Tips for improving Search Engine Optimization (SEO) with HCL Commerce

This guide summarizes the tips for improving SEO with HCL Commerce. It helps you better understand the features available to improve SEO.

Search engine ranking algorithms are constantly changed and updated. For example, the Google Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird algorithms. As a result, when these algorithms are updated, it might affect your page ranking.

Techniques that negatively affect page ranking

SEO is becoming less about optimizing for specific keywords, and more about prioritizing social signals, technical issues, and overall trustworthiness of a company and its website. As search engine ranking algorithms evolve, web spam techniques and tricks that previously helped increase the page rank of a website are no longer effective. Instead, web spam techniques and tricks that were previously effective might now negatively affect your page ranking in search engines.

The following techniques might negatively affect page ranking:
  • Keyword stuffing or hidden text
  • Doorway pages
  • Cloaking or sneaky redirects
  • Over-optimized anchor text
  • Duplicate content
  • Thin content or little content, poor writing, or poor presentation
  • Unnatural links
  • Spam comments
  • Merry-go-rounds
  • Content below fold
  • Rich snippet markup abuse
  • Trustworthiness
Note: The preceding list serves as a starting point for addressing search ranking related issues for various search engines. In addition, you can review search engine-specific guidelines, such as Google's general guidelines to optimize your site for SEO.

Techniques that improve page ranking

Techniques that improve page ranking include tasks that can be grouped into the following categories: Content, Usability, Technical, Linking, and Trustworthiness.

These SEO tips and best practices provide you with the basics for improving page ranking with various search engines. In addition, ensure that you understand how the latest ranking algorithms might affect your site.

Techniques that improve page ranking

Task Category For more information
Follow the HTML Microdata specification and specification on all relevant pages.

The Aurora starter store generates the correct tags for the HTML Microdata specification by default. This enables search engines to better index your WebSphere Commerce site.

Content Implementing rich snippets on your HCL Commerce site to improve search engine results
Provide meaningful product content for URL keywords.

Depending on your SEO strategy, you might need to modify your site's URLs. You can modify individual pages by using the Management Center or the Data Load utility. You can also modify the SEO XML configuration file to change the default behavior for URL keyword generation.

Content/Usability Creating descriptive storefront URLs when duplicate keywords exist
Provide detailed unique data on product details pages to boost relevancy.

There are placeholders in the Aurora starter store product details pages to provide additional information. You can use the Management Center to add more content to a page. You can also use the Data Load utility to import the data from your product information management system or wherever your catalog data resides.

Content Aurora starter store: Product details page
Optimize the performance of your website.

Search engines factor in the speed of your website when considering page ranking. Since the website's performance is a key consideration, you must identify and resolve performance bottlenecks.

For the web server tier, WebSphere Application Server provides several tools to help improve performance.

For the database tier, DB2 provides tools such as DB2TOP and DB2 snapshot to help improve performance.

Technical DB2 monitoring tool command (db2top)

DB2 Snapshot monitor

Fix broken links.

Monitor the log files for issues such as 404 errors and any other JSP-related errors.

Technical/Content JSP page error handling
Validate the robots.txt and generated site map XML file.

HCL Commerce provides tooling to help you generate the site map XML file. It is recommended that you use search engine-provided tools to validate the generated site map files. For example, Google webmaster tools.

Technical HCL Commerce integration with sitemaps
Optimize title and meta tag descriptions.

Search engines use the title and meta tag descriptions (in addition to other data) to help generate short descriptions shown in search results. You can modify the title and meta tags by using the Management Center, or you can import this data using the Data Load utility.

Content Catalogs tool
Support machine-based and alternative browsing methods.

The Aurora starter store is pre-tagged with WAI-ARIA compliant tags, the Accessible Rich Internet Applications Suite. The pages are tested for accessibility using Firefox version 10 and JAWS version 13.

Usability Accessibility in the Aurora starter store
Optimize for content above and below the fold.

The Commerce Composer tool enables you to structure your store pages with different templates and widgets. You can optimize pages to contain more relevant content above the fold, and less relevant content below the fold.

Usability Commerce Composer tool