Preparing an online store for promotion: how to quickly get customers from search engines
In order to achieve good results in organic search, you must first prepare a website for promotion: determine the goals and objectives of your business, and prioritize them. This article list some basics but important methods that can help you get customers quickly from Search Engines if there are well applied.
Define your objectives
What do you expect from users who come to your online store? Should they place a call, leave a request or independently place an order through the basket? All these points should be considered before you develop your website.
Select the right domain
A domain name is the first thing a visitor gets acquainted with before going to the site. A Good domain should:
- Displays the theme of the site.
- Has a good domain history.
- Be short and readable.
- Be remembered easily.
- Be Level 1 (site.com) or Level 2 (site.com.us), and not Level 3 (site.somedomain.com.us), because Level 1 or Level 2 domains are much easier to promote.
Select a good hosting plan
The performance of the site depends on the quality of the hosting. If the online store is unavailable for some time, the search bot will not index the pages or drop them from the Search Engine index. At the same time, users will not be able to get to your site. Here are 3 main important to consider when choosing your hosting company:
- Reliability, high uptime and stability. Your site should be constantly indexed and accessible to users.
- Speed. It is one of the ranking factors. Search engines prefer fast websites and users leave pages that take a long time to load.
- Location. The geography of the server primarily determines the website loading speed. It is better to purchase a hosting plan in the country where your target audience is located.
Content management systems are necessary to make changes easily to your website. When choosing a CMS for your online store, make sure to take the following points into account.
- The functionality of the site. Consider whether there will be filtering, sorting, comparing products, a blog, the ability to leave feedback/comments, etc. Look at the sites of direct competitors, and then proceed to the choice of platform.
- The size. It is important to understand the number of products on the site (range), as well as the region of promotion.
- SEO edits. To provide the possibility of making changes that are important for Search Engine Optimization: filling meta tags (Title, Description); add text to categories; user-friendly URL forming; editing service files (robots.txt, sitemap.xml), etc.
Create a good structure and URL for your site.
The structure represents the foundation of the site as It implies a logical interconnection of all pages. The correct website structure has the following characteristics:
- It is simple and convenient for users.
- It assembles the maximum volumetric semantic core (set of keywords), which will form the basic structure of the site (its skeleton).
- It complies with the following requirements of search engines:
- Simple, logical and understandable for humans.
- Each document should belong to its specific section.
- CNC should be used, not a complex URL.
- Each page should have one unique URL.
- Service information indexing should be limited.
Optimize the main components of your pages
Mandatory commercial factors for the promotion of online stores:
- Contact information – office address, phone numbers, points of issue of goods, map, various options for communications, etc.
- The range of products. The more products you have on your site, the higher the likelihood that the user will find the right one. (Analyze direct competitors from organic search. For example, If you only have 10 products in one of the categories on your website while your competitors have more than 100, then the probability for your website to appear on top of Google Search Result page will be very low.)
- Prices for cards of goods.
- Pages with information about the company, payment and delivery.
- Basket, etc.
Tip: analyze direct competitors from search results, select their commercial elements, implement on your website and do a little better!
Custom web design
The main task is convenient access to content (text formatting, high-quality images, well-located blocks) and no problems for users when performing a particular action. Search engines will always favour sites that respond to user requests and benefit them.
Text layout pages
Optimization of metadata and h1 headers
After collecting the semantic core, you can begin to compile the metadata – Title, Description and H1 headers, and then add them to the website. After the launch, the pages of the search engines will get optimized pages, which gives a plus in the ranking.
Adding texts to categories gradually (if necessary)
Next, a good SEO-specialist should conduct a text analysis on the categories in comparison with competing sites from organic search. After collecting all the data, it is necessary to start drawing up the terms of reference for the articles .copywriters write the texts, you add them to the site, and after launching the search bots will see your pages already filled.
Setting up statistics systems Google Analytics
To track the effectiveness of the promotion in the early stages, you should install the statistic system on the website. The most popular is Google Analytics. It is important to immediately track the number of unique visitors, conversions, traffic sources, in order to understand the current situation, and, if necessary, change the website promotion strategy.
Adding a site to Google Search Console
The next step is to add the site to the webmaster panel of Google. By using this tool, you will be able to evaluate the website ranking, clicks, referring sites, page indexing, fix errors and achieve high positions in search results.
