Time-Saving SEO Tips for Online Stores | Webinar Q&A: Part 1

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We hope you enjoyed our time-saving SEO tips webinar earlier this month. We had a lot of great questions come through during the question and answer session at the end, and weren’t able to address all of them. So we’re bringing you this 2-part series to get you those answers. Even if you weren’t able to listen in to our webinar, it’s likely you’ll still find value in reading through the questions below – perhaps they’ll help you with managing your own online store!

As always, feel free to post any lingering questions in the comments section and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. So without further ado, let’s get to it.


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.

 

Thank you to all of you who attended our webinar – we hope you gained some useful information in taking your site to the next level. If you missed it, you can listen to the full version here. And we’ll be addressing another batch of questions from this webinar tomorrow, so stay tuned!

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