It’s opening day of your online auction. You’ve got beautiful, crisp pictures of your items, wonderful descriptors, and a website that wows! You are ready to make some serious money. There’s one problem, where are all the bidders?
Drawing a crowd to your online auctions depends largely on your ability to promote the event. So how do you maximize the number of eyes on your website?
Just like onsite auctions, the success of your online auction hinges on marketing your brand so you can outshine your competition and promote visibility of your auctions. The best way to achieve this goal is to harness the power of Search Engine Optimization, or SEO.
Simply put, SEO is a powerful tool that improves website rankings, drives traffic, and increases awareness of your site in search engines like Google and Yahoo. Think of it this way– When you are searching for a product or service, what’s the easiest way to obtain that information? It’s very likely that you’re turning to the help of Google or similar search engines. When you type in your search query, you’re directed to a list of results.You probably click on one of the first results you see, right? Your future bidders are doing the same.
When done right, SEO can boost the likelihood search engines will present your website as one of the first results when they match up with the words entered in a search. In order to get to the top of this list, you must implement certain tactics. Getting on this list will make your business look established, bring your business web traffic, and will exponentially increase your pool of bidders.
Here are 5 easy ways you can improve your SEO right now:
#1. Make sure you are using keywords throughout your site
Keywords are words and phrases that you include in your web content to boost your SEO. When you include these, it makes it more likely for search engines to find and display your website. Get inside your bidder’s head. If you were searching for the items you are selling, what words or phrases would you type into a search engine? Search engines use data gathered from search inquiries made by real consumers, so be sure that the keywords you use feel natural. Maximize the chances of your website being found by including these keywords in several places. For more in depth keyword research advice, check out Shopify’s Beginners Guide to SEO Keyword Research.
Use keywords in your…
URLs provide the user and the search engines an idea of what they will see when they click on a link. It is important to keep it simple and keyword rich. The most effective way of doing this is optimizing your domain name. In our Introduction to SEO blog, we told you that vanity domains can be a massive help in getting your brand name out there. What if your brand name doesn’t contain the keywords that are relevant to a specific page? Be sure that the path (seen at the tail-end of the URL) contains the desired keywords. In the example below, notice the brand name, Sharp Auction Engine, is prominent. We’ve included the keywords “real estate solutions” to clearly show what this web page is about.
Page titles are what show up on the search engine results page. This is your chance to ensure your page is shown at the top of the search results and capture the attention of your potential customer. By using relevant keywords and eye-catching phrases you can increase your SEO and click through rate (CTR) to your website. Page titles are what will show up in the search engine results page and on the browser tab. Two critical things need to be considered here:
1. ) What the focus of the page is. At least one keyword needs to be highly relevant to the page topic.
2. ) The interest of your target audience. People scan through search results. What would compel your bidders to visit your page? It needs to catch their eye. Even if you rank well in SEO, this will mean nothing if your pages do not have a good CTR. This is what Google uses to determine how relevant you are for a keyword.
A meta description is the text below the page title link in search engine results. It’s a short descriptor of what the page is about. Give your audience a concise and enticing preview of what the page is about to give them more reason to click through to your website. As mentioned earlier, search engines rank you on your click-through-rate, so it is very important to engage your audience.
This should be the easiest part. Your website text is likely to already contain keywords and phrases that will lure in your target audience. After your keyword research, you may want work in your results, but most importantly be sure your use of keyword is natural. Search engines will actually penalize you if your content is overstuffed with keywords because it reads like spam. No one likes spam. Not even Google.
Links should also reflect your keywords. This can be done by modifying the clickable text in the hyperlink to include specific words or phrases relevant to the page it’s directing you to. You also want to entice bidders to click on this, so make it alluring to them as well. For example: instead of saying, “Click here to read about Facebook Ads”, it would be better to say “Our blog article features tips on how use Facebook Ads to boost your online auctions.“
#2. Optimize your pictures
Images are a great way to catch a customer’s eye and beautify your site but they can also weigh you down if implemented incorrectly. There are a few easy ways to make sure your images are working with you, not against you:
Search engines not only look at the text on your website, they also comb through image files. Including keywords and a descriptor in the file name of your image gives the search engines context and adds relevancy to a search. When naming a photo, be sure to use dashes in between words and not spaces or underscores. This makes the format easier for search engines to read. A picture of golf clubs that you are promoting could be named “golf-clubs-to-improve-swing”.
Use Image Alt Tags
Image alt tags also provide an accurate description of your photo to search engines. Alt tags are shown in place of an image unable to display, clueing in your visitor to what the image was. Additionally, alt tags make your site disability-friendly. Many programs for sight-impared, for example, read alt tags aloud to their user. ALWAYS use alt tags on all of your photos. If you are using the Sharp Auction Engine platform, these are called Image Descriptions and can be edited under the photo manager.
Check image size and quality
The overall tactic here is that you want to use quality images but keep them a small file size for faster page loads because search engines do not like slow websites.The best way to solve this problem is to reduce the size of your images. Image files are measured in two ways: their length and width, which are usually measured in pixels, and the quality or dpi (dots per inch). If you have the ability, you will want to ensure all of your images are 72dpi – this is the web standard. However, for this you will need an advanced photo editor. The easiest way (as well as a compliment to manually editing the dpi) to compress your images is to use a compression software or website. JPEGMini is a great image compression tool with a free option or Optimizilla is a straightforward website that compresses both JPEGs and PNGs.
#3. Make sure all your links work & link back to yourself and others
There are two types of links: internal links that link to other pages within your own site and external links that link to other peoples websites. Utilizing both correctly can help improve your SEO quite easily. However, you must maintain them and ensure they are always up-to-date – dead links kill SEO, so don’t let your links lead to nowhere!
#4. Increase your sites readability
Another factor search engines take into consideration is readability. This is determined through multiple factors but three easy ways to ensure your content has maximized readability is through using headers and ensuring your font choice and size are web friendly.
Headers and Sub-headers
Using headers and sub-headers breaks up content and allows for search engines (and your readers) to quickly determine what your content is about and if it is relevant. Your readers will thank you too – headers and sub-headers give the eyes a break in large segments of text and provides easy reference to integral points.
Font Size and Type
We’ve all been to sites with funky or super small text that you can’t read. How long did you stay on that site? Our guess is not very long. Now that you have all your content well organized with headers and sub-headers, make sure your visitors can read it! The standard body text size is 14pt and for the most part serif fonts (like Times New Roman) are used for headers and sans serifs (like Arial) are used for the body text. This blog is written in a 14pt font sans serif font. But don’t be afraid to experiment! Try larger sizes, try different fonts – it’s all about what looks best on your site but maintaining functionality. Google Fonts is a great place to find web-friendly fonts.
#5. Simplify your site navigation
Simple navigation makes it easier for search engines to explore your site (called “crawling”) and search engines like it when it’s easy – who doesn’t?? Take a look at our website’s navigation. We have our main navigation tabs and some have a drop down menus but that’s it. Depending on your site you may have more or you may have less but either way you will want to ensure it is well organized and the navigation is intuitive. A good rule of thumb to consider when creating or updating your navigation is that it should only take 3 clicks to get to the deepest part of your site. At the end of the day, you want to make it easy for your visitor to get to your desired end result whether that be someone bidding on your catalog or contacting you.
Using SEO properly is like setting up a virtual billboard on the highway that is the internet. By placing keywords throughout your site, optimizing your photos, utilizing links, increasing your site’s readability, and simplifying your site’s navigation, you can better market your “virtual billboard”. In doing so, you’ll be drawing in more bidders and vastly differentiating yourself from the competition in no time.
Boost your SEO yourself, or simply use our platform and we’ll do the heavy lifting for you! Sharp Auction Engine offers a free 30-day trial.
Like our article? There’s more where that came from…