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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Jason August 10, 2012 at 6:21 pm

These seem simple enough. The issue I’ve been having is that most thing don’t turn out to be that effective. Hopefully this might be different.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
September 6, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Hi Jason,
Sorry it’s taken me so long to reply to your comment. (Somehow, it slipped by me.) One of the things that I like the most about Meghan’s SEO tips is the simplicity. One of the things that made the biggest impact on achieving more traffic organically is Meghan’s tip #2 – incorporate relevant keywords in your headings. Headings are much more than just bolding text. Inserting heading tags like “H1” and “H2” tells the search engines to pay attention. They also help visually break up your article to make it more appealing.

(When I formatted Meghan’s article for my blog, I used heading tags to identify her 8 tips.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Sitizens Online Social Game – My Top Referral Traffic SourceMy Profile

John Smith August 9, 2012 at 4:13 am

I see a lot of images on the web which have no description to support them. Images are now second most searched things on the web and if someone neglects putting ALT tags to their images they miss a big chunk of traffic which could come from Image Search. The other techniques listed above are wonderful as well.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 9, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Hi John,
Thanks for reinforcing this. Some people are simply unaware that search engines cannot “see” images. It’s a shame really. It’s so easy to enter meta data like alt-text and descriptions. Also, people should rename their images before uploading them to the server. A picture named DSC0086 is worthless compared to one named vintage-ford. It’s always a good idea to use keywords when we can. (Keeping in mind not to overuse them of course.)
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Step by Step July 26, 2012 at 4:10 am

Hi Meghan Wolff,

You have done a wonderful job by writing this article for ecommerce websites owners/webmasters.All your eight white hat SEO tips are essential for ecommerce website and keeping on-page factor is mandatory for success of a website. Getting back links from related nice sites are also helpful for ecommerce website to increase their ROI. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.

Regards,
Jessica Martin

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Hi Jessica,
Sorry for taking so long to acknowledge your comment. Thanks for letting us know that you found Meghan’s guest post to be valuable. I appreciate the time that she took to share her insight with us. It’s good to know that there are steps that small business owners can take on their own if they don’t have the resources to invest in a professional SEO firm.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

Ruth Williams July 25, 2012 at 2:14 am

I have worked for great many clients in my SEO career. What I have felt through experience is that SEO is more or less a head ache for small businesses. They usually don’t have an in-house SEO team and they rarely bother to outsource their work. The tips you have given above are sure to make this task doable for the people who usually avoid it, thinking to be a highly technical job.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
August 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Hi Ruth,
First, let me apologize for not acknowledging your comment sooner. (It’s been a crazy couple of weeks.) I wanted to thank you for weighing in on this topic. Outsourcing SEO is definitely something that can be very valuable. As we all know, it’s not always an option due to budget constraints. It’s great that there are some steps that small business owners can incorporate into their daily tasks that have beneficial results. As we grow our business, hopefully, we will someday reach a point where we can afford to outsource.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Should Be A Habit Not A HeadacheMy Profile

David July 23, 2012 at 3:49 am

On-page SEO is a mandatory part of any eCommerce site. What people generally focus is on building a killer design for their site but rarely on building quality backlinks and meta tags on their site. These two can singl-handedly rank their site on top of SERPs.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Good advice David. Thanks for joining the conversation.
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Steve Hippel
Twitter:
July 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Hi David. You are a man who definately speaks my language.
So many people jump feet first in and spend all the budget on design, whistles and bells without a thought for who or how people will see them.

Having said that, design is very important and should be invested in at some point.
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Rose M Griffith
Twitter:
July 9, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Very helpful information, Meghan. The line between being a writer and being a webmaster is blurred when you manage your own website. This information helped me straighten out a few things this morning and gave me good leads on fixing other issues. Thank you for sharing.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 10, 2012 at 10:52 pm

Thanks for letting us know that you found Meghan’s article helpful. She does an excellent job writing about SEO tips. Her style is clear and concise.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Should Be A Habit Not A HeadacheMy Profile

Edward July 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm

Top notch tips, Meghan. I’ve already knew a few of them as a IM, but it is actually good to have reinforcement from an authority.

I would add an recommendation regarding your 5th tip (Know How to Build Backlinks). Recently, with all the Google Panda/Penguin updates it has become very very important to have some anchor text variation when creating backlinks to your website, specially if the website/blog is brand new or relatively new. As some of you may know, Penguin update was targeted at over optimization, and having no keyword/anchor text variation is a way of over-optimizating.

