When thinking of what content to post for members and visitors to Women in Ecommerce the last week of 2010, I came to the conclusion that we all need to continually drive an audience to our website. Today with more and more websites being created every minute of every day, and the economic climate still recovering from the past 3 years, now more than ever before we need to be strategic in all we do online. That includes how we spend our time, how we disseminate information, how we interact with our clients, customers and prospects and how we deliver on our brand’s promises.

Recently I read an article that covers important aspects of search engine optimization that you may or may not be doing or leaving to others to perform for you. And all too often when we depend on our Webmaster or other advisors to do this work, it gets left undone or pushed back to another day.  These 16 SEO tips will help even the lesser experienced web entrepreneur and internet marketer know what is needed, what you should be doing if doing it yourself or what you should expect your professionals and advisors to be doing to keep your website “top of mind” and getting placement in the search engines to be found.

16 Ecommerce SEO Tips to Keep You Ahead By Debbie A. Everson 

A typical Ecommerce website contains a few hundred pages. An Ecommerce giant like Amazon contains thousands of products and millions of web pages. Optimizing a website like Amazon is not tough; it just requires a strong SEO strategy.

Optimizing an Ecommerce site is slightly different from optimizing a static website. You need to plan and construct your optimization strategy well in advance. This will help save you a lot of time and effort in the future.

Here are 16 Ecommerce SEO Tips to Keep Your Website Ahead in Rankings and Traffic

1. Maintain a Uniform and Clean Website Structure: The home page of your website should reflect the product categories; while all the inner pages should follow a common webpage structure.

2. Use a Unique Title Tag: Every product page should have a unique title. An Ecommerce site can contain any number of web pages. You can ask the programmer to code the title from the page content and product name. This makes your SEO more dynamic.

3. Select an Appropriate Keyword: The keywords must be unique for every webpage. They must reflect the important phrases within the webpage content. For an Ecommerce site, you can ask the programmer to select keywords from the content and product name.

4. Create a Relevant Description Per Web Page: The description of a web page is the snippet which appears in the SERPS. Every visitor reads the snippet and then clicks on the search result. It is very important to include a description relevant to the webpage content. 

5. Include Breadcrumbs for All Inner Pages: A breadcrumb is like a secondary navigation structure. It helps the visitor to navigate back to the main product category page. A breadcrumb also helps in the internal linking of the website. Overall, including a breadcrumb makes the website SEO friendly.

6. Use a Heading Tag: Searchbots assign a lot of importance to the heading tag. The heading tag is SEO friendly and can be used to format the title of the web page content.

7. Avoid Usage of Flash: Avoid using flash on every web page of your Ecommerce website. This will expand the site loading time. If the use of flash is inevitable, include textual content in the flash. Search engines are capable of reading the text in the flash file.

8. Optimize Images: Add the Alt tag to all the images of your website. Search engines cannot read images. The Alt tag is a means of ensuring that the search engines read the alternate text for images.

9. Optimize Anchor Text: Anchor text appears between the anchor opening and closing tag. It is good practice to use keywords as the anchor text.

10. Create an SEO Friendly URL Structure: The default URL structure of a dynamic website contains parameters. Search engines are not capable of understanding these parameters. A good URL structure must contain words separated by hyphens.

11. Generate a XML Sitemap: A XML sitemap contains all the URLs present in the website and makes it easy for searchbots to find and index all web pages. If the number of web pages on a site is large, you can create a number of XML sitemaps and then submit these sitemaps to Google via Webmaster Tools. E.g. sitemap1.xml, sitemap2.xml.

12. Limit the Number of Outbound Links: Always link to a safe and secure website. If you are not sure about the quality of the website you are linking out to, use the no follow attribute.

13. Submit to Search Directories: Forward your website URL to good quality search directories. Most of the search directories take a few weeks to link back to a site. Fill in the details of the submission form carefully, so that the administrator accepts the submission.

14. Submit to Article Directories and Social Bookmarking Sites: Article submission is the quickest way of obtaining high quality backlinks. You need to select the do follow bookmarking sites and submit the URL to them. Growth in traffic is a plus point of submitting to social bookmarking sites.

15. Integrate a Secure Payment Gateway: A secure payment gateway is the heart of an Ecommerce website. Get a trust seal from Verisign, TrustE, etc. Visitors will be more likely to trust your site and to make an online payment.

16. Track User Behavior with a Good Analytics Tool: You can track and analyze visitor behavior with a good analytics tool. You need to select an analytics tool based on your requirements. If your Ecommerce website operates on a large scale, you can opt for a paid analytics tool. Otherwise you can use a variety of free tools to obtain the best results.

It is very easy to rank well and get quality traffic with these tips. The trick is to maintain the balance of the site being SEO and user friendly.

What steps do you take to optimize your Ecommerce website?

About The Author ~ Debbie A. Everson, CEO SearchMar.com, experienced SEO Consultants and Search Engine Optimization Agency to over 2,000 small businesses. Learn about search engine marketing, pay-per-click, social bookmarking, and marketing at our SEO Blog. Follow us on Twitter @searchmar or call 866.885.6263 to speak to a SEO Consultant.