Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of improving the visibility of a website or a web page in search engines via the "natural" or un-paid ("organic" or "algorithmic") search results. WineDirect does not provide SEO services for your website. However, the WineDirect platform is very SEO-friendly.'
Here is a video on SEO and a few WineDirect blog posts on SEO:
Page And Meta Tag Titles
A title tag tells users and search engines what the topic of a particular page is.
Accurately describe the page's content.
Use short titles. Google will only show a portion of the results.
Avoid a title that has no relation to the content on the page.
Avoid a single title tag across multiple pages (For example: "Pine Wines Great Wine Selection – Red Wines").
Meta Tag Descriptions
A page's description meta tag gives Google and other search engines a summary of what the page is about. Meta Tag Descriptions will display in search results when a person searches for your site. Google may use the description you have added in the marketing tab for your general pages; they could also ignore them and bring in relevant content. Your descriptions should be relevant to the content of that specific page. It would be best to create unique descriptions for each page rather than duplicating a general description for all your web pages. Please see the Marketing Tab Documentation for more information on editing your Meta Tag Descriptions.
The navigation of a website is essential in helping visitors quickly find the content they want. Definition: "an easy way for webmasters to inform search engines about pages on their site that are available for crawling." 'Crawling' is how a search engine searches your pages (sometimes called "Spiders").
You will want to have two site maps on your website: one for consumers or users and one for search engines (XML sitemap).
Search Engine Site Map
WineDirect provides Google with a Robot.txt file. This search engine site map, the technical term: XML, will provide Google with your website's page structure. To access your XML site map, navigate to: https://www.YOURDOMAINNAME.com/index.cfm?method=pages.searchEngineSiteMap.
This will show you the list of your pages in the format that Google searches. Your pages will be displayed in priority sequence: 1.0 as your homepage, 0.9 as any main menu pages, 0.8 for sub-pages below them, and so on. Any hidden or secure pages will be removed from the XML site map. So any pages you do not wish to display on the web, or those which require a person to log in before viewing the page content, will be excluded from the XML file.
User Site Map
Your user site map will be your 404 page within your General Pages. If a user clicks on a broken link or mistypes the URL for a page, they will automatically be redirected to the 404 error page. It is essential to make sure that this page is user-friendly. Information to include on this page is navigation back to the homepage and other principal pages. Other information to consider is having an email address available so users can report how they came to the 404 page, helping you to resolve any broken links that may occur on your site.
Content is typically the best way to increase your search engine optimization, so focusing on this aspect of your website is critical. Focus on creating valuable, high-quality content specific to your brand. When working on content SEO, remember that your content should be created for consumers, not for Google.
You always want to have new 'fresh' content on your website. This will keep your customers engaged, prompting them to frequent your site regularly. Fresh content will also increase the frequency with which Google crawls your site. Google generally crawls a site roughly every six months; however, keeping your content fresh can increase the frequency to anywhere from 2-3 months.
Blogs are a simple yet effective way to have a steady flow of new content for your website. The Blog feature on the WineDirect platform allows you to create several blog posts at one time and post date each for future releases. This will allow you to create more fresh content than adding a few new sentences. For more information on using the blog feature, please see the Blog Documentation.
Avoid using Flash websites or flash with text within it. The downside of using flash is search engines such as Google cannot search your site's content. WineDirect only designs in HTML; however, some clients use this medium.
Keywords are essential but avoid overuse. For example, if you have a page showcasing your Pinot Noir, simply repeating Point Noir in your text does not increase your SEO. A good guideline to remember is that if the frequency of keywords annoys your consumers, it will be annoying for search engines. Heavy use of keywords decreases your SEO, not increases it.
Avoid the use of an 'age gate.' This is a controversial topic within the wine industry, with some companies adopting an 'age gate' policy, asking consumers their age before entering the website.
WineDirect strongly recommends against the use of an 'age gate.' Age Gates deter consumers from visiting your website for information on your wines. Generally, the more "clicks" it takes to enter your site, the less likely consumers will follow through and visit it. Additionally, having an age gate dramatically decreases your SEO. Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and MSN cannot get past the age gate and will not search your website content. Including an age gate on your website is not a legal requirement. As long as you ask for the customer's age upon checkout and delivery (for alternate shipping addresses), you meet the legal requirements for age verification.
The proper use of headings, something most clients often overlook, can increase your SEO as well. During the design process, clients typically ask for additional heading types; unfortunately, Google can't read more than 6 heading types. The WineDirect platform is set up with six headings sizes. You will want to ensure that your most important heading, typically your page title, is Heading 1. This will inform Google that this is the most crucial heading, prioritizing it in the page sequence. Simply setting your page content to Heading 1 will not increase SEO because Google will assume that your page does not have a topic.
Links & Marketing URLs
When creating Marketing URLs for your pages and the text for your links, you will want to be conscious that they are relevant to your site content and structure for visitors. Your URLs should be accessible for consumers to understand, mainly if used in print advertising. Remember to keep them short (e.g.,/About-Us/Staff instead of /About-Pine-Wines/Meet-The-Staff) as your URL often displays within search results.
Another common area that clients overlook is their choice of text when linking to pages or PDFs for tasting notes. Often the verbiage "Click Here" is used for the link text. Using more descriptive text such as "About Us, Page" or "View Tasting Notes" is more advantageous to increase your SEO.
Your image names and your image ALT Tags (Alternative Text) can work to increase your SEO. Image names should be descriptive of the image, for example, "Pine_Wines_Vineyard" rather than "Vineyard" or "Image1". You will also want to be mindful of your PDF names as well. When Adding Alt Tags to your images, make sure they also describe the image.
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