IN the UK Google holds 92.7% of the search market according to StatsCounter Global Stats. Over half the population of the UK have used the internet to buy goods. A website that ranks high in Google and sells a product online could be worth a lot of money, but only if your customers can find you.
Natural vs paid for
Using PPC (pay per click) adverts can be an easy, if sometimes expensive, way to appear in Google’s results for particular phrases. It is reported that natural results, those that appear down the centre of the results page yield up to three times the click- throughs in comparison with a paid advert.
Froogle, Google’s price comparison service, integrates directly into Google’s natural listings. E-commerce store owners can submit their products to Froogle to be listed in amongst those from competitors. This can work extremely well for new e-commerce sites and means they can be indexed quickly and start producing results. We had excellent success for a small local business within a few days of going live. They were listed second in Google’s shopping results, John Lewis were first and House of Fraser third. They were very happy.
Achieving high natural results in Google is not easy, especially in a competitive market but a few simple factors can help. Getting your products indexed (Froogle), having relevant/unique content and backlinks are the main factors. Google provides several free tools to help you analyse these factors.
Your e-commerce system should be capable of producing a product feed that can be automatically submitted to Froogle on a daily or weekly basis. Your site should be flexible and allow you to customise key SEO components for specific pages. A default strategy for how product and category pages are structured including prioritising manufacturer’s names, product codes, even sku codes reduces workload but the system should be flexible enough to take advantage of unique situations – Father’s Day, bonfire night, or even something in the news. You should be able to create categories of products to serve specific searches and situations giving you the best possible coverage for your products whilst remaining unique and critically ahead of your competitors.
The future of SEO
On Christmas Day 2010 Facebook accounted for 10.5% of all UK traffic, passing Google (9.77%) for the first time. Facebook has already implemented a search engine into their site. Google is here to stay but the way in which we find products and services online in the future will continue to evolve.
Tim Mather is managing director of design, and web development company, Chocolate Grape, based in Alnwick, Northumberland. For more information contact tel: 01665 604819 or 07595 218 004. www.chocolategrape.co.uk