Monthly Ask Volusion

Monthly Ask Volusion

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers – so we’re starting a monthly Ask Volusion series! Reach out to us with any questions you may have, whether it’s about design or SEO, support or shopping feeds. We’re here for you, and would love to hear what’s on your mind. For today’s questions, we’ve got some great SEO themes with a bit of social media thrown in, too. So with that, let’s get to it!

 

Question: What is the best way to do Meta Tag Titles and Meta Tag Descriptions?

Answer: Meta Tag Titles and Meta Tag Descriptions should be written so they are unique to the page in question, even if that page/product is very similar to another page/product on your site and only differs by one or two factors such as color or size. The goal here is to be descriptive and concise about what it is you sell so that:

A) search engines can distinguish your pages and properly index them, giving you a better chance of appearing in search results for a specific phrase, and

B) so that customers are enticed to click on your listing over anyone else’s when they search.

Meta Tag Titles are one of the first pieces of information a search engine reads to understand what your page is about and are listed as blue clickable links in a search engine results page (SERP). They should be clear and describe exactly what is to be found on the page. Capitalize each word, and keep them to about 65 characters in length.

Meta Tag Descriptions are meant to entice clicks in the SERPS. With this description, you want to further explain what it is that you’re selling. Be sure to highlight the benefits of your product or share any perk(s) you offer that a competitor doesn’t. This could be nationally-made products, free shipping, a discount with bulk orders – whatever it is that you need to say to tell customers you’re the best result for what they’re looking for. Meta Tag Descriptions are less focused on keywords, although keywords in a Meta Tag Description can still be scanned and indexed by search engines. These descriptions are 1-2 sentences and should be around 150 characters in length.

For writing meta tags, use a tool such as SERP Simulator to visually see what your optimized listing would look like in a SERP.

 

Question: How important are site maps vs 301 redirects?

Answer: They’re both important! Since sitemaps and 301 redirects serve such vastly different purposes in the realm of SEO, it’s not going to be an “either/or” scenario; rather, this is a bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. A look at the main function and purpose of each one will help shed some light on when and how we use them:

  • Sitemaps are exactly what they sound like: they’re a “map” of every single page on your site that you’d want indexed. Google calls on its incomprehensibly enormous index to find the most relevant, high-quality pages to serve to each and every user who makes a search query. The very first step in getting your site to appear for the proper search terms is to make sure it’s part of this index! If you don’t submit a sitemap, Google will still crawl and index your site over time as its spiders “discover” your site; but it’s much, much faster if you just give Google a little cheat sheet in the form of your sitemap. You can submit a sitemap by opening up a free Search Console account and clicking the “Submit Sitemap” button.
    Most sitemaps will look like this: www.mysite.com/sitemap.xml. We recommend that every ecommerce store submit a sitemap as one of their very first steps.
  • 301 Redirects are what you can implement when you have a page on your site that no longer exists; it will send users who land on that page to a different page. Let’s say you no longer sell a particular pair of shoes, and you go ahead and delete the page that sold that pair of shoes from your site, causing a 404 error page to appear when that page’s URL is typed in. You can redirect that old URL to a new one – say, a newer version of the same brand of shoes, or a higher-level brand category page – so that a user who lands on the old page can seamlessly move to the new page instead. This helps retain any SEO weight the old page was pulling in by “transferring” it to the new page, and it creates a much better user experience for someone who would otherwise land on an error page. For more about 301 redirects, including how to create them in the Volusion platform, check out this article.

 

Question: What’s the best way to find and gather trending posts and engaging content for Facebook marketing?

Answer: The best way to find engaging posts is to take advantage of Facebook’s trend ticker in the top right hand corner of the Home page. This will show which topics are trending that day. When you click on one of the topics there, you’ll see some of the most popular posts talking about that topic. Find the ones with a lot of engagement already and share them.

You should also consider “liking” pages that have similar interests to your business. For example, fashion brands may want to “like” Vogue, Cosmopolitan Magazine or PopSugar Fashion. Brands that sell products for outdoor activities or extreme sports might want to “like” Outdoor Magazine or National Geographic. Whenever you need some inspiration, check out your Pages feed to see what these brands are posting. If a link, photo or video looks like it has garnered a lot of engagement, share it to your page!

Depending on how often you post to your own Facebook page, we recommend sharing 1-3 industry related posts per week to mix up the content and ensure your posts are not entirely self-serving.

 

That’s all we’ve got for today – but please feel free to comment here with any additional questions you may have on what we’ve covered, or anything else you’re wondering about that we can address in future posts. And as always, the Volusion knowledge base is a great source of information so definitely check there for some in-depth answers.

4 Responses to “Monthly Ask Volusion”

  1. Eric Swoyer

    Great intro to meta tags. We’ve referred our own users to this for use as a reference. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. John

    301 redirects still confusing. My store says: Ending a path with a /* will add a catch-all for all non-existent pages in that directory. If there are duplicates in the source path column, only the last entry will be used. So will i just need /* in the source field and /default.asp in the target and this will take care of all redirects?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Anjuli Desai

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question! The best practice to preserve SEO authority and get customers to the right pages would be to use individual redirects for each URL, sending users to the most logical, live page on your website. It sounds as if you want to create a catch-all redirect. However, we do not recommend doing this for 404 pages as it creates a soft 404 error in Google Search Console. Instead, upload a custom 404 error page into your site’s FTP so that any not found pages will show an error page. Here is an article from our Knowledge Base which explains how to create a custom 404 error page: https://support.volusion.com/hc/en-us/articles/208764788-How-to-Create-Custom-404-Error-Pages

      And here’s Google’s take:

      “We recommend that you always return a 404 (Not found) or a 410 (Gone) response code in response to a request for a non-existing page. You can improve the user experience by configuring your site to display a custom 404 page when returning a 404 response code.”
      https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/181708?hl=en

      Good luck!

      Reply

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