09 Aug How do you get your website noticed by search engines?
Titles and Meta Descriptions are the place to start for getting your online store noticed by search engines
What is the title and meta description for your store? Why does it matter?
- Search for your products yourself – what words came to mind for you to start with? what businesses already come up on page one for that search term or phrase? Visit the pages and note the search title that is being used by that site. You can find the search title in the title bar of the site, or by going to View->Source in your browser and looking for the <title> tag
- Use the Google Keyword Tool to find words and phrases that others are searching for
- Upgraded to Windows 10? Try searching for your products using the quick search facility in Windows that will also search the web and show you suggested matches from Bing (based on the volumes of searches from other people)
How to set up Meta Tags and Descriptions in Ozcart
Tips for Titles and Meta Descriptions
- Make them unique for every page in your website. Don’t match a competitor
- Don’t make them too long or they will either be cut off by search engines, or treated as an attempt to “stuff” too many keywords into the page which could penalise your site not help it
- Make them appealing to your customers – think of them like an advertisement for that page. Encourage your customers to click through by inspiring them or making them curious
- Include your brand name if it’s something that you will be pushing or promoting
- Don’t just write them once – review them, look at the search terms that are getting click throughs in your Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics tools and make adjustments as appropriate.
What are Meta Tags, Titles and Search Engine Keywords?
You may have read the last paragraph and be wondering what all the jargon means – words like 'meta tags', 'primary keywords', 'title'. It may help to have a quick overview of how search engines index websites (skip to the next section if you are already familiar with what these terms mean).
When someone puts a search term into a search engine like Google, the search engine attempts to return the most relevant results to the person searching. It looks in its own pre-created indexes to find the pages that have the best fit for that search term as well as the overall popularity of that page or site (usually measured by the number of quality links to that website).
The title of the page is what appears in the top bar of Google Chrome or Firefox and is something that search engines weight heavily in returning results to customers – after all, a page's title describes the main content of that page.
Meta tags and meta descriptions are content hidden into the top part of each web page. They tell the search engines what content is on the page which helps them compile an accurate index. Some shopping carts like Ozcart allow you to set separate title, meta tags and meta descriptions for each product as well as each category in your store. Search engines like Google often display the meta descriptions when they return results to people who search for a particular term (or keyword).
Getting noticed by search engines
With well defined meta tags, descriptions and titles for each of your pages, a nice tidy ('Search Engine Friendly') urls in the address bar of your browser can also be useful for indexing of your pages and making them memorable to your customers. For example, both search engines and people will find it easier to use a url like http://www.yourshop.com.au/jewellery compared to http://www.yourshop.com.au/index.php?category_options=all&sort=3&category_id=820119.
Once your title, meta tags and urls are under control, look at the text you have one each page. Does it use the search engine terms (keywords) your customers will be using to look for the products you sell? If not, edit your product descriptions appropriately. If your shopping cart allows you to have category descriptions then use them too.
You will also need to gather lots of useful links. Think about ways you can get credible, useful websites with good integrity to 'vote' for you by linking to you. One place to start is with directories, but link exchanges, 'social bookmarks' (links from places like digg or facebook) are also useful options for you.