“Ask an Expert“ is an occasional feature where we ask ecommerce experts questions from online merchants. For this installment, we address a question about ranking on search engines for major keywords. It comes from Jeramie Westbay, owner operator for Crazy Ed’s Roadkill, an online store that sells beef jerky.
For the answer, we turn to Andrew Hazen, the founder and CEO of Prime Visibility, a Long Island, New York-based Internet marketing firm that specializes in search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and return on investment analysis.
If you’d like to submit a question, email Kate Monteith, staff writer, at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll attempt to address it.
Jeramie Westbay: “I have spent months trying to improve our overall SEO and our page rank with Google, Bing and other search engines. I have been following expert-recommended strategies, such as keyword optimization, meaningful copy, building the personal brand, and utilizing Google product feed. However, my website still does not get results in a search for the keyword “beef jerky” on Google or Bing. It’s not even in the top 100 pages on Google.
“Does my website have a black mark on it that prevents it from getting some sort of ranking on that major keyword? And, what else can I do to improve our SEO ranking?”
Andrew Hazen: “The search engines do give site penalties, but usually these penalties would prevent your site from ranking for any competitive terms. This doesn’t appear to be the case, as your website has Google PageRank, shows back-links, and ranks for generic and branded name terms.
“This doesn’t mean that you can’t increase your rankings, though. Here are some additional suggestions to help you:
- Increase the number of quality links to your site. Links are the lifeblood of search, especially for competitive terms. You don’t necessarily have to pay for links. Obtain more product reviews, and links from local organizations that you are part of, such as chambers of commerce, civic associations, and so on. And, many of these links need to contain the keyword ‘beef jerky’ in the anchor link, not just your brand in order to rank better.
- Fix the canonicalization problem with your home page. Currently the home page link in the footer points to
http://www.crazyedsroadkill.com/Sample, which is a duplicate of your actual home page. There are inbound links pointing to both of these pages, splitting your link juice, which is a concern.
- Sign up for Google Webmaster Tools. It’s free, easy to use, and gives valuable information on how Google views your site.
- Continue building your site. Your site only has five pages. Add in more pages and fresh content so the search engines see the site as living and growing. You can add product pages for the different flavors of beef jerky, recipe pages, and a testimonial page (with video testimonials if possible). Continue doing keyword research and optimizing the new pages with unique terms.”
“No one can guarantee that your site will rank for “beef jerky” overnight, but if you follow the tips above, you should soon start seeing more rankings and traffic for the terms you are targeting.”