This post is going to be straight to the point, because we have a lot to cover.

If you’re looking for an easy way to get more sales, this may not be for you. But if you want to build a long-term, profitable online retail business, there are few better ways than SEO.

I would recommend reading the whole post and then bookmarking it so that you can come back to it later. You might also want to check out our previous post detailing 16 actionable steps to increase organic traffic, as they are relevant.

Here is what we are going to cover:

  • Keyword Research
  • Simple Stuff
  • Technical Stuff
  • Content Marketing
  • User Related Stuff
  • Links & Social Media

Ok, so let’s get right into it, shall we? From here on we will be assuming that you have a shop set-up already and that your ecommerce solution gives you the tools to be able to action these concepts.

If your ecommerce solution doesn’t allow you to implement certain things, you either need to move to a different option or get a programmer to add the required functionality.

Keyword Research

First of all; SEO for ecommerce isn’t the same as SEO for other types of sites. There are a few small but important differences, and keyword research is one of them.

Assuming you know what you want to sell, the keywords you are targeting will be fairly obvious to an extent. However, you should still do keyword research, not just to find the best variations of keywords, but also to thin out your list to suit your available budget and/or resource.

You might not be able to do SEO on thousands of keywords for a big ecommerce store, so you need to choose the keywords that will have the most impact:

1. Product Keyword Research:

Take a few of your most obvious keywords and plug them into any good keyword tool. We like Ahrefs and SEMrush but there are lots of others. Look at country-specific search volumes using phrase match and/or exact match and look for any related keywords that could point to other product ideas.

Basically, if you want to expand into new, related products, keyword research will point you to what people are already searching for.

There is no harm in optimising around products with minimal search volume if you are sure your existing customer base will buy them or if there is low competition.

Adding new products that have good search volume on the other-hand will potentially bring new customers as well as increasing sales to existing ones.

2. Category Keyword Research:

Another helpful way to use keyword research is to judge how you should name and promote your categories, as well as which categories have the most SEO potential.

To Give An Example:

You might be selling all sorts of baby items. One category might be pushchairs…

Should you target “pushchairs” or “strollers”?

Start by plugging a few related terms into your chosen keyword research tool:

  • Pushchairs
  • Buy pushchairs
  • Buy pushchairs online
  • Online pushchairs
  • Cheap pushchairs
  • Etc…

Set to phrase or exact match (more on that next) and tot-up how much potential search volume there is for that category. Then repeat that search using “stroller” related terms to see which wording seems more popular in your area.

Remember: The goal here isn’t necessarily to pick the highest volume individual term, but to choose the biggest topic!

What About Sub-Categories?

Glad you ask. There is generally more than one way to divide a category up. You could divide into sub-types (three-wheelers, twins etc..) or brands, for instance.

Ideally, you should offer both options if you think it will be helpful for your customers. But which option do you prioritise? Well let’s look at the traffic for both options, shall we?

So you might plug in a few phrases like:

[category of item] + [brand name]
[brand name] + [category of item]
[category of item] + [another brand]

Try that for your main brands and then try:

[sub-category 1]
[sub-category 2]

Hopefully, that should be enough to give you an idea whether your target audience is searching by product type or by brand. You have to use a bit of judgement of course, but often the numbers will give you a clue as to the best way to go.

3. Generic Keyword Research

A bit of keyword research can give you valuable information about how your potential customers search in general, and how best to target them.

Let me explain with yet another example:

If you sell all sorts of metal widgets you might brainstorm a list of keywords like this:

  • metal widgets
  • aluminium widgets
  • steel widgets
  • blue metal widgets
  • copper widgets
  • etc…

Let’s say you do a phrase match report and find that “aluminium widgets” looks like a good category with 3000 monthly searches; so you zoom in a bit (with an exact match):

  • aluminium widgets
  • buy aluminium widgets
  • aluminium widgets online
  • blue aluminium widgets
  • etc…

If you find that as an exact match your main search is getting much less than those 3000 searches, but you can’t find the specific terms that are getting most of the traffic… it probably means that those 3000 searches are made up of a lot of long-tail phrases.

That means that you can’t easily target a single phrase. Instead, you will need to catch a lot of long-tail traffic by using long content and a carefully considered user experience.

