Our consulting team is often asked about what areas should be focused on when thinking about search for purchase driven or etail sites, as in today’s retail market companies really need to gain that competitive advantage. So, we’ve compiled this checklist as a foundation for what we like to call a ‘search friendly’ site.

The ultimate goal of search engine optimisation is to get Google to nod it’s head to your keywords, you can control this:

1) On-page Optimisation: keyword optimisations you make in your web page code

  • Distinguish between “content” and “administrative” pages – then optimise only content pages.
  • Choose just one keyword phrase per content page
  • Use the keyword in your page’s file name; delimit with dashes
  • Use keyword in the page title, “meta description” (twice if possible)
  • Use keyword in a headline (use H1 or H2). Usually this is your page title.
  • Use keyword several times in the body text where reasonable.
  • Make sure your content is useful. Ok, search engines aren’t that smart, but visitors are.

2) Off Page Optimisation: The links coming into your site

  • Submit your site to all the standard directories
  • Submit article-style content to for syndication, making sure your content contains many keyword links back to your other content pages. This will get you hundreds of quality keyword links.
  • Periodic press releases.
  • Create a Google site map and submit it to Google.
  • Create RSS feeds of your content and submit to various feed lists. This method will get you several hundred minor links per content page.
  • Add a “link to this page” box on every content page to encourage deep-linking with the right keywords
  • Locate quality sites linking to your competitor – contact the owner and suggest that they mention your site as an alternative option for their visitors. It’s amazing how many quality links you can get just by asking politely.

3) Site Optimisation: The navigation and linking structure you use across your site

  • Don’t use both www.yourdomain.com and yourdomain.com. Pick one or the other and stick to it
  • Don’t link to your home page as index.html. Google only knows pages by link target
  • Each content page should be linked to with one consistent keyword-friendly URL, and never with parameters

bad: http://firstrate.com.au/forum.php?topic=873736
good: http://firstrate.com.au /my-keyword-tp873736.html

  • Link to each content page with static text links (not JavaScript, not Flash, or Images) and the anchor text of links should contain the target page’s keyword phrase.

bad link: “click here for split testing tools” – this just confuses the search engine
good link: “click here for split testing tools”

  • Don’t link back to your home page with the link text “home”…
  • Interlink between content pages from within paragraph text. These links seem to “count” more and will get you a bigger ‘nod of the head’ from Google.

Site Optimisation is the most powerful SEO area over which you have total control! It’s all about how you link your pages together. If done properly, it can have a significant impact.

These are only some suggestions to think about. If you have any questions about best practice SEO for etail, write us a comment below or send an email to info@firstdigital.co.nz