product and the intention of your target group.

11 SEO components

If we want to optimize our content for our products, we’ll have to follow these SEO components:

1. Using the keyword in the meta-title
2. Use the maximum length of the meta-title
3. Use the keyword in the URL of the product page
4. Use the maximum length of the meta-description
5. Write a catchy text for your meta-description
6. Use the keyword in the meta-description for an optimized SEO-score
7. Write a description of at least 300 words
8. Use the keyword in the first sentence of the description so that you can clarify its relevance
9. Use the keyword multiple times in the content of the product
10. Use the H2-tags in your content
11. Using images for a better SEO

Step 1 – Using the keyword in the meta-title

Use the chosen keyword in the meta-title. Preferably, use the keyword at the beginning of the sentence as shown in the example above. If you do this, your potential customers can see the keyword immediately when they see your webshop. This way they don’t have to look to see where their keyword is used because it’s shown at the start. By doing this, you also enlarge the relevance of your webpage. The meta-title is something else than the product-title. This means that you can make separate changes to both titles. For instance, the product-title can be much longer than the meta-title.

Schermafbeelding 2016-04-26 om 09.55.13

Step 2 – Use the maximum length of the meta-title

In the example above, you can see what it looks like when the meta-title is too long. What happens is that Google shortens it by using three dots (…) which means that the message that was written in your meta-title isn’t shown correctly or that it doesn’t come across as well as planned. You must prevent this at all costs! The limit for the meta-title is 497 pixels.

Step 3 – Use the keyword in the URL of the product page

In the example above with the meta-content, you see the URL: “ReloadCoffee.com/American-coffee”. Because we’ve added our keyword into the URL, the relevance of the page will increase and when potential customers search for ‘American Coffee,’ the keyword in the URL will be bold so that it stands out more and increases the relevance even further.

Step 4 – Use the maximum length of the meta-description

As mentioned earlier (in the meta-title section), there’s a maximum length which you have to keep in mind when writing your meta-description. The limit here is 920 pixels and you should stay within this limit. Otherwise, Google will shorten it with three dots (…) and that means that the message that was written in your meta-title isn’t shown correctly or that it doesn’t come across as well as planned. Some letters take up more space than the others. For example, the letter ‘m’ and ‘l’. Keep that in mind when you’re writing your meta-description.

Step 5 – Write a catchy text for your meta-description

The next step is to take care of the fact that your meta-description has to be catchy. Something we see very often is that webshop owners think that this part is crucial to get a good ranking on Google and they end up using the keyword way too much in this description. Don’t do this! The meta-description is the first impression that a potential customer has with your webshop. This means that the meta-content has to convince the customers to go to your webshop. Therefore, we recommend writing your content like a Google Adwords advertisement. Try also to use certain factors in this content, like a social proof or a call-to-action.

Also, use the 6 principles of persuasion of Ciadini when possible. Some examples of these principles are mentioning things like ‘order today, have it tomorrow’ or using social proof like ‘our customers review this product with a 9.1.’ When you use these kinds of tools, the reliability of your webshop increases. In our example, we mentioned American Coffee at the beginning of the description. This is for the same reason as we did at the meta-title; so that our potential customers don’t have to look for the keyword. We have also written a text in which customers can learn more about the product which can get their attention and can make them curious about the rest of the article.

Step 6 – Use the keyword in the meta-description for an optimized SEO-score

Add your chosen keyword to the meta-description, preferably at the start. We’ve mentioned it before. In our example it’s used 2 times. But this isn’t always a possibility. Just like it isn’t always possible to add it at the beginning of the description. When it isn’t possible to do so, try to make sure that the other principles are used in the description. Principles such as the stating of the facts/benefits, the six principles of persuasion and/or the call-to-action. We noticed that the webshops which implement this process in a correct way have an increased Click-Through-Rate, CTR, as a result. This means that more customers will come to the website.

Step 7 – Write a description of at least 300 words

Then there’s the length of the product description. Often, it’s being said that the description length has to be between 300-350 words. Because of this, we often get questions like “why does it have to be this long?” “What if I use less?” and “Why 300?” Well, the first thing you need to consider is that Google is blind. The only handhold that it has, apart from the technique and the incoming links, are the things that are actually on the website. If these texts are unique, it will see it as a source and as a unique place to find information. And of course, this handhold is content of a good quality. Google also has an algorithm which predicts the kind of words it thinks that will be used in the content. When his predictions are correct, your website will get a score and it will be considered as a valuable text.

