5 Steps To Successful SEO And E-commerce (Step 4)

2004-11-24by Serge Thibodeau

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As one might expect, if you really want your online business to prosper, it has to be visible in the major search engines such as Google, AltaVista, Yahoo, Global Business Listing and all the others. You need to make your e-commerce website "search engine-friendly" so that when the "spiders" (or crawlers) come, they will be able to include it in their databases.

Depending on the exact design and structure of your e-commerce site, the way it was originally done and the techniques used to interlink the pages together can materially and adversely affect the SERP's (Search Engine Results Pages). Search engine spiders can't follow image-based navigation elements, and are stopped dead in their tracks once they see "question-mark delimiters" in filenames or long URL's with question marks that come from most database-driven sites. If at all possible, you should always try to avoid such database-driven technology, as most search engines today cannot index those sites in their directories.

If the only way to navigate your site is by clicking on images, you won't do very well with the search engines. If your e-commerce site features these major roadblocks, offer a text-based navigation option to complement the images.

Title tags
The majority of the search engines heavily weigh the title tags in their ranking algorithms of the sites they index. Don't waste the power of the tag with something like "Our company home page". Try to incorporate your top keywords into your title tags. It will make a very positive improvement in the overall ranking of your e-commerce web site.

Description tags
Most search engines today use meta description tags for the writing they post in their results. Think of description tag content in terms of marketing copy. In short, be sure your description tags are written for people to read and something that will invite them in visiting your site as opposed to the sites that are competing for the same business.

Meta tags below your Java Script code
Search engines often have problems reading meta tags placed after JavaScript on web pages. If your web site uses JavaScript, be sure to locate all of your meta tags above the JavaScript code, or, better still, in a separate file.

Site maps
Include a site map with text links on your site and submit it to the search engines. This will help the search engines locate pages within your web site.

Sites built with frames
Search engines just don't like frames. They can't read them either. There are ways around the problem if you must use them, but my advice is to avoid using them if at all possible. For more on the subject, I suggest you refer to an earlier article I published on this website on "How to make a frame site rank highly in the engines".

Dynamic content
Search engines cannot index dynamically generated pages and they were not designed for that either. This can present some very serious problems trying to promote an e-commerce site using shopping carts, product catalogues and dynamically generated pages on most of the site. If your e-commerce site does deliver dynamically generated pages, try to implement dynamic pages after the home page. For more information in the careful optimization of most dynamic sites, please refer to an earlier article I wrote on this website about dynamic and database-driven websites and how to correct these problems.

Sites deeper than three levels
Search engines typically only index the top three levels of any site. Sites built like this:

www.yourweb.com/dir_1/dir_2/dir_3/dir_4/dir_5... etc. (6 levels deep) usually only get half of their pages indexed. I strongly suggest that you build as "flat" as possible, something like this:

www.yourwebsite/dir_3 etc...

Step 5

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Serge Thibodeau

Serge Thibodeau has been performing professional search engine optimization and priority positioning services since 1997. Serge optimizes commercial web sites of small businesses, medium-size companies as well as Fortune 500 enterprises. Additionally, he also serves as CEO for RankforSales.com.

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