Setting up an ecommerce website is one thing, getting it seen is something else again. There are zillions of websites out there with eye-wateringly large numbers of new sites appearing every month. The key to not getting buried by the noise out there on the web lies in three magic letters, SEO.
What is SEO? You have to be new to running a website to even ask such a question, SEO is that critical to your success. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation. When anyone taps a query into Google or Bing, or any of the lesser search engines out there, great SEO is what causes your web site to be in the first 20 or so answers, rather than in the one million four hundred and fifty-sixth answer position for example.
Nobody scrolls down more than two or three pages in any search. If they don’t find what they are looking for on the first or second page of answers, they rephrase the query and try again.
So how do you increase SEO? First off, as most SEO consultants will tell you, there is no substitute for great content. In today’s world, information is king. So, if you are selling products, by all means write up the product, but when you do, look at the wider context and provide short, interesting answers to the obvious questions.
What are the obvious questions? Start with what is unique or different or better about your particular offering – what needs does it serve? Why should anyone buy anything like this? How does it improve things for them? Why won’t life work without it? Think about how users are going to try to reach a site like yours. What queries are they going to type in to Google or Bing? How does your site answer these queries?
When you’ve got this bit sorted out, then think laterally. What are large numbers of people going to be asking search engines today? A short daily blog that looks to hit a number of key content points, generally news orientated, can bring a whole new dimension of traffic to your site. These users will then be able to see what your site has to offer once there.
Content is a huge topic and a little expert advice from an SEO consultant can help newbies improve their thinking in this area. But where they will really need help is with metadata. What is metadata? If you don’t already know, looking up a definition is not going to take you very much further. Metadata, simply put, is data that describes other data. See what I mean? This leaves you no wiser than before.
A better approach is to realise that search engines are geared to look for keywords on any web page, so web designers build keywords into the design code, stuffing the page with words they hope will excite the search engines and raise your site’s profile with those engines. Implementing these keywords into your website’s written content can complement this. Asking your website designer is a great place to start, as this is an area that you may need a technical expert to sort out for you if you’re a beginner.
Another key trick is to look at what domain name you are using. For Scottish companies interested in leveraging Scotland’s international brand and standing out online, taking a commonly used .com suffix does nothing to distinguish your site. If your content is optimized for a Scottish audience, or if you’re based in Scotland, then a .scot web address is going to be the natural way to go. The .scot domain is becoming more and more popular among Scottish companies from every sector, but that still puts your site in a relatively unique and easily discoverable subset of web addresses, by comparison with the hugely overcrowded .com or .uk.co alternatives! If you already have a website and wish to change domain names, it’s easy enough to do so and this won’t have a negative impact on your SEO either.
Read article: How to make your website stand out
Read article: A direct route to outstanding branding for Scottish SMEs