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Search engine optimization or SEO is vital to the success of any online business. Why? Well, without a well optimized website you won’t be able to get free traffic directed to your site from search engines like Google and Bing. When your site is properly optimized, you have a better chance of appearing high up on the list of results that are displayed when people search for keywords that are related to the products that you carry. This guide will tell you the things that you need to know to make sure that your site is well optimized.

What Is SEO?

How did SEO get started? The story begins with Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google. They made an algorithm that could figure out which websites were the most relevant for any term. Search engine optimization or SEO means using techniques that increase the chances of Google’s algorithm placing a priority on your site above others for specific keyword search terms.  SEO involves the following:

– On-Page SEO. On-page SEO refers to the actual text, images and other content on your website. For example, my website uses the words dance clothing frequently, so Google would recognize that fact and show my site when people search for dance clothing. The on-page SEO is the easiest for you as a store owner for you to control.

– Off-Page SEO. Off-page SEO is also sometimes called link building. Google can track how many other websites refer traffic to websites. Ones with more links are thought by Google to be more popular or better quality, giving them a priority over other sites.

On-Page SEO Basics

A successful on-page SEO strategy must include:

– Meta Title and Meta Description. The meta title is the name that appears at the top of a product page, and the meta description is the short blurb that appears in the description below. You want the meta information to appeal to both the search engines and prospective shoppers. The number of characters that appears on the page is limited, so you need to make the descriptions brief. You also need to include at least one keyword.

– H1 Tags. The H1 tag is the header tag that appears at the top of the page. Your H1 tag is the primary title for your content or your product page. The heading lets the user know what will be on the page and tells the search engine what the primary topic is.

– URL Structure. You want your URL to have as many keywords as possible in it, as Google will use the words in the URL address to help determine exactly what the page is about. Linking one page to another can also increase the likelihood of important pages showing up high in the search rankings. The anchor text that you use for links will also help let Google know what different pages are about.

– Product Description. The product description is one of the most important parts of SEO. The description should have as many keywords as possible, but you want the descriptions to read naturally. That’s why it’s important that you don’t over use keywords and choose ones that fit into the text in a way that sounds like real speech.

– Image SEO. Google is constantly being refined and improved, but right now the search engine doesn’t do a very good job at reading images. To help the search engine recognize photos, you can give your images names that include keywords. The image title and alt tag for the images can also help Google recognize pictures.

– Page Speed. Google prioritizes websites that load quickly because they are more convenient and appealing to users. It’s important that you test your website’s load speed and make improvements as needed.

There you have it–all of the basic elements of on-page SEO. To learn about what’s involved in off-page SEO, check out my full video.

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