SEO: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Online Store for the Search Engines

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The eventual success of your online store will depend on several factors. Probably the single most important factor will be where and how you are indexed in the various search engines. I’ve compiled below a comprehensive list of items that your online store should focus on to obtain the best rankings possible. In my experience, most online stores do not follow all of the rules shown below. Implementing these 10 little SEO techniques on your own online store should give you an advantage over the competition.

Make Sure All of Your Internal Links Point to the Same Domain

By the same domain, I’m referring to whether you want your site to be known as


This is important because the search engines actually treat both urls as different sites. If you allow the search engines to index both versions of your site, you will be effectively diluting your page rankings. Even though Google now has an option in its webmaster tools to select whether to include the www or not, you should do this anyways just to make sure.

Use 301 Redirects Properly

Let’s say you’ve chosen to use You’ll need to add a 301 redirect on all urls that include the www in the URL coming to your site and redirect these requests to your domain. This can be easily done in your .htaccess file if you are using a linux based host running apache. Simply add the code below.

Options +FollowSymLinks

RewriteEngine on

RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^www.yourstore\.com

RewriteRule ^(.*)$$1 [R=permanent,L]

Once again, this is important because you want to consolidate all of your index pages all to the same domain in order to achieve the best ranking possible.

All Links to Your Main Page Should Point to

Am I getting repetitive yet? All links to your main page should point to and NOT or etc… for the same reasons as above.

Choose the Right Domain Name

This might seem obvious to some people yet I still see stores with domain names that absolutely have nothing to do with what they are selling. If you are going to sell socks, register a domain that has “socks” in the name. Don’t come up with a cute name just for the sake of being clever. Clever names don’t cut it for search engines. Be clear and concise and the search engines will find you.

Make Sure All Pages Have Unique Titles and Meta Descriptions

This is perhaps the most important concept of SEO since the Title tag and the meta descriptions are easily the most important tags on your entire page. Be absolutely sure to include a title that uniquely describes the page or product that you are on. Also make sure that you write the “description” meta tag to accurately summarize the page.

Let’s say you’re on a page that sells Pampers diapers (my kid just pooped so that was on my mind). This might be what your sites tags would look like

<title>Pampers Diapers </title>
<meta name=”description” content=”Pampers diapers are the best in class in terms of comfort and poop absorption capability”>
<meta name=”keywords” content=”pampers, poop, pee, number 2, number 1″>

Try and Use Keywords in Your Individual Product URLs

In general, search engines do not index dynamic pages very well. Back to the diapers example, try not to have your urls look like this one

Instead have your URLs read like

If you need help on how to do this, google mod rewrite in your .htaccess file for more information.

Write Good Original Content For Your Products

This might seem like a no brainer, yet I’ve seen many stores write very short product descriptions and instead rely on a photo to describe their product. To the search engines, a picture is not worth a thousand words. Only a thousand words is worth a thousand words. Make sure you write good “human” readable descriptions and your products should get indexed just fine.

Use a Sitemap

Why not just tell the search engines where all of your relevant pages are? Sitemaps do just this and pretty much spell out which pages a search engine should worry about on your site. This is essential. Most search engines such as Google and Yahoo have a way for you to submit your sitemap directly. Make sure you take advantage of this feature!

Get as Many InLinks as You Can

A good way to get a lot of inlinks is to sign up for directories such as the yahoo directory or the dmoz directory. There are also tools available that can automatically submit your store to a bunch of different directories. In general, I don’t spend a lot of energy doing this. I absolutely believe in the philosophy that if you add value to the community through your store that you’ll receive links to your website automatically. In the old days, people used to use reciprocal links as a way to increase the number links going to their site. Today, the search engines weigh mutual linking much less than before. In other words, I think its a waste of time.

Did I Leave Anything Out?

I probably did, but I’ve tried to outline the main concepts above. As you can see, its not overly complicated and well worth your time. If anyone has any questions regarding SEO, feel free to ask.

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32 thoughts on “SEO: 10 Ways to Optimize Your Online Store for the Search Engines”

  1. Gallant says:

    This is really helpful so thanks for this article and the great website. But can you explain to me how I add the 301 redirect code to my website if I have an Apache server? Is there a specific file I need to edit? Sorry as I am a newbie. :)

  2. Pingback: Personal Plug
  3. Articles also play some part in internet marketing. As articles are read by visitors there are more chances for visitors coming to the sites. Articles should be relevant to the theme of the site

  4. Social marketing has an increasing importance in getting better results in a competitive search. Therefore a website must engage in social media.

  5. I’m trying to figure out why Google is not indexing my site. And Yahoo is only indexing one page. My pages have unique title tags, keywords, and meta descriptions. There are keywords in products URLs, and I use a sitemap. One thing I know is that I have very few links from other sites. Could this be the problem? How do I change that?

  6. anemotion says: is a very good place to learn all about website optimization.
    I am currently using Adam’s useful information to build and optimize my site.
    Believe me, it is easier than one might think.

  7. “I absolutely believe in the philosophy that if you add value to the community through your store that you’ll receive links to your website automatically.”

    I can’t speak for your business since it’s your business – but in your “get as many links as you can” section (practically the key to SEO in general), you didn’t give the reader any ideas, really.

    You mentioned directories (two), but essentially didn’t deliver on the sub-header…

    I also see this was written a while back – so what do you do now to get traffic? Either you gain link popularity (the key question here), or you promote in some other fashion. My question is – how do you personally promote your webstore(s)?

    And for the record, I’m a happy affiliate marketer with no webstore (or plan for one). I was just curious because you wrote an article on SEO and left out the soul of the matter. Yet you must be promoting your webstore(s) somehow.

  8. It’s always nice to revisit the basics and make sure your ongoing marketing energy is not wasted due to simple mistakes.

  9. Thanks a lot for the 301 Redirect explanation.

  10. usefull tips have been given and i have applied to our online microstall web store. Thanks

  11. Goo back links generate lot of traffic to your site..

  12. Thanks for advices!I think great content drives to high ranking,but also high authority back links do!

  13. Absolutely great ideas that I am about to work on now. Thank you so much for sharing such valuable information. Even though my website designers have done an excellent job, they may not be fully knowledgeable about SEO.

  14. meta keyword and meta description should be diferrent to all product ? i have web store with niche home stuff , there is a lot of product that have keyword suggestion , and i use different meta key & desc

  15. thanks a lot. I built an online store, but i didn’t know how to optimize it :v.

  16. Really nice and helpful article , thanks you for sharing your information sir.
    This is very nice and very informative. It is very useful for beginners. Keep on sharing more and latest techniques.

  17. Awesome tips! These are really helpful specially for beginners who needs SEO guide for their website. It is very rare to see valuable content.Thank you, I highly appreciate it.

  18. Thanks for sharing this list. Informative and easy to understand. I’ll be using this in my current and future SEO campaigns. Thanks!


  19. Insightful article. I also love the choice of words you used as these made this article of yours easy to understand even to those who aren’t really knowledgeable about the technicalities of search engines/SEO. Those tips you have provided above, when followed, could really land you a spot on the top of the Google page results! This is the reason why search engines and SEO are important for internet marketers. Thanks for sharing this article!

  20. Search Engine changed a lot in today’s era as they becomes an answering portal to the visitors search queries! Once a time, when we typed a keyword we will get massive results on those keyword.
    But as of now, people changed and they asking questions in the search engines. So, for that probably writing post based on Keyword Phrase is better than else. Also we can have more space to stand out from Keyword stuffing

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