The Game Store SEO Guide
No matter where your business is located I guarantee Google and search engines play a role in how your customers find you. Whether your core business is Magic: the Gathering, Games Workshop, or board games, your customers are looking for that stuff on Google. The Game Store SEO Guide will help you rank your page in Google and get the traffic that you’ve been looking for.
And guess what, the #1 result on a search page tends to get 33% percent of the traffic.
Gone are the days of the yellow pages and the phone book. If you want to get a share of your local market’s mainstream customers you need to rank. And understanding Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the way to do it.
How Do You Rank?
Ranking in a search engine is an ongoing process. When someone does a search on Google, Google tries to present them with the most relevant webpages it can. The more relevant the results the better served the person doing the search is. Google determines how relevant a site is by looking at a few factors. The big one is authority.
A webpage’s authority is a the number and the quality of links pointing to that page. The more links the better unless the links are spammy; in which case your webpage will be punished. Links from other high authority sites are the best as they indicate that your page is more relevant and valuable than your competitors.
Other factors that Google looks at are what your visitors are saying about your webpage and whether or not they are sticking around to read your content or bouncing. A high bounce rate is where a visitor clicks on your site and leaves without doing any other actions. This indicates that your page isn’t what the visitor was looking for and can result in your page being lowered in the rankings.
Google is trying to do two things, make money from paid search and provide an excellent search experience for its users. The more you can align your business with those goals the better your ranking will be within the search results you care about.
Websites Vs. Webpages
When you do a search in Google, Google will present you with the most relevant webpages, not websites. You should think about SEO in terms of webpages instead of your whole site. Your page should contain all the content and information your customers are looking for. If your customer can’t find what they are looking for on the page you are ranking they are likely to just bounce out instead of digging through your site to find it.
Keywords are the words that your customers use to search for your page in Google. Words like: “game store austin tx” or “comics colorado” or “warhammer 40k toronto”.
So how should you figure out what keywords work for you?
Google has you covered. If you have a Google account, you already have access to the Google Keyword Planner. If you don’t, you will have to sign up for one. the Google Keyword Planner will show you the search volume for any keywords you want to rank for. The key here (get it?) is the put yourself into your customer’s shoes and think about what kind of words they will use to search for your business.
If you sell board games, Warmachines, and RPG’s, use those words as a starting point. If your business doesn’t sell products online, it’s probably a good idea to include your city in the search query as well since your customers are likely to be local.
When it comes to keywords there are three different kinds: head, body, and long tail. Head keywords are short one word keywords that have a lot of search traffic but that also means they have a lot of competition. Body keywords are two to three words in length and tend to have a medium amount of traffic associated with them and a medium level of competition. Long tail keywords are four or more words and have a low amount of traffic and competition.
Long tail is generally where you want to be since they make up about 60% of all search volume and are the easiest to rank for because of the low competition.
Once you have a list of keywords you want to rank for, create content that highlights and uses those keywords. This is called on page optimization. You want to build authority for your keywords by placing them in links, meta descriptions, and title tags.
Don’t worry, we’ll get into that.
Once you’ve got a list of keywords you want to rank for get ready for a fight. You’re probably not the only one vying for the top spot.
As a game store, you shouldn’t bother trying to compete on head keywords and just focus on body and long tail. You can do this by making a list of all the keywords that are relevant to your business and creating content specifically for those keywords. Individually, the traffic for each keyword may be small but combined, they can add up and generate more traffic than head keywords.
The general rule is the longer the keyword, the easiest it will be to rank for. So, when you’re building your list, start with a “seed” keyword. A seed keyword is your niche, so that would be something like “mtg” which would then in turn lead to body and long tail keywords like “mtg singles shadows over innistrad” or “mtg archangel avacyn”. A seed keyword can generate a huge number of long tail iterations.
Which of these is more valuable to you as a business? “settlers of catan review” or “where to buy settlers of catan toronto”.
The reason you want to focus on long tail keywords, besides the lower level of competition is you can target the customers you want, the ones ready to buy. By using long tail keywords like “buy”, “review”, or “coupon”, you are more likely to attract visitors that are trying to buy rather than just find more information.
