Search engines – and especially the most glorious of them all, Google – are gatekeepers to all online content. Your website is virtually nonexistent if search engines cannot find it. Also, the competition for a spot on the first page of search results is fierce – very few have the patience to browse through all the pages, and a ranking on the second page reaps few rewards.
It is thus advisable to take some time to consider Google when setting up a website, online store or a product catalogue. The inner workings of the search algorithm are a well-guarded secret, but certain fundamentals are pretty easy to take care of on product information pages.
- Google penalizes you right away if product description is missing. Compose descriptive content that describes the product to the customer – and the search engine – as comprehensively as possible. However, avoid excess wordiness.
- Always strive for unique content. Google lowers your ranking instantly if the same text is being recycled on several websites. It is worth your while to fine-tune e.g. the manufacturer’s descriptions a little, even though it might be easier to publish it as is. Here too setting yourself apart from the others is commendable.
Extensive, diverse content
- Diverse content is rewarded: in addition to comprehensive written content, use images, videos, links, attachments…
- If the page has no images ranking goes down. Pay extra attention to image alt texts, so that your page will appear in the image search results as well.
- Offer plain language web addresses (URL addresses). In addition to Google, users too like links that convey directly what the page is about – it’s best to forget automatically created nonsense string addresses.
Offer many routes to your content
- The ranking goes up if the website is referenced from several other websites, because this makes Google perceive your site as more trustworthy.
- Importers, for instance, may boost the online store of the local wholesaler or retailer by linking to these sites directly from their own site. Take into account, though, that the websites need to be trustworthy (see Section ‘Don’t cheat’).
Invest in usability
- Google – like the rest of us – loves pages that load quickly. Fast websites get a considerably higher ranking in the search results.
- There will be a penalty if the mobile users have been neglected and the page does not scale to smaller screens.
- Search engines also try to rate the quality of your site by monitoring how often users return straight back to the search result page after visiting your website. If Google notices that your website responds poorly to the needs of customers, your ranking will decline.
If you get caught cheating, the consequences might be severe: in the worst case you will end up on Google’s black list and your website will not be dropped from the search results entirely. You can earn Google’s disregard by, for instance, doing some of the following:
- Buying external links referring to your website that typically come from notorious spam sites or social media accounts. If you get busted doing this, your site may be completely removed from the search results. Not a recommendable maneuver.
- Flooding your website keywords with countless keywords and excessive repetition. Your ranking will likely end up at the bottom end of the results, even though everything else were AOK.
- Dispersing broken web links that tell Google that your site is not up to date. This most likely will not drop you completely off the search results, but weakens your ranking in comparison to a web page that has working links.
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