Premmerce is pleased to announce the launch of a series of articles explaining in detail several ways to grow your online stores. This article, about project optimization, is the first in our series. Why do we start from this topic? It’s easy to explain – nowadays, SEO is the most important resource of prospective clients for all online stores. Statistically speaking, 80% of traffic in online stores comes from search engines. Therefore, SEO promotion deserves to be mentioned first.
Below we will consider the main recommendations on SEO optimization, which are necessary to follow to successfully promote your online store. In this article, we will also learn about the requirements that comply with SiteImage, Premmerce and ImageCMS. These requirements will be described in separate units ‘Capabilities’.
1. The main mirror of a website
Find the main mirror of a website (with or without www) and implement 301 redirect from a mirror website to the main one. Many websites have a common problem when the same page is available at the addresses site.com/stranica and www.site.com/stranica/. Search engines regard these as different addresses, resulting in content duplication. The solution to this problem lies in changing 301 redirect from www.site.com/stranica to www.site.com/stranica/. But don’t add ‘/’ at the end of such pages as www.site.com/stranica.html.
The system allows the main mirror of a website to be set up in the settings of an administrative panel (Settings – Global settings – General settings – Redirect).
There is a special redirect module that allows users to move to a new engine. It helps write redirects from an old page to a new one.
2. Placing a file robots.txt
The file robots.txt disallows search engines from indexing the whole site or some of its parts. Foreign search engines usually don’t index websites without this file, so it is very important to have it.
The file robots.txt is located in the root directory of a site. It enables search engines to select a mirror site by means of Host directive and determine the location of sitemap.xtml. However, besides search robots, there are more flexible ways to disallow search engines to index the site. For example, meta-tag <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow"> enables search works to go to the links of content and saves its internal link juice. Accordingly, it is better to reduce robots.txt file size and disallow only those addresses that cannot be closed in other ways.
The system allows you to manage the file robots.txt from an administrative panel: Settings -> Global Settings -> General settings -> Manual settings of /robots.txt.
3. Website indexing restrictions
Search engines should exclude user pages as well as pages that contain duplicate content or carry no contextual meaning. If pages contain content from other sites, it is recommended to determine the canonical URL. For this purpose, replace the URL with the corresponding canonical URL of your domain in the following line <link rel="canonical" href="http://url" /> that is located in the head of a page. The original page should be displayed as a canonical one.
Use meta-tag <meta name="robots" content="noindex, follow"> to hide ‘occasional’ pages from indexing. This meta tag disallows ‘tabu’ pages to be indexed, but at the same time enables search engines to see links on this page. Therefore, it is recommended to hide basket, authorization and registration pages, etc. from indexing. There is no need to index them and, frankly, it is impossible to add canonical URLs to them as well.
Pages with duplicate content or without meaningful content are embedded in appropriate tags within the site. That is why the owner doesn’t need to perform any additional works.
4. External links and counters
External links on the domain may negatively affect promotion. Here is what is happening: the weight doesn’t mass inside the site, so accumulated weight from external links is shared among all links from the page and is successfully distributed to external links instead, except Social Media links, the site of ImageCMS Company, website developers, and specific authority sites. Websites often set up a variety of counters and ratings. It is better not to use such links, but if they are necessary, attach the attribute rel=”nofollow” to them.
All links for Social Media are imbedded in a tag rel=”nofollow”. It is also possible to add this tag to other links while inserting links via widgets.
5. Circular references
Circular references transfer a user to the page of his current location. Truth be told, it is not a good idea to have these pages on the site since they are absolutely useless in promotion. Moreover, they don’t transfer link juice, confusing search engines and users as well.
There are no circular references in breadcrumbs and page titles.
6. Creation of sitemaps
The files Sitemap allow Google to exclude probable page gaps during the site scan. XML-file Sitemap (also called Sitemap), is a list of site pages. T
he file Sitemap enables Google to see all pages on your site, including URL-addresses, that can be detected during a regular scan.
The HTML-map of a site is a directory of all site links that allows a user to find pages more easily.
The site map facilitates indexing of dynamic pages and should include links to all pages that are on the site. If a map is bulk, use Multipage, by means of which each part of a map will contain no more than 100 links to final pages.
There is a valid pre-configured site map in the system that is available by the link sitemap.xml and can be used for search engines. The module Site Map enables you to fine-tune this file creation.
7. Code standard conformity
When source code on the website page does not conform to standards, it causes issues with browser function. Consequently, all site pages should be created in conformity with standards of World Wide Web Consortium.
Critical errors are not detected.
8. Correct formation of ‘get’ queries in marking URL
To estimate the effectiveness of conducted marketing works by means of Google Analytics or other systems, first mark the ads. Sometimes marketers don’t consider the pages with marking URLs that lead to Error 404.
After reating URL with the following ‘get’ queries:
the page is supposed to send code 200 and contain two meta-tags in a unit: <link rel="canonical" href="url of original page"/>, where you can write original page (without marking URL).
The platform has this capability for all pages.
