How to rank first on Google

Why is SEO so difficult?

Let’s be real here for a minute: SEO is a mysterious dark corner of eCommerce. It’s difficult because big agencies have done a great job at making you feel like it’s difficult and can never be mastered without their help. 

So why even try?

Because the basics of SEO aren’t actually that complicated!

Simply put, search engines aim to provide their customers (aka the people who search) with the best experience possible. They do that by providing the most relevant results and thereby helping them find the answer to their question quickly. 

To make this possible, the clever brains at Google have analysed their customers’ behaviour and established guidelines that tell us how to create content that can be used on results pages. 

We wish we had a magic formula to rank you on the top of page one for all sorts of search terms, but the reality is, it takes a lot of consistent work to rank well, and it certainly doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it’s all about how relevant your content is to what people search for.

Side note: Have you ever thought about what search term you want to rank for in first position? If it’s your business name, that’ll most likely happen if your name is somewhat unique. But think about it, if a customer searches for your business name, they already know you anyway. What you want is find people who don’t know you!

Our top tips for getting found on Google:

Be the solution

Technical bits aside for a moment, the most important rule is to write relevant content for your specific audience by asking yourself: “What does someone search for when my product can be the answer?”
For example, someone might search for ‘how to make my home more cosy‘, and the answer could be ‘by adding candles‘.

What you want is to come up in this type of search because there’ll be far less competition than for the search term ‘candles‘. On top of that you are actually providing a solution, which increases the likelihood of someone checking you out.

Think about what people type into search engines when your products could be the answer, so you can incorporate words and phrases into your website copy and product descriptions. 

Keyword research

If you want to back this up, we highly recommend to do a keyword research. This basically just means creating a list of words and phrases that people actually type into search engines and use these terms in your copy.
Not everyone understands your industry terminology, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t looking for your products.
We have a handy article on this topic including tips on how do a keyword research yourself.

Write relevant content

Blog about relevant topics that your audience is interested in. 
For example: The Source Bulk Foods sells foods and ingredients without packaging. The obvious would be to write about the ingredients and recipes. Instead, however, the Source write about the values they stand for and what their ideal audience is actually interested in (i.e. why they buy non-packaged food in the first place). One of the main topics you’ll find is ‘how to eliminate waste on a daily basis’.

You already have everything it takes within you – get writing! And don’t worry about your writing skills. Getting the final blog post polished by an editor is easy; getting your knowledge on paper, however, is something only YOU can do.

Submit your sitemap to Google Search Console

This tells Google you want it to check you out!
In addition, it gives you really useful data about the state of your website, so you can fix errors and make Google love you.
It’s not as difficult as it sounds. Follow the instructions depending on which platform you’re on below, but if you need help, please reach out.
WordPress (install the Yoast plugin)

Make use of every page on your website

Write a few sentences in your product descriptions and category descriptions.
It’s all about telling a story and painting a picture.
You can make your products interesting by describing how they can be used and how they’ll make the customer feel, e.g. “This chair is super comfortable and will be your new favourite place to read a book and drink a cup of tea. It is made of premium materials and lined with the softest organic bamboo fabric.” Don’t forget to use your keywords!

Use meta descriptions

Make sure the text showing in search results makes sense and helps people to understand what they’ll get when they click on your link. This text is called meta description, it technically doesn’t help with your ranking, but it helps to get people click on your link.
After all, what good is it to rank well if no one clicks through to your website?
Follow the instructions below, depending on which platform you are on:
WordPress (install the Yoast plugin)

Give your images descriptive names

Before you upload them!
E.g. the-efficiency-hub-ecommerce-help.jpg instead of 123xyz.jpg

Website speed

Ensure your website loads fast. You can check your score and tips to improve here.
Most often what slows pages down is the total size of image files. We always recommend to compress your images before uploading them, e.g. using TinyPNG or ShortPixel*. Both these tools shrink your images without compromising the resolution (which is important because you still want people to be able to zoom in!)

Use headlines and paragraphs throughout your blog posts.

Google looks at the structure of what you write and analyses how easy it would be to read for the average human.
To make information easier to absorb, add headlines and spaces between paragraphs instead of writing one big block of text and make sure your sentences aren’t too long. 
If you’re on WordPress, the plugin Yoast can analyse the readability of your posts – super handy!

Use popups wisely

If you have a popup, make sure it only pops up within 35-55 seconds of someone landing on your page. It should also be easy to be clicked away, especially on mobile.
The biggest reason why Google decided to penalise websites with bad popups was because they were interfering with the customer experience of finding an answer to what they searched for.
So look at it from a user perspective: If you land on a page, do you want multiple boxes to pop up whilst you’re trying to look at a something or read an article? 
We recommend to make sure whatever you do is non-intrusive and doesn’t interfere with what the user is there to do.

SEO is a longterm game and ultimately Google decides how you rank. No one can control that and no one can promise you to rank in first position. What we can do is play by the rules and create websites that provide value to your ideal customers. 

Don’t get discouraged – SEO is well worth the effort!

If you’re doing it right you drive traffic to your site that you don’t have to pay for and has a high chance of converting to sales – what’s not to love?

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