In case you hadn’t noticed, the holidays are coming, and with them the yearly rush to be at the top of the SERPs in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  For e-commerce sites, it really is the most wonderful time of the year, with traffic spikes and a large proportion of the yearly revenue taken, but how can you make sure you beat your competitors this Christmas? The answer is simple – with some straightforward site optimisation techniques.

Research, Research, Research

What you call your products internally might not always be what users search for, therefore researching keywords related to your products is the first and most important step in getting your site optimised. There are a number of keyword research tools available, however the Adwords Keyword Planner is one of the best.

Take women’s shoes for example, there are: boots, pumps, trainers, sneakers, heels, wedges, flats, ballet shoes, dolly shoes, canvas shoes, sandals and many more different classifications, yet what I class as a pump could also be a trainer.

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By using a keyword tool, you can see which phrase has the highest number of searches, so you know which keywords to use in order to optimise your site and attract more traffic.

Title and Description Tags

Now you have done your Keyword Research, it’s time to put it to use. The meta title and meta description on each page of your site are vitally important when Google is deciding where you should rank in the SERPs for that keyword. Think of Google as a robot, it reads each element of your webpage to decide what the page is about, therefore by including your keywords you’re helping to tell Google what the priority of the page is.

Bear in mind that the meta title and description on your page are what is shown in the SERPs, so you need to ensure that they contain the keywords that explain what your page is about, and also a marketing message to get users to click.  Meta titles ideally shouldn’t be more than 55 characters long, whilst meta descriptions should be no more than 156 characters.

Let’s take the search query of ‘womens boots’ as an example.  New Look, Debenhams, ASOS and TK Maxx all rank on the first page of Google for this term.  The reason being that they all have the phrase ‘womens boots’ in the meta title and description (we’ll ignore the typo in ASOS’s description though 😉 ). TK Maxx have a nice marketing message in ‘TK Maxx, where savvy is the new black!’ too, while ASOS and New Look mention the styles of Boots they stock.

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If you’re ever stuck for meta title and description inspiration then just look at what your competitors are doing ….They’re more than likely doing the same to you!

Clear Your Crawl Errors

As a customer there’s nothing worse than clicking a link on a website, to be taken to a 404 page, rather than the product you were itching to buy.  As a retailer, this is likely to cost you a sale and impact your revenue.

Finding these errors is an easy task: simply use the ‘Crawl Errors’ section in Google Webmaster Tools. Here Google lists all the error pages on your site (for both Desktop and Mobiles) and even tells you exactly where the link to each broken page can be found. Quite often an out of date sitemap is to blame, so check that first!

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There are many other tools you could use to review technical errors on your site, many of which we covered in our 12 Free SEO Tools article, but with Google Webmaster Tools, you’re able to mark each error as fixed as you go along.

Don’t Forget Your Images

Optimising your images is just as important as optimising your page – as many users will search through Google Images for a product.  Taking ‘womens boots’ as the example again, we can see that Joules has the top image result.

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Why does Joules have the top result? Well the product page for the Merstone Boots is perfectly optimised for the search term ‘womens boots’, but most importantly the image alt tag and even the title when you rollover the image includes the phrase ‘womens boots’. This is telling Google that above all else these are ‘womens boots’.

You can check the image alt tag on any of your images by right clicking and selecting ‘Inspect Element’. Here you will see the code ‘alt=’. For the best SEO value, you want the alt to read exactly what the product is and the category it belongs too.  Joules have used ‘Merstone womens boots’, they could also have used ‘Merston womens brown boots’ to help their image ranking for brown boots.

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Optimising your site is a time consuming task, but, if done properly, it will provide you with a profitable Christmas and New Year.

Should you require any help with optimising your site, then please contact our SEO experts or call the Studio on 0121 224 7755.


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