For most online business owners, having their site as a top recommendation on search result pages is a healthy indicator that their business is going places. And this should be indeed part of your BC site’s growth strategy: more visitors = notoriety + more sales + a bigger client database.
This month we will talk about SEO and a series of articles, tutorials, webinars will follow, to analyze this topic in depth.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimization” and probably came into use in 1997. It is the process of getting traffic from the organic or natural listings on search engines: Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. not paid or "sponsored" results such as Google AdWords.
Web pages and other content such as videos or local listings are shown and ranked based on what the search engine considers most relevant to users.
At its most basic, SEO means finding ways to increase your BC site's appearance in web visitors' search results.
How does SEO work?
In general, the earlier (or higher ranked on the search results page), and more frequently your BC site appears in the search results list, the more visitors it will receive. Nobody can guarantee that your site will be ranked first but following some simple, best practices will make it easier for search engines to crawl, index and understand your content.
SEO may target different kinds of search, including image search, local search, video search, academic search, news search and industry-specific vertical search engines.
As an Internet marketing strategy, SEO considers how search engines work, what people search for, the actual search terms or keywords typed into search engines and which search engines are preferred by their targeted audience.
Some good strategies to improve your BC site's SEO:
- Edit the site's content regularly and be sure to keep a constant flow of fresh, exclusive and high quality content. Valuable content will generate returning visitors + new visitors.
- Use keywords and improve the structure of your URLs for easier and more intuitive searches.
- Make your site easy to navigate through a clear and easy to navigate menu using the homepage as your starting point.
- Integrate internal links into your site.
- Remove barriers to the indexing activities of search engines.
- Use external channels to promote your site: social media distribution, newsletters, conventional marketing (posters, direct mail etc.)
Other good strategies are using search friendly URLs, metadata descriptions, using effectively the robots.txt and being aware of "nofollow" links.
SEO and BC
Using BC, you will have access to a set of built-in tools to ensure that your site receives a SEO boost:
- BC produces friendly and customizable URLs for your website, blogs, online shop catalogs and products, web apps and more.
- At regular intervals, the system produces your website's site map in the format specified by Google and Yahoo and sitemap.xml and RSS feeds will have SEO friendly URLs resulting in better SEO. These search engines will index your site map and add all the content on your website to their database.
- All of the major search engines are aware of all the content on your BC website: web pages, announcements, FAQs, literature (PDF documents), shopping catalogs and more. And if you want to keep private certain content, you can place it in secure areas so it is automatically excluded from the list of content that is available to the search engines.
- With BC, you will have access to a dedicated user interface and tags to display custom blog post metadata.
And we are constantly improving BC sites’ SEO performance through system releases.
Since we're dedicating January to SEO, stay tuned for a webinar on SEO powered by Katherine Anderson from Sirocco Web Design, a cool showcase example and a few tips and tricks on becoming a SEO master.
The Adobe Business Catalyst Team