It’s time to talk search engine optimization (SEO). You’ve probably read countless articles stressing the importance of making your website search engine-friendly and explaining why SEO is the key to organic traffic. Well, my friends, it’s all true. When it comes to how to sell online, having your website search engine optimized is a critical component in getting more organic and paid traffic.
Why? In a nutshell, it boils down to people searching for specific things, and then clicking the links that most closely reflect what they have searched for on engines such as Bing and Google. With that in mind, here’s a basic guide for how to sell online using the best SEO practices.
1. Research what your target prospects are searching for.
This is the first — and perhaps most important element — in SEO. Regardless of what you are selling, using the keywords that people would use to find your product or service in your content, titles, image descriptions and metadata is the best way to direct them to your sales page. The more niched down your keywords are, the better.
For example, “purses” is far too broad. But “imported Italian leather purses” may be niched down just enough to reach your target audience. Phrases are often referred to as long-tail keywords — these phrases are typically three to four words in length and more specific to the exact item or items you are selling.
2. Include your target keyword or phrase in your domain/URL.
It might not be possible to score the exact domain that speaks to your ideal audience without paying an arm and a leg, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a URL that at least features your keyword/key phrase. Perhaps you’re selling yellow submarine paper weights. Just because you can’t nab YellowSubmarine.com doesn’t mean you can’t have a URL like www.yourdomain.com/yellowsubmarine.
3. Optimize your metadata.
At its core, your metadata is the data that describes the other data that can be found on your website. For example, the title of a blog post, the date it was created and the author who wrote it, can all be used to find the exact post a prospect is hunting for.
On a website, the common elements used to search for a relevant web page are the slug (the exact address of a specific page on a site), the title (the title you give the page) and the meta description (the 160-character summary that explains what the web page’s content holds). These elements are referred to as metadata.
If you’re using a plugin such as Yoast SEO for WordPress, you can easily edit your metadata to feature these keywords. However, if you’re not using a plugin, you may need to manually create this data.
4. Use relevant headings.
Using target keywords in your heading reiterates to the search engines that relevant data can be found on your website’s page. Therefore, if you’re trying to sell something like a gemstone studded dog collar, it might help to have a heading that reads “Gemstone Studded Dog Collar” to garner more relevant pageviews from individuals seeking to purchase that kind of item.
5. Add a relevant keyword(s) to the ALT Image description tag.
Incorporating one or more relevant images into your web page — and adding target keywords/key phrases in the ALT image description — might yield additional target website visitors. Adding keywords to your image descriptions helps search engines to index and categorize your domains and URLs as a relevant search result when someone searches that keyword or phrase.
6. Fix broken links, and make your website easy to navigate.
If your website features too many links that lead to the dreaded “404 link not found,” or too many pages that take forever and a day to load, both humans and, as a result, search engine robots, will be turned off by your website. Pages that are easy to navigate, and that make it crystal clear what information is on those pages, make search engines significantly happier, and could result in higher traffic for your site.
The bottom line about how to sell online with SEO
Search engine robots have become highly sophisticated in filtering out the garbage and only delivering relevant results to people typing keywords or phrases into search engines. By following these basic guidelines, you should see a significant uptick in organic traffic. By using the best SEO practices, paid traffic will result in higher page views as well.
And since relevant visitors will be finding your website, there is a higher probability that you will see more website visitors convert into paid customers. It doesn’t take much to optimize your website, but those simple changes could make all the difference between a mediocre and a fabulous sales year.
Also published on Medium.