SEO Is An Investment

Today I'd like to tell you about another fantastic presentation that I attended at the ECMTA Summit in Las Vegas. It was entitled Being Found in the Search Engines, and was presented by Dave Cook, who is the Senior Director of Marketing at TheFind.com. TheFind is the vertical search engine for shopping that puts every product, every store, every sale, coupon and discount, right at your fingertips. (Quoted from their About Us page.) Dave's been with TheFind since it's launch in 2006. Before that, he shared his SEO, SEM and Marketing expertise with other online venues, such as Buy.com. Those of you who know me well will understand why this particular presentation captivated me... the assimilation of SEO knowledge has remained a rousing quest for me! Dave said it best: SEO is an investment. Are you ready?

Analytics was the basis of the presentation. Dave's advice? Set up and use accounts at both Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Let the analytics run for 2 weeks before you start a SWOT analysis. SWOT = Strengths - Weaknesses - Opportunities - Threats


  • Where is your traffic coming from? 
  • How are users interacting with you? 
  • Make a spreadsheet of your keywords. Analyze the word(s), the source, the traffic potential, and competitiveness. Which are the keywords that make sense for you?
  • Do you have enough ranking power to compete?
    This is important... be honest! And analyze your competitors, too!  Where do they get their sales? Look at keywords, backlinks, partner sites, social sites, and press releases.
    If they're outranking you, try alternatives, like changing word order, using plural / singular keywords and keyword modifiers.
  • Here is a list of some websites that may be useful to you:
    1. Spyfu
    2. Open Site Explorer
    3. Majestic SEO (They have free and paid subscriptions.)
    4. SEOBook (Keyword Density) 
    5. Site Analytics Complete
Here's the good news! eCommerce today offers merchants of all sizes numerous opportunities to compete successfully. Let's look at some ideas that you may choose to incorporate into your plan:

  • Add quality, relevant content! Simply put, search engines base their results on relevancy. Use alternative keywords and phrases to cast a wider net. 
  • Add your store to directories. Don't use Link Farms... just reputable directories. This creates backlinks for you. 
  • Submit everywhere! Take advantage of places like the Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and ResellerRatings.
  • When linking, anchor text matters! Be sure to use keywords in the anchor text. As an example for prom dresses, to optimize your anchor text, link the words Prom Dresses, as opposed to Click Here
  • Use keywords in your image ALT tags, too. (See my post on Picasa!)
  • Internal links are links leading to other information on your own site. These pay huge dividends! Use them, and make sure your anchor text is optimized.
  • External links are backlinks. You can get them from blogs, (either in content or on a blogroll), from social sites, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, from content sites, like YouTube, and from Community Forums. Use these sources yourself, and also ask your friends and colleagues to link to you.
  • On social sites, find the Thought Leaders, follow them, and follow their followers! Build your network.
  • Use the Google Blog Search to follow and comment on relevant blogs. Interact!
  • If you have a data feed, submit it often to the various search engines. Fresh data is rewarded.
  • Set up Google Alerts.
Threats to your company success include such diversions as competing projects, technical limitations, subject expertise, overly aggressive optimization, and your time, not to mention your competitors! Keep an eye on those competitors! And DO NOT fall for these common misconceptions:
  • A few keywords are all that matter. Wrong! Content is king. Keywords are your best tool.
  • It doesn't matter what they do, as long as they get to my site. Nope! Watch out for a high bounce rate... irrelevant traffic does you no good.
  • Meta keywords matter. Well, sort of. Actually, your meta description is more important, so be sure to include relevant keywords AND optimize your meta description to relate to your products.
    *** I found an interesting article on this! It's not from Dave Cook, but I enjoyed the read. Check it out! How To Use HTML Meta Tags
In closing, Dave also talked about site speed. This is how fast your page(s) are loading for the average user. Be careful not to use an over-abundance of fancy graphics and code that may slow down your load time! (I know... I love the fun stuff, too! Just use it in moderation.) Site speed affects how often and how deep you are indexed. Just announced, Google says that site speed is affecting rank, too!

You can find and follow TheFind.com at Twitter and on Facebook. I'd like to thank Dave for being one of my favorite presenters! If anyone is interested, I have his entire presentation, and you are welcome to contact me for a copy via email.


CurioCache said...

Another amazing, informative blog! I hope it's okay to forward this to my nephew, who is getting ready to launch his own website..

Sunflower Ranch said...

Wow!! Flea!!! You are doing a bang up job with these SEO elements!! Excellent info for all sellers!! Keep up the great work & best of everything on having your new found expertise pay off BIG time!!! :D

Fleapirates said...

Thank you, ladies!

And just to be clear... those of us who enjoy having stores at venues like OnlineAuction.com, eBay, Bonanzle, (etc), can benefit from using these techniques just as much as someone who operates their own private website.

Keep learning! :)