The goal is the result that you want to get from the visitor who came to the site. All goals are set up in Google Analytics.
What are the main actions to monitor in online stores?
- click on the “Buy” button;
- add goods to the cart;
- go to the checkout page;
- sending the form, etc.
Checking the site for duplicates
Before the launch of the site should check it for duplicates:
- on metadata;
- by h1 headers;
- by content, etc.
This can be done with the help of tools like Screaming Frog, Netpeak Spider and others. When duplicates are detected, they must be eliminated immediately so that they do not get into the index of search engines after launch and do not lead to a deterioration in the ranking of the online store.
Check the 404 error page
Error 404 is the response code indicating that the page was not found at the specified address.
From Google Help:
404 pages often arise due to changed URLs, of deleted links, a changed structure of the site, etc. Standard 404 error page display:
It is very important to create a 404 page for people. Users can at times get redirected to the 404 pages and the best way to keep them on your website and possibly turn them into your loyal customers is to optimize the 404-page error.
The correct solution: the implementation of the 404 error page inside the online store template and optimize it. You should also explain to the users why they are on the wrong page and suggest a solution.
Check the loading speed
The loading speed is one of the factors ranking in search engines that affect users behaviour. If the pages take long to load, visitors will probably leave the site.
Tools to check the loading speed of the site:
- Google Page Speed.
Tip: The site should not take more than 3 seconds to load. Do not rely on Google Page Speed data. This tool just indicates problem areas, but your main goal is to increase the loading speed of the site.
Checking the site for responsiveness
Responsive websites have a higher chance to be displayed on top of SERP (Search Engines Result Page). It does not matter what device users browse from, with a responsive website, they will have no difficulty navigating or buying things from your site. You can choose tool to test if your website mobile-friendly.
Internal linking pages
This is one of the tools:
- Helps search engines index pages.
- Improves behavioural factors on the site.
Peculiarities of relinking for online stores:
- The presence of bread crumbs.
- Implementation of the navigation menu (pass-through) with links to the main categories and subcategories.
- Links from product cards to filters and other products.
Configuring service files robots.txt, sitemap.xml
Robots.txt is a text file located in the root directory of the site. It contains instructions for search robots: a ban/permission for indexing certain pages.
Sitemap.xml – navigator for search engines, which helps speed up the site indexing. The presence of a sitemap.xml sitemap is not a required element, but its absence may adversely affect page indexing.
Schema.org is a markup dictionary maintained by all major search engines. The main task is to help Google or search engines understand the content of the page. SEO specialist understands well this concept so the write codes that to that help search engines return more informative results about a website.
What types of Schema Markup can be implemented on the online store website?
Breadcrumbs help you Increase your Google listings click-through rate (CTR) and help search engines catalogue your website’s directory structure.
Marking card product: price and rating
Layout pages categories: the minimum and maximum cost of goods
Formation of the HTML site map
An HTML sitemap is a useful thing for large online stores, which consists of links to the main pages. Often, a link to an HTML map is placed in the footer, it is more intended for users than for search bots, it helps to better navigate the main sections of the online store.
Use of multi-languages (if necessary)
If you ship products to several countries, you need to use different language versions for a successful promotion.
What are the solutions?
- Creating domains for a separate bundle of country-language (site.fr, site.us).
- Creating subdomains for a separate bundle of country-language ( fr. site.com, us.site.com ).
- Separate subfolders for the country-language bundle ( site.com/us/, site.com/fr/ ).
What is the use of multilingualism?
- Increase the number of landing pages.
- Get more traffic on queries in different languages.
- Attracting customers from different countries.
Do not forget to set the “hreflang” attribute for all pages of the site.
Testing and verification of functionalities
After preparing the website, check once again the completion of all forms, the addition of goods to the basket, the filling of feedback forms, the functionality of the basket, goals, etc. In other words, be a potential buyer for a while. If everything works well, go to the final step.
First, open the site for indexing in the robots.txt file. Also, check that the page code does not have the attributes
meta name = “robots” content = “noindex”.
To quickly index all pages of an online store, you should:
- Add sitemap.xml sitemap in the panel of webmaster Google.
- Create (if you have not previously created) an HTML sitemap with all pages (if necessary).