Top 12 Tips for Properly Optimizing a Sitefinity eCommerce Site for the Search Engines
Sitefinity is a great CMS to build your eCommerce site on, and you can drive customers to your site using these effective SEO tips.
One of the best ways to help the right people find a Sitefinity eCommerce site is by engaging in effective search engine optimization, or SEO. This tried-and-true strategy involves optimizing a website in a way that makes it easier for major search engines like Google to make sense of it, which ensures that it appears in the right search engine results pages, or SERPs. It may sound confusing, but there are a handful of simple things a site owner can do to ensure top-notch SEO.
Some of the best SEO techniques to use to ensure a high ranking in the SERPs include:
1. No Viewstate in Header - Viewstate code is an integral part of any Sitefinity site. However, such code has no place in the header, where it can hinder search engine bots' ability to properly index a website.
2. Effective Meta Data - Meta data, including the meta description and meta keywords, should always be included. For best results, they need to be as detailed and keyword rich as possible. The search engines typically use the meta description to describe a site in the SERPs, and they use the meta keywords to understand what a site is all about.
3. Tags - Certain tags can be used to help point out important information to search engine bots and spiders. Header tags, including H1s and H2s, provide even more details about a site's theme. Similarly, image tags allow search engines to understand what images are about. When done correctly, image tags can help a site's images appear in image search engines, including Google Images. All tags should be loaded with relevant keywords for maximum impact.
4. Image File Names - Image file names are often randomly generated. They should be renamed to help describe the underlying image. This provides another way to include extra keywords within a website without overdoing it. It also increases the odds of the images being picked up by image search engines, which provides yet another way for people to find a site.
5. Internal Links - Search engine spiders rely on internal links to understand the overall structure of a website. Therefore, such links should be used liberally. Dead links should be avoided at all cost. Site owners should occasionally perform dead link tests, which are available online, to ensure that their sites have no dead ends.
6. Menu Structure - Like everything else in an eCommerce site, the menus should be logically organized. A hierarchical structure is ideal, with major categories branching out into more detailed ones. When navigating from a specific menu item to a broader one, a human visitor or search engine bot should form logical connections. This makes it easier for the search engines to deliver relevant results, and it makes it easier for visitors to find what they need.
7. Sitemaps and Robots.txt Files - For optimal SEO, the sitemap file and robots.txt file should be updated regularly. Site owners should check to make sure that these files are readily accessible and not corrupt. Human visitors rarely use sitemaps, but the search engines use them to help categorize websites. The robots.txt file is incredibly useful because it allows website owners to tell the search engines what to focus on and what to ignore.
8. Fast-Loading Images - Nothing can slow down an otherwise well-designed Sitefinity eCommerce site like slowly loading images. The risk of this can be greatly reduced by using highly condensed image files. An even better strategy is to have images delivered from a content delivery network, or CDN. This has the added bonus of allowing a site owner to continually feature new images on their site with minimal effort.
9. Proper Canonicalization - Canonicalization means to logically sort items in a list. It is of crucial importance from an SEO standpoint because it ensures that visitors can navigate a site easily and that search engines can determine what a site has to offer. Navigational cues, including next and previous, should work properly and make sense. The same applies to list views. It's also crucial to avoid duplicate indexing, which can cause a site's ranking to plummet or for a site to be penalized by Google.
10. Show New Content Quickly - Fresh content is an integral part of any effective SEO campaign. Site owners should therefore seek out automated ways to deliver fresh, new content to visitors. The sooner new content appears on an eCommerce site, the sooner the major search engines can index it. The earlier all of this happens, the likelier the content is to be ranked highly on the major search engines.
11. Rich SEO Content - eCommerce website owners should devote plenty of time and effort into creating unique, engaging, keyword rich category and product descriptions which are all rich SEO content sources. One of the biggest missteps an eCommerce site can make is to use generic content that was provided by the manufacturer. Doing this does nothing to enhance an SEO campaign and can even result in penalization.
12. Outbound Links and Backlinks - Outgoing links to relevant, high-authority sites aren't as important as they once were, but the major search engines still take them into account to a certain extent. When it makes sense to do so, websites should include outgoing links to well-regarded, relevant websites. Better still is for such sites to link back to an eCommerce site, but that's a little trickier.
How Clarity Can Help
The best way to ensure optimal SEO is by using the right eCommerce platform. In that regard, you can't beat Clarity eCommerce. It includes automated, built-in SEO capabilities that ensure that your eCommerce site is designed with the major search engines and their algorithms in mind. Many of the steps highlighted above are facilitated by Clarity. Some are automated, including the automatic generation of SEO friendly page titles and URLs. Learn more by visiting our website or by contacting Clarity today.