On the other-hand:

If you find that most of that category’s search volume is accounted for in a handful of exact phrases, your SEO will be more focused on those phrases. (Hopefully without completely ignoring the long-tail).

4. Question Keyword Research

Finally, you might also find it useful to do some research into the kinds of questions people are asking Google. Ask yourself:

  • What pain-points are they trying to solve?
  • What might make them look for your products?
  • Will they need to educate themselves before purchasing?

A great tool for this is AlsoAsked which gives you information from ‘People Also Asked’ results. Another tool we use is Answer The Public which gives autocomplete suggestions.

Understanding these questions can help you to create FAQ content, blogs and articles to increase the scope of your SEO campaign. Not only could they help you rank for questions, but they can also help in shaping your off-page campaigns.

google search results and keyword optimisation

Where Do I Put These Keywords?

Ok, so you’ve sorted your keywords. But where do you use them?

We won’t get into more complicated things like keywords cannibalisation, latent semantic index (LSI) keywords or complex keyword density algorithm like transverse frequency-inverse document frequency (TF-IDF). If you want to know more about those, get in touch for a chat with one of our SEO specialists.

I’m also going to assume that you already know why you shouldn’t just scattergun your keywords across your site.

Instead of getting into theory, we’ll just cover how to do basic keyword inclusion for ecommerce SEO. Just like with regular SEO, the most important places to include your keywords for ecommerce SEO are:

  • URL
  • page title
  • h1
  • paragraph text
  • meta-description
  • image alt tags

The reality of larger ecommerce sites is that writing bespoke titles and SEO stuff for every product may not be entirely practical, so we’ll start with some easy wins:

1. Optimising URLs

It’s likely that your ecommerce system will autogenerate URLs for products and categories based on the names you give them. For categories, these will likely be very focussed, but for products, they could be very long.

Check that your system is removing stop words like ‘and’, ‘with’, ‘in’, etc. This will keep your URLs cleaner and tidier. You might also want to remove any strings of digits like SKU numbers if you don’t think they will be of any use or value to the customer.

2. Page Titles

Every page on your website should have its own page title, which should ideally be between 40-60 characters long and unique for each page – never less than 30 characters long and never more than 70 characters long.

Many ecommerce platforms will just use your product’s title as a page title. If this is the case for your store, make sure that you write product names with that in mind:

  • Write long product names (but no more than 70 chars)
  • Include all relevant information
  • Differentiate them from other products (so each name is unique)
  • Think about how users might search

Often, this isn’t ideal, since you might want to include the brand and model number in your page title but not the product title (particularly if the brand and model number are listed elsewhere on the product page).

If this is the case, look into whether you can set your page titles to automatically use tokens from your product information. An effective set-up might be:

[brand] [product title] – Model [model number] – [condition] – [price]

It all depends on what you are selling of course, and what you can fit into your character limit.

If you don’t have too many products, or have enough man-power, having the ability to manually enter a product title might be a more effective option. Just make sure that you always add a title when you create a new product.

For your category pages, the page titles should also be pretty obvious.

Make them descriptive and use your character limit. Category pages are ideal pages to get ranking since they often have good traffic potential. Writing a decent page title for each category is essential.

3. Main Headings – H1

Your product name should be your H1 tag on product pages and the category name should be the H1 on category pages. You might want to get more creative on category pages so you can fit more variations of your keywords in. There’s not a lot more to say about this.

One thing to consider with these product names is that they will all be printed out in their parent product-list or category page. By including core terms in your product names, you can actually help your category pages to rank for more competitive short-tail phrases.

4. Paragraph Text & H2-6

This is an often overlooked part of ecommerce SEO. Just because you have a large website doesn’t mean you can get away with not having unique paragraph text on each page. In fact, with the vast majority of ecommerce sites, quite the opposite is true!

Large ecommerce sites are usually riddled with ‘thin content’. Lists of products on category pages with just a unique h1 all look essentially the same to Google. We always recommend having a few lines of text above product lists and a text area below the product list where you can offer more information for users who want to learn more.

read more accordion on category page for seo

Products can often be the worst offenders though, especially when each product page contains lots of information about delivery, returns, terms and conditions and standard/general information about the wider product range, but only a very short product description which is unique to that specific product.