I know we’re talking about building white hat SEO backlinks (not black-hat), nonetheless it’s quite important to have a “natural” anchor text variation to ensure we stay 100% white hat.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
July 10, 2012 at 10:50 pm

That’s a great tip about anchor text for backlinks. Thanks for adding it Edward.
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FeliciaCorrine June 27, 2012 at 6:12 am

Great tips! Love them all. Various SEO techniques are really successful in generating traffic to a website and increasing visibility. One of the best ways of creating backlinks is by writing blogs, guest posts, articles and commenting on other posts. The content we write should have good keyword density and relevant content. Having a video will be beneficial as the readers will stay on your page for longer time. you can even have a search query tool bar in your website so that readers will be able to easily locate the information they are looking for.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Great tips Felicia. Videos need to be optimized for SEO too. Both Google and visitors love them. I agree with you about the search query tool. I have one installed here and I use it myself. 🙂

Thanks for adding to the conversation!
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John June 23, 2012 at 6:48 am

Great to see such a useful article on Seo for eCommerce websites can you please give more details about point no six Interlink between pages.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 27, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hi John,
Sorry it’s taken so long to reply to your comment. You asked for more details about interlinking between pages. Since this is a guest post, there aren’t any links in this article but if I had written it myself, I would have taken the opportunity to link to another one of my articles.

For example, in point six, Meghan wrote “Google loves interlinking”. Since that phrase has two keywords, it would have been appropriate anchor text to link to another article about Google and/or SEO. Linking to other documents is not only good for SEO but it also can make for a better experience for the reader by providing easy access to relevant information.

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope my answer helped you.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 21, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Hi Angel,
I can’t speak for Meghan but I try to post a new article every week but I also answer comments daily. In Google WebMaster Tools, I have it set up to let Google know that I change my site on a daily basis in hopes that their search engines will index my site regularly.

I hope this helps. Thanks for adding to the discussion.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..SEO Should Be A Habit Not A HeadacheMy Profile

Rick Peterson
Twitter:
June 7, 2012 at 11:06 am

Search engine optimization is really broad and very much important in driving traffics to your website. I like your list and I think it will be much very helpful because all are White hat tips.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
June 21, 2012 at 1:02 pm

Rick,
Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know that you enjoyed Meghan’s guest post on SEO. I apologize for taking so long (2 weeks) to reply to you. Somehow, I managed to miss this one.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Can Your Small Business Compete with the Big-Box Stores?My Profile

Mike Jones May 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Agree these tips are best for SERP clear content unique and proper alt tags give great advantage for SERP but Google make many changes in Algorithm and take actions about over Optimized Sites we didn’t heard about any penalty from my contacts but mostly bloggers are hit by drop of traffics but not any SERP and no one admit the reason behind that was Penguin.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 18, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Hi Mike,
I’m glad that you agree that Meghan’s white hat SEO tips can help business owners to optimize their websites for better search engine results.

Thanks for taking the time to join the conversation.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

You’re welcome Ria. Thanks for taking the time to let us know that you found Meghan’s post helpful.
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Anton Koekemoer
Twitter:
May 9, 2012 at 4:24 am

Awesome! Thanks for giving a heads up on another scam! This information is dearly appreciated.

Jim Antoine
Twitter:
May 8, 2012 at 4:38 am

Great tips as always but I would like to say again that google hunts down over optimized websites. So overdoing it (especially interlinking) could backfire. Tags, metatags, nicely written urls etc is also a must!!!
Thank you!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 9, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Hi Jim,
Thanks for the reminder about overdoing interlinking. I think too much of it can be annoying to our readers too.

Rizwan Sultan May 7, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Hey Meghan Wolff

Agree these tips are best for SERP clear content unique and proper alt tags give great advantage for SERP but Google make many changes in Algorithm and take actions about over Optimized Sites we didn’t heard about any penalty from my contacts but mostly bloggers are hit by drop of traffics but not any SERP and no one admit the reason behind that was Penguin.
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Rizwan,
When you talk about over optimizing a website, are you referring to overusing keywords and having too many links?
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

Sarah McCrary
Twitter:
May 7, 2012 at 2:58 am

Hello Steve, Thank you for sharing this wonderful article with us. Im still confused about using the Anchor Text. Could you please recommend me a link from where I could have a clear idea about using them? Thanks!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Hi Sarah,
Check out this article on anchor text: http://www.seomoz.org/learn-seo/anchor-text. SEOMOZ is a good resource for info on SEO. I hope it helps you.
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Billy May 6, 2012 at 7:47 am

SEO is very important and it is very much important for the E-commerce site.. Most people are unaware of the fact that over SEO can harm the site so SEO needs to be done correctly in order to have good result..

