After hosting our very popular webinar, SEO Tips Every Site Owner Should Know, last week, we wanted to answer a few extra questions we didn’t have time to address during our time slot. Read on to learn even more tricks to climb search engine rankings.
Last Thursday we hosted our webinar, SEO Tips Every Site Owner Should Know, to help online merchants conquer search engines and help drive more organic traffic to their sites. We were very pleased with the turnout and were thrilled to see so many questions about such an important topic!
Of course there are only so many questions one can answer in a limited time frame, so our SEO guru, Pam Cofer, took some time to tackle five of the most popular questions we weren’t able to get to during the webinar event. If you’d like to see the webinar recording, check it out here.
Let’s get started!
How do I research keywords?
Keyword research is an extensive process of brainstorming, analyzing and narrowing down keywords that best fit a certain page. The first thing you need to do is come up with as many keywords as possible for the page you’re working on, then narrow down that list to about 3 to 5 keyword phrases that you will use to optimize that page. Also make sure to look at what non-paid keywords are already driving traffic to your site, so you can continue to target any keywords that are converting well for your business. Checking out the tags on competitor sites can certainly help you brainstorm keywords when you’re getting started, but be sure you are only looking at keywords that are actually relevant to the page of your site you are optimizing.
There is not just one approach to keyword analysis, but there are tools out there to help you. The Google Keyword Tool can help you determine the monthly search volume for a keyword, and Google Trends and Google Insights are other helpful (and free!) tools for gaining deeper insight into online search behavior related to your business. There are also paid tools like Wordstream and Keyword Discovery.
Do I need to submit to directories?
Submitting to web directories (which are kind of like online phone books) is one way to build links, but it should NOT be the only link building technique you use. It’s a good way to get started if you don’t have many links, especially for a new site, but as we mentioned in the webinar, you’ll get the best results if you have inbound links from a variety of sources.
If you are going to submit to directories, make sure they are as relevant as possible, and do not submit to a lot of directories at once. Since link building should be natural, submitting to directories should follow a natural progression as well.
Does it help to have a blog on your website? How do I get a blog?
Having a blog in and of itself isn’t what helps your site, but using a blog as a tool to build relationships and gain authority by regularly publishing content for your target audience can have numerous benefits. The content is indexed quickly, gives other sites content to link to, and basically gives your content more opportunities to appear in the search results. It can also drive traffic to your store when you are strategically linking to your main site.
You can set up a blog for free using a blog platform like WordPress or Blogger. We recommend Blogger for Volusion sites because the blog will be hosted on the Blogger servers, and you can create a subdomain on your store so your blog can appear at http://blog.yoursite.com.
It’s also helpful to make sure your blog is consistent with your website by having the template designed to match your site. If you’re not sure how to set up and design a blog, we can help. For more information, please check out our Blogger Template Design service.
How do I check my rankings?
As we covered in the webinar, rankings are personalized for different users, so you can’t assume that the rankings you see are the same rankings your potential customers see when searching online. Make sure you have a tracking tool like Google Analytics installed on your site so that you can look at the keywords that actually bring visitors to your site. This will give you a better idea of how your site is ranking and performing on average.
Where can I find the sitemap generated for my site?
The location of the sitemap in your store is http://www.yoursite.com/google_sitemap.asp. You can submit this URL to Google via Google Webmaster Tools, and also declare the location of the sitemap in your Robots.txt file using the standard syntax. This notifies the search engines of the location of your sitemap so that they can find and index more of your pages.
Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar – we’ve got several more slated to further boost your online success, so stay tuned!