Getting a top position in major search engines for your shopping cart is hard work, it can take 1 month, it can take 10 years. Follow these rules and techniques and you are truly giving it your best shot, but BE PATIENT! It's difficult for a reason, remember, those who give up, never make it.

This article covers;

  • Getting the search engine spiders to find your site.
  • Getting the search engine spiders to crawl your site more frequently.
  • Getting the search engine spiders to crawl your site more deeply (i.e., this will get them to look at more than just your site's homepage.)
  • Setting your site for maximum keyword optimisation
  • Building link popularity for high rankings

Understanding Rankings
This "article" covers several areas which major search engines uses to rank sites in their search results.

"Natural" results, (as opposed to Paid Results) should be regarded as the major target of your business to be ranked highest in the world as they provide long term targeted visitors for your store. The "paid" results are considered by many to be a short term objective as they provide instant results but more of a costly outlay for visitors (PPC).

The shopping carts that rank high in the major search engines (like Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc) are the ones getting traffic, and often sales.

Search Engines have computers and programs called "Spiders" that collect information about your web pages in an attempt to "figure out" what your pages are about. These spiders gather information from your pages and use these in factoring which sites get ranked higher than others. Search Engines analyze over 100 On-Page Factors when "spidering" your web pages.

Some of the major On-Page Search Engine Optimization Factors are:

  • Keyword Density
  • Words in Title Tag
  • Words in the Page
  • Words in Links
  • Words in Headings
  • Words in Bold
  • Beginning Words
  • Words in URL
  • Meta Tags (some older small engines)
  • HTML Validation
  • Directory Listings
  • Link Structure
  • "Indexability" of the page

and Hundreds of Other Factors

What is Search Engine Optimization?
When a user types a search phrase into Google, and gets back results, those results are made up of several complex formulas. When Google "Ranks" sites, it is really just performing Mathematical Formulas. There is no human involved in the process of evaluating any individual site - it is Math formulas computed from the information that Google Bot gathers from your site.

Google sends several Search Engine Spiders (computers) out to update pages it knows of, and to seek new pages that it finds through links. The name given to all the Google Search Engine Spiders is Google Bot.

Google Bot can not view pictures. Google Bot can not see if the site is "Pretty" or "not". It also doesn't read Meta Tags the way that the older search engines once did.. Meta Tags are not bad, but they are mostly a thing of the past.

For an example of Google Search Engine Optimization, go to Google and type in any search phrase. Google will go through the list of sites that are in its database and look for those pages that mention your words at least once. On the Google results page all of these sites will be the X number in the "Results 1 - 10 of about X NUMBER". You must mention the terms and phrases that you want to get found within your page's text. In other words, if you are marketing a phrase, then that phrase had better be mentioned at least once on the page to have a chance of showing up in the results.


To start with you will need a web site that offers lots of good keyword specific information, content is King! Internet Marketing or Search engine optimisation starts with finding the best keyword phrases for marketing.

This is NOT a guessing game - keyword marketing is a science, and an art.

Analyzing keyword phrases is the foundation of everything you will do for your internet marketing campaign - Choose your words wisely. Ashop shopping cart software provides merchants with free web promotion tools including a keyword suggestion tool and density analyser which are found in your admin panel when logged in. These will help you get started.

Keyword Marketing

To find the best keywords to target, start by asking the following questions:

What is the ultimate goal of your site? Keep this in mind when choosing words.
Who is your target market? Try to "think" like them.
What words might they type in to find your products / services - always assuming they don't know your company name, or anything about your company? Be sure to put yourself in their shoes!
It is best to choose keywords that are highly relevant to your products and services. For a customer wishing to sell Sun Protective Clothing it is better to target the keyword "sun protection clothing" compared to "sun" or "clothing". Aside from individual keywords being to broad, they are also very competitive.

Keep in mind that most people search using 2-3 word phrases. In the Internet Marketing field we call these words "keyword phrases". Come up with a list of as many phrases as you can from your brainstorming session. Add these to your keyword marketing list.

The best-case scenario is choosing targeted keyword phrases which are popular. Optimizing your shopping cart for keywords that no one is searching for is a waste of time and money.

Keyword optimisation has many factors making it a powerful marketing tool, this is a large part of the reason why websites are ranked higher than others, if it were only up to a couple of factors then search engines could not honestly clearly rank billions of sites.

Some important factors when using your keywords include;

Keyword density (roughly 16% repetition per page is good)
Keyword placement (more weight is given to first 25 words of text on a page, repeating on every page, in the URL, in the site title and footer all help).
Keyword properties (bold, italic, underlined, font size (whether it is a header title or a subtitle) all make keywords stronger).
Use of alt tags (mouse over image text)
Hyperlinking keywords to pages within your own site using the same keywords.
Hyperlinking keywords to pages outside your own site with similar topics and keywords. (not proven but seems to help)

Hide keywords as the same colour as your background
Repeat your keywords too often or all in a row with commas (keyword spamming)
Write your keywords so often it compromises the value of your site content. Content still needs to make sense!
Mention the words "trade links" "link exchange" or similar in any pages you are linking to people, it may get you banned from Google.
Mention the words "under construction" or similar on your home page as this often prevents sites from indexing in Google
A little more in depth

The Google Search Engine puts A LOT of weight on the text that is found in the TITLE tag. Most search results will show pages that have the searched words in the title tag.

Also good Search Engine Optimization will have the targeted keyword phrases at the beginning of the page since the text at the beginning of the page has more relevance than the text on the rest of the page. This means that your first few sentences on the page should mention your targeted keyword phrases.

Search engines also likes it if you have text links on the page that include your keyword phrases. If you have a navigation bar that is pictures (and not text) then you will want to also add some text links on the pages that link to your "important" pages, and it's better optimization if you have those links be the keywords that describe that page.