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Thanks for joining us here.

Lee May 5, 2012 at 11:20 am

Hi Meghan, As a newbie to this I have just built my website for Locksmith Carshalton, I am currently waiting to see how google will index it. Trying to teach myself seo has been very frustrating but articles like this are a real god send showing me the tricks of the trade. Thanks

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 6, 2012 at 1:31 pm

Hi Lee, Your message to Meghan reminds me that I should write a post about the basics on launching a website. For example, not everyone knows about verifying ownership of your website in Google Webmaster tools, the importance of a robots.txt file and an xml sitemap. Also, it’s a good idea to set up Google Analytics as early as possible. There’s so much to do to help get your site found. I’m glad you found Meghan’s article helpful. She did a great job explaining her tips.
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Wendy Pundle May 4, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Wow I haven’t ever thought about using image alt tags. Thanks for this article I’m going to go update my images on a few sites. Going to take long but its worth it
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 6, 2012 at 1:24 pm

Good luck updating your images with alt tags Wendy. Another good tip to keep in mind with images is to rename your files before you upload them. Rather than having a file name like “DSCN0848” that a camera has assigned, it’s a much better idea to name it using keywords that identify it. For example “cute-kitten”. That way, the search engines (and people) will know what it is.

I wouldn’t necessarily recommend going back and changing your existing images but this would be a good habit to start. I usually copy my original picture and rename it. Then, I resize it and save it for the web to compress it. That should help with SEO too. (Here’s a post that I wrote about it that may help you: http://bit.ly/eiFmEC.)

Amy Turner
Twitter:
May 4, 2012 at 8:24 am

You can see by the number of people leaving comments just how significant this post is to them. Personally, I believe you have summed it all up in very simple, easy to digest points. I have read a lot of SEO tips that left me even wondering more. This one is so useful in that it makes one really understand the rules for SEO, especially backlinking.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 6, 2012 at 11:12 am

Thanks for the positive feedback Amy. This is the second post that Meghan has written for my blog and she’s definitely welcome back! SEO can be a difficult subject to tackle and her easy to follow tips are being well received.
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Millie Floor May 4, 2012 at 7:03 am

Meta tags and keywords are the main points of the above tips. They’re important since web crawlers are bound to find something through careful choices in terms used for the photos or text in the blog. It’s good to get reminded of the such tips every now and then.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
May 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

Thanks for weighing in on meta tags and keywords Millie. There’s so much written about whether or not Google pays much weight to them now. It was refreshing to see that Meghan still recommends using them. (I’ve never stopped and won’t. Algorithms change.)
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Joseph Mills May 3, 2012 at 12:56 am

Hi Meghan 🙂 Those are great of piece of advice. I think most of the essence to build links is intact in your post.

But be careful of over using the links, it can hurt your site.

Thanks for sharing.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 3, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Hi Joseph,

Thanks for the helpful advice on using too many links!

Micah
Twitter:
May 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Some excellent SEO advise.

Just don’t overdo your anchor text! That’s one of the things targeted by Google’s latest algorithm change.

A little “digging” should reveal the exact details on this whole Penguin fiasco.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 3, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hi Micah,

I haven’t seen anything specifically about anchor text with the new Penguin updates–maybe you’re referring to the keyword stuffing? I try to keep my anchor text natural yet still relevant. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll keep looking for new Penguin info!

Micah
Twitter:
May 4, 2012 at 1:36 am

There was an in-depth study done on it, the data appeared to show that anchor text was one of the things penguin targeted.

Actually what the study showed was most sites who had 60% or more of their incoming links use their money keyword as anchor text got hit.

Most sites that did less then 50% of their incoming links containing their money keyword where ok.

Of course there are other factors involved, and this conclusion only holds so long as we are interpreting this data correctly.

Just a thought 🙂

alex May 2, 2012 at 12:40 pm

What a great comprehensive list Meghan,these tips simplifies SEO nicely, you´ll help a lot of people withthis advice

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Hi Alex,

I hope my tips help a lot of people, but even helping just one person makes all the difference to me!

caroline
Twitter:
May 2, 2012 at 9:30 am

Hi Meghan thank you so much for the great information, I just re-tweeted it..would like to have an regular vist..

