Making Your Online Store Inventory Search Engine Friendly

We don't have to tell you what Google means to online merchants, but here's a quick summary:

  • Google performs 100 billion searches per month, many of which are related to ecommerce topics.
  • It takes Google search bots mere microseconds to decide what product pages they will lay out for searchers.
  • Google crawls 20 billion websites per day in search of the best results for an infinite string of search queries, many of which -- again -- are related to online products.

And although most working parts of Google's algorithm are a mystery to you and me and anyone outside the deepest, darkest basements of the Googleplex, you do have some control over what Google sees when it crawls your store's pages. Even if you're not an SEO expert you can present your site in a more palatable dish for Google's creepy little spiders to digest.

It all starts with a good infrastructure. Below, we've compiled a chore list of housekeeping items that can make your site more appealing to Google and other search engines (ahem, Bing).

Optimizing Your Store's Categories

It is essential that you categorize your products with your customers in mind. Not only does a well-laid-out category structure help your customers navigate your store, it also allows for layers of keywords and product mentions that feed Google spiders.

It is important that your categories walk the line between too general and too detailed. For examples of how best to do this, look at Google's Product Listing taxonomy or browse Amazon's categorization.

Put Those Product Numbers to Work

If your products have UPC codes, by all means, use them! Every product’s has one or more MFGID, MPN, SKU, GTIN, UPC and  product number. Make sure all available codes are listed on product pages. Be thorough. You'd be surprised  how many people search these. And Google prides itself in returning results based on user need, so give the people and its search engine what it wants.

Use the 3dcart-provided "ID/SKU" and "MFG ID" fields, but don't be afraid to use "extra fields" to put in additional product information.

Make the Most of Your Product Descriptions

These should always be written a by you. Do not reuse content from your manufacturer’s or distributors. To get your content up fast upon opening, use manufacturer’s description but be sure to paraphrase and add as much of your own personal knowledge/research on the product as you can to differentiate it from the many manufacturers who are also using manufacturer descriptions.

Original content is key as Google loves to find uniquely useful pages that are different from the hordes of online content available already. When writing original content, we suggest you write your most popular products’ descriptions first, and go from there.

Take Control of Your Meta Tags

If you don't add meta tags, they will be added for you. The product title is assigned as the title tag by the 3dcart system so no page goes without a title, which is an SEO no-no. Meta descriptions -- unless assigned manually -- are skimmed by Google in search results using indexed text found on the page. These should only be temporary solutions. Take control of your title and meta tags and write unique, thoughtful text for each one.

Title tags are key to telling Google what each page is about. And even though meta descriptions carry no SEO weight, they still present searchers with an introduction to your page. Think of your meta descriptions as your store's welcome banner; the sign outside your virtual door. When you show up on search results, your competing for users' attention with 9 other search results as well as paid ads. Write clear, concise and interesting meta tags that appeal to users searching for your products.

Cracking the Google Code

There is no surefire way to beat the odds, but if you stick to these best practices, avoid shady SEO techniques and keep a clean shop, you're on the right track. Like all good things worth achieving, it takes hard work. It also takes patience. Lots of patience. If you give it a shot and find that you could use some help, visit 3dcart's SEM Services. Our marketing experts are here to help you.