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Wine SEO: Increase Web Traffic via Navigation and Sitemap

Boost Wine SEO with Better Navigation

This is part of a series of showing wine retailers how to use wine SEO to get higher rankings in the search engine results via

The Chase and Wine SEO

Your potential online customer wants a wine – a red wine, perhaps a Merlot.

They’ve just done a Google search and you’re on the first page of listings.

They are drawn to your heading – it’s precisely what they wanted, the description piques their interest, and the URL seems relevant.

They click on your listing.

Yes! First step in the online selling process completed successfully. But no fireworks yet.

They are now checking out your category or home page. They can see a list of countries, see some spirit brands, a promo for chardonnay, they can see the Contact and About Pages. Search perhaps… too hard… they’ll try someone else. And you’ve lost them.

Easy navigation is obviously very important in helping customers finding what they want.

Your navigation should

  • make it easy to go from general to specifc content – not too many levels (3-4 max?)
  • use text based navigation – not Flash! Google can’t read flash, it’s the classic ‘form over function’ debacle, where the website looks great but doesn’t make any sales. (Also iPhone won’t play it).
  • use breadcrumbs. That’s usually a bar just below the top section of the webpage which looks a bit like this
    Home > Wine > Merlot > Andrea’s Vineyard Merlot
    With links on each of the words so you can hop straight back to a section you’re more interested in.
  • have a useful error (404) page to redirect people if they (or you) make a mistake with the URL

Easy navigation also helps Google understand what the website is all about

Google rates your website as a whole, as well as each page. So you need to give them a picture of your website by using the navigation menu items to show them you’re all about. Single pages websites are on the out.

You also need to give them a sitemap

A sitemap displays the structure of your website, usually in a hierarchical manner. It can be a normal simple page with links to the relevant category page (sometimes it includes products, sometimes it doesn’t) e.g.,

/New Zealand/
/Pinot Noir/
/Australia/ … etc

This will help the confused human but what Google wants is an XML Sitemap.

Google’s XML Sitemap

Actually it’s not Google’s it is the format every search company has agreed to crawl, so one sitemap can work for every robot. It usually resides in the root (or top) directory of your website and is called sitemap.xml .

It creates a page that is very similar to html that helps Google easily discover the pages on your site (you can also upload it to Google Webmaster but that’s an advanced topic and something you do not need to do).

How do I create an xml sitemap?

Your eCommerce site should do this for you. If it doesn’t then check out this page of google approved automated xml sitemap generators.

In Magento you go Catalog > Google Sitemap: Add Sitemap, choose a name (probably sitemap.xml), show the path (probably / ), and then Save and Generate. Done.

Next: the most important factor: the content itself.

Do you think I have missed a key navigation point out?

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