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for re-tweeting my guest post–it’s much appreciated! Have a wonderful day!

Becca May 2, 2012 at 3:11 am

White hat always work great it may take time but gives you what result you want and that is always genuine and if you are planning for long run then white hat seo is always recommend.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 2, 2012 at 2:24 pm

All good things come in time, especially when you work hard to deserve them, Becca. Thanks for your comment!

Sharon Koenig
Twitter:
May 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Great Tips, Meghan. I think these are tips everyone should use if they want to be in the safe zone with Google. The Grey hat and Black hat stuff is just so sketchy, and there are a lot of punishments associated with them.. so It’s just no good.

I especially like the page interlinking tip and the keeping things up to date tip. Keeping your pages interlinked makes your blog much easier for people to navigate around in. And if you wanted your info to be up to date, it’d be good to go back and change or add some info to your past posts, so everything is relevant to the current age! 🙂

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Thanks, Sharon! You could even update your page info by adding new content that internlinks to a new page. I’ve been reading a lot about the Penguin updates recently and Google loves new pages. Here are some other tips–straight from Google!

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 1, 2012 at 5:12 pm

It’s really great to add something unique and important to the conversation!

Jack Sander May 1, 2012 at 2:56 am

I totally agree with your point of view. These tips for on-page optimization are essential for good rankings, if they are complemented with white hat link building techniques. My favorite ways to build links are guest posting, niche forums and article directories. If we stay away from black hat techniques and work hard, our sites will be successful on the long run.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 1, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more, Jack! It’s too easy to fall into realm of black hat SEO. For a few weeks, I was researching competitor’s backlinking strategies and there were so many backlinks hidden within Web pages–or websites created specifically for backlinking, but the pages were filled with Latin gibberish. Working hard and earning my SEO rankings makes me feel so much better about myself!

jack April 30, 2012 at 10:53 pm

One of the biggest challenges you may have running an e-commerce website is that hundreds of others stores and sites are selling the same exact items as you (unless you handcraft the products you’re selling, of course). Your products may not be unique, but your content should be. Unique content will attract people and convert your website visitors into customers.
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Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Hi Jack,

Thanks for visiting my company’s blog and quoting me!

Elaine Rogers
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 11:54 am

What a great comprehensive list Meghan, and the comment stream is very interesting also. Thanks for sharing the tips in such a way that non-developers understand. I know a lot of website owners actually do some of the tasks above without realising the benefits and the consequences, so it’s great to read HOW doing these tasks will benefit our websites, and our google juice. And boy it’s hard work!

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
May 1, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Hi Elaine,

The comments are very interesting, and some even very informative–thanks for adding to the conversation! I’m not a web developer, so I have to explain things in laymen’s terms or else I would confuse myself. I’m glad Sherryl gave me the opportunity to share my knowledge with such an appreciative crowd!

Amit Shaw
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 7:26 am

Super Tips Meghan. After Panda now its time for Penguine so we shold avoid Over SEO Optimization.
I think linking is the best way for white hat seo.
Thanks for this tips.
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Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Hi Amit,

Thanks for your kind words. I’ve been seeing a lot of news articles about the new Penguin updates and Google algorithms. I think the biggest thing people need to look out for is keyword stuffing.

On a side note, I love the animal names . . . I wonder what animal they’ll choose next!

Reese April 29, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Excellent post that simplifies SEO for upstarts. A lot of small business people are being fooled by SEO companies and sadly, they are the ones getting penalized because of the black hat techniques used by the people they have trusted – and they don’t even know what’s going on most of the time.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Hi Reese,

In my opinion, SEO is very simple to manage without a third party company. Like I said to Catarina, I didn’t know about keyword optimization when I was going to school for writing–but I also didn’t know anything about SEO at all. I feel like mastering SEO takes mostly common sense and anyone can do it! Black hat techniques will definitely have a negative impact on your company, which is another reason I prefer to manage SEO myself. Thanks for your comment!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Hi Reese,
It can be very challenging to find a reputable SEO company with proven results. Many small businesses can’t afford to outsource especially startups. Thankfully, people like Meghan share tips like these that we can all follow and implement. It’s amazing how much difference we can make with simple steps like the ones listed here.

Thanks for joining the conversation1
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Catarina
Twitter:
April 29, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Great post Megan!!

