SEO Basics for Your Website, Blog or Online Store
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making your website as visible and friendly as possible to popular search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. SEO is an important marketing tool for driving traffic to your site along with other tactics like pay-per-click advertising, social media, PR or email marketing.
SEO helps your website appear prominently on the search engine results pages for relevant keywords, so people searching for these keywords will visit your site. Good SEO strategy will provide you with a steady stream of quality traffic to your site and should help grow your audience, drive sales and increase interaction with your content over time.
Building an SEO Strategy
Every SEO strategy starts with keywords. Begin thinking about which keywords you would like to appear on search engines. Try to think of the 10 to 20 keywords or keyword phrases. Find inspiration from the products you sell, issues discussed on your blog, ideas your website covers, topics around your business or even problems you've solved for customers.
Try to get into the mindset of the typical person who is going online to find your website — how would they search, what kind of keywords or phrases would they use to describe your site? Double check your ideas by entering them into the Google Keyword Planner to see how many people search for them each month.
Once you have finished brainstorming, you will have a list of keywords and keyword phrases. For certain keywords, you may already have pages on that theme, so you can optimize those pages towards that search. Often, you may find that you have no existing content on important keywords or keyword themes. This means it might be time to build some new pages (or start blogging) to help people who are searching this way discover you.
Next, make it easy for Google's search "spiders" to crawl your website's pages and understand what they are about. This means writing great content on your site about those topics, but also optimizing key elements of your site for keywords. The most important basic elements to start with are titles, descriptions and custom URLs for each of your website pages.
For the page, title thinks about creating an engaging, short sentence that describes the content of the page and utilizes one or two of your most important keywords. This title (often referred to as the Title Tag) shows up as your headline in search results. Google displays between 50-60 characters of the title tag in search so keep it around that length.
The page description is important because this is the short description (known as the meta description) that people will see when they find your page on a search engine. Try to write a concise two sentence description explaining the most important content on that particular page. Within the description, include relevant keywords and important terms like brand names or a call to action. The description is not used as a ranking factor by search engines but it is one of the most important SEO optimization tools because it's what people read before deciding to click on your site in search. Google shows between 150-160 characters in search results.
In addition to page titles and descriptions, clean URLs make it easier for visitors to share and link to your site. Keywords in your site URLs also serve as a ranking factor. It's important not to stuff URLs with keywords, you want your links to be short and descriptive and based on the content of the page.
SEO Page Titles & Descriptions
SEO optimization for page titles, descriptions and URLs is available directly in the editor for each type of page and site that you build, along with some advanced SEO Apps from the App Center.
Page Titles & Descriptions
Steps to edit Page Titles and Page Descriptions in the Editor:
- Standard Pages: From the pages tab click on the Page you want to edit then Advanced > Page Title and Page Description
- Blog Posts: While editing an individual blog post go to Post Options > Advanced > SEO Post Title and SEO Post Description
- Storefront: From the Store tab click Storefront > Advanced Options > SEO Page Title and SEO Description field
- Product Pages: From Store tab Products > Product you want to edit > Advanced Options > SEO Page Title and SEO Description
*In Settings > General > Site Title make sure to uncheck the box for "Show title on top of your pages" or else your site name will append to all Page Titles. *
Here are the ways you can edit URLs:
- Standard Pages: From pages tab click on the page you want to edit then the Page Name field. The name of your page will rollup into your URL. For example, the name of this page joyandjoebaby.com/woven-wrap-grading.html is set as "Woven Wrap Grading" in the Page Name field.
- Blog Posts: While editing an individual blog post go to Post Options > Advanced > Permalink after you've published the post (default URL pulls from the headline of post)
- Storefront: From store tab click Storefront > Advanced > Category Permalink.
- Product Pages: From store tab Products > Product you want to edit > Product Permalink
The App Center features some exciting tools that integrate directly with your site for both basic and advanced SEO strategies.
- Super Titles - Customization tools for h1 through h6 tags.
- Site Booster - Create business listings across search engines, review sites, and maps
- rankingCoach - Keyword monitoring, directory listing, and optimization
- Positionly - Advanced SEO tracking tools
- MarketGoo - Monitor search performance, incoming links, and optimization tools
Once you start working on an SEO project, it can take a few weeks or even months for changes and additions to take effect in search results, so it's worth making a record of typical keyword search positions before you do any SEO work and then to review these regularly to track your progress.
There are more advanced SEO opportunities in Editor including 301 redirects, alt image tags and SSL, along with automated SEO features that come with any published site including mobile optimization, sitemap, robots.txt, rich snippets on product pages and more. There's a lot to share, so let us know what SEO topics you'd like to know more about or what SEO features we should add to the Editor or App Center.