In fact, it’s not uncommon for those short descriptions themselves to be largely the same within a range, just with the colour or size swapped out. What you’re left with then is a product page with hundreds of words of content but perhaps only a few words of it being truly unique.

The cardinal sin is using manufacturer supplied descriptions. These are usually poorly written for diversification across ranges, and they are often also used by other websites. The only thing which is worse than having duplicated content within your own site is duplicating content from other people’s sites!

Try to write a good, unique short and long description for each product. Not only does this differentiate products, but it also gives you plenty of opportunities to build in long-tail SEO.

It can be helpful to think about these things when writing unique product content:

  • Who might use this product: “Ideal for use by…”
  • Why might they use this product: “this product is perfect for…”
  • Why do you recommend this product: “We love that this product is…”

Remember to break your content up into readable chunks and use sub-headings (H2-6) with logical keyword variations included.

5. Meta-Description

The meta description doesn’t show up on your actual web page and the keywords in your meta description don’t factor into Google’s rankings. It will, however, show up in search engines when one of your pages comes up in a results page. (Usually. Sometimes Google chooses a different meta-description tp show in results.)

Again, every page on your website needs a meta description. Different ecommerce packages handle this differently, so check whether your pages have a description already and where it is coming from for different types of pages:

  • Home page
  • Content pages
  • Category pages
  • Product pages

Meta descriptions are limited to around 920 pixels on desktop, which is usually around 160 characters. On mobile devices though, the limit is reduced to just 680 pixels, which is closer to 120 characters. If you can, write your description to the 160 character limit, but bearing in mind that anything over 120 characters may not be seen on mobile results.

Don’t stuff the description with keywords. Instead, write a carefully written description that entices a search engine user to click. Don’t just repeat what is in the page title either.

It may be possible to automatically generate a description, but if possible, try to manually write one for each page. You can use a short excerpt from product descriptions for product pages though to save time and automate some of this work.

Image Optimisation

Images are a big, but often neglected part of ecommerce websites. Including keywords in your content lets Google know what that page is about, but you can also let Google know what each image is about too.

It’s not a case of stuffing in every keyword you can, it’s more a case of giving search engines a more complete idea of what information you are giving your users.

In fact, Google updates appear to be getting more strict on over-optimisation around single keywords. Be natural and descriptive, but conscious of keyword variations.

1. Alt Tags

The most important part of an image (in SEO terms) is the alt tag. The idea of this tag is to describe the image to anyone who can’t see it (visually impaired users, for instance, can hear the image alt tag read out to them when they are using a screen-reader device).

Make sure that every image on your site has an alt tag, but in particular, pay attention to your product images and thumbnails. Write a sentence or two and make them descriptive. For instance:

Rather than:
view from side
Side view of [product] – [model] by [brand]

2. Image Filenames

File names aren’t as important as alt tags, but it is still helpful to give images a descriptive name rather than just a string of numbers or letters.
For more information about images and optimization for ecommerce, check out this awesome post from the Shopify blog: 10 Must-know Image Optimization Tips

3. Image Size

Your website will likely fit any image you upload in the available space. However, the actual image file size doesn’t change. If you upload a image that is 2000×2000 pixels for a space that is only 500×500 pixels, the user still needs to fetch the original larger image from the server when they view the page.

You should always resize images to the exact pixel width and height required for the page. If your website is responsive, you may have to simply go for the larger desktop image size – but if you have a programmer they may be able to make sure that mobile viewers are served a special, even smaller image.

Remember – Google crawls mobile now!

Once you have reduced the physical size of your image to fit the required space precisely, you can then further shrink the file size by compressing the image. If you are looking for a quick option to compress images, try TinyPNG. It’s a great little online compressor tool that’s completely free.

Other Tech Stuff

There are lots of technical elements to SEO, particularly for ecommerce sites, so we may not manage to cover everything here. But my hope is that we will give you enough to cover some of the really important bits.