9. Dynamic pages, CNC
Search engines often restrict speed and volume indexing or even don’t index at all due to the difficulties with dynamic pages indexing. The SE identifies dynamic pages through URL. The URL of a static page doesn’t contain parameters and question marks. Moreover, dynamic URLs may cause duplicate content because of parameters order that don’t often identify a page content.
Algorithms of search engines, mentioned above, rank pages containing understandable URLs. Thus, in Russian-speaking countries it is a good idea to apply the right symbol transliteration.
In URL addresses it’s better to use punctuation, but try to avoid underscore (_), replacing it with hyphens (-).
Dynamic pages are present. They appear after using filters and product sorting. CNS is configured correctly. Tag rel="canonical" is created on pages.
Additionally, SEO-Expert module allows you to create a physical page on the basis of any filters where you can write meta-tags and necessary texts.
10. Correct http-titles formation
When a user sends a request to the server, in return he receives a http-title. It contains a requested document code and a date of last editing.
The latest versions of browsers are capable of finding encoding and only 10% of them make mistakes. Conversely, search engine bots don’t find it so easily. If to determine a wrong encoding, a document won’t be displayed in a search.
However, parameters with a date are displayed even with errors. This parameter is important to index a document again after editing. When robots see the changes on a page, they automatically index it one more time, raising the results in a sorted-by-date search.
Also pay attention to response codes of the server. If pages work correctly, they return code 200, and pages with server redirect settings continuously show 301.
The titles on all pages are formed correctly.
11. 404 error page
If a requested page address doesn’t exist, a user will receive error with a code 404. This allows search engines to index the site correctly and remove links to nonexistent pages from the base.
The usability rule needs a competent formatting of the page, where a user goes after an error 404. In this case, a user should be able to go to the Home page or choose pages he is interested in, getting an opportunity to continue working with the site.
Monitoring user behavior after getting an error 404 provides insight as to what they were searching for and the possibility to add that content to the site.
The page ‘error 404’ is formed automatically and complies with all recommendations of usability.
12. Optimization of page loading speed
It is crucial to allow your user to see a page as quickly as possible since most users won’t wait for a long time and will leave the page. Moreover, search engines detect slow pages and downgrade them. Data transmission speed depends on many parameters: a physical distance of a site to the server, load (the number of visitors) and sometimes even time of day.
There should be correct http titles expire in static page elements that enable browsers to cache pages. In order to evaluate the load speed of the page and get a detailed analysis of the site with recommendations on optimization, use PageSpeed Insights, developed by Google.
The platform ImageCMS Shop complies with the latest recommendations of search engines concerning code optimization and speed. Sites pass tests successfully on PageSpeed Insights with 72-82 points and on Pingdom Test with 90-99 points.
13. Analysis of hosting availability
Check your hosting to be sure that it is available continuously. Search engines lower hosting rank if it works with interruptions. Loyalty of users is also significant; therefore, they should always access the site. There are a lot of services that can audit your hosting. For example, uptimerobot.com, Yandex.Metric and tracker.com.
Carefully select your hosting. For example, you can use this one: imagecmshost.com. It will help you forget about availability issues in your online store.
14. Integration with Social Media
Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, vk.com, Google+) play a huge role in a project development. Created accounts and groups in Social Media help companies communicate with a target audience directly and conduct profound analysis of customer demands, which are constantly changing.
Social media buttons effectively connect your site with social networks and significantly accelerate SMM-promotion. These buttons allow users to post a link with a product or a page of a promoting site on their pages in one click. Usually such operations give more traffic.
The system automatically creates sharing buttons on pages with a product. By means of special module in an administrative panel, you can set up a display of these buttons.
15. Title, Description, H1
Title is a meta tag that is important for optimization and website promotion since its data is displayed as a result title in search engines. This meta tag describes page content and plays a huge role in a search ranking.
Title optimization allows you to rank a page as well as raise effectiveness of the page, in other words an indicator CTR (ratio of clicks and orders). Each page of the site should contain a different title.
It is much more difficult with a meta tag Description. It doesn’t greatly influence display in search engines, but if there are words from a query in a search, they will be shown in search results under a title as a short description of the page (snippet). A well-written description significantly increases the chances of going to the page.
Both title and description must be unique and contain from 120 to 150 symbols. It should be a description, seen by a user, when he comes to the page.
Nowadays, meta tag keywords don’t influence much on a site rank that is being promoted. But they should be created and contain 4-10 words of a page description with no more than 200 symbols.
Since titles (H1-H6) influence pagerank, remember to draw them correctly. By means of titles, information looks more structured. H1 is the main title on the page. There can also be a few H2 titles, containing several H3 titles and so on. These titles allow us to get a structured content and understandable for search engines. Users also find texts more easily when each title is stylized individually.
The system helps you create necessary meta-tags and titles to any online store page. A special module allows you to regulate meta tags and titles creation on product pages of different categories, filters, etc., that save your time and resources for a complex SEO-optimization of the store.
The pages in pagination should be a single unit. Write rel="next" or rel="prev" in a tag of each page.
