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Meet the author:
Jill Olkoski

Jill has a MA in Clinical Psychology, a BS in Computer Science, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

She currently owns Aldebaran Web Design in Edmonds (near Seattle WA) and enjoys educating her clients on topics related to small business website design.

In Jill's previous life, she spent 17 years in the engineering and quality organizations of a Fortune 100 tech company.


Tips for Online Store Search Engine Optimization

November 24th, 2008

As we approach the holiday season, I thought it would be appropriate to give some tips on how to make sure you’re getting the most out of your online store in terms of search engine optimization, including some examples.

Adding an online store to your small business website is a big endeavor – and you want to be sure you’re getting the most out of your online investment. Here are a few tips and examples that will hopefully help you either make a wise online store application purchase, or fully optimize your existing store.

1. Make sure each product page has it’s own unique, specific title tag.

The page title is what’s seen in your browser window at the very top edge. Here’s an example:–treat-and-train.php. This page’s title is “Manner Minders Sale / Treat and Train…” Page titles are important to search engines, and what comes first matters most. Therefore you want an online store to have the product name come first in the page title.

2. Use keywords in the product description.

Search engines can’t see images of your product, so be sure to use many different keywords in your product description to help that product page rank well. In the example above, note how many times “Manners Minder” is used in the product description. Don’t be afraid of being repetitive.

3. Make sure each product page has it’s own unique, specific description tag.

The description tag (like the title tag) is viewable either by looking at the source code of a page, or by looking at a search snippet. In the online store I work with, the description tag is automatically set to be equal to the short text description, but your store may be different.

4. Enable reviews/product comments.

Remember search engines love content that’s relevant to your product. If your online store supports reviews, you may want to enable them to let folks add their own content about particular products.

5. Make sure your online store product pages are crawlable by Google et al.

In the past, some folks would say that dynamically generated pages, like online stores, wouldn’t get crawled and indexed by search engines. In general this is not the case, but it’s always good to double check to make sure the product pages of your online store are getting crawled and indexed. Here’s how to check to see which pages of your website have been indexed.

Many of the general rules of SEO apply to online stores, the tricky part is that online stores are dynamically generated content, and so it is important that your online store lets you manipulate the title tag, the description tag, and that your store’s product pages are easily crawled and indexed. When shopping for an online store, ask your web developer to show you examples of existing stores, and then check to see for yourself whether the stores’ product pages have been indexed.

J. Olkoski
Aldebaran Web Design, Seattle
Jill Olkoski has a BS in Engineering, a BS in Computer Science and an MA in Clinical Psychology. She delights in using her advanced technical and psychological skills to help small business owners develop cost-effective and successful websites.

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