Ecommerce Website Development Series Part 3: SEO Basics

Click these links to read Part 1 or Part 2 of this series.

Top 5 Factors That Affect the “Searchability” of a Website

Site Architecture

By structuring your site in a very clean and organized manner, search engines are able to crawl the information much more quickly and easily. Therefore, they are able to get a better idea of what your site is about and can rank you more frequently in search results. Every time they crawl your site, they’ll add those pages to their index and pull from the index whenever searches are performed. If your site is messy and hard to follow, search engines could potentially “give up” and decide not to index those pages that are hard to access or understand propecia online canada.

It’s also important that URLs are as clean and simple as possible. A URL like this: www.myclothingwebsite.com/womens/dresses/sweater-dresses is very clean and indicates to the search engine a hierarchy and category descriptions. A URL like this: www.myclothingwebsite.com/en/123466/index.php?id=1234&content=w7r6cc5e is much more complicated and tells the search engines nothing about what’s on the page. They have to continue crawling through the content to have any idea.

Webpage Titles

Meta titles help tell search engines what the page is about without the search engine needing to crawl all the content on the page. Each page of your website should have a unique title specific to that page’s content.

Webpage Size

Pages with large amounts of content might be difficult for search engines to crawl. If a search engine encounters too much difficulty crawling a page, it might give up and move on without knowing what’s on the page. If a search engine can’t figure out what a page is about, it won’t rank. Therefore it’s important that pages are cleanly organized and have clear titles and headings to help clarify what the content is. When possible, it’s helpful to break extremely large pages into smaller, more easily crawled pages.

Sitemaps

A sitemap is a file you can submit to search engines in order to give them a list of all the pages included within your website in an easily digestible way so they can learn more about your site’s content and structure as quickly as possible. By creating a sitemap, you can help to cut down on the time search engines need to learn your site and get more pages indexed. Sitemaps are very important for large websites with a lot of pages to crawl.

Backlinks

Internal and external links leading to your website help its searchability. Being connected to other websites, as well as having strong correlation between all the pages of your own site help search engines to find your webpages. Links also help search engines better understand the content on the page. The anchor text included within links leading to that page can indicate what the page is about as well as indicate associations between different topics and themes.

Top 5 Factors that Affect Page Ranking

Relevancy to Search Query

Search engines want to answer questions for the searcher and give them as close as possible to what they’re looking for. Therefore the content of your site needs to be extremely relevant to the search query in order to rank. If someone searches for winter boots, a product category page for winter boots will rank higher/more frequently than a page of all types of shoes or a page about socks.

Meta Title and Description

Meta data is extremely important because it’s what the user reads before clicking on the result. This is what’s used to tell the user what’s on the page and therefore influences whether or not the page gets clicked on. Higher click-through rates indicate better results so search engines use this factor to determine which results are giving searchers what they want.

Social Signals

Due to higher use of social media and the ability for people to share information so much more easily, this has also become a factor in recent years. Social shares tell search engines that this page has information that people are interested in and want to share with others. It can also indicate timeliness, or in other words that it’s “hot right now.” For example, if an article was released yesterday saying that the latest iPhone explodes if you don’t charge it properly, that would be a hot topic and everyone would be sharing this article so people are informed about the dangers of the phone. Searchers would more likely be interested in this information rather than articles about the new features or sleek design, therefore you’ll see it ranking because it’s recent news and a hot topic.

Backlinks

When you have hundreds of pages that are all very similar and relevant to a search query, search engines need a way to determine which should rank highest and which pages the user will like best. In order to do this, they use backlinks to determine authority and trustworthiness. The more frequently other websites link to this page, the more likely the information is accurate, interesting, trustworthy and useful. This page would rank higher than one with no backlinks, all other things being equal.

Site Functionality & User Experience Signals

Search engines want to give users results that will not only give them answers but also give them a good experience. Sites that have a long load time typically have higher bounce rates because the user doesn’t want to wait very long. A more recent problem for user experience is on mobile searches. If websites are not optimized for mobile screens, it could be hard to read the content, difficult to scroll, difficult to see images, etc. Therefore, the search engine won’t want to display that result because people are frequently bouncing and didn’t have a good experience.

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