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Introduction to SEO

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SEO (or Search engine optimization) is the process of improving your site's ranking in search results in engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo to generate free traffic to your online store. While some things can be manual, we have the technical side covered for you — all stores are optimized for search engines by default. See a detailed description of what we do to make SEO a priority.



SSL certificate

First things first, your customer’s private data (their name, email, credit card details, etc.) has to be secured from hackers, scammers, and data thieves with HTTPS protocol and an SSL certificate. Not only can those tools improve security and increase your trustworthiness, but they can also help your store rank better in search engines. We provide an SSL certificate and HTTPS protocol for every account for free.

Note: If you add the store to an existing website like WordPress, you keep our free SSL certificate for your store pages. Although the rest of the website is a separate matter. You need to purchase an SSL certificate to protect sensitive information. Sites that aren't SSL-secured may be penalized in search engine rankings.


Sitemap for Instant Sites

We automatically generate a sitemap.xml file that contains a list of the site pages. This file is used by search engines like Google to crawl and index your products so that your store's pages appear in search results. New pages – and new products – are indexed faster with sitemaps since search engines check sitemaps every day.


Structured data

Structured data is a set of special tags on the site code that help search engines to see what information on the site is more important. This helps index the products and categories better. Your store uses microdata by Schema.org to annotate product information and adds it to all store pages automatically. This product information appears in search results.


Custom meta tags for products

By default, your store generates product metadata (page title and meta description) automatically, based on the product names and descriptions. You can control how exactly Google displays your product pages in the search snippets with custom meta titles and descriptions so they are sweet and short for Google users.


Clean URLs

Simple, descriptive, and clean URLs are a basic SEO technique. Your store automatically generates SEO-friendly URLs for products and categories (from their titles) as well as cart and checkout pages. They are easily indexed and read by search engines. Here is an example of a product page with a clean URL: https://example.business.shop/Blue-Flannel-p699812.... Such URLs are short, meaningful and clean from hashes (“#”) and other parameters like “?”, “&” and “=”, so people and algorithms can easily read them.


Automatic ALT-tags for images

“ALT” is a tag used to explain images to search engine robots. Your store creates ALT-tags for images automatically with the same text as the product title.


Built-in mobile optimization

The stores have a mobile-optimized layout that automatically adapts to the size of a visitor’s screen. It is important: not only it makes your website appear more aesthetically pleasing from all screens but has a higher priority in Google search results.


Static copies of pages

Search engines do not always index dynamic websites well. To ensure they index the stores, we use special technology. If you sell with Instant site or use WordPress plugin, your store creates a static HTML copy for every product and category page in your store, then gives this copy to a search engine. This helps Google and other search engines index your store as if it were a static HTML site.


Robots.txt for Instant Sites

Robots.txt is a text file that shows search engines what pages can be indexed. Search engines can index all the product and category pages on Instant Sites, but they will not see the cart page or search results. These pages should not be indexed as their content is different for every visitor.


Rich social snippets for product pages

This one doesn’t impact SEO directly, but it makes links shared on social media and messengers more compelling to your potential customers. Your store generates open graph meta tags for social media sites, so when you share links on Google, Facebook, Twitter (and more) you get a beautiful preview with a title, image, and description for your site.

For Instant site users: you can customize the image that is displayed as a preview when someone shares a link to your site on social media. From your store's admin, go to Website → Edit Site. In the editor on the left bottom click Settings → SEO → Site image, then add your custom image.


Next steps

There are 189 million active websites on the internet, so yours won’t get to the top of Google naturally. You have to enter the race for the sweet spot by working on your website SEO: collect keywords that customers use to find your products, include them in your product titles and descriptions, use only original and unique website content, advertise it, and make others want to link to it on their resources.

That’s quite a bunch of work, so we prepared a detailed SEO checklist for you to follow: Improving SEO for your store →




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