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2011/07/28

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and your NetSuite Webstore - NetSuite Webstores Part 3


Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the simplest and most intuitive way to improve your website’s visibility in organic search engine results (ie, not through paid advertisements). It is a set of methods aimed at improving the ranking of a website in search engine listings. SEO includes using descriptive keywords and titles in content, ALT tags for images, header tags, META keywords and descriptions, as well as sitemaps, and can target different types of searches such as image search, local search, news search, industry-specific vertical search engines etc.

When creating content and updating your site, consider what exactly your products and/or messages are, and also consider which words or phrases a potential customer would use in order to search for this product or information in a search engine. Clear, descriptive, and accurate content makes it easy for the search engine to pick out content keywords and drive traffic to your site through descriptive searches.

With NetSuite, you can also set up alternative keywords that customers might use to search for items or categories in your web search. This takes into account predictable misspellings and synonyms for the item or content, and enables customers to find and purchase what they are looking for regardless of wording or spelling.

To set alternative search keywords in NetSuite:
  1. Go to Web Site > Publishing > Items and select the desired item to set keywords for individual items, or go to Web Site > Publishing > Categories and select the desired category to enter keywords for categories.
  2. For each item or category record, enter alternate keywords (ie, misspellings, synonyms, acronyms etc) in the Search Keywords field.


Now, if customers search using a keyword you have entered as an alternative, that item or information will be returned as though the customer had entered the item name.

Akin to providing alternate keywords in regards to simplicity and effectiveness, there are many tips you can follow to optimize your dynamic, NetSuite-generated website:

  1. Enter META tag data for your site at Setup > Web Site > Set Up Web Site, and for your individual tabs, categories and items on their respective records using the META tag HTML field (this will require some basic HTML knowledge, or the use of a META tag generator).
    *It should be noted that the META description is NOT used for ranking, but is typically used as the snippet of text that the search engine displays (it is wise to write this like ad copy since this can be the difference between someone clicking through or not)
  2. Use the Page Title field on all tabs, categories and items to include a descriptive title of what is included on that page.
  3. Name your site tabs using keywords that define what can be found on that tab. For example, avoid the generic labeling of “Products” and use a more descriptive tab name such as “NetSuite Products” etc.
  4. Add ALT-text to website images by going to Web Site > Files > Images, selecting Edit next to the image that you want to add ALT-text for and enter the text you would like to appear on mouse-over into the ALT Tag Caption field. Do not forget to save. This is a useful tip when dealing with web store images, and can help improve search engine ranking (in the images section of search engines as well).
  5. Use the Descriptive URL feature in NetSuite to construct the URLs for pages in your website using tab, category, and item names. Using descriptive URLs for your item and category pages will make their locations more memorable for customers and helps to achieve better ranking in search engines.

The default format for descriptive URLs is www.SITENAME.com/Item-Name, but can also include the parent category and tab for the item (ie, www.SITENAME.com/Parent-Category/Tab/Item-Name).

To set descriptive URLs in NetSuite:
  • An Administrator can enable to Descriptive URLs feature at Setup > Company > Enables Features > Web Presence
  • To quickly set your existing tabs, categories, and items to use their display names in their URLs, go to Setup > Web Site > Bulk Set URL Components

  • To use URLs that also use parent categories and tabs, go to Setup > Web Site > Set Up Web Site > Advanced. In the Item Drilldown URL Form field, select /tab-name/category-name/item-name

*If you publish the same item in more than one place on your website, the default format you choose here is used in addition to the alternate format. This is to achieve better results in search engines.

  • You can manually set URL components for individual or new tabs, categories, or items, by going to the record you want to edit and change the name in the URL Component field.
  • NetSuite automatically redirects previous URLs to the new descriptive URLs using 301 directs, however it should be noted that the descriptive URLs are case-sensitive and when creating links to item pages with them, you must match the case of the URL component in order for the page to open.
*Note that you must have a domain set up at Set Up > Web Site > Set Up Domains to enable any of these features.

Furthermore, all sites (not just NetSuite generated websites) can benefit from the following SEO tips:
  • Keep relevant text and links in HTML rather than graphics; search engines can’t always search for text within graphics.
  • Regularly change content and update META tags; search engines bring up sites with the most recent information for a keyword. use the keywords that you enter as META tags frequently in the content of your site; this shows that the keywords are very relevant to the content of your site.
  • Include links to relevant, related websites
  • Submit your URL, keywords, and an XML sitemap to search engines

Most of these search engine optimization tactics are fairly simple, and can be very effective if done correctly. NetSuite provides the tools to easily, efficiently, and effectively optimize your NetSuite website with a few simple steps.

Like this post? Check out the other parts of the Netsuite Webstore blog series:

2 comments:

  1. Hey guys - I recognize that this post was authored in 2011. Because you have broad experience in the platform, I'm curious if you have any experience with Omnichannel Commerce. In particular, I'm interested in the ability to adjust on-page SEO and website design for mobile devices, rather than just automatically render the standard site for an improved mobile experience. Any thoughts?

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  2. Hi John,

    Since Omnichannel Commerce spans several platforms - online, mobile, and increasingly tablet - the best way to address the cross-platform functionality is currently through responsive design. Though this does in a sense render the site as improved for the mobile experience, it is also customizable to create simpler, user friendly, and more importantly screen real-estate maximizing options for all platforms accessed by users.

    If you want to create an entirely separate mobile design, this would be very difficult with the current setup in NetSuite, and would likely require some work-arounds via scripting.

    In terms of the SEO, the processes should be optimized across the site in general - to address a broader mobile market, some adjustments to the content or keywords across the board are simple adjustments.

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