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Thursday, September 07, 2017 2:36:13 AM

by Jayson DeMers

If you have an online store or a website with purchasing opportunities for your visitors, you probably have a host of different product pages at your disposal. These product pages are some of your greatest opportunities to turn site visitors into paying customers, and they're perfect fodder for search engine optimization--if you know what you're doing.

Why Product Pages Are So Important

So what is it about product pages that make them so crucial for a search optimization and conversion optimization strategy?

  • Online real estate. Unless you have only one specialty item, it's likely that you have multiple product pages to work with. Each new product page is another piece of online real estate for Google to index, which represents more ranking opportunities. Note that more pages isn't necessarily better for SEO--you still need to pay attention to quality--but more pages do give you more flexibility and more possibilities.
  • Customer intent. Product pages are also unique for offering a specific item, which your target search users will be looking for.
  • Persuasive opportunities. Finally, once a user lands on one of your product pages, you'll have the perfect opportunity to persuade them to convert; you've presented them with a product they're looking for, so all you have to do is close the deal with the right persuasive language and images.

Optimization Strategies

So how can you make sure these online marketing powerhouses serve you to the best of their potential? These are the tactics you should be using on every product page:

  1. Pick the right title and meta description. Your titles and meta descriptions are two of the most important features of any page of your site--and are usually the first things you optimize when setting up a new page. However, for product pages, these features require a bit of extra consideration. Not only are these pieces of meta data important to help Google understand what your page is about, they're also the first things your prospective customers are going to read when searching for your product. Accordingly, they have to be highly accurate and convincing at the same time.
  2. Include significant descriptive text. Next, you'll need significant descriptive text on the page to describe what the product is, what it does, how it can be used, and who's most likely to buy it. This should be a minimum of 300 words, and probably closer to 600 or more. This text is important because it's going to naturally address many questions your searchers might have about this product, helping you optimize for long-tail keywords; once they're on the page, it can be used as a persuasive tool to get them closer to a purchase.
  3. Include multiple images (and optimize them). You should also include multiple images of the product you're selling, from multiple angles to use in multiple ways. This is going to add to the perceived value and persuasiveness of your page overall, and will also help you ensure visibility in Google Image search--just make sure you've got all your images in the right format, with accurate titles, descriptions, and alt text.
  4. List related products in a sub-section. Next, include some related products on each product page. This will help keep users interested in your site, but will also optimize your product for related product searchers. For example, if you're selling a mobile hotspot, you could list other mobile hotspots and accessories that your customers might consider.
  5. Include alternative descriptions of the product. Think up different descriptions for your product, and include them in the body of your product page. These could include descriptions for different target audiences, descriptions for alternative uses, or colloquial descriptions that someone who is unfamiliar with the product might use to describe it. This will widen your potential audience.
  6. Include customer reviews and ratings. Ratings and reviews are essential if you're trying to convince users to buy--and good ratings and reviews might even boost your search engine visibility. Give users the ability to write reviews of their own, and display your average rating--even if it's not perfect, it's going to help your cause.
  7. Make it easy to buy. If you want your customers to buy your product, you have to make it easy for them to do so. Is there a gigantic button next to the product picture that says "BUY?" Do you have a one-click checkout feature? Is it possible to create a new account in just a few seconds, with limited input from the user? These are all vital if you want to boost your conversion rate; otherwise, all that new SEO traffic might just bounce back to the SERPs.
With these strategies applied to each of your product pages, you should have no trouble getting them to rise through the rankings, and eventually attract the kind of traffic you need--potential buying customers. Experiment with different angles and tactics until you nail down a strategy that works.

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Thursday, July 20, 2017 6:51:36 AM

by Jayson DeMers

Most search optimizers end up getting tunnel vision--understandably. Google still gets the vast majority of all search queries, so most optimizers focus exclusively on Google rankings, and if most of your customers are in the United States, you're also likely focusing on domestic results.

But have you ever thought about spending effort optimizing your website for another country?

Advantages of International SEO

The idea is simple: get your business listed in search engines beyond the ones in your home country. For example, you might optimize your site to show up in searches in Singapore, in addition to the United States. Why would you want to do this?

  • Broaden your demographics. If your product or service has a broad appeal, optimizing for search engines in other countries could instantly make it visible and available to thousands, or even millions of new people.
  • Leverage inexpensive opportunities. Prices in other countries--especially developing countries--are much lower than in the United States. Google AdWords ads in the United States have increased in price steadily over time; they're still not expensive, by most definitions, but prices for marketing efforts in other countries could be substantially lower.
  • Focus on a new target audience. You may also want to target another country as a way to target an entirely new demographic. Rather than simply casting a wider net, as you would if you were only interested in expanding your existing audience, you'll be creating entirely new products, services, and/or marketing materials for a new market segment.
Strategies to Make Your Site Internationally Friendly

As you might imagine, you won't have to radically overhaul your SEO strategy to rank high in other countries' search engines. As usual, your main points of development will include things like technical optimization, ongoing content creation, and backlink building.
 
Beyond that, you can optimize for other countries using the following strategies:

  • Revise your URL structures. First, you'll need to update the URL structures of your website. If you're going to have a United States version and various international versions (as you should), there are a few options available to you. You could host each version of your site on a different domain, or use a different domain extension (like .us) to distinguish between your versions. You could also use different subdomains (like us.examplesite.com) or offer different national versions as subdirectories, which come at the end of the URL. Going even further, you could use a generic top-level domain (gTLD) with extra language parameters to specify which language is displayed.
  • Update your language tags. If the country you're optimizing for has a language other than English, make sure to update the language tags of your site to reflect that new language. This will allow search engines to detect what language you're using in what sections of your site, and index your site accordingly.
  • Understand your new population. Remember, much of search engine optimization depends on how you write for the people reading your content, rather than the machines scanning it. When you adopt an international component to your SEO strategy, you'll need to perform some new market and background research to target your content appropriately. The better you know your readers, the more likely you'll be to succeed, so don't just blindly translate work you've already done.
  • Create regular content in the new language or culture. Again, just blindly translating the work you're doing for United States residents isn't going to cut it. If you want to see any measurable long-term results, you'll need to produce an ongoing stream of content that reflects the language and/or culture of your intended readers.
Overall, updating your site to be featured across multiple countries doesn't take a lot of effort. You'll need to maintain a new branch of your site, and potentially produce new or translated content to target your new demographics, but your domain authority and current content will still help you in your pursuit of high rankings.

International SEO isn't for everybody--just the people specifically trying to target international audiences--but it's still worth knowing the tactic exists, and how to pull it off if you need it.

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