News Flash for Newbies! Your store is not the only one on the web. It’s true. There are thousands of others which were there way before yours. And all of them are trying to get on the first page of search results so if you’re expecting to see your store on the first page within a few months then you need to bring it down your expectation level a couple of notches unless you…
Pay For Traffic (Pay Per Click)
Paid ads are an easy and possibly a good way to get your site’s link on the first page of search results. But use this method only if you’ve done your research on which keywords convert and which do not. Otherwise you could be looking at lots of traffic headed your way but with no sales to show for it. You could end up burning a hole on your pocket.
Here are a couple of articles to give you a heads-up on this.
Optimize Your Store
Unless you own a brand that everyone knows, e.g. www.guess.com, www.starbucks.com or www.chanel.com, you’re going to need to let people and search engines know what your site is all about.
Here’s how Google Search actually works.
Imagine if Starbucks did not exist and you decide to start a coffee shop selling coffee using that brand name. You’d have to place ads everywhere to promote your brand. If you put up a website under that name without proper optimization, search engines would venture a guess that your site is either about money, astronomy or astrology, judging by the words used in the Domain Name.
But if you have optimized your site with the content on your own site and on other sites all over the internet which associate your site with coffee, that would make it pretty hard for search engines not to recognize what your site is all about.
When optimizing your store, it is important to use keywords related to the products or services you provide. It is important to target broader or longer tail keywords which contain more detail. Longer tail keywords are generally easier to rank, easier to convert but has a lower amount of traffic.
Here’s a comparison of a set of long tail keywords and a set of shorter ones.
Take a close look at the number of results. If you place double quotes in your search queries (“keyword phrase”), you’ll see results containing those exact keywords only. Hence, an even smaller number of results will be shown. In the case of “Nike 3.0 v2 womens shoes black orange”, only 5 results will be shown.
Next, you need to build links to your site from other sites like blogs, forums, social sites, new portals and so on. The best scenario is that the content on your sites are so good (informative/useful) that people will naturally share them and build links to them. In other words, they do the link building for you. That is as natural as it can get.
Keep in mind that not all links are equal in quality. For instance, if you’re selling kitchen ware and your site gets mentioned in context on one of Martha Stewart’s blog post, you can expect lots of link juice and traffic to flow into your site as a result. That’s because Martha’s site is a trusted site and has authority on subjects of DIY craft projects, cooking and baking. Google takes one look at the content on her site and yours and the link text used and it can easily spot the relevancy. In short, the link makes sense. One high quality link like that is worth hundreds of low quality ones.
Here’s what Matt Cutts from Google has to say about the quality of links.
Hop On The Social Bandwagon
Why are social signals – Likes, Shares, (Re)Pins, (Re)Tweets and comment – so important to search engines? Well, it makes a lot of sense that if you store or products and services are so popular that people would want to talk about it or spread the news on in a social environment. By the way, people would do the same thing if they think your products and services leave a lot to be desired.
That said, when you go social, you’re opening up your site to praises as well as criticism. If you get criticized, you can do 3 things – ignore the comment, delete the comment or interact with the complainant and try to remedy the situation. You can’t please everyone but most onlookers would appreciate the effort you put in trying to solve a problem. Deleting or ignoring a comment won’t stop users from talking about you elsewhere.
A good way to tackle problems is by first placing yourself in the shoes of the people taking issue with you. You need to be in their shoes to see their point of view. Only then can you think of a solution.
So go ahead and get on the social bandwagon. Setup your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs, Google+ and YouTube account. Some social sites will work better for you than others in terms of channeling traffic to your store and getting word out. But they all play a big role in building your brand. Starbucks makes good use of Twitter to issue discount coupons. Late night talk shows make use of YouTube to get viewers to upload content which could end up being aired on the talk shows.
Learn what motivates people to LIKE companies on Facebook here.
After you setup your social accounts, remember to keep them updated at least twice a week. Start by adding friends on Facebook and following people on Twitter. Do not always plug your products. Keep in line with the social feel and mix it up with anecdotes, funny/inspiring/lifestyle images or videos.
Some Facebook users like contests. Learn how to create one here.
Learn the rules of social media here.
Google picks up on all of these signals and associates them with your brand or site. So if you post about a particular product with a link to a product page on your store and that post gets lots of Likes, Shares and positive comments, that tells Google that you provide a particular product which is very popular and you might be given a bit of authority for certain keywords associated with that product.
Learn how technologies impact small businesses here.
Put Your Authorship Credentials To Good Use
Google has come up with a way of crediting you with all your content on the internet. It’s called Google Authorship Markup. This is a good thing if you’ve contributed good content. When everything is setup properly, your profile picture will appear right next to your link on Google’s search results pages. Studies have shown that people are more likely to click on a link with a profile picture next to it.
To find out how to setup Google Authorship Markup, click this link.
Up The Stickiness Level Of Your Online Real Estate
What is site stickiness? It’s basically what keeps users on your site. For your store, it could be the products, services, information (info/FAQ pages, interaction via live chat, videos, slides, reviews), promotions and, very importantly, user experience that persuades people to shop or browse your store pages and not leave as soon as they land there. The longer people stay on your site, the more relevant or important Google thinks your store is in terms of search keyword match accuracy and quality of content offered.
For your social sites, share-worthy content and interaction plays a big role in the stickiness of those sites.
Google considers over 200 factors when deciding how to rank a site. No one has the time work on all of them so work on the ones that will impact your store the most – Optimization (quality links and content), Social Signals, Authorship and Interaction.
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