eCommerce websites are one of the most difficult sites to optimise for search engines. Partly because of the shopping cart application used to develop a site and partly because store owners do not take the time to take the basic steps required to differentiate their online store from other stores using the same shopping cart platform or selling the same goods.
The simple and easy steps below should help you make your site search engine friendly and hopefully help you increase sales.

1. Choose your shopping cart carefully:
If you are not using a bespoke shopping cart, then put a lot of thoughts into choosing a shopping cart. Ensure the shopping cart software you choose is search engine friendly. This means in addition to your product URLs being clean and without parameter passing, each product or at least product categories should have SEO keyword fields for title tag, meta tag, and keywords. If you have you shopping basket created for you, ask your developer to build SEO keyword fields into it.

2. Products and possibly manufacturers name in URL:
When creating your product category and sub categories, try to arrange it so that product and manufactures name appears in the url, for example:
www.ecommerceshopname.co.uk/uskids/juniorgolfequipment/golfclubs.php .

3. Easy to crawl site navigation:
Ensure your site navigation is created with code search engine crawlers can index. There are some very fancy navigation that makes eCommerce sites look good but cannot be crawled by search engines.

4. Internal site linking:
When linking from one product to another or even one page to another withing your site, use keyword rick anchor text, for example, don’t link to another product like this: thatProduct.php rather like this: golfBalls.php .

5. Do not stuff your homepage title tag:
Most eCommerce site tries to insert keywords of as many of the products they sell as possible, this can be counter productive. You should optimise your homepage title take for two or three of your products. In the body of the page, you can create keyword rich text linking to other pages of your site optimised for that particular product.

6. Optimise your product image:
Simply adding alt tag to images used on your ecommerce site will enhance usability to blind or partially sighted uses and could increase traffic from search engine image search crawlers. You should also give meaningful names to your images, for example call a golf bag image golf bag rather than image 2.

7. Linking from your blog:
If you have a blog as part of your online store, you should link to products you blog about with anchor text that is the product name rather than just saying “more” or “view details” .

8. Create product feeds:
Most modern shopping cart comes with product RSS feeds that enable you to export your products to Google base and other content aggregations such as Haabaa Price.

9. Create RSS feeds for your customers:
Some shopping cart have a product RSS feeds (different from the one in tip number 10) similar to RSS feeds from websites or forums, it enables the customer to monitor latest products as you add them to your site.

10. Create unique product description:
Many online store just copy and paste product description from the manufacturers, its create thousands of duplicate contents. Its important that you reword product description to make yours unique.

You can find more eCommerce optimisation tips, discuss shopping cart, payment gateways and other online store development related potics at UK eCommerce forumsection of UK Webmaster Forum.

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