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Instructions for a successful online shop

Whoever looks for products on the Internet today, is showered with offers. It is therefore important for online shop operators to stand out from the masses. As well as a good product range, the most important way of achieving this is search engine optimisation, as well as excellent usability. The home page is the flagship for the shop, so make sure to optimise it with the most important search terms, and to place relevant keywords in the running text. The home page in effect replaces a traditional shop window, so any online shopper who lands on the page needs to immediately become aware of what the store is offering. Zalando’s website is a great example for a professional looking homepage, and with one click on the famous fashion shop, a wide product range is presented directly to the user.

To ensure the success of its shops, it also needs to pay attention to the section pages on the website. By means of the so-called top-down approach, the upper categories are aimed at the most important common search terms, while the further down you go, the more specialised the categories become. The text on the category pages should also be optimised with keywords and be both introductory and informative.

In addition, the product pages should be logically put together as they are especially suitable for generating good rankings for specific search terms. Preferably, these should not already be covered by the category pages and it should be ensured that the product description is integrated into the search term as well as the product name. For this purpose, it is important to find out what search phrases are commonly used by the target group. In addition, it is important to give a comprehensive description of the product. The online shop Otto offers a fine example of logical, well thought out product pages.

In addition to attractive and appropriate content, then making your website search engine friendly is essential for your online store. This is so interested customers can find the shop when carrying out a Google search. In terms of SEO optimisation, tit is important to deal properly with frames, dynamic URLs and session IDs, so that each user receives an identifier in the URL. Google Webmaster Tools and the setting of canonical tags help with this by preventing Googlebot indexing a large number of identical pages. In this way, the shop owner can prevent the creation of duplicate content.

The all-important ranking criteria of back links is also one of the factors for a successful online shop. In this, it is not only the number of links, but also their origin that will be evaluated. They should thematically fit with the product range. I sell ballet items in my online shop, and so therefore links from ballet schools are ideal for me. At best, the link donor pages contain terms to which the online shop is linked. The ideal situation is that the linking site has many relevant back links.

Nowadays, it is important that online shop operators satisfy their customers by providing relevant product information across all channels, because customers rarely stick exclusively to one channel. Social media in particular offers the perfect opportunity for the expansion of service channels for entrepreneurs. However, Facebook & Co. is used far more for marketing measures. It is essential to optimise its channels as best as possible and to target the individual needs and wishes of its customers, for a typical online shopper does not exist. The customer is still essential when it comes to conversion optimisation.

Test reports are made available to provide them with sufficient product information. In addition, test reports can provide a great link to appropriate categories and products. The result is improved internal links so that the customer is redirected to the relevant product pages.

The more important information the user receives, the more likely it is that an interested customer will make a purchase. A customer forum integrated in the shop provides the perfect platform for meaningful additional information. This is where the user can access descriptions of products and develop their own content that automatically contains relevant keywords. In addition, internal links are improved by the links contained in the forum posts pointing to the shop’s products. Furthermore, the customer should be involved when writing customer reviews. To this end, they may be contacted upon receiving the goods and prompted to evaluate the product. This is where the use of incentives, such as a discount coupon for their next purchase, can be very valuable.

Our personal SEO expert advice for retailers is to make sure the website for the online shop is optimised for mobile devices as from this year onwards, the mobile experience is regarded as an important ranking factor for Google. Cheap mobile phone tariffs and a fast internet connection mean smartphone owners have unlimited opportunities to surf the web. The result is the ever-growing acquisition of information and purchased completed using a mobile device.  To increase the revenue of smartphones etc., shop operators need to optimise their mobile sites and pay attention, among other things, to short load times, user-friendly structured content and an easy ordering and checkout process. Responsive web design is a way of optimising the website, which is recommended by Google. With this option, the design automatically adjusts to the mobile device. If you haven’t yet optimised your site for mobile devices, then it has obviously all passed you by and you should find out about it as soon as possible by looking here.

If you’re planning a re-launch of your online shop for 2016, then you should ideally take a look at all of the points listed so you have the most success. Possible to the New Year. It is important that in addition to SEO measures, entrepreneurs make sure they have a user friendly website, as well as mobile usage – let yourself be inspired by the larger stores.

Patrick Klingenberg

Patrick Klingberg is Managing Director of artaxo GmbH, the Hamburg-based agency for search engine optimisation and content marketing. In 2007, he effectively founded GmbH, which merged in September 2015 with artaxo GmbH. In addition, Patrick Klingberg is lecturer in online marketing at various educational institutions, such as the Hamburg Media School (HMS) and the European Media and Business Academy (EMBA). As a mentor of the Axel Springer Plug & Play Accelerator Programme, he also imparts his knowledge to the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

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