This is Part III in our series about setting up your online store to skyrocket above the competition when it comes to SEO. If you want to learn more from epicShops about SEO, read:
So far in the series, we’ve talked about the importance of selecting accurate keywords (specifically long-tail keywords), remembering alt text for images, and always including links back to your site if you ever write a guest post for another blog. We also touched briefly on meta descriptions, but now we’re going to dive deeper into why you need to pay attention to image, product and meta descriptions, and how they work for your online store’s SEO strategy.
First of all, a meta description is a sneak peek into what your website page is all about. When someone uses a search engine and your webpage pops up, the meta description is going to give them a preview of what’s on the page. This is your chance to grab their attention! It’s also the snippet that shows up when your page gets shared via social media, so it’s important that you specify what you want that message to say.
Here’s an example of what a meta description looks like in search engines:
And on social media:
Formatting Your Meta Descriptions
Before we get into where to add your meta descriptions, let’s talk a bit about how they should look. First of all, your description should include your chosen keyword(s). Not only will this boost your SEO rankings, but search engines will bold keywords in the preview, making it more likely for anyone searching for that term to click your link.
Secondly, be aware of your meta description length. Most search engines will show 130-165 characters, so make sure your narrative fits the bill. Rather than manually counting characters, we recommend using an online preview tool such as this one from Content Forest. It can track your characters and let you know when you’ve gone over.
Where to Add Descriptions
The informational pages on your site will likely be the most content-rich, so make sure you let readers know exactly what they’re going to find when they land there. These can include About, Contact Us, or Delivery Info pages. In your meta snippet, try to include the name of your brand alongside your keyword to increase your credibility. For instance, we want people to see “epicShops” and “web development” all in the same meta description, so our name is associated with the topic that browsers are searching for.
Don’t forget, you can also optimize your product pages. Consider what the preview snippet might look like if someone shares your product on social media, and take advantage of the opportunity to include a call to action and make your product enticing.
For example, let’s say a friend shares a Hawaiian shirt on social media that he or she wants to buy. Which meat description of the shirt would make you more likely to buy one, too?
“Cotton/polyester blend, made in China, wholesale and retail available”
“Save now on this classic, button-down Hawaiian shirt from Aloha Outlet, available in dozens of new prints!”
The second example not only includes a likely search term (“Hawaiian shirt”), but also gets the reader excited about looking at all the different design options…you know, if they’re into that kind of thing.
You can also include descriptions for your images. As we went over in Part I of our SEO series, making sure you use search terms in your image descriptions is going to help search engines “see” your images. See this quick video below on where and how you can add product and image descriptions in your BigCommerce store.
Consider your category terms (like men’s hats), and remember that optimizing your category pages with keywords and meta descriptions is another essential step for making sure your store is represented accurately and effectively online. Here are some examples of online store categories that are also likely search terms (in other words, good for getting people to your website):
- Father’s Day Gifts
- Kid’s Furniture
- Summer Dresses
- Birthday Jewelry
- Running Shoes
Since these are often the landing pages that visitors click on to access your website, make sure you give the description and meta description some love. Show browsing buyers and search engines why your category of goods is the best. For example, if someone is searching for Vera Bradley bags (again, both a search term and possible store category), your descriptions could look something like this:
“Let our huge selection of Vera Bradley bags whisk you away to summer style! Shop (store name) for the latest arrivals & designs.”
So what we’re getting at is…
Don’t forget the seemingly small SEO measures like product, category and meta descriptions, because they add up! The more you can align you keywords throughout your online store by using item descriptions, images, content and meta snippets, the more success you’re going to have with both search engines and visitors.
By offering a well-planned sneak peek into exactly what it is you’re offering on your informational pages, product pages and category pages, you’ll achieve higher traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates than your competitors.
The flower market has steadily evolved over the years into a billion-dollar industry. From weddings to birthdays and funerals to graduations, flowers have become one of the most popular celebration staples. Brick-and-mortar florists and budding entrepreneurs are joining the millions of people moving online to diversify stock and reach a wider audience. And it couldn’t be easier, with Epic Flowers’ fast and easy ecommerce solution, tailored specifically for florists to succeed online. Moving online will not immediately ensure success: with a lot of careful planning and focus on PR and good SEO practices, it will enable your store to grow and pick up momentum online. Find out how you can build great public relations and good SEO, using bloggers to boost sales and grow your ecommerce store.
Why are bloggers beneficial for your florist store?
Bloggers hold a lot of influence in the online world. Those that have a large following online can reach a whole bunch of people that may be interested in your products (which means potential sales). Bloggers can be a great marketing and PR tool for your store because they’re advocating a brand that people will trust.
The power of bloggers doesn’t just stop there. They can actually boost your SEO and online presence, doing what they do best – writing. Bloggers can build backlinks to your site and increase your site metrics, like domain authority and trust flow, making your website rank higher on search engine results.
Tip: SEO is very important for any business operating online, so take full advantage of these free SEO tools specifically for florists.
Spreading the word: guest posting
Guest posting is a very powerful tool in your SEO and PR arsenal. If neglected, you’ll be missing out on lots of promotions and power for your site, which could be stunting your store’s online growth.
Approach bloggers that offer guest posts on their site. You will need to flex your creative writing muscles to craft an engaging and exciting post yourself that reflects your brand. Note that they don’t have to be long winded and challenging to write, the best posts are simple and straight to the point. Make sure that you are approaching sites relevant to your niche, and always include a link back to your site.
Build links: sponsored posts
Like guest posting, sponsored posts can be beneficial for your online florist. Posts like this could cost you a little money, and may not be suitable for florists that are just starting out. Using sponsored posts means bloggers are more inclined to write the post for you. You could send them some flowers to review and post pictures of on their site, or simply write about the products yourself. Sponsored posts mean you will be able to write more promotional posts with links back to your site or social profiles, and get your name out there.
For those who want to go down the sponsored post path, it’s a good idea to come up with some terms and conditions to cover your back if anything goes wrong. This free terms and conditions generator will be able to outline your specific intentions and requirements to bloggers to ensure you don’t lose any money. Cover your back.
Advertising: competitions and giveaways
Bloggers are notorious for being the online world’s PR and marketing geniuses, because they tend to build very trustworthy relationships with their audience. You can harness this to grow your online store with minimal effort. Competitions and giveaways are a good way to spark interest in your brand and products — just make sure that you have a steady social following to help improve organic reach. (Here are some tips on how to launch and run a social-friendly online store).
You could get a blogger with a big following to run a giveaway or competition for your flowers. Whoever wins the competition could be sent a free order below $50 (or a price range of your choosing). Be creative when thinking of prizes or competitions for your audience for higher engagement. This is a good way for customers to experience your petaled products and spread the word.
Ultimately, investing in a quality website for your florist store will help maintain good SEO and will allow your store to grow. But doing what you can to boost your store’s SEO and PR is always going to be a positive for your store. Spend time and money on these areas to reap the rewards. What SEO or PR strategy will you use for your florist ecommerce store?
Patrick Foster is an ecommerce coach and freelance writer for his own personal blog, Ecommerce Tips. He loves sharing advice with startups and budding entrepreneurs to make their business a success.
Managing a blog on your website can be a great way to keep your customers and followers up to date on your business’s latest happenings – but they can do a lot more, too.
Blog posts can also function to bring in new visitors, by making your site visible to search engines. In order to attract new traffic, however, you’ll need to do more than create content your readers will enjoy – you’ll also need to optimize blog posts to attract search engines and put your content in front of new readers.
We’ve put together a list of essential tips to get you started on optimizing your blog posts for SEO.
1. Focus on one or two long tail keywords
While best practices in the past encouraged using as many keywords as possible in posts, we know that focusing your content on just a few specific keywords will drive more relevant traffic to your site.
Long tail keywords are just that: specific. Often, they qualify a main keyword with more detailed information, which means people who get to your site via search engines are more likely to be interested in what they see when they get there.
For example, you may be writing a blog post on gifts for Easter. If you choose “gifts” as your keyword, you’ll end up competing with all the other webpages out there that use “gifts” as a keyword. And guess what, there are a lot. If instead you choose “gift baskets for Easter,” your topic becomes more specialized and you’re more likely to show up for those looking for that exact subject.
Think about your specialty, consider why your audience would be interested in it, and then align your long tail keyword with the content in your posts to make sure your blog stands out in search engines.
2. Weave your keyword(s) into your post: align your title, header, URL and meta description
There are several places throughout your post that your keyword(s) should pop up. Certainly, you should use it within the body of your post, but also in a few other places you may not normally consider. You’ll want to make sure your keyword reads exactly the same in all of these:
Let’s use the Easter gift example again. Your long tail keyword is “gift baskets for Easter.” Here’s how the connecting pieces of you blog should look:
Title: Hop To It! Here Are Our Favorite Gift Baskets for Easter
Header (1 or 2): Top 5 Gift Baskets for Easter
Meta Description: Looking for something special to celebrate this Sunday? Come see our selection of fabulous gift baskets for Easter.
See how we made sure the phrase “gift baskets for Easter” was typed in the exact same order every time? This lets search engines know exactly what your blog post is about. Remember, search algorithms aren’t human…they can’t read your post and decide what it’s about. You have to tell them by weaving your keyword into all these essential areas throughout your blog post.
3. Link internally
Whenever possible, link to other pages on your website or blog. This not only tells search engines that your website is full of information relevant to your topic, but will also encourage visitors to stay longer on your website if they can browse related information easily. For instance, if you’re enjoying this post on optimizing SEO, you may also like our post on Incorporating Conversion Rate Optimization with SEO. See what we did there?
4. Make sure your blog page is mobile-friendly
This one may seem obvious, but we can’t stress enough its importance! More than ever, your visitors are browsing blogs and websites from their mobile phones, and your blog must be readable and easy to navigate from screens of all sizes.
Also, search engines are now giving heavy priority to websites that are mobile-friendly. When you search a term in Google, you can count on the top results all being mobile-friendly pages.
5. Use URL structure to identify your post’s location on your website
Make sure visitors know where they are once they get to your blog post by making sure your URLs are organized. For instance, you may write a blog post about your top selling items for spring, but is it obvious if the page is a blog post, or product category page? Notice the differences here:
By making sure your URL has a set structure, you can help visitors and search engines determine that they are in the right place. Think of it as a way of categorizing, for you, your readers and search engines.
6. Use alt text to label your images
It may seem like a small thing, but search engines are also taking into account the names of images in your post. Why? Because they can’t actually see what’s in them! If you took a photo on your phone and added it to your blog post, chances are it looks something like this: “FullSizeRender-6” or “IMG4397.” A search engine has no way to tell what that means. However, if you use alt text to name your photo something like “woman-playing-guitar” it will ultimately help your post rank higher.
By taking a handful of small steps to optimize your blog posts, you’ll propel your content into the search engine spotlight. Make your content work for you by letting search engines know clearly what your topic is (keywords), why you’re an expert (links), and where it can be found (mobile-friendly/responsive).