SEO for Google shopping/ natural search and other engines

Here are some things that Google considers for rankings.  (not an exhaustive list)

1. Item names -   Google looks at the first 70 characters of the product name.  Try to make your product names very relevant to the item and load your key search words and phrases as early in the name as you can.
2. Descriptions (caption)  -  Google looks at the first characters of your product descriptions.  You don't need to restate your product name as the very first words of your product caption.  In fact, Google doesn't like that.  You do, however, need to front load your product descriptions and put your key words and phrases as early in the caption as possible.
3.  Brand, UPC, Manufacturer-part-number, Color, Size, Age-group, Gender...  Google likes this information on products.  It is probably for the eventuality of Google becoming a shopping portal like Amazon, but giving Google the information they want seems to help products float to the top.
4. Promotional Text - Don't use promotional text in your item names and captions.  e.g., phrases like "free shipping" or "best value on the web" don't actually describe the product and Google prohibits these phrases.  They don't help SEO anyway so avoid them on item names and captions.  These phrases are helpful to display on your item pages as "splash graphics" or other visual trigger elements so do use them, just keep the text out of the item names and captions.  If you like having this text on your item names or in your descriptions, set up your data feed to auto-exclude the text when the product data is sent to Google.  (Feed Wizards data feed service can do this quite easily -
5. Product Ratings - Have product ratings on your products and make those ratings indexable so Google and other search engines can grab the rating information.  If you get Schema Tags (rich snippets), make sure the programmer knows where your product ratings are stored in your Yahoo store so they can be marked up on each page.  The markup makes it easier for Google to grab that data off the page and Google may use it in their search results page listings.
6. Website Ratings - Pricegrabber aggregates store ratings and Google said they will consider store ratings more heavily in their search results.  Ratings must be gathered and stored by an "independent 3rd party" such as Pricegrabber so Google will know the ratings are not manipulated.
7.  Facebook "shares".  -  It is great to have Likes and even better to have "shares" of your items on Facebook.  Also Pinterest and other social networking sites are starting to have an influence on Google.  Some products do not lend themselves well to social networking especially "discreet" items, but having a social networking presence can help.
8.  Be a gigantic super-retailer like GAP or TARGET. -  Google seems to give preference to huge deep-pocketed retailers such as Kohls, Target, Gap etc...
9.  Blog.  -  Having a blog which is indexable and is housed directly on your store domain is a good way to add unique content which adds to search engine optimization and your position as an authority in your field.
10.  Get good inbound links from excellent sources.  -  Get reputable sites to link to you.  Steady link growth is best. Adding thousands of links in a very short time looks like spam to Google so set up a steady, well-paced link generation program with your search engine marketing company.
11.  Get organized - Your site should be easy to navigate with as few clicks as possible to get from the home page to an item page for purchase.  Shallow sites are easier for Google to index and easier means faster and faster means better page rank.
12.  Don't have a slow-loading site. -  Your page load times are important to Google.  Faster is better.  If your store uses a lot of javascript and heavy functionality, make sure you post these scripts in a consolidated file.  The consolidated file can be compressed and 'smushed' and stored in an external file so it does not weigh down one's page source code.  This helps make a site faster (which Google likes) and keeps the large scripts off the source code (having scripts on-page slows down the search engine spiders when they crawl your site).
These are just some ways one can make their products more appetizing to Google.  These SEO best-practices apply both to natural search and Google Shopping and will help with other search engines as well.

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