SEO is crucial for reaching customers.
When retailers look for ways to drive more traffic to their online stores, one of the first areas at which many look is search engine optimization. This is for good reason, as search engines are powerful tools for reaching new customers. In fact, one report from Fleishman-Hillard found that as many as 89 percent of consumers leverage Google, Bing or whatever other search engine they favor to find information on prospective purchases before they finalize the transaction
However, many retailers focus on the creation of new content to bolster search engine results. This is a good start, as new content that incorporates a number of keywords is sure to bring more traffic to online stores. However, as Practical eCommerce noted, optimization is equally important
. If key landing pages or product pages are not as fine-tuned as they could be, merchants may be missing out on some big results.
"Content optimization is more than using some top keywords in each page," added Practical eCommerce contributor Jill Kocher. "Effective content optimization focuses on using very specific keywords in very specific places to send the strongest possible relevance signals for that keyword target."
There are a number of really easy places for merchants to start as they look to fine-tune existing content to gain better search engine ratings:
Some of the most valuable areas of SEO are elements such as default title tags and content headlines. By incorporating keywords into these fields, retailers are essentially helping search engines index content to later be served to searching customers.
Often found at the head of the HTML for each page but not actually displayed as regular content on the website, meta descriptions are displayed directly on the search engine results page. This is critical for reaching search engine users - meta descriptions are the way merchants pique prospects' interest and get them to click the page.
The bread and butter of search engine optimization. Body copy serves a dual purpose, as it must be optimized for search engines yet at the same time, still provide a lot of value to customers. No one is going to read content written with computers in mind, it just is not interesting or valuable.
At the end of the day, retailers will need to find the best ways to optimize existing content without sacrificing value to the end consumer.