If you run an Ecommerce website, then you know that it's important to make sure that your products show up in the organic search results ahead of your competitors--especially if your competitor is selling the same products. Optimizing your ecommerce web site for the search engines can be tricky at times, so we'll examine what's really required in order for your products to rank better than your competitor's products in the organic search results.
Optimizing an ecommerce site isn't that different than optimizing any other type of web site. In order for a page to rank well in the organic search results, the page needs a few things: a good title tag that includes the keywords you're targeting (typically the product name), good content on the page that includes the appropriate keywords, and links from other web pages to that web page. And in order for the page to remain in the search engines' indexes, the page cannot be a duplicate of any other page on the internet.
An Search Engine Friendly What does it mean when I say that your site is search engine friendly? I'm referring to a web site that can be easily crawled by the search engines without being restricted by cookies, redirects, session IDs, and long URLs with lots of parameters in them. To find out if your site is already search engine friendly, go to Google and perform site:www.yourdomain.com search. If you know you have 100 product pages on your web site and Google is showing all of them, great. But if Google doesn't appear to be indexing all of your product pages then there's a reason--and most of the time there are issues with the site that can be fixed.
If you have a shopping cart on your web site then you're most likely using a shopping cart that can be changed to be more search engine friendly. Many popular carts like OSCommerce, Miva, X-cart, and Monster Commerce, are already search engine friendly or include some plugin or additional features that can make it more search engine friendly. You'll need to figure out which shopping cart you're site is using and see if you're using the latest search engine optimization-related plugins or add-ons.
The URLs of your site should not include variables, parameters, or session IDs. If you have question marks in your URLs and/or if you have page URLs that change every time they're visited, then that needs to change. You should be able to pick out one product page on your site, visit that URL directly, and that page should come up--and it shouldn't change or give an error or "not found" message. Like I mentioned earlier, many of the common shopping carts include plugins or "add-ons" that will make the required changes. If you're not using these plugins or "add-ons" then you might consider installing them or moving to another shopping cart.
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