Is our SEO specialist and copyrighter optimizing and marketing our e-commerce website in the most strategic and advantageous way? Is there more we can do?
January 24, 2010 8:41 AM   Subscribe

Is our SEO specialist and copyrighter optimizing and marketing our e-commerce website in the most strategic and advantageous way? Is there more we can do?

We own and operate a modest e-commerce retail store online. We have been in business for 2.5 years and sell health related wellness products for the home. The website we had for the majority of those 2.5 years was really deficient in many ways and getting less and less functional by the month.

10 months ago we had a very talented web design firm begin the process of completely redesigning our site from scratch. They successfully created a truly custom and cutting edge online store for us which went live 3 months ago. Right from the start our new site was SEO friendly as was the html code. Since the relaunch, sales have improved dramatically. With that being said, we want to take additional proactive steps to really optimize the site as well as improve our Google page rank.

We were advised to carry out the following steps:

1) Establish backlinks by incorporating them into articles we write relating to our products and posting them on our newly setup Blogs such as Wordpress and Blogger.

2) Begin Twittering and utilizing Facebook while again incorporating backlinks to our store.

3) Determine what the most searched keyword terms are and optimize our metatags based on those findings (we were told however that Google does not take into account metatags when ranking sites but that our new metatags would help with Yahoo and Bing for example).

To execute the 3 strategies above, we recently retained the services of a freelance SEO specialist and also that of a copyrighter. The SEO specialist used Google’s Webmaster Tools and performed a pre-seo audit & benchmarking evaluation to determine how to best optimize our metatags. The specialist optimized our most important pages but we intend to optimize every single page gradually based on what our budget will permit from month to month.

The copywriter has been writing interesting and content rich articles while soft-selling our products (with backlinks). Our intention is to have 4-8 articles written every month by the copywriter. Their responsibility will also extend into maintaining out Twitter page with 3 tweets, 5 days a week.

Do you think this is a sound start and approach to optimizing and promoting our website? It is a respectable attack plan, which ought to yield good results as time passes? Or, are there things which we’re completely missing? How about Google’s new search engine algorithm Caffeine? Are there new things which we need to consider to take full advantage of that? Thanks so much.
posted by lorebella to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
My experience with SEO is that the more crowded your market is, the more difficult it is to build PageRank. Health-related wellness products and services, for instance, is a very very crowded market.

Note: Copywriting and copyrighting are two completely different things.
posted by camworld at 9:37 AM on January 24, 2010


Your html semantics are optimized? Page & link titles describe what's on them, incoming links are descriptive of their destination, html markup includes content descriptors?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:43 AM on January 24, 2010


While there are things you can do in the short term to "game the system" with SEO, the best way to do it in the long run is to have relevant content that speaks the way your customers think -- and are searching. You don't say if the SEO specialist and the writer are working together, but my writing team relies heavily on our SEO guy -- getting keywords, looking at performance, tweaking, adapting to perform. Don't worry about the hidden stuff (meta data). Worry about genuine page content. (And make sure your images ALT text is good. Seriously.)

However, if you can pull in consumer comments in -- message boards, reviews, etc. -- they'll say it the way people search it.
posted by Gucky at 11:47 AM on January 24, 2010


You don't say if the SEO specialist and the writer are working together, but my writing team relies heavily on our SEO guy -- getting keywords, looking at performance, tweaking, adapting to perform.

A million times this.

Your SEO guy seems to have given you a solid, but very, very basic plan. The plan as you've outlined ticks a few of the best practice boxes, but doesn't really present much of a long term action plan. I'd be asking him how exactly he plans to take it to the next level ethically and transparently.

By that I mean, ask them why they think Twitter is important, why they think Facebook is important, and why they're doing whatever backlinking they're doing.

A good SEO company should be able to explain this in a way that a layperson can understand. If they can't, run a mile.

If you can, get a month by month plan with actionalble points to which you can hold him accountable, and which he agrees will yield results.
posted by generichuman at 2:53 PM on January 24, 2010


[full dicslousure, I work in this industry and I hate it when SEO people can't explain what they're doing.]
posted by generichuman at 2:54 PM on January 24, 2010


Response by poster: Sorry, I meant to say copywriting not copyrighting.

Yes, our "Page & link titles describe what's on them, incoming links are descriptive of their destination, html markup includes content descriptors?" are done and already optimized.

Yes, our SEO specialist is working closely with the copywriter. In fact, the key phases (the ones that have the backlinks associated with them) are the exact phases that our writer is using in the articles and these were determined by the SEO person.

With respect to the backlinks, it is our understanding the the more you have of them the better. Is this roughly true? If so, that is the justification for utilizing Twitter, Facebook and blogs.
posted by lorebella at 4:27 PM on January 24, 2010


Best answer: Yep, the more back links the better. Also, if you can get links from a variety of different sites and high-authority sites that helps too. (Which I'm sure your SEO has already noted.)

With SEO you can always do more and I think you've got a solid back-link development strategy. Since you've got a copy writer, I would suggest having him/her do some guest posting on health blogs around the web. Not only will you get more backlinks, but you'll be able to introduce your website to an audience already interested in health. I've found this works out a lot better than submitting to article sites where almost anything is published.

Another thing I would do is take a good look at what keywords and pages are resulting in sales. Focus some links to those pages to improve visibility and even try some different headlines or photos on those pages to try to improve conversion rates. When something is working, I always try to get the most I can out of it.

Good luck. It sounds like sales are improving so I think you're on the right track.
posted by mcbrett at 7:09 AM on January 25, 2010


Best answer: Yeah, it sounds like things are going well and you've got a good SEO & copywriter. To add to mcbrett's tips, I would recommend having your SEO and copywriter work on some 'linkbait' campaigns beyond the soft-sell article content. A provocative blog post or silly game that strikes the Internet's collective fancy can catch fire and generate a ton of links and facebook-twitter traffic in one fell swoop, although you may have to try many times for a hit.
posted by ejoey at 12:41 PM on January 25, 2010


Word. All good advice.
posted by mcbrett at 7:39 PM on January 28, 2010


Just want to add that this from up-thread is a really good formulation and bears repeating: ...if you can pull in consumer comments in -- message boards, reviews, etc. -- they'll say it the way people search it.

However, you need to stay on top of comments (spam, appropriate content, etc.)! Better not to go down that path (customer-created content like comments) if you can't allocate resources to manage it.

Related point: Facebook and especially Twitter have implicit customer feedback requirements. You've got to have somebody on those accounts responding to customer tweets or posts, or the strategy can backfire. Again, may be better not to do it if you don't have a response strategy and someone to assign to it.
posted by lodurr at 2:00 PM on April 26, 2010


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