Part 1 will outline the basics of search engine optimization.
OK, so I've got my shiny new website with all my products added and it's out there on the Internet. How do I start getting sales? I want them now!
My ultimate aim is to get my website to the top of Google and other search engines, but I'm just starting out and I haven't got thousands of dollars to spend on getting there and staying there.
There are four vital pieces of the puzzle to get started (3 of which are completely free, and the fourth potentially being free) which will increase my chances of getting great sales.
- Online Store
- Domain Name
- Google Webmaster Tools Account
- Google Analytics Account
This series I will walk you through the fine art of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Before I start work on trying to get my website listed on search engines I make sure my website IS ready. I don't want Google to start ranking my store until it looks awesome. I make sure that it stands out from the rest and uses it's colors and images really well.
There is really no point being at the top of Google if your store isn't ready. Read our Getting Started web series to learn all about setting up your first site.
Your SEO Journey
Search Engine Optimisation starts with keywords. I need to give some thought as to what keywords I want to use to describe my online store. Google will check over my site and pick up on words that I use regularly to define it in its search results. I figure it’s no good concentrating on a keyword such as ‘cakes’ because the Goooooogle list will be soooooo long that I won’t get myself noticed. Not unless I pay to be advertised at the top and I’m just starting out and I don’t have the budget for expensive advertising. I need to be more specific so that I can ‘hone in’ on my target audience. That way the search results will much smaller if someone types my keyword and I’m bound to get noticed quicker! I’m going with “party cupcakes”, “party cup cakes”. I incorporate my chosen key words into my product descriptions, title and the category names. I’m just going with these two keywords (or search terms) at first to see how I get on. In a couple of months when I get going, I will think about adding a few more search terms to my hit list. I will check my Google analytics account in a month or two to see if I have had a marked improvement in the number of hits for these key words.
I can’t afford to rush SEO and traffic. Hopefully my traffic will build over time but the key is to be patient and wait to see what the results are. I will take a look at Google Analytics in a few months and see what improvements can be made.
My store is less than 12 months old, so brand new in the eyes of search engines such as Google. I want the online marketplace to trust my store. Any small iterative changes I make must be based on what Google Analytics tells me in a few months’ time. By resisting the temptation to make kneejerk changes I will show Google that I’m a reputable business and I’m planning on being here to stay. Search engines are more likely to trust me and hopefully will rank me higher on their listings.
Let's start with domain names. I want my online customers to know I'm a credible business so I've picked a domain name that reflects my store name "The Original Cupcake Store". I think it's one that people will remember. I've put my store name in my logo, icons and other graphics on my webstore so they communicate my "brand". My domain name dictates many parts of my site and is the first thing in my "SEO Journey".
Google Webmaster Tools - Sitemaps
As a Freewebstore user, my store sitemap has automatically been submitted for me. Once I feel a bit more confident about SEO I will have a look at the Google Data and sign up for a Google Webmaster Tools account on the following link: Google Webmaster Tools.
My sitemap is basically a guide book or index that Google use for your website - it helps them find my page, products and categories. Google will use this to instruct it's spiders to crawl my store.
I'm going to set up a Google Analytics account. This will give me every piece of visitor information I could wish for and will help me improve my marketing. It seems a little daunting but I'm going to master it in order to stay ahead of the game!
The statistics package to end all other statistics packages
Ok, so now I need to try and be patient and see how my online store settles into the online market. It can take a couple of months to be able to make a decision on this. If I start making changes too soon, then the clock re-sets and it could take another three months to be able to spot any trends.
Part 2 coming soon