Do it all apart from using keywords in the articles I write. Having, amongst other things, been a writer most of my life I simply am not prepared to write for search engines. If I was however selling something I would definitely do as you suggest:-)
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Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 11:05 am

I used to write without paying any attention to keywords either Catarina but I was getting very little traffic from SEO. About 1/3 of my traffic was from search engines then. Now that I optimize using keywords, over 50% of my traffic is from search and my total traffic has increased significantly.

I don’t write any differently, I just pay more attention to the keywords that naturally fit my content and then I make sure I’m using them (especially in my title, headings and the first paragraph). I don’t spend a lot of time researching keywords but I do use Google’s tool if I’m interested in the phrases that people are searching on. It does make a difference.
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Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:25 pm

Thanks, Catarina!

When I started working in my current position, I was fresh out of college and they didn’t teach us anything about keyword optimization (I majored in writing at an art school, and business writing is quite different). Using keywords in your articles is a very simple concept to grasp and it’s now second nature to me to be aware of what keywords I’d like to target for SEO.

Navneet April 29, 2012 at 1:30 am

Excellent information. I am very glad to know such a great stuff about seo and its strategies. Thank you for sharing such a useful tips.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Hi Navneet,

You are very welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

Qasim
Twitter:
April 28, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Hi Meghan,

this is really a great article with great tips for SEO that can be applied for any niche, I just wanted to highlight that internal links is important not only for better ranking your website in search engine but will also increase your page views, the time your readers spend on your website which interns reduce your website bounce rate and help keep your readers engaged at your website. The result is better SEO, lower Bounce rate and more loyal readers.
Thanks again for sharing these tips, I will share this article with my friends.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Interlinking definitely helps your site visitors click through other pages, which is very important. What’s the point of having a multi-page website if a visitor only sees one page? Thanks for your insight!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Thanks for dropping by Qasim and letting us know that you found Meghan’s article valuagle. I just read you post about “… the full SEO picture” and your example of a local band using social media to promote themselves is a good reminder that we should also use relevant keywords in our interactions on social networking sites. I like to think of Twitter #hashtags as a way to bring SEO to my tweets.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Thanks to SEO a Newspaper Reporter in Pennsylvania Found my BlogMy Profile

ICCIEV
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm

You are right Sherryl, #hashtages allows you to bring targeted traffic for your articles, People searching for the #hashtages you just tagged your tweet with are targeted traffic and potential customers. Have a great day.

Cheryl Lucia April 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm

The best piece of advice I received regarding SEO is: You don’t really need to know how search engine algorithms work, since they constantly change. There is one thing that never expires in SEO, and that’s trust. With trust, top rankings and an increase in specifically targeted traffic are within reach. Some of the benefits of trust building are: search engines are more apt to reward you with higher rankings, knowing that you offer valuable information, it’s easier to have other sites link to yours if your site is trustworthy, authoritative and reputable, it’s easier to sell your product(s) when both real people and search engines trust you, and finally, with trust, you’re not just boosting your keyword rankings, but also improving your business’ reputation, visibility, pagerank, community engagement, relationships, readership, revenue and potentials for growth.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Thanks for sharing your insight with us Cheryl. I don’t think you can go wrong building trust and creating good content. Couple that with some of Mehan’s tips and a blogger should be able to increase the amount of quality traffic to their site. The backlinks should follow too.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..4 SEO Tips to Optimize your WordPress BlogMy Profile

Christian Esperar
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hi Megan! Thanks for this tips! I’ve been present in blogging for almost a year and now decided to learn SEO to improve my website ranking as well as to add to my work preference. I also read that the new updates “Penguin Ppdates” really loves White Hat 😀

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Good luck optimizing your site with Meghan’s SEO tips. Even simple changes like implementing keywords in your titles and metatags can make a difference.

BTW – I enjoyed your infographic and shared it for you.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Hi Christian,

You’re very welcome for the tips! Google’s new updates do love white hat techniques–just be sure not to over stuff your blog posts with keywords as the new algorithms frown upon it. Good luck!

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 10:37 am

Thanks, Steve–it was my pleasure! I look forward to reading more of your blog posts, too!

Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Nice guest post, Sherryl and Meghan.

I’m understanding the internal and backlinks, but the Meta tags still have me a bit stumped. It’s amazing how many things there are to learn and how we have to keep on top of it all to stay on top of it all!