1. Load Speed

Google has openly confirmed that load-speed is a ranking factor. It is only a small factor, but it’s still worth investing some time to speed up your site. As a rule of thumb, a slow website is very bad for SEO, but as long as your site speed is comparable to your competitors’, the ranking gains from further speed optimisation become less radical.

On an ecommerce site, load time is very important because users are likely to want to spend time browsing (compared to a blog where they might stay on one page for many minutes).

One area where you need to pay particular attention is the default number of products displayed on a category page. If you display more products, this can be better for SEO. However, if you display too many, it can slow your page down.

2. Image Files

Again, image file size matters! Small files mean quicker loading times, which Google likes. Faster pages are also quicker to browse, which is good for your visitors (and sales).

As a rule, jpeg files are smallest for most types of images, especially photos.

mobile ecommerce product images and thumbnails

A good image editor will give you the option to save an image as a jpg at various different quality levels. Many people opt for a quality level of 75-80% for a good quality to file-size ratio, but I personally prefer around 90% as it protects the image quality while still making the image drastically smaller.

And again, make sure that images are saved at the size they are displayed at. There is no point forcing a user to download a 1000px wide image if it is only displayed at 600px on your site.

3. Thumbnails

It is amazing how many sites serve a full-size image as a thumbnail on category and product list pages. If you have many products in a category this will result in a very large, slow loading page. Create separate, smaller images for product thumbnails… Simple!

4. Caching

When a user visits your site, their browser should cache images, javascript and CSS files to be re-used on every other page on your site. This can drastically improve page speeds.

5. Combine & Condense CSS

The more files a user has to download, the longer it will take, since every file has to be requested separately from the server. For this reason, all of your CSS should be in one file, all your JS in another, etc…

Start by removing any inline styles from your main page templates and place them in your main CSS file instead. This is best practice anyway and will slim your theme files and database content, ensure consistency and improve speed through efficient coding.

There are various browser extensions which will give you this info. A good way to check though is to look at your page source and search for instances of:


6. Minimise Files

HTML, JS and CSS files generally have spaces and line breaks in them to make them easier for humans to read and edit. All those spaces and breaks add bytes though.

There are a number of tools for unifying and compressing your CSS and JS files. If you happen to be using WordPress there are several handy plugins that do the legwork for you.

Other than that, it is helpful to remove any unnecessary elements from your files. CSS files in particular get clogged up with old, out-dated code as sites get modified over time. HTML can also end up bloated with unused theme elements and commented-out code that is no longer needed.

7. Micro-Data: Schema Markup

Micro-data is basically a way of marking up your HTML so that a search engine (or indeed any software that understands micro-data) can understand what a page is about and what the individual pieces of content on the page are. In short, it adds context and structure to your content.

There are different types of competing Micro-Data, but Schema Markup is the one Google & Bing created it, so that’s the one we focus on.

This is a particularly big opportunity for ecommerce sites.

Let’s say you’re selling a snowboard. In your product page, you would include information like the brand, model name, model number, an image of the board, the price and any other relevant data.

By putting appropriate tags around the brand you tell Google:
“the text content within this tag refers to this product’s brand”. In fact, you can mark up things like:

  • price
  • currency
  • product name
  • product model
  • sku
  • brand
  • review rating
  • review text
  • aggregate review rating
  • and many more…

And you would also include a tag around the entire product/page letting Google know that this page is displaying a product (as opposed to a blog post, article, etc). You can also add microdata to highlight your website’s name, your business name and other information about your organisation.

There are two benefits to using Schema. The first is that by giving Google more structured data, you can help it to understand your content and how it is all related. They can, in theory at least, help with indexing and even ranking.

The other, most important reason to use Schema is that certain pieces of information actually get shown in search results, giving your clickthrough rate a massive boost. Have you ever seen prices, in stock/out of stock flags and review stars in search results? That’s Schema at work!

product schema example

Double-check it:
Google has a brilliant tool to double-check these things. It will make sure that its robot is able to read and understand your markup. You can check it out here: Structured Data Markup Tool

Navigation & Crawlability

Architecting your site is a crucial part of SEO. This should start with keyword optimisation and keyword mapping to make sure you actually have enough pages with the right focus to target your ideal list of keywords.

