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 Sidecars More Trouble than They’re Worth

    September 30, 2011 •

    I'll get right to the point. You can't bolt a couple of pages onto the edge of your ecommece site like a sidecar to a motorcycle and call it search engine optimization. Or, rather, you can launch your SEO sidecar but it won't achieve the organic search performance you desire without app...

  • Keyword Research

    SEO: Automating Keyword Selection with AdWords API

    August 23, 2011 •

    Optimizing a website around highly searched keyword terms can materially increase traffic from search engines. But identifying those keywords takes time. Few SEO managers relish the tedium of slogging through thousands of keyword variations — as critical as that process is to a search-e...

  • SEO

    How to Check Your Website’s SEO Health

    June 27, 2011 •

    There’s no reason, really, why ecommerce merchants cannot improve the search engine visibility of their websites. That’s because there are many free tools to gauge the search-engine-optimization health of those sites, and suggest SEO corrections to them. In this screencast below, I’ll...

  • SEO

    Search Engines Love Blogs; 3 Benefits

    May 12, 2011 •

    Search engines love blogs. They provide original, updated content that contribute to highly ranked sites. But how do merchants optimize blogs for search engines and how do they incorporate the blogs into their ecommerce sites? I'll discuss optimizing blogs for search engine performance ...

  • Technical SEO

    How to Increase Page Speed and Help Search-Engine Rankings

    May 11, 2011 •

    In the spring of 2010, Google announced it would factor page speed more heavily into its search ranking algorithm. "Faster sites create happy users," Google stated in the blog post describing the algorithm change. Your ability — as an ecommerce merchant — to improve your site's speed d...

  • SEO

    SEO Case Study: When Past SEO Efforts Hurt Today’s Traffic

    April 15, 2011 •

    Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of a search-engine-optimization case study from contributor Jill Kocher on the SEO struggles of The Motor Bookstore, a retailer of automotive manuals. The Motorbook ...

  • Technical SEO

    SEO Case Study: Improving the Site’s Architecture

    March 25, 2011 •

    Editor's Note: This is the second installment of a search-engine-optimization case study from contributor Jill Kocher on the SEO travails of The Motor Bookstore, a retailer of automotive manuals. Like most ecommerce businesses, The Motorbook Store relies heavily on traffic from search ...

  • SEO

    SEO Case Study: One Store’s Struggle with Google Updates

    March 17, 2011 •

    In an effort to increase the quality of its search results, Google launched an update in late February dubbed the “Farmer/Panda Update” by the search-engine-optimization industry. The update affected 12 percent of Google’s results, decreasing organic traffic for sites like the one owned...

  • SEO

    Google’s ‘Farmer’ Algorithm and What It Means for Ecommerce SEO

    March 8, 2011 •

    A massive change to Google's search engine ranking algorithm has recently improved query results, while having a negative effect on businesses that had been "gaming" the system or reusing others' content. The so-called "Farmer" algorithm update went into effect in late February and aff...

  • SEO

    How to Waste Time on SEO Activities

    March 4, 2011 •

    As a general rule, search engine optimization consultants are activity-focused. They typically suggest a huge laundry list of various activities to perform. Perhaps the list is prioritized, but nonetheless it is frequently chock full of action items. Unfortunately, many of these activit...

  • SEO

    J.C. Penney Incurs Google SEO ‘Action’; How to Protect Your Own Company

    February 15, 2011 •

    Search-engine-optimization agencies often play a vital role in ecommerce sites, where winning and converting organic searches to sales directly impacts the e-tailer’s bottom line. But how far should a company trust an SEO agency to act on its behalf? The SEO community erupted this weeke...

  • SEO

    SEO Consequences of Negative Reviews

    November 30, 2010 •

    An alarming new flavor of search engine optimization surfaced on Friday when The New York Times reported on DecorMyEyes, an unscrupulous eyewear etailer who goads customers into writing negative reviews for SEO benefit. Nothing boosts a well-crawled site’s rankings higher than an infusi...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    November 17, 2010 •

    Andrew Casey, founder and CEO of, asked for an "SEO Report Card" for his site. As always, I’m happy to oblige. Andrew started this business in 2004 by selling juicers on eBay. Over the past 6 years, he has grown his startup into a million dollar company with its own e...

  • Keyword Research

    Supercharge Your Opera, Firefox Web Searches with Search-Preference Keywords

    November 5, 2010 •

    Every major web browser allows users to conduct a web search directly from its address bar. But Opera and Firefox take this convenient shortcut a step further, allowing folks to search several different sites or engines directly from a single spot. For professionals who work on the Int...

  • Link Building

    Bing Social Search: Are ‘Likes’ the New Links?

