Our huge library of search engine optimization articles addresses strategies and tactics for ecommerce businesses. Our 12-part “How-to” series explains the basics. Advanced topics include faceted navigation, crawling and indexing, cross-border optimization, and much more.

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  • Link Building

    SEO: Remember LinkedIn for Inbound Links

    December 23, 2009 •

    Editor’s Note: Bill Hartzer is a contributor to Practical eCommerce and manager of search engine optimization and social media marketing with VizionInteractive, a Dallas-based online marketing firm. Hartzer wrote the article, below, which first appeared in that company’s blog. Inbound...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    December 17, 2009 •

    For this month, I am reviewing, at co-owner Pat Laws' request. Pat and her husband bought the business from the original owner in May 2008. The site has been online for about nine years, so it definitely has some history and credibility in the eyes of Google. Pat shar...

  • Technical SEO

    SEO: Capture More Search Traffic with Rich Snippets

    December 16, 2009 •

    The difference between a snippet and a rich snippet is the difference between just showing up at a party and showing up in style. Showing up in style can ensure you get the attention you want. For an ecommerce merchant, "the party" is a search engine's results page. A snippet is your U...

  • Link Building

    SEO: Link-building Opportunities

    December 3, 2009 •

    Link building is an ever-changing landscape. This is because the search engines make changes to their algorithms to thwart artificial link building, and because link building as a practice continues to morph. As time goes on, more webmasters will become aware of the importance that inbo...

  • Technical SEO

    SEO: Forgotten Content Can Damage Search Performance

    November 17, 2009 •

    Sometimes a site’s own past dampens its bright SEO future. The forgotten designs, old campaigns, and abandoned domains that accumulate unnoticed in a web server can have a negative impact on a site’s ability to rank and drive natural search-referred traffic and sales. Search engines ret...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Needs Quick Tweaks for the Holidays

    November 10, 2009 •

    As we enter into the holiday shopping season, it's all hands on deck for merchants selling gift baskets. The Wisconsin specialist e-tailer Wisconsin Made is no exception. The challenge is to make an impact in what little time is left in the year. Search engine optimization (SEO) isn't i...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Offers Retro Fashion, Retro SEO

    October 21, 2009 •

    Our "SEO Report Card" for this month is The CEO of Moodswings, Elizabeth Bighorse, requested this review, and she told us that the company has just finished a re-launch of its "multiple sales channel" site. Moodswings focuses on urban, rockabilly, tattoo and alt...

  • Technical SEO

    SEO: There Is No Duplicate Content Penalty

    October 15, 2009 •

    There is a long held belief that search engines – namely Google – penalize websites that duplicate content or produce material that is largely the same as other sites on the Internet. But, I’m here to tell you, The Duplicate Content Penalty is a myth. Think about it this way. If a page...

  • SEO Tools

    Ecommerce Know-How: Optimizing Your Site for Microsoft Bing

    September 22, 2009 •

    The Microsoft, Yahoo! search deal announced in July still faces legal hurdles, but as more details have become available, it is clear that the companies' combined search share has—for the first time in perhaps a decade—created some real competition for Google. Depending on which poll o...

  • SEO

    SEO: Search Engine Rankings Vary Among Searchers

    September 16, 2009 •

    Rankings have long been a valued metric in search marketing. After all, it's easy to monitor and seems like a really important measure. However, if you really want to measure the effectiveness of your SEO campaign, stop obsessing about rankings. Proactively changing the focus of your c...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    September 11, 2009 •

    This month’s site up for review is Owned by Susan Eaton, sells personalized, do-it-yourself paperweight kits from family photos and other artwork. Eaton requested this "SEO Report Card" review. Home Page First things first, the home page has some maj...

  • Keyword Research

    Ecommerce Know-How: Understanding Brand-Influenced Search Queries

    August 25, 2009 •

    When shoppers navigate to a search engine and begin their queries, they usually have some idea of what they are looking for. In many cases, that initial idea is the result of brand-influence. In very general terms, search engine queries fall on a specificity scale. On one end of this s...

  • Technical SEO

    Ecommerce Know-How: Adobe Flash vs. Search Engine Optimization

    July 27, 2009 •

    New technology, user demand, and search-engine-optimized design are making it possible for search engines to index, rank and display sites developed completely with the Adobe Flash platform. To be sure, rich Internet applications (RIAs), like those created with Flash and Flex, are a ch...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Has a Good Home Page, Bad Product Pages

    July 23, 2009 •

    This month fortune smiles on for a free site review. We received the request from the company's owner, Ron Maier. In a way, is in an enviable position because it is in such a niche market; so the known universe of relevant search terms is relatively small...

