Google has a variety of features and programs that are meant to assist in the operation and management of an eCommerce website. Below we will outline many of these, why they are useful, and how to utilize them.
Before a search engine can tell you where a file or document is, it must be found. To find information on the hundreds of millions of Web pages that exist, a search engine (in this case, Google) employs special software robots, called spiders, to build lists of the words found on Web sites. When a spider is building its lists, the process is called Web crawling. The usual starting points are lists of heavily used servers and very popular pages. The spider will begin with a popular site, indexing the words on its pages and following every link (this is why interlinking is important!) found within the site. In this way, the spider system quickly begins to travel, spreading out across the most widely used portions of the Web.
There are a few things that these "spiders" pay close attention to:
- The words within the page
- Where these words are found
- Words occuring in a title, subtitle, and meta tags are given special consideration during these searches
- It is important to note that using an excessive amount of keywords to try and trick this method will not work. There are also algorithms in place to determine whether or not the site is guilty of "keyword stuffing"
Google Analytics is a service offered by Google that generates detailed statistics about the visitors to a website. GA is so powerful because it can track visitors from any referrer (search engines, pay-per-click, email marketing, etc.) in order to show you what exactly is driving traffic to your site. Some useful information that every site owner should utilize in GA:
- How the visitor landed on that specific page. Did they come from a web search? A link on a separate page or site altogether? GA can give you this information so you can quantify how well your marketing strategies are performing.
- Bounce rate. This statistic will show you how many visitors click the back button from a specific page, which can show you what kinds of pages are keeping people interested, and which aren't.
- Time spent on page. This statistic in particular can be very valuable for tracking the success of your blog posts. Certain formats and layouts of an article may drive visitors away before they even had a chance to read it. Use this information to pinpoint exactly which page set ups are enticing to visitors, and encourage them to stay on the page longer.
Google Webmaster Tools is a web service by Google for webmasters. It allows webmasters to check SEO status and optimize visibility of their websites easily from a central location. The main difference between WT and Google Analytics is the ability of WT to show statistics for individual keywords in a much more detailed fashion. It also does not show the traffic stats that are generated from other engines, such as Bing and Yahoo.
An example of some of the information Webmaster Tools can provide:
- Submit and check on sitemaps
- Check and set the crawl rate, and view statistics about how Google's bots accesses a particular site
- List internal and external pages that link to the site
- See what keyword searches on Google led to the site being listed in the search engine results, and the click through rates of these listings
- View statistics about how Google indexes the site, and if it found any errors while doing it
- Set a preferred domain name (if you prefer example.com over www.example.com or vice versa), which determines how the site URL is displayed in Search results
- Google account (can be created here)
- Google Merchant Center account (sign in here using Google account)
- Must have a way to purchase (either through payment service or directly from website
- All payment and transaction processing must be secure (SSL protected with a valid SSL certificate)
- Products must be displayed in, sold and transacted in the appropriate currency of the target country.