Another small factor which can help is the use of "ALT" tags. These are the tags that a designer will put within a picture. You can view these tags by hovering your mouse over a picture, and then keeping your mouse still, you will then see the text for the ALT tag pop up.

Ashop Commerce shopping cart software has already built one of the strongest platforms in the world to create the best layout and properties of your keywords by the standard use of our software, however, a manual optimisation to target keyword content is always extremely beneficial. Their Kick Start Package looks at these specific keyword phrases, density, properties, placement and the most important part of optimizing a site for Search engines, Link popularity.


Link popularity is by far the most important factor in gaining a high ranking position in Search Engines for the keyword phrases you use within your site.

"Link popularity". In simple terms, means that the more websites which link to any page, the more popular that page is, and thus, pages with more links TO THEM, should rank higher.

Caution 1!: Cross linking
For site owners who have a number of sites, it's not unusual to see them linking to each other on every page in an effort to keep visitors within their "network" but also to boost search engine rankings, this is called cross linking. This can not only impede getting a new site listed, but also have a negative affect on all cross-linked sites as Google sees it as an artificial method for improving rankings. My advice is that if you do wish to cross-link your own sites, do it from one page only - your "about" page is probably most suitable for this.

Caution 2!: Reciprocal linking
Reciprocal Linking is a well recognised form of artificially building link popularity and in turn higher rankings in search engines. The only way reciprocal linking may help a small amount is if sites of similar content/topics are linking together and the links are placed within relevant keywords. Simply exchanging links with sites to improve rankings will more than often do damage to your rankings rather than improve them. Google can see when a site is doing link exchange programs by analysing how many links in one page, the keywords surrounding the link and the relevancy of the sites linking, DON'T TRY TO TRICK GOOGLE! As an important note, do not mention the words "trade links" "link exchange" or similar in any pages you are linking to people, it may get you banned from Google, it is considered an artificial method of inflating PageRank

A more in depth look at link popularity is to explain the "GOOGLE PAGERANK" system. This is Google's own link ranking system based on the "quantity" and "value/importance" of the inbound links to your site.

To find PageRank you will use the Google Tool Bar. Click here to get the Google Tool Bar for FREE - be sure to download it with the "Advanced features". In the Google Toolbar you will see . If you move your mouse over the graph and then keep your mouse still, a yellow box will pop up and tell you the Google PageRank of that page. PageRank is on a scale of 0 to 10.

The Google website explains PageRank as:
PageRank relies on the uniquely democratic nature of the web by using its vast link structure as an indicator of an individual page's value. In essence, Google interprets a link from page A to page B as a vote, by page A, for page B. But, Google looks at more than the sheer volume of votes, or links a page receives; it also analyzes the page that casts the vote. Votes cast by pages that are themselves "important" weigh more heavily and help to make other pages "important." - Google.

As you get more quality links to your site, your PageRank will increase. e.g. 5 highly important sites linking to you may equal 5,000 less important sites linking to you.

Check your current link popularity. (How many sites are linking directly to you?)

You can check your site's current quantity of links by going to any search engine and typing in link:

How to gain link popularity

There is an incredible amount of free sites, directories and search engines out there offering a free link to your shopping cart by simply submitting your domain name and details. I will list these in the next couple of pages. Use them, they are of great importance in building your link popularity quickly and easily.

What you SHOULD do;

List your domain name as a clickable, keyword rich link within other peoples websites, directories, search engines and forums. Also aim to have an inbound link to many of your custom pages and products pages as this will allow the spiders to list and rank your deeper website pages.

What you should NOT to do;

List your site using non-reputable mass link submission programs or with FFA (Free for All) directories. This will do major damage to your rankings including exclusion of Google in some cases.
I've seen this happen many, many times - a site owner submits their web site to the engines, gets impatient after a couple of weeks and then decides to take out a "1,000,000 visitors for $24" campaign.
Many of these cheap traffic strategies can actually get you banned. Rule of thumb - if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is - and you should steer clear of such schemes. This is especially the case where the method of delivery of traffic is through a page on your site being displayed. Not all such advertising campaigns are shonky, you just need to be careful.

Be patient - there really is no magic solution to rankings and listings; solid and ethical search engine optimization strategies are still the only way to go.


You know the saying "It's not what you know, it's who you know"? In this case it applies to how many friends, colleagues, associates etc you have with websites willing to link directly to yours without asking for a link in return, this may even cost you a little to persuade them. This is where a high PageRanking website linking back to yours can be of the utmost value, it can mean the difference between ranking on the 5th page in Google or the 1st.


There are literally thousands and thousands of free directories willing to list your domain in their site based on whether your site is in reference to a certain industry or whether someone is recommending your site etc. Best way to find these helpful directories is to type in your stores industry keyword and then the word "submit" or "directory" and so on. Some of these directories have great page ranks so they will really help.

Caution: Don't waste your time linking back to them unless they are purely a helpful link within your site, this will basically cancel out the link they provide in their system.

Search engines

There are countless smaller search engines out there who ask for your site to be listed with them. Search for these on Google with keywords such as "submit search engines" "free link submission" "link popularity submit". Once again, don't waste your time in linking back to them.


Forums based on certain industries are a great source of building link popularity as you can chat for days in them finding out great tips for your site whilst leaving your domain as a link in your signature each time. Don't spam these forums, you will get kicked out and annoy hundreds of people at the same time, then your links will be deleted. Some forums also hold great Google PageRanks so they will really help you.

I hope this provides you with enough base learning to get you underway and see some decent rankings over the coming months. Good luck!

How to market your online store (By James O'Brien)

We've done the hard yard research and found the best online shopping cart software for you. It's flexible, easy, fast and beautiful. Take a test drive and enjoy the experience of building your own successful online store.