[intro]If you have been approached by an SEO agency to work on your EKM online shop, this Guide will let you know what you need to look for before you sign any agreements. [/intro]
This is a very open-ended question, as SEO as an industry and profession is something that varies widely and is not regulated. Some SEO companies are just one person, whilst agencies with a larger team can help with different aspects of optimising your existing online shop and generating new content for you. Be warned though that the latter can be expensive; if you wish to use an SEO company, you need to ensure exactly what they will do for you from the outset.
There are many SEO agencies and platforms out there who will take your domain and ‘analyse’ your shop content in order to deliver an SEO report and make suggestions as to what is ‘missing’ and needs adding in order to make your EKM online shop more ‘SEO friendly’.
In most cases, these agencies and the platforms that they use are not relevant. They’re ideal for people who have had their online shops coded from scratch by developers, but your EKM online shop is on a hosted platform; essentially, we’ve built the bare bones of the shop and its functionality, and it’s up to you as the shop owner to ‘flesh out’ the shop with content, Products and Categories.
[tips]Many SEO companies will begin by providing an SEO report which outlines any areas on your online shop or website which may require attention. There are many free websites online that offer this service too, however, bear in mind that often these websites (which are also used by SEO companies to create their initial reports) are designed to be used on websites and online shops that have been coded from scratch. This means that although some of the information may be useful, a large amount of it will not apply to your own EKM online shop as it is on a hosted platform. [/tips]
This means that all EKM online shops are the same in terms of structure - we as a company provide your online shop and it’s up to you as the shop owner to customise the content to suit your purpose. Because we provide your EKM online shop, there’s lots of technical SEO and functionality created by our Development Team which comes as standard, including:
- Search engine friendly design;
- H1 Tags as Product Names;
- Matching Page Titles;
- Meta Data Keywords & Description;
- Sitemaps.org standard XML Sitemap;
- Automatic Product Feed generation;
Most SEO companies, as the industry is not regulated, can, unfortunately, promise the world and fail to deliver mainly due to one major flaw in their business plans; it’s common for them to promise that they can deliver first-page results for your business, meaning that if you sell mobile phones, for example, and someone searched for mobile phones, your online shop would display in the first page of results.
However, take a moment to think about that. What if that same SEO company had four other customers on its books who like you, also sell mobile phones? How can it promise to get all of you within the first page of search engine results? They just can’t.
Even if the SEO company has a conflict of interest policy whereby they will not take on more than a handful of clients from the same or similar industries, they themselves are still competing with thousands of other SEO companies who are all trying to do the same thing.
It’s also worth mentioning that you should be wary of companies who recommend that:
- They or you create several ‘minisites’ or ‘microsites’ which all point back to your EKM online shop;
- You need to purchase a number of different domain names which are comprised of your main keywords to point at your online shop;
- You need to add specific keywords to the pages of your online shop, but these should be coloured the same as the background so although invisible at first glance, they will still be ‘seen’ by search engines;
- They will post links to your shop content in online directories and the comments sections in blogs and forums.
All of the recommendations above are quite old techniques now, but we still hear of these being marketed to unknowing online shop owners regularly. The search engines are aware of these tactics and any sites using such artificial methods often have their site rankings reduced and in many cases banned.
Generally, if the promises an SEO company pitches to you sound too good to be true, they usually are. If you choose to hire the services of an SEO company, however, make sure you do your research into them to discover if they can actually help you and what they have managed to do for other similar companies. Also, don’t forget to clarify:
- If they are posting external links to your online shop content, what are the URLs of the websites where they are posting to and what is the popularity of these sites?
- If they are generating content for you, is it written for both humans and bots - are your keywords embedded within the text and is it possible for you to proof the copy before it is published online?
- Can they provide case studies of where they have performed the same for similar companies and what were the results?
- Is there a contract?
- What if the methods employed by the strategy do not work - is there a refund policy?
- Will you receive regular reports as to how their strategy is working for your EKM online shop? What will those reports contain?
Of course, if you don’t have the budget to pay for an SEO company to work on your EKM online shop and that’s okay; we’ve done a lot of the hard work for you already. The parts that you need to do yourself are detailed in the following Guide.
[contact] If you need our help with your EKM online shop, contact your Account Manager or Customer Support, who will be able to point you in the right direction. We're open from 8am-6pm weekdays and 9am-5.30pm on the weekends. If you'd like to suggest a feature or an upgrade on any of the EKM platforms, please let us know on the EKM Suggestions board. If you have a non-account specific question ask the EKM Team, join us in ekmCommunity. [/contact]