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June 8, 2010

5 SEO Tips for Retail Websites

An online retail store contains products from various or niche manufacturers. A retail website can sell anything from toys, books, furniture, bags or perfumes. The best example of a retail website is Amazon, which lets you purchase almost anything under the sun. In order to generate leads, you need to drive quality traffic to the website. Search engine optimization is the most commonly used technique to drive traffic to the website. It is also the technique many webmasters are ignorant about. If misused, your website can get banned in the search engines. Five SEO Tips for Retail Websites

  1. Target Niche Keywords. Quality traffic is defined as the visitors who are genuinely interested in the websites content. You can draw quality visitors to the website by targeting niche keywords. Lack of knowledge about seo can be detrimental to this basic step of search engine optimization. Your target should be to analyze keywords from your niche and select the ones which are a perfect blend of competitiveness and popularity. Fiercely competitive keywords take over a year to rank. Thus, you should work on ranking well for several long tail keywords.
  2. Generate SEO Friendly URL’s. A retail website is bound to contain several hundred pages. With addition of various products, this number is going to increase. A Dynamic website is developed using a programming language whose URLs contain session ids. This kind of URL structure is not seo friendly as the searchbots ignore them. Do not use special characters in the website URL except hyphen. Also, keep the URL structure common throughout the website.
  3. Add Fresh Content. Search engines love websites which get updated regularly. Webmasters have a good scope of adding a variety of non repetitive content to the retail websites. Content can be added in the form of product description, comparison with other products and consumer reviews. You need to ensure that the content doesn’t get repeated in the website. Do not stuff the content with keywords. A keyword should be distributed in the content 3-4 times at relevant places. Always write for the visitor and not for the search engines.
  4. Optimize the Images. Image optimization if a part of the on page optimization strategy. A retail website is full of product images which the search engine cannot read. You can use the alt attribute in the image tag and input relevant text. For e.g., if the product image consists of a Harry Potter book, the alt tag can read, Harry Potter- the Sorcerer’s Stone. Instead of reading a blank space, the search engines will encounter the above text. With thousands of images, image optimization is absolutely necessary for a retail website.
  5. Optimize PDF Files. It is common practice on a retail website to offer a product catalogue in the PDF format. If optimized well, a PDF file can rank faster than an html page. An image based PDF file is like an image to the search engines, who don’t read them. In order to rank well in search engines, text based PDF creators are more useful than the Image based PDF creators. You should always fill the document properties of a PDF file, especially the title. Lastly, keep the size of the PDF file to the minimum. This will ensure quick loading of the file.

All the seo techniques applicable to a normal website can be used for a retail website. This includes off page optimization activities like link building and search engine marketing. A well optimized retail website not only increases the ROI but also enhances the user experience.

Debbie A. Everson is the CEO of, experienced SEO Consultants and Search Engine Optimization Agency to over 2,000 small businesses. Read my SEO Blog for hints and tips. Follow me on Twitter @searchmar. Call 1.866.885.6263 to speak to one of our SEO Consultants and receive your free consultation.