Webinar: Time Saving SEO Tips for Online Stores

Watch our ecommerce marketing experts as they share proven SEO techniques to improve your campaigns while saving you precious time and energy.

Here are some answers to some of the most asked questions during the webinar:

We've never purchased links, but we have a large number of 'sub-par' links showing up in our Google Webmaster Tools. Should we ignore those links or disavow them?

If you don’t want a link to be associated with your site, then you should contact the webmasters of those sites and ask them to remove the link. Disavowing links should be a last resort. Keep in mind that some links can be spam, and search engines understand that, so it may not be necessary to disavow these unless you think they are harming your site.

On product pages in Volusion, we have a Product URL text and a Photo Alt text. How do these work with the Meta tag and description?

The URL text is what makes up the URL of the page. For product pages, this should be a short, text-only version of the product name. Keep all letters lower case for easy reading, and put spaces between each word. These spaces will automatically become hyphens or underscores in the URL.

The Photo Alt text is the text users will see if they hover over an image on your website. However, it is primarily used to help search engines understand what the image is showing, as search engines are not able to see actual images. These SEO fields, including the Meta title tags and description, together create a more fully optimized page.

How long does it take for the SEO optimization to take place on search engines?

Once a site has started working on SEO, it’s common to see results start to improve within a few months. This, however, is influenced by a number of different factors including industry, competition, and more, so it can vary. Another thing to remember: SEO optimization is an ongoing process – there is always more that can be done on a website, which will, in turn, help improve results over time.

I have a website but there is hardly any traffic, what is the best thing to work on first so I can get people to my website?

We recommend optimizing your main landing pages first. These are the pages through which most of your traffic enters your site. Most often, the highest landing page is the home page, so work on optimizing this first. Once you’ve created a unique title tag, meta description, and on-page content there, move on to your other top-performing landing pages. This will boost the pages that people are already finding valuable to attract more traffic.

We are a manufacturer, many of our re-sellers copy our descriptions, will that hurt our site, theirs, or both?

Any duplicate content will hurt both sites, so if at all possible, it’s better to create unique content. This is often difficult for sites with thousands of products, but if in this case, it might be feasible to keep the technical parts of a description the same and just change some of the other content.

How does Google Analytics compare to My Volusion Stats?

Google Analytics provides a wealth of data about a website’s users and the actions they take on the site; it’s very easy to segment your data to look at a variety of information. The statistics in Google Analytics, however, will not be completely accurate with regards to conversions. It will not record any transactions done through PayPal, and of course will not provide information on transactions done over the phone. If you are paying for overages, you can find a wide range of analytics data through Volusion’s web analytics reporting tool SmarterStats, which provides access to server-side information like how much bandwidth visitors are using and which files are taking up too much data.

Analytics shows people exit from my homepage. How can I stop this?

First of all, make sure your homepage is accurately optimized. Are your title tag and meta description in line with what the page is about? Does the on-page content accurately describe the site and what users can find there? Do you provide information on your business’s unique selling points?

Next, look at the design and layout of your site. Is it easy for users to see where they can go to take the next step in the buying process, or perhaps get more information? Provide clear visual cues for where your traffic can continue from your homepage to other pages of your website.

Should I use an H1 tag on the home page and an H2 on the categories and then H3 for product pages vs. H1 on every page?

You should have one H1 tag on every page of your website, made up of just a few keywords that describe what the page is about. If you need additional sub-headings below this main H1, use H2 tags. If you need a third level of sub-headings below H2 tags, use H3s, then H4s, and so on.

How can you be an expert in your industry when selling boring products?

You can be an expert in any industry, whether that’s toilet handles or binder rings. An expert knows the intricacies of what it is they’re selling, and understands what it is people want to see when comparing options. Even with boring products, there are reasons that people will choose one brand over another, so try to distinguish yourself with some defined unique selling points – and then include those points in your strategy to inform users as to why they should be shopping with you and not the place down the street... er, the page.

I manage a site that mirrors a corporate site from another country... am I penalized for copying the exact same text?

If these two sites are in the same language, then yes, this is still considered duplicate content. It is common to see this when international sites have copied content from an original site (www.domain.com) to a country-based top-level domain (such as www.domain.co.uk). The reason for doing this is often based on the false assumption that to rank in another country’s search engines, a site’s top-level domain needs to match that of the country, which is false.

