The common sense approach to keyword optimisation

In my role, I often get clients asking for advice on keyword campaigns or asking questions about keywords. To me, it seems that ‘keyword’ is more of a buzzword that clients feel like they should be asking about. This may not be the thought process of every SEO on the block, but I honestly think that if you approach your content carefully and construct your site with a little common sense, then you won’t really need to do much more. A keyword campaign isn’t just about adding a few words to your site, it’s about hard work and dedication.

The common sense approach

Ok, I’ll admit; I’m a professional SEO working day in day out in the e-commerce industry; common sense to me might just be based on experience and knowledge. Still, you’re reading this blog to get some new ideas, so hopefully this helps.

Let’s paint the picture. You have your store setup and you’re adding a new product. Let’s call this product the ‘Super Exciting Amazemathing’. Sadly, all too often, I see e-retailers upload a low quality image, add the manufacturer provided product blurb and maybe add a title tag. Wouldn’t it be lovely, for life to be that easy?

Unfortunately, we need to do more; this, after all, is the Super Exciting Amazemathing, and it needs the respect it deserves.

We’ll start with pictures. No longer do we need to use an 8kb low quality image that even the sharpest eagle eye would struggle to make out. We live in an age of big data; if we’re not on superfast broadband, we’re on superfast 4G. Even with those super speeds, modern PNGs have fantastic compression rates. Take a look at the photo below; it’s not hi-def, but it is good enough to show what’s going on... how many megabytes would you guess it is?

Compressed PNG

I took this photo on a Canon 5Dmkii in full quality - initially a 5.7 megabyte JPEG, from a 20+ meg RAW file

That’s right, 192kb.

So we have a nice clear image; that’s enough, right? WRONG. Google can’t see your lovely image, so let’s give it an alt-image tag. Be descriptive with this, keeping in mind what people might search for if looking for pictures. For example ‘blue super exciting amazemathing on a white background’.

Next, your product description, and I’m going to write this next bit twice to make sure it sets in: Don’t use the manufacturer provided blurb... I said, don’t use the manufacturer provided blurb. Google does not like duplicate content; the irony of my duplicating that sentence is not lost on me.

It’s not that the manufacturer given blurb is bad per se, it’s just that a whole host of other retailers will also take ‘the easy route’ to copy and paste the content. This means that your page/site is being cannibalised by 10’s or 100’s of other pages, and Google doesn’t like that. Sure, you can take influence from the manufacturer, but all content should be unique, informative, unique, descriptive and most of all unique.

We’re done, right, can I get back to my coffee now? Nope... not quite. Don’t forget your Title Tag and Meta Description. Google will use keywords used in your Title Tag; which if you’re unware of, is the big blue bit that users click on in Google, so make sure it’s relevant. As an example, here’s two potential Title Tags and how they might look in Google:

Title Tag 1: The brand-new and mind blowing product of the year, which everyone wants this Christmas: Super Exciting Amazemathing is now in stock in a variety of colours!

Title Tag 2: The Super Exciting Amazemathing: In stock / Next Day Delivery

How it looks on Google

The brand-new and mind blowing product of the year, which everyone wants this Chris...

Meta Description goes here

The Super Exciting Amazemathing: In stock / Next Day Delivery

Meta Description goes here

To be fair, I might have over cooked the first one, it sounds quite exciting, but I hope you get the point. Title Tag 2 is to the point: We have the product name (main keyword) and the user knows that it’s in stock and they can get it quickly.

So does it end there? Well, no, I could probably write this blog for the rest of the day and I don’t want to do that. You need to promote your new product on the homepage, creating links throughout the site. You need to make sure customers have visibility of the product in an ‘also bought’ section etc... It just takes a bit of thought. The overall point is to use common sense and keep Google in mind.

Let’s look at Google’s options for sites looking to rank for the Super Exciting Amazemathing:

* There are 40 companies using the manufacturer blurb and a low-res image.

* There are 10 companies using some unique blurb and 1 small image.

* There are 5 companies using a unique blurb and 2 or 3 images, along with good use of tags.

* There are 1 or 2 companies using unique blurb, a selection of high res images and a good use of tags. They’ve also posted about it on social media and interacted with their audience, sent out an e-mail to their subscriber list and reached out to some bloggers.

I’ll let you judge whom you think Google might be ranking highest. Just like a football team won’t win the premier league by chance, or I won’t get to number one by banging a frying pan, getting to the top of the charts, the league or the Google rankings takes hard work, dedication and a measured and tactical approach.

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