After that, you need to get into the technical details of managing the user experience (UX) around that framework:

1. Main Navigation

Sorting out your site’s main navigation should be relatively straight-forward, but there are right ways and wrong ways to do it.

What you shouldn’t do:

Don’t use your navigation as an opportunity to stuff in keywords. Use navigation text that is useful to your user. The difference between using keywords where appropriate and using them unnecessarily is obvious.

What you should do:

  • Use descriptive link texts
  • Avoid using images for navigation
  • If you must use images, use good, focussed Alt tags
  • Ensure every page is within 4 clicks of the home page

2. Layered Navigation & Sort-Order – a warning!

Things get more complicated with ‘Layered Navigation’. Most ecommerce platforms give you the option to enable filters for your product lists for things like price, size and brand. These are called ‘layered navigation’ because they allow users to navigate your site and find products using additional attribute layers.

These are very valuable for improving user experience. However, each combination of filters creates a new URL which can be bad for SEO if they are indexed in Google because they will usually contain thin or duplicate content. This ‘bloat’ makes your SEO lose focus.

We generally recommend disallowing these layered navigation URLs in your robots.txt file, which tells Google where it shouldn’t look. We then recommend adding a meta robots tag to these pages with a NOINDEX directive:

<meta name="robots" content="NOINDEX,FOLLOW" />

The same is true for sort-order on product lists. Most ecommerce sites allow users to sort the products on a category page by price, name or popularity, for example, in either ascending or descending order. Users can often also change how many products show per page.

Just like layered navigation, these options all create new URLs that should be blocked in robots.txt and noindexed via meta-robots tags.

3. Pagination

If you have lots of products in a category, it will most likely be paginated. Pagination is fine for SEO, but there are a few things you need to remember.

Firstly, the URLs that your ecommerce platform generates for paginated categories may use query parameters, for example

  • etc…

Layered navigation and sort-order URLs also often use query parameters. Make sure that you are not accidentally blocking Google from crawling your category pagination after you block layered navigation and sort-order query parameters.

It’s always good to test a handful of URLs to be certain, using a robots.txt testing tool like the Merkle Robots Validator.

4. Downloads & PDF Files

If your site has downloadable assets, such as how-to guides, product guides or manuals, you need to consider whether these should be indexed in Google for people to find.

If your downloads contain a lot of unique content (and especially if they are likely to be linked to from other websites) then you might want to consider having them indexed, because they may rank for some good long-tail keywords.

You might also consider having them indexed if they would offer value to your customers before purchasing. If a potential buyer finds valuable content from you and that then convinced them to buy something, they are more likely to purchase from you.

There is a strong argument for converting the content of your valuable downloads into real HTML pages and indexing those instead – and simply adding a NOINDEX to the downloadable documents.

You can’t just add a meta robots tag to PDFs though. You have to do that through the .htaccess file, for example using the following code:

<Files ~ “\.pdf$”>
  Header set X-Robots-Tag “noindex, nofollow”

Content Optimisation

Once you have been through your technical SEO and you have implemented your keyword architecture, there will always be the ongoing job of optimising your content:

  • Adding content to thin pages
  • Managing the addition and removal of pages
  • Creating long-form content like articles and guides
  • Refreshing content and keeping it up-to-date

One simple philosophy should guide you through most of this section:

Google wants to deliver the most valuable websites at the top of its results. You need to offer more value than your competitors do.

1. Blogging

If you’re not blogging, you should be. It’s pretty much a pre-requisite these days.

Unfortunately, a badly written or neglected blog can actually hurt your brand, so before you start your blog, set aside the time and resources to actually maintain it.

Think about who your customers are and what they are interested in; and write a blog for them. Don’t just write about your business. Use your blog to give. Create real value and offer it for free, and you’ll earn loyal, paying customers in return.

We are an SEO agency, but this blog isn’t trying to sell you anything is it? Hopefully, this blog post will help a few people. Of course, some of the people it helps might be in need of an SEO agency to help with their ecommerce SEO – and we’ll be front-and-centre, so this blog could very well earn us a few leads!

Go back to your question keyword research, mentioned earlier in this article, and create long-form content that answers the queries your customers are making in Google.

