This is a breakdown of the SEO session Scot Ranney presented at the 2018 Miva Con in March. Included is the SEO handout (bottom).
Let us know if you want us to take a look at your site or Miva Merchant SEO setup.
Here is a RAW version of the SEO talk. I will create an annotated version soon, but for those of you requesting it here it is.
1. SEO Then and Today - Not much has changed.
Proper use of H1
Text at the top of the page
SEO has not changed much and strategies from 1993 that worked for Excite, Alta Vista, Yahoo, and others, are relavent today.
Only real difference is search engines are not fooled as easily by simple tricks.
2. Miva Merchant Built in SEO Tools
Use the built in SEO tab to control SEO meta data.
Keywords: may or may not be useful but doesn’t hurt.
Title: no more than 70 characters, 50 is better.
Description: 154 characters (Google is now 320)
Title Tip: Start titles with the kind of thing it is, instead of “beautiful hand made silver ring”, try, “silver ring hand made”
Descriptions: Link search terms. “Our beautiful silver rings are of the finest quality. Our turquoise jewelry is made by Native American jewelry craftsmen.”
“We sell beautiful rings.” → “We sell beautiful silver and turquoise rings.”
3. Meta Data - The First Line of SEO Defense
Example: http://www.TreasuresOfTheSouthwest.com specializes in Native American crafted jewelry, especially silver and turquoise.
Stock page title: About Us
SEO page title: Native American Jewelry from Treasures of the Southwest
Original product name: Jewelry by John Smith
SEO product name: Native American Silver and Turquoise Jewelry by John Smith.
4. Different Kinds of Meta Data
There is additional meta data you can use to help search engines understand what your site, products, and other information is about.
Social Meta Data: facebook, google, twitter, pinterest, etc...
What social meta data, microdata, and other meta data to use? Snoop around on popular sites to stay up to date.
AMP pages: a special mixture of meta data and HTML.
AMP works: http://www.dynamichomedecor.com
Dynamic Home Decor saw a drastic increase in search result visibility and page hits after they started using AMP pages.
5. Organic SEO
Organic SEO is strong, lasting, easy to do, and deeply satisfying.
Popular search terms are all you need to cultivate great organic SEO. Use these tools to help narrow down what people are really searching for so you can manipulate your content and meta content to help target what's really going on out there. This is a partial list, there are many tools out there. Find what works for you and use it regularly.
Google Webmaster tools
Amazon – enter a keyword and use the suggestions in your SEO (use this for categories too.)
AddThis (and other sharing analytics providers)
Yahoo Buzz Log
Bing Trends and Webmaster Keyword Research
Google AdWords Keyword Tool
6. Content and More Content
There’s only so much SEO you can stuff into a product description, and, there's only so much SEO that you should stuff into a description.
Use blog posts and other tools to add content and internal links (links with titles) to your product pages.
The purpose is to create prose that makes your SEO words and phrases sound natural.
Blog Roll: In the footer or sidebar, somewhere on the home page to help keep content fresh.
Use our blogging module to make it super easy to create blog posts in your store, including simple Blog It! product blog posts.
Tip: Keep content fresh by adding new posts to featured products and products you want sales to pick up on.
7. Dynamic Content
Now we're talking. Dynamic content is content that produces itself. Like rabbits or fruit flies.
Forums are good but not always applicable.
Reviews: Reviews are great sources of dynamic content, just be sure to edit all text reviews and add key word adjectives, such as:
Original text review: “The ring was great!”
SEO edited text review: “The turquoise ring was great!”
No one is going to complain that you added some descriptors to their review.
Top sellers, popular items: Put a list in the footer or sidebar. Now. This changes as your products sell and creates an illusion of dynamic content.
Questions and Answers: FAQs, comments, answers to comment and FAQs. This is more than SEO, it's a customer service time saver. You get the same questions over and over again, right? You see where this is going.
We have two great FAQ modules here. FastFAQs makes it super easy to create product FAQs (and other FAQs.) The other is our FAQ and Documentation Manager which is a full on documentation/FAQ manager, the same that we use here (except for the Scot's Blogger entry which is run by the blogger module.)
8. Home Page Content - You Need More Than Pictures
Use heading hierarchy on your home page. H1 at the top, H2 above the next section, H3 after that.
Text should be dripping with SEO key terms, search terms, key words, and content that is the same as what people are searching for in your niche.
Tip: Search for your key terms and keywords from top competitors sites and then use them on your site. Don't plagiarize- change things up ever so slightly so competitors can't search for their key terms and find them on your site.
Warning: One H1 tag per page. Search engines use the H1 tags to help figure out what’s important on your page.
Miva Merchant: a lot of readythemes have blocks of images on the home page. Be sure to add some H tags between sections to add TEXT CONTENT to your home page. Images do nothing for SEO... well, something as long as you make sure they all have ALT tags (title tags too.)
Say the same thing in many different ways with SEO terms.
Product, page, and category descriptions can help SEO. They can also hurt SEO so be careful!
Number 1 Problem with SEO descriptions: Repeating descriptions, titles, and keywords.
Don’t be lazy!
All products, pages, and categories need unique descriptions.
Do: Relevant key words, unique and quality content for each product.
Don’t: Duplicate content or use manufacturer descriptions.
Non-SEO Description: We sell beautiful shoes.
SEO Description: We sell beautiful leather shoes. Our evening shoes are popular with everyone. Customers come back for our modern style shoes.
The idea of stuffing key search words and terms into your descriptions should be used in all content you put on your site, including blog posts, FAQs, reviews, messages, and everything else.
10. Image SEO
Don't forget about image SEO. Image SEO gives you another universe of visibility in image search results.
Images with SEO optimized ALT tags show up in image search results.
Use an image gallery module that supports ALT and TITLE tags.
Image filenames should reflect product and use key words and terms.
Miva Merchant: Use built in URI management to create good SEO permalinks.
If the link to your product doesn’t contain search terms, change it.
SEO Optimized: turquoise-ring-by-fred-smith.html
Note: Use dashes between permalink words.
Warning: Don’t change links without a 301 redirect or you lose SEO
12. E-Commerce SEO Mistakes
Here is a short list of mistakes that I see store owners making that kill SEO.
1. Keywords based on products rather than consumer search terms.
2. Repeating key words, description, meta tags.
3. Duplicating product description (and category/page descriptions)
4. Do not have product reviews.
5. Non-Optimized URLs
6. Site is sluggish due to too much stuff loading. Try OnCrawl to test.
7. Not enough internal linking and links without “title”.
This is a fairly raw view of the eCommerce SEO presentation but should help answer some questions and give you something to do. Remember, SEO is a habit, something you do every day.
Miva Merchant SEO Checklist Infograph
The infographic below is more than an SEO checklist, it's a reference to SEO habits that are guaranteed to help your site.