Get Your On-Page Optimization Right

August 30, 2012 by Paul Byrne

Design and User Experience

From Byrne: In the online world, as in the offline world, it’s important to build strong bonds and friendships in business. This holds especially true within your own industry. In the digital marketing world, you never know who might have the exclusive, next big thing that can help your clients while furthering your business purposes. And naturally, some businesses are more geared towards one thing or another. That said, finding a good partner to compliment your strengths with their own is a sound business move. It’s been a goal of mine to more deeply connect Razoyo with our other Magento PRO Partners in the community. To that end, today’s blog post is a guest spot by Ben Pethullis, of UK Magento agency, The Distance. Enjoy!

Hi, a guest post here from Ben at The Distance in the UK. We specialize in Magento web design and digital marketing strategies for online retailers. I wanted to share some thoughts on website optimization for those using Magento Go.

A key element of any SEO strategy for a website is getting your on-page optimization right. Obviously, building domain strength and promoting a brand online is great. However, matching up domain strength and on-page optimization will produce better results. If we think of domain strength as one of the metrics which gives the site the ability to rank, it’s the on-page optimization that signals to the search engines what phrases we would ideally like the site to rank for. For this post, we will assume you have already performed keyword research.

I often see sites where the homepage is optimized for a set of target phrases; the title tag and content has been addressed and everything looks great, but then they seem to forget about all the internal pages of the website.

The category and sub-category pages are important pages of any online retail website. Ranking these pages for appropriate phrases can help channel visitors into more relevant (to them) pages of the website.

Some on-page elements to consider optimizing as part of a strategy:

Title Tag – View this part as the chapter title of a book. It’s the first signal you provide to a search engine crawling the page. With that in mind, it should establish what the page is about and what you are optimizing for. Avoid stuffing the title tag with too many keywords. Also, note that targeting should be appropriate to the page content and products.

Content – Search engines use the on-page content to further assess what the page is about and relevant to rank for. Use the content to expand on the phrases you optimized the title tag for; target long-tail variations of these phrases. When writing content, be as natural as possible and avoid stuffing the content with key phrases. After all, the best content for the search engines is written to be of a use to a website visitor! Don’t duplicate other sites because they have great content. They’ll already receive the credit for this content. Rather, produce something unique and relevant to your page and the category of products being offered.

Meta Description – While not a metric that influences a search engine ranking, it often appears as the snippet of text used in the search results. That said, we should pay this page element attention! Optimizing this provides an opportunity to encourage users to click your link over others in the search results. Think of what you can say that makes your site stand out from competitors. Then say it in the Meta description.

When using Magento Go, if you create new categories and sub-categories within the “Manage Categories” section (found under Catalog), you must give the new page a “Name” (a mandatory field when creating a new category).

If you create a category completing only the mandatory fields and set it live, Magento Go will give you a default title tag based on the name given. If you picked an appropriate name, this will give the title tag some level of optimization. Still, we can achieve so much more by creating some bespoke optimization for the category pages.

Within the Category page admin area there is a “Page Title” field. We can use this to add a bespoke title for the page that will override any default tag added by Magento Go if this field is empty.

Content gives the site the ability to rank for long-tail phrases.  The “Description” field in Magento Go provides an area for you to add your unique and optimized content. When adding content, think about whether you can add some internal links to other category and sub-category pages within this text. Doing so will help develop the internal linking structure. Remember to add links that would be of value to a user, though. Also, avoid over-using optimized anchor text to always link back to the homepage with your main key phrase.

Magento Go also provides a field to add a Meta description for the page, so we can use this field to help deliver a strong message for when our optimized page ranks.

One site I am working on this approach with is Eyesore Merch, an online retailer of band merchandise. This site launched late in 2011 with a large range of t-shirts from a number of different bands. We ensured homepage optimization for some of the more generic industry phrases. Nevertheless, we understood the importance of optimizing each band page, too. And we knew we could not rely on Magento Go to deliver on this front if we relied on the default tags generated.

As you can imagine for an eCommerce site with a large catalog structure, this will require time and effort. Rest assured it is a worthy investment in your domain though. On the Eyesore Merch site, we are working across the site (we haven’t completed it yet) but you can set priority categories to focus your efforts. With Eyesore Merch we have compiled a list of key bands to focus on and we have prioritized these pages.

You can see how on we have optimized the title tag element for a selection phrases and also included the website brand. Content unique to this page was written naturally but still includes relevant keywords. Also, within this text, we included some internal links to recommend pages visitors may find interesting if they are a fan of Black Veil Brides.

This strategy helped us ensure that our client’s website has not become too focused on only a small number of industry phrases. Rather, our work also helps drive long-tail traffic to the site. That way, the site can garner traffic related to the huge range of bands and merchandise items that are available.

On-page optimization can be time consuming but taking a bespoke approach rather than relying on any optimization achieved through default field elements can help achieve better results and see your search engine traffic develop – just remember that on-page optimization is one part of an SEO strategy!

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