2. Product Pages

An incredibly valuable way to use content marketing is on your product pages. Partly because not many stores do, which creates an opening and an opportunity to rank!

Every study I’ve ever read on the topic has found that:

  • Longer content ranks better than shorter content
  • Longer copy produces better conversion rates
  • Long content generates more long-tail rankings

In other words you’ll rank higher, for more keywords, and convert!

For every product that you sell you should aim to write a long and unique description including as much detail as possible.

Include multiple photos showing different angles.

Include information such as:

  • Condition
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Materials
  • Compatibility
  • Etc…

For certain items, videos, diagrams, FAQs or instructions may also be helpful. Interactive features can be even more engaging.

Exactly how you add content to your products depends a lot on what you are selling, so try to be creative and put in the extra effort to create a better site than your competitors. And go back to the keyword basic earlier in this post when it comes to adding heading tags, image alt tags, etc.

3. Other Pages

The same principals apply to all areas of your site. The tired old ‘list of products’ format is becoming a thing of the past and to be successful you need to be a little more creative.

Show your customers the products that they want to see, answer all of their questions, and try to filter out anything that is not relevant (a sensible category structure goes a long way).

  • Show only the most important product data
  • Use white space to make browsing easier
  • Pick the most relevant thumbnails
  • Include links to helpful content pages
  • If possible show unique description texts

Basically, if your pages are too functional, they will be boring. But don’t go the other way and make them overly creative and difficult to use. Find a sensible balance.

4. Internal Linking

Most people know that backlinks (i.e. links from other websites) pass ‘authority’ and therefore can help a site to rank.

What many people don’t realise is that basically all the same rules apply to internal linking, but with one major exception – you’re not going to get yourself a Google penalty by focussing on keyword-rich link texts and pushing certain pages very hard. (Within reason)

This is so often overlooked. But if you want Google to send traffic to a certain page on your website, you need to show them that you are also sending traffic there yourself!

Make sure you link between pages in your website using descriptive link text. Approach it logically, sending users to the most relevant pages in the site, and the strategy should largely take care of itself.

Link Building & Social

This final step in ecommerce SEO – after technical and on-page optimisation – is off-page SEO.

This is all about 1 thing: Getting your name out.

Your website could be absolutely stellar, but until people know about it you won’t see the rewards of your labour.

I’m going to assume you know that backlinks are good – every link from another relevant, high-quality website that points to your website is a vote of confidence and Google therefore sees them as signals of value.

The question is, how do you get those links proactively?

1. Getting Links

The good news is that if you have built a decent website, getting backlinks should be a lot easier than link building might otherwise be.

Not many people will want to link to boring product pages and category pages; but you have put in the effort to make your category pages a bit different, right?

Try to think of link building as a way to generate traffic and build a brand. Think of it as ‘link earning‘ and do it with the goal of marketing your website rather than thinking about SEO too much.

  • Get your name in front of potential customers
  • Show yourself as an expert in your niche
  • Help people, give value and don’t hard sell
  • Create resources that people will want to link to again and again.

With those principals in mind, try these link building methods

  • Blog commenting
  • Being active in top forums
  • Answer forums
  • Guest posting

Always be sure to check the quality of the sites you promote yourself on and go for relevance as much as possible.

Some of the links you get from these activities may be of relatively low SEO value, but if you follow the principles above they can lead to better links, referral and word-of-mouth traffic and most importantly; customers!

2. Blogger Outreach

So let’s review the criteria we’re looking for:

  • relevant websites
  • marketing opportunities
  • quality content
  • brand promotion and influence

Good bloggers are perfect for this. Reach out to them with personalised emails and an offer they can’t refuse. Give them something or give their readers something and ask that in return they include you in a blog, article or round-up. It could be a product review, a competition you run with them or just a plain, old-school PR story.

Remember, these bloggers get asked for links a lot. Especially the good ones. Be personable, don’t waste their time and think hard about what they will get out of the deal. You’ll have to sell it.

In return, you’ll get people with real influence and a relevant audience talking about you and your products. And they might even share you on social too…

3. Social Media

Social media is a tricky animal; some niches lend themselves better than others, so it is important to consider who your audience is and whether they are likely to be avid social media users.

