My online store is finally up and running, now what about SEO?
In a perfect world, you’d already have incorporated extensive SEO into your online store while you were setting it up. (You’d also have learnt karate, CPR and cryptography, and you’d have designed a better Internet while simultaneously ending poverty and discrimination.)
Let’s be real, though. Doing business is a complex affair, and if you waited until you were completely ready, you’d never get started. So cheers to you for getting underway.
The quest for better SEO begins with a deceptively simple idea: SEO is about “pleasing” Search Engines.
What do you do with that knowledge?
The two things you can do to improve your SEO immediately without technical know-how: Improve the clarity and navigation of your site.
1. THE CLARITY CHECK
You want your visitors to know immediately what your site is about. Attention is an incredibly precious commodity on the Internet – there are distractions tugging at you from everywhere. (Other tabs, IMs, social media, you name it.)
We easily forget this when we’re looking at our own sites, but we’re typically merciless with not-too-clear sites when we come across such examples.
When people access your website for the first time, the first thing they would like to know is exactly what your website is about. Make it difficult for them to do so, and you’ll lose them as a customer.
I came across this blog post which describes a quick but effective test that you can carry out, the 3-second page content check.
The check: Load a random page on your website and ask someone not familiar with it to tell you what that page is about after a 3-second look.
To make things real, I applied this test to several Shopify shops and here are the results.
When I hit this website I was immediately struck by the graphic in the middle and the interesting smaller images below. While the images were eye-catching, I couldn’t see how an old school television set, dogs and the big brown object fit together. Looking around more, I got that it was selling dog snacks or toys but then my three seconds were up.
Results – Love the branding! But it could do with more descriptive text and titles on their home page products.
Entering this site is like walking into a furniture store, which is exactly what it was.
The five thumbnails showing the different areas of the store (Shop – Dining, Living.. etc.) were also very helpful to me to get a sense of what they sold.
Beat the 3 seconds flat. Results – Great job with clarity!
Open Door Vintage
This site was straightforward and to the point. I quickly got that the site was selling vintage dresses for women from the many images of dresses on the front page. The clarity was good but it was only after multiple visits that I realized they also sold items for men!
Results – Site is almost there! It just needs to do more to make its product offerings apparent .
2. NAVIGATION CHECK
A well-structured, intuitive site makes it easy for a person to explore your site.
A good navigation bar will not only make the site more accessible, it will also help a person to determine what the site is about.
To see what I mean, compare the two navigation bars below:
Max & Mia Organics
I can roughly tell what Max & Mia Organics is about just from the navigation bar.
They also have drop down boxes from the menu to display their product’s sub-categories. The navigation menu shows their entire product line with a hierarchy included, to allow for easy browsing.
Open Door Vintage
Open Door Vintage Navigation Bar
Contrast that with the Open Door Vintage navigation menu.
I love the clarity of purpose that Open Door Vintage displays in its home page, but its navigation menu could do more to highlight its product range.
Remember the previous check in which we didn’t know at first glance that they offered men’s clothes too? They can go a long way to fix this by tweaking the menu to show their product range the way that Max & Mia did.
ONCE YOU ARE DONE…
Besides helping with SEO, these two steps will also help to improve the sales conversion rate of your online store.
Your site should now be ready for more technical SEO challenges!