New year, new SEO features
We’re only a few days into the new year but our freshly re-charged dev team are already starting to roll out some new features to help you continue to grow your gift voucher revenue in 2019 – starting with SEO.
We work closely with many of our clients’ digital agencies and a common request is the ability to adjust GiftPro store meta data. Every SEO strategy is unique, but most are tied into a wider approach that incorporates our clients’ main websites, so it makes total sense to give them (and their agencies) the features they need to complement their overall plan.
There are now two main areas where meta data can be adjusted. The first is at the category level and the second is at the gift voucher level so here’s the low down on what that means…
At the category level
Categories are, in their own right, a great way to improve both the SEO of your store and the experience for users, so if you sell more than 4 or 5 gift vouchers it might be time to consider how your store is structured.
For example, if your hotel has a restaurant, a spa and bedrooms then categories are a no-brainer – you would nearly always have at least one category for each. The benefit for the user is obvious, but for search this essentially gives you 3 landing pages with your core keyword (i.e “Spa Gift Vouchers”) in the page title.
You should also use categories for seasonal campaigns like Black Friday, Mothers Day and Christmas. They take seconds to setup and can be scheduled to activate and de-activate automatically.
So we’ve discussed your voucher categories having an SEO benefit in their own right, but what’s actually new?
1. You can now add your own alt text to the large header image. Alt text is used for two reasons, as a usability aid, for people who use screen readers and also as a way to tell search engines what the image contains. We automatically populate the alt tag field with a title based on the category name, however, we would recommend writing a more descriptive title for both of the reasons described above. Here’s a useful guide to writing good alt text: https://moz.com/learn/seo/alt-text
TIP : Try setting unique header images for each category, it’s a nice way to merchandise your store and give users an enjoyable, relevant experience.
2. You can now modify the category meta title. GiftPro generates an SEO friendly one based on your brand name and the category title but you may well want to either add your own keywords or a completely different string of text to suit your strategy. If you’re interested in finding out more about the title tag we recommend reading this article on MOZ: https://moz.com/learn/seo/title-tag
3. You’re now able to adjust the meta description which essentially tells users what your page is about. It’s the piece of copy that appears in the organic search results, so it can affect your click through rate but isn’t used for any ranking signals (so don’t fill it with spammy keywords). To find out more about meta descriptions we recommend reading this article on MOZ: https://moz.com/learn/seo/meta-descriptionFinally, we’ve added another new section to the category page editor called ‘Intro text’ (see screenshot above). It allows you to write a paragraph of copy (with or without a title) that appears on your store’s category page, just above the gift vouchers in that category.
This feature has been under much debate as to whether it can actually affect your search position but at the very least it may help search spiders better understand what your page is about. You may also find it useful to introduce the category and/or write some emotive text to help your customers understand what’s on offer. Personally, we think your store looks and feels simpler without on-page text but at the request of many a search agency we’ve built it anyway.
At the gift voucher level
Once you have your categories in order you’ll probably want to focus on your individual gift voucher pages, so much like the category pages we’ve added a few tools to help you tweak your meta data and meet ‘best practices’ search-wise.
Once you’re on the voucher editor page, scroll down to SEO and you’ll see the panel below (much like the category page editor).
4. The alt text on the voucher editor relates to the main gift voucher image. The alt text for the packaging image is automatically generated.
5. This field works in exactly the same way as the category SEO editor and allows you to override the automatically generated meta title.
6. The meta description is generated by the search engine itself, so to override it simply type your text – with input from your favourite SEO expert of course!
What about permalinks?
Your permalink is basically a snazzy name for the URL of your category or gift voucher. You’ll see the pre-populated field on both SEO panels but we would only recommend adjusting this if you’ve been advised to as it’s generated based on the voucher/category name which is arguably the most relevant URL for the page.
What should I do next?
- If you have an SEO or a digital agency fire them a link to this article and get them to advise.
- If you know what you’re doing, feel free to make some adjustments.
- If you’re unsure, don’t worry, we pre-populate all of the SEO fields automatically so you’re not missing out. These tools are for ‘power users’ and experts who have very specific needs, making changes won’t necessarily improve your search ranking.