I’m just glad and grateful there are experts like you out there to help us along.
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..6 Tips to Get Started Networking on Social Media SitesMy Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

Hi Doreen,

I’m glad you found some help from my guest post. What stumps you about the meta tags? I’ll try to clarify a bit more for you.

Doreen Pendgracs
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 11:48 am

Not to worry, Meghan. Sherryl works with me to keep me sane. I am good with words, but technology sends my head spinning. Have a super wkend.
Doreen Pendgracs recently posted..guest post on fiction writing by Robert BennettMy Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm

You’re very lucky to have Sherryl working with you. She’s quite lovely! Have a great weekend!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 30, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Hi Doreen, Knowing how much you want to rank well for the word “choloatour”, I’m confident that you’ll get the hang of SEO. 🙂 I think using the tool that I suggested to check out the keywords that your main competitor has optimized for will really help you.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Tips for Optimizing Photos and Graphics for Your BlogMy Profile

Chris April 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Can you explain to me in detail the importance of back linking. What are the best ways to go about back linking?

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 10:29 am

Hi Chris,

Backlinking is important for websites because, like I said in my guest post, a backlink is equivalent to getting a vote from another website. Think of it like a popularity contest–the more votes/backlinks you have, the more popular you are. I listed some great methods to create backlinks in bullet point five.

Beolight
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Great article thanks for posting, the follow up comments are equally illuminating

I’m in process of redesigning my website and I’m using Wordpress , I am finding all types of plug in for SEO but not really sure which one is best , dos anyone have any recommendations

Another thing that is puzzling me is image descriptions as I have loads of pictures and videos in the content, for the image what exactly do you write e.g here is a picture of Oscar Wildes family home in merrion square, Dublin….. Would this be sufficient or do you try work in your keywords also

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 27, 2012 at 10:36 am

I don’t use any SEO plugins for my company blog–we manage all SEO on our own.

If the picture you’re using is of Oscar Wilde’s family home in Merrion Square, Dublin, then I would use just that as the image description. Those words are keywords and important to your content. If someone’s searching for an image of Wilde’s family home and you don’t include those keywords in the image description, then they won’t find your image.

Steve
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Thank’s Meghan.
That’s really kind of you to go out of your way to offer your help and advice. As for the misunderstanding, I think it’s probably me. Had a really long day yesterday. Spent most of my day making spelling mistakes and trying not to dose off in front of my laptop. lol.
I will pass this info on and of course will let them know that you helped.
Steve recently posted..Introducing Small Business Website ClubMy Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 4:06 pm

You’re very welcome, Steve. Let them know that they’re more than welcome to email me (meghan@instabill.com) anytime and I’ll do my best to help–same for you and anyone else. There’s enough bad in this world and I believe we should all work together to help each other out.

Steve
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 4:31 pm

That’s really kind. Really glad I bumped into you here Meghan. You are a true blogger and I will make a point of visiting your blog and putting it in my reader.
Steve recently posted..WordPress Plugins For SEOMy Profile

Jeff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Two more really important eCommerce SEO tips are :

1. Write unique product description, avoid the stock manufacturer ones. Right here, this will provide unique SEO content that is useful and hopefully entertaining for your visitors.

2. Be sure product reviews are served up on the same Url as your product page. As you get more reviews , your are “refreshing” your page content in a positive way, that also helps your visitors.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Hi Jeff,

That’s good advice! Writing unique product descriptions is important for more than SEO reasons. When thousands of people are selling the same product online, you want yours to stand out–and you can do that with a unique, enticing product description. Thanks for commenting!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Jeff, That’s a great idea to write unique product descriptions. A little keyword research there could really make your site stand out.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Do You Have to Be Starbucks to Need a Logo?My Profile

Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 11:24 am

All excellent tips, Meghan. I’ve learned most of them over time as a blogger, but it is always good to have reinforcement from an expert. I would add one more to your list — and that is to have a key-word rich title tag for your site. That is most important for SEO. Would like to hear your take on title tags. Thanks.
Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding recently posted..How to Blog for International AudiencesMy Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Hi Jeannette,

Thanks for commenting on my post–I always appreciate the added value of readers’ input! I definitely agree that title tags are very important for SEO. I guess I just overlooked this aspect because my title tag and URL are always the same, and I always include important keywords in my URLs.

