You’ve entered the ecommerce world or are thinking about joining. Whether you’re on BloomNation or not, if you’re selling anything online there’s one acronym that you’re going to hear over and over: SEO.
According to SEO consulting company Moz, Search Engine Optimization (usually referred to as SEO) is:
“the process of increasing the number of visitors to a Web site by achieving high rank in the search results of a search engine. The higher a Web site ranks in the results of a search, the greater the chance that users will visit the site. It is common practice for Internet users to not click past the first few pages of search results, therefore high rank in SERPs is essential for obtaining traffic for a site. SEO helps to ensure that a site is accessible to a search engine and improves the chances that the site will be indexed and favorably ranked by the search engine.”
In more simple language, SEO refers to the effort to acquire more of the customers who are already searching for businesses and services like yours on search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo!. For example, if you own a dental practice, you want to appear high up on the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for “dentist Washington, DC”. Your place on the SERP is referred to as your rank, and increasing your rank, is the work of SEO.
There are a lot vocabulary terms related to SEO but for now, we’ll just cover the basics using the image below:
- Internet Search Engine: a program that searches the internet for content (webpages, blog articles, videos, etc) related to a search term provided the search engine user.
(Google is the search engine in the example below)
- Keyword/phrase: the words or phrase entered into the search engine.
(dentist Washington dc is the key phrase in the example below)
- Search Engine Results Page (SERP): the page that generates with the most relevant matches of your keyword. Different Search Engines have SERPs with different sections such as the Paid, Organic, and Local sections shown below. SEO only affects the Local and Organic results, not Paid. (This is the page on Google, Bing, etc when you search a phrase like "dentist washinton dc")
Rank: where you fall on the SERP page or section.
(Washington DC Dentistry by Sai N Kham is ranked first in the local results section, but not in the organic section in the example below.)
There are two main components of SEO: on-page and off-page (also called link-building).
On-page SEO is generally referring to anything that appears in the code or content of your site. This is important in determining what you’re ranked for. This is why you often hear “Content is king” when learning about SEO.
BloomNation optimizes for on-page SEO through:
- Website architecture: There are a lot of ways in which the layout of your site impacts the way a search engine indexes, or reads, your site. From minimizing the amount of clicks needed to get your customers to where they want to go, to streamlining navigation, we design each Premium Site using the latest thinking and research.
- Title, H1, H2, and Meta description tags: These relate to the text content embedded in the HTML code of your site. They influence how search engine sites read the content on your site, and display it on a SERP (which dictates how often a customer will click on your link). We make sure all tags are robust, clean, and optimized for success before launching your Premium Site.
- Focusing on local: There is a lot of competition to rank highly on the SERP for “same-day flower delivery”; there is significantly less competition for “same-day flower delivery in Rockville, MD”. Thus, when optimizing tags, PR, and other site content we always emphasize words and phrases that matter to people searching specifically in your area.
- and more!
You can optimize on-page SEO by:
- Filling everything out: Don’t leave any fields blank in your BloomNation Profile, as shop hours and delivery zones zip codes are important content that customers often look for (and are therefore important to search engine algorithms).
- Telling customers about yourself: Be sure to pack as much informative, thoughtful written content into your About the Shop and About the Owner tabs as possible.
- Writing detailed product descriptions and clear product names: While you could spend a whole other lifetime learning and doing keyword research, try to simply keep the customer in mind when you are writing. Think about how you would describe the design in a few simple words or using words that your customers are more likely to use. (i.e. use a title like “Gorgeous Premium Red Roses in a Clear Vase” rather than “Scarlet Dreamscape”) or name products after a neighborhood in your area, as local florist Volanni often does.
- Blog: There’s no better way to establish yourself as an authority, express your brand, or pack your site with meaningful keywords than by blogging. Contact the Bloom Experts at firstname.lastname@example.org to activate the blog feature if you’re a Premium Partner and can commit to keeping it up-dated regularly.
Off-page SEO, or link-building, is all about other people linking back to your site from other places. This is important in determining how highly you’re ranked.SEO strength is based heavily on how a search engine judges your “authority” compared to the other sites that match with the same keywords as you, and authority is determined by the number and caliber of people who link to your site (which is called back-linking).
BloomNation optimizes premiums sites for off-page SEO through:
- PR opportunities: BloomNation and our florist partners are regularly featured in publications such as Good Housekeeping, Time, Inside Weddings, and more. Each article you’re featured in provides new links to your site.
- Contributing articles: BloomNation’s PR team works directly with media outlets such as Huffington Post and Sunset.com to secure placements for short articles written by florists to help further establish them as experts in the field. These articles often feature links to your site more than once as you are also listed as the contributing author.
- Local Citations: Citations are mentions of your business name and address that may or may not include a link. These are most often found on directories and local listing sites such as SuperPages or Yelp. We help you double check the top local listing sites to make sure you’re information is complete and accurate before or just after you launch your site.
You can optimize off-page SEO by:
- Taking advantage of our PR team: Submit articles and ideas often and join the Florist of BloomNation Facebook group to get alerts about new PR opportunities.
- Increasing your social network: One of the best way to increase the number of backlinks to your site is participating actively on social media (with Google+ and Yelp being very important platforms to use). Make sure your BloomNation account is connected to your social media accounts so your customers can help spread the word (and the links).
- Creating local listing profiles: Create a local listing on as many of the sites on this page as possible, and check for accuracy every once in a while using this free tool. If you need help, contact the Bloom Experts at email@example.com who can recommend services such as Moz Local.
SEO can be scary, intimidating, and time consuming, but it’s definitely not impossible if you start with the easy stuff (if you’re already excited to learn more try reading the Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz.