Share this article

Ecommerce | SEO

Best Practices of Basic SEO... Really Basic, Honest!

image: Your Commerce
Don’t be intimidated by search engine optimisation. Much of it simply comes down to website hygiene

Perhaps because it's so vital to promoting your website, search engine optimisation can also seem highly daunting to those of us who aren't SEO gurus. The temptation may be to simply post what you need to, trust that the content is good enough to be recognised by the search engines, and hope for the best.


But there are certain basic steps you can incorporate into the creation, maintenance, and content population of your website that will catch the virtual eye of Google and other search engines. These practices, delineated in SEO/SEM firm MoreVisibility's white paper "Do's and Don'ts of Search Engine Optimization," should become part of your website hygiene—and they're pretty simple to boot.


Among the suggestions:


Add keyword-rich content to your website.
Blog posts, product reviews, newsletters, and white papers are relatively easy ways to do so. And update the content as frequently as possible: "The more frequently content is added to a website, the more frequently search engine spiders visit that website," according to MoreVisibility.


Don't stuff keywords into copy for the sake of adding keywords.
The search engines are wise to this.


Include keywords in your page names.
"A page named 'SEO-Dos-and-Donts.html' is better than [one named] 'page17.html.'"


Include keywords in your metatags.
Make sure these words and phrases are relevant to the page, though. Featuring catchy, "sexy" terms that don't appear anywhere on the actual page is another form of keyword stuffing, and yes, the search engines are wise to this as well.


Write a unique metatitle for each page.
If your site offers 50 pages of widgets, don't give each page the metatitle "Widgets for sale." Instead specify the type of widget unique to each page. Don't exceed 70 characters, though.


Write a unique meta description for each page too.
MoreVisibility cites as an example "We have been in the business of [keyword1] and [keyword2] for more than 50 years." Your character limit here should be 180.


If you're targeting specific geographic audiences, include the locales among your keywords and phrases.
For instance, if you sell and deliver your widgets only within the city of Townsville, your meta description should read "We have been in the business of [keyword1] and [keyword2] in Townsville for more than 50 years."


Limit the number of keywords you include in your meta keywords attribute to 12
—and again, make sure that any words you use appear on the page.


Don't waste energy on tags other than title, description, and keywords.
According to MoreVisibility, search engines don't pay much, if any, attention to the other metatags.


Write an alt tag for each image.
Search engines don't "see" images, but they do read the alt tags describing the images. So make sure your alt tags describe the image accurately. This goes for logos (in which case the alt tag should be the company name and slogan) and product shots (which should name the specific product) alike.


"Link keywords and phrases within the content to other relevant pages within the site,"
the white paper advises. "This technique provides strategic crawling information for search engines while utilizing keyword links."

author: Sherry Chiger

Sherry Chiger

The editorial director of Your Commerce, Sherry Chiger is an award-winning writer and editor. She was formerly editorial director of Multichannel Merchant and Catalogue e-business magazines.


Share this article