Getting Ahead with SEO

Written on Tuesday, September 27th, 2011 at 3:21 am by Adaire
Filed under Sharing Success.

Having a polished business website is not enough these days. It may be the most visually pleasing thing you and your team have ever created, but your efforts would be wasted if no one knows it exists. Or rather, if your target market doesn’t know it exists, or can’t even find it on the first few pages of the search engine results.

That’s why you should combine aesthetically pleasing elements with a strong backend that is aimed at solving your ecommerce needs while providing a good structure for search engine optimization, or SEO. What exactly does this mean? Let’s focus first on the basics of building a website for your business.

Ideally, your website should be able to provide a smooth and secure online shopping experience for your customers. This means the transition from browsing and selecting products, adding them to the shopping cart, checking out, paying and finalizing the transaction should be seamless. Working in the background is another system that updates inventory, tracks customer preferences and users’ IP addresses, and sundry items that all have to do with commerce and marketing while upholding the security of users’ personal and financial details. Yes I know, it all sounds like a lot. :) But that’s an ecommerce site for you.

Building a website for your business can be an overwhelming affair with all those requirements. Fortunately, there are what I call “one stop shop” solutions available that offer the complete package for your website as well as SEO needs. These packages provide ecommerce site owners with a backend that is SEO friendly, which means that the content that you upload – your graphics and copy – are made available to search engines like Google to index. And that’s precisely what you want to happen: when a potential customer searches online using the keyword that happens to be in your copy, you want your website to appear in the search engine results..and preferably on the top page! :)

There are many ecommerce solutions available in the market. Selecting the right package may require you doing your homework first. When I was looking online for pointers on picking ecommerce solution features, I saw this great article in Small Business CEO Magazine by Andy Anand, “Customized Ecommerce Solutions – Admin Tools, SEO and More”. Essentially, a great solutions package should allow you to:

- Manage products and other features through a web-based administration panel
- Create templates or edit existing templates to customize the look of your website
- Manage product images in an image gallery
- Add or edit your website features
- Provide custom SEO-rich text to every web page
- Have access to crucial ecommerce tools like ”personalized order management, customer features and reporting tools”
- Have access to backend software that is already enhanced for search engine optimization

Now if after some time, you notice your website is not reaching the number of hits you projected it would, then it’s time to consider seeing an SEO consultant. What exactly can an SEO consultant do for you? Plenty! :)

I’ll start with a simple but excellent definition of what SEO consulting is all about. I actually found it in another Small Business CEO Magazine article “Is SEO Consulting Necessary for a Successful Online Business?” by Sunil Punjabi. In a nutshell, it “helps online business to excel through increasing online visibility and setting up the business as a trustworthy brand through a constant top position in SERPs.”

SERPs, or search engine results page, are indicative of how you’re faring in the SEO war. Let’s say you’re in the business of selling baby clothes. If you do a Google search using the popular keyword “baby clothes”, will you see your company name on the first page? If yes, then kudos to you! Otherwise, an SEO consultant will analyze your website – starting from the content management system to the copy itself. He may even check your site’s adherence to search engine policies to make sure you are not in violation of any of them.

The consultant will also look into your online marketing efforts. One method he is likely to recommend is the use of back links that will lead to your site. Sunil Punjabi notes that “a professional and experienced consultant would never compromise with the quality of back links.” This means he should only select back links that come from reputable, high-ranking websites that are related (but not in direct competition with) to your own website. Think of it as piggy-backing on your older, popular brother and hoping that his popularity would rub off on you. :) When people start associating you with someone who can be trusted, you will eventually come into your own. They will start seeking your website itself.

The proverbial Golden Ticket to Page One in search engine results is out there. Let SEO work for you and one day you just might get your hands on that ticket!


Image by: arztsamui /

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