Practical Ecommerce

SEO Report Card:

This month’s report card website is, an ecommerce site that tracks the fashion tendencies of the famous and sells those garments and accoutrements to interested consumers. The site is pleasant to the eye and has an exciting, almost urgent feel to it, but how does it do in terms of search engine optimization? Not bad at all actually, and to that end, I thought it would serve as a good example of attractive and aggressive design that does not come at the expense of SEO. Let’s take a look.

<strong>Home Page Content </strong>
This is one spot where could make improvements, especially with regard to textual content. The home page – and much of the site – is graphically focused rather than textually focused. While graphics are certainly not a problem, for SEO purposes they need to be balanced with permanent, keyword-rich textual content. does feature textual content on the homepage, but much of it changes frequently and is therefore not permanent. Adding even a permanent sentence or two with applicable keywords describing the site could make a difference. Alt tags, the alternative text displayed when a user places their mouse over an image or graphic, are in good use to describe graphics. This can help search engines to identify the page focus, but alt tags are not as strong as regular text.

<strong>Inbound Links and PageRank</strong> has done a great job of building inbound links to the site. This is reflected in the homepage PageRank, which is a respectable 6, and the category landing pages, most of which have PageRank 5 ratings. Google shows 8,730 inbound links while Yahoo! lists 506,000 and MSN Live Search sees 19,300 links. is listed in many of the major directories, including the Yahoo Directory, which is helpful, but it also has links from many blogs and other websites within its industry.

<strong>Indexation </strong> estimates its actual number of pages in the website to be a little over 100,000. Google measures 137,000 pages, Yahoo 394,000, and MSN Live Search 110,000 pages. Given the close proximity of Google and MSN numbers to’s stated number of pages, indexation would appear to be in good shape. Some pages generated by internal search results do appear in search engine results, but these are limited. No major issues of duplication present themselves, and the vast majority of the website appears to be indexed. Short of the search pages mentioned above, this is ideal search engine indexation.

<strong>Internal Hierarchical Linking Structure </strong>
The main navigation at is designed primarily with cascading style sheets (CSS) in such a way that search engines are able to see and crawl the entire navigation. This allows for search engine spiders to find their way deep into the site and correspondingly also makes for a good user experience. Usually if the spiders can crawl deep, so can human beings. Landing pages are missing for a couple of the top categories such as Movies and Products. A landing page for every major category is always helpful from an SEO point of view because it allows for a place to describe the category in textual content and also allows for another level of interlinking to the pages within the category. That said, categories and subcategories flow logically from the top-level domain.

<strong>HTML Templates and CSS </strong>
CSS is used nicely throughout the site for design aspects. While at all levels the design is light on text and heavy on graphics, the site nonetheless maintains many SEO attributes because of the use of CSS in place of less-SEO-friendly Javascript design. Heading tags appear throughout the home page, category pages and subcategory pages, though they don’t always follow the hierarchy of H1 tags first followed by H2 tags, then H3 tags and so on. Heading tags should be used through all of a website’s templates (as has done) to emphasize keywords and page focus because search engines give text in heading tags extra weight.

<strong>Secondary Page Content </strong>
Secondary pages contain more textual content then the home pages, but even sub-subcategory pages like the new Lipstick Jungle page could use more permanent text. Content is well-designed at all levels, however, and maintains core SEO attributes throughout the secondary pages.

<strong>Keyword Choices </strong>’s keywords are descriptive and well-defined throughout the site. Celebrity names, television shows, and brand names used as keywords are perfectly acceptable as this is the natural way users search for merchandise both within the site and in search engines.

<strong>Title Tags</strong>
Unique HTML title tags appear throughout the website, and they tend to be focused to page subject. Search engines see title tags as a primary descriptive attribute, so getting them right is important. Site title should be the last thing mentioned in title tags while the specific keywords related to a given page should be first. could improve here, but more important is the uniqueness and focus of the title tags, which are very good.

<strong>URLs </strong>
It’s best to reflect keywords in URLs, and where multiple keywords are used, they should be separated by dashes. Search engines see dashes in URLs as spaces and make it easier for them to read keywords contained in a URL. has done an excellent job with this, and for the most part their URLs can be looked upon as an ideal example of what ecommerce website URLs should look like.
It’s easy to get lost in the glamour and eye-catching design of, but search engine spiders, who care not at all about graphics, do not get lost. Overall, has designed a large ecommerce website without overlooking the key factors or natural search marketing.

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Jeff Muendel

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