SEO text on a page of pagination should be displayed by the promoting address and shouldn’t be on category pages.
Follow the rules of pagination settings. All pages should be in two clicks. Pagination of several levels can be created if there are a lot of such pages, among which you can select a dozen, and after a page you need.
The system automatically creates correct pagination according to all requirements of search engines.
17. Attributes alt and title for images
If the image wasn’t uploaded, you will see a created attribute alt instead. Title is seen when you move a mouse cursor to the image (only if it is created).
Although alt and title have similar functions (they describe an image), it is recommended to make them unique. These parameters significantly rank the page in search engines.
The system allows you to create attributes alt and title as an image that ranks your page in search engines.
18. Correct creation of titles on the page
Titles in a different order are not the main thing on the page, although it is important to place them in a right way. For example, H1 should be located at the beginning of the page. It looks like a text, inserted in a tag H1 (<h1> </h1>), after which the main description follows. The title H1 should be unique.
Create titles H2, H3, H4, and the others only if there is a lot of text content on the page, but structure a document in a proper way. For example, don’t write titles with more than 5 words. It is recommended to include frequent queries into the titles so your page can be found more easily.
All titles are created in compliance with the requirements of search engines.
Appearance of links on your page should differ from the rest of the text. Links are underlined and differ in colour, as a rule. This allows users to comprehend the page better. In addition to that, each link should contain a title with a description of its way.
All links are complied with the requirements of search engines.
Breadcrumbs are indispensable elements of a well-optimized website. They are recommended by search engines as an additional navigation that helps rank your site. If breadcrumbs are embedded correctly, they make site link easier for reading and page location more understandable (website/section/subsection/a searched page). It is proved that this helps increase CTR indicator.
Place breadcrumbs over the basic page content or under it. They look like this: #a#Homepage#/a# → #a#Section#/a# → #a#Subsection#/a# → Page name. Mark links in micro data Schema.org.
ImageCMS allows you to locate breadcrumbs for additional navigation in compliance with all search engine recommendations.
21. Internal relink.
You need an internal relink to arrange communication on the site and competently distribute link juice from other resources.
Correct creation of internal relink will improve ranking of the page and help a user find needed information more easily.
ImageCMS enables you to create internal relink in a correct way in compliance with the recommendations of all search engines.
22. Using Micro data on the site
It’s recommended to use microdata of Schema.org format when you are organizing the content. This data is not seen by users but is very important for search works. Because of them, bots understand what is on the page and can place data in extended snippets that lead to increasing of CTR index. Apply this marking for the page with contacts and product.
Online store automatically creates micro data for all necessary pages. There is no need for additional works.
23. Using videos on target pages.
Researchers have ascertained that videos, used for target pages, can increase a conversion index up to 80%. Consequently, it is a good idea to use this method as much as possible.
Why to use videos for target pages:
- They enable a user to learn about the product more and keep him on the page longer.
- Videos in which people test and view a product, build more trust in your product.
- More visitors prefer listening and watching over reading.
- You can shoot a video with a product presentation that can be more effective than a text with pictures
- Videos save space on the page, which is important for optimization of target pages.
- You can describe all advantages your customer will get by working with your company.
ImageCMS enables you to use videos for target pages, resulting in increasing your online store conversions.
24. Filling the site with text
Text is obviously the most important element on the site, because it fills the pages and sections. Text should be useful, of high quality, and understandable for users.
Don’t forget about structure as well. Use visual materials to make it more effective. Avoid keywords and texts without meaningful content since they are supposed to be read by users.
The system allows you to add necessary content to categories, product description and static pages. By means of categories, SEO texts are displayed under a product list. It is useful while filling the content.
25. Display on mobile devices
For the last year year, search engines have lowered pagerank for pages that are not optimized for viewing on mobile devices. Since mobile traffic is increasing every month, it would be a horrible mistake not to consider its importance. Be mindful of how your site works on mobile devices and don’t lose a great number of potential clients who prefer to use such devices.
All pages of online stores for are developed to be correct displayed on mobile devices. Apart from this, additional usability tests are conducted to boost conversion on mobile devices. You can be confident that with our help, your online store works properly on stationary and mobile devices.
26. Advanced analytics connection for e-commerce
It is known that Google Analytics boosts the effectiveness of online stores. Nowadays, it is impossible to imagine building promotion strategy or work analysis without compiled data from this service.
Integrate this analytics system into your online store before launching. It will represent traffic of sources and audience, a primary task for all online marketers.
The system has a fully configured automatic transfer of all Google Enhanced E-commerce Analytics parameters. You only need to write your Google ID in the system settings and start exploiting the most sophisticated analytics.
Online store optimization is a long and complicated process that needs additional knowledge or expensive service from specialists. That is why the system your store is created on should be well-prepared for further SEO optimization works. It’s a great advantage when the system complies with recommendation of search engines. Thus, it facilitates a better project ranking and, eventually, raises to a higher position in searches.
The capabilities of ImageCMS comply with the most important promotion recommendations. Because of this, your online store will be promoted more easily, boosting your sales.