Search engines are one of the sources a merchant usually receives his store's traffic from, thus they are one of the potential sales channel. So it's important to get your products listed on a search engine's search results pages. To make your store indexed by search engines, to improve look of the pages snippets in search results, to make your store pages appear higher in the search results list etc - that is what SEO is about.
The Store's SEO fields
The store forms metadata based on the product name and description. But search engines generally truncate snippets longer than 160 characters. So it is best to keep meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters.
With the SEO fields you can create separate titles and descriptions for your products that will form the metadata that will be seen to the search engines.
You can fill in SEO fields for every product in your control panel on Catalog -> Products -> Product edit page -> SEO tab:
There isn't any pre-written instructions on how to succeed in SEO with any technology. SEO is always an experiment. The major search engines will teach you what content they expect, but they will never say: "Do exactly this and you are #1 in our rankings" - you have to find and refine that knowledge yourself (or find an expert). Tomorrow the thing that are likely to work may change and you then will have to change everything accordingly. However, there are some measures that in most cases lead to better SEO. Here are some of them we'd like to recommend:
Optimize your site content
Make it clear and useful. It is important to keep in mind that the content is what your visitors come to your site for (not keywords, friendly URLs and other 'tricks'). Try to make the content of your site really informative and interesting, so that it will not only attract visitors but keep them coming back. In particular, we'd recommend to pay attention to products titles and descriptions – they will appear in the search results snippets and then will be the first thing your visitors see on your site so it is worth making them clear and informative.
Linking is the key of being rated high by search engines
The more inbound links your site/store get, the higher its positions in the search results. So, try to promote your products and categories on your blog, social network page, public forums, partner sites etc. Of course, search engines algorithms change over time and tomorrow the thing that are likely to work may change – e.g. they may say external links are not a factor anymore. But anyway, such links will always be an additional traffic source.
Know what customers look for
Find out where your visitors come from and what exactly they search before they get to your site. With understanding of what your customers look for, you can further optimize your site content in order to provide both your potential customers and search engines robots with more relevant information, which will more likely be useful for them. Such investigation can be done with the help of Google Analytics – analytics reports will show you which keywords are driving search traffic to your site and to which URLs. Furthermore, with the knowledge of what keywords or search phrases your customers use, you can attract more visitors with setting up a Google AdWords campaign.
Besides search engines, there are many possible traffic sources, which are often proven to be very effective. One of them – social networks – is getting more and more popular nowadays, so we'd highly recommend use it in your business.
Other ways to attract customers and get traffic
Social networks are getting more and more popular nowadays, so we'd highly recommend use them in your business. There is a lot of ways you can get the traffic from social networks. Here is some of them:
a) Socialize and find an audience who cares about what you say and what you sell
Not only will they become your buyers, they will also evangelize your product or services to a friend, family or online social channel for you. Create a Facebook page representing your store (a business page) or a Twitter account and share your thoughts/updates/products/promotions there. With your store, you can share your products in FB and Twitter right from your control panel: How to share my products in Facebook and Twitter
b) Make it easy to buy your products right from the places of social activity
You can install your store on several storefronts simultaneously so, for example, if you think your blog becomes more crowdy place than your product site, just place your store integration codes on the blog and your storefront will appear there. Another great approach is to add your store directly to your business page on Facebook so that your customers will be able to purchase from you right on Facebook. More details: Install your store on Facebook
c) Engage your customers to share your products with their friends and subscribers in social networks attracting more and more customers
The Design-Editor Store supports many social share/like buttons to let your customers share the product they like. You can enable and use them in your store extremely easy: just log in to your control panel and open the “System Settings → Social Tools → Share buttons” page.
d) Make it easy for your customers to discuss your products in social networks
People like talking about things they are going to buy or sharing their thoughts about the things they have recently bought. Make it possible for your customers to post reviews and discuss your products right in your store and on their pages in social networks.
Theme blogs and forums
Take part in theme discussions on the web sites where you can write about your store and products. For example, if you sell baby products, forums for mothers is most likely the place your potential customers can be reached at: help people to find and choose products they want, give a piece of advice and provide a link to your store. Another strategy is writing in the blogs allowing guest-posting: if your think some particular blog's subscribers could be your customers, it would be good idea to share your experience and mention your store in this blog.
People may say nobody likes ads. Still, the fact is ads work. There are many advertising services on the web, which you can use for your business. One of the most popular and reliable is Google Adwords – you may want to use it for your store. This article in our knowledge base will be helpful to set up tracking conversions from your Adwords campaign: Where do I place my Google Adwords tracking code
Sites like Yahoo answers, Quora, Stackoverflow etc. can be a great traffic channel. Answer questions that have to do with the products/services you offer and do not forget to include a link back to your store when it makes sense – people will likely visit your site and probably become your customers.
How long does it take for Google to index my store?
If nothing prevents search engines to index your store, sooner or later, it will be indexed and the store pages will be listed among the search results. However it usually takes from several days to 2-3 weeks for search robots to complete indexation of your site and to "find" all your product pages. If that doesn't happen and you think something is wrong, please follow these recommendations:
1. Please make sure the site and the store page themselves are available for indexation by search engines.
The Google AJAX crawling approach described in this article helps your products and categories to be indexed by search engines. But if the store page itself (or even the whole site ) cannot be indexed for some reason, then your products may not be indexed. There could be many reasons:
- something on your server prevents search robots from indexing your site or some of its parts (e.g. restriction rules 'robots.txt' file or malformed .htaccess)
- search engines don't see your site or store page, for example, in case of absence of external links to it.
2. Try to force indexation of your store.
In general, linking is the main key of being indexed by search engines. In order to force indexation of your store you will need to place a link to your store page (or even to particular product pages) somewhere on your site. Also, having external links to your store somewhere on the web is good for indexation. Moreover, the amount of inbound links to your store and its products is one of the most powerful factors influencing the position of the store pages in search results. Also, they usually recommend creating a sitemap and submit it to the search engines of interest (for example to Webmaster tools for Google).
3. If everything is properly set up, but your store is still not indexed, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will inspect your store.
How can I check which of my products are indexed by Google?
It may happen that your store's pages are not listed among the first 10, 20 or 30 search results when you search by some particular phrase. Thus it may be difficult to check whether your products are indexed at all. In such cases, try to find your products in Google using a more specific search queries like this one:
In the query above, replace 'yoursite.com/store.php' with the actual URL of your store page. Such a search query will limit the results to show your product pages only, so you will know whether your products are indexed by Google or not.