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Jeannette, I remember your suggestions on optimizing your title with keywords. I’m in the early stages of launching another site and I’m definitely going to test that there. Thanks again for the reminder.
Sherryl Perry recently posted..WordPress OpenHook 3 Plugin Broke my Thesis ThemeMy Profile

Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Sherryl — well that’s exciting news! Look forward to seeing your new site.
Jeannette Paladino blogging, branding recently posted..How to Blog for International AudiencesMy Profile

Adrian April 26, 2012 at 10:18 am

Hello Meghan, Thanks for the tips. indeed they are much useful for the white hat seo point of view! I have a question, recently we got to know about the Google’s new Algorithm update i.e. Over Optimization penalty! So when we build the anchor texts, should we use accurate exact match anchor texts or the long tail anchor texts?

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Hi Adrian,

You’re quite welcome! When I write anchor text, I don’t always use an exact match. For example, in one of my upcoming company blog posts, I wrote about PCI DSS. The anchor text says “PCI Data Security Standards” and the link alias is “pci-compliance.” My advice is to just make sure your anchor text clearly relates to the link.

Vineet Saxena
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 7:43 am

Hi Meghan,
These SEO tips are good for every website or blog, I am using many of these like meta tags, anchor text, descriptive URLs and even images too when needed.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 9:58 am

Hi Vineet,

I’m glad you like my tips–and glad to hear that you’re already using a good deal of them!

Colleen April 26, 2012 at 6:52 am

Hi Sherryl,
Well this is my first vist to your website, your content is the very basic that an SEO needs to know. Clear descriptive url, content, alt tags for images is the backbone if you want to get your site ranked in the search engines.

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 9:59 am

Colleen,

Thanks for making my guest post your first stop on Sherryl’s blog. She has a ton of helpful information on her site!

Steve
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 5:44 am

Hi Sherryl.
Great post as always. Today I’m on a mission and although about SEO it’s a bit off your topic but very important to all of us.
I was really glad to hear that google are hitting the web spammers again but since then my mind has been changed by a very sad story that I just read in a business forum. The story is about a couple who have had their livelihood wrecked by the recent changes and a malicious competitor.

Due to Google’s changes, it would seem that it is now easier to do serious damage to a competitor than it is to build a site through hard work and commitment.

I’m trying to urge people to get over to my blog post, take action and share it. I know it seems like a ploy to get some traffic but it’s not. This is something that could happen to any one of us and we need to voice our opinion and push for change.
Steve recently posted..Negative SEO Join The Fight BackMy Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 10:07 am

Hi Steve,

I just read your blog post and couple’s story is very sad indeed. My company has been dealing with negative SEO for several years from unscrupulous, fraudulent merchants posting on forums. Luckily, we got one forum to remove the post when we explained to the webmaster it was libel.

One suggestion I have to for the couple to look into an Online Reputation Management company to help push the negative Google results off of the first few pages. It costs money, but it’s what you have to do if you want to survive in the online world.

Steve
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 10:36 am

Hi Meghan.
Thank’s for letting me know. I was really moved by their plight and want to help them. Do you still help companies in this way. I would be happy to pass them your details.
If not, can you recommend anyone.
Steve recently posted..Will Your Small Business Survive These Changing TimesMy Profile

Meghan Wolff
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 1:59 pm

I’m sorry if I confused you, Steve. My company has been the victim of libel and negative SEO–we are not an Online Reputation Management company. We had been using Reputation.com for several months. Personally, I didn’t see any results from their services. If it isn’t in their budget to pay an ORM company, there are options for them to take matters into their own hands. I can share some tips with you to pass along, though, to help push down the negative search results.

-They can (and should, regardless of their situation) start a blog and share tips and expertise from their industry
-Sign up for social media accounts and update their profile regularly (Google loves to see fresh content to boost SEO!)
-They can create vanity sites (my company is in the process of creating a vanity site to educate merchants about online credit card processing, and we’re thinking of starting a fraud prevention site too)
-They can write guest blog posts for backlinks (Thanks, Sherryl!)
-They can sign up with free business directories like Manta and MyLocalServices.com

I hope this helps!

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm

Those are great suggestions Meghan. I’ll keep this in mind. (You’re welcome for the opportunity to guest post again too. Your content is a nice addition to what I usually blog about and the fact that you respond to all your comments is great.)
Sherryl Perry recently posted..Commenting On Blogs – What Strategy Works for You?My Profile

Sherryl Perry
Twitter:
April 26, 2012 at 9:23 pm

This is frightening Steve. Thanks for building awareness of this issue. I’ve shared your post where I can.

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