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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  • 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 ...

  • Technical SEO

    Ecommerce Know-How: Bot Herding, A SEO Internal Linking Tactic

    December 30, 2008 •

    A relatively simple SEO linking strategy can improve how well and how often your store's product pages are indexed and displayed in organic search engine results. This linking technique goes by several names. Bruce Clay Inc., an Internet business consultancy, refers to it as "siloing."...

  • Keyword Research

    PeC Traffic Report: Use Blog Titles that Reflect Keywords and Content

    December 26, 2008 •

    Blog titles play an important role in how search engines index blog posts. Bloggers that want to get the most web traffic possible seed post titles with important keywords and make interesting promises about the content. Many online retailers use blogs to both communicate with consumer...

  • Screenshot of a Google search page Technical SEO

    PageRank: What Is It? And How Do You Calculate It?

    December 19, 2008 •

    Google’s PageRank technology plays an important role in how online stores show up in search results. Understanding how this ranking system works will help ecommerce merchants improve their search engine optimization and potentially increase website traffic. PageRank is a proprie...

  • Link Building

    SEO: Buying Links is Risky Business

    December 2, 2008 •

    Garnering inbound links from websites with good PageRank is a mainstay of search engine optimization. Links are like votes for a given website in the eyes of search engines, and their number and quality have much to do with determining the outcome of search engine results. That’s why ...

  • SEO Tools

    Review: Google Insights Can Help Merchants Optimize PPC/SEO Campaigns

    November 25, 2008 •

    Google Insights, a free and relatively new research tool, provides detailed search data that can help online retailers improve their pay-per-click advertising and search engine optimization. Like it or not, many online retailers depend on pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and search engi...

  • Link Building

    Find and Measure Links Better with Linkscape

    November 7, 2008 •

    One of the most important attributes of search engine optimization (SEO) is link building, which is garnering quality inbound links to a website. A single link from a high-quality, trusted source can raise the rankings of multiple pages on a website because search engines aren’t just co...

  • SEO Tools

    Boost Sales with Google SEO Tools

    September 25, 2008 •

    As search engines have gotten better at discovering web content in many forms, manually submitting to them has become less of a focus. But content and distribution platforms continue to expand, and as they do so, the need for manual search engine submission remains an important, if chan...

  • Keyword Research

    Keyword Research: Wordpot Rivals KeywordDiscovery, Wordtracker

    September 4, 2008 •

    While website architecture, link building, and template coding all affect search engine optimization, keyword research and placement is perhaps the easiest SEO attribute to implement. It is often the low hanging fruit of an SEO campaign. To that end, a few months ago, I wrote about Goog...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    April 2, 2008 •

    I have to admit that both the design and focus of this month's report card recipient stood out from the many requests I receive. The website is not subtle, and it's probably not even pretty in the classical sense, but it's certainly fun. sells clothing accessories that ha...

  • SEO

    Video: SEO Update

    November 8, 2007 •

    In February 2006, Contributor Stephan Spencer, founder and CEO of search-firm Netconcepts, critiqued the search engine optimization efforts of, following a request from that company. In this SEO Report Card critique, Spencer issued a C- for an overall SEO grade. In ...