If you have used Google’s paid search options before, you’ve used this tool before. This tool was built for AdWords and paid search so it has a slightly different purpose in SEO. To use it, set up a free Google AdWords account.
Keyword Planner is located under tools. There are three relevant options for our purposes.
The first option allows you to experiment with specific keywords. If you aren’t sure what keywords you should be focusing on, start here. Start by putting in a bunch of very specific keywords and see what kind of search volume comes back. Adjust your targeting if you only sell locally. You can find other variations of your keywords by using this method
The second option is to just get search volume for a list of keywords you already have
The third option is inputting a multiple keyword list. You put in a bunch of different keywords and it creates different combinations of them, you can then find the list with the highest volume. It basically gives you a list of popular long tail keywords.
On Page Optimization
Now that you have a list of keywords you want to target, you have to create content that contains those keywords. Make sure your URLs (the address of the webpage), title tags and meta descriptions are optimized.
Optimizing Your URL
Google prefers to show webpages that are relevant and readable to its users, this means your URL should be understandable from a human perspective. It should be short and keyword rich, for example the URL of this post is manaversesaga.com/game-store-seo-guide. Don’t use numbers or random text and make sure the words are separated by hyphens, not underscores. Apparently Google doesn’t like underscores.
If you use WordPress for the back end of your website, you can edit the URL directly from the dashboard.
Optimizing Your Title Tag
Your title tag is the most important factor in on page SEO, it’s the first element that shows up in your listing on Google and has the most weight with someone searching. A lot goes into writing a good title for your page, much like writing a great headline, you want the person searching to stop and take notice of it, and ultimately decide to click on it. You should include the keyword you want to rank for in the title and keep it to 55 characters or less, it looks better when it isn’t cut off in the search results.
Another important factor is ranking pages is to use different keywords on each page. Avoid using the same keyword on multiple pages. If you use WordPress, which I highly recommend, you should download a plugin called SEO by Yoast. The plugin will point out different opportunities for you to optimize each page you create and it will warn you of things that might hurt your ranking.
Optimizing Your Meta Description
The meta description is the text you see in search results underneath the title of the page and the URL. It’s a chance to entice the person searching to click on your link instead of your competitors. It should be human readable and make sense, but at the same time, your keyword should be prominent in the description as well.
For the meta description you want to include action orientated language, use a call to action and verbs to encourage the user to click through. Make it clear that your page is the solution that the user is searching for. It’s important to have your keyword in the description of the page without it being spammy. A description jammed with a ton of keywords looks like your trying to bait the user and will reduce your click through rate, increase the number of users that bounce out, and lower your rankings.
Remember: Google hates spam.
You can easily edit all three of these components using the SEO by Yoast plugin.
Off Page Optimization
As I said above, authority is a huge factor in whether or not you appear on page 1 or page 3 of search results. Optimizing your page for the keyword you are targeting will only get you so far. If you want to rank highly you need to get links to your page. The more links from high authority pages the better. Google views a link as a vote of confidence that your page is an authority on a particular subject. But not all links will help you rank.
Quality links have effective anchor text which is the text you see on the webpage itself. Ideally, the links pointing to your webpage are specific and descriptive, it’s important that the link looks natural and relates to the content found on your page. Above all, it’s important that the number of quality links pointing to your page is growing. This looks organic and indicates that your page is a valuable resource.
So how do you get links to your page?
The best way is to create great content. Great content gets shared, it gets talked about, people link to it. Another way to build links is to ask for them. Find other websites in your niche and see if they are willing to do a link exchange. Thirdly, and somewhat related to the second point is to build relationships with the people in your niche. Work together and help one another, link to their stuff and they will likely link to yours. not only will you get the link juice, you can build opportunities for the future.
If you’re looking for more ways to use the power of the internet to grow your business, check out The Bulletproof Marketing Strategy For Game Stores In 2016.
I hope this guide was helpful, if you have any questions I’m happy to help. Since we’re on the topic of link building, it would be awesome if you clicked the buttons to your left and shared this guide. If you know someone who would like the Game Store SEO Guide, let them know.