White Hat Ecommerce SEO in 101 Easy Steps

If Ecommerce SEO was easy then everyone could do it, right?

I am sorry to tell you that there isn’t a list of Ecommerce SEO tricks and secrets that I know of to make your website or online store rank better in Search Engines and if there are then you should stay away from them anyway. Using such tricks also known as “Black Hat SEO” will most likely get you demoted or completely banned from notable search engines like Google. True “White Hat SEO” best practices will allow your website to prosper and stay it the top of the rankings for the long haul. More about Black Hat Vs. White Hat later. Let’s get right to the reason you are reading this article…

My Google Rankings Dropped

You may have noticed that the past year has been especially cruel to eCommerce websites. Your online store may have been at the top of its search results for the last decade or more but since the middle of 2014 your keyword rankings have been steadily declining from top positions to virtually non existent search results pages. This is a very typical scenario for a tremendous number of eCommerce websites across the Internet.

Why Is This Happening To Me?

The main reason for this significant decrease is that Google has changed its search results algorithms and anti-spam algorithms to serve what they consider to be the best search results. Understandably, in order to beat the spammers and black hat SEO’s they must update their algorithms. Just like any change there are intended and unintended consequences. Hence, your drop in Google rankings traffic.

What Has Google Changed?

Google has changed its algorithms by putting more of a focus on social traffic and popular trends. If your website is popular on Facebook, Google Plus, Pinterest and other social websites they will be more likely to rank well in Google search results.

Google has also put a focus on battling web spam by demoting websites that advertise with marketing companies that are considered “spammy” or use “questionable” marketing methods. Google gives preference to websites that regularly update website content, products, social sites, etc.

I Never Used Black Hat, or Did I?

It is possible that your site may have used black hat SEO and questionable marketing practices and you didn’t even know it.

If you have hired an Ecommerce SEO or marketing firm that guaranteed you an increase in search engine results, affiliate marketing commissions, social media likes and/or a significant increase in blog views which seemingly happened magically over a short period of time then this company most likely involved your website in some compromising practices which resulted negatively in search engines. A legitimate SEO company will be very clear and transparent about the methods they are using to optimize your website. There will never be any type of “secret tricks”. If your SEO is not willing to tell you everything they are doing then cancel your service with them.

 

Here are a few questionable methods they use to convert traffic to your website:

  • Hidden Content on Pages
  • Cookies – Loading the user’s browser with affiliate cookies
  • Scraped blog websites that point to your blog or website
  • Scripts and Widgets to automatically like,share or hijack users social media
  • Links to your content from unrelated link farm websites
  • Cloaking links and content

 

But, That is Not Fair!

Nope, it sure isn’t. Nothing is fair about this, but it is a consequence of using black hat SEO and marketing tactics. What’s done is done. The only thing left to do is move forward and make sure to only use white hat SEO and marketing from now on. Cut ties with your previous company and find a new reputable and transparent SEO. Do your research and ask them lots of questions about how they do things. Guaranteed results can be a red flag.

What Can I do now?

The truth is that doing Search Engine Optimization is not easy. Getting your website to the top of the search engine results and keeping them there is a full time job and this position should not be taken lightly. It takes a special person or company to know what they are doing and how to do it without impacting your web results in a negative way.

Hire a professional

If you are like most small to mid-size eCommerce companies then you are probably already wearing more hats than you have time for. You do not have to hire a pro if you have a lot of extra time to focus on SEO but in most cases this will save you a lot of time, money, heartache and possibly divorce. Before hiring a pro you must make sure you are dealing with a person or company that has experience and expertise with “White Hat SEO” and also has experience and expertise with the software platform your specific website or online store is utilizing such as Miva Merchant & WordPress. They should be capable of handing your social media or at least point you in the right direction.

Update your content regularly

Updating your website and social media regularly is the most important thing you can do regarding SEO when managing a website. This should also be the easiest thing for you to do since your know your products and content better than anyone else. You do know your products, service and content better than anyone else,right?

In case I did not make it clear, you should know your products, service and content better than anyone else in your industry. Ultimately Google tries to determine and serve results from the authority of each particular search. Your goal is to become “The Authority” on your product or subject. All of the content on your website and social media sites should prove that. Follow these guidelines:

  • All written content should be original, factual and interesting.
  • Product descriptions should be original, accurate and interesting.
  • NEVER POST STOCK DESCRIPTIONS OR CONTENT EVER!
  • Write original titles and content for each social media outlet.
  • Link social media posts back to the corresponding product or content on your main site.

Code Correctly and/or Fix Your Code

Simply put, if Google can not read your code due incorrect coding then it is going to ignore it or possible demote it in the rankings. There are plenty of website tools, many of them free, that will analyze your web page and highlight coding issues. If you do not understand what you are looking at or how to correct the code without affecting the layout or design of your website then you should consider hiring a professional.