SEO Steps For a Better ChannelAdvisor Store
There are several good steps you can and should take to improve the seo for your ChannelAdvisor store pages and categories. This is part two of a two part article where I first outlined some steps you can't take from within the store administration pages that are items you probably would like to implement in good seo practice, but really can't for one reason or another, What SEO Steps You Can't Take With ChannelAdvisor. I will now take a look at what you can do to keep your store's SERP as high up as possible (titled: SEO Steps For a Better ChannelAdvisor Stores). I realized that some may not be that familiar with using a ChannelAdvisor Store itself, even when using the products that put in place for eBay. Most of ChannelAdvisor's business is in the auction management software area, so if you haven't tried their store services as well it might be worth a look. It is another channel opportunity for those who don't want to be so dependent on eBay for all their sales. For many online retailers, this is the key, finding alternative channels to selling on eBay so if an eBay crash comes your business isn't dead. Infopia is another company looking at these types of alternative channels to eBay, embracing multi channel - cross channel selling companies (I will review their services in full in a later article) to go beyond eBay.
For many PowerSellers, eBay is just the beginning. With Infopia's Marketplace Manager, you can drastically increase your sales by pushing your products out to more online marketplaces and create a multi-channel, online selling strategy.
ChannelAdvisor also has several other very useful products but this is in specific reference to the storefront. So, assuming you have opened a ChannelAdvisor Store, there are some needed steps to get the most out of your eCommerce storefront.
Customize Store Name and Logo
This would be the first stop. Log into your administration panel and click on the menu at the top for "store", then go to "store name & logo" and you will see several fields explained below. This is usually completed during the setup of the store, but double check, you may have only put in your url store name. You will see several different boxes, store name and url, logo, and html page information. Make sure all these fields are filled in, this is where all the meta data is taken from when your index page is shown.
If you are choosing your the store name, keep is short. Use your company name but don't use something like "my store and all my products where you will love to shop store". It will be used in many different places on your store, so think about it like a good domain name. If you have a company name just place it here. Think about dashes or underlines ahead of time, changing this after the fact is not going to be an easy move, especially when your customers have bookmarked where to find you.
Store URL and Domain Forward
Store url is what domain name you are going to have, so follow the above rules and all that you know about good domain names, keep it short, easy on dashes, try not to use mis-spelled words if possible, in general, use your company name or a version thereof. If you have an existing domain name you can use the same thing here since it will render the url from within the servers from ChannelAdvisor.
There is also a link where you can make any existing domain name url's forward to the ChannelAdvisor url you just created. You will have to change the name servers on your hosting company so proceed with a little caution. It is not difficult but it does require a little more than just filling out a keyword. Using their forward will render your own domain name on the storefront and is certainly a good option if you can do that.
Store Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keywords
This is probably the most important set of fields, and probably the most commonly left blank. These fields will be visible to customers, show in the search engine results, and help in your rankings. Your competition is probably using these fields and if you are not they will have an unneeded advantage over your store.
This is what shows on the top of each page viewed by your customers. Not only that, it is what will show as the first line in the search engine results when someone does a search on Google or Yahoo. It should usually include your store name and a few details about the products you sell or your slogan or tag line. Make it descriptive but not too long. When someone clicks through to a category page it will show all the information on the categories and also the store title. Using ChannelAdvisor as an example their title reads: ChannelAdvisor - The Leader in Online Channel Management Solutions and Services.
Meta Description and Meta Keywords
The meta description is the most important field on this screen to complete in my opinion. The meta description is what will show as the first line or two of the search engine results and are often given more search engine relevance then the keywords themselves. Keeping with the ChannelAdvisor example, look at the screen shot below. The first few lines are the description of their services. Use full short sentences with good keywords, but don't use just keywords only. Notice the quote below, it has some good keywords but is not just keywords separated by commas.
ChannelAdvisor combines best practices, innovative software and integrated technology to help retailers maximize their profits across multiple e-commerce...
The keywords are just what they say, a set of keywords that best describes your store products or services. Pick these carefully and do not use the same word more than once. Use 10 keywords at the most, more and it starts to make the other words a little less relevant.
This would be the next big thing to complete in the store administration pages. This will be a little more time consuming if it has not be completed before and if you have already established categories. Go to your admin console and click on the menu for "store" then "manage categories" and it will take you to the category pages.
If you have already created your categories (and sub-categories) you will see a list of the categories on this page. If you haven't created them yet, use short one or two word category names, these will be used in the url in your store and should be something keyword friendly. Keep the caps in mind too. Either will work but what ever you use will be a permalink from that point on. If you create a category with a blank space in the name it will render on the url in ChannelAdvisor as "%20" which is not something all that great for the search engine bots.
A category name called Non Fiction will show up on the url address line as /mystorename/Non%20Fiction/ and the category name called Non-Fiction will show as /mystorename/Non-Fiction/ and it works the same for all the sub-categories down the line. Use three or four letter words with spaces all the way down the line and it will not look so great. A screen shot example from ChannelAdvisor's case studies on their website shows a url with categories that have spaces used in the names along with the subcategories. You can see the results below.
Images, Keywords, and Descriptions
Next will be a short description and long description, basically meta keywords and meta description, sort of. Use the same rules as listed above for these two items, keeping in mind the self imposed 10 keyword limit and perhaps show a few less on the categories. When you enter this information it will show up on the title page just after the main page title, so if you use a big list of keywords the title will look a little strange.
It may take a little time to put all this information into each category but it will improve the quality of each category listing and should improve search engine results.
The steps listed here are some very basic seo steps for your ChannelAdvisor store, but they are needed. If your competition is not using them you will have a little ahead, but they probably are and you don't want to be a little behind. These steps can also be applied across several different sales channels, including eBay and Amazon. eBay in particular allows their store users to adjust the keywords of each category, but not quite to the extent that ChannelAdvisor allows.