  • Technical SEO

    PeC Traffic Report: Searches for “Saving” Words Slowing in 2009

    July 20, 2009 •

    Google search queries for "saving" words like "coupon" and "discount" were relatively flat in the first half of 2009. This is in spite of a U.S. national unemployment rate that has risen 69.6 percent in a year and the remaining effects of widespread recession. Relative data from Google...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: a “Train Wreck”

    June 23, 2009 •

    This month's "SEO Report Card" victim, er, volunteer,, is quite simply, an SEO train wreck. The mission of the online business (to provide eco-friendly products that reduce landfill waste) is laudable, but its execution is seriously flawed. Putting aside the fac...

  • SEO Tools

    SEO: Where Is Blended Search for Ecommerce Queries?

    June 17, 2009 •

    When the concept of blended search was introduced, the search engine optimization (SEO) industry and ecommerce retailers got very excited. By optimizing the images and video content that many sites already produce, search engines were adding visually appealing content to the standard 10...

  • SEO Tools

    SEO: “Speak” to the Search Engine Spiders

    May 19, 2009 •

    Search engines are like translators. With no more than a couple of words entered into the search box, they attempt to translate a word or phrase into the searcher’s meaning or intent and compare it to the millions of potential matches in their indices. But the less understood and even...

  • SEO

    Blended Search: Four Ways to Optimize Content for Better Search Rankings

    May 15, 2009 •

    Gone are the days when a search is performed and only a list of pertinent websites appears in the search engine results page. Instead, what can be found now is a blend of websites, videos, images, social media profiles, blogs, news stories, press releases, podcasts and maps. With blende...

  • Technical SEO

    PeC Traffic Report: Does Google’s “Vince Update” Favor Big Brands?

    May 12, 2009 •

    A recent change to the Google algorithm apparently favors established, well-known brands in some categories, potentially making it harder for small online sellers to compete with large retailers for search engine rankings. The so-called "Vince Update" seems to have taken effect on Janu...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: “Uncommonly Sophisticated”

    May 11, 2009 •

    This month is up for review. Ken Kikkawa, CEO of eHobbies, submitted the site for grading. I have to say I was impressed. Chief executive officers of companies that large - #364 on the Internet Retailer 500 list for eHobbies - are usually too high level to concern themselve...

  • SEO Tools

    SEO: Try Surfing Like a Search Engine Spider

    April 15, 2009 •

    I’m a visual learner. I need to see and interact with things to understand them. It therefore helps me to mimic the behavior of search engine spiders when I’m digging into a site for the first time to review its search engine optimization issues. I like to think of it as “being the bot....

  • SEO

    Search Engine Friendly Shopping Carts?

    April 2, 2009 •

    Practical eCommerce will soon publish our "Shopping Cart Roundup" PDF guide. This guide will offer suggestions for choosing the shopping cart that best fits a merchant's needs. It will also list every shopping cart company that we know of. One question that most all merchants have in e...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Poor SEO Choices Cost Worthy Charity

    April 1, 2009 •

    Although you might not think of nonprofits as having ecommerce sites, they do. They accept donations via secure transactions. Rarely will they have a shopping cart, but nonetheless, nonprofits suffer from a number of the same search engine optimization ills that plague traditional ecomm...

  • Keyword Research

    SEO: Targeting the Longtail for More Sales

    March 25, 2009 •

    For many small online businesses, especially ecommerce, search-engine, keyword optimization is a once a year process at best. Once you have gone through the laborious and mind numbing process of keyword research, writing title tags, page descriptions and revising your copy, the idea of ...

  • SEO Tools

    Measuring SEO Performance

    March 17, 2009 •

    Measuring success in search engine optimization can typically be done in four ways. “Indexation” measurements will determine if a search engine has properly identified all of your site’s pages. “Backlink” measurements will show the number of internal and external links that point to you...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    March 5, 2009 •

    I took a long hiatus from "SEO Report Card" when my capable colleague Jeff Muendel filled-in for me. But now I'm happy to report, “I'm baaaack.” Our lucky contestant this month is Steven Hutt, echannels director with that company, requested this site grade. Home Pa...

  • Keyword Research

    SEO: Estimating Sales Potential from Keywords and Phrases

    February 19, 2009 •

    The perception that search engine optimization is a limitless source of free traffic and sales is one reason that SEO campaigns sometimes fail to live up to expectations. Yes, SEO efforts can deliver excellent returns on investment. But how much expected return is realistic? This articl...

  • SEO

    Survey of The Month: SEO is Both Important and Misunderstood

    February 9, 2009 •

    Ecommerce merchants overwhelming said that search engine optimization (SEO) was an active part of their marketing efforts and that they believed it accounted for a significant portion of their web traffic, but many of those same merchants identified black hat SEO tactics, like purchasin...

  • SEO

    Ecommerce Know-How: Information Architecture to Improve SEO and Usability

    January 7, 2009 •

    Taking lessons from two marketing disciplines, online retailers and their web designers can build a well structured Internet store organized into themes or categories that will make it easy for shoppers and search engines alike to find important information and product pages. In this ...