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.

Keyword Research | Link Building | On-page SEO | SEO Tools | Technical SEO
  • 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...

  • 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 ...

  • SEO

    Video: SEO Website Update

    October 29, 2007 •

    In January 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 D+ for an overall SEO grade....

  • Link Building

    SEO Report Card: Link Building Could Improve Strong Site

    October 1, 2007 • is a website run quite frugally by its two main proprietors. For a site that hasn’t had a lot of professional help with regard to search engine optimization, it possesses some positive SEO attributes. That’s not to say there aren’t issues, but some of the main facets ...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    September 12, 2007 •

    Ranked 359 in the Internet Retailer 500, and boasting over 45,000 products in its catalog and 151,000 pages in Google, Beach Audio has a lot of grunt. According to Troy McKinnon, their director of ecommerce, Beach Audio did a complete search engine optimization overhaul using in-house s...

  • SEO

    Search Engine Optimization And Web 2.0

    September 6, 2007 •

    That well-used buzzword "Web 2.0" encompasses a number of technologies, including blogs, RSS feeds, wikis, tagging/folksonomies, podcasts, widgets, AJAX and Flash. Some of these technologies are a net positive for your search engine visibility and some are a net negative.
 Blogs and RSS...

  • SEO

    SEO: Heads or (Long) Tails?

    August 29, 2007 •

    Search engine optimizing for the "Long Tail" is fundamentally different from optimizing for the head. Therefore, it’s important to initially point out that the strategies and tactics for “Long Tail” SEO are more automated and extensible than for traditional SEO. What is "Long Tail?" ...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    August 15, 2007 •, operated by Pangea Vegan Products, is a site after my own heart. As a recently turned vegetarian (as of a year ago), I'm definitely in the target market. Too bad it's unlikely I would have discovered the site. That's because I'm not strictly vegan, and the site isn't ta...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    August 6, 2007 •

    Founder Rafael Jimenez of NYC-based Latino and multi-ethnic men's streetwear brand Republica Trading Co. volunteered to have his site reviewed. That was a good call because the site misses the mark when it comes to SEO in some key areas. Before even loading the home page, I uncovered...

  • SEO

    SEO: Is Your Site Holiday-ready?

    August 1, 2007 •

    Those of you with school-age children may have been preoccupied with back-to-school, but now it’s time to start preparing your site for the holidays. The holiday shopping season is not that far off, so get on with implementing these traffic-building tips in order to achieve maximum sear...

  • SEO

    SEO: Metrics That Matter

    June 17, 2007 •

    Out with the old, in with the new. In terms of SEO, what’s falling by the wayside? Obsessively watching indexation numbers and rankings on “trophy” keywords (like the one you know the CEO always checks first thing in the morning). Worrying yourself sick over “duplicate content penalt...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Change Home Page Links

    June 12, 2007 •

    This month's selectee,, is an outdoor furniture manufacturer operating a small (less than 100 pages) MIVA Merchant-powered ecommerce site. Its rankings are in the doldrums. The store does not appear in the first 100 listings in Google for critical terms "Adirondac...

  • SEO

    Critique Part Three: Search Engine Optimization

    June 4, 2007 •

    The Problem: Long, complex URLs create search engine indexing issues. The Fix: Rewrite the URLs to eliminate "stop characters" from the URLs. You might wonder, "why bother?" when the dynamic pages are clearly getting indexed. Even so, studies undertaken by my company, Netconcepts, sho...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Error Pages Create Big Issues

    May 14, 2007 •

    Modernmini sells modern-style babies' and children's furniture, toys, bedding and more. Its site is powered by the Zoovy platform. Founder Pazit Kagel, a designer and mother of three, requested a site grade, and I'm happy to oblige. The URLs contain session IDs — a no-no for SEO — bu...

  • Link Building

    SEO: Link Baiting Tips To ‘Juice’ Your Site

    May 7, 2007 •

    Link bait, simply put, is content that is so funny, so interesting, so useful, or otherwise remarkable that it becomes irresistible to bloggers and website owners, who set up links from their pages to the original material. I've seen link bait take the form of Top 10 lists, humorous vid...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Need Pages At Product Level

    May 2, 2007 •

    One site review request really stood out in this month's batch. Kyle Kano is the owner and operator of The Honey Jar, and he is just 17 years old. Kyle got the idea for his online business when, on a family trip to Colorado, he noticed a shop selling Honeyville Honey — a product made lo...

  • SEO

    SEO: Google Cracks Open Its Black Box

    April 16, 2007 •

    Wouldn't it be great if Google offered insight into how your website stacks up against its super-secret algorithms? What ails your site when it comes to SEO and what could be done better? Google Webmaster Central does just that, by offering a plethora of diagnostic and statistical tools...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: The Google Death Sentence

    April 4, 2007 •

    Seasonal online businesses, Gifts By Delivery, have it tough. During most of the year, they live lean while sales slow to a trickle. Then autumn comes and the manna begins to rain down from heaven. For Gifts By Delivery, the ramp-up begins in early October. The fourth quarter last ye...

  • SEO

    SEO: The Duplicate Content Penalty

    March 20, 2007 •

    The question of Google's supposed "duplicate content penalty" seems to be on everybody's minds these days. This issue is particularly relevant for dynamic ecommerce websites, as they often have multiple URLs that lead to the same product content (or nearly the same, with only a variatio...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card: Escaping the Google Sandbox

    February 19, 2007 •

    New sites are always at a disadvantage when it comes to ranking well in Google, particularly when the domain name is new, too. This phenomenon, known by some as the "Google Sandbox" and by others as the "TrustBox," is not a myth. It is very real and very much an issue for the subject of...

  • SEO

    Jonathan Hochman: Wikipedia and SEO

    February 15, 2007 •

    Stephan Spencer, senior contributor for Practical eCommerce and author of the popular SEO Report Card for the magazine, talks with SEO specialist Jonathan Hochman about the value of Wikipedia, using ...

  • SEO

    SEO: Can Wikipedia Help Your Business?

    February 12, 2007 •

    In Google, Wikipedia is everywhere. Pretty much anything you type into Google seems to result in a Wikipedia entry being returned as a top-10 result. Wikipedia's status in the search engines as an "authority site" is undisputed. Those lucky, well-connected, skillful or famous enough to ...

  • SEO

    SEO: To Buy Links, or Not to Buy Links?

    January 10, 2007 •

    If Google engineer Matt Cutts had his druthers, buying links would become an extinct SEO practice. Cutts has addressed the topic of link-buying on a number of occasions on his blog and in blog comments elsewhere. He's admonished webmasters who buy links for PageRank and encouraged webm...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    January 2, 2007 •

    This month marks the one-year anniversary of the SEO Report Card. During this time, I have received many kind words from both readers and report card recipients — words of gratitude and encouragement — for which I am grateful. I hope to render even more assistance in 2007. Now that y...

  • SEO

    SEO Report Card:

    December 1, 2006 •

    It is time for another MIVA Merchant-powered ecommerce site to get picked apart. I will try to be gentle. This month's "selectee" has the coolest name - Scrappopotamus. It is a pretty nice-looking website as far as ecommerce sites go, but with an Alexa rank of 1,338,118 (i.e., the 1,338...

  • SEO

    SEO Toolkit

    December 1, 2006 •

    If you consider that search engine optimization (SEO) is a scientific discipline, then you'll agree that obtaining empirical measurements using a comprehensive suite of tools is an absolute must. Every day should be filled with experimentation, data collection and more experimentation. ...