So it’s better to have longer texts on your website. Not only to help the search engines with understanding the website, but also for the visitors who want to have the information. For example, one of our employees has his own company. On which, he sells superfoods. Each product page has a description of 500-800 words and on these product-pages, they give away information and let the customers see the reviews of others and their experiences with the product. These kinds of texts can help you with constructing a strong website. This will give your webshop the opportunity to get a good ranking in the search engines.

Another big benefit of writing good content is that it will last for years. Because of this, it can give you a good ranking on the search engines and help you with keep a good ranking for years to come! All you’ve got to do is to write the content and keep it up-to-date once-a-while.

As for the webshops with, for example 5000, products or more, don’t try to optimize each and every product at once. Our recommendation here is to choose the products that are of the most relevancy to your webshop. Your choice products can be because they’re the highest revenue or the products that sell the most.

Step 8 – Use the keyword in the first sentence of the description to clarify its relevance

First, we’re going to start with the addition of the keyword to the first paragraph. Besides the fact that this has a positive effect on Google, it also increases the readability of the webpage for the visitors. When visitors come to your website and immediately see the keyword they were looking for, they’re going to be satisfied and much more eager to stay on your website.

Step 9 – Use the keyword multiple times in the content of the product (keyword-density)

The next step, which has to do with the keyword-density, also brings up a lot of questions from our customers. It’s important that, despite the changes that you’ve made for a good SEO, your content should have a good readability for the visitors. The keyword-density of your content should be between 1% and 4%. But the keyword-density doesn’t have to be the same for every page of your webshop as long as it remains between 1% and 4%.

A common mistake that a lot of users make is that they replace the keyword with a shorter term such as ‘it’. For instance, when we take another look at our American Coffee example; “In Europe, it is the most popular in Norway and the least popular in Italy.” It would’ve been much better if we had chosen to replace it with ‘American Coffee’. This way, you use the keyword again which brings more focus to it and you’ve also made the sentence more complete and easier to read.

Step 10 – Use the H2-tags in your content and using the keyword in it

Using H2-tags in your content helps you to keep a clearer test and therefore an easier test to read. Some benefits of these headers are that thy stand out from the rest of the text and that they bring tranquillity, attention and structure. Because it gets the attention of the visitors, the visitors will stay on your website for a longer period of time. It will also help you with decreasing the bounce percentage of your webpage.

Try to add your keyword to the headers in your content. This will help with increasing the degree of relevancy of your website. But don’t force this just because you want to use your keyword in the text. That would just make the content less relevant. If your content uses five H2-tags, it’s also enough if the keyword is in one or two of these headers!

Step 11 – Using images for a better SEO

Last but not least, we’ve come the use of images for a better SEO. The first thing that’s important to know is that Google loves it when a website mixes all kinds of content. So when your product page exists just of text and doesn’t contain any images, reviews and/or videos, then your page’s ranking will decrease. Something that we happen to see a lot is that the webshop owner uploads an image in the content of the product-page, but he hasn’t optimized it yet. When you choose to use an image, make sure that you fill in the alt-tag. When you do this and you add the keyword in here, your product page will also be more findable via Google-images.

You can find the alt-tag when you go to a website and hold your cursor on an image on the website. You can also see this in the example above. The alt-tag was developed for people who couldn’t watch pictures on their pc and for people with a bad internet connection so that they could read what the picture was about. Nowadays, the search engines also embraced the alt-tag which means that this gives you another opportunity to be found by your potential customers! Also, try to add as many different kinds of content to your product-pages. There are many different kinds of users some of which who like to read and some who prefer to watch videos and some who prefer to look at pictures. To make sure that every visitor will be content with the website, it’s best to combine these different kinds of content.

The ReloadSEO extension

It takes a lot of work to improve your position in search engines. Hiring a SEO expert to do this for you can cost a lot of money. That’s why we’ve made an extension which helps you with optimizing your content yourself. All you’ve got to do is to start writing your content and our extension will give you real-time feedback on how to optimize it! This way you can make sure that your webshop is well optimized. We also keep track of the changes that are made at the search engine so that your webshop will remain fully optimized!

When you choose to use ReloadSEO, you won’t be disappointed. Our extension will help you with optimizing your keyword, Meta-data, descriptions and content so that you will be able to make the best SEO-texts possible! With this, we will help you to get higher rankings in the search engines!

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