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Category Archives: eCommerce
Did you know that your choice of ecommerce shopping cart is critical to the success of your online business? It’s true. The search engine optimization of the shopping cart you use, and in particular, the way that the shopping cart software deals with products and creates pages can make it impossible or easy for your product pages to show up directly in search engine results.
One key issue is that some shopping cart designs are constructed in a way that prevents the search engine spiders from crawling product pages, so even product phrases that specifically match your offerings won’t show up through natural search engine rankings. Other shopping carts are designed to make the spiders welcome, having what is sometimes called “spiderability,” and that’s the kind you want to choose.
A second important element for an SEO shopping cart is forming URLs for products, categories, and other content that are keyword rich, rather than centered on product numbers or other difficult to interpret elements. Closely related is a feature that creates canonical URLS for pages that have other URLs pointing to them. This could happen, for example, for products that fit into multiple categories. Another URL feature that any SEO shopping cart should have is the capability to use hyphens (and not just underscores) in URLs.
Of course, many shopping cart features are designed especially to make selling to customers easy once they reach your site and while they may optimize your site, it’s not search engine optimization. But there are some other features to look for in an SEO shopping cart besides those already mentioned, that can help get customers to you in the first place. They include:
- Automatic generation of an XML sitemap of the kind that Google, Yahoo! and other search engines use. Submitting an appropriately formatted sitemap to Google, for example, makes Google aware of the pages on your website that are available for indexing, which makes sure the spiders are deployed to all desired pages.
- Underpinning the sitemap is the ability to create the site the way you want it, so another key feature is completely customizable templates that don’t force an etailer into any corners in terms of site design
- Dynamic generation of unique meta tags, particularly title tags, which are considered an important contributor to page rankings.
If one or all of the following applies to you, please raise your hand – “I want to sell something on the Net”, “I have no technical or coding skills”, or “I don’t want to be bothered with a merchant account”.
Do I have your attention now? How about if I told you that there’s a quick and easy solution to your online selling problems? Well, thanks to Google, your prayers have been answered. Google Labs is a testing ground for new services thought up by the geniuses who work there. One of their latest concoctions is called “Google Checkout Store Gadget“. Its basic function allows you to copy and paste some code onto any webpage or blog, and become an instant merchant selling your own products.
Let’s take a look at the “man behind the curtain” to see how it all works. The very first step is to open a Google Checkout Merchant account, which is easy to do by going to http://checkout.google.com/signup Fill out all of the required information, and you’ll also need to input a bank account here your hard earned sales funds will be sent to. Google Checkout will process all incoming orders for you. The orders will appear under the orders tab”. On another note, make sure to uncheck the box that says, “my company will only post digitally signed carts”, then hit the save button. Also, make sure to write down your “Merchant ID” number as you’ll need it later on.
The next step is done using a Google Docs Spreadsheet which will track all your inventory. Google provides a template that can be copied which can be found here, http://tinyurl.com/yhebl4y . Take out the “dummy” product information and replace it with your own. There are separate columns for each item, even for shipping information. Each product can have its own separate shipping charge if need be. Keep in mind when filling it out that it can be viewed by the general public, so don’t include any private information in it.
After you’ve entered all your items, hit “share” in the upper right hand corner, and publish as a “web page”. Also, check the box that says Automatically Re-Publish when changes are made.”
Google makes it easy to set up your online store by using http://storegadget.googlelabs.com . It takes you through the process step-by-step, and when finished you click on “start publishing” and select where you’d like to embed the code, for example your website, Blogger, etc. Copy the code and paste it where you want the gadget to appear. There are no coding skills necessary, and anyone can do it. Really, it’s that simple.
If adding to a Blogger Blog, go under “edit layout”, add a “gadget”, then click “add your own”, and paste the gadget code. Now you’re selling items from your Blog that quickly.
So what’s all of this going to cost? There is a small transaction fee charged by Google Checkout for any monthly sales as follows:
Under 3,000.00 2.9% plus .30 per transaction
3,000.00 to 9,999.99 2.5% plus .30 per transaction
10,000 to 99,999.99 2.2% plus .30 per transaction
If you’ve been putting off getting up a store front because you thought it was too difficult or technically complicated, Google really has simplified the process. With “store gadgets” even a child can sell online.
For more information see these resources: