[Guest post by Marie Miguel]
If you’re a budding entrepreneur with a fairly good product, selling it online might have already crossed your mind. It’s a great idea, but don’t forget that there are a lot of products, some may be similar to yours, already being sold online.
How can you set your small business apart from the competition? By ranking high in search results, that’s what. It’s great if your site makes it to the first page but what’s even better is if you’re listed as one of the first three sites on the main search engine results page (SERP). These are the ones that usually get the most number of clicks.
That is what search engine optimization does. It helps your site gain more visitors, eventually driving much needed traffic to your site. In order to successfully optimize your website, make sure you remember the following:
It is true that using certain keywords is what allows search engines like Google to determine what searches are relevant to your site, earning you a higher chance of landing on the first search results page. However, it’s important that you do not over-stuff your pages, page titles, Meta data and Meta descriptions with keywords. If you do, you could get a boost in ranking but, for an extremely short period of time. Once Google notices it, you will not only be penalized, you’ll most likely notice a significant decrease in search ranking.
An example of keyword stuffing is adding blocks of text that your page is trying to get a high ranking for. In some cases, content writers use the same keywords 100 times to achieve higher rankings. Not only is this prohibited, this will also make for a terrible user experience because the quality of the content itself will suffer.
Remember, if you have something that’s genuinely useful on your website, you don’t have to focus on things like keyword density that much because it’ll just flow naturally as you write contents that are relevant and helpful to your customers.
On the other hand, some websites do have informative and related content but they tend to repeat the same words or phrases over and over again. This is another example of keyword stuffing and one you can easily avoid. Read your post and if it sounds unnatural, there’s a good chance you’re over repeating your target keywords.
Instead of “We sell handmade shoes. Our handmade shoes can be customized. If you’re interested in buying handmade shoes, contact our handmade shoes customization experts at [email protected]”, go for “We sell handmade shoes that can be tailored to suit your needs. If you’re interested in purchasing one, please contact our customization experts at [email protected].”
Also, when it comes to keywords, make sure that you are optimizing your site for the right ones. Meaning, they actually pertain to the products or services that you offer. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what keywords they commonly come up with in the search engine for your site to come up. For example, if you are selling tools that will help fitness instructors, put yourself in the shoes of a fitness instructor. What tools will he or she need? What keywords will he or she most likely use when searching online?
You have to be specific, too. Refrain from using keywords that are vague or that are too broad. There are also a lot of cases where the phrases you’re targeting are too competitive. Researching before you start optimizing your site is best. If there are other authoritative and respected sites that are already using those keywords and phrases, then you’ll have a better chance if you aim for low-volume phrases where there’s less competition.
This is where long-tail keywords come in. Not only are they long but they are more specific, too. Going back to our example of “customized, handmade shoes”, why not go for “customized, handmade leather dress shoes”? This means that you have less competition and you can even add a bit of spice to your article using these. If you need more convincing, then let me tell you that long-tail keywords account for about 70% of page views. If that isn’t a good enough reason to start using them, then I don’t know what is.
Broken links are frustrating to customers as well. So, you wrote a great article on how using moisturizers with coQ10 can help slow down aging. You finally have your reader convinced but when she clicked on the link to go to the product page in your online store, it’s a broken link. You just lost a potential sale! What’s more, having a lot of broken links can give you a truly bad reputation and will in turn, downgrade your ranking.
You should also be careful of what anchor texts you use in your internal links because improper use of anchor texts may lead to you spamming unknowingly. Search engines have an anchor text profile for each website and this is analyzed by their logarithms. They then compare it to your keyword optimization to help in determining your rank.
Like with keywords, you should never use the same anchor texts over and over again. To help prevent this, there are various types of anchor text that you can employ to get a better and more natural anchor text profile.
First, if you have a branded anchor which has your brand name as an anchor. If your domain name is an exact match as your brand name, you may need to be careful in using this as well.
Second, we have generic anchors which are usually call-to-actions (CTAs). “Click here”, “read this”, and “check this out” are examples of generic anchors. In the sentence “Check this out for more information regarding aging”, you’ll be adding the link to the generic anchor “Check this out.”
Next, there are naked links anchors which are basically just raw URL. You can try using them this way. “Read this article to know more about aging: http://healthandbeauty.com/aging.”
We also have image anchors which is a great way to diversify your anchors and catch your customers eyes as well. As an added bonus, you can still have anchor texts by using Google’s “ALT” tag in the image.
There are LSI anchors as well wherein LSI stands for Latent Semantic Indexing. This may sound complicated but they’re really just variations of your target keyword. So if you’re main keyword is “prevent aging”, you can use the LSI anchors “aging prevention” and “how to prevent aging”. It’s even easy to find LSI forms of your keyword, just look at the suggested options when you type in your main keyword in Google’s search bar.
There are a lot more anchor text types, like long anchors and partial match anchors. You can even use some of them together for a more diverse anchor text profile. Simply put, you need to use the different anchor types and not just stick to one in order to get better ranking.
If you have anchor texts, you also have internal links which help search engines to index your pages more efficiently. It encourages link juice to flow through out your website as well as build your website’s information hierarchy. This allows for easier user navigation and it encourages them to stay longer in your website because you have provided them with more content related to what they are looking for.
In adding internal links, ask yourself the following questions: How likely is it that my reader will click this link? Is this content related to what readers of this article are looking for? Does this link add value to my article’s content? Do my internal links look natural? Are they used in moderation?
Now, last but certainly not the least, we have link building. This helps search engines determine a website’s ranking because trustworthy sites will only give their vote of confidence to other credible sites and “spam-my” websites will rarely get links from trustworthy sites. Makes sense, right?
Think about it. If you sell mineral make-up, which site should you aim to get an inbound link from? An online directory or a magazine like Marie Claire? I’m sure you know already which one can give your online shop a significant boost. Don’t forget that quality is always better than quantity. Aim to get inbound links from credible and trusted websites.
According to Fleishman-Hillard, 89% of consumers start their purchasing process using search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. So never neglect optimizing your site and always think about your customers’ experience. Always be on the nice list of search engines to get better traffic and sales.