Can the meta tag title and the meta tag description be the same?

The meta tag title and meta description should not be the same. A meta tag title should be a keyword-rich heading for the page with up to about 65 characters. The Meta description is made up of a couple of sentences describing why users should visit the page. It is less important to include keywords in the description, but you should definitely incorporate any unique selling points.

I'm new to this, are there any other resources to help me with preparing my site?

Yes! Our Volusion ecommerce blog has tons of blog posts and other webinars to help you get started with marketing your store. If you’re brand new to the Volusion platform, check out this collection of blog basics.

Is it helpful or detrimental to combine 'thin' pages with other pages? Do search engines consider that lost content?

This really depends on the pages themselves. If the pages are regarding similar subjects, it could be beneficial to combine these pages and redirect the old page to the new, robust one. However, don’t combine pages that have nothing to do with one another. This could affect the way people get around your site, and it will confuse search engines if your keywords don’t relate to each other. It’s much better to build these out with more content instead.

How do you get to show up on Google stores on the right part of the screen when someone types in a product?

This section of a search result page is populated by ads from Google Shopping, a form of pay-per-click advertising. By setting up an account in Google AdWords and sending your product information to Google via a file called a data feed, your products are able to get exposure in this advertising format. You have the ability to set bids on each of your products, and when a user clicks on one of your ads, they are brought to that specific product page and you are charged a small fee based on your bid. Google has some good resources to help you get started, and Volusion also has many blogs and webinars that cover the topic, as well. You’re free to set up and run a campaign yourself, but we also have a team of dedicated specialists that know all the ins and outs if you’re interested or have more questions.

How do you have the Categories show up on the google search results page, i.e. zappos.com shows Women's Shoes, Mens Shoes, Kids etc

These are called sitelinks, and they are completely up to Google if they show up for a particular website. Although sitelinks are never guaranteed to show up, we suggest having unique title tags and meta descriptions on each page, a very easy-to-use site navigation, and a well-optimized site that is useful to your users.

How do you know what counts as a keyword, with regards to keyword stuffing? Is it just using any industry-related word or phrase multiple times?

Keyword stuffing will look really obvious when you see it. We know there’s sometimes no way to avoid saying a word or phrase a certain way, and search engines understand that, too. As long as your content reads naturally and doesn’t use the same exact phrasing over and over, you’ll be fine.

What is the importance of the Google Webmaster Tools?

Google Search Console (formerly known as Webmaster Tools) is an additional tool that allows you to evaluate the state of your website. You can see how your site is indexed, how many impressions you’re getting, and it’s also where you can submit a sitemap to Google, among other things. It’s an important tool our SEO specialists frequently use to better understand how search engines are interacting with a particular website, so it’s definitely beneficial to jump in and explore around.

What level of conversion to orders is considered good for online sales? My site is less than 2%. Is that typical, low, or good?

This is a really tough question to answer because it depends very heavily on the industry, so the answer isn’t going to be the same for every site. What you might look at instead of conversion level is the behavior of your site visitors. Find out where they are spending their time, where they exit the site, even how long the lead time is before they make a purchase. You can then make decisions about your conversions based on that data.

How do 404 pages impact SEO?

404 pages occur when a page has been removed from a website. For ecommerce this is typically caused by products that have been completely removed from inventory. Search engines understand 404 errors are sometime unavoidable, and are even considered good user experience as long as you have an error page that keeps people on your site. This is because it lets people know that the page cannot be reached. A small percentage of 404 errors is nothing to worry about.

On the other hand, if you have recently migrated to Volusion from another platform you will need to look into getting your old pages redirect to the new Volusion URLs so that you don’t lose any SEO value from your old links. Our support team is happy to walk you through setting up basic 301 redirects.

Does the amount of time spent on a page affect the quality score for google rankings?

Search engines look at a large number of factors when they determine a website’s quality and authority. Time on site is one of these factors. However, time on site alone is not going to affect much unless it is accompanied by other quality signals.

Where can we find more info on the demographics of each social platform?

This link gives a good demographic breakdown.

Many social platforms have their own version of analytics, so you can even dive into the demographics of your followers on each platform.