eCommerce Blogging: 3 SEO Golden Rules
So you have an eCommerce blog. Congratulations! Now your task is getting people to actually read it.
And how do you accomplish that?
For the uninitiated, SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO makes your website, or as the case may be, your blog, look attractive to the Internet. The more attractive your blog is, the higher it will appear in search results and the more likely shoppers will find it and click over.
Search engines like Google determine the attractiveness of your blog using a broad range of criteria, some of which are unknown to the public. You see, Google is the all-knowing, all-seeing eye of the World Wide Web. After someone does an online search, Google uses tiny little robot spiders to “crawl” the web (get it?) to look for content, determine its quality, and report back to Google so that Google can present the desired result to the online searcher. Ultimately what makes your blog attractive, and therefore appear higher in search results, is how relevant and useful the content is to what human beings are searching for online.
To fill your blog with relevant, useful content and improve its position in search results, you need to master three SEO basics.
Here are the three SEO golden rules to get Google’s robot spiders to fall in love with your eCommerce blog:
Write Original, Useful Content
While imitation is the highest form of flattery, we all know plagiarism isn’t cool. Obviously, you know it’s not OK to lift and shift content from someone else’s blog to your own. But in addition to poor ethics, it’s also poor SEO practice. If you post content duplicated from another site, that basically tells the Internet spiders that your blog has nothing new or interesting to offer. Search engines will agree and reward you with a lower position in search results. However, if your blog features completely original content that doesn’t exist anywhere else online, Google’s minion spiders will consider that more valuable, which means a higher position in search results.
Original content means that everything is new, regularly updated, and doesn’t exist anywhere else on the Internet—you know, pretty much the definition of the word original. This goes for content about product promotions, trends, and collections, so if you’re a retailer selling products from other brands, make sure you’re not reusing their exact product language.
Don’t forget the other piece of this golden rule: your content must also be useful. Because if it’s not useful, what is even the point?
Posting only about products isn’t always useful for all shoppers. Be sure to include videos, images, and articles that entertain, solve problems, educate, and inspire. Useful content makes the spiders happy and gets shared more frequently, especially if it enhances a shopper’s understanding of something, makes someone laugh, or reaches someone emotionally.
Google’s fast-moving mechanical spiders are pleased and impressed when other websites link to something you posted. That’s what a backlink is—a link from someone else’s website back to yours. Backlinks tell search engines that your content is so valuable that other sites want to link to it.
The easiest way to get backlinks is to buy them.
DON’T DO THAT.
The spiders will be on to you, and will report to our invisible master that your content should be shunned and ignored.
So how do you build a large number of valuable backlinks to your blog? Here are two ways:
The best and easiest way to gain backlinks is to follow golden rule number one: write useful, quality content that draws people in, creates relationships with them, and encourages them to share your content.
A second method is to backlink to your own content. Remember that link from the top of this post about search engines determining your site’s attractiveness? That links sends you to an older post from our own blog, written by my supervisor. Including that link builds value for both posts, the website overall, and me as an employee. Win win!
The third SEO golden rule for your eCommerce blog is keyword research. Keyword research tells you what words and phrases actual humans are typing when they’re looking for something online. If you use those words and phrases in your own content, a match is created between your site and what they’re looking for—like online dating for content.
This is not to say that you should randomly add popular words or phrases to your blog in the hopes they will match what people are searching for. Your keywords need to appeal to the human eye as well as overlord Google. Using keywords in your blog is like having a conversation with your family when you’re home for the holidays. When you know your Aunt Mary is within earshot, you say things you know she wants to hear so she’ll tell people from your hometown how well you’re doing.
“I got a promotion at my job the other day which allows me to afford a new car.” The keywords are bolded—now your family knows that you have a stable career, you received a promotion, and have a reliable source of transportation. Aunt Mary will tell others and those people will now follow your blog.
So What Have We Learned?
Follow these three SEO golden rules for your eCommerce blog: 1) write meaningful, original, quality content (that includes a mixture of words, images, and videos), 2) build backlinks to your content (from other sites that also have quality content), and 3) include keywords and phrases in your content that actual humans are searching for online (that are easy to read and naturally blend into your content).
As you can see, SEO is a delicate balance of appealing to your fellow humans as well as the machines that control what those humans see online.
For more on SEO, read Seven SEO Tips for your eCommerce Business on the LYONSCG blog.
Lindsey Finn is an SEO analyst and content marketing specialist on the Digital Strategy team at LYONSCG. She likes to write and drink wine, often at the same time.