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An Advertiser's Guide to SEO in 2011

A guest post from our friends at Climb Digital covering the latest search engine ranking factors and guides for website optimisation, specifically for Merchants.

We know you Advertisers are a savvy bunch and so we’ve put together a guide for optimising your website best for the search engines to the latest changes within search engine ranking factors.

Structure your site accordingly

1) Structure your site accordingly – If you want to make it easy for search engines to find your content then breadcrumb trails is an old school but still effective way of allowing search engine bots to find your deep site pages home > category > product.
Try not to complicate the number of layers of your site map tree so that everything is easy to find which can be difficult in some of our client’s sites that contain 1000’s of products.

Structure your site content accordingly

2) Structure your site content accordingly – If you want search engine bots to find your content then you better make sure it’s as close to the top of the page as possible as Google crawls the page from top to bottom. The more content the better, however we appreciate merchants are trying to get people to buy and so as a compromise having a minimum number of 500 words for category pages and 200 words per product as long is it doesn’t affect the overall flow of the page.
If this is a struggle you may want to consider getting some ghost writer to do the bulk of it via an online freelance board and then refine the language to fit your brands tone of voice. Also provide users with value added content that answer questions. User’s are searching socially by asking their peers on twitter and this mirrors an increase in question related searches terms such as “I’m looking for”, “how do you”, “does anyone know about”.
Although these searches may not involve a direct sale from that user, the same user is more likely to consider you over your competitor when they want to buy a product. Also taking a look at relevant content on your hard drive or network such as marketing material that hasn’t been published anywhere on the web can be a quick win to generate more content for your website.

Optimised internal linking

3) Optimised internal linking – Its surprising how often this is overlooked by merchants. As a rule of thumb try and keep the number of links on your home page less than 200. Alternatively the opposite is too few links with no keywords in the anchor text links on the page. Help your deep site internal pages by linking to them further up the home page which will help drive link juice from your homepage, but don’t overdo it or you’ll dilute your homepage’s authority.

External linking

4) External linking – Encourage other sites to link to you as much as possible, seems obvious right? So many sites only focus on getting other sites to link to their blog page and forget their category and product pages thinking these pages aren’t link worthy. You may be throwing away valuable opportunities for attracting external links to boost your ranking by having a review box as an example. It’s true that some clients will struggle to get a review as many people leave reviews for restaurants but not perhaps when they buy a pair of Lacoste shoes.
If you can offer a reward at the checkout such as 10% off for a review, this can either be placed on your site or additionally if the purchaser has a blog perhaps put in your confirmation email “got a website or blog? Link to us with “Lacoste” so others can experience get great Lacoste products too”

Ensure your product feeds are unique

5) Ensure your product feeds are unique – With the new Google panda algorithm update shaking up the ecommerce industry, we’re urging our clients to review their content and ensure that it hasn’t been replicated elsewhere on the web. If you want to check this yourself you can easily input a short line of your content in quotes and hit search to see who else is hosting your content, if it has been copied or screen scraped by other websites you may want to submit a request to the search engines to make them aware of this as there are still people suffering from having their content copied and experiencing a drop in subsequent rankings. Admittedly having unique content in your product feeds is a challenge for a lot of merchants.
However depending on the size of your affiliate program and the proportion of affiliates using your content you should do your best to ensure that you’re able to provide unique product descriptions for your product data feeds.

Socialise your content

6) Socialise your content – There is a lot of buzz around using social media to increase brand presence and interaction with your customers, however lets talk about how it can get your immediate ROI! Interested? Thought so! When you create new content or update existing content, let others and Google know quicker by social bookmarking your content on Facebook and Twitter.
The search engines have openly said that links from social media profiles with a high authority i.e. lots of fans and followers count for more than lots of retweets from different accounts. If you have influential twitter users who can tweet about your content then all the better for your SEO.

That's all for now

That’s all from Climb Digital SEO today, but we hope to be back soon and visit our friends and members from the A4U. If you would like to find out more about what we’re up to, feel free to head over to Climbdigital.co.uk or if you’re going to the PerformanceIN Fashion & Beauty event on Wednesday 3rd July come and say hello.