Whichever platform(s) you pick, being more active on them and earning more engagement will show Google that you are offering value and have something to say. This validates your other SEO work.

For most niches, Twitter is the best opportunity in SEO terms. If you think the traffic potential from social is marginal, then Twitter may be worth pursuing purely for the ranking benefits.

Here are some basic rules of thumb for Twitter:

  • At most 20% of your Tweets should be self-serving
  • The other 80% should be sharing useful tips/ideas
  • Fill in your profile and use a good image/background
  • Find relevant users and follow them
  • Tweet at least twice a day 5+ days a week

The best way to find followers is to use Followerwonk, but you will have to pay to sign up. There are a few other services available which may be cheaper, depending on your budget.

Here’s how to find some people to follow:

  • Find authoritative users in your niche
  • Download all of their followers
  • Filter out inactive users
  • Filter out users with few followers
  • Pick out followers who are in your area

Now simply work your way through that list, follow people and get some follow backs.

At the same time, keep up your Tweeting and try to get re-tweeted and mentioned so that new followers will find you. Engage people rather than just seeing it as an outbound channel.

And finally, link to your Twitter account from your website, from your emails and from any guest posts you have published.

As you build up more of a following your account will get more traction and it can start to snowball. This can bring you traffic as well as better rankings.

4. Reverse Link Engineering

I won’t go into detail about every single method for finding backlink opportunities, but this one is worth mentioning because it really helps to put things into perspective.

In a nutshell, ‘reverse link engineering’ boils down to competitor spying.

You’ll need a level of SEO knowledge to do this effectively because you’ll have to understand various bits of SEO terminology and have an idea of how to read into common SEO metrics. For example:

  • Domain Authority (DA)
  • Domain Rating (DA)
  • URL Rating (UR)
  • Referring Domains (RD)
  • Inlinks
  • Outlinks
  • Spam Score
  • etc

Once you understand these, you can use different tools such as SEMrush, Moz and Ahrefs to find out where your competitors are getting links from.

When you start to analyse a websites link profile, look for common themes. You may find that one competitor is focussing on PR, whereas another is focussing on competitions.

Not only will you find out which methods are earning more high-quality, relevant links, but you may also be able to find specific bloggers and websites to approach for a link yourself.

5. Other Link Building Ideas

Link-building is, essentially, marketing. It’s too big to cover in full detail here. However, hopefully what we’ve covered so far will give a you a starting point.

Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • Sponsoring sports teams with good websites
  • Being interviewed in local, regional, national or industry press
  • Partnering with schools, colleges or universities
  • Working with the local council
  • Joining industry boards or trade groups
  • Contacting likeminded charities

Hopefully that will keep you busy for a while!

User Stuff

All the work that we have put in so far has been focused on making your website awesome and marketing it, to make it rank in Google and attract more organic visits. But the true measure of a good website is how your users react to it.

The next step is to start looking at user-metrics and figuring out which parts of your site are performing and which parts are not.

You will need: Analytics
That’s pretty much it really…

1. Landing Pages

You can use Analytics to scope out which pages are being landed on.

In particular, look for products which are getting a lot of search engine traffic. These are your easiest wins and, of course, relate directly back to your SEO.

The top-performing products or categories are good places to give some extra attention, particularly developing content.

2. Bounce Rates

There is no good or bad bounce rate. It is all relative. But when you compare your product pages or your category pages you can spot which ones have unusually high bounce rates.

A higher bounce rate could indicate:

  • Poor product selection
  • Bad design
  • Low-quality content that doesn’t answer the user’s need
  • Not enough range
  • Poor keyword selection driving low-relevance traffic

3. Conversion Rate Optimisation

We’re coming to the end of this post now, since it’s getting a bit lengthy anyway, so the final thing I am going to leave you with is this:

Test everything!

Conversion rate optimisation, or CRO, is the process of analysing user behaviour against different versions of the same page to see which performs better.

The results can be quite surprising and anything that improves your site is not only good for sales but also for rankings.

Need help? Think we’re missing something?

Let us know if you want to talk about anything in this article. We’d love to hear about what works works for you; and we’d be happy to offer our thoughts on what could work better for you.