Search Engine Optimization – it’s 2016 and whoever you are, wherever you are, have heard this term. SEO is the most dreaded word for small business owners who depend on their websites to get them business. We have all read blog after blog trying to decipher SEO, but it really is something we have to get our hands dirty doing and can be tough. You already know what you need to be doing, have done most of it, but are barely seeing results. We don’t want to burden you with another blog post telling you what you’re doing wrong or what you should be doing, but rather motivate you to continue doing whatever you are doing and use this as a mini-checklist for that. We also hope that article will plug any gaps in your knowledge about SEO. So let’s dive right in.
What is SEO?
Basic questions first, right? Well, SEO are a bunch of techniques used to help search engines find and rank your site higher than the millions of other sites in response to a search query. It is mostly about optimizing your website’s code to make it more “crawlable” and attractive to a search engine’s crawler bot. Search Engines are looking for keywords in your website similar to what people are searching on the search engine. Therefore, SEO literally translates into keyword optimizing your website.
Many of you might also think SEO is about “link building”. Is it true? Yes. Having links to and from your website is like re-affirming the keywords on your website as well as its popularity. The more links that point to your website, the more popular it is in the eyes of search engines.
There are many factors that go in deciding whether your website is Search Engine Optimized or not (and all search engines more or less have the same criteria). Each criteria has its own priority,and not all need to to be achieved to meet success. A good resource to find these criteria would be Moz’s Search Engine Ranking Factors.
Why is SEO important?
For online retailers, E-commerce SEO creates an enormous boost in viewer traffic, which naturally results in increased sales and the ability to reach a larger group of potential customers. SEO can mean the fastest way to the top of Search results and quicker to the customer’s fingertips. Greater innovation throughout the years has changed the way customers buy items. Search is a fundamental piece of the decision making procedure, with 89 percent of customers utilizing search engines to illuminate their decisions of purchase. Consequently, disregarding SEO means you’re taking the danger of not being visible amid your clients’ journey of purchasing. When you aren’t noticeable on search results, less clients think about you and your development slows down. In the meantime, your rivals will expand deals and benefits — and you’re giving them a chance to become strong enough for the competition. 
Checklist for SEO
- Have you titled your website/e-commerce store with keywords?
- Does each of your product listing have an explicit and descriptive title? For eg: if you are selling a necklace, you wouldn’t just name it as Necklace_091. You would rather name it as White rhinestone Statement Choker Necklace with Pearls. You see what is going on here- you are trying to use as many keywords as possible in each product name. Multiply that by all the inventory that you hold, and see how searchable you have made your website!
- Are you labeling each of your product photos with keywords? If you have heard of Alt tags for images, then it’s something you shouldn’t ignore. It’s our personal observation that for e-commerce stores, images bring in a lot of website traffic. Labeling your images right and uniquely helps reach out to the right customer through SEO.
- Have you used relevant outgoing links on your website? Have you ensured that all external websites are linking to the right pages on your website? Also, check for any broken internal links.
- Do you have enough content (blogs, product description etc) on your website that could serve as a treasure trove of keywords for search engine crawlers?
- Last but not the least, check that you have fixed almost all errors shown on any website analyzer tool. Here are some you can try: SEO Checker, Website Analyzer or Woorank. (Not endorsing anything in particular; all are equally capable of giving you insights on your website’s SEO)
- Hey, don’t forget Local SEO! Make sure you are available on Google Local Businesses, Google Maps, Yelp reviews, local classifieds and any other local forums. This is the most organic way of attracting traffic from Search Engines.
- And when all hell breaks lose (you can’t understand head or tail of SEO), you need to hire an SEO specialist. Get them to do the initial ground work for you, at least hit the road running and then you can carry it on from there.
Try these out for now. It should give you a feel of SEO and hopefully eliminate the fear of it. Those who have tried and found little success, don’t lose hope. Try it again this time with new found vigor- its’s 2016, maybe it just might work!
So happy SEOing! There are tons of resources to help you out with this, you just need to seek (or ask!)