Top 8 White Hat SEO Tips for E-Commerce Websites

by Meghan Wolff on April 26, 2012

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The term “SEO” may sound foreign to many startup merchants, but understanding what it is and how it works can make your e-commerce business boom. Short for search engine optimization, SEO helps your website rank higher in search engine results, get more visitors, and ultimately boost your revenue.

However, there are good ways (white hat) and bad ways (black hat) of optimizing your SEO. Black hat techniques can give your business a bad image, so I recommend you avoid them. Follow my white hat SEO tips and your e-commerce business will soon be on its way to optimizing your search engine results!

1. Use META Tags

A META tag is a special HTML tag that lets you provide information about a specific page on your site. The most important attributes within the META tags are the description and keyword attributes. The description and keyword attributes are exactly that — a short description and the most important keywords found on the page. META descriptions should be less than 155 characters long, an accurate description of what a visitor will find on the page, and should incorporate your most important keywords.

2. Incorporate Relevant Keywords

META keywords can help focus your writing as well we help searchers find your site. The first thing you should do when writing the META keyword attribute is make a list of all of the words or phrases you would like to use for each individual page. To help you decide what words will work best, use analytics tools to see what searchers are looking for most often. Visiting your competitors’ websites to see what keywords and phrases they’re using will also help.

Next, list your keywords and phrases in order of their importance using commas to separate. Let’s say that you sell lamps. One of your product pages is for a Better Homes and Gardens Victorian floor lamp. Better Homes and Gardens should be your first keyword for the page, and Victorian floor lamp should be your second. You could even combine the two into one keyword for users who search for that specific lamp. Keep in mind that keywords can be a word or a phrase, and you can list up to 25 of them — although you may want to focus your keywords on three to five important key words or phrases.

Now you need to incorporate these META keywords and keyword phrases into the body of your page. Let search engines know how important these words are to you by including them in headings, sub-headings and link text, and by using them at least three times on the page.

3. Create Clear, Descriptive URLs

Search engines like Google look at URLs when filtering search results, so the URL you create for your website should reflect what’s on the page. A good URL for that Victorian floor lamp would be http://www.yoururl.com/better-homes-and-gardens-victorian-floor-lamp as opposed to http://www.yoururl.com/product04884687.html. Clear, descriptive URLs will also let searchers know what they’ll find on your page.

4. Write Meaningful Anchor Text

Anchor text is the clickable text in a hyperlink. When writing the anchor text, make sure it relates to the attached link. For instance, if you’re anchor text reads “Victorian floor lamps,” but it links to a page selling televisions, then that will only hinder your SEO ranking.

5. Know How to Build Backlinks

A backlink is a link to your website from another website. Google views backlinks as votes, and uses them to help determine your website’s PageRank (PR) — based on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. However, not all backlinks hold the same weight. If you have a backlink from a website with a PR2, it won’t be as affective as a backlink coming from a website with a PR7.

There are several ways to gain backlinks, but one of the most popular techniques is through guest blogging — publishing a post on someone else’s blog that links back to your website. Writing guest blog posts related to your specialty will also help build your online reputation. Additional backlinking strategies include:

  • Creating a Resources or Partners page and exchange links with others looking to build their backlinks
  • Submitting your website to online business directories, niche category directories, and social book marking sites
  • Signing up for social media websites and include your URL in the profile section
  •  Writing legitimate comments on blogs and making sure you include your website’s URL

6. Always Interlink Between Pages

Similar to backlinking, internal links connect to pages within your website. It’s not as powerful of a strategy as backlinking, but Google loves interlinking, so it needs to happen. Make sure the internal links make sense and are useful for your visitors — don’t stick in a link just for the sake of SEO. Don’t forget about your blog (if you have one, and if you don’t well, then you should!) when interlinking. Here are some good ideas for internal links:

  • Landing page to landing page
  • Landing page to blog post
  • Landing page to FAQ question
  • Blog post to blog post
  • Blog post to landing page
  • Blog post to definition (if you work in an industry with specific jargon)

7. Write Image Descriptions

Since Web crawlers only search text, it’s important to include an accurate description of the images you use on your site. A Web crawler, also known as a spider, crawls across the World Wide Web in search of fresh, new content. Use important keywords in your image descriptions so spiders will know when to show them in search results.

8. Update your Content

Search engines like to offer the most up-to-date results in search inquiries, so make sure you’re updating your website’s content on a regular basis. Updating your content will increase traffic no only from Web crawlers seeking it out, but also from your customers wanting to see what new content you have on your site.

There are so many SEO optimization tips for websites — what are some of your favorite tips? How do you measure the success of your website?

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{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

priyamathi March 8, 2014 at 2:10 am

Hi Meghan, I agree your point. SEO is really helps website rank higher in search engine results, get more visitors. Thanks For Sharing.
priyamathi recently posted..Useful Social Media Marketing Strategies For E-Commerce WebsitesMy Profile

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Reginald
Twitter:
August 5, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Hi Meghan,

Thanks for sharing this. I think the only thing I need to learn is about landing pages. I don’t really do eCommerce website but I still believe the concept can be used on other genres.

Very nice information and thank you again.

Reginald
Reginald recently posted..Guest Posting Confession: Getting Started And Essential ChecklistsMy Profile

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Sherryl Perry August 6, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Hi Reginald,
Thanks for letting us know that you liked Meghan’s guest post. Meghan has written four guest posts so far and she’s definitely welcome back.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Friday Finds: Focus on Customers, Facebook Tips and Website Load TimesMy Profile

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raj February 28, 2013 at 1:12 pm

hi.
i want you ask some questions about seo. i hope you will Answer.1Q – keyword in url it should be or not be in title and Description ? 2 Q – what should be keyword in title for example www. cityname yellowpages.com local city website. i have see many keyword like business, yellow pages, classified , exporter , but there global search very high Traffic but local search are very poor Traffic. what should i do. in search city name its very poor in Traffic . thanks

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Sherryl Perry March 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm

Hi Raj,
Meghan has been running into issues responding to comments on her guest posts (on my blog). So, I’ll try to help you. Keywords in your title tags do help with SEO. I also believe that the search engines don’t always read the entire title. So, it helps to get those keywords at the beginning. Are you trying to optimize a site for local traffic? If so, are you using keywords that identify your site as being local?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Top 6 SEO and Social Media How-To Posts of 2012My Profile

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luke September 6, 2012 at 1:15 am

I agree to Jason, I’ve been experiencing the same thing. But you have listed here many options so we might pick the effective one. thanks for the share.

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Sherryl Perry September 6, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hi Luke,
Looking at Meghan’s post, it’s hard to pick any one of these tips as my favorite. If I were to suggest which ones I would start with, I would say her top three. The meta tag info is so important. (If you look up at the URL of this post, you’ll notice that by using Meghan’s title in the URL, we’re giving the search engines the keywords “white hat”, “seo tips” and “ecommerce websites”.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 Tips You Should Know When You Start BloggingMy Profile

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