    October 28, 2010 •

    Organic search revolves increasingly around personalization, delivering relevance not just to a searcher’s literal query, but also to the implied intent, geographic location, and historical preferences. Earlier this month Bing took another step toward integrating Facebook’s social dat...

  • SEO

    Ask an Expert: Subdomains, Subdirectories and SEO Implications

    October 20, 2010 •

    "Ask an Expert" is an occasional feature where we ask ecommerce experts questions from online merchants. For this installment, we address a series of questions on the proper use of subdomains. For the answers, we turn to Michael Stearns, CEO of the Internet marketing and design company...

  • On-page SEO

    Shopping Cart FAQ: How to Evaluate SEO Effectiveness

    October 14, 2010 •

    Editor's Note: We are excited to debut "Shopping Cart FAQ," our monthly column aimed at merchants who are evaluating shopping carts. Merchants frequently have different priorities for their carts. Some may seek specialized merchandizing features, others may seek customized shipping inte...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    October 4, 2010 •

    In this month's “SEO Report Card,” I'll look at the website for Axis Labs, a company that produces and sells nutritional supplements. Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, this private company went international in 2006 and now distributes to six of the seven continents. Axis Labs curren...

  • Technical SEO

    SEO: Understanding Advanced Search Operators

    September 30, 2010 •

    Let’s face it, the engines control search. They may keep tight-lipped control of their algorithmic secrets, but they also provide their users with tools that SEO practitioners can use to understand how the engines see their sites. These advanced operators offer a peek behind the curtain...

  • Link Building

    SEO: 5 Ecommerce Link-Building Ideas

    September 24, 2010 •

    To obtain good organic rankings in the search engines, web pages need inbound links. This is because search engines look for some way to determine how to rank one page over another. They look for some sort of indication of quality, some sort of "approval" that one ecommerce product page...

  • SEO

    Google Instant: 9 Frequently Asked Questions

    September 21, 2010 •

    Roughly half of the visitors to an ecommerce site come from search engines, typically. And when those search engines change the method in which consumers search for online products, the effect on ecommerce merchants can be dramatic. Enter Google Instant, the new auto-fill search proces...

  • SEO

    Google ‘Instant’ a Game Changer?

    September 17, 2010 •

    Last week, Google introduced "Instant," a feature that predicts searchers’ queries as they type them and streams the results for that predicted query onto the results page in real time. Google announced Instant on its blog, at "Search: now faster than the speed of type." Google Instan...

  • Technical SEO

    SEO: Unique Content Good for Search Engines, Good for Consumers

    September 3, 2010 •

    Unique, valuable content is a critical part of a successful SEO strategy. That is especially the case for ecommerce sites that utilize non-unique stock product descriptions from the manufacturer’s database. But, I’m often asked if there’s a faster, cheaper, free way to generate content....

  • Link Building

    Ask an Expert: Do No-Follow Links Help with SEO?

    August 16, 2010 •

    "Ask an Expert" is an occasional feature where we ask ecommerce experts questions from online merchants. For this installment, we address a question about the search-engine-optimization value to no-follow links on social bookmarking sites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon. The question come...

  • SEO

    SEO for Anti-SEO Business Models

    July 29, 2010 •

    I recently changed SEO jobs. I went from an agency that manages clients' search-engine-optimization efforts, to an in-house SEO manager for a single company. I knew previously, from working with many ecommerce clients, that business models and product offerings have an impact on SEO suc...

  • Technical SEO

    The PEC Review: Online Image Optimizer Speeds Load Times

    July 26, 2010 •

    A slow-loading retail site is akin to the store clerk who ignores you in a brick-and-mortar shop. On a recent trip, I stopped at a small antique store. My wife and I entered the store, walked around for about 20 minutes, examined dozens of items, and never once during the entire experi...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    July 23, 2010 •

    For this month’s “SEO Report Card,” I thought I would do something different and review a site that didn’t request it. The site I chose,, is near and dear ...

  • Keyword Research

    SEO: Keyword Research and Analysis

    June 22, 2010 •

    Editor’s Note: is a contributor to Practical eCommerce and the owner of, a Dallas-based online marketing firm. Hartzer wrote the article, below, which first appeared in that company’s blog. Keyword research is one of the most important parts of online marketing. Somet...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: United States Golf Association, Photo Store Website

    June 16, 2010 •

    This month in “SEO Report Card,” I’ll be reviewing the photo store for the United States Golf Association Museum website. This was at the request of Robert Sabin, the president ...

  • Technical SEO

    Google Changes Search-Results Page, How Merchants Can Benefit

    May 25, 2010 •

    Google has made some major changes to its search results recently, adding more options for searchers. These are not changes to search algorithms, which determine the websites that show up, and where. Rather, the new changes give searchers options that allow them to tailor the type of s...