On-page SEO: what it is and why it is essential for your online store
Many entrepreneurs and e-commerce professionals are perplexed by all this talk of SEO for online stores, aren’t they? Now we are going to talk about on-page SEO, so things may seem even more perplexing.
However, if you look at the definitions you will see they are from complicated. To begin with, SEO is a set of practices used to ensure that a website and its respective pages organically earn better search engine rankings.
On-page SEO is a variant of SEO that boils down to a series of techniques for tweaking a website’s internal aspects.
Has that made things any clearer for you? Anyway, stay on this page to get a better grasp of on-page SEO concepts, benefits and techniques!
What is on-page SEO?
On-page SEO works on a site’s internal factors such as its page titles, title tags, meta descriptions, images, URLs, contents, keyword distribution, internal links (or breadcrumbs), product descriptions and much more.
These techniques work with the aspects you can fully control by inserting them, altering them or deleting them from your e-commerce.
On-page SEO differs from off-page SEO, which handles a store’s external features. In the on-page variant, you get very little control over results produced, since they will depend on mentions, shares and incoming links from other people, brands and sites.
The main aim of on-page SEO is to boost the chances of Google and other search engines matching your pages to the right searches, meaning those made with the keywords you choose or the words your target audience will be tapping into their browsers.
Since on-page SEO deals with a site’s internal aspects, many of them will be technical. So if you are not sure about something, always ask a specialist.
What are the benefits?
Basically, the reasons for taking a closer look at on-page SEO are the same as those for using SEO. This means your strategy must be well crafted to get your e-commerce more search results and organic conversions.
Being one of Google’s top search results also heightens a store’s credibility.
Ultimately, if your store pops up right away, users will think this means your contents or offerings are relevant to their search.
In addition, once your e-commerce reaches Google’s first page, you will continue to get better results (visits, leads generated, sales) for a certain time.
But you cannot rest on your laurels: being in a good position does not mean that you will still be there some time later. You will have to continue testing and continuously improving – otherwise, you may slide a few places down the ranking and lose sales.
Lastly, SEO tends to cost less than sponsored links, which means lower customer acquisition costs.
All of these points are totally different for sponsored links, which are not only expensive but also mean you will be dependent on them forever. If the day comes when you are no longer paying for ads, your revenues will start dwindling on that very same day.
Lastly, delivering better user experience is yet another benefit of properly aligned on-page SEO. Google and other search engines are hardly likely to reward a website or store if its pages are rated low for user friendliness.
What are the top key on-page SEO techniques
Since there is a very long list of internal factors, let’s focus on just 5 practices for you to boost your store’s on-page SEO. Check them out: Fast loading
Let’s suppose Google wants to show users the best page for them. How does it go about this? We can assume that if a user has reached a store and is navigating there, this is a good pointer, right?
But what if they have to wait forever while the store is opening? The way Google sees things, slow loading strongly suggests that a page is low on relevance. So fast page loading is a decisive factor.
Did you know a survey has shown users tend to wait up to 2 seconds before they can start navigating a page? How long does your store take to load a page on average?
If you do not know the answer, you can use tools such as WebPageTest, PingDom, or Google PageSpeed to get insights on how to improve loading time.
Let’s try to see things from Google’s point of view again. How will they decide page A is more relevant than page B if somebody is searching for “Brastemp refrigerator 110v”?
Would you agree that if a customer has accessed page A and stayed there twice as long as page B and then navigated through dozens of other pages in an online store, they are probably more interested in page A than page B?
So both on-page time and in-store time are key SEO factors. And usability is an important factor that keeps customers engaged while navigating your site.
Optimize your titles
Did you know a page can have two different titles? An internal title and a title tag (or SEO title).
The first is the one a visitor sees on accessing a page and is ready to consume its content. This title’s role is to pique visitor interest and keep them reading.
The second type of title comes up on a page of search engine results. This has to be more of a teaser and shorter (63 characters at most) to avoid being truncated by Google. It should show the page’s keyword as far to the left as possible.
Your meta descriptions should be explanatory
The way a meta description is written does not make Google algorithms rank your page up or down.
However, meta tags are very important because this is where you are freer to persuade visitors to click on your links.
A description should be approximately 155 characters and contain an informative and attractive summary of your page content. In addition, you can include a CTA to tease users
Here is one example of a weak meta description:
“Incredible product to use in your home. Buy it comfortably and securely.”
Here is an example of a good option:
“Over 2,000 items. Discounts up to 10%. Pay comfortably and securely in up to 12 installments – free of interest charges”
The second option will probably drive more clicks and get more users for your online store.
Write friendly URLs
A friendly URL is one that both search engines and humans can figure out easily.
More important points: it should be short, related to the post’s title and content and avoid numbers, spaces or special characters.
So, when you develop a sales page for air conditioners, you don’t want a link like “www.mystore.com/products.php?category=3”. The page will be much better if you do it this way: “www.mystore.com/ air-conditioning -brandX”. Okay?
Optimize your images
Optimized images will enhance your on-page SEO in two ways. One is shortening page loading time – the other is making it easier for search engines to read your images.
The first one has to do with smaller file size. An e-commerce site will usually have lots of images displayed, so having several files of this type sized 500kb, 1mb or over 2mb is not cool. By using image optimization tools, you can shrink images without losing a whole lot of quality through low resolution.
The second way – focusing on image descriptions – is more specific. The point here is that search engines do not read images in the same way as humans do. They need our help in the form of a description tagging our photos to show some meaning.
Therefore, we suggest adding titles to images, perhaps a filename (e.g. air-conditioning-brandX-front.jpg) and describing the content of an image in your alt text tag (using a keyword if possible).
Add internal links
Building a network of internal links is an important means of ensuring stickiness through visitors navigating smoothly and spending more time on page. When related contents are interlinked users get an enriched learning/consuming experience.
This also makes it easier for search engines to show more pages on your site.
Moreover, searchers will realize that your site has lots more interesting contents to offer – which will heighten the relevance of your domain and pages.
Common on-page SEO mistakes and how to avoid them
If you want your on-page SEO to get the right results, you have to avoid certain mistakes. Here are three of the most frequent slip-ups:
Exaggerated use of keywords
Some time ago, very high-density keywords in content did actually help websites get better rankings from search engines.
But Google currently looks for quality content and a site will be penalized if overly frequent keywords get in the way of a natural flow and smooth readability.
Search engines will do a semantic analysis of keywords. So, synonyms and directly related terms should be used.
Make sure your internal and external titles are always the same
Titles may be different if your e-commerce platform content management module (CMS) can handle this type of variation.
The two types of titles often have different layouts, depending largely on limitations such as the number of characters and use of keywords.
Look at it this way: the more content you have, the better your ranking
Anyone who begins to look into SEO will eventually come across some of those searches that spread urban myths through the internet.
One of them is that approximately 2,000 words are the ideal content for a page to earn good search engine ranking.
However, the point here is not the number of words in itself, but rather that more detailed and informative content will usually lure more visitors and search engines alike.
On-page SEO is the first step of an SEO strategy for your e-commerce. Once you have put your house in order and made it more attractive for search engines you will be offering visitors a pleasant experience. So, building authority and trust based on external influences will be easier.