Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, isn’t just useful—it's absolutely necessary in today’s ever-expanding digital market. But here’s something you may not have known: Volusion software was specifically designed to help you with your SEO. It’s true—our stores have built-in SEO features that are designed to boost your search rankings. So how do you start reaping the benefits?
Here are four things you absolutely must do to get started with SEO in our software:
1. Make sure you have SEO-Friendly URLs enabled
The first thing you need to do is check the "Enable SEO Friendly URLs" box in your store admin. You can find this feature under the "SEO Friendly URLs" section of Marketing > SEO.
Once here, either check the "Enable Search Engine Friendly URLs" box or make sure it's already checked.
After that, click "Save" near the bottom of the page, congratulations! You’ve revved up your store’s SEO engine.
Wait, what are “SEO Friendly URLs?” Without enabling this feature, your URLs look something like this: www.myvolusionstore.com/product_details.asp?ID=cnss597. Kinda ugly, aren’t they?
Once you check the "Enable SEO Friendly URLs" option, however, your URLs are automatically rewritten so they appear in simple, static forms like www.myvolusionstore.com/Cozy-Night-Sheet-Set-p/cnss597.htm. Now the URLs look a lot nicer, use keywords, and, more importantly, are easily indexed by search engines.
2. Create or update your store’s meta information
The next step is to explore the "Meta Info" section, which is where you can edit or assign your meta tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords for all of your store’s .asp pages. You can find this page within your store admin at Marketing > SEO. Conveniently enough, it'll be the very first section you see.
Remember: Meta tags, meta descriptions, and meta keywords are purely for SEO purposes, so your customers will never see them.
When you look at the "Add Meta Tags" section, the default selection is "Default Values," which is exactly what you want to fill out. Your default values are super handy because once you’ve set your default information, it’ll populate meta data for every page with blank SEO fields. This is particularly useful because you won’t have to go through each .asp page separately to set individual tags.
3. Create or update your products’ meta information
Volusion software is also built to help optimize each of your products for search engines. To access your products’ SEO information, click on Inventory > Products.
Once you get there, click on the "Product Code" of the product you'd like to optimize. On the Product page, scroll down and click the "Advanced Info" heading to expand the section:
By default, the "Search Engine Optimization" tab is selected, and you’ll be able to edit your Product URL Text, Photo Alt Text, Meta Tag Titles, Meta Tag Descriptions, and Meta Tag Keywords.
If you’re unsure of what some of those terms mean, click on the green skittle button next to the term, and a dialogue box will show up and tell you more about each field and how it affects your SEO value. For most stores, we recommend that you focus a good amount of your SEO efforts on the individual product-level. (Exceptions include stores with one product, such as a “as seen on TV” product, or very few products.)
Note: Don't forget to optimize your images. The images you use in your online store are more than just a pretty face; they can actually help improve your store's SEO. And when it comes to optimizing your images, nothing is more important than filling out the Photo Alt Text.
In your "Photo Alt Text" field, you'll want to write a detailed description of your product in plain English—something like "Free-Trade Bamboo Chair with Silver Accents" instead of "bamboochair2974738i5sig" so search engines can easily locate your keywords. To maximize your images' SEO benefit, we recommend that you do this for every single product image. When it comes to uploading them, you can either pace yourself and tackle a few a day, or upload them in bulk using our Import/Export tool.
4. Check on your progress
SEO takes time, but once it’s been long enough for your campaign to take effect (anywhere from two weeks to six months depending on your campaign), there’s no better way to check your progress than through the eyes of an objective third party. In this case, our impartial judge is whois.domaintools, a public domain lookup that can give you information on your SEO success.
Visit the site, enter your domain name and click the “lookup” button. Then, click on the Site Profile tab, which is where you can see how well your SEO is working by looking at the “SEO Score.” Your score will be a percentage that ranges from 0 to 100. Think of the scale like your typical elementary school grading system: 80% and above, you’re doing great, 60% to 70%, not bad. Anything else, well, you know the deal.
If your score is less than ideal, don’t get discouraged! As a general rule, SEO is pretty difficult to get the hang of. It will take a long time and a lot of dedication, SEO reading, and practice to really learn the trade. If you don’t have the time to devote to learning SEO but really want an increase in your effectiveness, it’d be best to hire an SEO professional to help you out.